Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year?

Still "liberating" Ba`qubah. (AP)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Israel assassinates eight Palestinians

GAZA CITY - Seven Palestinian fighters, one of them a senior commander, were killed and 16 other people wounded in the Gaza Strip on Thursday in four Israeli raids on the Hamas-run territory, medics and witnesses said.

In the first Gaza raid three men -- two of them from the Islamic Jihad group and a third from the armed wing of Hamas -- were killed around the southern town of Khan Yunis. Six people were also wounded.

The Israeli army said that infantry units backed by air power carried out a "routine operation" targeting gunmen who were firing rockets and mortars into Israel.

"Units that entered several kilometres (miles) into the Gaza Strip were fired at by an anti-tank shell. They responded and hit three armed men," said a spokesman.

Shortly afterwards, two Islamic Jihad fighters were killed and two wounded in an air raid in the central Gaza Strip, medics said.

"The military carried out an air raid in the central Gaza Strip against a vehicle loaded with weapons," an Israeli spokesman said.

"The vehicle was hit."

A third Israeli raid, which witnesses said was carried out by either helicopters or drones, killed an Islamic Jihad fighter and wounded two more south of Gaza City, medical sources said.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Hobaan Rogam

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

And so this is Christmas....

A Palestinian protester dressed as Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, tries to block an Israeli soldier from arresting another demonstrator at a protest against Israel's separation barrier in the village of Umm Salamona, near the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem, Friday. Israel says the barrier is necessary for security, while Palestinians call it a land grab. The man was not injured in the incident. Getty Images (December 21, 2007)

A man sits in a wheelchair next to his demolished house, in Beijing, Friday. With soaring housing prices, some urban residents say they are being evicted to make way for new development without being paid enough compensation to buy new homes. Getty Images (December 21, 2007)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bethlehem Checkpoint 4 a.m.

Palestinian Refugees from Iraq Stranded in Desert Camp

CAIRO, Egypt —Hundreds of Palestinian refugees who've been forced out of their homes in Iraq are stranded in a remote stretch of the Syrian desert, where they're living in tents that offer little shelter against blinding sandstorms and the biting cold of winter nights, according to humanitarian aid workers and refugees.

Syrian authorities have barred the Palestinians from leaving the Tanaf refugee camp near the border with Iraq. Journalists aren't allowed to visit.

But United Nations officials and camp residents reached by phone described deteriorating health conditions, with an increase in illnesses related to contaminated water and skin afflictions caused by unhygienic conditions. Many children have lice, the Palestinians said, and the elderly suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure. They survive solely through handouts from the U.N. and Arab humanitarian groups.

"We die a thousand times a day," said Wafaa Mazhar, 37, a mother of five who said that her 16-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia six months ago at Tanaf. "We Palestinians are leading miserable lives. We're helpless, and no one feels our pain."

The fate of the 500 or so Palestinians at the Tanaf camp has been largely overlooked as governments and humanitarian groups focus on the 2.5 million Iraqi refugees who've flocked to urban hubs in Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Across from Tanaf, on the Iraqi side of the border, 1,900 Palestinians from Baghdad live in the squalid Walid camp, aid workers said.

The refugees' future is complicated by their status during the regime of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Many have known no home outside Baghdad — they're the offspring of parents who settled in Iraq in 1948 after being driven from Haifa as when Israel became an independent nation. In Iraq, Saddam promised them free housing and education in a bid to promote himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause. The refugees said that the dictator's promises rarely materialized and that they were never granted Iraqi citizenship.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Barbed Wire: Another Layer of Border Genocide

Just another reminder that our old neighbor, Boeing, is making money off of our own
separation wall. From the Censored website, here:

THE GATE, TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION (Arizona) -- Another layer of genocide, a barbed wire fence just added at the border wall under construction by Boeing and the National Guard, on the Tohono O'odham Nation. The barbed wire will be detrimental to endangered species, including the Sonoran pronghorn and jaguar. Homeland Security has voided all federal laws, including federal laws that protect endangered species, and dug up the graves of the O'odham ancestors, to build the border wall on Tohono O'odham land. While traditional ceremonial O'odham oppose the wall, the Tohono O'odham Nation elected government is working with Homeland Security and supports the border wall. The border wall will be a physical barrier for the O'odham's annual ceremonial route.
Although the Tohono O'odham Nation refers to this as a "vehicle barrier" instead of a "border wall," traditional O'odham say it has the same effect, since it is a barrier to the annual ceremonial route and has already resulted in the digging up of O'odham ancestors' remains. Photo Brenda Norrell

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Red Cross: Israel Worsening Palestinian Humanitarian Crisis

"Israeli restrictions have caused a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the West Bank that is growing worse, leaving hospitals unable to treat the sick and keeping farmers off their land, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

"In a statement issued on Thursday, the humanitarian agency called on Israel to "lift the retaliatory measures which are paralyzing life in Gaza" and urged Palestinian factions to stop targeting civilian areas and putting lives at risk.

