Archive for the ‘Imperialism’ Category

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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

January 25, 2009

Anyone who sees the world in terms of ‘we’ the good guys and ‘them’ the bad guys will be shocked at the history of the USA told by a man who was hired to create it. The book has been out since 2004 tho I have just stumbled on it. Real life – more shocking than fiction. Following is an interview with John Perkins, the author, and if you prefer video you will find it here.
Book Review
Comments by Greg Palast

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:How the U.S. Uses Globalization to
Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions

Source
We speak with John Perkins, a former respected member of the international banking community. In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man he describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then take over their economies.

John Perkins describes himself as a former economic hit man–a highly paid professional who cheated countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars.

20 years ago Perkins began writing a book with the working title, “Conscience of an Economic Hit Men.”

Perkins writes, “The book was to be dedicated to the presidents of two countries, men who had been his clients whom I respected and thought of as kindred spirits–Jaime Roldós, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama. Both had just died in fiery crashes. Their deaths were not accidental. They were assassinated because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire. We Economic Hit Men failed to bring Roldós and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in.

John Perkins goes on to write: “I was persuaded to stop writing that book. I started it four more times during the next twenty years. On each occasion, my decision to begin again was influenced by current world events: the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1980, the first Gulf War, Somalia, and the rise of Osama bin Laden. However, threats or bribes always convinced me to stop.”

But now Perkins has finally published his story. The book is titled Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. John Perkins joins us now in our Firehouse studios.

* John Perkins, from 1971 to 1981 he worked for the international consulting firm of Chas T. Main where he was a self-described “economic hit man.” He is the author of the new book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Transcript of Interview

AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins joins us now in our firehouse studio. Welcome to Democracy Now!

JOHN PERKINS: Thank you, Amy. It’s great to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Okay, explain this term, “economic hit man,” e.h.m., as you call it.

JOHN PERKINS: Basically what we were trained to do and what our job is to do is to build up the American empire. To bring—to create situations where as many resources as possible flow into this country, to our corporations, and our government, and in fact we’ve been very successful. We’ve built the largest empire in the history of the world. It’s been done over the last 50 years since World War II with very little military might, actually. It’s only in rare instances like Iraq where the military comes in as a last resort. This empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men. I was very much a part of that.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you become one? Who did you work for?

JOHN PERKINS: Well, I was initially recruited while I was in business school back in the late sixties by the National Security Agency, the nation’s largest and least understood spy organization; but ultimately I worked for private corporations. The first real economic hit man was back in the early 1950’s, Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy, who overthrew of government of Iran, a democratically elected government, Mossadegh’s government who was Time‘s magazine person of the year; and he was so successful at doing this without any bloodshed—well, there was a little bloodshed, but no military intervention, just spending millions of dollars and replaced Mossadegh with the Shah of Iran. At that point, we understood that this idea of economic hit man was an extremely good one. We didn’t have to worry about the threat of war with Russia when we did it this way. The problem with that was that Roosevelt was a C.I.A. agent. He was a government employee. Had he been caught, we would have been in a lot of trouble. It would have been very embarrassing. So, at that point, the decision was made to use organizations like the C.I.A. and the N.S.A. to recruit potential economic hit men like me and then send us to work for private consulting companies, engineering firms, construction companies, so that if we were caught, there would be no connection with the government.

AMY GOODMAN: Okay. Explain the company you worked for.

JOHN PERKINS: Well, the company I worked for was a company named Chas. T. Main in Boston, Massachusetts. We were about 2,000 employees, and I became its chief economist. I ended up having fifty people working for me. But my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan—let’s say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador—and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company, or U.S. companies, to build the infrastructure—a Halliburton or a Bechtel. These were big ones. Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people in those countries would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn’t possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can’t do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, “Look, you’re not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil.” And today we’re going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they’ve accumulated all this debt. So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It’s an empire. There’s no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It’s been extremely successful.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. You say because of bribes and other reason you didn’t write this book for a long time. What do you mean? Who tried to bribe you, or who—what are the bribes you accepted?

JOHN PERKINS: Well, I accepted a half a million dollar bribe in the nineties not to write the book.

AMY GOODMAN: From?

JOHN PERKINS: From a major construction engineering company.

AMY GOODMAN: Which one?

JOHN PERKINS: Legally speaking, it wasn’t—Stoner-Webster. Legally speaking it wasn’t a bribe, it was—I was being paid as a consultant. This is all very legal. But I essentially did nothing. It was a very understood, as I explained in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, that it was—I was—it was understood when I accepted this money as a consultant to them I wouldn’t have to do much work, but I mustn’t write any books about the subject, which they were aware that I was in the process of writing this book, which at the time I called “Conscience of an Economic Hit Man.” And I have to tell you, Amy, that, you know, it’s an extraordinary story from the standpoint of—It’s almost James Bondish, truly, and I mean-–

AMY GOODMAN: Well that’s certainly how the book reads.

JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, and it was, you know? And when the National Security Agency recruited me, they put me through a day of lie detector tests. They found out all my weaknesses and immediately seduced me. They used the strongest drugs in our culture, sex, power and money, to win me over. I come from a very old New England family, Calvinist, steeped in amazingly strong moral values. I think I, you know, I’m a good person overall, and I think my story really shows how this system and these powerful drugs of sex, money and power can seduce people, because I certainly was seduced. And if I hadn’t lived this life as an economic hit man, I think I’d have a hard time believing that anybody does these things. And that’s why I wrote the book, because our country really needs to understand, if people in this nation understood what our foreign policy is really about, what foreign aid is about, how our corporations work, where our tax money goes, I know we will demand change.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to John Perkins. In your book, you talk about how you helped to implement a secret scheme that funneled billions of dollars of Saudi Arabian petrol dollars back into the U.S. economy, and that further cemented the intimate relationship between the House of Saud and successive U.S. administrations. Explain.

