A riot in an Israeli jail that left one inmate dead has provoked an angry response from other Palestinian prisoners and sparked protests in the occupied territories. The Prisoners Club, the main group representing Palestinian prisoners, said on Tuesday that most of the nearly 10,000 security detainees held in Israel had gone on hunger strike.
"This is a one-day hunger strike to protest against what happened at Ketziot," Issa Qaraqi, a Palestinian MP, said. However, Yarona Zamir, a spokeswoman for Israel's prison service, said that although some prisoners had refused their breakfast there was not a widespread hunger strike.
Clashes broke out at the Ketziot prison in the southern Negev desert early on Monday as about 1,000 inmates attacked prison guards and torched the tents where they were being held.The guards fought back with tear gas, rubber bullets and batons. At least 15 prisoners and 15 guards were injured in the violence. 'Non-lethal weapon'The Israeli prison service said that it was a "non-lethal weapon" that had injured the prisoner who later died in hospital.It did not reveal his identity, but said he was 30-years old and serving a two-year sentence.Ashraf Ajrami, minister of prisoner affairs in the Palestinian government, said he was Mohammed al-Ashkar, a member of the Islamic Jihad group. The relatively short sentence suggested his offence must have been minor, he said. Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland in Ramallah said the violence at the Ketziot jail had provoked protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as almost every Palestinian family has a relative who is, or has been, a prisoner in Israel.Another protest was planned for the West Bank town of Ramallah on Tuesday.Rowland said the timing of the incident was important coming just weeks ahead of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the United States."Many Palestinians are saying, look if this type of thing going on just weeks before the peace talks what does it say about the extent to which the Israelis are really dealing in goodwill," she said.'Provocative' searchThe violence broke out after guards began searching prisoners' bunks for contraband.
The Prisoners Club said that the cell searches had been "provocative".Ajrami said the security sweep violated an agreement between the prisons service and inmates barring night-time searches and appeared to be aimed at intimidating imprisoned Palestinian fighters.
"It was intended to destroy the political movement," he said. "It was intended as an oppressive act."About 2,000 Palestinians are held at Ketziot, 700 of them have never had charges brought against them. The jail is set up like a military camp, with prisoners quartered in tents rather than buildings.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
A riot in an Israeli jail that left one inmate dead has provoked an angry response from other Palestinian prisoners and sparked protests in the occupied territories. The Prisoners Club, the main group representing Palestinian prisoners, said on Tuesday that most of the nearly 10,000 security detainees held in Israel had gone on hunger strike.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Lebanon's Hezbollah movement handed over the remains of an Israeli in exchange for a Lebanese prisoner and the bodies of two of the group's fighters.An Israeli military vehicle carrying the bodies of the dead Lebanese entered the no-man's zone along the border on Monday, crossing paths with Lebanese ambulances that were heading the other way.
Lebanese troops kept journalists and civilians away from the Naqoura crossing as the exchange took place.The two dead Hezbollah fighters went missing last summer during the 34 day war between the Shia Muslim group and Israel in southern Lebanon.
The identity of the Israeli body, that has arrived at the border in an ambulance accompanied by Hezbollah vehicles, was unclear।Al Jazeera's Rula Amin said from the Naqoura crossing that the body handed back to Israeli authorities was a civilian who died at sea and was washed up in Lebanon।Captured troopsLast year's conflict began after the Lebanese movement captured Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, two Israeli troops, and early reports had suggested that the remains being released were from a soldier.
Kuntar was to be freed at a later date in return for information on the fate of Ron Arad, an Israeli air force navigator who has been missing since October 1986 when his plane was shot down over southern Lebanon.An Israeli official tolf the AFP news agency that Hezbollah said it would provide information about Arad as part of Monday's deal. Kuntar was jailed for 542 years in 1980 for killing a scientist and his four-year-old daughter as well as an Israeli policeman.Bassam Kuntar, Samir's brother, told Al Jazeera that the exchange was a victory for Hezbollah and Lebanon."I think it is an additional victory for Lebanon and the Islamic resistance because we are speaking about the body of a civilian who was not captured during the July 2006 war," he said. Bassam said that Hezbollah would not give Israel any information about the two soldiers captured last July until his brother was released.Soldiers 'in Iran'Asharq Al-Awsat, an UK-based Arabic newspaper, reported on Sunday that the two Israelis had been handed to Iran and could be freed as part of a German-brokered exchange. It quoted a source identified as a high-ranking official in the office of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, as saying they had been transferred by the country's elite Revolutionary Guards. Last week, Germany decided last week to free an Iranian agent jailed for life for the murder of four Kurdish dissidents in 1992 and the newspaper suggested that this could have been part of the deal.Rula Amin said Monday's exchange had also been arranged by a German negotiator.A senior Israeli government official dismissed the Asharq Al-Awsat report as "nonsense" and said it was an "attempt to dissiminate disinformation on this extremely sensitive issue."Germany also dismissed suggestions that the agent was released as part of a deal with तेहरान
Posted by aljazeera.net
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Nawaz Sharif, a former Pakistani leader, has said he will return home on September 10 to challenge General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, in forthcoming elections.
Sharif left Pakistan shortly after being ousted by Musharraf in a 1999 coup and risks arrest when he flies into capital Islamabad.
At a news conference on Thursday, Sharif said: "Why am I going back? To respond to the call of duty ... To achieve the supremacy of the rule of law and the constitution and to rid my people of dictatorship forever."
