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21 May 2007


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Clifford Kiracofe

"NEW YORK Staffers at McClatchy's Washington, D.C., Bureau -- one of the few major news outlets skeptical of intelligence reports during the run-up to the war in Iraq -- claims it is now being punished for that coverage.

Bureau Chief John Walcott and current and former McClatchy Pentagon correspondents say they have not been allowed on the Defense Secretary's plane for at least three years, claiming the news company is being retaliated against for its reporting."

Toe the line, go along with the White House managed news program, and you get "access", otherwise...

An elderly Bavarian friend once told me about news management during the Third Reich. He recalled Goebbels would have a daily (I think it was) press "briefing" during which dutiful journalists (stenographers) would get their cues and appropriate stories would follow. For background,

Clifford Kiracofe


Two interesting new takes in today's press:

Christian Science Monitor with Blanford's dateline at the camp: http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0524/p04s01-wome.html

Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/8187476c-088a-11dc-b11e-000b5df10621,dwp_uuid=fc3334c0-2f7a-11da-8b51-00000e2511c8.html



Shortly after the violent outbreak, FAI released a statement vowing to 'unleash fire' on the lebanese goverment. This statement was carried widely in the local media (lebanon).

John Howley

Here's what Hersh wrote last February in his New Yorker article "The Redirection" (about Bush strategy of backing all manner of Sunnis against the Shia threat on the advice of Riyadh):

"Alastair Crooke, who spent nearly thirty years in MI6, the British intelligence service, and now works for Conflicts Forum, a think tank in Beirut, told me, “The Lebanese government is opening space for these people to come in. It could be very dangerous.” Crooke said that one Sunni extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, had splintered from its pro-Syrian parent group, Fatah al-Intifada, in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon. Its membership at the time was less than two hundred. “I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government’s interests—presumably to take on Hezbollah,” Crooke said."


Chris Marlowe

CK, swerv21--

I would argue that many of the official Palestinian groups have been hurt because they have not been able to cut a deal to improve the lives of Palestinians, either through a peace with Israel or some other means.

When western governments cut off aid to the official Palestinian organizations, they create a vacuum which more extremist organizations such as Fatah al Islam are likely to fill.

By refusing to put pressure on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, and not helping the official Palestinian organizations to deliver some kind of hope to Palestinian refugees, the US and European governments perpetuate the cycle of violence. This becomes the basic fuel of violence and source of more anti-western volunteer fighters.

Whether this is deliberate, or simply the result of short-sighted domestic policies and agendas, I don't know.

Ask Cheney and Abrams.



arab governments are complicit in this status quo condition.

the Palestinians don't have to be disenfranchised by everyone else to retain a sense of identity, or even grievance. the situation is made even more odious when the same governments that deny these people political rights are the ones that trumpet the pan-Arabist line against Israel.

these people bear no less responsibility for the disenfranchisement of the refugees. if these governments were truly the pan-arabists they claim to be they would have given palestinians the right to claim dual citizenship with full rights in any middle eastern country.

Chris Marlowe


I'm not claiming that the Arab governments are not guilty of hypocrisy and complicity. I can understand the original logic for not giving Palestinians citizenship; that it would weaken the cause of Palestinian statehood, but I think that argument has worn thin by now.

We could get into an argument about who is more and who is less at fault, as the players in the ME have been doing for the past 60 years. How much have people gotten with that argument?

As far as I'm concerned, there are no real good guys in this argument, only victims.

Clifford Kiracofe

"The camp population all say that Fatah Al-Islam came in September-October 2006 and have no relatives in the camp. They are from Saudi, Pakistan, Algeria, Iraq, and Tunisia and elsewhere. No Palestinians among them except some hanger ons. Most say they are paid by the Hariri group.

Reports that Fateh al-Islam helps people in Bared are denied. " All they do is pray, one woman told me..and do military training.. They are much more religious than the Shia" she said.
It is not surprising that al-Qaeda sympathies, if not formal affiliations, are found in the 12 official camps as well as 7 unofficial ones. Groups with names such as Fateh al-Islam, Jund al-Shams (Soldier of Damascus) , Ibns al-Shaheed" (sons of the martyrs) Issbat al-Anssar which morphed into Issbat al-Noor - "The Community of Illumination" and many others.
Over a year ago Hariri's Future Movement started setting up Sunni Islamist terrorist cells (the PSP and LF already had their own militia since the civil war and despite the Taif Accords requiring militia to disarm they are now rearmed and itching for action and trying hard to provoke Hezbollah).

The FM created Sunni Islamist 'terrorist' cells were to serve as a cover for (anti-Hezbollah) Welch Club projects. The plan was that actions of these cells, of which Fatah el-Islam is one, could be blamed on al Qaeda or Syria or anyone but the Club.

To staff the new militias, FM rounded up remnants of previous extremists in the Palestinian Refugee camps that had been subdued, marginalized and diminished during the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. Each fighter got $700 per month, not bad in today's Lebanon.

The first Welch Club funded militia, set up by FM, is known locally as Jund-al-Sham (Soldiers of Sham, where "Sham" in Arabic denotes Syria, Lebanon, Palestine & Jordan) created in Ain-el-Hilwa Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon. This group is also referred to in the Camps as Jund-el-Sitt (Soldiers of the Sitt, where "Sitt" in Sidon, Ain-el-Hilwa and the outskirts pertain to Bahia Hariri, the sister of Rafiq Hariri, aunt of Saad, and Member of Parliament).

The second was Fateh-al-Islam (The name cleverly put together, joining Fateh as in Palestinian and the word Islam as in Qaeda). FM set this Club cell up in Nahr-al-Bared refugee camp north of Tripoli for geographical balance.

Fatah el-Islam had about 400 well paid fighters until three days ago. Today they may have more or fewer plus volunteers. The leaders were provided with ocean view luxury apartments in Tripoli where they stored arms and chilled when not in Nahr-al-Bared. Guess who owns the apartments?

According to members of both Fatah el-Islam and Jund-al-Sham their groups acted on the directive of the Club president, Saad Hariri."

and so forth
for which see, Turkish Weekly at:

Again, where is the coverage in the US media of the composition, funding, and leadership of this group? What are the facts? Press reports talk about dead and captured members, ok what about them?

Is Sy Hersh's similar to the above recent analysis on track? Pretty on track? Not on track? Can't tell yet?

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