(IPS) - The George W. Bush administration has long pushed the "laptop documents" -- 1,000 pages of technical documents supposedly from a stolen Iranian laptop -- as hard evidence of Iranian intentions to build a nuclear weapon. Now charges based on those documents pose the only remaining obstacles to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declaring that Iran has resolved all unanswered questions about its nuclear programme.
But those documents have long been regarded with great suspicion by U.S. and foreign analysts. German officials have identified the source of the laptop documents in November 2004 as the Mujahideen e Khalq (MEK), which along with its political arm, the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), is listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organisation.
There are some indications, moreover, that the MEK obtained the documents not from an Iranian source but from Israel's Mossad.
Despite the fact that it was listed as a terrorist organisation, the MEK was a favourite of neoconservatives in the Pentagon, who were proposing in 2003-2004 to use it as part of a policy to destabilise Iran. The United States is known to have used intelligence from the MEK on Iranian military questions for years. It was considered a credible source of intelligence on the Iranian nuclear programme after 2002, mainly because of its identification of the facility in Natanz as a nuclear site.
The German source said he did not know whether the documents were authentic or not. However, CIA analysts, and European and IAEA officials who were given access to the laptop documents in 2005 were very sceptical about their authenticity.
Scott Ritter, the former U.S. military intelligence officer who was chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, noted in an interview that the CIA has the capability test the authenticity of laptop documents through forensic tests that would reveal when different versions of different documents were created. The fact that the agency could not rule out the possibility of fabrication, according to Ritter, indicates that it had either chosen not to do such tests or that the tests had revealed fraud.
In her February 2006 report on the laptop documents, the Post's Linzer said CIA analysts had originally speculated that a "third country, such as Israel, had fabricated the evidence". They eventually "discounted that theory", she wrote, without explaining why.
Since 2002, new information has emerged indicating that the MEK did not obtain the 2002 data on Natanz itself but received it from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Yossi Melman and Meier Javadanfar, who co-authored a book on the Iranian nuclear programme last year, write that they were told by "very senior Israeli Intelligence officials" in late 2006 that Israeli intelligence had known about Natanz for a full year before the Iranian group's press conference. They explained that they had chosen not to reveal it to the public "because of safety concerns for the sources that provided the information".
Shahriar Ahy, an adviser to monarchist leader Reza Pahlavi, told journalist Connie Bruck that the detailed information on Natanz had not come from MEK but from "a friendly government, and it had come to more than one opposition group, not only the mujahideen."
Friday, February 29, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
A new report ("Iranian Influence in the Levant, Iraq, and Afghanistan") published by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) think-tank purports to show the reach and scope of Iranian influence across the Middle East...Co-written by AEI fellows Fred Kagan and Danielle Pletka, and Kagan's wife, Kimberly, who heads the Institute for the Study of War...
... it warns: "Much as America might desire to avoid war with Iran, continued Iranian interventions... might ultimately make that option less repulsive than the alternatives." The report relies entirely on open-source material, international and domestic media, non-governmental and government reports, as well as interviews conducted by Fred and Kimberly Kagan, who respectively visited Afghanistan and Iraq.
While President Bush may share AEI's view on Iranian malfeasance, his influence is waning. In a National Public Radio interview this month, Defence Secretary Bob Gates appeared to contradict his boss's view that Iran posed a "threat", instead saying that Tehran posed "significant challenges".
"When I think of a threat I think of a direct military threat, and while the jury's out in terms of whether they have eased up on their support to those opposing us in Iraq, I don't see the Iranians in the near term as a direct military threat," he said.
It seems the scholars at AEI have caught on, as they have attempted to shift the focus of the debate from Iranian motivations and intentions towards an "empirical study" of Iran's influence. In the final analysis, it reflects a tactical shift away from openly beating the war drums as do scholars like Ledeen, whose most recent book is entitled, "The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction", and towards an attempt to highlight the extent of Iranian influence in the region. The conclusion to be drawn is that, even without the nuclear issue at the forefront, Iran continues to exert a negative impact on U.S. interests.
But perhaps the authors should do some fact-checking of their own. On page three, the incorrectly identify the former President of Syria as "Hafez al-Hassad," who died in 2006. Assad died in 2000.
Well they never were the brightest, or the most honest, or...ok they are just scumbags. Obviously angling for that sweet spot of the bipartisan imperial ego that cannot bear any power other than its own to dominate and the arrogant presumption that America has any business (interests)thousands of miles from 'der Homeland'. Give them enough time and they will cook up a report saying Iran causes restless leg syndrome & wrinkles. Keeps them wealthy and after all isn't that the most important function of war and 'think' tanks for the neocon organism?
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Police were told to stop checking people for weapons at the front gates of the Reunion Arena over an hour before the Democratic presidential hopeful appeared on stage on Wednesday, according to a report in Texas newspaper the Star Telegram.
Officers handling security were reportedly ordered to put down metal detectors and to stop checking bags and purses. Several Dallas police officers said they believed it was a lapse in security.
Chief T W Lawrence, head of the Dallas Police's homeland security and special operations divisions, said that while the crowd appeared " friendly" he was still surprised by the great number of people who had entered the building without any checks.
Friday, February 22, 2008
by Sara Robinson
February 20th, 2008 - 6:01pm ET
"Those who make peaceful evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."
There's one thing for sure: 2008 isn't anything like politics as usual.
The corporate media (with their unerring eye for the obvious point) is fixated on the narrative that, for the first time ever, Americans will likely end this year with either a woman or a black man headed for the White House. Bloggers are telling stories from the front lines of primaries and caucuses that look like something from the early 60s — people lining up before dawn to vote in Manoa, Hawaii yesterday; a thousand black college students in Prairie View, Texas marching 10 miles to cast their early votes in the face of a county that tried to disenfranchise them. In recent months, we've also been gobstopped by the sheer passion of the insurgent campaigns of both Barack Obama and Ron Paul, both of whom brought millions of new voters into the conversation — and with them, a sharp critique of the status quo and a new energy that's agitating toward deep structural change.