He described Musharraf's rule as illegitimate and said he would go straight to Lahore, his base of power in the east of the country, after landing in Islamabad.
Benazir Bhutto, another former prime minister, said on Wednesday that she had almost sealed a power-sharing deal with Musharraf under which he will quit as Pakistan's army chief.
Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled last week that Sharif, a two-time prime minister, should be allowed to return.
Sharif has vowed to oppose a bid by Musharraf for another term as president.
After he was overthrown, Sharif was sentenced to life in prison on graft and security charges. He was exiled in 2000.
With his term coming to an end and his popularity plummeting, Musharraf has turned to Bhutto for help to shore up his position, and his aides are meeting with the two-time prime minister in London.
But Bhutto has insisted an agreement would hinge on Musharraf stepping down as chief of the army, which has ruled for more than half Pakistan's history since independence in 1947.
'Setback'In an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday, Sharif, who is leader of the Pakistan Muslim League, called Bhutto's attempts to deal with Musharraf a "setback" and a "clear violation" of a deal agreed between them to do "no deals with military dictators".
In another development with potential political ramifications, Pakistan's supreme court agreed on Wednesday to hear an appeal against Musharraf's role as army commander.
The application was filed by Qazi Husssain Ahmed, the chief of Pakistan's main coalition of Islamist parties - the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, or United Action Front।
He said that objections from the court registrar's office that Ahmed had no authority to lodge the appeal, were "devoid of merit".
Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1999, is seeking re-election as president-in-uniform by parliament in September or October. "The people are fed up with the unconstitutional and dictatorial military regime," Ahmed said outside the court. The application says that under military regulations, Musharraf's term as chief of army staff had expired in 2001. Public pledge
The application also states that he was no longer eligible to continue in the post after turning 60 in August 2003. The legal challenge argues that in 2004, Musharraf had broken a public pledge to hang up his military uniform.
Musharraf has suffered a series of legal setbacks since his attempt in March to sack Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the chief justice of the supreme court। The court had reinstated Chaudhry in July after months of nationwide protests and then ruled last week that Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister, could return from exile.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Translated by NewsClock.com
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Five US soldiers were killed and three went missing when their unit was attacked south of Baghdad, the US military has said.
The attack on a patrol of seven US soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter occured early on Saturday morning.
The US military said the attack took place at 4:44am near Mahmudiya, about 30km south of the capital.
Mahmudiya is a stronghold of Sunni Arab fighters opposed to the US-backed government in Iraq.
Troops who arrived later found five of the soldiers dead and the other three remained missing, according to a statement from Major-General William Caldwell, the chief US military spokesman in Iraq.
"The quick reaction force reported finding five members of the team killed in action and three others whose duty status and whereabouts are unknown," Caldwell said.
The military refused to specify whether the Iraqi interpreter was among those killed or among the missing, citing security reasons.
Soldiers were searching for the missing, using drone planes and jets and setting up checkpoints throughout the area.
Soldiers were also trying to enlist support from local leaders for information.
Caldwell said: "Make no mistake: We will never stop looking for our soldiers until their status is definitively determined, and we continue to pray for their safe return."
The attack occurred nearly a year after two American soldiers went missing following a June 16 attack in the same area, prompting a massive search. Their bodies were found tied together with a bomb between one victim's legs several days later.
Two other US soldiers remain missing in action from the current conflict, including Sergeant Matt Maupin, of Batavia, Ohio, missing since April 2004 and Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie, a 41-year-old Iraqi-born reserve soldier from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who was abducted while visiting his Iraqi wife on October 23 in Baghdad.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Today the beginning of the end of Tony Blair the war vampire
The Guardian newspaper said British Prime Minister Tony Blair will announce his resignation today, Thursday, the leadership of the Labor Party in the same room, which was inaugurated by the start of a campaign leading to the party on June 11, 1994
The newspaper added that Blair would end the curtain on his leadership at the center, which the heirs of John Smith, he was able to achieve the success story electoral what has become known as the new Labor party.