JOHN PERKINS: Yes, it was a fascinating time. I remember well, you’re probably too young to remember, but I remember well in the early seventies how OPEC exercised this power it had, and cut back on oil supplies. We had cars lined up at gas stations. The country was afraid that it was facing another 1929-type of crash—depression; and this was unacceptable. So, they—the Treasury Department hired me and a few other economic hit men. We went to Saudi Arabia. We—

AMY GOODMAN: You’re actually called economic hit men—e.h.m.’s?

JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, it was a tongue-in-cheek term that we called ourselves. Officially, I was a chief economist. We called ourselves e.h.m.‘s. It was tongue-in-cheek. It was like, nobody will believe us if we say this, you know? And, so, we went to Saudi Arabia in the early seventies. We knew Saudi Arabia was the key to dropping our dependency, or to controlling the situation. And we worked out this deal whereby the Royal House of Saud agreed to send most of their petro-dollars back to the United States and invest them in U.S. government securities. The Treasury Department would use the interest from these securities to hire U.S. companies to build Saudi Arabia—new cities, new infrastructure—which we’ve done. And the House of Saud would agree to maintain the price of oil within acceptable limits to us, which they’ve done all of these years, and we would agree to keep the House of Saud in power as long as they did this, which we’ve done, which is one of the reasons we went to war with Iraq in the first place. And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn’t buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are C.I.A.-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn’t work, they perform assassinations. or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren’t able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had—His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn’t get through to him. So the third line of defense, if the economic hit men and the jackals fail, the next line of defense is our young men and women, who are sent in to die and kill, which is what we’ve obviously done in Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain how Torrijos died?

JOHN PERKINS: Omar Torrijos, the President of Panama. Omar Torrijos had signed the Canal Treaty with Carter much—and, you know, it passed our congress by only one vote. It was a highly contended issue. And Torrijos then also went ahead and negotiated with the Japanese to build a sea-level canal. The Japanese wanted to finance and construct a sea-level canal in Panama. Torrijos talked to them about this which very much upset Bechtel Corporation, whose president was George Schultz and senior council was Casper Weinberger. When Carter was thrown out (and that’s an interesting story—how that actually happened), when he lost the election, and Reagan came in and Schultz came in as Secretary of State from Bechtel, and Weinberger came from Bechtel to be Secretary of Defense, they were extremely angry at Torrijos—tried to get him to renegotiate the Canal Treaty and not to talk to the Japanese. He adamantly refused. He was a very principled man. He had his problem, but he was a very principled man. He was an amazing man, Torrijos. And so, he died in a fiery airplane crash, which was connected to a tape recorder with explosives in it, which—I was there. I had been working with him. I knew that we economic hit men had failed. I knew the jackals were closing in on him, and the next thing, his plane exploded with a tape recorder with a bomb in it. There’s no question in my mind that it was C.I.A. sanctioned, and most—many Latin American investigators have come to the same conclusion. Of course, we never heard about that in our country.

AMY GOODMAN: So, where—when did your change your heart happen?

JOHN PERKINS: I felt guilty throughout the whole time, but I was seduced. The power of these drugs, sex, power, and money, was extremely strong for me. And, of course, I was doing things I was being patted on the back for. I was chief economist. I was doing things that Robert McNamara liked and so on.

AMY GOODMAN: How closely did you work with the World Bank?

JOHN PERKINS: Very, very closely with the World Bank. The World Bank provides most of the money that’s used by economic hit men, it and the I.M.F. But when 9/11 struck, I had a change of heart. I knew the story had to be told because what happened at 9/11 is a direct result of what the economic hit men are doing. And the only way that we’re going to feel secure in this country again and that we’re going to feel good about ourselves is if we use these systems we’ve put into place to create positive change around the world. I really believe we can do that. I believe the World Bank and other institutions can be turned around and do what they were originally intended to do, which is help reconstruct devastated parts of the world. Help—genuinely help poor people. There are twenty-four thousand people starving to death every day. We can change that.

AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins, I want to thank you very much for being with us. John Perkins’ book is called, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

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Calif cancels welfare and tax refunds

January 17, 2009

John Chiang announces that his office will suspend $3.7 billion in payments owed to Californians starting Feb. 1,because with no budget in place the state lacks sufficient cash to pay its bills.

Americans are ‘shocked and awed’ that they might actually experience third world conditions.
‘It can’t happen here!’ … famous last words. Read and weep.

California controller to
suspend tax refunds,
welfare checks, student grants

January 17, 2009
Source

By Evan Halper and Patrick McGreevy
Reporting from Sacramento — The state will suspend tax refunds, welfare checks, student grants and other payments owed to Californians starting Feb. 1, Controller John Chiang announced Friday.

Chiang said he had no choice but to stop making some $3.7 billion in payments in the absence of action by the governor and lawmakers to close the state’s nearly $42-billion budget deficit. More than half of those payments are tax refunds.

The controller said the suspended payments could be rolled into IOUs if California still lacks sufficient cash to pay its bills come March or April.

“It pains me to pull this trigger,” Chiang said at a news conference in his office. “But it is an action that is critically necessary.”

The payments to be frozen include nearly $2 billion in tax refunds; $300 million in cash grants for needy families and the elderly, blind and disabled; and $13 million in grants for college students.

