Meditation Focus #162

Permeating The Middle East with Peace


What follows is the 162nd Meditation Focus suggested for the next 3 (THREE) weeks beginning Sunday, December 10, 2006. 006.


1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information related to this Meditation Focus


Also recommended to your attention...

The Cornucopia Series #1: The Mega Smorgasbord (December 1, 2006)

The Writing on the Wall Series #52: Time to Speak Out And Take Action (December 7, 2006)


After three years of continuing mayhem, destruction, death, torture, radioactive contamination and massive abuse of all kinds, the long suffering Iraqi people, now in the throes of a civil war resulting in large part of the unprovoked and thus completely criminal invasion of their country by the US-led "coalition", but also of deeply seated hatred between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, there is at long last a somewhat dim but nevertheless real ray of hope shining on the future of Iraq. Following the recent midterm US election that delivered a clear repudiation of the war initiated by the Bush administration and in light of the growing success of the Iraqi insurgents' asymmetric warfare strategies, it is now clear that Bush and Cheney's stubborn determination to keep control of the vast oil riches of Iraq and to pursue the Israeli/Illuminati agenda in the Middle East has hit the wall of reality. Yet, as long as these servants of the Elite's plan for world domination will continue to sit in power, there is precious little certainty that anything will really change. Which is why there is nowadays a growing chorus of people and politicians who demand that legal actions be swiftly taken to disband this illicit regime and reach deeper behind them to nail and punish the real puppet masters who, for so long, have been able to impose their criminal will with impunity thanks to the unimaginably vast wealth and power they have amassed.

The will of the people, once awakened to their true power and absolute sovereignty as souls and kins in the universal family of living beings, is unstoppable and the time is NOW to kindle the global desire to cleanse the world of all rapacious egotistic, devious entities before they strangle this jewel of Life to death. The time is NOW to push beyond the last hesitations and claim our rightful place, as brothers and sisters of the One Human Family, at the side of all other peace-loving and God-serving civilizations of Light that inhabit our galaxy and the entire universe, and beyond.

As you join in a globally synchronized meditation, this Sunday and the following two Sundays, enable the powerful Spirit that guides us all towards the Light of a New Era to use us all as Lightning Rods of change to assist in the manifestation of Peace on Earth and the rejuvenation of our magnificent but still suffering Mother Gaia. Let us have, as part of this collective union of souls, a special focus towards instilling the indomitable will in all our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, in all Iraqis, in all Israelis, in all Palestinians, in all Iranians, in all Lebanese, in all Syrians, and in all the citizens of the other countries of the Middle East to heal all past hurts and prejudices and to cooperate to cocreate the conditions not only for a lasting peace, but for the emergence of true Love and soulful brother/sisterhood throughout this area of the world and, in expanding circles of Light, throughout the entire world ,for the Highest Good of All.

This whole Meditation Focus has been archived for your convenience at

The Great Invocation

From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth.

From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men.
May Christ return to Earth.

From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men –
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.

From the centre which we call the race of men
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.

Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.

Taken from

"I don't wish ever to discourage ones from feeling hope and love and sending forth those vibrations to the universe. This must continue even after war is started as those vibrations will assist in bringing in the era of peace that will follow. (...) When it is finally seen that war is unavoidable, that same positive focus for peace STILL must be continued so the aftermath of the war's onset is lessened in duration, death, destruction and misery! (...) Except for the invasion of Iraq, all of that intended conquest is what will be thwarted by continued intense focus FOR peace, love, harmony, justice, fairness, equity of resources allocation, and the like. THAT is what your collective focusing will manifest on Earth!" (...) "The combat of the war and its life and land destruction will so profoundly affect your world that souls who have been thinking war will lead to peace or "fence-straddling" will be forced to clearly see that only peaceful means of settling any dispute will ever result in peace on Earth. And feeling love is the way to peace. Those who resist this will not continue in positions of power and their physical lives will end as the ascension of the planet and her light-filled life forms hastens into the higher frequencies of fourth density."

- Matthew Ward - Excerpted from one of his messages archived at

"We cannot outwit our souls and our souls are the ones generating the lessons we need to come back into balance. The intellect or ego is not powerful or clever enough to override the soul. It does not matter how much gold or power one thinks they have they cannot out maneuver the soul which is the doorway to the source itself. The soul has been activated and is coming in to play. It is the fail safe mechanism. The veils between the higher worlds are very thin now. Access to higher consciousness and energy is readily available to everyone. We are fast tracking to the 4th dimension and some the 5th. There are those who are already existing between worlds and anchoring in the new energies, helping people to adjust. Call them what you wish, many of them are children. If you want a crash course in where we went astray get a group of children together and ask them what kind of world they want to live in? What needs changing in this world? They have not been away for so long. Remember the three keys to survival. Heal and release the past. Forgive yourself for the people and events you have created and magnetized into your life. Make your own personal God/Spirit/Creator connection and dedicate your energies to the awakening and healing of humanity and the Earth. There is one more thing. These new energies are giving you the courage and power to act. Words without deeds are dead.

- James Gilliland -- Taken from Ascension: Amping up the Grid at

Atmos 8-December-06

Greetings from the realms that oversee your progress, from where we can report that it brings us much satisfaction. At last there are signs that are apparent to you that should satisfy your yearning for positive indications of real progress. Politically speaking, many major governments are coming under increasing pressure to respond in a more open way to people’s calls for a new approach to world problems.

The situations that exist on Earth will continue to call for a new leadership, and until it comes into being progress will be unavoidably slow. The power brokers are very reluctant to give way to new ideas, and certainly refrain from acts that go against their agenda. However, they cannot keep the status quo for much longer, and are struggling against a tide of opinion that will yet force their hand. Our allies are focussed on their parts in this grand unfolding of the next stages of your evolution. Nothing will break their will and loyalty to the forces of Light.

Almost on a daily basis more people are awakening to the driving energies that abound upon Earth. Even without realizing that there is an impetus behind them, they find an upliftment and a clearer understanding of what is occurring. Taking your consciousness as a whole it has grown very quickly in such a short time, and will continue to do so at even faster rates. You are soon going to see an up-swelling of public opinion, that will permanently alter the course of mankind.

The cabal behind the war in the Middle East try to put on a brave face, but no amount of words will any longer fool people. The prospect of further years of death and destruction is seen as totally unpalatable, and the call for talks that lead to a peaceful solution will become a deafening roar in their ears. You will succeed in changing the course of the world because you have created the energy for change, and it must manifest in some way that allows its outworking. Universal Law will no longer be violated for anyone, and any attempt to do so will be met by the Forces of Light.

Two events are going to prove to be capstones for change, one is the fast approaching festive season and the second the time of Easter celebrations. Each will heighten the desire of people for world peace, and each will provide another opportunity to direct Man onto another path. To that end we also give you further strength, and a multitude of Higher Beings come closer to you than ever before. Together we are a force that cannot be deflected or stopped from creating the new Earth.

