November 22nd, 2007

Chris Keeley

Milton Viorst on the Lebanon Crisis--LATimes

Milton Viorst was a member of the six-person Council for the National
Interest Foundation study tour of the Middle East from 10/28 to
11/12/2007. He has followed developments and reported on the Middle East
for 40 years.]

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-oe-viorst21nov21,1,2806931.story?ctrack=1&cset=true
<http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-oe-viorst21nov21,1,2806931.story?ctrack=1&cset=true>
/From the Los Angeles Times/


 A powder keg in Lebanon

Deadlock over a new leader could set off a civil war and fuel Mideast
volatility.
By Milton Viorst

November 21, 2007

BEIRUT —

While the eyes of the world are focused on the fading prospects of
ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the upcoming meeting in
Annapolis, Md., an electoral deadlock in Lebanon grinds inexorably to a
climax, threatening to upset an 18-year factional truce and ignite a new
civil war that will add one more explosive ingredient to Middle East
instability.

Lebanon's problems are not new. They are rooted in the 1920s, when
France's colonial regime created the country out of Syrian territory and
squeezed Christians, Druze and Muslims -- Sunni and Shiite -- into it.
At that time, the Maronite Christians, whose close ties to France dated
to the Middle Ages, were the colonial power's political allies, so the
constitution that France imparted required that Lebanon's president, its
most powerful official, be a Maronite. The prime minister, under the
constitution, would be a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of the parliament
would be a Shiite. The system, a peculiar form of democracy, is called
"confessionalism."

For most of the ensuing years, confessionalism enabled the sects to
coexist in a fragile balance. The enormous exception was the horrible
civil war that raged from 1975 to 1989, killing 100,000 and leaving much
of the country in ruins. None of the sects wants a repetition.

The current president is Emile Lahoud, an ex-general whose term expires
Friday. For weeks, the country's political and sectarian leaders have
been meeting in secret to agree on a replacement, who will have to be
confirmed by the parliament in order to take office. So far, they have
failed.

Basic to the deadlock is the steady growth of the Shiite community,
which is now acknowledged to be the largest of the country's major
sects. Its principal voice is Hezbollah, an organization that is, all at
once, political, social, religious and military. A year ago, Hezbollah's
militia single-handedly stopped an incursion of the Israeli army into
south Lebanon, significantly enhancing its prestige across the country.
But when it demanded more political power as a reward, it was rebuffed,
and its ministers quit the Cabinet. Hezbollah's parliamentary
representation, however, remains strong.

It is no secret that Hezbollah's arms and money come chiefly from Shiite
Iran, with help from Syria. Hezbollah denies that it is beholden to
either country. It is motivated, Hezbollah says, purely by Lebanese
nationalism. But the U.S. -- insisting that Hezbollah is an
Iranian-Syrian pawn and a collaborator in global terrorism -- strongly
backs its rivals.

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Chris Keeley

The Reality of Israeli Settlements

Thanks to Ron Spiers. This is a long article, but well worth reading.
The author is an Israeli. Bob Keeley


Apologies if you have read it.  If not,read it and weep

Ron Spiers <rispiers@comcast.net <mailto:rispiers@comcast.net>> thought
you would be interested in
the following article from The New York Review of Books.

--

The New York Review of Books
December 6, 2007
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20856?email
<http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20856?email>

A Moral Witness to the 'Intricate Machine'
By Avishai Margalit

'I am an Israeli. I live in Jerusalem. I have a story, not yet

finished, to tell.' This is the opening line of David Shulman's

powerful and memorable book, Dark Hope, a diary of four years of

political activity in Israel and the Palestinian territories. It is a

record of the author's intense involvement with a volunteer

organization composed of Israeli Palestinians and Israeli Jews, called

Ta'ayush, an Arabic term for 'living together' or 'life in common.'

The group was founded in October 2000, soon after the start of the

second Palestinian intifada.
Chris Keeley

Humor: A new Canadian problem

From the Manitoba Herald, Canada (a very underground paper):


The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has
intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop
the illegal immigration.

The actions of President Bush are prompting the exodus among
left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray,
and agree with Bill O'Reilly.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of
sociology professors, animal- rights activists and Unitarians crossing
their fields at night.

"I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood
producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield,
whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and
hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken.

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Chris Keeley

Oswald still did it — it simultaneously changes everything, if only because it disrupts the state of

Oswald still did it — it simultaneously changes everything, if only because it disrupts the state of mind of everyone who has ever been transfixed by the Zapruder film. The film, we realize, does not depict an assassination about to commence. It shows one that had already started.
       
   
National Archives and Records Adminstration
J.F.K.’s Death, Re-Framed
By MAX HOLLAND and JOHANN RUSH

FORTY-FOUR years ago today, a clothing company owner named Abraham Zapruder filmed the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas. And for 44 years, most people have presumed that his home movie captured the assassination in its entirety. This presumption has led to deep misunderstandings.

The majority of witnesses in Dealey Plaza heard three shots fired. Lawmen found three cartridges in Lee Harvey Oswald’s nest on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Yet Zapruder’s film captured only two shots clearly. As a result, the film has been scoured for evidence of another shot, presumably the first one fired at the president. Research has yielded contradictory findings.

But what if Zapruder simply hadn’t turned on his camera in time?

Zapruder’s 26-second movie has two distinct parts. Approximately seven seconds after he started filming from the north side of Elm Street, Zapruder stopped his Bell & Howell Zoomatic at frame 132 because only Dallas police motorcycles were driving by. He did not restart his camera until the president’s limousine was clearly in view. Consequently, Z 133 is the first frame to actually show the president’s Lincoln — a frame exposed several seconds after the car had made the sharp turn onto Elm Street from Houston Street — and, we believe, after Oswald had squeezed off his first shot.

Several witnesses saw a man firing from the sixth floor. No one’s recollection about the first shot was more precise, though, than that of a ninth grader named Amos L. Euins. He told the Dallas County sheriff, “About the time the car got near the black and white sign, I heard a shot.” As the above photograph from a December 1963 restaging shows, the president’s limousine would have passed a black and white sign before Zapruder restarted his camera (the ghost image here approximates the location of the Lincoln at the moment Zapruder started filming again).

If one discards the notion that Zapruder recorded the shooting sequence in full, it has the virtue of solving several puzzles that have consistently defied explanation. The most exasperating one is how did Oswald, who was able to hit President Kennedy in his upper back at a distance of around 190 feet, and then in the head at a distance of 265 feet, manage to miss so badly on the first and closest shot?

A first shot earlier than anyone has ever posited gives a plausible answer. About 1.4 seconds before Zapruder restarted filming, a horizontal traffic mast extending over Elm Street temporarily obscured Oswald’s view of his target. That mast was never examined during any of the official investigations. Yet if this mast deflected the first shot, that would surely explain why the bullet missed not only the president, but the whole limousine. Significantly, the highway sign cited by Amos Euins was just a few feet west of the traffic light’s vertical post in 1963.

I
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