Even if a budget agreement is reached by the end of this month, tax refunds and other payments could remain temporarily frozen. Chiang said a budget deal may not generate cash quickly enough to resume them immediately.

Not all payments will stop Feb. 1. Most school and healthcare programs will be paid, as required by state and federal law. The state will continue to pay more than $6.6 billion in such bills.

And Los Angeles County officials said they would cover welfare payments to more than 500,000 local recipients — for now.

But California is projected to be $346 million short of the funds it needs to pay all its bills in February. By March, the state would be so far in the red that even continuing to suspend payments would not cover the shortfall. California would be insolvent, making the issuance of IOUs likely.

State officials have already designed an IOU template, Chiang said, and have been negotiating with banks over whether taxpayers could cash or deposit them if they are issued. The state could be forced to pay as much as 5% interest on delayed tax refunds if they are not paid by the end of May, Chiang said.

The last time the state issued such IOUs — the only time since the Great Depression — was in 1992.

The suspension of payments is the latest radical move by officials to help keep the state from running out of cash as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature battle over how to avoid insolvency.

Schwarzenegger, who hopes to speed up public-works projects to stimulate the economy, wants tax increases, spending cuts and legislation to relax some environmental rules and allow private companies to do some government construction.

Democrats are seeking tax increases as well, but fewer spending cuts. Republican lawmakers would only pare spending and have been blocking any tax hikes.

Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has ordered that most state workers take two days off per month without pay — equivalent to about a 10% pay cut. The governor also ordered most state offices — including all DMV field offices — to close on those two days. The order is being challenged in court by labor unions.

The state has also halted payments of bond money for more than 5,300 public-works projects.

On Friday, the state Department of Finance temporarily exempted 276 of the projects from the freeze, reasoning that because they are nearly complete, it could cost the state more to shut them down than to finish them.

The exemption, through Feb. 1, will allow the continuation of school construction by the Inglewood Unified School District and the construction of a new Court of Appeal facility in Santa Ana. Work on new rail tracks at L.A.’s Union Station and road projects involving Irwindale Avenue, Martin Luther King Boulevard and Imperial Highway in Los Angeles County will also be able to continue.

Some projects were exempted because the state is under court order to do the jobs. Others would threaten public safety if left uncompleted, according to Mike Genest, Schwarzenegger’s finance director.

“We’re going to take the risk of allowing them to continue a little longer because we are very hopeful will have a budget by Feb. 1,” Genest said.

Contractors lined up at a meeting of state finance officials to warn of the consequences of stopping the bulk of the public-works money. They said shutting down projects already underway would ultimately cost the state significantly. According to Caltrans Director Will Kempton, the state would have to pay $350 million in legal costs, claims for contract breaches and expenses for securing sites that go dormant.

“The bulk of those dollars are lost . . . to the taxpayers,” Kempton said. “You can’t just walk away from a construction project. You have to make sure it is buttoned up.”

It is not just the state that would take a hit. Some school districts relying on state funds do not have the reserves in place to cover the payments they will owe builders if work stops.

Counties are also feeling the pinch. They process the welfare payments scheduled to be halted by the controller’s office Feb. 1. The state is freezing those payments, along with millions of dollars in salaries to county workers who run the programs.

Some county officials say they don’t have reserves in place to cover the state until the budget crisis is resolved.

“We simply don’t have the cash,” said Pat Leary, assistant administrator for Yolo County. “We are in critically bad times.”

About a third of all state welfare payments go to Los Angeles County, where officials said they can shift money around to keep the payments flowing in the short term.

“The million-dollar question is how long this will last,” said L.A. County Chief Executive William T Fujioka. “We cannot sustain a huge and very long hit.”

evan.halper@latimes.com patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com Times staff writer Molly Hennessy-Fiske contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

Related

Next wave of homeless vets emerges
LA’s Homeless Blog

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Israeli hit list for Aid workers

January 15, 2009

It’s unbelievable to find such hate on the web; I am certain it must be illegal. Oh wait, it’s the Israeli’s who are threatening lives (complete with pictures and addresses)…..so it must be OK.

This url will shock you. And is a testament to the heart and soul of Zionists.

Ewa Jasiewicz needs to be a target of IDF forces as well as she has shown she is in Gaza to work for Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups like DFLP. A picture of Ewa is below. If you know of her exact location, please email us at info@StoptheISM.com so we can target and take her out once and for all.

Visit the site: more ‘wanted posters’.

[Update: January 16th, 2009….the site above has been removed from the net. However, the article below is still there, without pictures…..hmmm]

The article here.

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It’s about Gas! Gaza has it – Israel wants it.

January 14, 2009

Anyone who thinks that Israel’s invading Gaza has to do with ‘terrorism’ or ‘defending Israel’, or for that matter the history of the conflict, are missing the elephant in the room: Gas. Gaza has it; Israel wants it. In fact, Israel has already made deals with British Gas (BG)
(the innovative distributor) to pump the Gazan gas to the BTC pipeline where it can be sold to the West.

How many people still think the Georgia-Russia conflict was NOT about an oil corridor – the BTC pipeline? It is all about oil corridors….approximately 90% of it…and the other 10% is about the Big Dogs controlling the remaining resources of earth.

While the media whips up public opinion into a circus like feeding frenzy, the energy corporations are pulling the strings. Below is an article from 2007 on the contract between BG and Israel to harvest and transport Gazan natural gas. The following month, BG confirms their strategy to match markets and knows reserves innovatively, to continue soaring profits.