"'The measures imposed by Israel come at an enormous humanitarian cost, leaving the people living under occupation with just enough to survive, but not enough to live a normal and dignified life," said Beatrice Megevand Roggo, the ICRC's head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa. The Palestinian population has "effectively become a hostage to the conflict," she said.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Woody Allen on the Writers Strike

Omar Barghouti: No State Has the Right to Exist as a Racist State

Silvia Cattori: What did you think of the Annapolis conference that was held in the U.S. in November 2007?

Omar Barghouti: By insisting that Palestinian "negotiators" must recognize Israel as a "Jewish State," Israel has really kicked the sleeping lion in the ribs, to borrow the metaphor used by Uri Avnery — whom I completely disagree with, otherwise. Barak’s "unwise" and stubborn insistence during Camp David II in 2000 that Arafat must drop the right of return for Palestinian refugees led to a real awakening of the refugee community, leading to massive mobilization and concerted pressure on Arafat not to budge. Indeed, he was killed without surrendering that right.

This time around, there were two lions that Israel kicked in the rib when it demanded Palestinian official acceptance of its right to exist as a Jewish state: the same huge lion representing refugees and a smaller, usually far-milder lion, representing the Palestinian community inside Israel, almost 1.5 million indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel who have hitherto been completely marginalized and disenfranchised in all "negotiations" concerning ending this colonial conflict.

Luckily, Olmert and the current political elite in Israel proved, in preparing for Annapolis, to be as obtuse as their predecessors. This is the price Israel must pay, apparently, for being the world leader in recycling leaders! Each Israeli leader who rises to power (with the exception of those who die or are assassinated by Israeli right-wing settlers) is soon discredited and embroiled in scandals of all sorts: sexual, financial, war crimes, etc. They then slide down into oblivion, only to be reincarnated and reinvented a few years later as embodying a new "hope" for a nation gone astray — and they miraculously get re-elected by respectable margins! Israelis do not only suffer from selective amnesia; they are truly bankrupt at the leadership level. Not just Palestinians are, it seems.

Another important point about Annapolis is that Mahmoud Abbas has no mandate to give up anything significant. He is no Arafat. He lacks the historical record of struggle against Israel. His popularity, while higher than Olmert’s pathetic 3%, is still quite dismal. He has a severe deficiency in vision, in my opinion. Hamas controls Gaza; and this weakens him further. In short, he is not a leader who can do "business" and deliver the "goods" dictated by Israel and the US. He will talk and smile a lot; travel even more; try to appear courageous; but it will all falter, I think. With Arafat’s departure, Israel lost its final opportunity to push for a two-state solution — an unjust and immoral solution, at any rate. No regret.

The one-state alternative, the moral alternative, is no longer seen as a utopian idea; it is increasingly being researched and presented as a serious possibility looming in the air above all those "negotiators." Just look at Olmert’s recent warning in Ha’aretz that, if the Annapolis process fails, Israel will head in the apartheid direction (as if it hasn’t already!). Annapolis cannot but fail. It does not deal with the root causes of the conflict, and does not promise justice or equality.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Why the Council on Foreign Relations Hates Putin

Mike Whitney on why we get treated to such a jaundiced view of Putin from the mainstream media. Portion below; whole thing here:

"On Sunday, Putin's party, United Russia, stormed to victory in the country's parliamentary elections with 63 per cent of the vote. It was a romp. United Russia now controls 306 of the 450 seats in the Duma, an overwhelming majority. The balloting was a referendum on Putin's leadership and it passed in a landslide. Now it's certain, that even if Putin steps down as president next year as expected, he will be the dominant player in Russian politics for the foreseeable future.