There's something implacable, earnest, and righteously angry in the air. And it raises all kinds of questions for burned-out Boomers and jaded Gen Xers who've been ground down to the stump by the mostly losing battles of the past 30 years. Can it be — at long last — that Americans have, simply, had enough? Are we, finally, stepping out to take back our government — and with it, control of our own future? Is this simply a shifting political season — the kind we get every 20 to 30 years — or is there something deeper going on here? Do we dare to raise our hopes that this time, we're going to finally win a few? Just how ready is this country for big, serious, forward-looking change?
Recently, I came across a pocket of sociological research that suggested a tantalizing answer to these questions — and also that America may be far more ready for far more change than anyone really believes is possible at this moment. In fact, according to some sociologists, we've already lined up all the preconditions that have historically set the stage for full-fledged violent revolution.
It turns out that the energy of this moment is not about Hillary or Ron or Barack. It's about who we are, and where we are, and what happens to people's minds when they're left hanging just a little too far past the moment when they're ready for transformative change.
Way back in 1962, Caltech sociologist James C. Davies published an article in the American Sociological Review that summarized the conditions that determine how and when modern political revolutions occur. Intriguingly, Davies cited another scholar, Crane Brinton, who laid out seven "tentative uniformities" that he argued were the common precursors that set the stage for the Puritan, American, French, and Russian revolutions. As I read Davies' argument, it struck me that the same seven stars Brinton named are now precisely lined up at midheaven over America in 2008. Taken together, it's a convergence that creates the perfect social, economic, and political conditions for the biggest revolution since the shot heard 'round the world.
And even more interestingly: in every case, we got here as a direct result of either intended or unintended consequences of the conservatives' war against liberal government, and their attempt to take over our democracy and replace it with a one-party plutocracy. It turns out that, historically, liberal nations make very poor grounds for revolution — but deeply conservative ones very reliably create the conditions that eventually make violent overthrow necessary. And our own Republicans, it turns out, have done a hell of a job.
Here are the seven criteria, along with the reasons why we're fulfilling each of them now, and how conservative policies conspired to put us on the road to possible revolution.
1. Soaring, Then Crashing
2. They Call It A Class War
3. Deserted Intellectuals
4. Incompetent Government
5. Gutless Wonders in the Ruling Class
6. Fiscal Irresponsibility
7. Inept and Inconsistent Use of Force(be sure to read the original article for analysis of each point.)
"A revolutionary state of mind requires the continued, even habitual but dynamic expectation of greater opportunity to satisfy basic needs...but the necessary additional ingredient is a persistent, unrelenting threat to the satisfaction of those needs: not a threat which actually returns people to a state of sheer survival but which put them in the mental state where they believe they will not be able to satisfy one or more basic needs....The crucial factor is the vague or specific fear that ground gained over a long period of time will be quickly lost... [This fear] generates when the existing government suppresses or is blamed for suppressing such opportunity."
When Davies wrote that paragraph in 1962, he probably couldn't have imagined how closely it would describe America in 2008. Thirty years of Republican corporatist government have failed us in ways that are not just inept or corrupt, but also have brought us to the same dangerous brink where so many other empires have erupted into violent revolution. The ground we have gained steadily over the course of the entire 20th Century is eroding under our feet. Movement conservatism has destroyed our economic base, declared open war on the middle and working classes, thwarted the aspirations of the intellectual and professional elites, dismantled the basic processes and functions of democracy, failed to prepare us for the future, overseen the collapse of our economy, and misused police and military force so inconsistently that Americans are losing respect for government.
It's not always the case that revolution inevitably emerges wherever these seven conditions occur together, just as not everybody infected with a virus gets sick. But over the past 350 years, almost every major revolution in a modern industrialized country has been preceded by this pattern of seven preconditions. It's fair to say that all those who get sick start out by being exposed to this virus.
Hillary Clinton is failing because this is a revolutionary moment — and she, regrettably, has the misfortune to be too closely identified with the mounting failures of the past that we're now seeking to move beyond. On the other hand, Ron Paul's otherwise inexplicable success has been built on his pointed and very specific critique of the kinds of government leadership failures I've described.
And Barack Obama is walking away with the moment because he talks of "hope" — which, as Davies makes clear, is the very first thing any would-be revolutionary needs. And then he talks of "change," which many of his followers are clearly hearing as a soft word for "revolution." And then he describes — not in too much detail — a different future, and what it means to be a transformative president, and in doing so answers our deep frustration at 30 years of leaders who faced the looming future by turning their heads instead of facing it.
Will [Obama] deliver on this promise of change? That remains to be seen. But the success of his presidency, if there is to be one, will likely be measured on how well his policies confront and deal with these seven criteria for revolution. If those preconditions are all still in place in 2012, the fury will have had another four years to rise. And at that point, if history rhymes, mere talk of hope and change will no longer be enough.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
"We should have no misgivings about our ability to destroy tyrannies. It is what we do best.
"It comes naturally to us, for we are the one truly revolutionary country in the world, as we have been for more than 200 years. Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically, and that is precisely why the tyrants hate us and are driven to attack us."
Adam Mersereau, a former Marine Corps officer:
"By total war, I mean the kind of warfare that not only destroys the enemy's military forces, but also brings the enemy society to an extremely personal point of decision, so that they are willing to accept a reversal of the cultural trends that spawned the war in the first place.
"A total war strategy does not have to include the intentional targeting of civilians, but the sparing of civilian lives cannot be its first priority ... The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people group.
"Limited war pits combatants against combatants, while total war pits nation against nation, and even culture against culture."
Monday, February 11, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
To all the Palestinian victims of Israel's unholy terrorism, whose sacrifice, suffering and ongoing struggle will yet prove to be the pangs of the rebirth of Palestine...