As always, it is you who have set the direction in which the Earth has gone. Now you will see that people power is more than a match for the puppets of the Illuminati. We of the Galactic Federation have placed constrictions upon your leaders and the military, and they too are becoming aware that higher forces than theirs are at work. All we ask is for your continued support and unwavering determination to see this period through, without any capitulation to the dark. Victory will be for all Humanity, and never again will you be called upon to experience the challenges of duality.

The lessons being learnt are many, but first and foremost is one that allows you to understand the power of thought. Many have doubted that creation is greatly affected by such simple things as your thoughts, but as time speeds up you are beginning to see the evidence of it before your very eyes. Secondly is the power of love and particularly compassion, which have been awakened in many people through the recent events upon Earth.

The wars and natural occurrences such as the tsunamis have left their mark upon you, but your response to these has shown your natural desire to help others when in need. All differences are being put aside, and there is a beautiful coming together of like souls who desire to bring back Love and Light to Earth. The Human Race is acknowledging its Oneness, and in so doing is drawing down even greater energies that give further power to you.

There are so many Dear Ones who await our arrival, who are already consciously aware of what is needed to overcome the lack that is evident upon Earth. We as promised will provide the means to bring back abundance for you, and new financial dictates will ensure a fairer distribution of wealth. For too long it has been in the hands of a small minority, and their greed has denied many others the chance to progress. Equality will be established in many different ways, but firstly the basic needs of Man will be provided.

Life can be enjoyable, but not if you have to slave and save simply to have a meager existence. The help we have to offer will not only address these age long problems, but introduce the changes in a very short period of time. Time is in fact of the essence, as Mother Earth patiently awaits her chance to fully transform the Earth. You as fledging souls about to rise up, need a clear path to follow and an assurance of your success. Know that whatever one you have chosen, before long you will be fully acquainted with the tasks that lay ahead.

Now you patiently wait for great changes that will manifest over the next 6 months, during which time we shall expect to have made our first open contact. Yes, events are that near to happening and the net is closing around the dark and their minions. The lighted path is set out before you, and you can no longer be prevented from following it. Divine dictates give us the authority to intervene if necessary in the affairs of the Earth, and indeed we have already responded to them.

Presently your most important gain is one of knowing that a nuclear war will not be permitted. There are those who given the excuse whether real or manufactured, would again plunge you into the horrors of such happenings. The Creator has empowered those who oversee the progress of Mankind to ensure your safe journey out of this cycle, and so it shall be.

I am Atmos from Sirius like many who have an affinity to you of Earth. Your true history when clearly revealed will show you of your links to us, and indeed other Beings that will come in the course of time. We are your brothers and sisters as much as anyone on Earth, and we remind you that you also originally came from other planets. We are you in a future dimension, which is why we hasten to uplift you as soon as possible to our levels.

In the future some of you will join us again, as the explorers of the mighty kingdoms that stretch into infinity. The many realms of Creation will astound you in their beauty presently beyond your imagination. Never ending creation offers experiences that will carry you forward in ecstatic joy. Lift your thoughts up to what can be in your next stage of experience, and you will detach more quickly from the pull of the existing Earth.

I finish my message and leave you with the good wishes of my fellow travelers, with much love and gratitude for your acceptance of the challenges of duality. You will bring much needed experience with you, that in the future will serve you and others well.

Thank you Atmos.

Mike Quinsey

Taken from:


i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes. Please dedicate the last few minutes of your Sunday meditation to the healing of the Earth as a whole. See the Earth as healthy and vibrant with life, and experience the healing of all relations as we awaken globally to the sacredness of all Life and to our underlying unity with All That Is.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below correspond (for most countries) to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:

Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto & Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz & Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * & Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik & Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki & Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM

You may also check at to find your corresponding local time if a nearby city is not listed above.


This complement of information may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to the summary description of the subject of this Meditation Focus. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mind-set, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of peace and healing. This complementary information is provided so that a greater knowledge of what needs healing and peace-nurturing vibrations may assist us to have an in-depth understanding of what is at stake and thus achieve a greater collective effectiveness.



1. Cornered Military Takes to Desperate
2. Tactics Widows Become the Silent Tragedy
3. Can Bush Find An Exit?
4. The pressure is building - add your voice NOW


Photos confirm US raid child deaths (December 09, 2006 - with pictures)
Local officials said six children were among the dead in the US air strike - Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive footage that confirms children were among the victims of a US air raid northwest of Baghdad. Local officials said that the bodies of 17 civilians, including six children and eight women, had been pulled from the debris of two houses in al-Ishaqi. The US military had issued a statement on Friday saying that two women were among 20 suspected "al Qaeda terrorists" killed in the operation. Al Jazeera's footage showed the bodies of men, women and children wrapped in blankets after they had been pulled from the rubble. (...) In Aljazeera's pictures angry villagers had gathered around the bodies, several of which were so badly charred that their faces were unrecognisable. Local residents said that one entire family had been killed. "The Americans have done this before but they always deny it," Amer Alwan, the mayor of al-Ishaqi, told Reuters news agency. "I want the world to know what's happening here."
He also told the AFP news agency: "This is the third crime done by Americans in this area of Ishaqi. All the casualties were innocent women and children and everything they said about them being part of al-Qaeda is a lie." He told Al Jazeera that he was calling for an international investigation into the attack. Abdullah Hussain Jabbara, deputy governor of Salah al-Din governorate, told Al Jazeera: "Residents of the two houses [which were bombed] have nothing to do with al-Qaeda network. All the people killed are members of the same family."

Leave Iraq Now; Don't Wait Until 2008 Election Day
Joseph Galloway writes: "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there's only one way to leave Iraq: Load our people up on their trucks and tank transporters and Bradleys and Humvees and head for the border. Now."

Bush Wins the War of Lies
Although Liberation entitled its news review of the Baker report "Bush Wins the War of Lies," its new editor in chief, Laurent Joffrin, argues that the report demonstrates that "the strategy of lying is collapsing," while Le Monde sees the report as a "spectacular slap across Mr. Bush's face."

The Incredible Lying BushCo
Least we forget.

A History Of Lies
WMD, Who Said What and When

Inconvenient Truths
George Galloway speaks his mind - Three videos about Iraq,Lebanon and the US

650,000 civilians killed in Iraq since the US invasion
Polling expert John Zogby states the methodology used to establish this number is sound to 95% certainty. Reported by CNN International - Another case of CNN reporting one thing within the United States and something very different to its international audience.In contrast with the 650,000 person estimate established through scientific means, the US claims less than 40,000 civilians have lost their lives through violence since the US invasion. In the US, the recent Lancet report on Iraqi civilian deaths was glossed over and US government denials and comments from George Bush dominated the reporting. Outside the US, the fraudulent nature of the US government's Iraqi civilian death count is openly discussed. More evidence that the US is the most heavily propagandized nation on earth.