So the British vampire is leaving the office after Killing more than 650,000 of Iraqi people under the name of freedom and fighting against terror. (do they think we are stupid maybe)
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Posted by aljazeera.net in Arabic and translated to English by NewsClock.com
To prove the government involvement with the Chabak in the torture of Palestinian detainees, the report pointed to a 500 complaints filed against the Chabak since 2001, pointing out that not even one single criminal investigation was opened. He added : "We have been mandated Shabak, a former investigator to look into complaints against the investigators, has decided that in the majority of cases the complaints uncertified In some few instances in which he affirmed that torture was behalf State closed the file based on tendentious interpretations." Five hundred complaints were filed against Chabak not investigated any of them (Jazeera Net) cells bleak In Israeli report said the detainee "t" in his testimony that the investigators threatened to arrest his family and evaded the demolition of his home draw with the detainee "M.. H "(37 years), they threatened to arrest his wife and his eldest daughter, and told him that they had ways of achieving, especially with ladies amid hints of the means of achieving sustainability sexual nature. The detainee also said "p. P "(24 years) - According to the report - that the investigator returned to the interrogation room after an hour of departure and told him that investigators were raped his wife pointing out its intention to open the area to watch himself. The report pointed out that investigations Chabak with the Palestinian detainees spread over very long hours and placed in solitary unclean and closed the Bulblet Dimly illuminated 24 hours a day would lead to the loss of the ability to set the time for pointing out boom phenomenon deprive detainee from meeting with his lawyer. The report pointed out that torture is a formal endorsement (Jazeera Net) of guarding the guards? He noted the B'Tselem report, the Center for the rights of the individual that Israeli High Court of Justice had in 1999 imposed significant restrictions on the use of violence with the detainees, noting that the Supreme rule was not clear and unequivocal enough, which led to open a wide margin of interpretations and thus to expand acts of torture and added, "so turned to the Supreme Court a mere rubber stamp." The report asked the government to intervene in order to stop acts of torture and called for closer investigation of video and wonder : from guarding the guards always lose accountability? In commenting on the report said the mouthpiece of the Ministry of elimination that the Israeli biased and not based of a representative sample, noting that the possibility of examining the accusations seriously because the complainants Mahjoubi identity. Manufacturer : Israel tortures worse than Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib (Jazeera Net) legitimize the crimes after his deputy counsel asked the manufacturer to the report by saying that the torture in detention Israel is worse than Guantanamo detainees, Abu Ghraib, pointing out that they are away from the camera media. He said the manufacturer of the island indicated that the Israeli Supreme Court began allowing torture means "shaking" and the practice of so-called "unreasonable pressure" and allowed the Shabak continue to commit crimes, and added, "It determines the reasonableness of this or that pressure?." The manufacturer of Red Cross and international bodies to carry out its tasks, indicating his intention to visit some prisons to collect testimonies and presented in the Knesset, attacked the Ministry of eliminating ignored serious charges.
Monday, April 30, 2007
From left to right, Michelle Obama, then Illinois state senator Barack Obama, Columbia University Professor Edward Said and Mariam Said at a May 1998 Arab community event in Chicago at which Edward Said gave the keynote speech। (Image from archives of Ali Abunimah)
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
"The concern is to be expected but the willingness to change the way we live is more widespread than seen before. Climate issues are very powerful and affect people profoundly," Anders Lindholm, the head of the Demoskop polling institute which carried out the study, told the daily Dagens Nyheter.
"Previously people were not so affected by the phenomenon but now it has a personal impact on people. Buying environmentally friendly products, such as cars, now has status," he added.
A total of 89 percent of those polled said it was important for individuals to take responsibility for a better climate and as many as 72 percent said they already recycle their rubbish.
Many also said they buy environmentally friendly and locally produced products, or would be willing to do so.
Only a few however are willing to make changes in the way they travel and about half of the respondents said they would not travel less.
The study, in which some 2,500 people were interviewed on climate and environmental issues, was compiled by Demoskop and commissioned by Swedish TV4.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Posted By The Guardian
Rumours of a link between the US first family and the Nazi war machine have circulated for decades. Now the Guardian can reveal how repercussions of events that culminated in action under the Trading with the Enemy Act are still being felt by today's president Ben Aris in Berlin and Duncan Campbell in WashingtonSaturday September 25, 2004
George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.
The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.
His business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy
The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator's action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
The debate over Prescott Bush's behaviour has been bubbling under the surface for some time. There has been a steady internet chatter about the "Bush/Nazi" connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis' plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty.
Remarkably, little of Bush's dealings with Germany has received public scrutiny, partly because of the secret status of the documentation involving him. But now the multibillion dollar legal action for damages by two Holocaust survivors against the Bush family, and the imminent publication of three books on the subject are threatening to make Prescott Bush's business history an uncomfortable issue for his grandson, George W, as he seeks re-election.
While there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause, the documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen's US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.
Bush was also on the board of at least one of the companies that formed part of a multinational network of front companies to allow Thyssen to move assets around the world.
Thyssen owned the largest steel and coal company in Germany and grew rich from Hitler's efforts to re-arm between the two world wars. One of the pillars in Thyssen's international corporate web, UBC, worked exclusively for, and was owned by, a Thyssen-controlled bank in the Netherlands. More tantalising are Bush's links to the Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC), based in mineral rich Silesia on the German-Polish border. During the war, the company made use of Nazi slave labour from the concentration camps, including Auschwitz. The ownership of CSSC changed hands several times in the 1930s, but documents from the US National Archive declassified last year link Bush to CSSC, although it is not clear if he and UBC were still involved in the company when Thyssen's American assets were seized in 1942.
Three sets of archives spell out Prescott Bush's involvement. All three are readily available, thanks to the efficient US archive system and a helpful and dedicated staff at both the Library of Congress in Washington and the National Archives at the University of Maryland.
The first set of files, the Harriman papers in the Library of Congress, show that Prescott Bush was a director and shareholder of a number of companies involved with Thyssen.
The second set of papers, which are in the National Archives, are contained in vesting order number 248 which records the seizure of the company assets. What these files show is that on October 20 1942 the alien property custodian seized the assets of the UBC, of which Prescott Bush was a director. Having gone through the books of the bank, further seizures were made against two affiliates, the Holland-American Trading Corporation and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation. By November, the Silesian-American Company, another of Prescott Bush's ventures, had also been seized.
The third set of documents, also at the National Archives, are contained in the files on IG Farben, who was prosecuted for war crimes.
A report issued by the Office of Alien Property Custodian in 1942 stated of the companies that "since 1939, these (steel and mining) properties have been in possession of and have been operated by the German government and have undoubtedly been of considerable assistance to that country's war effort".