AAUG PRESS ASSOCIATION OF ARAB-AMERICAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATES, INC., Belmont, Massachusetts; Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Rokach, Livia. lsrael's sacred terrorism. (AAUG information paper series: no. 23) ISBN 0-937694-70-3
by Noam Chomsky
- Moshe Sharett and His Personal Diary
- Ben Gurion Goes to Sdeh Boker: Spiritual Retreat as a Tactic
- Retaliation for War
- "A Historical Opportunity" to Occupy Southern Syria
- Let Us Create a Maronite State in Lebanon
- Sacred Terrorism
- The Lavon Affair: Terrorism to Coerce the West
- Nasser: Coexistence with Israel is Possible. Ben Gurion's Reply: Operation Gaza
- Disperse the Palestinian Refugees
- ... and Topple Nasser's Regime
- Operation Kibya
- And Then There was Kafr Qasim
- "Soon the Singing Will Turn Into a Death Moan"
- The Lavon Affair
- Israeli Newspaper Reveals Government's Attempt to Stop Publication of Israel's Sacred Terrorism
However, according to Global Research: Alexander Litvinenko was a double agent for Israel as well, and a part of the Russian-Israeli-American weapon smuggling mafia. Victimizing Litvinenko would serve as an instument of smear campaign against the Russian president, who proved to be not so pro-American!
In Decemver 05, 2006, Germany's Spiegel investigated:
Of course, at that time pointing fingure to Putin was a popular media practice and that was partly because the whistle on Israel's nuclear arsenal was not "officially" blown. To date, the reports on radioactive terrorism are far from complete. So is Russia the only country that can make polonium 210?
[Haaretz:]Karpin reveals in the book that polonium 210, the radioactive substance used to poison Litvinenko, killed several Israeli scientists a few decades ago. The Weizmann Institute scientists were exposed to the dangerous substance, which was found at a number of London sites the late spy had visited, as well as in three British Airways planes that flew the Moscow-London route.
According to the book, in 1957 a leak was discovered at a Weizmann Institute laboratory operated by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Traces of polonium 210 were found on the hands of Prof. Dror Sadeh, a physicist who researched radioactive materials, as well as on various objects in the professor's home. The AEC handled the accident with deep secrecy. After a short investigation, whose results were not presented to even the workers, the lab was hermetically sealed for several months.
A month after the lab closed, a physics student died of leukemia. A few years later, Prof. Yehuda Wolfson, Sadeh's direct supervisor, also died, and Prof. Amos de Shalit, the department's director, died of cancer in 1969 at age 43.
When the leak was discovered, Sadeh was terribly anxious, but tests indicated he was well. But according to Karpin's book, the tests did not include his bone marrow. Sadeh and his wife hid the facts from their family and friends until he died prematurely. The cause of death was cancer.
The Israeli authorities did not admit that the leak and the deaths were connected, but people close to Sadeh confirmed that the state took responsibility for the accident and compensated his family.
"For the first time in many years, we can say the intelligence division carried out its important mission of giving a strategic warning about this war." - former military intelligence head, Major General (res.) Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash) in an interview with Geula Even on Channel 1, November 3.
"I would not call it a warning about the war, because we surprised ourselves. This was not a war the other side started." - Ze'evi in response to a question from Raviv Drucker on Channel 10 about whether a warning had been received about the war, December 3.
Now, a question: would you put it past Israel to put some amount of radioactive material in disposal of the Al-Quaeda, and then dump the blame on Iran, should Iran continue it's Uranium enrichment?!
The Blue Box and JNF Propaganda Maps, 1930-1947
(1902) THE INITIATIVE TO USE A box in collecting money for the Jewish National Fund (JNF), in the tradition of the charity boxes commonly used in Jewish institutions, came from Haim Kleinman, a bank clerk from Galicia. He made the suggestion in a 1902 letter to the Zionist newspaper Die Welt and proposed placing such a box in every Jewish home. 2
An important characteristic of the boxes until after the First World War was the variety in the design according to the countries in which they were used, and the different manufacturers. Boxes from the second decade of the century in various countries, such as Britain, Poland, Germany, and Palestine, can be identified by a design that included several common elements: The boxes were painted blue, with three elements on their front—1. the banner—Keren Kayemet Le Yisrael (Jewish National Fund), the Star of David, with an ellipse above it, with the initials of the organization ("KKL" or "JNF") above it. The uniformity of design of the boxes during this decade is probably due to the fact that they were all produced in a factory in Germany. 3 The blue box became a symbol, not only of the JNF, but of Zionism in general and particularly of the redemption of the Land of Israel. The unique design of the tin box, its blue and white national colors and its symbolic illustrations (especially the map), made it a popular part of Jewish ceremonies and an essential element in the teaching of Jewish values throughout the world.
The spread of propaganda through the use of maps is neither an innovation nor is it unique to the JNF; states, institutions and organizations frequently use the map technique to relay political propaganda or commercial advertisement, to transmit their particular message, their particular "truth." 4 The deliberate use of cartography (map making) for propaganda purposes was discussed in scientific literature during the Second World War as a result of the massive use the Germans made of this medium. 5 The Germans developed techniques in which maps were used to present reality in a new light, and the most important objective in their production of maps was their ability to connect between the authorities and the people. They adapted cartographic methods in order to transmit political messages through the use of agreed upon symbols, colors, projects, page or text design, etcetera.
A map is not a "divine truth;" it is not reality itself; it is not objective—it is, rather, a representation of the reality which the maker of the map wishes to present. People who look at maps tend to be uncritical, and quite often become more convinced in their opinions by examining maps. This universal phenomenon of blind trust in map representations is known as "cartographic hypnosis." 6[...]
It can be assumed that the JNF invested money in the publication of maps in order to transmit its ideas and ideology, and/or as part of its "war for survival" in the political environment in which it operated. It can be theorized, therefore, that the JNF was required to use its maps in order to address a number of political and organizational challenges. Two of these are: a) justifying the JNF approach, i.e. "nationalization of purchased land" and b) the boundaries of the Land of Israel.
(1920) The Jewish National Fund was obliged to justify itself ideologically vis-a-vis its internal-Zionist political outlook. At the 1920 conference in London the JNF's approach clashed with that of the American Zionists, principally the followers of Louis Brandeis, who believed in free enterprise and individualization on the of land issue; in other words—they supported private settlement of Jews in Palestine, and privately purchased land, rather than fundraising for the JNF which would then nationalize the land it purchased. The crisis with the Brandeis group, which resigned from the leadership of the Zionist movement in the United States in 1921, was a function of the decision to establish an additional fund—"Keren Hayesod." In the Jewish National Fund there was a feeling that their survival was in jeopardy, the result of the fact that lands in Palestine were being purchased by private individuals and various companies. Despite much effort on the part of the JNF and the purchase of land in the Jezreel and Jordan Valleys, by the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930's the JNF held only 20% of all the Jewish owned land in Eretz Yisrael. 8 In other words, thirty years after its establishment, the Fund had not fulfilled the hopes placed in it and it had to compete with an alternative method of land acquisition. Only at the end of the 1930s, when political tensions in Palestine had grown and the flow of private capital weakened, did JNF land purchases increase. Even then, however, there was less JNF owned land in Palestine than privately owned land. There was a need, therefore for the JNF to provide a decisive response to the situation and to completely transform its image—in other words, it had to provide evidence of the fact that the JNF was the only organization [End Page 3] that was actually increasing the scope of Jewish land purchases in Palestine, that it had the right to exist and that its approach was unequivocally the correct one. The JNF achieved this through the use of maps.