U.S. troops suffer heavy losses this month in Iraq
At least 32 U.S. troops have died in Iraq this month, according to the Defense Department. Eleven died Wednesdayt. Another soldier wounded Wednesday died Thursday, the military said.

Iraq violence could lead to regional war -Annan
"The prospects of all-out civil war and even a regional conflict have become much more real" since the secretary-general's last report, issued three months ago, Annan said. "Therefore, the challenge is not only to contain and defuse the current violence but also to prevent escalation."

Time for Bush to Go!
"George W. Bush had a point when he disparaged the Baker-Hamilton commission's plan for gradual troop withdrawals from Iraq by saying 'this business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever.' It's now obvious that there can be no exit from Iraq - graceful or otherwise - as long as Bush remains president," writes Robert Parry.

GOP senator says war may be 'criminal'
Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, a Republican who voted in favor of the Iraq war in 2002 and has supported it ever since, now says the current U.S. war effort is "absurd" and "may even be criminal."

McKinney Introduces Bill to Impeach Bush
In what was likely her final legislative act in Congress, outgoing Georgia representative Cynthia McKinney announced a bill Friday to impeach President Bush.

A Closing Call for Impeachment (Dec 9, 2006)
"President George W. Bush has failed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States; he has failed to ensure that senior members of his administration do the same; and he has betrayed the trust of the American people," Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney explained in remarks prepared to accompany her submission on Friday of articles of impeachment against Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

McKinney's Full Remarks on Bush Impeachment Bill

Impeachment Is Not a Partisan Issue; It's a Democracy Issue

It's Still About Oil in Iraq
Page 1, Chapter 1 of the Iraq Study Group report lays out Iraq's importance to its region, the US and the world with this reminder: "It has the world's second-largest known oil reserves."

Iraq torture 'worse after Saddam' (Sept 21, 2006)
Torture may be worse now in Iraq than under former leader Saddam Hussein, the UN's chief anti-torture expert says.Manfred Nowak said the situation in Iraq was "out of control", with abuses being committed by security forces, militia groups and anti-US insurgents.Bodies found in the Baghdad morgue "often bear signs of severe torture", said the human rights office of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq in a report. (...) The UN report says detainees' bodies often show signs of beating using electrical cables, wounds in heads and genitals, broken legs and hands, electric and cigarette burns. Bodies found at the Baghdad mortuary "often bear signs of severe torture including acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances" .Many bodies have missing skin, broken bones, back, hands and legs, missing eyes, missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails, the UN report says. Victims come from prisons run by US-led multinational forces as well as by the ministries of interior and defence and private militias, the report said. The most brutal torture methods were employed by private militias, Mr Nowak told journalists. CLIP

Judge Reluctant to Dismiss Torture Suit Against Rumsfeld
A federal judge on Friday appeared reluctant to give Donald H. Rumsfeld immunity from torture allegations, yet said it would be unprecedented to let the departing defense secretary face a civil trial. "What you're asking for has never been done before," US District Judge Thomas F. Hogan told lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Quick guide: Violence in Iraq: How bad is it? (23 November 2006)
It is hard to calculate reliable figures for the dead and wounded because of the chaotic state of Iraq's institutions. An estimate by US scientists in October 2006 suggested that about 655,000 civilians had been killed since the 2003 US-led invasion. Western human rights campaigners give much lower figures - between 42,000 and 47,000 civilians - but point out many deaths probably go unreported.About 3,000 coalition troops - more than 2,800 of them Americans - have died in Iraq in the same period.The monthly Iraqi death toll hit a record high in October 2006, with more than 3,700 people losing their lives, according to a UN report.Why is it so intense?Insurgents, some loyal to the former regime and others pursuing jihad against the Western forces, are conducting a campaign of violence aimed at driving out US-led foreign forces.Another of their aims is to bring about a sectarian civil war and some analysts say they have succeeded in this. CLIP

Americans have no idea
How the Israeli War Party lobby controls US foreign policy - Twenty-two years in Congress:How the game is played behind closed doorsThis is not the most professional-looking film ever made, nor is it the most visually compelling, but the information it contains is nothing short of electrifying. Why does US foreign policy consistently support Israeli military aggression in Lebanon and elsewhere? Why do we turn a blind eye to Israel's brutal and inhuman treatment of the Palestinians? Why are we in fighting in Iraq? The answers are laid out in calm, clear language by twenty-two year veteran member of Congress Paul Findley. He calls the control of US foreign policy by the Israeli War Party lobby "the most significant crisis we've faced in this country since the Civil War."

Depleted Uramium: The Ultimate Dirty Bomb - MUST WATCH INTERVIEW WITH DR. DOUG ROKKE!
How the US is using nuclear weapons today (Press the play button to start the video) Depleted uranium is considered a weapon of mass destruction and is banned for use in warfare by international law, yet the US and Israel use it routinely. The US military has used thousands of tons of depleted uranium in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq sickening civilians and its own soldiers by the tens of thousands. Depleted uranium contaminates the food, water, air and land it comes into contact with forever. It's the ultimate "dirty bomb."For more information about this video go to:




Cornered Military Takes to Desperate Tactics

*Inter Press Service* Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily

*FALLUJAH, Dec 9 (IPS) - People living in areas where resistance to U.S.-led occupation is mounting are facing increased levels of collective punishment from the occupation forces, residents say.*

Siniyah town 200 km north of Baghdad with a population of 25,000 has been under siege by the U.S. military for two weeks.

IPS had earlier reported unrest in Siniyah Jan. 20 when the U.S. military constructed a six-mile sand wall in a failed attempt to check resistance attacks.

Located near Beji in the volatile but oil-rich Salahedin province, Siniyah has become a vivid example of harsh tactics used by occupation forces, who have lost control over most of the country.

"Thirteen children died during the two-week siege due to U.S. troops' disallowance for doctors to open their private clinics as well as closure of the general medical centre there," a doctor from the city reported to IPS via satellite phone.

The doctor spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals from the U.S. military. IPS had to reach him by phone since the military blockade has cut the city off from the outside world.

"This is not the first time U.S. troops have conducted such a siege here, but this time it represents murder," the doctor said.

A U.S. military public relations officer in Baghdad told IPS on phone that the military was doing "what it had to do to fight the terrorists in and around Siniyah" and that "no medical aid is being interfered with."

When IPS told him it had received contradictory information from a doctor in that city, he replied, "that is just not true."

The siege has generated resentment against the Shia-dominated Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki, who has failed to comment on the deaths. Sunnis have not missed the sharp contrast to his order to U.S. troops to lift their checkpoints around the Shia area of Sadr City in Baghdad.

Sectarian conflict has been rising between Shias and Sunnis, two differing followings within Islam. Sunnis are the majority worldwide, but Shias are said to be the majority within Iraq.