Prescott Bush, a 6ft 4in charmer with a rich singing voice, was the founder of the Bush political dynasty and was once considered a potential presidential candidate himself. Like his son, George, and grandson, George W, he went to Yale where he was, again like his descendants, a member of the secretive and influential Skull and Bones student society. He was an artillery captain in the first world war and married Dorothy Walker, the daughter of George Herbert Walker, in 1921.
In 1924, his father-in-law, a well-known St Louis investment banker, helped set him up in business in New York with Averill Harriman, the wealthy son of railroad magnate E H Harriman in New York, who had gone into banking.
One of the first jobs Walker gave Bush was to manage UBC. Bush was a founding member of the bank and the incorporation documents, which list him as one of seven directors, show he owned one share in UBC worth $125.
The bank was set up by Harriman and Bush's father-in-law to provide a US bank for the Thyssens, Germany's most powerful industrial family.
August Thyssen, the founder of the dynasty had been a major contributor to Germany's first world war effort and in the 1920s, he and his sons Fritz and Heinrich established a network of overseas banks and companies so their assets and money could be whisked offshore if threatened again.
By the time Fritz Thyssen inherited the business empire in 1926, Germany's economic recovery was faltering. After hearing Adolf Hitler speak, Thyssen became mesmerised by the young firebrand. He joined the Nazi party in December 1931 and admits backing Hitler in his autobiography, I Paid Hitler, when the National Socialists were still a radical fringe party. He stepped in several times to bail out the struggling party: in 1928 Thyssen had bought the Barlow Palace on Briennerstrasse, in Munich, which Hitler converted into the Brown House, the headquarters of the Nazi party. The money came from another Thyssen overseas institution, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvarrt in Rotterdam.
By the late 1930s, Brown Brothers Harriman, which claimed to be the world's largest private investment bank, and UBC had bought and shipped millions of dollars of gold, fuel, steel, coal and US treasury bonds to Germany, both feeding and financing Hitler's build-up to war.
Between 1931 and 1933 UBC bought more than $8m worth of gold, of which $3m was shipped abroad. According to documents seen by the Guardian, after UBC was set up it transferred $2m to BBH accounts and between 1924 and 1940 the assets of UBC hovered around $3m, dropping to $1m only on a few occasions.
In 1941, Thyssen fled Germany after falling out with Hitler but he was captured in France and detained for the remainder of the war.
There was nothing illegal in doing business with the Thyssens throughout the 1930s and many of America's best-known business names invested heavily in the German economic recovery. However, everything changed after Germany invaded Poland in 1939. Even then it could be argued that BBH was within its rights continuing business relations with the Thyssens until the end of 1941 as the US was still technically neutral until the attack on Pearl Harbor. The trouble started on July 30 1942 when the New York Herald-Tribune ran an article entitled "Hitler's Angel Has $3m in US Bank". UBC's huge gold purchases had raised suspicions that the bank was in fact a "secret nest egg" hidden in New York for Thyssen and other Nazi bigwigs. The Alien Property Commission (APC) launched an investigation.
There is no dispute over the fact that the US government seized a string of assets controlled by BBH - including UBC and SAC - in the autumn of 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy act. What is in dispute is if Harriman, Walker and Bush did more than own these companies on paper.
Erwin May, a treasury attache and officer for the department of investigation in the APC, was assigned to look into UBC's business. The first fact to emerge was that Roland Harriman, Prescott Bush and the other directors didn't actually own their shares in UBC but merely held them on behalf of Bank voor Handel. Strangely, no one seemed to know who owned the Rotterdam-based bank, including UBC's president.
May wrote in his report of August 16 1941: "Union Banking Corporation, incorporated August 4 1924, is wholly owned by the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart N.V of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. My investigation has produced no evidence as to the ownership of the Dutch bank. Mr Cornelis [sic] Lievense, president of UBC, claims no knowledge as to the ownership of the Bank voor Handel but believes it possible that Baron Heinrich Thyssen, brother of Fritz Thyssen, may own a substantial interest."
May cleared the bank of holding a golden nest egg for the Nazi leaders but went on to describe a network of companies spreading out from UBC across Europe, America and Canada, and how money from voor Handel travelled to these companies through UBC.
By September May had traced the origins of the non-American board members and found that Dutchman HJ Kouwenhoven - who met with Harriman in 1924 to set up UBC - had several other jobs: in addition to being the managing director of voor Handel he was also the director of the August Thyssen bank in Berlin and a director of Fritz Thyssen's Union Steel Works, the holding company that controlled Thyssen's steel and coal mine empire in Germany.
Within a few weeks, Homer Jones, the chief of the APC investigation and research division sent a memo to the executive committee of APC recommending the US government vest UBC and its assets. Jones named the directors of the bank in the memo, including Prescott Bush's name, and wrote: "Said stock is held by the above named individuals, however, solely as nominees for the Bank voor Handel, Rotterdam, Holland, which is owned by one or more of the Thyssen family, nationals of Germany and Hungary. The 4,000 shares hereinbefore set out are therefore beneficially owned and help for the interests of enemy nationals, and are vestible by the APC," according to the memo from the National Archives seen by the Guardian.
Jones recommended that the assets be liquidated for the benefit of the government, but instead UBC was maintained intact and eventually returned to the American shareholders after the war. Some claim that Bush sold his share in UBC after the war for $1.5m - a huge amount of money at the time - but there is no documentary evidence to support this claim. No further action was ever taken nor was the investigation continued, despite the fact UBC was caught red-handed operating a American shell company for the Thyssen family eight months after America had entered the war and that this was the bank that had partly financed Hitler's rise to power.