(1919) At the Versailles peace conference which followed the First World War, the Zionist Movement had to define the required area for a Jewish homeland. 9 A February 1919 memorandum presented by the Zionist delegation headed by Chaim Weizmann, expressed the wish that the area should occupy both sides of the Jordan and should include (in addition to the land west of the Jordan) areas that are today a part of South Lebanon (Tsiddan), the Golan Heights and the Kingdom of Jordan. Since the British had promised Trans-Jordan to the Hussein family, it was decided that the Emir Abdullah would receive control of Trans-Jordan and in 1923 he was appointed ruler of the land east of the Jordan. The borders of Britain's Mandate in Palestine were confirmed by the League of Nations in 1922. In 1936 the British Commission of Enquiry, headed by Lord Peel, arrived in Palestine to examine the positions of the Zionist Movement and others who laid claim to the land. Dissent subsequently ensued within the Zionist Movement vis-à-vis the territorial issue and the Peel Commission's plan for the partition of Palestine between the Jews and the Arabs, which was adopted by the British Government in 1937.
Even before being appointed head of the JNF, Avraham Ussishkin expressed his opposition to the British plan to "amputate Eastern Trans-Jordan" from the area which was supposed to be part of the Jewish Homeland. 10 He never changed his opinion and spoke out against the Peel Commission's partition plan at every opportunity and from every possible Zionist platform. According to Ussishkin, it was necessary to reject out of hand any proposal to divide the Land of Israel, and cautioned against anyone who tried to present the Zionist Movement with a foregone conclusion. Ussiskin's theories were manifested not only in his speeches but also on the maps which appeared in the various instruments of propaganda produced by the JNF, including and especially, the "blue box" which made successful use of various cartographic techniques.
The maps produced by the JNF were either "scientific" or "symbolic." The "scientific maps" were prepared by cartographers in accordance with strict and professionally exact standards of measurement. Between, 1924-1925 the JNF published three relatively small (60 cm long) maps with a general standard scale of measurement of 1:500,000, of which two were [End Page 4] photographs of a relief map prepared by "The Land of Israel Research Society" and published in Germany. Maps of subsequently became a common item in pre-state-of Israel JNF-published propaganda material. Between 1931-1938 a number of scientific maps appeared which served as a basis for the reduced-size propaganda maps used during this period.
"Symbolic maps" were those maps which were prepared by graphic artists and appeared in various publications. They were not so stringent with regard to accuracy, but tended to emphasize specific details in the maps. One such map is the one on the "blue box." It should be noted that, despite the differences between the two types of map, various propaganda elements appeared in both.
Symbolic maps of the Land of Israel began to appear on stamps in 1926 and were re-cycled in various ways, mainly in the form of rubber stamps on correspondence paper. Graphic decorations of the maps appeared as lapel ribbons, pictorial sketches of the Land of Israel, parlor games ("Let's travel through the Land of Israel") and on the segmented stamps produced for didactic purposes during the 1930s.
In the early 1930s a symbolic map of "Israel" began appearing on the "blue box" and became one of the JNF's best known graphic logos. The last of these symbolic maps appeared on a 1947 "State for Jews" stamps, which also defined the borders of the partition plan. These maps were designed to conform with the JNF's propaganda policy. The next section will discuss some of the cartographic-propaganda tools which typified the JNF maps published over a twenty year period. 11
The most outstanding feature of the JNF's propaganda map was the way in which it used very strong color to emphasize the land it had purchased, as compared with other Jewish-owned land.. The technique of accentuating JNF-owned land with a bold color draws the eye of the beholder straight to this important detail and gives the impression that the JNF owned larger tracts of land than other organizations or individuals. Moreover, JNF land—unlike other "Jewish land"—was further magnified on the maps because it was concentrated in several large, continuous blocs, mainly in the Jezreel and Zevulun Valleys. In contrast, other pieces of "Jewish land," which were scattered over a larger area, from Hadera to Bat Shlomo, were painted in less conspicuous colors (a common cartographic trick). In the [End Page 5] same way JNF maps made blocs of land belonging to the Eastern Galilee moshavot (villages) and in the country's center, "pale" in comparison.
[...] (1931) During that year the JNF published a propaganda map, in which all the land owned by the nation and private Jewish interests was depicted in one color. Leopold Schen, who criticized the map, said that, unlike earlier maps, it could not be used for propaganda purposes since it did not contain any cartographical differentiation between the types of land. It was hardly possible, he said, to pin-point land which had been purchased in Palestine. 12 Epstein, the Head Office secretary wrote in reply that the map was intended mainly for general use and that teachers, or students had not been taken into consideration in designing the map. Since the map was of a small scale it was not possible to distinguish between these small areas and others through the use of different colors, especially since the map also included areas of Eastern Palestine. Anyway, this was an advantage, because the total amount of land on the maps was so small as to encourage donors to buy up more of Palestine, since so much of it had not yet been redeemed. 13
The fact that the JNF singled out and accentuated the land it had purchased did not escape the notice of people who were sensitive to cartography, such as Yosef Azaryahu, Supervisor of Education in the Zionist Executive's Department of Education and one of the compilers of the Geography curriculum for Hebrew education as early as the Second Aliyah. 14 When the JNF asked for Education Department authorization to use their maps as school teaching aids, part of Azaryahu's job required of him to exercise his critical judgment. Azayahu supplied the JNF Head Office a detailed list of cartographical directions which would make the maps suitable for the Hebrew Education system. Among other things he pointed out that JNF land should not be singled out, and that "areas belonging to Jews should be marked in a stronger color so as not to blur the impression of the topographical structure of the Land of Israel." 15 His remarks were considered only with regard to those copies of the maps prepared for the schools system. In other editions of the map published during the 1930s and the 1940s, the JNF continued to accentuate its lands against those owned by individual Jews. [End Page 6]
The Land of Israel and the Borders of Palestine
In his directions to the Head Office Azaryahu emphasized, among other things, that accuracy was essential in marking the British Mandate's political borders on the map. There was good reason for this, as one of the elements typical of JNF maps during the period under discussion related to the borders of the Land of Israel. The map to which Azaryahu referred to specifically was the "scientific map" prepared for the JNF by A.Y. Brawer, which set off the negotiations with the head office at the end of 1928.