Abdul Kareem al-Samarrai'i, a leading member of the Islamic Party that participates in the Maliki government, stated on Baghdad Space Channel that the 13 children died in Siniyah "because of the siege and the U.S. army orders to deprive the town of any medical care."

Duluiyah, another small town roughly 60 km north of Baghdad has been under siege by the U.S. military for the last three weeks.

"They (U.S. military) applied the siege upon Duluiyah (close to Samarra) many times, the last of which partially ended last week," Samir Muhammad of the Samarra municipality council told IPS.

The Geneva Conventions forbid use of collective punishment. International law says the occupying power in a country is responsible for safeguarding the civilian population.

Fallujah in al-Anbar province to the west of Baghdad continues to face attacks and harassment by the U.S. military, according to local residents.

"Why don't those people admit their failure and leave," 55-year-old Khalaf Dawood from Fallujah told IPS. "They are being hit and their soldiers are getting killed all over the city. All they are doing is killing civilians and suffocating the city economically as revenge."

Electricity supply in Fallujah was recently cut off for three days after resistance snipers launched attacks on U.S. soldiers. U.S. military vehicles are attacked regularly around the city.

Several local people told IPS that on average one civilian a day is killed by U.S. gunfire in Fallujah, while raids on houses have been stepped up heavily.

The U.S. military commander in Fallujah admitted to local media last month that at least five attacks on average were being conducted everyday against his troops and Iraqi army units. The vast majority of the population of Fallujah continues to demand unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from their city.

Meanwhile, the situation in Ramadi, the capital city of al-Anbar province where Fallujah is also located, has deteriorated further. Residents told IPS that bombardment from U.S. warplanes and helicopters has killed many civilians.

IPS reported Nov. 17 that U.S. military had shelled several houses in Ramadi, killing 35 civilians.

A partial siege of the city continues, and residents are complaining that a new militia formed by Maliki's government in the name of "fighting terror" has been rounding up young men from the city.

The militia recently took control of the University of Anbar in Ramadi and started harassing students. U.S. soldiers blocked the main road to the university before the militia entered the campus.

"They even harassed the president (principal) of the university and accused him of being an al-Qaeda leader," a university professor speaking on condition of anonymity told IPS. "The principal is a professor in chemistry and a very peaceful man who has dedicated his life to science and supervising PHD and MSC graduates."


Visit the Dahr Jamail website


Related article:

U.S., Iraqi troops seal off Haditha - residents
Residents in Haditha, said electricity has been cut off and that no food is being allowed into the city.

Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation
Dahr Jamail reports on the struggling health care situation in Iraq. The report surveys 13 Iraqi Hospitals, examines the actions taken by US military against hospitals and care workers that constitute war crimes as defined by the Geneva conventions, discusses and documents cases of US medical personnel complicit in torture through failures to document the visible signs of torture on their patients, and much more.

(...) By failing to report on the root of the physical and psychological trauma caused by torture—this root being the torture itself—medical authorities, by mitigating its excesses (providing temporary respite, tending to mere symptoms, suggesting alternative interrogation techniques, whatever the particular case may require) and thereby conferring legitimacy upon the military-clinical institutions that they serve—effectively facilitate the torture that they treat. As billions of dollars are deployed to create Iraqi security forces and hundreds of millions more for the reconstruction and modernization of detention facilities,[90] there seems little to indicate that Iraqi sovereignty over the police-state that is emerging represents a meaningful improvement for the healthcare of Iraqis. The exclusions from comprehensive health care here touched on suggest that medical facilities in Iraq serve as petty functionaries of this police-state. I write with regret that the contents of this report appear to do little more than confirm this reality.

(...) This report clearly illustrates the abject failure of the US to carry out even minimal humanitarian duties as occupying power. More importantly, it paints a picture of a healthcare system that has deteriorated since the start of the war, and of a failure to fundamentally reverse this decline. From a public health point of view, an end to occupation, with a scheduled withdrawal of all foreign troops, appears to be a major requirement.

In the meantime, actions must be undertaken that would constitute small but important steps in securing a more functional healthcare system for the Iraqi people. Thus, this report concludes with the following calls to action:

1. The fact that the US government has released so little of the $1 billion in reconstruction funds allegedly allocated to the Ministry of Health should be subject to an immediate congressional investigation to scrutinize the US government’s expenditures and actions, as well as the expenditures and actions of western companies that have been awarded contracts in Iraq regarding the healthcare system. Investigators should be given the power to impose or seek punitive measures for contract violations and over-expenditues and to provide oversight, regulation and accountability of the work of these companies in regard to their individual contracts.

2. This abuse of resources and widespread corruption seems a natural consequence of the lack of oversight of multinational corporations, owing perhaps primarily to their immunity under Iraqi law as established by Executive Order #17. An institutional regime consisting of international oversight, which would include a legitimate body of experts on essential services and representatives of the country’s medical society, should be created and put to work immediately.

3. An independent investigation should be launched to probe the actions of the US military regarding its alleged interference with Iraqi healthcare personnel and facilities, specifically with regard to the city of Fallujah. This investigation should include a more general appraisal of US military actions that have interfered with efforts to provide both healthcare and emergency services to a population under occupation. The investigation should also examine the issue of accountability to clearly identify who is accountable for this state of affairs. In order to facilitate independent inquiries into these and other human rights issues, the post of UN Human Rights Rapporteur, vacant since 2003, should be filled immediately.

4. Every Iraqi who has suffered the loss of a loved one, injury or property damage as a result of the invasion and ensuing occupation should immediately be compensated in full by western standards, not the $2500 payout the US military has set as the standard fee for a dead Iraqi.



Widows Become the Silent Tragedy

Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Dec. 7 (IPS) - Hundreds of thousands of widows are becoming the silent tragedy of a country sliding deeper into chaos by the day.

Widows are the flip side of violence that has meant more than a million men dead, detained or disabled, Iraqi NGOs estimate. These men's wives or mothers now carry the burden of running the families.
"The total figure of men who have been killed, disabled or detained for long periods of time adds up to more than one and a half million," Khalid Hameed, chief of the Iraqi al-Raya human rights organisation told IPS. "The average number of Iraqi family members is seven, so about ten million Iraqis are facing the worst living circumstances."

In these circumstances, he said, women have had to "search for ways to survive and support their families at a time when not much help comes from the international community."

Most international NGOs left the country by last year apparently on the advice of governments of their countries pointing to growing violence and dangers to NGO members.

"International NGOs were conducting support projects for Iraqi women before they suddenly quit and left the country in a rush in October 2005," Faris Daghistani, who was project manager at the Baghdad mission for the Italian humanitarian aid organisation in Iraq INTERSOS told IPS.

"There was a wide focus on working women and how to support them by training and providing them with necessary tools to raise income on their own," he said. "It is a pity that most of our productive projects have stopped, and we had to leave women to face their fate on their own."