When Hamas came into power, democratically elected, it refused to abide by the previous terms set out by the American Fatah puppets. So the gas deal is up in the air. To catch these ugly details requires some pretty boring reading through volumes of corporate doublespeak and media propaganda. I have presented some notable sources here. But we must all think for ourselves. Noone promised the truth would be easy to find or pleasant when found.

BG Group at centre of $4bn deal
to supply Gaza gas to Israel
The British energy firm is set to agree terms of a $4bn, 15-year deal over gas discovered off the Gaza coast

Source
May 23, 2007
Steve Hawkes and Sonia Verma in Jerusalem
BG Group is poised to agree the terms of an historic $4 billion (£2 billion) deal to supply Palestinian gas to Israel from a discovery off the Gaza coastline, The Times has learnt.

Representatives from the British energy company are scheduled next week to meet a team of negotiators chosen by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a 15-year contract. Despite the violence in Gaza, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has insisted that it wants to conclude a deal “as soon as possible”.

It would enable BG Group, the former owner of British Gas, to begin to develop an offshore field that is the Palestine Authority’s only natural resource. The move would mark an unprecedented milestone in Middle East relations. There would be enough gas to provide 10 per cent of Israel’s annual energy requirement, and the Palestinians would receive total royalties of $1 billion. Sources in the Middle East note that the sensitive talks could be derailed at any time by the acute political tension that surrounds the deal.

However, Nigel Shaw, the BG Group vice-president in the region, said: “We are making progress. There are commercial issues to be completed and we also require bilateral agreement between the two governments to get this project across the line. But this is a chance for greater economic prosperity in Palestine and that is only good for peace.”

Go to Source to access the following links:

* Cooking with gas: BG keeps growing

* BG Group to supply Palestinian gas to Israel
* BG Group unveils £1bn share buy back
BG deal provides a basis for peace
Success for BG could signal a new era in the relationship between Palestine and Israel
Related Internet Links
* BG Group company information
* BG Group share price chart
* BG Group forecast

The signing of heads of terms would mark an amazing turnaround, given the political and legal disputes that have dogged the project since BG Group discovered the Gaza Marine field in 2000. It holds one trillion cubic feet of gas, the equivalent of 150 million barrels of oil, equivalent to a large North Sea field.

Six years ago Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, vowed that Israel would never buy gas from its neighbour. The project also was held up by a legal challenge in the Israeli Supreme Court to establish whether the Palestinians had any right to the discovery. Last year BG Group was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt before Tony Blair intervened and asked the company to give Israel a second chance. Three weeks ago the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority. The Cabinet recognised the need for new energy sources to feed Israel’s rapidly growing economy.

Under BG Group’s plans, gas from the field would be transported by an undersea pipeline to the seaport of Ashkelon. Although Israeli insiders are confident of a deal,significant questions remain, not least how payments to the Palestinian Authority will be made. Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.

Comments

i didnt understand why people who commented said israel dictates the terms of the deal. if the gas is palestinian than they can accept or not accept our terms and if they already sold it to a foreign orporation than it is not their gas anymore, isnt it?
anyway what is a billion dollars anyway? the palestinians received billions of dollars from good people around the world and somehow they dont have anything to show for it
even if given money from this deal and not supplies they will probably see nothing of it too.
for example the latest leader of the palestines the late yasser arafat has (more correctly had) a billion dollars in his personal account. lets think for a moment where he got the money from..
although i think some of their claims are fair i do not think they will (or should) receive anything until they dont stop fighting us. by firing at us while they are in their tweinties or thirties they condemn their weaker population the old and the women and the kids for poverty.

ronen, heifa, israel

It is not completely unreasonable for the Israeli defense authorities to not want to give cash to a government controlled by an organization whose aim is the destruction of Israel. A quick history lesson here, the state of Israel was created in the British mandate territory of Palestine by a UN general assembly under the 1947 UN partition plan. I believe that if Palestine is going to be getting only $1bn of the $4bn that the deal is worth, would it not be more beneficial for the Palestinian people to have goods and services e.g. hospitals, schools, roads, houses, food, water and electricity as opposed to the purchase of weapons to fund the continuing struggle which leaves dead on both sides or large Swiss bank accounts for certain government officials. That may be irrational on my part, however I believe that those services would serve the average person better than sitting and starving to death with an AK47 and the idea of killing some “bad” people who just want to live and let live.

S Smith, london,

MN, London; I am really sad that people in the west who are very much anti-muslim and anti-arabs than pro-jewish are doing everything they can to increase the suffering of the Palestinians. I had a discussion in a cafe in Haifa with two British tourists and they were telling me that the British people never forgot Salahuddin victory over Lion’Heart and that the crusade had never ended. They told me that they are very happy to see Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and completely forbidden to the Arabs. I told them that this might make British people happy, but it is going to lead to more hatered between us and the Arabs who are our real neighbours. I am deeply sure that if we are left alone with our muslim cousins, we will find a solution and we will live in peace. That will happen only and only if activist like MN from London stop their anti-arab anti-muslim campaign at the expens of arabs and israeli blood.

Emir Katsaf, Tel Aviv, Israel

The Palestinians should sell the gas to Egypt who will at least not withhold payment on a whim or some made-up excuse. Also, is it ever possible to criticize Israel without being tarred with the anti-semite brush (despite the fact that all Middle Eastern Arabs, Muslims and Christians are Semitic peoples, but a lot of European Jewish immigrants (Ashkenazi) are not, as they converted to the faith). The Palestinian people are not immigrants but indigenous to Palestine!