According to this map, the country's boundaries were to be defined along 36.5fl or 37fl longitude to the East and along the Mediterranean sea shore to the West; the Jordan River would pass through the middle of the map. Thus the drainage system of the River Jordan, and especially the three inland lakes, marked the center of the country, and were painted on the man in a vivid and emphatic blue color. According to the detailed map the country's southern boundary passed south of Be'er Sheva and its northern boundary passed north of Tsiddon. This method of presenting the Land of Israel according to its Biblical borders, as in early Hebrew school text books, was typical of maps from pre-British Mandatory times and before the post World War I partition of the Middle East. 16 Separating Trans-Jordan from the area of the "Jewish National Homeland" and setting the borders of the British Mandate led to different maps being drafted in which the Jordan's drainage system appeared on the right (eastern) edge of the map rather than in the middle, as in the 1925 Keren Hayesod map.
Such presentation of the country conformed to Ussiskin's political world view, so that in order to remove itself from the partition plan and from having to fix the Mandate's borders, the JNF continued to issue maps with the River Jordan running down their center. It was a political statement that used cartography to de-legitimize Mandatory rule as well as a criticism of those people who were in support of partitioning the country. The result was that many of the JNF's "scientific maps" of those years showed their areas as not only larger than those of the western part of the Land of Israel, but they also completely excluded several of the British Mandate's borders. Azaryahu's demand, therefore, that the JNF's maps be adapted to include the country's political boundaries, before approving them for use in the Hebrew School system, is not surprising.
Additional support for the claim that the JNF had always intended its maps to present a large country with no Mandatory borders can be found in correspondence regarding the early 1930s map of the JNF "blue box." [End Page 7]
The late 1920s JNF collection box was decorated with a Star of David at its center over the words, "The Jewish National Fund." The organization emblem was emblazoned across the top of the box. This version of the box was shown in various advertisements during the 1920s and early 1930s, especially in Karnenu [Our Fund]—the JNF's official magazine. There was a tendency at that time to adorn the magazine's cover with maps and graphical photo-montages, and the same map used on the box appeared for the first time on the November 1928 cover of Karnenu. The magazine's graphic artist had produced an illustration which gave the classic blue box as background to the Land of Israel, which was depicted as stretching from the Litani River in the north, to Be'er Sheva in the south, from the sea to the desert, highlighting "Jewish land."
When the JNF decided to re-design the classic blue box in the early 1930s they adopted the format which had appeared on the cover of Karnenu, and the new design was launched in 1934 as, ". . . in blue on a white background on one side of the new box, [there is] a map of the Land of Israel, marking the areas of land redeemed through the nation's donations, and bearing the legend 'Jewish National Fund' above the Star of David and the JNF monogram. On the other side was the Star of David against a blue-white background." 17 This map, which had a white background, no borders, and showed an area extending north into Lebanon, and east into the desert, the Jordan drainage system and the three lakes appear highlighted in a bold blue color. The white background color does not end at the front of the box but spills over and spreads over the right side. The map on the box presents a space colored in white, without borders, whose force is amplified by the blue color of the Mediterranean Sea.
The map of the Land of Israel on this newly designed "blue box" was not to everyone's liking and aroused a negative reaction when it was distributed in Austria. The National Office in Vienna wrote to Jerusalem: 18 "The Revisionists have found a fault [handwritten in Hebrew are the words 'the map of the Land of Israel on the box]—there is no evidence on the boxes of the far side of the Jordan. Are we to conclude from this that the Jewish National Fund has relinquished its claim to Trans-Jordan?"
The amazing reply from the Head Office is that:
"The accusations of the Revisionist Zionists, as relayed in your letter is just one more of those unfounded allegations against [the JNF]. . . Still, any sane, serious minded human being would be loath to relate to the insinuation that the Jewish National Fund relinquishes its claim to the far side of the Jordan. [End Page 8] [Begin Page 11] Even the map [on the box], makes it easy for anyone who is not looking for faults to see the other side of the Jordan, as part of the land which stretches up to the side of the box. By the way, the front of the boxes manufactured in Palestine show this area as even more substantial . . ." 19
It might be said that Head Office's reply to the Vienna National Office confirms the assumption that the design of the map used to adorn the blue box was not accidental—a map with no borders, extending into areas of Trans-Jordan to the east (up "the side of the box"). It is also a graphic presentation of a political statement by the JNF and its leadership. Inasmuch as political propaganda made its way into scientific maps, it was [End Page 11] further transmitted by the most important icon of the JNF. The bold blue colors contrasting with the pure white background, with the highlighted line of the River Jordan running down the center provided a simple and convenient cartographical device to catch the eye and transmit a political message, to which not only adults were exposed, but also the millions of children in the Hebrew education system, who contributed their coins at special fundraising ceremonies.