The violence since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is not the first to have taken its toll. Hundreds of thousands of men were killed, taken prisoner or disabled during the 1980-1988 war between Iran and Iraq.
"We have never lived our lives as human beings should live," 42-year-old Dr Shatha Ahmed told IPS at her home in Baghdad. "The Iraq-Iran war took our fathers, and now the Bush war is taking our husbands and sons."

Women now face a long struggle surviving and bringing up families on their own, she said. "We could not even dream of developing our own skills."

Dr. Shatha's husband, also a doctor, was killed by Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army in September this year when he was leaving the Ministry of Health offices in Baghdad. She now has to support her family, and her husband's parents as well.

Some help is on offer to widows through groups such as the Iraqi Red Crescent, the Islamic Party, the Muslim Scholars Association and non-governmental organisations. But this support is not well organised, and is insufficient to help the growing number of widows.

The Social Affairs Office of the government has started paying the equivalent of about 100 dollars monthly to widows. But this payment cannot support whole families, given particularly the shooting inflation.

And the payment is not easy to get. "I had to pay a lot of money as bribes to government officials in order to get the monthly support payment, and that is not enough to support my big family," 47-year-old widow Haja Saadiya Hussein from Baghdad told IPS.

"Americans killed my husband last year near a checkpoint, and now I have to work as a servant in government officials' houses to earn a living for my six children. I have stopped them going to school, to cut my expenses."

Some widows have attempted to remarry in order to find support. Some second husbands, who are usually older, offer to take care of their new sons for religious reasons.

"There can be no compensation for losing a husband," a spokesperson from the Iraqi Red Crescent's social support department told IPS. "The world is responsible for these women who lost their spouses in the name of the international community."


Related article:

It's Hard Being a Woman (December 05, 2006)
BAGHDAD, Dec. 5 (IPS) - Once one of the best countries for women's rights in the Middle East, Iraq has now become a place where women fear for their lives in an increasingly fundamentalist environment.Prior to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, Iraqi women enjoyed rights under the Personal Status Law since Jul. 14, 1958, the day Iraqis overthrew the British-installed monarchy.Under this law they were able to settle civil suits in courts, unfettered by religious influences. Iraqi women had many of the rights enjoyed by women in western countries.The end of monarchy brought a regime in which women began to work as professors, doctors and other professionals. They took government and ministerial positions and enjoyed growing rights even through the dictatorial reign of Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party."Our rights had been hard to obtain in a country with a tradition of firm male control," Dr. Iman Robeii, professor of psychology from Fallujah told IPS in Baghdad. Iraqi women have traditionally done all the housework, and assisted children with school work, she said. On top of that about 30 percent of women had been engaged in social activities."But a tragic collapse took place after the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the so-called Islamists seized power to place new obstacles in the way of women's march towards improvement," she said. A significant event was the Dec. 29, 2003 decision by the U.S.-installed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) to pass a bill which almost cancelled the Personal Status Law, 45 years after it had been passed. (...) Yanar Mohammed, one of Iraq's staunchest women's rights advocates, believes the constitution neither protects women nor ensures their basic rights. She blames the United States for abdicating its responsibility to help develop a pluralistic democracy in Iraq."The U.S. occupation has decided to let go of women's rights," Mohammed told reporters. "Political Islamic groups have taken southern Iraq, are fully in power there, and are using the financial support of Iran to recruit troops and allies. The financial and political support from Iran is why the Iraqis in the south accept this, not because the Iraqi people want Islamic law."Mohammed believes the drafting of the Iraqi constitution was "not for the interest of the Iraqi people" and instead was based on concessions to ethnic and sectarian groups."The Kurds want Kirkuk (an oil-rich city they consider the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan), and the Shias want the Islamic Republic of Iraq, just like Iran's," she said. "The genie is out of the bottle in terms of political Islam (by Shias) and the resistance (by Sunnis). America will tolerate any conclusion so they can leave, even if it means destroying women's rights and civil liberties.They have left us a regime like the Taliban." CLIP

Read many more such news articles on Iraq through



Can Bush Find An Exit?

Calls for a staged withdrawal from Iraq are forcing the President to contemplate the biggest U-turn of his political life. Here's why he's likely to make it


Dec. 3, 2006

George Bush has a history of long-overdue u-turns. He waited until he woke up, hungover, one morning at age 40 before giving up booze cold. He fought the idea of a homeland-security agency for eight months after 9/11 and then scampered aboard and called it his idea. He dumped Donald Rumsfeld last month as Defense Secretary, although lawmakers and even some generals had been calling for his head since 2005. Bush's biggest reversals usually come after months--even years--of stubborn resistance, when just about everyone has given up on his having any second thoughts at all. That's always been the point: he's a decider, he says, and deciders aren't supposed to undecide. When he does have to Kojak the car and head down the street in the opposite direction, he takes a little extra time getting it done.

But Bush has never had to pull off a U-turn like the one he is contemplating now: to give up on his dream of turning Babylon into an oasis of freedom and democracy and instead begin a staged withdrawal from Iraq, rewrite the mission of the 150,000 U.S. troops there as they begin to draw down, and launch a diplomatic Olympics across the Middle East and between Israel and the Palestinians. Even calling all that a reversal is a misnomer; it would be more like a personality transplant.
So it may take the 43rd President a little more time than it normally does to execute this particular U-turn. And he will do all he can to make it look more like a lane change. But sometime in the next month or so, Bush will begin the biggest foreign policy course correction of his presidency. No matter what else may get stapled onto it, the maneuver will be based on the agreement reached by the bipartisan commission led by former Secretary of State James Baker III and former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton. Bush aides said last week that there is already agreement on the name for the restart: A New Way Forward, which borrows from the commission's own title, The Way Forward--New Approach. Among people who have known Bush for decades, there is almost as much certainty that he needs to disengage from Iraq as there are doubts about whether he has the wiring and instincts--much less the desire--to pull it off. "He is not stupid," says a commission source. "But he is stubborn. And he is very dug in. It takes a big person to find a way to walk back from some of this and embrace reality."

THE PRESIDENT IS ABOUT TO GET A LOT OF reality therapy. The Baker-Hamilton commission's work has been compared to a family intervention for a substance-addicted cousin, but unlike those encounters, this one won't remain behind closed doors. The entire 10-person commission will brief the President this Wednesday and then repeat the lesson for congressional leaders, both incoming and outgoing, later the same day. What happens next is designed to be even more convincing: several days of nonstop interviews on every media outlet, network and cable-TV station--a media blitz that will run well into the Sunday-morning news programs.