The most tantalising part of the story remains shrouded in mystery: the connection, if any, between Prescott Bush, Thyssen, Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC) and Auschwitz.
Thyssen's partner in United Steel Works, which had coal mines and steel plants across the region, was Friedrich Flick, another steel magnate who also owned part of IG Farben, the powerful German chemical company.
Flick's plants in Poland made heavy use of slave labour from the concentration camps in Poland. According to a New York Times article published in March 18 1934 Flick owned two-thirds of CSSC while "American interests" held the rest.
The US National Archive documents show that BBH's involvement with CSSC was more than simply holding the shares in the mid-1930s. Bush's friend and fellow "bonesman" Knight Woolley, another partner at BBH, wrote to Averill Harriman in January 1933 warning of problems with CSSC after the Poles started their drive to nationalise the plant. "The Consolidated Silesian Steel Company situation has become increasingly complicated, and I have accordingly brought in Sullivan and Cromwell, in order to be sure that our interests are protected," wrote Knight. "After studying the situation Foster Dulles is insisting that their man in Berlin get into the picture and obtain the information which the directors here should have. You will recall that Foster is a director and he is particularly anxious to be certain that there is no liability attaching to the American directors."
But the ownership of the CSSC between 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland and 1942 when the US government vested UBC and SAC is not clear.
"SAC held coal mines and definitely owned CSSC between 1934 and 1935, but when SAC was vested there was no trace of CSSC. All concrete evidence of its ownership disappears after 1935 and there are only a few traces in 1938 and 1939," says Eva Schweitzer, the journalist and author whose book, America and the Holocaust, is published next month.
Silesia was quickly made part of the German Reich after the invasion, but while Polish factories were seized by the Nazis, those belonging to the still neutral Americans (and some other nationals) were treated more carefully as Hitler was still hoping to persuade the US to at least sit out the war as a neutral country. Schweitzer says American interests were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The Nazis bought some out, but not others.
The two Holocaust survivors suing the US government and the Bush family for a total of $40bn in compensation claim both materially benefited from Auschwitz slave labour during the second world war.
Kurt Julius Goldstein, 87, and Peter Gingold, 85, began a class action in America in 2001, but the case was thrown out by Judge Rosemary Collier on the grounds that the government cannot be held liable under the principle of "state sovereignty".
Jan Lissmann, one of the lawyers for the survivors, said: "President Bush withdrew President Bill Clinton's signature from the treaty [that founded the court] not only to protect Americans, but also to protect himself and his family."
Lissmann argues that genocide-related cases are covered by international law, which does hold governments accountable for their actions. He claims the ruling was invalid as no hearing took place.
In their claims, Mr Goldstein and Mr Gingold, honorary chairman of the League of Anti-fascists, suggest the Americans were aware of what was happening at Auschwitz and should have bombed the camp.
The lawyers also filed a motion in The Hague asking for an opinion on whether state sovereignty is a valid reason for refusing to hear their case. A ruling is expected within a month.
The petition to The Hague states: "From April 1944 on, the American Air Force could have destroyed the camp with air raids, as well as the railway bridges and railway lines from Hungary to Auschwitz. The murder of about 400,000 Hungarian Holocaust victims could have been prevented."
The case is built around a January 22 1944 executive order signed by President Franklin Roosevelt calling on the government to take all measures to rescue the European Jews. The lawyers claim the order was ignored because of pressure brought by a group of big American companies, including BBH, where Prescott Bush was a director.
Lissmann said: "If we have a positive ruling from the court it will cause [president] Bush huge problems and make him personally liable to pay compensation."
The US government and the Bush family deny all the claims against them.
In addition to Eva Schweitzer's book, two other books are about to be published that raise the subject of Prescott Bush's business history. The author of the second book, to be published next year, John Loftus, is a former US attorney who prosecuted Nazi war criminals in the 70s. Now living in St Petersburg, Florida and earning his living as a security commentator for Fox News and ABC radio, Loftus is working on a novel which uses some of the material he has uncovered on Bush. Loftus stressed that what Prescott Bush was involved in was just what many other American and British businessmen were doing at the time.
"You can't blame Bush for what his grandfather did any more than you can blame Jack Kennedy for what his father did - bought Nazi stocks - but what is important is the cover-up, how it could have gone on so successfully for half a century, and does that have implications for us today?" he said.
"This was the mechanism by which Hitler was funded to come to power, this was the mechanism by which the Third Reich's defence industry was re-armed, this was the mechanism by which Nazi profits were repatriated back to the American owners, this was the mechanism by which investigations into the financial laundering of the Third Reich were blunted," said Loftus, who is vice-chairman of the Holocaust Museum in St Petersburg.
"The Union Banking Corporation was a holding company for the Nazis, for Fritz Thyssen," said Loftus. "At various times, the Bush family has tried to spin it, saying they were owned by a Dutch bank and it wasn't until the Nazis took over Holland that they realised that now the Nazis controlled the apparent company and that is why the Bush supporters claim when the war was over they got their money back. Both the American treasury investigations and the intelligence investigations in Europe completely bely that, it's absolute horseshit. They always knew who the ultimate beneficiaries were."
"There is no one left alive who could be prosecuted but they did get away with it," said Loftus. "As a former federal prosecutor, I would make a case for Prescott Bush, his father-in-law (George Walker) and Averill Harriman [to be prosecuted] for giving aid and comfort to the enemy. They remained on the boards of these companies knowing that they were of financial benefit to the nation of Germany."