A third example of the JNF's use of cartography in its propaganda consisted of selective presentation on maps of areas which had been settled. This was accomplished by diminishing non-Jewish locations, or using cartographic means to make such places "disappear" altogether. An extreme expression of this appeared in the symbolic map on the blue JNF collection box. Throughout the period under discussion the country appears as a white area—an empty space, with no settlements and no inhabitants. The large cities—Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa are marked on it, but in small, low profile print against a background of the great white expanse. It could be said that a small symbolic illustration, such as that on the blue box could not feasibly contain all the settlements and that the purpose of the map was only to emphasize JNF lands, and highlight them in contrast to still unredeemed areas—an argument which is logical and reasonable. However, the scientific propaganda on other maps is ample proof of the systematic policy of cartographic selectivity in the way certain places were depicted on maps. Cartographic selectivity was a consequence of the Zionist aspect of the way in which the Land of Israel—and especially JNF- owned lands—were perceived. This statement was issued by Head Office, in the form of a communiqué and related to the 1931 map published by the Omanut (art) Company, prepared by Brawer:
"All the . . . important settlements will be shown [on the map], based on a physical map all of the roads; moreover, every place which is important to our history, be it a settlement or the ruins [of a settlement]. . . . [Christian] sites in the Galilee and the obvious ruins of synagogues will be signified by special markings." 20 [End Page 12]
Since this was a scientific map issued by the Jewish community in Palestine and the Zionist movement, to serve Jewish propaganda, as well as educational, and other, practical purposes, the details included in it were obviously aimed at accommodating the target community. Accordingly, the map emphasized all the Jewish settlements as well as all the important Jewish historical sites. This view of Zionist-focused cartographic selection was presented to Head Office by A.Y. Brawer, the map's editor, together with the map's program. Being aware that the choice of places and settlements to be marked on the map was the prerogative of the map's editor, he wrote Head Office that ". . . evaluating the importance [of places] does, of course, depend on my [personal] choice and understanding, and it will be easy for anyone examining it superficially, someone [who is] unfamiliar with the technical difficulties, to comment on the fact that this or that place has not been included. I hereby accept full responsibility for the names [of places] I included, and have no desire to discuss the matter further, because [such discussion] will entail endless meetings." 21
Adapting Brawer's scientific map to the needs of Head Office demanded different choices, as one can see from subsequent correspondence about propaganda maps in other languages. Head Office secretary, A.M. Epstein, who dealt with the production of these maps wrote to Brawer that:
"The map we are currently preparing is solely for JNF propaganda purposes, to be used by fundraisers and donors. There is no need, therefore, for too much detail, which, although of some scientific interest, will probably not attract the attention of the average fundraiser or donor. . . thus it is clear that we must supply all the details of all the Jewish settlements in the Land of Israel. There is no need, however, to include all the (Arab) villages and hills in the map of the Negev, since the average donor has no idea of their existence." 22
Here, Epstein was pointing out that the JNF was downplaying cartographic information on Arab culture (place names) and Arab settlements in the country, because such details were of no use to the organization's target population. As a result, JNF propaganda maps contained relatively few Arab settlements (a phenomenon that was especially obvious vis-à-vis the Galilee region and the Judea and Samaria Hills, which, during the 1930's, were heavily populated with Arabs), thus creating the impression of a sparsely populated land. The sparsely populated hilly regions stand out against a background of prominent Jewish settlement in the valleys, and give the impression of that more land is occupied by Jews than by Arabs. [End Page 13]
The cartographic distinction on JNF maps between Zionist and Arab regions is emphasized by the differences between various Arab settlements, notwithstanding the conventional homogenous marking given to Arabic settlements. For example, further editions of the 1934 propaganda map, contain a cartographic distinction between Arab settlements marked with a thick black circle—to signify the importance of the place—and those marked with an empty circle against a pale background. 23 All Jewish settlements are distinguished by prominent underlining, in accordance with the level of assistance they received from Keren Hayesod: the names of settlements "established by Keren Hayesod" are emphasized by a solid black underline, whereas those merely supported by Keren Hayesod are underlined with a broken line. These emphases amplify the "importance" of national settlements, while those such as Zichron Ya'akov and Ness Ziona, which are given no additional emphasis on the map, appear to have a cartographic fate that was one level above that of an Arab village.
Cartographic or graphic selection in the JNF-commissioned maps of Israel is expressed very aesthetically in the maps designed for use on stamps, which were pictorial and reminiscent of certain present day tourist maps. Here, drawings of sites and places are included in the map's background and, since the scope of the map is limited, by introducing these drawings, certain places are emphasized at the expense of others. Toward the end of the 1930's Head Office decided to issue a series of didactic stamps in the form of puzzles made from pictorial maps. The work of preparing the maps was given to A. Saposnikov, who presented his drafts to Head Office at the beginning of 1930. A discussion on the map's illustrations produced comments on some small details, but no one disputed the fact that the illustrations contained only Jewish sites; and, of course, the issue of the area covered by the map, and the country's borders were not discussed at all. 24
It was no wonder, then, that the stamp emphasized the farmer ploughing his fields in the Jezreel Valley, and the giant orange trees in the Sharon region. The stamp showed no settlements at all in hills of Judea and Samaria, only enormous olive trees, and the famous buildings of Jerusalem (David's Tower), Bethlehem (Rachel's Tomb) and Hebron (the Patriarchs' Tomb). Desolate areas (devoid of Jewish settlement, therefore "uninhabited") show not only the hilly areas in the country's center, but also the Galilee, the Southern areas and Trans-Jordan—which was populated by nomads, shepherds, and herds of sheep and camels. Saposnikov drew a few ancient ruins in these "desolate" areas, and gave Hebrew names to the Trans-Jordan mountains of Moab, Amnon, Gilead, Golan and Bashan, evidence of their ancient Jewish connection. 25 [End Page 14]
Although it is safe to assume that the influence of the maps drawn on these didactic stamps was not considerable and was mainly limited to the school children exposed to them, the stamps did strengthen the message "broadcast" by the Head Office in different materials prepared for propaganda purposes. These messages came from an organization with a political and social outlook which used cartography as it used other means, such as films, books and games, to create together a complex propaganda network. The JNF believed that their maps—which they presented as objective renditions of reality—would strengthen the positive image of their organization and make their projects seem more concrete. Important supporting evidence for the theory that there was nothing coincidental about the drawings on the various maps is supplied in a 1947 report in Karnenu regarding a new model of the blue box adorned with a new map.