Of course some people don't like being rescued, and there is little reason to think that Bush or anyone around him is going to enjoy the visit by the Baker-Hamilton emergency squad. While there will be no lights flashing or sirens wailing, the commission is proposing nothing short of a repudiation of pretty much all U.S. foreign policy for the past three years. The Iraq Study Group will call for a massive diplomatic push in two areas in which the White House has never put its shoulder to the grindstone: rekindling peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis and holding an international conference that would lead to direct talks between Washington and both Tehran and Damascus. The commission agreed that the political turmoil inside Iraq could only be sorted out with the cooperation of neighboring countries, particularly Syria, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, which have the strongest ties to the Shi'ite and Sunni groups propelling Iraq ever deeper into civil war.

The study group's military proposals are performance based: they would link a staged withdrawal from Iraq by U.S. forces to stronger actions by the struggling Iraqi government. The report does not set a timetable for troop reductions, but it is expected to offer Baghdad a slower withdrawal if the government takes steps to end the violence. If Baghdad cannot make that happen, the troops would depart at an even faster rate. The genius of the approach is that if security returns as a consequence of this squeeze play, the need for U.S. troops will presumably also decrease. Says an expert who briefed the panel on the idea of trading troops for cooperation: "Unless we use our withdrawal as leverage against reduced violence, anything we do will be drained away in the sands of an ineffective central government." That is why, either way, the report envisions, but stops short of stating flatly, that troop withdrawals should begin sometime next year.

These proposals will push Bush's buttons because they come from outsiders. Vice President Dick Cheney in particular has long resisted outside interference in foreign policy. But last week it was internal interference that upended the Administration's best-laid plans. Bush had no sooner arrived in Amman, Jordan, for talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki than the New York Times published the full text of a memo to Bush from his National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley portraying al-Maliki as isolated, powerless and out of touch with the realities of his country and unable to affect them. This is hardly surprising for a man who can barely leave his home without American logistical support, but the leaked memo from somewhere in the Bush Administration sank the President's plans for a take-charge summit. Al-Maliki abruptly canceled his planned meeting with Bush--a snub for which there is no well-known precedent--and waited until the following morning to have breakfast and a shortened, 45-min. session with him. There was little chemistry in that encounter; by all accounts al-Maliki looked sour and lost. During a short photo break, al-Maliki refused to look at Bush, and the President had to initiate a handshake between them. Ignoring the previous day's discourtesy, Bush declared al-Maliki "the right guy for Iraq," a thumbs-up that did nothing for the Prime Minister's credibility at home, where an endorsement from the U.S. President may be the kiss of death. Bush then offered his first official reaction to the Baker-Hamilton proposals. "There's a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean there's going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq. We're going to stay in Iraq to get the job done, so long as the government wants us there. This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it at all."


REALISM WAS EXACTLY WHAT THE PEOPLE who cooked up the commission had in mind when they set the bipartisan operation in motion more than a year ago. The review began as an earmark--a $1 million insertion into an appropriations bill by Republican Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia, who had gone to Iraq last year and decided U.S. policy wasn't working or, as he put it, needed "fresh eyes." He slotted the money to the U.S. Institute of Peace, whose president, Richard Solomon, joined two CEOs Wolf trusted to organize the study: David Abshire, of the Center for the Study of the Presidency, and John Hamre, who runs the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Those three settled on Baker and Hamilton as chairmen. Hamilton agreed, but Baker wanted Bush's blessing--and he wanted to let Bush know he might not like the outcome.

Meanwhile, Iraq kept deteriorating, and there was a risk that the panel's proposals would be obsolete before consensus was reached. "It overshadowed everything," says an aide to one member. "They were constantly dealing with new developments over there." Baker turned up last Monday with a draft report he wanted panel members to consider or amend and then get into the President's hands. Democrats led by Hamilton, Perry and Leon Panetta, Clinton's ex--chief of staff, were adamant that the report recommend a firm starting point for troop withdrawals. When the Republicans again refused, members agreed on language that would leave the date vague but the vector clear. And then the group adjourned.


THE HOT WORD IN WASHINGTON THESE days is bandwidth, as in, Does this Administration have the bandwidth to solve all these problems? Even those who back the Baker plan worry about whether there is anyone inside the Administration who can carry it out. There is widespread doubt that the Bush team is emotionally or ideologically able to execute a plan that is so at odds with its collective instincts and that many of its supporters might resist. Of particular concern to members of the study group is the state of the U.S. State Department. Although Rice has restored some of the department's lost influence since replacing Colin Powell, she is currently working without a deputy and has had trouble filling that post. Her top lawyer, Philip Zelikow, is leaving soon, and there is a wide variety of people who wonder whether she--or anyone else--could amass the clout to take on both the Middle East and Iraq security talks in the time that is left to this Administration. That's one reason there are growing calls for a special envoy to the region who can hold all the reins in one hand. Some have even suggested that Bush try to persuade Baker to stay on and take up one last mission for his country.

Bush will put a few weeks between the big Baker-Hamilton rollout and his own restart. White House officials worry that anything faster would look too reactive--a curious instinct, given the public's overwhelming desire for change and the positive response Bush received when he tossed Rumsfeld over the side after the elections. Says a former government official who has known Bush for 20 years: "If he is going to take political advantage of things he might have done anyhow, why not do them fast instead of slow?" It may be that the President is not yet ready to answer the obvious question when the strategy changes: What is the new definition of success? Bush himself teed that up when he told reporters in October, "You all got to understand, and the parents of our troops must understand, that if I didn't believe we could succeed and didn't believe it was necessary for the security of this country to succeed, I wouldn't have your loved ones there."

But the White House won't wait for the Baker-Hamilton road show to signal that it is changing course. A White House official told TIME over the weekend that the new path the President will outline in coming weeks is "significantly different than what we've been doing. When the President says we're going to get the job done, that doesn't suggest it is an open-ended commitment forever." The inevitability of serious change, it emerges, had become clear even to one so dug in as Rumsfeld. The New York Times reported last week that two days before he was ousted, the Defense Secretary submitted a memo to the White House saying the Iraq strategy was failing and calling for "major adjustment," including possible troop pullbacks.

To seize the initiative, the White House announced a series of new diplomatic actions of its own, inviting Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of Iraq's leading Shi'ite party, and Tariq al-Hashemi, the Sunni Vice President, to Washington over the next few weeks as part of an effort to deepen connections to a greater variety of Iraqi political figures. And aides say Bush may call for what were already being dubbed "reciprocal obligations" with the Iraqi government: trading troop deployments for progress on sectarian violence, just as Baker and Hamilton are expected to propose. But there will be no ultimatums. A senior Administration official says, "Bush's plan is eventually going to call for reductions in troops. They're going to do whatever they can to get the security to a level at which it's sustainable so that at some point they can start to draw down the troop levels."

And that points to the biggest weaknesses in any rescue plan. Whether it is the Baker approach or whatever the White House decides to call its own, events in Iraq could easily make any plan for diplomacy and withdrawal irrelevant in the face of a weak central government, a deepening civil war and widespread violence. A commission official put it this way: "What we have produced is a plan for December. We have no idea what things are going to look like in February."