Rod, Scunthorpe, UK

Emir Katsaf: Firstly it is not me who has raised anti-Semitism, it is you. To be a critic of Israel does not necessarily make one an anti-Semite – though it helps – but to approach every news item – in this case a moderately positive one – relating to Israel and the Palestinians by demagogic criticism of Israel certainly suggests bigotry, ie. the Israeli Arab Muslims I know who, presumably unlike you, are ardent supporters of Israel, were being criticised as much as the Israeli Jews. As for my credentials to speak, rest assured I am more than qualified to comment on such matters, regardless of the location where I write.

MN, London, UK

A J Sheffield should read the history of the region before he comments. The Israelis shout’God’ because they believe He gave it to them 3500 years ago after they ethnically cleansed the place of the indigenous inhabitants, the Amorites et al. The Israelis left the country 2000 years ago.

After Palestine was freed from the Ottoman Empire in about 1918 the indigenous inhabitants, 90% Arabs, were held down under the British mandate until in 1948 the United Nations allowed Israel to be installed on 52% of the land without the consent of the indigenous people, the Palestinians.

If half of Britain was given away without our consent would not A J Sheffield maintain that it was ‘OURS’?

William Garrett, Harrow,

Farhana,

Once again you make this a political divide. This has nothing to do with anybody “stealing”. People ARE starving, as yousay, and at least with goods and services those who most need it would receive something tangible. Who knows where money chanelled through the government would go? Ever thought to consider that maybe the Israeli government thinks this too?
Look around the world- any country that has oil/other supplies and receives money, you only see those in power getting richer while the poorest continue to suffer

LG, Edgware,

There is a danger that the Palestinians would use the proceeds to buy weapons rather than improve the lot of the people in the Gaza Strip who desperately need the services and housing that this money could buy. Up till now Hamas and Fatah have been using their resources to buy weapons to fight each other and the Israelis. It seems to me sensible that the Israelis insist that the funds go directly to improving the lot of the Palestinian people rather than on more weaponry.

Stephen Franklin, London, UK

Mother of divine God! Is this not a good thing? Is it not economic progress which might take these people out of the political and economic morass they find themselves in? The only solution to the problems in that neck of the woods is a Federal Israeli/Arab state one which co-operates on social and economic issues and defines itself as secular and not religious.

ken, dublin , ireland

Farhana,

As you say, people ARE starving and at least good and services mean those who most need it would receive something tangible. Who knows where money chanelled through the government would go?

LG, Edgware,

Frank suggests that Israel is the cause of all problems in the Middle East. He should understand the implications of what he is saying for he is in effect advocating the “Final Solution” for the Jews. The fate of the Jews of Arab Lands alone (when almost one million Jews were ethnically cleansed from Iraq, Egypt, Syria etc. and only survived, unlike their European brothers, because they could flee to Israel), demonstrates that it was the Arabs themselves, and their treatment of their Jewish population throughout the ages (from Medina in the 7th century to Baghdad in the 20th), that made Israel’s existence such a necessity.

MN, London, UK

As a Palestinian I would like to say that if such an agreement is made then all the Palestinian political system will explode, as people are completely unwilling to sacrifice their wealth, life and land in favour of a handfull of political corrupted ministers and members of the regime, at the same time, God has nothing to do with such a natural wealth, it does not matter here the chosen or the neglected people, it is a political issue and an economic one, so let All religions aside and Let My People Live in His Land.

Sami Ahmed, ya’bad, Palestinian Territories

To MN from London. It is really sad to see pro-zionist from all around the world complicating our lives here in Israel. I am a Jewish and I am living in Tel Aviv, and I can see that Palestenians are being raped off on a daily basis. And you are sitting there in London and accusing everybody who criticise my government of hatered and antisimistism. The biggest danger to my country is people like you who are so blinded by an ideology that was created in 1874 and that has absolutely no relevance today.

Emir Katsaf, Tel Aviv, Israel

After all the destruction Is-real(?) has done already, there is more room to please ‘God’?

Religion…

Joe, Oxford,

I am an Israeli, We are not disappointed at all.. its great to help the globe by using natural gas and help the Palestinians at the same time. for sure money is not an option as we know for too many years, palestinians use money for weapon for bombs or for 3-4 leaders (in their privete bank accounts) money never arrive to the people of Gaza by their leaders.

Shirin, Golan, ISRAEL

chances are pipeline will be blown up

howard jones, swansea, uk

Hardly surprising that they don’t want to pay- they stole the land and have got by with stealing everything . I hope that the Isrealis cough up and pay for the gas for a change. Palestinians are starving and in a living hell because Israelis choose to practice apartheid. How handy that “divine decree” told them to take anothers homeland.

Farhana A, London,

Hardly surprising that they don’t want to pay for the gas, they’ve got by on stealing everything . Hope they cough up and not try and offload goods as payment. Palestininans are starving they desperately need funds to survive.

Farhana A, London,

Why is it always the case whenever Israel/Palestine issues come forward, there are always fanatics on both sides showing up shouting ‘GOD!’ and ‘OURS!’? Give it a rest for once…maybe progress would be made.

A.J, Sheffield, United Kingdom

ASM, your god being the malevolent psychopath from the old testament? No wonder the world tears itself apart if THAT is the best we can to worship as an idol!

Heathen_and_Proud, London, UK

I think the Palestinians should sell thier gas to Egypt otherwise Israel will simply keep a hold of the money as it currently does with the tax it collects on behalf of the Palestinian authority. This way at least the Palestian government will always have access to some funds.