"The [original] map of Israel . . . shows the more densely populated JNF-owned lands and [other] Jewish lands in the Land of Israel, and clearly illustrates both the progress made and the still empty, desolate areas that it is our duty to redeem, if we are to provide ourselves with land under our feet." 26 [original emphasis]. [End Page 15] [Begin Page 17]
This brief report manifests the way in which cartographic strategy was used to create a map of the Land of Israel (which, in 1947, already included the Negev), that at once glorifies the Jewish National Fund and de-legitimizes and downplays non-Jewish-owned land in Palestine. It may be concluded, therefore, that cartographic means could be used to emphasize the importance of the Jewish National Fund and the lands it purchased for settlement, while, simultaneously, reducing the importance of the "other"—British rule, the Arab population, or lands owned and settled by individuals or private organizations; and to influence the political and social battles that were waging at the time, in which the JNF was not ostensibly a part.
Yoram Bar-Galis Professor of Geography in Haifa University. His recent publications include: An Agent of ZionistPropaganda: the JNF 1924-1947 (Tel-Aviv, 1999) [Hebrew]. The English version of the research is: Propaganda and Education, the JNF 1924-1947 (Rochester, NY, 2003); forthcoming, Nathan Shalem: Early Earth Scientist in Palestine and his Diaries, (Tel-Aviv, 2003) [Hebrew].
1. The paper is based on research supported by "The JNF Research Institute", Jerusalem. I would like to thank Dr. Gabi Alexander for his help. The "full story" will be published by Rochester University Press and University of Haifa Press. See Bar-Gal 2003.
2. See Y. Shapira, The History of the JNF (Jerusalem, 1976) [Hebrew]; S. Shtemper, "The "Pushkeh" and Its Adventures—The Funds of Eretz Yisrael as a Social Phenomenon," Katedra, 1981, Vol. 21 p. 8, [Hebrew]. [End Page 17]
3. See examples in Catalogue of the Blue Box Exhibition (Jerusalem,1991) p. 3[Hebrew]. It should be noted that during these years the European "Central Office" of the JNF was in Berlin.
4. See mainly A. Burnett, "Propaganda Cartography" in David Pepper and Alan Jenkins (eds.), The Geography of Peace and War (Oxford, 1985) pp. 60-89; M, Monmonier, How to Lie With Maps (Chicago, 1991); M. Monmonier, and G.A. Schnell, Map Appreciation (New Jersey, 1988); D. Wood, The Power of Maps (London, 1993).
5. For important articles about cartographical "doctoring" during the Second World War see H. Speier, "Magic Geography", Social Researcher, 1941, Vol.8, pp. 310-30 and J. K. Wright, "Mapmakers are Human—The Subjective Maps", Geographical Review, 1942, Vol. 32, pp. 527-44.
6. For the "truth" transmitted by maps and their hypnosis phenomenon, see S. W. Boggs, "Cartohypnosis", Scientific Monthly, 1947, Vol. 64, pp. 469-76.
7. For the hidden expressions of propaganda in everyday maps, see Y. Bar-Gal, "Ideological Propaganda in Maps and Geographical Education", in Van der Schee, Joop et al, (eds.), Innovation in Geographical EducationNetherlands Geographical Studies 208, the 28th International Geographical Congress (Amsterdam, 1996) pp. 67-79.
8. See G. Karsel, The Story of the Land—Chronicles (Jerusalem, 1951) p. 101. [Hebrew]
9. For a detailed discussion of the question of the establishment of the territory of Palestine (Eretz Yisrael) and the arguments which accompanied it, see I. Galnoor, Territorial Partition, Decision Crossroads in the Zionist Movement (Sdeh Boker, 1995) [Hebrew].
10. For a discussion on Ussiskin's positions as part of the continuum of Zionist political ideas, see Galnoor, pp. 166-8.
11. One must not forget that the maps of Eretz Yisrael for propaganda purposes were published during the period under study also by other Zionist bodies as well as commercial companies who used the map of Eretz Yisrael for advertising. An example is the advertisement of the Palestine Land Development Co. New York, which appeared in the magazine The New Palestine on 14 April, 1924.
12. L. Schen's letter to the Head Office, 13 November 1931, file 4827, CZA/
13. Epstein's answer to Schen, 27 November 1931, ibid.
14. Yosef Azaryahu (1872-1945), born in Poland, in Eretz Yisrael from 1905. Educator; Supervisor of High Schools during the Mandate.
15. Azaryahu's letter to the Head Office, 15 April 1930, CZA/JNF 5, file 3503/1.
16. See: Bar-Gal, 1993.
17. "New Box," Karnenu, Year 12.i, 1934, p. 4.
18. Letter of the National Office in Vienna, 15 January, 1935, CZA/JNF 5, file 6249. [End Page 18]
19. The answer of the Head Office, 29 January 1935, ibid. One should note that several of these versions of the map on the blue box produced in Israel continue to appear on it until today.
20. Undated communiqué of the Head Office, apparently in the summer of 1931, CZA/JNF 5, file 3504.
21. Brawer's letter to the Head Office, 14 April 1930, CZA/JNF 5, file 3503/1.
22. Letter from Epstein to Brawer, 17 July 1931, CZA/JNF 5, file 3506.
23. Map of "Eretz Yisrael," Scale 1: 500,000, issued by the Head Office of the JNF, Jerusalem, 1938.
24. A detailed report of this meeting was sent to Epstein, who was in New York, 7 January 1930, CZA/JNF 5, file 3552.
25. These maps found on the stamps are from the Gotkowsky collection, CZA/JNF 11.
26. Karnenu, 1947, Vol. 24.ii, p. 10
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
This blogswarm will promote blog postings opposing the war in Iraq and calling for a full withdrawal of foreign occupying forces in Iraq. Five years of an illegal and catastrophic war is five years too many. On the March 19 anniversary of the conquest of Iraq by the Bush Administration, there needs to be a loud volume of voices countering the pro-war propaganda from far too many politicians and corporate media outlets.
Q. How do I become involved?
Go to the swarm homeblog march19-blogswarm.blogspot.com and- Post a comment with your blog's title and URL. If you join up by the fifth anniversary of mass actions against the war, February 15, 2008, you will be included in the listing of "Charter Blogs" displayed on the home blogs menu.
Q. Hey, how about some badges? I'm glad you asked-
You can just save them to your computer and post onto your blog linking to
...if you wish. Making up your own badges/promotions is heartily encouraged, which leads to...