Loftus said Prescott Bush must have been aware of what was happening in Germany at the time. "My take on him was that he was a not terribly successful in-law who did what Herbert Walker told him to. Walker and Harriman were the two evil geniuses, they didn't care about the Nazis any more than they cared about their investments with the Bolsheviks."
What is also at issue is how much money Bush made from his involvement. His supporters suggest that he had one token share. Loftus disputes this, citing sources in "the banking and intelligence communities" and suggesting that the Bush family, through George Herbert Walker and Prescott, got $1.5m out of the involvement. There is, however, no paper trail to this sum.
The third person going into print on the subject is John Buchanan, 54, a Miami-based magazine journalist who started examining the files while working on a screenplay. Last year, Buchanan published his findings in the venerable but small-circulation New Hampshire Gazette under the headline "Documents in National Archives Prove George Bush's Grandfather Traded With the Nazis - Even After Pearl Harbor". He expands on this in his book to be published next month - Fixing America: Breaking the Stranglehold of Corporate Rule, Big Media and the Religious Right.
In the article, Buchanan, who has worked mainly in the trade and music press with a spell as a muckraking reporter in Miami, claimed that "the essential facts have appeared on the internet and in relatively obscure books but were dismissed by the media and Bush family as undocumented diatribes".
Buchanan suffers from hypermania, a form of manic depression, and when he found himself rebuffed in his initial efforts to interest the media, he responded with a series of threats against the journalists and media outlets that had spurned him. The threats, contained in e-mails, suggested that he would expose the journalists as "traitors to the truth".
Unsurprisingly, he soon had difficulty getting his calls returned. Most seriously, he faced aggravated stalking charges in Miami, in connection with a man with whom he had fallen out over the best way to publicise his findings. The charges were dropped last month.
Buchanan said he regretted his behaviour had damaged his credibility but his main aim was to secure publicity for the story. Both Loftus and Schweitzer say Buchanan has come up with previously undisclosed documentation.
The Bush family have largely responded with no comment to any reference to Prescott Bush. Brown Brothers Harriman also declined to comment.
The Bush family recently approved a flattering biography of Prescott Bush entitled Duty, Honour, Country by Mickey Herskowitz. The publishers, Rutledge Hill Press, promised the book would "deal honestly with Prescott Bush's alleged business relationships with Nazi industrialists and other accusations".
In fact, the allegations are dealt with in less than two pages. The book refers to the Herald-Tribune story by saying that "a person of less established ethics would have panicked ... Bush and his partners at Brown Brothers Harriman informed the government regulators that the account, opened in the late 1930s, was 'an unpaid courtesy for a client' ... Prescott Bush acted quickly and openly on behalf of the firm, served well by a reputation that had never been compromised. He made available all records and all documents. Viewed six decades later in the era of serial corporate scandals and shattered careers, he received what can be viewed as the ultimate clean bill."
The Prescott Bush story has been condemned by both conservatives and some liberals as having nothing to do with the current president. It has also been suggested that Prescott Bush had little to do with Averill Harriman and that the two men opposed each other politically.
However, documents from the Harriman papers include a flattering wartime profile of Harriman in the New York Journal American and next to it in the files is a letter to the financial editor of that paper from Prescott Bush congratulating the paper for running the profile. He added that Harriman's "performance and his whole attitude has been a source of inspiration and pride to his partners and his friends".
The Anti-Defamation League in the US is supportive of Prescott Bush and the Bush family. In a statement last year they said that "rumours about the alleged Nazi 'ties' of the late Prescott Bush ... have circulated widely through the internet in recent years. These charges are untenable and politically motivated ... Prescott Bush was neither a Nazi nor a Nazi sympathiser."
However, one of the country's oldest Jewish publications, the Jewish Advocate, has aired the controversy in detail.
More than 60 years after Prescott Bush came briefly under scrutiny at the time of a faraway war, his grandson is facing a different kind of scrutiny but one underpinned by the same perception that, for some people, war can be a profitable business
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Born in Alor Star, the capital of the northern state of Kedah, Mahathir said in his autobiography that he had Indian ancestry (from his father), with its origins tracing back to Tamil Nadu/Kerela border in India, while his mother was a Kedah-born Malay. Mahathir, however, considers himself to be a "full Malay", in line with Article 160 of the Constitution. Under Article 153 of the Constitution, Malays are granted particular rights not available to other citizens.
During World War II, he sold pisang goreng (banana fritters) to supplement his family income in the Japanese occupation of Malaya.
Mahathir first attended a Malay vernacular school before continuing his education at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Star. Mahathir then attended the King Edward VII Medical College in Singapore, where he edited a medical student magazine called The Cauldron; he also contributed to the The Straits Times newspaper anonymously under the nickname "Che Det". Mahathir was also President of the Muslim Society in the college. In 1953, Mahathir entered the then Malayan government service as a medical officer upon graduation.
He married Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali—a former classmate in college—on August 5, 1956, and left the government service in 1957 to set up his own practice in Alor Star. Mahathir's practice thrived, allowing him to own by 1959 a Pontiac Catalina and a Chinese chauffeur (at the time most chauffeurs were Malay, owing to Chinese economic dominance). Some critics have suggested this foreshadowed a later hallmark of Mahathir's politics, which focused on the "cultivation of such emblems of power".
