March 5th, 2008

Chris Keeley

The Gaza Bombshell

The Gaza Bombshell

After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.

by David Rose April 2008

Condoleezza Rice and George W. Bush

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush, whose secret Palestinian intervention backfired in a big way.


“A Dirty War”


The Al Deira Hotel, in Gaza City, is a haven of calm in a land beset by poverty, fear, and violence. In the middle of December 2007, I sit in the hotel’s airy restaurant, its windows open to the Mediterranean, and listen to a slight, bearded man named Mazen Asad abu Dan describe the suffering he endured 11 months before at the hands of his fellow Palestinians. Abu Dan, 28, is a member of Hamas, the Iranian-backed Islamist organization that has been designated a terrorist group by the United States, but I have a good reason for taking him at his word: I’ve seen the video.

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Chris Keeley

Henry Siegman: "Bring in Hamas" (IHT)

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck
Transmitted below is an excellent oped by Henry Siegman.

International Herald Tribune


Bring in Hamas

By Henry Siegman

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 .php


Last October, a bipartisan group of eminent former senior government officials, including Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Lee Hamilton and Paul Volcker, urged President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice not to entertain the fantasy that an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord can be negotiated with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, without the participation of Hamas.


They urged that a way be found to include Hamas - which had overwhelmingly defeated Abbas's Fatah in the Palestinian parliamentary elections of January 2006 - in the negotiations.


The eminent persons group recognized that Hamas presented its own difficulties as a potential peace partner because of its dogmatic refusal to recognize the state of Israel.


That is why Arab countries, intimately familiar with the dynamics of regional politics, including those of Islamic political movements, supported the formation of a Palestinian unity government that would join Abbas's Fatah with Hamas. Saudi Arabia took the lead in fashioning the Mecca agreement on Feb. 8, 2007, that established a Palestinian unity government.


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Chris Keeley

Bill Pfaff's current thoughts on the situation in Israel/Palestine

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck
Transmitted below are Bill Pfaff's current thoughts on the situation in Israel/Palestine.
Bill sees not the slightest glimmer of hope -- and it is difficult to argue that this is not an entirely rational way to view the situation. However, exceptionally, I do not agree with all aspects of what Bill has written here. Specifically, he suggests that the "only hope" for the Palestinians if they were to choose to pursue, by non-violent means, full democratic rights in a unitary state in all of historical Palestine "would be that Israel would actually impose a regime of national discrimination and apartheid". I would argue that this is, in fact, an accurate description of the current regime -- and has been for almost 60 years in the portion of the country conquered in 1947/1948 and for over 40 years in the portion of the country conquered in 1967. Post-Oslo, this reality has been effectively camouflaged (albeit increasingly less effectively so) by subcontracting out certain functions of repression (and the provision of certain basic services which cost money) to a "Palestinian Authority" which, while it was initially launched with good intentions and genuine hope (at least among most Palestinians, including those who served in it), has become thoroughly corrupt, collaborationist and capitulationist, the effective servant of the enemies of the Palestinian people rather than of the Palestinian people it purports to serve.
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Chris Keeley

March 5, 2008 Tracking the Fallout of (Another) Literary Fraud By MOTOKO RICH One day after the aut

March 5, 2008
Tracking the Fallout of (Another) Literary Fraud

One day after the author of “Love and Consequences” confessed that she had made up the memoir about her supposed life as a foster child in gang-infested South-Central Los Angeles, the focus turned to her publisher and the news organizations that helped publicize what appeared to be a searing autobiography.

Geoffrey Kloske, publisher of Riverhead Books, the unit of Penguin Group USA that released the book, by Margaret Seltzer, under a pseudonym, Margaret B. Jones, said on Tuesday that there was nothing else that he or Sarah McGrath, the book’s editor, could have done to prevent the author from lying.