Related articles:

How Many More Will Die For Bush's Ego?
Are the American people, Congress, and the American Establishment going to let the death toll continue to mount day by day for the two more years it takes for Bush to become history?

A Young Marine Speaks Out
I'm sick and tired of this patriotic, nationalistic and fascist crap. I stood through a memorial service today for a young Marine that was killed in Iraq back in April. During this memorial a number of people spoke about the guy and about his sacrifice for the country. How do you justify 'sacrificing' your life for a war which is not only illegal, but is being prosecuted to the extent where the only thing keeping us there is one man's power, and his ego.

Baker vs. "The Lobby"
The tension between the Bush administration and the members of the Iraq Study Group, illustrates the widening chasm between old-guard U.S. imperialists and "Israel-first" neoconservatives. The divisions are setting the stage for a major battle between the two camps. The winner will probably decide US policy in the Middle East for the next decade.

Bush: Iraq Study Group Agrees With Me
In his weekly radio address, President Bush said the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's report released this week "explicitly endorses the strategic goal we've set in Iraq," though he ignored sections of the panel's report that criticize his administration's handling of the war.


Date: 08 Dec 2006
From: "Ricken Patel -">
Subject: The pressure is building - add your voice NOW

Dear Friends,

This week US President George Bush became almost the last man on earth to support a failed Middle East strategy. The conservative-leaning "Iraq Study Group" - including top figures from Bush's own Republican Party - has just released its long awaited recommendations and condemned virtually every aspect of America's current approach to the Middle East.

The report is not perfect, but it echoes almost every call to action the Ceasefire Campaign has made since we began in August: it calls for Bush and other leaders to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, to talk to Iran, and switch to a diplomatic strategy for stabilizing Iraq that includes the withdrawal of US troops.

The global pressure on Bush to change course is now intense, but he is still holding out. Click below to add your voice to the chorus calling for Bush to adopt the report's key recommendations for change:

Our last petition on Iraq, signed by almost 80,000 Ceasefire Campaigners, was covered by US media in key outlets, and our ad was published in papers in London and Washington. A major response from people around the world at this critical moment is likely to get press attention in the US, and up the pressure on President Bush.

With the release of Iraq Study Group report, every sensible voice from across the political spectrum is now pleading with Bush to change course. Please add your voice here:

There are enormous dangers and challenges in Middle East, but there is also great opportunity. A strong diplomatic effort can reverse the cycle of conflict, and Bush is the last man on earth left to convince.

With hope,
Ricken, Galit, Rachel, Tom, Amparo and the rest of the Ceasefire Campaign Team.



1. Israeli Nuclear Weapons Whistleblower Speaks Out


Early election talk angers Hamas (Dec 9)
The Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive committee has backed early elections to end the deadlock over forming a national unity government. The Hamas group, in power since winning January's parliamentary polls, reacted by condemning the suggestion. PLO officials said after meeting President Mahmoud Abbas that he would have their support for early polls. The Palestinian Authority has been under a Western financial boycott since Hamas's victory. Mr Abbas is expected to announce his decision in the coming week. Speaking to the BBC, one of his top officials said he believed the president was minded to call parliamentary and presidential polls. "The status quo cannot be continued - it is a disaster on the Palestinians," said Saeb Erekat. Palestinians, he added, had to choose between the approach of Mr Abbas and his Fatah faction and that of Hamas. The current Hamas-led administration has been denied direct Western aid because it refuses to renounce violence, recognise Israel or accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. CLIP

No Israel recognition - Hamas PM (Dec 8, 2006)
Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya has reiterated that his Hamas-led government will not recognise Israel.This a key demand of Western donors who have suspended direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. Mr Haniya is on a visit to the Iranian capital, Tehran. He made the comments during a Friday prayers address. He said efforts to "liberate usurped Palestinian lands" would never stop, and he praised Iran for its support of the Palestinian people.His four-day visit to Iran began on Thursday with talks with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mr Haniya is expected to meet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali during the visit.Standing with Iran"We will not give up our Jihadist movement until the full liberation of Beit al-Muqqadas [Jerusalem] and Palestinian land," Mr Haniya said."We are standing by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and with this country we will resist American and Zionist pressures," he said.Iran, like Hamas, refuses to recognise Israel.Tehran is reported to have given Hamas US $120m since it came to power. The Hamas-led Palestinian Authority has been in financial crisis since Hamas took over. International donors insist that Hamas recognise Israel, renounce violence and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements. Mr Haniya's tour of the Middle East has already taken in Qatar, Bahrain and Syria.

The last casualty?By Gideon Levy12/08/06
The numbers don't lie. They never do. In the past month, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces was 45 times greater than the number of Israelis killed by Palestinians. The Palestinian dead included 13 minors. All in one deadly month. The last name on the list is Ayman Abu-Mahdi, a 10-year-old boy who had come home from school and gone out to get a little air with his siblings and friends. He was sitting on a bench in front of his house. The time: 15 hours before the cease-fire in Gaza. The last casualty? Of course not. In the first week after the cease-fire, Israel had already killed five more in the West Bank. The last child to die? No again. This past Sunday, soldiers killed 15-year-old Mahmoud al-Jabji in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus. The last casualty in Gaza? That, too, is hard to believe. The last only until this cease-fire goes up in flames, like all its predecessors. CLIP

UN appeals for Palestinian funds (Dec 7, 2006)
The United Nations has launched an appeal to raise $450m (£229m) in humanitarian relief funds for the Palestinian territories next year.Two-thirds of Palestinians live in poverty, a UN spokesman said. The Palestinian economy has been in crisis since international sanctions were imposed on the Hamas-led government earlier this year.The UN says growing numbers of people in the West Bank and Gaza are not able to meet their daily food needs.It is the largest appeal the UN has launched to help the Palestinians and follows the $384m wanted for 2006.The United States, Israel and the European Union imposed sanctions on the Hamas-led administration because of its refusal to recognise Israel's right to exist and to renounce violence. The UN appeal "is particularly aimed at assisting the most vulnerable Palestinians, including children, who make up about half of the population," said Kevin Kennedy, the UN's humanitarian co-ordinator in the Palestinian territories."Aid agencies report that basic services such as health care and education are deteriorating and set to worsen much further."Unemployment has reached 40% in the Gaza Strip and 25% in the West Bank, according to UN figures quoted by Mr Kennedy.The deteriorating economic situation in Gaza and the West Bank has led to a breakdown in law and order, says the BBC's correspondent in Jerusalem, Katya Adler. Tensions are made even worse by the severe travel restrictions imposed by Israel on the Palestinians, says our correspondent.