Joseph Kellie, Edinburgh, Scotland

Rather than blindly slagging off Israel (Frank, Halifax and Jim, Winnipeg), wouldn’t a more reasonable response be to welcome this possible deal – both Israel and the Palestinians could benefit and more cooperation may even help to bring about peace. It’s a shame when Israel-bashers fail to recognise when something positive happens in the Middle East.

Gaby, Tokyo, Japan

Whatever one might think of the rights and wrongs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it seems amazing that in this contract the buyer (Israel) has the right to dictate when, how or even whether or not to pay the seller (the Palestinians) for their goods.

I think this alone very neatly sums up the inequalities inherent in the conflict.

Jonathan, London, UK

An independent Palestine is essential for peace.

No land belongs to anyone by divine decree. This mindset only prolongs occupation. Keep your Jew and Arab gods out of it and get back to humanity.

Aaron.Goldberg, N.Y.,

It again shows that the Palestine people are being exploited, first it was their land in 1948, then decades of war, suffering and loss of what land they took refuge. Many started new business only to be cut off from their markets such as STRAWBERRIES exports. Their funding cut off by holding back their taxes collected by Isreal, now Israel want their oil and pay only in goods and services. Looks like the Palestine People will be kept under more control. When will the world step in and tell Israel to stop its actions against these poor people. This will not be looked upon by Canadians as fair to the people of Palestine. As a former UNEF who served in Gaza in 1966 I got to know the Palestine People, Lets give them their HUMAN RIGHTS

Joe Bonnevie (lived in Palestine 1966/67), Moncton, Canada

So the Palestiian Authority only get’s $1 billion out of $4 billion. I wish the article would explain how that works.

I am pleased that finally Israel is paying for something too, but it would be interesting to see how Fatah and Hamas deal with their new-found revenue.

ayla, London,

Those who are opposing Israel are just showing their complete ignorance of history – Israel BELONGS to the Jewish nation – it was given to them by GOD – but of course you are all atheists or agnostics who are all going to face your judgement day before that very same – and only ONE – God!!
You have no clue of the fight Israel has on her hands just to retain that small piece of land that is rightfully theirs! But it was given by the One who even created you ignorant fools!
Israel will stand as will those who stand with her. And those who oppose her will face the judgement of God!

ASM, Perth, Western Australia

I’m surprised at this development. As ‘God’s Chosen
People’ surely they are entitled to this gas for free – pretty much like the mannah was free in the desert? No wonder some in Israel wish to
pay for it in goods. I wonder if they are thinking
of a few beads, iron pots and mirrors, or maybe some
coloured cloth.

Tony Volpe, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Jim MacDonald is clearly living in fantasy land. There is no state as Palestine and the Israeli’s have every right to negotiate commercial contracts on behalf of their citizens.

Brian Mahew, Basingstoke,

How come that 4 billion worth of Palestinian gas pays the Palestinians only 1 billion? I image the proportions should be reversed, i.e. $3 bn to Palestinians and $1bn to BG.

Jeff, Jaffa, Israel

Jim MacDonald’s comment seems to epitomise the bigoted racist response of some to anything that has to do with Israel and the Palestinians. Instead of welcoming an area of cooperation, of which there are others that exist and which in truth are probably the best hope for finding a solution, he prefers simply to throw demagogic insults at Israel. A neat demonstration that it is not love for Palestinians that drives people such as MacDonald but just hatred of Israel.

MN, London, UK

Really? And what exactly it would be? Land which belongs to us by divine decree? We wanted nothing from Palestinians – and whatever they have, we gave them. Jobs, electricity, running water, higher education – you name it, they’ve got it from us, almost free of charge. Too bad they’ve chosen to bite our giving hand and squandered most of what they had.

Arik Elman, Jerusalem, Israel

the funny part of it is at the end, the Israelis want to set to terms for the sale of something that is not theirs! How typically Israeli, utterly deluded.

Akram, London,

Now that Israelis are paying for something, they should be made to pay for taking Israel itself so that the entire Middle East problem is solved. Is there any doubt that all the problems connected with Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Palestine, Saudi Arabia are not caused by the creation of Isreal?

Frank, Halifax , UK

I guess Israel must be disappointed, it is so used to getting
whatever it wants from the remnants of Palestine for nothing that actually having to pay for something is an unheard of experience.

Jim MacDonald, Winnipeg, Manitoba

I find it veryyyyyyy interesting that no one is talking about the oil fields under Gaza……why is that? Why the hell do you think the Zionists insist in taking Gaza away from the Palestinians?

No one is talking about the pink elephant in the living room.

Ponce, Grants Pass, Oregon, USA

* Read all 36 comments

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Doublegood doublespeak on Iran

January 11, 2009


Obama to face Iran nuclear crisis in first year, ex US official warns
Staff Writers
Washington (AFP)
Jan 8, 2009

Source

Incoming US President Barack Obama will likely face a “serious crisis” over Iran’s nuclear ambitions in his first year in office, former US defense secretary William Perry predicted here Thursday. Perry told a foreign policy forum here that Obama must find a new diplomatic approach to stop Iran’s suspected nuclear arms quest because Israel — which has held out the threat of military action — will not “sit idly by.”

The star-studded event sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) was dominated by calls for Obama to check the spread of nuclear know-how and to promote peace in security in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. “If Iran and North Korea cannot be contained, we are facing a real danger of a cascade of nuclear proliferation,” Perry warned said. “Indeed I believe that today we are truly on the tipping point of nuclear proliferation.”

