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Iceland To Back Palestinian Statehood At UN


Össur Skarphédinsson and Dr. Riad Al Malki
Icelandic Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson has announced his country will back a formal call for Palestinian statehood at the UN, should a proposed motion be put before the international group this September.

The announcement comes after a two-day trip to Gaza by Skarphedinsson, who met with his Palestinian counterpart, Riad al-Maliki.

"I told him that if it came to be at the United Nations General Assembly in September that a motion would be put forward by the nations supporting Palestinian independence and encouraging other nations to recognise Palestine as an independent nation with its 1967 borders, Iceland would support that," Skarphedinsson told national broadcaster RUV.

"Likewise, if a proposition comes to the UN to include Palestine into the UN as a new nation, as President Obama said he wanted a year ago, Iceland would also support that."


BP rebounds into $5.62-billion net profit

© Gerald Herbert/AP
BP, profits before planet
British energy giant BP rebounded into net profit in the second quarter of 2011, aided by high oil prices, after a huge loss last year in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, it said Tuesday.

Earnings after taxation hit $5.62 billion (3.87 billion euros) in the three months to the end of June, BP said in a results statement.

That compared with an enormous loss of $17.15 billion in the second quarter of 2010, when it was slammed by spiralling costs from the devastating oil spill.

However, production sank 10.7 percent to 3.43 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, following suspension of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Output was also hit as the group sold of $25 billion of assets to help foot the bill for the disaster.


Norway Justice employees missing after massacre

© AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
People gather outside Oslo City Hall to participate in a "rose march" in memory of the victims of Friday's bomb attack and shooting massacre, Norway, Monday, July 25, 2011.
Oslo, Norway - Norway's justice minister told reporters Tuesday that employees from his department were still missing after an attack on government headquarters in Oslo and a shooting spree at a nearby island that killed at least 76.

Police have not released the names of the victims yet but hope to start that process Tuesday. Justice Minister Knut Storberget gave no information about the missing.

Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to last week's bombing in the capital and a rampage at a Labor Party retreat for young people. In all, 76 people have been confirmed killed in the twin attacks that have stunned peaceful Norway.

"The Justice Ministry has people who are missing, we have people who are very hard hit by this and we are without offices," Storberget told reporters.

Storberget also offered a defense of the police, who announced a substantial reduction in the official death toll on Monday, adding to a growing series of missteps in their response.


As the American Empire Spreads Abroad, it Becomes a Police State at Home

police state
© benfrank.net
As America's empire spreads abroad, it becomes ever more the police state at home. The methods used for the suppression of foreigners by military force and violence are eventually mirrored in the "homeland."

In an article last September 25th titled "It Is Official: the US Is A Police State," author Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Treasury Secretary during the Reagan years, wrote, "'Violent extremism' is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning's FBI foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with 'the material support of terrorism'..."

The FBI raids at home are reminiscent of U.S. military raids overseas. In Iraq, for instance, labor union offices were raided and rifled and labor leaders imprisoned by the Occupation forces. Their "crime" was to oppose sweetheart contract deals with private oil firms.

The vast U.S. prison system, which houses 2.4 million Americans, may be compared with the Gulag the U.S. has built abroad. America today is the World's Jailer. As Allan Uthman reported on AlterNet, in 2006 the Bush regime began building "detention centers" to warehouse inmates for unspecified "new programs" when the Army Corps of Engineers gave Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root nearly $400 million. What we do abroad, we do at home.

Star of David

After Oslo: Time to Crack Down On Mossad Terrorism

Israel's most secret and tried-and-true weapon is the "false flag" terrorist attack.

State-sponsored terrorism is defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as the "systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective [and] is employed by governments -- or more often by factions within governments -- against that government's citizens, against factions within the government, or against foreign governments or groups."

On July 22, a bomb, said to be an Oklahoma City-type explosive device, crafted with fertilizer and diesel fuel, blew up in downtown Oslo, Norway, in the heart of the government district. Shortly thereafter, a man dressed in a Norwegian police uniform opened fire on a Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya in Tyri fjord. Access to the island was by boat only. Over 100 people were killed in the twin terror attacks.

Almost immediately, the world's corporate media began pushing the story that those who were responsible for the blast and mass shooting were associated with "Al Qaeda" and other radical Islamist groups. CNN's Washington, DC chief anchor Wolf Blitzer, a former spokesman for the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby and a correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, began his late afternoon program by pointing to "Al Qaeda" and radical Islamists as the chief culprits for the terrorist attacks in Norway.

Bizarro Earth

Israel's Housing Protests: The Normalization of Occupation

© Getty Images
Israelis march to protest against rising housing prices and social inequalities in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 23.
In the absence of peace and war, domestic social struggles are spilling out into Israeli streets. The outburst of "normal" social struggle in Israel this year is, however, not a welcome sign. Despite claims that the recent social struggles are representative of the normalization of Israeli society, they are actually the ultimate representation of the normalization of the occupation and permanent conflict.

