Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nukes & Temples

Evidently, American presidents wish to continue to guard Israel's nuclear "secret". If the motivation is a simple case of double standard, surely one must be deplored by the submissiveness of the general community. On the other hand, the more inquisitive mind would surely want to prod deeper and question the drive behind the guarding of this "secret"?

Perhaps motivations have changed over time. In 1969, Kissinger, aware that Israel had deceived the United States about its nuclear bomb program, which it was suspected to have stolen from the U.S., wrote to Nixon that pressuring Israel to reveal its nuclear arsenal would result in a Soviet nuclear guarantee for the [oil rich] Arabs and increase conflict in the region[i]. Ironically, it was Nixon who soon after had considered sending airborne troops to seize oilfields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi pursuing the 1973 war.

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Evidently, American presidents wish to continue to guard Israel's nuclear "secret". If the motivation is a simple case of double standard, surely one must be deplored by the submissiveness of the general community. On the other hand, the more inquisitive mind would surely want to prod deeper and question the drive behind the guarding of this "secret"?

Perhaps motivations have changed over time. In 1969, Kissinger, aware that Israel had deceived the United States about its nuclear bomb program, which it was suspected to have stolen from the U.S., wrote to Nixon that pressuring Israel to reveal its nuclear arsenal would result in a Soviet nuclear guarantee for the [oil rich] Arabs and increase conflict in the region[i]. Ironically, it was Nixon who soon after had considered sending airborne troops to seize oilfields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi pursuing the 1973 war.

Today, the secrecy continues, as does the aid -- perhaps towards a messianic return - the building of the Third Temple.

In 2006, the Israeli government began work on an exact replica of the Hurva synagogue on its original site. The story of the Hurva has received little attention other than coinciding with Joe Biden's visit to Israel and that government's insistence on building more illegal settlements. But Hurva is the beginning of the end.

As the United States protects Israel and pushes for more sanctions on Iran, thereby distracting the international community from the more pressing problem at hand, rabbis are being tailored for the special kind of garments they will be wearing in a "rebuilt temple". These rabbis believe that the return of Jews to Jerusalem are the obvious signs - "Less obvious are the more subtle realities that add up - the rebuilding of the Jewish Quarter, Jews steadily moving into the Old City, even the Temple Mount tunnel excavations. But alas, those big mosques are still situated on the Temple Mount. For now."[ii]

Attempts to fulfill the prophecy are not new. In 1990, there was another attempt by the 'Temple Mount Faithful' to bring a cornerstone for a reconstructed Third Temple to the site. In 1996, the opening of an archaeological tunnel adjacent to the Mount led to the first outbreak of widespread violence across the territories between Israelis and Palestinians since the signing of the Oslo accords. In 2000, Ariel Sharon staged a provocative visit to the Temple Mount and said: "The Temple Mount is in our hands and will remain in our hands. It is the holiest site in Judaism and it is the right of every Jew to visit the Temple Mount,".

It took four years to complete the work on Hurva. When presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised AIPAC an undivided Jerusalem in 2008, the building of the Hurva synagogue was well on the way -- which signaled continued future attacks on the al-Aqsa Mosque to make way for construction of the Third Temple. Past wars and future was waged against other countries based on unfounded accusations has distracted the international community from the reality of this construction and its implications - the messianic era. As importantly, Israel's stockpile of nuclear weapons - a nation more likely than any other to use their nuclear weapons based on their deep religious ideology.

Of particular concern is the Gush Emunim, a right-wing religious organization, or others, hijacking a nuclear device to ‘liberate’ the Temple Mount for the building of the Third Temple. The completion of the Hurva synagogue has increased these chances. On April 6, JTA reported that "Our Land of Israel" party had put posters on 200 city buses in Jerusalem showing an artist's rendition of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the al-Aqsa Mosque with the slogan, "May the Temple be built in our lifetime."

Equally disturbing, a 1997 article reviewing the Israeli Defense Force repeatedly stressed the possibilities of, and the need to guard against, a religious, right-wing military coup, especially as the proportion of religious in the military increases[iii]. The warming was not unfounded. The once secular army now has combat units filling with those who believe Israel's wars are "God's wars".

Mordechai Vanunu not only disclosed Israel's 200 nuclear bombs, but revealed the sophisticated underground plutonium separation facility producing 40 kilograms annually, several times more than previous estimates. The very 'apple size' plutonium Mr. Obama said had to be guarded as it was capable of killing hundreds of thousands of people. Surely Israel does not need several hundred nuclear bombs to defend itself? Prominent Israeli military historian, theorist, and one of the voices who strongly condemned George Bush's Iraq invasion, Martin van Creveld, the famous Israeli military historian and theorist, sheds light on what Israel may want with the bombs:

Referring to the mindset of Israeli leaders, he had opined: “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome.” “We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.”

Assuredly this is not a bluff. American-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard obtained satellite-imaging data of the former Soviet Union, allowing Israel to target Russian cities. Israel is capable of using its nuclear arsenal a political lever or 'retaliatory capability'. Perhaps this explains Tel-Aviv's "friendly" trips to Russia when Israel wants Iran to be pressured. Israel also used American satellite imagery to plan the 7 June 1981 attack on the Tammuz-1 reactor at Osiraq, Iraq[iv].