Perry said North Korea’s production of plutonium and nuclear test in 2006 amounted to the “most dangerous development” since the Cold War ended nearly two decades ago, but he believed it could be contained through diplomacy. In multilateral talks pursued by President George W. Bush’s administration, North Korea agreed in 2007 to dismantle its weapons-grade plutonium program in exchange for aid, although the talks are stalled amid a row over verification.

But Perry was “less confident” about diplomatic efforts involving the United States — under the outgoing administration of President George W. Bush — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. The multilateral talks “are going nowhere,” said Perry, who was defense secretary under President Bill Clinton. “And it seems clear that Israel will not sit by idly while Iran takes defiant steps toward becoming a nuclear power,” Perry said. “As a result President Obama will almost certainly face a serious crisis with Iran.

Indeed, I believe that crisis point will be reached in his first year in office,” he added. He said the Iran problem needs international cooperation, which remains especially elusive as US relations with Russia are “at an all-time low” with Russian concerns over NATO expansion and US missile defense plans. However, he voiced hope that Obama could get off to a fresh start with Russia.

Perry said efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons that began after the Cold War have “stalled and even reversed,” because of developments in Iran and North Korea, as well as in China, Russia, India and Pakistan. He supports Obama’s stated push to abolish nuclear weapons, but said the United States needs to bolster its deterrent force over the short term. “I’m motivated … by a strong belief that the gravest danger facing our nation today is a terror group detonating a nuclear bomb in one of our cities,” Perry said.

James Schlesinger, another former US defense secretary, told a separate audience that Iran may regard the threat of a US nuclear attack as “much more likely” in light of Hillary Clinton’s warning during the US presidential campaign that Washington can obliterate Tehran. Schlesinger made the remark at a Pentagon news conference after presenting a blue-ribbon panel report finding that US nuclear deterrence has slipped due to neglect in past years at high levels of the Pentagon.

Schlesinger, who served under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, said North Korea probably has come to believe it is “reasonably safe from a nuclear response” because of the US response to its development of nuclear weapons.

But asked whether Iran feared a US nuclear attack, Schlesinger said: “I think they would regard that as a much more likely development.” “As you may recall in the recent democratic primaries, Mrs Clinton observed, ‘We can obliterate you’,'” he said, Noting that Obama has chosen Clinton to be his secretary of state, he added “I don’t think that remark will be forgotten in Tehran, even if it is forgotten in this country.”

At the USIP forum, Zbigniew Brzezinksi, the national security adviser under president Jimmy Carter, warned against any US war with Iran because it would inflame an already troubled region from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan. “It is an issue which I would prefer not to confront, for such a war would involve the United States in a conflict that would then spanning in different degrees of intensity these four countries with a total population of approximately 300 million people,” he said.

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Defeat Israel: one penny at a time.

January 11, 2009

Here is Naomi Klein’s newest article on Gaza, reprinted here for your convenience.

I have been harping for years on the power of boycotts to make the will of the people known and to take back our power from fascist countries and corporations.   Profits are the life blood of corporations and despots alike:  and we control the profits.   We don’t need to demonstrate, or arm ourselves or take over the media.

All we need do is be selective how we spend the money in our pockets.  And it wouldn’t hurt one bit to fire off an email to the product vendors you are boycotting.

Remember, one person is a crank.  Two complainers are a conincidence; but three disgruntled consumers constitute a movement.  We can make the world they way we want it just by watching our pennies and who we give them to.  It’s the only power we have: why not use it?

nklein_cross-legged

Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction

January 8th, 2009
By Naomi Klein

It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.

In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions—BDS for short—was born.

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for “the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions” and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. “The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves.… This international backing must stop.”

Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can’t go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. And they simply aren’t good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tools in the nonviolent arsenal. Surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counterarguments.

1. Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis. The world has tried what used to be called “constructive engagement.” It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures—quite the opposite. The weapons and $3 billion in annual aid that the US sends to Israel is only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first non–Latin American country to sign a free-trade deal with Mercosur. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45 percent. A new trade deal with the European Union is set to double Israel’s exports of processed food. And on December 8, European ministers “upgraded” the EU-Israel Association Agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.

It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s flagship index actually went up 10.7 percent. When carrots don’t work, sticks are needed.

2. Israel is not South Africa. Of course it isn’t. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves that BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, back-room lobbying) have failed. And there are indeed deeply distressing echoes of South African apartheid in the occupied territories: the color-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said that the architecture of segregation that he saw in the West Bank and Gaza was “infinitely worse than apartheid.” That was in 2007, before Israel began its full-scale war against the open-air prison that is Gaza.

3. Why single out Israel when the United States, Britain and other Western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan? Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the BDS strategy should be tried against Israel is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.

4. Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less. This one I’ll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, including the wonderful writer John Berger, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus’s work, and none to me. In other words, I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.

Coming up with our modest publishing plan required dozens of phone calls, e-mails and instant messages, stretching from Tel Aviv to Ramallah to Paris to Toronto to Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start implementing a boycott strategy, dialogue increases dramatically. And why wouldn’t it? Building a movement requires endless communicating, as many in the antiapartheid struggle well recall. The argument that supporting boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at one another across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us.

Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don’t I know that many of those very high-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel’s Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, the managing director of a British telecom specializing in voice-over-internet services, sent an email to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax. “As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company.”

Ramsey says that his decision wasn’t political; he just didn’t want to lose customers. “We can’t afford to lose any of our clients,” he explains, “so it was purely commercially defensive.”

It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it’s precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.

This column was first published in The Nation

Further Information:
The only international news network covering every aspect of the war on Gaza is Al Jazeera English. The station isn’t available in North America but you can watch it live in high-quality through http://www.livestation.com (player download is required).