"Vladamir Putin is arguably the most popular leader in Russian history, although you'd never know it by reading the western media. According to a recent survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, Putin's personal approval rating in November 2007 was 85 per cent, making him the most popular head of state in the world today. Putin's popularity derives from many factors. He is personally clever and charismatic. He is fiercely nationalistic and has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of ordinary Russians and restore the country to its former greatness. He has raised over 20 million Russians out of grinding poverty, improved education, health care and the pension system, (partially) nationalized critical industries, lowered unemployment, increased manufacturing and exports, invigorated Russian markets, strengthened the ruble, raised the overall standard of living, reduced government corruption, jailed or exiled the venal oligarchs, and amassed capital reserves of $450 billion.

"Russia is no longer up for grabs like it was after the fall of the Soviet Union. Putin put an end to all of that. He reasserted control over the country's vast resources and he's using them to improve the lives of his own people. This is a real departure from the 1990s, when the drunken Yeltsin steered Russia into economic disaster by following Washington's neoliberal edicts and by selling Russia's Crown Jewels to the vulturous oligarchs. Putin put Russia's house back in order; stabilized the ruble, strengthened economic/military alliances in the region, and removed the corporate gangsters who had stolen Russia's national assets for pennies on the dollar. The oligarchs are now all either in jail or have fled the country. Russia is no longer for sale.

"Russia is, once again, a major world power and a vital source of hydrocarbons. It's star is steadily rising just as America's has begun to wane. This may explain why Putin is loathed by the West. Freud might call it petroleum envy, but it's deeper than that. Putin has charted a course for social change that conflicts with basic tenets of neoliberalism, which are the principles which govern US foreign policy. He is not a member of the corporate-banking brotherhood which believes the wealth of the world should be divided among themselves regardless of the suffering or destruction it may cause. Putin's primary focus is Russia; Russia's welfare, Russia's sovereignty and Russia's place in the world. He is not a globalist.

Castles in the Air

Mustafa al-Barghouti, secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, analyzes Annapolis. Below is the conclusion of his article, linked here:

"Israel succeeded putting a stop to even the efforts of the US to kick-start negotiations in Washington in order to give the impression of a third party's sponsorship. Olmert insisted that negotiations had to take place solely between the two parties, in Israel or the occupied territories and nowhere else. His purpose was to offset the possibility of outside interference, even by the staunchly pro-Israel United States. He got his way.

"After all that, we have little cause to wonder at the smug jubilation of the Israeli delegation, or at the bitterness that must have overcome some Arab delegates whose speeches and pictures were not even transmitted by most of the media, or at the depression that might have gripped some members of the international community, if they still have the ability to feel anything, after having been so rudely and offhandedly excluded and snubbed.

"Our sole hope is that it will not be long until Palestinian officials of all stripes will wake up to the fact that the Israeli vision accomplished its headway through the breach in Palestinian ranks and the Palestinians' lack of a strategic vision and unified national leadership.

"Israel has gained the time it wanted and that it hopes to turn to its best advantage. However, it has not won the contest. The outcome of that will be determined by events on the ground. It will be determined by the unfolding progress of the peaceful Palestinian grassroots struggle, backed by the mounting international movement of solidarity with their cause, which are exposing the true nature of the Israeli regime and of those who cooperate with it.

"This is something that has Olmert worried, because the name of Israel has begun to become synonymous with apartheid. It is a worry he will not be able to allay by gaining control over the so-called peace process and turning into something that has no bearing on the actual struggle on the ground, which cannot be halted by administrative decrees.

Gaza Calling

Friday, December 07, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

From Lynne Stewart: A Call for Support for the San Francisco 8

From a Gray Panther's Report on the Developments (here):

"To capsulize the case “the state has accused 8 men, all with Black Panther, or other activist ties in the past, almost 40 years after the event. For all of them except Herman and Jalil, they have lived public lives for nearly all of that time. The crucial point, I believe, is that the state's proof consists of confessions made under torture which were disallowed as coerced and unreliable in legal proceedings in the 1970s. Now, with repression ever looming, they are resurrecting this case to feed the salacious police state, the racism that is flourishing unabated AND, most importantly, to legitimize torture on the home front. I am assuming your support of the San Francisco 8 and I am asking you to go one step further. We all know how to demonstrate and leaflet and hold events. This is a call from me to all of you, who are able, to act above and beyond by committing your Property and to stand as surety for this bail or to help with the expenses to secure property commitments from others.

"It is a tremendous advantage to be free on bail during trial. It enables one to live in a positive, healthy manner and to ORGANIZE. It communicates to the jury and the public that they have nothing to fear and should do absolute justice.