To halt Mideast tremors, heal the fault line (December 06, 2006)
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be resolved before we can expect peace in Lebanon and elsewhere.By John K. Cooley ATHENS – At a Washington breakfast meeting 30 years ago, I asked Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, "After your success in getting Israeli and Arab forces on both Egyptian and Syrian fronts [in the 1973 war] to put down their guns and disengage, why isn't more being done to resolve the main Israeli-Palestinian conflict?" Mr. Kissinger replied that in tough negotiations, easier issues get tackled first; the tough ones last. That approach may have helped Israel broker peace deals with Egypt in 1979, and with Jordan in 1994. But failure to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has meant keeping intact the chief catalyst for turmoil in the Middle East - and, arguably, the world. Today, war-weary Lebanon's latest crisis, following the recent murder of Christian leader and cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel, is just one more illustration of why it's better to put settlement of this decades-long conflict first. That's something British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been urging a reluctant President Bush to do.What does the Israeli-Palestinian fault line have to do with Lebanon's present woes? Just about everything. History shows that Lebanon was one of the first victims of the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war following Israel's birth. Lebanon, a small country of less than 5 million people had to accept a massive influx of displaced Palestinians. Today they form a largely ghettoized refugee community of nearly half a million inside Lebanon. Unlike the better-integrated Palestinians in Syria and Jordan, the Lebanese refugees are deprived of voting and job rights, but they all depend greatly on international charity. (...) Both sides should be pushed to revive old deals that almost succeeded. Israel and the US should relax the extreme economic pressure on the Palestinians, which aims to extract from them recognition of Israel and renunciation of terrorism. The Palestinians should work harder to curb the violent resistance and restrain terrorism. Israel should be encouraged to eliminate the separation wall in the West Bank and drop excessive road blocks and other harassment.This is a conflict that demands the full force of intelligent diplomacy right now. A comprehensive and lasting peace is in everyone's interest.

Going further than a cease-fire (November 29, 2006)

Israel drags heels on Tutu visit
A United Nations fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip that was to be led by Desmond Tutu is in doubt because Israel has yet to give the Nobel laureate permission to enter the territory, officials said on Friday.

US congress bans talks with Hamas
Congress passes bill already approved by Senate prohibiting transfer of aid, official talks with Hamas government until president declares PA no longer ruled by terror group. Bill will deny Hamas US entry visas

Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land: The Normalization of Horror
What you're not seeing on US TV - It's a myth that all Jews and all Israelis support Israel's ongoing military aggression in the Middle East, but you'll never learn this fact on US TV.Why?This informative film (1:19:14) documents the current Israeli government's program of genocide against the Palestinian people and its well orchestrated public relations program designed to insure that Americans - whose tax dollars subsidize the Israeli military - never learn the truth about Israeli tactics and intentions.

Inspiring Photo Montage of ordinary life in Bethlehem
Make sure to read the description at the bottom.

FULL COVERAGE on the middle east conflict



Israeli Nuclear Weapons Whistleblower Speaks Out

By Joe Parko, Special to The Atlanta Progressive News (December 07, 2006)

(APN) JERUSALEM -- Ever since Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli Nuclear Technician, confirmed the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons program with his photographs of the secret underground bomb facility published in the London Sunday Times in 1986, the world has known Israel has been making nuclear bombs but has pretended they do not exist.

Vanunu was released from prison in April 2004 but was prohibited from leaving Israel. The Israeli government continues to keep him in Israel against his will. Criminal action is pending against him for speaking to journalists and foreigners.

I talked with Mordechai Vanunu last year in Jerusalem.

"I worked from 1976 to 1985 at the Israeli secret underground nuclear weapons production facility at the Dimona nuclear plant in the Negev desert," Vanunu said in the interview.

"During my time there, I was involved in processing plutonium for 10 nuclear bombs per year," Vanunu said.

"I realized my country had already processed enough plutonium for 200 nuclear weapons. I became really afraid when we started processing Lithium 6 which is only used for the hydrogen bomb," Vanunu recalled.
"I felt I had to prevent a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East so I took 60 pictures of the underground nuclear weapons processing plant some 75 meters under the Dimona plant," Vanunu told me.

"I resigned my post and left Israel in 1986. I first went to Australia and then made a connection with The Times in London. After a group of nuclear scientists verified my photos as proving Israeli nuclear weapons production, my story was published in England," Vanunu said.

"A few months later, I was kidnapped by the Israelis in Rome and sent secretly by ship to Israel where I was subjected to a closed military trial without counsel. I was sentenced to 18 years in prison. I spent 12 years in solitary confinement," Vanunu said.

"I think my whistleblowing on Israel's secret nuclear weapons program helped to bring down South Africa's apartheid government. When the world's governments learned Israel was helping South Africa to develop nuclear weapons, this was the end of apartheid. Mandela's first act was to shut down South Africa's nuclear weapons program and to send the nuclear materials to the U.S.," Vanunu said.

"Now I am trapped inside Israel and I’m being threatened with more prison time for speaking to people like you. I want to leave Israel and come to America where I can live as a free human being,” Vanunu said.
At his recent meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, US President Bush called for worldwide isolation of Iran until it gives up its nuclear ambitions.

When it comes to the issue of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, there is an elephant in the room nobody wants to acknowledge, and that elephant is Israel's large nuclear bomb arsenal.

First the US allegedly went after non-existent nuclear weapons in Iraq and now Bush is consumed with the possibility Iran might develop nuclear weapons in the future. But the fact is, Israel has had a secret nuclear weapons program for over 30 years that has produced well over 200 nuclear bombs.

If we truly want to stop the nuclear arms race in the Middle East, Israel must be required to open its nuclear weapons program to inspection.

Israel is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to officially confirm or deny having a nuclear arsenal, or to having developed nuclear weapons, or even to having a nuclear weapons program.

If we want Iran to renounce nuclear weapons, we must also get Israel to stop building bombs in secret and begin dismantling its large nuclear arsenal. Our goal must be a nuclear-free Middle East and this must include Israel.


Joe Parko is a special contributor to Atlanta Progressive News. This article was produced as part of the Middle East Peace Education Program of the American Friends Service Committee. He may be reached at


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Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East
Who has them, who doesn't, and who has plans to use them - Three short videos about Iran, Israel and the US including.. A tour of Israel's secret nuclear weapons program (In Hebrew with English subtitles) This animation was created based on information passed to The Sunday Times of London by Israeli military veteran Mordechai Venunu, a nuclear technician at Israel's nuclear weapons manufacturing plant near Dimona.

Israel's Secret Weapon
Secret nuclear and biological weapons programs in Israel - A film by the BBC - Which country in the Middle East has undeclared nuclear weapons... undeclared biological and chemical weapons... and no outside inspection?Israel's weapons of mass destruction: how they use them and how they keep the fact of their existence from the world.

Israel's Olmert calls for dramatic measures against Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called for more dramatic measures to be taken against Iran and declined to rule out a military attack against Tehran in an interview with Germany's Spiegel magazine.

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