This small nation controls much of the world. It commits crimes against humanity and its partner in crime, the United States, makes such reports as the "Goldstone Report" disappear. It extends war -- the 2006 Lebanon war -- for maximum damage. Yet, at the behest of Israel, day and night, Iran is persecuted, its citizens denied of their rights - and under the pretext of 'human rights' and in gross violation of international law and U.N. Security Council Resolution 984, threatened with nuclear weapons - for Messiah's Temple.

Heaven must be hell.

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Why Sharks Should Not Own Sport

As Tiger Woods returns to golf, not all his affairs are salacious headlines. The Tiger Woods Golf Course in Dubai is costing $100million to build. Dubai relies on cheap third world labour, as do certain consumer brands that have helped make Woods a billionaire. Nike workers in Thailand wrote to Woods, expressing their “utmost respect for your skill and perseverance as an athlete” but pointing out that they would need to work 72,000 years “to receive what you will earn from [your Nike] contract”.
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The American sports writer, Dave Zirin, is one of the few to break media silence on the corporate distortion and corruption of sport. His forthcoming book Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love (Scribner) blows a long whistle on what money power has done to the people’s pleasure, its heroes like Woods and the communities it once served. He describes the impact of the Texan Tom Hicks’s half-ownership of Liverpool Football Club, which followed another rich and bored American Malcolm Glazer’s “leveraged takeover” of Manchester United in 2005. As a result, England’s most successful club (with Liverpool) is now 716.5 million pounds in debt.

How long has this been going on? In 1983, you could buy a ticket to a first division game for 75 pence. Today, the average at Old Trafford is around 34 pounds. Watch the latest crop of parents on morose queues to buy overpriced club strips and insignia, also made with cheap and often sweated labour, with the brand of a failed multinational emblazoned on it. Profiteering is now an incandescent presence across top-class sport. Sven-Goran Eriksson will trouser up to two million pounds for just three months’ work in Ivory Coast, where half the population has barely enough to survive. Australia’s finest, most boorish cricketers are collecting their bundles for a few months’ cavorting in the Indian franchises. The attitude is entitlement, the kind that less talented “celebrities” flaunt. It was in no way remarkable that in 2007-8 a number of the heirs to Don Bradman’s Invincibles achieved what was once nigh on impossible; they were disliked in their own country. Those high fives and air-punching fists have become salutes not to “everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards” (Bill Shankly), but to the voracious sponsor and the forensic camera.

Take for example FIFA, which has effectively taken charge of South Africa for the World Cup. Along with the International Olympic Committee, FIFA is sport’s Wall Street and Pentagon combined. They have this power because host politicians believe the “international prestige” of their visitation will bring economic and promotional benefits, especially to themselves. I was reminded of this watching a documentary by the South African director Craig Tanner, Fahrenheit 2010. His film is not opposed to the World Cup, but reveals how ordinary South Africans, whose game is football, have been shoved aside, dispossessed and further impoverished so that a giant TV fa├žade can be erected in their country.

A new stadium near Nelspruit will host four World Cup matches over 10 days. Jimmy Mohlala, speaker of the local municipality, was gunned down in his home in January last year after whistle-blowing “irregularities” in the tenders. An entire school, which was in the way, has been removed into prefabricated, sweltering steel boxes on a desolate site with a road running through it. “When the World Cup is over,” said the writer Ashwin Desai, “it will become obvious that these stadiums are going to be empty shells, that our money has been used for what is really a pyramid scheme”.

A community of 20,000 people, the Joe Slovo Informal Settlement, is threatened with eviction from where they live near the main motorway between Cape Town and the city’s airport. They are deemed an “eyesore”. Street vendors will be arrested if they fail to comply with FIFA rules about trade and advertising and mention the words “World Cup”, even “2010”. FIFA will earn about two and quarter billion pounds from the TV rights, exceeding its income from the last two World Cups combined.

Incredibly, South Africa will get none of this. And this is country with up to 40 per cent unemployment, a male life expectancy of 49 and thousands of malnourished children. This truth about the “rainbow nation” is not what fans all over the world will see on their TV screens, although they may glimpse an unreported feature of modern South Africa, which is a vibrant, rolling resistance that has linked the World Cup to an economic apartheid that remains as divisive as ever. Indeed, another kind of World Cup for effective popular protest has long been won in the streets of South Africa’s townships.

In his chapter on Liverpool FC, Dave Zirin describes a similar resistance that also offers inspiration to those struggling to reclaim sport from the sharks. A fans’ organization, Share Liverpool FC, is aiming for 100,000 shareholders to buy back the club from Tom Hicks and his co-owner, George Gillett. Liverpool fans have also formed the Liverpool Supporters Union (LSU), which has had thousands in the streets calling for a boycott of the Bank of Scotland if it gives Hicks and Gillett any more credit. Remember how the boycott of Murdoch press succeeded in Liverpool following the Sun’s lies over the Hillsborough tragedy. “If we stand together and speak with one voice, regardless of language or accent,” says the LSU, “we can make a genuine difference to our football club, the city of Liverpool and indeed the wider footballing world.” On 17 April, Hicks and Gillett announced they were selling the club. Manchester United fans are mounting a similar, principled resistance in defence of the sport they love and which they believe rightly is theirs. We should support them.

By John Pilger