Active in politics since 1945, beginning with his involvement in the Anti-Malayan Union Campaign, Mahathir joined the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) upon its inception in 1946. As State Party Chairman, and Chairman of the Political Committee, he inadvertently angered some quarters with his proposal that the selection of candidates be based on certain qualifications for the 1959 general election. Hurt by accusations that he was scheming to put up candidates who were strongly allied to him, Mahathir refused to take part in the national election that year.
In the third general election of 1964, Mahathir was elected Member of Parliament for Kota Setar Selatan, defeating the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party's (PAS) candidate with a 60.2% majority. He lost the seat in the following general election in 1969 by a mere 989 votes to PAS's candidate, Haji Yusoff Rawa, after he categorically declared that he did not need Chinese votes to win. (Ironically, Mahathir won the 1999 general elections mainly due to Chinese votes, when the Malay grounds were split over his quarrels with his deputy Anwar Ibrahim.)
Following the race riots of May 13, 1969 in the May 13 Incident, Mahathir was sacked from the UMNO Supreme Council on 12 July, following his widespread distribution to the public of his letter to Tunku Abdul Rahman, the then Prime Minister. In his letter, he had criticised the manner in which the Tunku had handled the country's administration. Mahathir was subsequently relieved of his party membership on 26 September.
While in the political wilderness, Mahathir wrote his book, "The Malay Dilemma", in which he sought to explain the causes of the May 13 Incident in Kuala Lumpur and the reasons for the Malays' lack of economic progress within their own country.
He then proposed a politico-economic solution in the form of "constructive protection", worked out after careful consideration of the effects of heredity and environmental factors on the Malay race. The book, published in 1970, was promptly banned by the Tunku Abdul Rahman government. However, some of the proposals in this book had been used by Tun Abdul Razak, the second Prime Minister, in his "New Economic Policy" that was principally geared towards affirmative action economic programs to address the nation's economic disparity between the Malays and the non-Malays. The ban on his book was eventually lifted after Mahathir became Prime Minister in 1981.
Mahathir rejoined UMNO on 7 March 1972, and was appointed as Senator in 1973. He relinquished the senatorship post in 1974 in order to contest in the general elections where he was returned unopposed in the constituency of Kubang Pasu, and was appointed as the Minister of Education.
In 1975, he became one of the three vice-presidents of UMNO, after winning the seat by 47 votes. Tun Hussein Onn appointed Mahathir as Deputy Prime Minister on 15 September 1978, and in a Cabinet reshuffle, appointed him concurrently as the Minister of Trade and Industry.
Mahathir became the Prime Minister of Malaysia on 10 July 1981 when Tun Hussein Onn stepped down due to health reasons. After 22 years in office, Mahathir retired on October 31, 2003, making him one of Asia's longest-serving political leaders. Upon his retirement on 31 October 2003, Mahathir was awarded a "Tun"-ship, Malaysia's highest civilian honour.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Iran state television has broadcast video showing the recently freed British navy crew playing games, chatting, laughing and watching television during their captivity.
Tehran said the footage shown on Sunday refuted claims made by the soldiers two days earlier that they had been mistreated.
The crew said they had been blindfolded, isolated in cold stone cells, tricked into fearing execution, and coerced into falsely saying they had entered Iranian waters.
The video clips, which were briefly aired on Iran's state-run Arabic satellite channel Al-Alam, showed several of the sailors and marines dressed in track suits playing chess and table tennis, laughing and chatting.
The newscaster said the video proved "the sailors had complete liberty during their detention, which contradicts what the sailors declared after they arrived in Britain".
The crew reported having been under constant psychological pressure and being threatened with seven years in prison if they did not say they intruded into Iranian waters.
Lieutenant Felix Carman, one of the crew members captured on March 23, said they were rarely allowed to socialise and when they were, it was for the benefit of the Iranian media.
"We were kept in isolation until the last few nights, when we were allowed to get together for a few hours, in the full glare of the Iranian media," Carman said at a news conference on Friday.
"But that was very much a setup, very much a stunt for Iranian propaganda."
In the video broadcast on Sunday, Carman could be seen wearing a business suit and smiling at the camera.
Iran has dismissed the sailors' news conference as propaganda.
Two days before their release, Tehran had pledged not to show more videos of the captured crew.
The 15 were captured in the Gulf on March 23 and freed last week by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, who called their release a gift to Britain.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Israel has refused to accept a revived Arab peace initiative, saying more negotiations are needed.
The plan, put forward after an Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia, offers Israel full diplomatic ties if it withdraws from all land seized in the 1967 war, allows the creation of a Palestinian state and the return of Palestinian refugees.
Amr Moussa, the league's secretary general, read out a "Riyadh Declaration" reaffirming its commitment to an initiative offered in 2002.
The declaration "affirms a just and comprehensive peace ... based on the principles and resolutions of international legitimacy and the land-for-peace formula".
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, urged Israel "not to miss another chance" to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to accept the revived plan.
"I reiterate the sincerity of the Palestinian will in extending the hand of peace to the Israeli people."
However, Shimon Peres, the Israeli deputy prime minister, rejected the initiative and said talks were needed on any final peace deal.
Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said the Israel rejection was not suprising.
"This has always been its approach. Whenever the Arabs come up with resolutions ... [offering] peace, they reject them categorically," he said.
One obstacle is the the right of return of the Palestinians who fled or were driven from their homes during the creation of Israel in 1948, and of their descendants.