Disengagement and the Frontiers of Zionism by Darryl Li

Bilbao Initiative

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Oil and Gas in Gaza? D’oh!

January 10, 2009

So the past three weeks the world has stood aghast at the slaughter in Gaza; mesmerized by the thought of what compels Israel to commit such atrocities? D’oh! same old story, blood for oil. Why I didn’t suspect this right away bothers me. The confirmation lies below.

It would be fair to say that almost every place where innocent blood is being spilled, there is an oil resource or corridor at stake for Israel, the USA or Great Britain. Same plot, different location, different actors.

How much longer will we allow their horrid lies to continue about ‘pre-emptive’ self-defence and the spreading of democracy – their abominable BLOOD for OIL hegemonic atrocities? I sincerely hope you are as outraged as I am after reading the following articles. Here lies the simple truth when we stop spinning from media lies.

Guess What? Lots Of Oil, Natural Gas In Gaza!


http://www.daily.pk
Thursday, 08 January 2009 19:09

A Secret Behind Israel’s Siege of Gaza: Palestinians Have Oil and Natural Gas Resources
“there is an abundance of oil reserves both on the strip and offshore” http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/entries/q_israeli_palestinian_peace/

“The Palestinians are, in aggregate, energy rich. For the past six years, the Palestinian Authority has been sitting on a major gas field that contains at least 1.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas.”
http://www.epalestine.com/PalestineEnergy.pdf

“Palestine was rewarded with an oil reserve 22 miles off of the coast of the Gaza Strip. The entire country was excited by this natural mineral that would hopefully provide them with the economic freedom and financial stability they desired. Unfortunately, the financial success did not come directly on the heels of their discovery”
http://www.oilandgasinvestingglossary.com/palestines_natural_gas_troubles.asp

To find the real reasons behind conflicts and wars in this world, you need to follow some or all of four things: Money, blood, power or natural resources (usually oil or natural gas but it can be cobalt like in the Congo).

Oil is behind the conflicts in Darfur, Somalia and other similar places.

The war in Afghanistan was never about finding bin Laden. It was about uniting Afghanistan into a single government so a pipeline could be constructed to bring a million barrels a day from areas north of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia to markets (http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/sardi7.html).

We need to stop listening to what the “official” media tells us when it comes to conflicts and wars because the official media is corporate and government owned and/or controlled by government. Less than one percent of the “news” in the world today is reported and what is reported is usually heavily edited and slanted for propaganda purposes.

Governments don’t want the world to know that huge genocides are going on just because of oil, gas or other natural resources. The world might get angry as a body and might organize to reject the genocides. Big Oil and Energy doesn’t want that to happen because it will interfere with their profits.

Historically, it has been “efficient” for Big Energy’s short-term profit line to steal resources or get them “lower than wholesale” than to pay the owners decently for them. This is how they’ve always done business (force by boot and gun).

The World has been watching Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians for a long time but incredibly, the media never mentions the Palestinians’ natural resources or the fact that Israel has thwarted Palestine’s efforts to develop them.

The Palestinians are usually portrayed on television as victims of impossible, cyclical poverty. Ironic the Palestinians wouldn’t have to live in poverty if Israel would let them develop their natural resources.

But developing Palestine’s energy resources wouldn’t be in Israel’s self-interest. The oil and gas revenues would empower the Palestinians. They wouldn’t have to starve to death or struggle in poverty. Empowered Palestinians would be able to invest in infrastructure of their legal government, Hamas.

Israel wants the Palestinians crushed and disappeared so Israel can expand its territories for its citizens, have better access to the sea for its navy and serve as watchdog for US and Israeli hegemony.

Israel wants the Palestinians’ oil and gas for its own because Israel needs it for its country’s needs. Middle eastern countries are loathe to sell their supplies to Israel. The rulers and people of area countries know that Israel has been slaughtering their Muslim kin for over six decades and it is against their morals to help Israel with energy supplies, especially fuel for Israeli tanks, airplanes and military vehicles.

To thwart Palestine from developing its energy supplies, Israel keeps the region in turmoil plus in 2005, “Israel delivered a major blow to the Palestinians’ fledgling oil industry by choosing to import natural gas from Egypt. By doing this, Israel completely bypassed its neighbor in favor of making a political statement. The Israeli government feared that any money given to Palestine would be later used to fund acts of terrorism against (Israel.”http://www.oilandgasinvestingglossary.com/palestines_natural_gas_troubles.asp)

Finding information about Palestine’s oil and gas resources is difficult. Even wikipedia doesn’t mention it nor do most encyclopedias and other academic resources.

The major corporate media has completely ignored and/or has remained blissfully ignorant about Palestinian oil and gas because it goes against the script of how powerful hidden western corporate and government interests want to portray Palestine.

Western media, Israel and the US would rather have the world see Palestinians groveling in extreme poverty and/or portrayed as “terrorists” who want to kill everyone.

Palestinians, empowered from oil and gas revenues, could live decently. Shed of their impoverished image, the world would see them as the Bright, Shining Human Beings they are. But Bright, Shining Human Beings are harder to disappear than those depicted by governments and the media as untermenschen (nazi German term for “inferior people”).

If you want to know more about this important subject, the best places to look are oil and energy websites and publications.

Palestinian oil and gas is no secret in the energy field. It’s just a secret to everyone else. Martha Rose Crow, M.S

The rest of the story here.

BG Group at centre of $4bn deal to supply Gaza gas to Israel

War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields