Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's Official : Bring On The 'New World Order'

China, Russia Leaders Shred United States Over Economic Armageddon

There were more than a few so-called conspiracy websites and books in the mid-1990s that claimed the 'New World Order', where the US no longer called the shots, would not rise to reality as a result of war, but of a world economic collapse on a scale not seen since the days of the Great Depression. How right they were.

The leaders of China, Russia, and many other countries, are now demanding world economies and globalisation be restructured to reflect the 'New World Order', or 'New Global Order', that will be the long-term result of the economic armageddon staining and straining these days.

But few leaders have talked so openly about the who and the what and the why of this new order as the British prime minister, Gordon Brown :
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday the financial crisis must not be an excuse to retreat into protectionism and instead be viewed as the "difficult birth-pangs of a new global order".

Yesterday's data confirmed Friday that Britain is in recession. Days earlier, the government unveiled a new package of measures to help the flow of credit in the economy, but Brown has argued global action is needed for a quick recovery.

He will warn Monday that the crisis has given the world a choice: "We could allow this crisis to start a retreat from globalisation. As some want, we could close our markets -- for capital, financial services, trade and for labour -- and therefore reduce the risks of globalisation.

"But that would reduce global growth, deny us the benefits of global trade and confine millions to global poverty.

"Or we could view the threats and challenges we face today as the difficult birth-pangs of a new global order -- and our task now as nothing less than making the transition through a new internationalism to the benefits of an expanding global society."

Who are the 'some' that Brown talks of who want a retreat from globalisation? Is he talking about a country, or a union of nations, or is he talking about another entity, perhaps a coalition of banking interests who now feel they are under attack, and probably are?

The leaders of China and Russia know exactly which country is responsible for the still spreading financial chaos and destruction :

Chinese and Russian leaders Wen Jiabao and Vladimir Putin have blamed the United States for causing the global economic crisis on a gloomy first day of the Davos forum.

Both called for a new attitude by President Barack Obama, while deepening pessimism over the future of the global economy enshrouded the World Economic Forum.

Chinese Premier Wen said America's voracious appetite for debt and "blind pursuit of profit" had led to the worst recession since the Great Depression which has rocked the 2,500 strong political and business elite gathered in the Swiss mountain resort.

Prime Minister Putin said the disappearance of some Wall Street titans over the past six months testified to the errors committed.

Premier Wen blamed the crisis on "inappropriate macroeconomic policies of some economies" and "prolonged low savings and high consumption," in a lightly veiled attack on the United States.

He blasted the "excessive expansion of financial institutions in blind pursuit of profit and the lack of self-discipline among financial institutions and ratings agencies" while the "failure" of regulators had allowed the spread of toxic derivatives.

Premier Wen said the crisis had posed "severe challenges" for China and that it needed 8.0 per cent growth in 2009 to maintain social stability while the International Monetary Fund predicted 6.7 per cent for this year.

The Chinese leader called for faster reform of international financial institutions and for a "new world order" for the economy.

The Russian Prime Minister followed him to the podium and said the crisis had been a "perfect storm".

He also took aim at US banks and the outgoing US administration.

"Although the crisis was simply hanging in the air, the majority strove to get their share of the pie, be it one dollar or one billion, and did not want to notice the rising wave," he said.

Prime Minister Putin insisted that he would not join critics of the United States, but added: "I just want to remind you that just a year ago, American delegates speaking from this rostrum emphasised the US economy's fundamental stability and its cloudless prospects."

Condoleezza Rice, when US secretary of state, gave a speech in Davos last year saying the US economy was safe.

"Today investment banks, the pride of Wall Street, have virtually ceased to exist. In just 12 months they have posted losses exceeding the profits they made in the last 25 years. This example alone reflects the real situation better than any criticism," said Prime Minister Putin.

"In meeting the international financial crisis, it is imperative for the two countries to enhance cooperation, that is my message to the US administration," Premier Wen said.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Iran Hails Iraq As Part Of Powerful "Anti-Zionist Front"

Media in the Middle East often present a totally different version of the future of Iraq than we get in the newspapers and news breaks in Australia and the United States. Considering the Iraq we were promised by NeoCons would come into being, post-war, the reality of Iraq and Iran becoming powerful allies against the US and Israel is somewhat shocking, though not unexpected :
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that a “powerful” Iraq will dash the hopes of the enemies who seek to dominate the Middle East.

In a meeting with Iraq’s National Security Advisor Muwafaq al-Rubaie in Tehran on Thursday, Ahmadinejad also noted that a powerful Iraq will enable the Iraqi people to fulfill their “humanitarian and Islamic duties” in the region.

He hoped that Iraq would soon emerge as a progressive country, saying Iran will strongly support the neighboring country.

“We hope that the Iraqi government would soon take complete control (of its security),” Ahmadinejad said in a reference to Iran’s long-held position that U.S. forces must leave Iraq as soon as possible.

Although the U.S. power is “declining” and the regional countries including Iraq are getting stronger, those who control the U.S. policy behind the scenes seek to “completely dominate the Middle East”, the president pointed out.

Therefore it is essential to be aware of the enemies’ conspiracies, he added.

Ahmadinejad also stated that a powerful Iraq will strengthen the “anti-Zionist front in the region”.

Al-Rubaie thanked Iran for its efforts in helping rebuild Iraq and promoting security in the country.

He made a reference to Ahamadinejad’s trip to Iraq in March 2008, saying, “You (Ahmadinejad) were the first president in the region to visit Iraq” and this shows your “bravery and love” for the Iraqi people.
Excerpts from an editorial in the Tehran Times claim the dreams of freedom from the war machines of Israel and the US that so many in the region believe are worth dying for, are now edging closer to reality, after the civilian massacres in Gaza :
Zionism, an ideology of racial supremacy, extremism and hate, is a dying project, in retreat and failing to find new recruits. With enough pressure, and relatively quickly, Israelis too would likely produce their own de Klerk ready to negotiate a way out. Every new massacre makes it harder, but a de-zionized, decolonized, reintegrated Palestine affording equal rights to all who live in it, regardless of religion or ethnicity, and return for refugees is not a utopian dream.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Gaza will likely be seen as the turning point when Israeli propaganda lost its power to mystify, silence and intimidate as it has for so long. Even the Nazi Holocaust, long deployed by Zionists to silence Israel's critics, is becoming a liability; once unimaginable comparisons are now routinely heard. Jewish and Palestinian academics likened Israel's actions in Gaza to the Nazi massacre in the Warsaw Ghetto.

A Vatican cardinal referred to Gaza as a “giant concentration camp.” UK Member of Parliament Gerald Kaufman, once a staunch Zionist, told the House of Commons, “My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow, (Poland). A German soldier shot her dead in her bed.” Kaufman continued, “my grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.” He denounced the Israeli military spokesperson's justifications as the words “of a Nazi.”

It wasn't only such statements, but the enormous demonstrations, the nonviolent direct actions, and the unprecedented expressions of support for boycott, divestment and sanctions from major trade unions in Italy, Canada and New Zealand. An all-party group of city councilors in Birmingham, Europe's second largest municipal government, urged the UK government to follow suit.

Israel, its true nature as failed, brutal colonial project laid bare in Gaza, is extremely vulnerable to such a campaign. Little noticed amidst the carnage in Gaza, Israel took another momentous step towards formal apartheid when the Knesset elections committee voted to ban Arab parties from participating in upcoming elections.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The dehumanization of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims has escalated to the point where Israel can with full self- righteousness bomb their homes, places of worship, schools, universities, factories, fishing boats, police stations -- in short everything that sustains civilized and orderly life -- and claim it is conducting a war against terrorism.

Yet paradoxically, it is Israel as a Zionist regime, not Palestine or the Palestinian people, that cannot survive this attempted genocide.

Israel's “war” was not about rockets -- they served the same role in its narrative as the non-existent weapons of mass destruction did as the pretext for the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Israel's real goals were to restore its “deterrence” fatally damaged after its 2006 defeat in Lebanon (translation: its ability to massacre and terrorize entire populations into submission) and to destroy any Palestinian resistance to total Israeli-Jewish control over historic Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

With Hamas and other resistance factions removed or fatally weakened, Israel hoped the way would be clear to sign a “peace” deal with chief Palestinian collaborator Mahmoud Abbas to manage Palestinians on Israel's behalf until they could be forced out once and for all.

The U.S.-backed “moderate” dictatorships and absolute monarchies led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia supported the Israeli plan hoping to demonstrate to their own people that resistance -- whether against Israel or their own bankrupt regimes -- was futile.

To win, Israel had to break Palestinian resistance. It failed. On the contrary, it galvanized and unified Palestinians like never before. All factions united and fought heroically for 23 days. According to well-informed and credible sources Israel did little harm to the modest but determined military capacity of the resistance. So instead Israel did what it does best: it massacred civilians in the hope that the population would turn against those fighting the occupier.

Israel not only unified the resistance factions in Gaza; its brutality rallied all Palestinians and Arabs.

If there was ever a moment when the peoples of the region would accept Israel as a Zionist state in their midst, that has passed forever.
Read The Full Story Here

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama Terrorises The Neocons' 'War On Terror'

US President Obama made a lot of promises during his 2008 campaign about the 'War on Terror' and how the United States would interrogate and detain those they viewed as enemies, if he were to win power.

Obama, obviously, has won just about all the power he needs to dismantle the NeoCons' 'War On Terror', and he appears to be getting straight down to some of the hardest work he will have to do in eventually removing the 'War On Terror' money siphon out of American taxapayers' pockets :
Barack Obama embarked on the wholesale deconstruction of George Bush's war on terror, shutting down the CIA's secret prison network, banning torture and rendition, and calling for a new set of rules for detainees. The repudiation of Bush's thinking on national security yesterday also saw the appointment of a high-powered envoy to the Middle East.

Obama's decision to permanently shut down the CIA's clandestine interrogation centres went far beyond the widely anticipated move to wind down the Guantánamo Bay detention centre within a year.

He cast his scrapping of the legal apparatus set up by Bush as a way for America to reclaim the moral high ground in the fight against al-Qaida.

"We are not, as I said during the inauguration, going to continue with the false choice between our safety and our ideals," Obama said at the signing ceremony. "We intend to win this fight. We are going to win it on our own terms."

In a sign of the sweeping rejection of the legal standards set by Bush, officials briefing reporters at the White House yesterday said the new administration would not be guided by any of the opinions on torture and detainees issued by the justice department after 11 September 2001.

Instead, Obama, in three executive orders, renewed the US commitment to the Geneva convention on the treatment of detainees. All detainees will be registered by the International Committee for the Red Cross, in another departure of past practice under the Bush administration.

A group of 16 retired admirals and generals, in a meeting organised by Human Rights First, said the move would restore America's moral authority in the world, and strengthen its national security. "President Obama has rejected the false choice between national security and our ideals," they said.

Another order directs the CIA to follow the US army field manual on interrogations, which bars such techniques as waterboarding.

Obama appears to be seeking a new direction of not allowing the US to be totally subservient to Israel in the Middle East. It has been announced that :

...his administration would put resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the top of his agenda, "actively and aggressively" seeking a comprehensive peace deal. As a sign of that intent, he confirmed that former senator George Mitchell, a veteran US mediator, would be his Middle East envoy.

Obama, who had been criticised for his silence during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, set out a new position that, while still leaning towards Israel, was more even-handed than that under Bush. He called for Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel, but also said that Israel must "complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza".

When Obama demands Israel open Gaza's borders for the kind of free market trade that American allies are supposed to be embrace and encourage, then it will be clearer just what sort of Change he has planned to bring to a close the endless bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel is, apparently, quite worried about the apointment of George Mitchell as Middle East envoy. Mitchell is credited as helping to end the war between the British government and the IRA, and believes "there is no such thing as a conflict that can’t be ended. Conflicts are created and conducted by human beings. They can be ended by human beings."

In Israel, Mitchell is seen as too even-handed, and will not tolerate Israeli or Palestinian officials who only wish to the continue the fighting, and bombings, and infanticide.

There's a lot of very powerful, and still very rich, people on the Middle East Crisis War Cash Express, and they don't want to get off. More than $100 billion American dollars has flowed into the 'Middle East Crisis' since George W. Bush took office in 2000. Most of the money has gone to, and through, Israel, but billions have also gone to Fatah. The weapons sales alone that are only excusable by the never-ending "Crisis in the Middle East" has been good for the global war industry. The 'War On Terorr' and the 'Middle East Crisis' have been banner years for arms and weapons sales. And they won't take talk of it all coming to a very fast end under Obama as a sign of brighter futures for themselves.

You will know that George Mitchell and Obama are really taking apart the 'War on Terror' and ending the manufactured 'Middle East Crisis' when stories linking Mitchell to decades old porn-and-hookers fables start bombarding the tabloids. If the profiteers of the 'Middle East Crisis' are really upset, Mitchell's message about how he is changing the Middle East paradigm will be swamped with smutty allegations, beat-ups and scandals.

The Murdoch media will be the first, and the most prolific, of all the smearers.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hamas : How Israel Lost Its Latest War

Just like during World War II, in the War On Terror you sometimes get to hear from the scheduled enemies in the mainstream media. Here's the deputy chief of the Hamas political bureau :

Israel's objectives from the war on Gaza were set long before its launch: to remove the Hamas movement and government, achieve the reinstallation of the Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, in Gaza, and end the armed resistance. Two other objectives were not announced. First, restore the Israeli public's wavering confidence in its armed forces after its defeat by Hezbollah in 2006. Second, boost the coalition government in the coming elections.

Accordingly, we declare that Israel lost, and lost decisively. What did it achieve? The killing of large numbers of civilians, children and women, and the destruction of homes, ministry buildings and other infrastructure with the most advanced US weapons and other internationally banned chemical and phosphorous elements. Almost 2,000 children were killed and injured in desperate pursuit of political goals. Many international organisations called these attacks war crimes, yet barely a word of denunciation was uttered by any western leader. What message does the EU mean to send Palestinians by its shameful silence on these crimes, when it speaks incessantly on human rights?

If anything, the last three weeks, and previous 18 months, have proved that the Palestinians can never be broken by either starvation, economic strangulation or brutal attack. European leaders have only one option: to recognise the outcome of a democratic process they had called for and supported.

The aggression failed to undermine or weaken the Hamas-led government, or turn Palestinians against Hamas. If anything, public support is stronger than ever in Palestine and worldwide. Hamas's military capabilities have not been hurt, either. This explains Israel scurrying to sign such a strange agreement with the US to stop arms reaching Hamas. It is doomed to fail. As the former Israeli chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon and Binyamin Netanyahu agreed, Israeli forces failed to achieve their objectives.

Why is Israel allowed a continuous flow of the most lethal arms, including banned weapons, while national resistance movements are denied the means of defence? International laws permit occupied nations to resist their occupiers, and that is a right we aim to utilise to the full.

Israel must accept the reality that it is incapable of breaking the Palestinian resistance. Similarly, Europe must accept that bringing back Abbas on an Israeli tank is not an option. Nor are attempts to win by "diplomacy" what the might of the Israeli military failed to secure by force. To state that all aid for Gaza reconstruction must go through the illegal government of Salam Fayyad suggests there is no end to some parties' exploitation of Palestinians. We will never cease to pursue national unity, but we will never allow it to be attained by compromising Palestinian rights.

And to President Obama we say: the wave of hope that met your election was heavily dampened by your silence on the Gaza massacre. This was compounded by your pre-election statement siding with the Israeli settlers of Sderot. You would do well to know the history of the places of which you speak. Sderot, which may be known to some as an Israeli town, lies on the ruins of Najd, a Palestinian village ransacked in May 1948 by Zionist terrorist gangs. Villagers were forced from their beds and homes with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, rendering them refugees for the next 61 years. That is the story of Sderot. It is never a good start to get your tyrant and victims mixed up, but there is still room for a revival of passionate optimism. Only if you decide to fairly address the issue of the 6 million Palestinian refugees and the ending of occupation of Palestinian lands, including Jerusalem, will you be able to start a new relationship with the Muslim world.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gaddafi : All We Are Sayiinnnng, Is Give Bin Laden A Chance

Libya's Muammar Gaddafi has decided he can help out US President Obama with some foreign policy ideas : give Osama Bin Laden the chance to reform and push for a 'one state solution' where Israel, Gaza and the West Bank are renamed 'Isratine'.

It's like something from the satirical newspaper The Onion :

Mr Gaddafi hailed what he called "positive signals" so far from the new Obama administration, including plans to close the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"Terrorism is a dwarf not a giant. Osama bin Laden is a person who can be given a chance to reform," Mr Gaddafi said through an interpreter.

In a speech outlining his views on how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mr Gaddafi called for the creation of one state rather than two nations living side by side.

"We can call it Isratine," he said.

If Jews did not accept a one-state solution, he said they could move to Hawaii, Alaska or an island in the Pacific.

"They could live peacefully in an isolated setting," he said.

Then US Secretary of State, Condaleeza Rice welcomed Lybia back from three decades of isolation in September, 2008 :
"We did talk about learning from the lessons of the past," Rice said. "We talked about the importance of moving forward. The United States, I've said many times, doesn't have any permanent enemies."
Gadaffi was a big, big fan of 'Leezza' Rice :
"I support my darling black African woman," he said. "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders. ... Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. ... I love her very much. I admire her, and I'm proud of her, because she's a black woman of African origin."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

"They Killed The Elders, The Women, The Children, The Animals, The Chickens"

The Destruction Of Gaza

The world view would seem to be that Israel is following Hamas' ceasefire demand to pull its forces out of Gaza within days. While the Israeli media mostly portrays the intense meetings between Israel and the US as 'negotiations', it's clear Israel has been told by the Americans that this time it has gone too far, as world outrage continues to mount over the scale of destruction, and the tide of civilian casualties and dead and maimed children in Gaza. War crimes investigations of Israel's Gaza carnage will be backed by the most previously steadfast of Israel's allies, including Australia and the United States.

But first, there is the destruction Israel has left behind, like something of out of World War 2's Europe :
It was a day of digging and bitter discovery. Houses had lost walls, and the dead, after three weeks of war, had lost their faces. Families identified them by their clothes.

As the people of Gaza emerged from hiding on Sunday, they confronted, for the first time, the full, sometimes breathtaking extent of the destruction around them wrought by the Israeli military. Bombs had pulverized the Parliament and cabinet buildings, the Ministry of Justice, the main university and the police station, paralyzing Gaza’s central nervous system and leaving residents in a state of shock.

In Twam to the north, thousands dragged belongings away from ruined houses; they were dazed refugees in their own city. In Zeitoun, families clawed at rubble and concrete, trying to dislodge the bodies of relatives who had died weeks before. The death toll kept climbing: 95 bodies were taken from the rubble.

More than 20 of them were from the Samouni family, whose younger members were digging with shovels and hands for relatives stuck in rooms inside. Faris Samouni, 59, sat alone, watching them. He had lost his wife, daughter-in-law, grandson and nephew, and he was heartbroken.

“Twenty-one are down there,” he said, starting to cry. “One is my wife. Her name is Rizka.”

The dead were badly decomposed, and families searched for familiar personal details that would identify them. One woman’s corpse was identified by her gold bracelets. Another by her earrings. And a third by the nightgown she wore. The smell of rotting flesh was suffocating, and as they got closer, the diggers donned masks.

At 10:55 a.m., the body of Rizka Samouni emerged as an Israeli fighter jet roared in the sky. Other corpses followed. Houda, 18. Faris, 14. Hamdi, 21. The smallest corpse that emerged, from a different family, was that of a 4-year-old.

“They killed the elders, the children, the women, the animals, the chickens,” said Subhi, 55, Rizka’s brother. “It’s a nightmare. I never thought I would lose all of them.”

Around noon, a worker from the Red Crescent ran up to the diggers. The Israelis had called, telling people to leave, he said. The families began to run, again.

“We have to go!” a woman shouted. “But where can we go? Where do we go?”

An Israeli military spokesman said the order had been issued because the Red Crescent had not coordinated its movement in advance. Later, permission was granted and the diggers returned to exhume the remaining bodies.

This is Israel deliberately fucking with people it has just destroyed. This is a ontinuation of the stated "cruel" war Israel had been training its troops to fight in Gaza for at least 18 months.

More scenes straight from a World War 2 newsreel :

Donkey carts lurched over torn-up roads, spilling pillows and bedding into the dirt. People dragged bed frames and mattresses out of bombed-out houses. Small boys carried bookshelves. Curtains tied in giant sacks held clothes. Decorative cloth flowers fluttered from a half-closed trunk.

It was almost dark and the Samounis were finally burying their dead. It took time to find a car big enough to carry them all. A man had to stand in the back to keep them from falling out.

At the cemetery, a battery-powered neon light cast an eerie glow over men digging the graves.

A final obstacle: There was not enough room to bury all the bodies. The family opened up an old grave to accommodate them.

A cousin, Khamis el-Sayess, observed bitterly, “Even our dead have no land.”

Even our dead have no land....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Israel Agrees To Truce, Pullout Of Most Forces From Gaza In One Week, Hamas Declares Victory

They're still pulling the bodies of Palestinian women and children from the ruins of Gaza, more than 1300 killed, an estimated 5000 people wounded, more than a billion dollars worth of damage to apartment towers, hospitals, schools, streets, crops, parks. The devastation Israel has left behind has shocked the shit out of the war-hardened journalists Israel has kept locked out of Gaza for three weeks. Now they're starting to get access and are meeting the victims. The stories are like something out of World War 2.

The history books will record this horror as another failed war by Israel. Hamas has won international sympathy, on behalf of the Gazans, who will now likely back them in even stronger numbers than when they won elections in 2006.

Here's Hamas declaring victory :

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said the Gaza war with Israel amounted to a "great victory" for the Palestinians, in a televised speech on Sunday.

"God has granted us a great victory, not for one faction, or party, or area, but for our entire people," said Haniya, the prime minister appointed by the Islamist movement Hamas in the impoverished territory.

"We have stopped the aggression and the enemy has failed to achieve any of its goals," he added, less than 24 hours after Israeli halted a massive offensive on Gaza that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians.

"The groups of the resistance have decided to halt their fire in Gaza so that the enemy army can completely withdraw," he said.

"The decision proves that the resistance was correct and responsible, and works according to the interests of our people."

Israeli troops began withdrawing from Gaza after the ceasefire took effect at 2am on Sunday (1100 AEDT Sunday) but the Jewish state has said its military will return fire if attacked...

Hamas Claim They Only Lost 48 Fighters In War

Hamas Checkmates Israel

London Review Of Books Contributors On The Massacre Of Gaza

"No Really, God Told Me To Kill All Those Women And Children"

John J. Mearsheimer : Another War, Another Defeat

Insane New Yorkers Lust For Arab Blood

Israel Loses Propaganda War By Forcing Journalists To Watch Al Jazeera

It Is A Religious War : Most IDF Soldiers Dedicated Jewish Zionists

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Babies Born Premature As Israel Hits Gaza Hospital With Chemical Weapons, Patients Crawl From Their Beds To Escape

The volume of reports chronicling the gruesome, anti-humanity reality of what Israel is doing in Gaza is almost impossible to keep up with. Hundreds of children killed, thousands injured, women shot in the head as they exit their homes carrying white flags, UN hospitals and safe houses bombed, missiles used to "evacuate" civilian homes....

And now this :

Desperate patients tried to flee a hospital in Gaza City this morning as it became engulfed in flames after being earlier set on fire by an Israeli tank shell, medics and witnesses said.

In scenes of utter panic, patients who had been wounded in the ongoing war in the territory could be seen trying to struggle from their beds, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

At least three prematurely-born babies were being wheeled out of the hospital in their incubators along with three patients who had been on life-support machines.

The sound of Israeli gunfire could also be heard in the neighbourhood where Al-Quds hospital is situated.

Dozens of families had arrived there at dawn loaded down with babies, toddlers and children after scores of Israeli tanks had roared into the area, sparking furious battles with Palestinian fighters.

As the fighting grew more intense, dozens more families, clutching hurriedly packed bags, had arrived at the hospital and tried to find a spot wherever they could, not knowing the horrors that awaited them.

As the frightened civilians took refuge in the facility, part of the hospital caught fire after an Israeli strike. The blaze was brought under control in the medical area but not in the administrative building.

Officials at the hospital said the blaze had been caused by a phosphorus shell, hampering efforts to extinguish the flames.

The attack put about 500 patients and medical staff at risk, according to the international Red Cross, while a doctor inside said they were trapped.

"The Israelis are bombing and attacking all around the hospital. We can't get out. There's fire, and we're trapped inside. The water has been cut off," French doctor Regis Garrigue told AFP by telephone earlier in the day.

The hospital was hit after around 12 hours of "incessant" bombing, said Dr Garrigue, the president and founder of the French medical aid agency "Help Doctors," was trapped in the building.

The collapse of the entire wing of a building triggered a moment of panic among the sheltering patients and families and sparked the blaze.

"I can't even describe the horror of that moment," Dr Garrigue said.

Meanwhile, Bashar Murad, a doctor and the head of the ambulance services for the Red Crescent, waited helplessly.

"I have three dead bodies at 500 metres, but I can't get to them," he said. "I have numerous wounded less than a kilometre away, but I can't move without authorisation," Dr Murad said.

Before the ambulances can move anywhere, the International Committee of the Red Cross must call the Israeli army and receive a green light, he said.

When they tell Israel where they are, and what they're doing, they run the risk of becoming targets, as the UN has already learned.

Read The Full Story Here
The Big 'War On Terror' Backdown Begins

Expect more Western-allied foreign ministers and foreign secretaries to bail out on not only the terminology but the Bush ideology of the 'War On Terror' in the coming weeks and months :

The foreign secretary, David Miliband, today argues that the use of the "war on terror" as a western rallying cry since the September 11 attacks has been a mistake that may have caused "more harm than good".

(he said) war on terror was misconceived and that the west cannot "kill its way" out of the threats it faces.

British officials quietly stopped using the phrase "war on terror" in 2006, but this is the first time it has been comprehensively discarded in the most outspoken remarks on US counterterrorism strategy to date by a British minister.

In remarks that were also made in a speech today in Mumbai, in one of the hotels that was a target of terrorist attacks in November, the foreign secretary says the concept of a war on terror is "misleading and mistaken".

"Historians will judge whether it has done more harm than good," Miliband says, adding that, in his opinion, the whole strategy has been dangerously counterproductive, helping otherwise disparate groups find common cause against the west.

"The more we lump terrorist groups together and draw the battle lines as a simple binary struggle between moderates and extremists or good and evil, the more we play into the hands of those seeking to unify groups with little in common," Miliband argues, in a clear reference to the signature rhetoric of the Bush era. "We should expose their claim to a compelling and overarching explanation and narrative as the lie that it is."

"Terrorism is a deadly tactic, not an institution or an ideology," he says.

He argues that "the war on terror implied a belief that the correct response to the terrorist threat was primarily a military one - to track down and kill a hardcore of extremists". But he quotes an American commander, General David Petraeus, saying the western coalition in Iraq "could not kill its way out of the problems of insurgency and civil strife".

Instead of trying to build western solidarity against a shared enemy, Miliband argues it should be constructed instead on the "idea of who we are and the values we share".

He goes on to say that "democracies must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law, not subordinating."

This kind of hard talk and critique of Bush's War On Terror, that has led to the death of more than a million people, and displaced many millions more, all just seems far too many years too late, doesn't it?