However, the Riyadh Declaration makes no direct mention of the refugee issue and the 2002 plan calls only for a "just solution" to the problem.
Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera's Jerusalem correspondent, said that Israel might see room for manoeuvre in this.
"Israel will be looking for any signs that the Arab League has toned down the 2002 plan - most notably on the right of return for refugees."
In their closing statement, Arab leaders also warned of a threat of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, seen as refering to Israel and Iran.
The leaders called for greater co-operation among Arab nations to develop their own peaceful nuclear energy programmes.
Many Arab states share Western concerns that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and are worried about its growing influence in the region's main hotspots - Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
Friday, March 23, 2007
A funeral has been held for a 12-year-old boy shot dead by British soldiers while he was travelling in a car with his family.
Nato officials have told Al Jazeera they "deeply regretted the loss of life" and had launched an investigation into the incident in the capital Kabul on Thursday.
British troops opened fire on the car as the boy and his family were driving home from a family gathering, James Bays, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Afghanistan, said.
Cradling the body of his dead son, the boy's father, Zemarai, said: "They killed my son - I can never get him back."
Zemarai said he was driving seven of his relatives home and was several hundreds metres away from the soldiers' vehicles when they opened fire.
"The first three bullets hit my car and the fourth one hit my 12-year old son in the side of his head."
The Afghan interior ministry said Nato troops had opened fire on a minivan "which apparently tried to overtake the troops or maybe the car was too close to the troops".
Zemarai has denied trying to overtake the convoy and said he was unaware of any warning shots.
Bays said he later counted four bullet holes in the bodywork of the damaged vehicle.
"The boy is the latest innocent victim of a Nato mistake and his father has said he would join the Taliban or any other group that would force foreign troops from his country," Bays said.
The area's police chief told Al Jazeera he was "deeply disturbed" by the incident involving International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) troops.
He said: "We've had this sort of problem all over Afghanistan.
"I hope the Afghan government deal with this seriously."
Bays said the police chief was later threatened with dismissal for speaking out over the killing.
A child was also hit and killed by a Nato vehicle in a convoy in the eastern province of Khost after he ran out from the side of the road, Isaf said in a statement late on Thursday.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Ten of them had "swapped" places with visitors over the past week, an Army spokesman said.
Their disappearance from the Shuaiba military base, west of the southern city of Basra, was only noticed on Friday.
It was not immediately clear when or how the prisoners escaped. The prisoners had been held for two years.
UK military spokesman Major David Gell confirmed that there had been an escape but gave few details.
"We are aware of the incident and it is now under investigation. We will make a statement soon," he told the AFP news agency.
A security source told the agency that the prisoners had been held without charge for the past two years.
BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood, who is in Basra with the British Army, described it as "a very embarrassing incident" for the army.
He said: "It does not speak of very tight security given that the British Army says these people were considered to pose a threat to the security of Iraq and to the multi-national forces."
Thousands of Iraqis are held in US and British-run prisons across Iraq for security reasons
Monday, March 12, 2007
General Rick Hillier, the chief of defence staff, during an earlier visit to Kandahar. (Les Perreaux/CP)
Posted by Globe and Mail Update in Canada (JOE FRIESEN )
KANDAHAR — General Rick Hillier says he has no regrets about signing an agreement with the government of Afghanistan relinquishing the right to monitor the treatment of detainees.
“We think the agreement was pretty solid,” Gen. Hillier said. “We perhaps have improved it with this latest initiative, which really formalizes something which was informal and if we see an opportunity to do better ahead we will.”
Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor recently announced that Canada has asked the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission to monitor detainees handed over to Afghan authorities. Unlike Britain and the Netherlands, Canada did not retain the right to verify that detainees transferred to Afghan custody are being properly treated.
Mr. O'Connor planned to meet with Abdul Qadar Noorzai, head of the human rights commission, in Kandahar today, but meeting fell through because Mr. Noorzai was unavailable.
Mr. O'Connor said Sunday that he wanted to look Mr. Noorzai in the eye to confirm his group are “going to do what they say they're going to do.”
It's not known whether the meeting will be rescheduled.
Speaking to reporters after arriving at Kandahar airfield Monday morning, Gen. Hiller, the Chief of Defence Staff, also said the Afghan war is winnable, and that Canada can meet its troop commitments through 2009 and beyond.
“Over all, there is a growing feel that the Taliban can be put back, constrained, minimized, and diminished constantly. You're not going to do it all at once, and it's still going to take a lot of effort, but this thing is winnable,” he said.
“The Taliban is a robust force. They're a force you don't want to take lightly. At the same time they're not 10 feet tall. They took a significant body blow last fall” in Operation Medusa. He said that as time goes by, the value of Operation Medusa, and its impact on the Taliban, will become apparent.
Gen. Hillier said the Afghan mission is not putting undue strain on military resources. Canada has the capacity to keep between 2,000 and 3,000 troops out of the country, as it has done for several decades, he said.
“We've got the resources to complete this mission through to February, 2009, without question,” he said.
He also said that some soldiers will have to return for second tours of duty in Afghanistan, although the priority remains to expose as many troops as possible to a combat theatre.
“Many of our soldiers, after I talked about trying to reduce the numbers of those returning, many of the soldiers come to me constantly and say, ‘Sir, we don't like that policy,” he said. “We are going to use some people for repeat tours. That's a good thing.”