Doctors have been on strike for over 100 days. A massive boycott of cottage cheese brought the country's attention to the high cost of basic food goods. Orthodox and religious Jews mounted mass protests against the police questioning of two rabbis. On Saturday, tens of thousands of youths and otherwise distraught Israelis took to the streets to demand affordable housing and social welfare amid an incredible and seemingly never-ending real estate bubble.

"The current protests are a sign of a return, at least temporarily, to normalcy," Jerusalem Post diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wrote in an insightful and enlightening analysis Friday. In the late 1990s, Keinon writes, the Israeli legislative agenda and media focus was on domestic societal issues, dominated by a cultural clash between orthodox Jews and secular society. New political parties founded to address social issues were thrust into Knesset.

"But then the second intifada erupted and drowned it all out," he says. "The equation was simple: First worry about life, and then the quality of life."


The US Military Turns Out to Fund Taliban

While the US authorities and political leaders waste enormous amounts of time and energy looking for new enemies of the state, the real "bad guys" turn out to have nothing to do with Julian Assange, Bradley Manning or cyber criminals from Anonymous. And their actions could be incomparably more devastating and embarrassing for America than the combined efforts of all the whistleblowers and hackers. The latest military-led investigation concluded that corruption put US taxpayers' money into the hands of Taliban. The unreleased report provides evidence that US transportation funds have been indirectly transferred to the Afghan insurgents under a $2.16 billion contract funded by the US. And, what is even more shocking, the contract with all eight trucking companies involved in a fraud was extended by Pentagon in March for six more months. This fact looks even weirder in the wake of the battle over spending and the escalating threat of the default.

According to the report, the military obtained "documented, credible evidence...of involvement in a criminal enterprise or support for the enemy" by four of the eight contractors. The investigators claim they found proof that the trucking firms that were supposed to move US military supplies across Afghanistan, got involved in numerous cases of money laundering, profiteering and bribes to Afghan power figures and insurgence leaders. Literally that means the military was spending US budget to support the corrupted contractors who paid militants to ensure safe passage of the truck convoys across Afghanistan. Neither Assange nor Anonymous could disclose information more embarrassing for the US military.

"This goes beyond our comprehension," said Rep. John F. Tierney - a former chairman of a House subcommittee that charged the military of funding a blatant fraud, - "I would hate like hell to think my kid was over there" and the Taliban was "coming after them with something bought with our taxpayers' money."

Light Saber

South African Group Aims to Put Israel on Trial - Again

© Russell Tribunal on Palestine via Creative Commons
Ambassador of France Stephane Hessel, standing, flanked by John Dugard, left, and Michael Mansfield, listen to expert testimony as jury members of the London session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, November 2010.
Ten years after the notorious U.N. anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa, that devolved into an Israel-bashing frenzy, anti-Zionist forces are mobilizing again to hold another anti-Israel conference in South Africa.

This time, Israel will be on trial.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine -- a standing organization that held two tribunals against Israel last year in Barcelona and London -- has been called for Nov . 5-6 in Cape Town "to probe whether the treatment of Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories meets the criteria of the United Nations convention against the crime of apartheid."

The South African Zionist Federation has called the event, which is to involve prominent South Africans and already is making national headlines here, "an irrelevant talk shop."

"Despite its name, the Russell Tribunal is not an impartial, accountable judicial body," a vice chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, Ben Swartz, told JTA. "Rather it is a loose association of lobbyists pushing a narrow, one-sided political agenda, in this case the delegitimization of the State of Israel."

He called it "a pointless political smear campaign by a self-appointed group of anti-Israel activists."

Star of David

Israel Prime Minister Delays Poland Trip Over Housing Protests

© Agence France-Presse / Jack Guez
Israeli demonstrators protest against rising housing prices in Tel Aviv
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has postponed a trip to Poland scheduled for this week, his office said in a statement on Monday, as protests over high housing costs spread across Israel.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told his Polish counterpart he will be postponing his visit to Warsaw to another date because he wants to stay in Israel to promote a law dealing with housing market reforms," it said.

Netanyahu's office said the premier would also be staying behind to promote "specific steps to help students, discharged soldiers and young couples," who have taken to the streets to protest against their lack of housing options.

Netanyahu's trip and itinerary had not been officially announced, but he was expected to visit Warsaw this week to ask Poland to vote against a Palestinian bid for United Nations membership this September, Israeli media reported.


Head fed cyberspook resigns abruptly

US-CERT director gives no reason for departure

The head of a group that helps the federal government ward off computer attacks abruptly resigned Friday, amid a spate of high-profile assaults hitting government agencies and contractors.

The departure of US Computer Emergency Readiness Team director Randy Vickers was first reported Monday by InformationWeek, which cited an internal email sent to US-CERT staff. The email gave no reason for the resignation, which is effective immediately.