“In hindsight we can second-guess all day things we could have looked for or found,” Mr. Kloske said. “The fact is that the author went to extraordinary lengths: she provided people who acted as her foster siblings. There was a professor who vouched for her work, and a writer who had written about her that seemed to corroborate her story.” He added that Ms. Seltzer had signed a contract in which she had legally promised to tell the truth. “The one thing we wish,” Mr. Kloske said, “is that the author had told us the truth.”

Riverhead has recalled nearly 19,000 copies of the book and is offering refunds to book buyers.

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Chris Keeley

The true cost of war In 2005, a Nobel prize-winning economist began the painstaking process of calcu

The true cost of war
In 2005, a Nobel prize-winning economist began the painstaking process of calculating the true cost of the Iraq war. In his new book, he reveals how short-sighted budget decisions, cover-ups and a war fought in bad faith will affect us all for decades to come. Aida Edemariam meets Joseph Stiglitz
Aida Edemariam
Thursday February 28 2008
The Guardian

Fitful spring sunshine is warming the neo-gothic limestone of the Houses of Parliament, and the knots of tourists wandering round them, but in a basement cafe on Millbank it is dark, and quiet, and Joseph Stiglitz is looking as though he hasn't had quite enough sleep. For two days non-stop he has been talking - at the LSE, at Chatham House, to television crews - and then he is flying to Washington to testify before Congress on the subject of his new book. Whatever their reservations - and there will be a few - representatives will have to listen, because not many authors with the authority of Stiglitz, a Nobel prize-winner in economics, an academic tempered by four years on Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers and another three as chief economist at the World Bank (during which time he developed an influential critique of globalisation), will have written a book that so urgently redefines the terms in which to view an ongoing conflict. The Three Trillion Dollar War reveals the extent to which its effects have been, and will be, felt by everyone, from Wall Street to the British high street, from Iraqi civilians to African small traders, for years to come.

Some time in 2005, Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, who also served as an economic adviser under Clinton, noted that the official Congressional Budget Office estimate for the cost of the war so far was of the order of $500bn. The figure was so low, they didn't believe it, and decided to investigate. The paper they wrote together, and published in January 2006, revised the figure sharply upwards, to between $1 and $2 trillion. Even that, Stiglitz says now, was deliberately conservative: "We didn't want to sound outlandish."
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Chris Keeley

From: William R. Polk Date: Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 7:42 AM This is more o

From: William R. Polk
Date: Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 7:42 AM

This is more or less the text I used before the
Economic Club of Phoenix and the Committee for the Republic in

William R. Polk
Chemin de la Sine * 06140 Vence * France

With all eyes fixed on the forthcoming election, we must consider the
issues that will face whomever becomes our next president for these are
issues that we – and perhaps even our grandchildren will have to cope. 
The urgent issue before our country in this time of great danger is the
health of our society and the well-being of our country.     Foremost
is the impact of the war in Iraq on our society, our constitutional
system and our economy. Like many of you in the room, I have helped to
see America through some dangerous times. For me, the searing
experience was serving on the crisis management committee of the Cuban
Missile Crisis . Then the deputy head of the National Security Council,
the Assistant Secretary of Defense of International Security Affairs
and I oversaw events during that perilous week. The scars are still
with me. But one positive thing I learned then is that the most
dangerous thing is to close one's eyes to reality, to see only what one
wants to see. Only in absolutely honesty and clarity is there hope. So
please forgive me for laying out here today the cold hard facts with
which we must live -- or die.

*          *          *

So, I want to talk with you today about three things;
First, what is our struggle in  Iraq costing us;
Second, the nature of terrorism, guerrilla warfare and insurgency ; and
Third, what should we do now.

Here,  I propose to skip over how we got into Iraq, the legal and
constitutional issues posed by our policy. Not that these are
unimportant, but they are relatively often discussed so I would rather
focus on what is less known.At the end, if you will bear with me, I
will project ahead on the implications of the thrust of current
policy.I begin with the cost of our policy in Iraq:

*     *     *

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