Q. How do I help promote the blogswarm to make it an enormous chorus of disapproval for the Iraq war ? Well for now the basic approach is the well worn spreading the word by commenting on blogs you frequent/know of, leaving information about the blogswarm and including a link to the homeblog http://march19-blogswarm.blogspot.com/ and emailing your friends/contacts.
Q. What is the point? Wars are bad, we should be doing less of them. It isn't rocket science. The blogswarm is not a replacement for other actions it is as well as anything else you might be doing. Around the 5th anniversary you can be sure the same people who lied us into this war will be unapologetically continuing their propaganda and unless we counter that there will be more conflict and more death. Specifically for Iraq it could mean a long term occupation that would most likely not end until the last drop of oil is sucked out of the ground, that would mean an unending insurgency and counter insurgency which is the dirtiest most brutal kind of warfare there is. Quite apart from the fact that the invasion was an illegal war of aggression and it continues killing people on all sides and causing generational damage in all those involved, from homeless veterans to traumatised children.
Q. And on the day? Write something or several somethings relevant to the the Iraq war, raise a chorus of voices. Let's not be having to do this for the 10th anniversary. In fact this is an election year in the US, let's not let year 6 go by without withdrawals.
Q. This question and answer format is a bit overused, unoriginal and tedious isn't it? Quite possibly, just so long as you participate in countering the pro-war narrative, you really need to do nothing more than post about the Iraq war on/around the 19th March and notify http://march19-blogswarm.blogspot.com/ of it, so more people see your work and thoughts, ideas and passions are exchanged and shared. There are forces in the world who want war, people who rarely pay the price but often reap a profit, we can do better than let them run the Earth.
"Freedom of the press only applies to people who own printing presses. And now everyone with net access owns a printing press."
Spread the Word.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
I wonder who knows that Al Qaeda in one of the strategic documents actually has said that an American-Iranian collision would be of great strategic benefit to Al Qaeda's cause. So here is a party that might even have an interest in provoking such a collision.
... and Leon Hadar, a research fellow with the Cato Institute:
Iran will hold parliamentary elections on March 14, 2008, and you don't have to be an expert in Iranian politics to figure out that the political parties associated with President Ahmadinejad who has been under attack at home for his mismanagement of the country's economy could benefit politically from rising tensions with between Tehran and Washington.
Read all about that here.
Hardly better news from Matthew Rothschild dissecting Bush's State of the Union address the other day, in particular as it relates to Iran:
I’m betting that Bush will try to come to the American people once more before his term is up and declare that forces trained by Iran have attacked our troops in Iraq, and that he therefore is going after them.
Listen to his words: “Above all, know this,” Bush warned. “America will confront those who threaten our troops. We will stand by our allies, and we will defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf.”
Even more ominous was Bush’s line, “Our message to the people of Iran is clear: We have no quarrel with you.”
As Robert Fisk has pointed out, this is the mantra that Presidents use whenever they are about to attack another country.
It is an imperial tic, a ritual throat-clearing before the war-making, the rattle of the snake before the lashing bite.- Link
Press Release: Scotland Yard to investigate Tony Blair and ex-Attorney General Peter Goldsmith for war crimesVideo of press conference-
Room C, 1 Parliament Street
Tuesday 15th January 2008 3pm
John McDonnell MP, Chris Coverdale: International War Law Expert and Annie Machon of the Campaign to Make War History brief MPs and the media on allegations of war crimes committed against the people of Iraq by Britain's former Prime Minister and former Attorney General.
Officers from Scotland Yard have commenced a criminal investigation into the deaths of Iraqi citizens killed during the armed invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Metropolitan Police are acting in response to crimes reported by peace activists from We Are Change UK and The Campaign to Make War History. In an unprecedented step, the case was handed to the War Crimes division of the Counter Terrorism branch who are now investigating allegations of 14 criminal offences committed by Tony Blair, Lord Goldsmith and others. The offences are under the International Criminal Court Act 2001, which came into effect under English common law, just two days before 9/11.
Two Members of We Are Change UK and a representative from the Campaign to Make War History were interviewed for six hours at Belgravia Police station on the 20th December 2007. Evidence was provided to the police relating to the crimes of:-
• genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and conduct ancillary to these crimes under Sections 51 and 52 of The International Criminal Court Act 2001.
• a crime against peace and complicity in a crime against peace under Articles 6 and 7 of The Nuremburg Principles.
• murder, incitement to murder and conspiracy to murder under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
• conspiracy to commit genocide, a crime against humanity and war crimes under the Criminal Law Act 1977.
It's a start, I can imagine even now senior officers are being co-opted to strangle the investigation, that's if anyone is taking it seriously in the first place, but it does not have to be that way. These people lied, most deliberately in order to kill and steal. The first thing to do is report this far and wide, to force it to be taken seriously. Pressure and support for the investigation would help, how might we go about that? More in time, for now let's put this onto the agenda and into people's minds.
More here [This is a message board. The link will become inactive after a few days.]
Friday, February 1, 2008
LONDON (Reuters) - More than one million Iraqis have died as a result of the conflict in their country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to research conducted by one of Britain's leading polling groups.
The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Business (ORB) with 2,414 adults in face-to-face interviews, found that 20 percent of people had had at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict, rather than natural causes.
The last complete census in Iraq conducted in 1997 found 4.05 million households in the country, a figure ORB used to calculate that approximately 1.03 million people had died as a result of the war, the researchers found.
The margin of error in the survey, conducted in August and September 2007, was 1.7 percent, giving a range of deaths of 946,258 to 1.12 million.
ORB originally found that 1.2 million people had died, but decided to go back and conduct more research in rural areas to make the survey as comprehensive as possible and then came up with the revised figure.
The research covered 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces. Those that not covered included two of Iraq's more volatile regions -- Kerbala and Anbar -- and the northern province of Arbil, where local authorities refused them a permit to work.
Estimates of deaths in Iraq have been highly controversial in the past.
Medical journal The Lancet published a peer-reviewed report in 2004 stating that there had been 100,000 more deaths than would normally be expected since the March 2003 invasion, kicking off a storm of protest.
The widely watched Web site Iraq Body Count currently estimates that between 80,699 and 88,126 people have died in the conflict, although its methodology and figures have also been questioned by U.S. authorities and others. Read more ...