"I have spoken with members of the Defense Committee and I can assure you that there is virtually no risk involved. (Indeed, even the Judge so stated when he set the amounts). All of the 6 men have deep family and community roots. Your property will be pledged without any cost to you and minimal hassle. While smaller properties can be used and put together as a package, the Committee's best hope is for California progressives who invested wisely (!) back in the day to come forward. I can tell you that my husband, Ralph Poynter, has offered the equity ($100,000) in the country house and property he owns in upstate NY. As for me, as Judge Koeltl said at sentencing, I am "destitute"�­but only financially. I still have the energy and the will to try to organize, and yes, guilt trip everyone into taking a deep breath and doing something concrete, to demonstrate commitment.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Palestinian And Zionist Land Ownership Per District as of 1945

"As of 1947, Jews in Palestine owned UNDER 7% of the Palestine's lands, and after the 1948 war 80% of the Palestinian people were DISPOSSESSED of their homes, farms, and businesses. Scroll below for the source and tabular break down of land ownership."

From Palestinian Pundit

Christmas in Fallujah--Cass Dillon and Billy Joel

IOF Killed 32 Palestinians (including 2 children) in November

Text from this site:

GAZA, (PIC)-- The IOF troops killed last November 32 Palestinians including two children during air raids, incursions or assassinations, thus increasing the number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of this year to 348 victims.

According to a statistical report issued by the Quds Press, the number of Palestinians killed during Israeli military escalations against the Gaza Strip has risen to 30 victims; whereas two were killed in the West Bank.

Another statistical report prepared by the international solidarity foundation for human rights said that the IOF troops escalated their kidnapping campaign against Palestinians last November, where they abducted more than 600 Palestinian citizens, including a number of MPs and members of municipal councils.

The Israeli kidnapping campaigns included more than 38 children and six women, in addition to more than 200 Palestinian workers at the pretext of entering the Palestinian lands occupied in 1948 without permits.

The foundation called on the IOA to be serious in dealing with the issue of Palestinian prisoners and to release immediately thousands of prisoners rather than releasing dozens in an attempt to embellish its image before the world.

It also called on the IOA to stop immediately its policy of daily arrests against the Palestinian people and to release hundreds of patients, women and children imprisoned in its jails.

The foundation called on the international community and organizations concerned with human rights and prisoners to shoulder their responsibilities in this regard and to pressure Israel to respect the conventions and treaties on the protection of civilians under occupation.

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Text from above site:

A nativity set with a difference - this year the wise men won't get to the stable.

The Campaigners Christmas gift:- poignant, ironic and made in Bethlehem.

Available in two sizes

£12.00- smaller version (featured)- 15 cm (long)x 9 cm(wide) x 9 cm(high). (There is an additional charge of £2.50 for postage and packing)

£50.00 - larger version - perfect for a church - complete with a detachable separation barrier that can be replaced by a more traditional stable. (There is an additional charge of £7.00 for postage and packing)

Order now before stocks disappear. Call 0207 588 2661 or e mail Sarah at the Amos office.

Friday, November 30, 2007

How Dare They!

A pile of dead Palestinians stalling the peace process by
insensitively mocking the Jewish monopoly on agony.

Mr. Fish (in Palestinian Pundit)

The One State Declaration--On Palestine and Israel

Electronic Intifada--Editor's Note: The following statement was issued by participants in the July 2007 Madrid meeting on a one-state solution and the November 2007 London Conference.

Portion below; whole statement here:

"The two-state solution entrenches and formalizes a policy of unequal
separation on a land that has become ever more integrated
territorially and economically. All the international efforts to
implement a two-state solution cannot conceal the fact that a
Palestinian state is not viable, and that Palestinian and Israeli
Jewish independence in separate states cannot resolve fundamental
injustices, the acknowledgment and redress of which are at the core
of any just solution.

"In light of these stark realities, we affirm our commitment to a
democratic solution that will offer a just, and thus enduring, peace
in a single state based on the following principles:

- The historic land of Palestine belongs to all who live in it and
to those who were expelled or exiled from it since 1948, regardless
of religion, ethnicity, national origin or current citizenship

-Any system of government must be founded on the principle of
equality in civil, political, social and cultural rights for all
citizens. Power must be exercised with rigorous impartiality on
behalf of all people in the diversity of their identities;

- There must be just redress for the devastating effects of decades
of Zionist colonization in the pre- and post-state period, including
the abrogation of all laws, and ending all policies, practices and
systems of military and civil control that oppress and discriminate
on the basis of ethnicity, religion or national origin;

-The recognition of the diverse character of the society,
encompassing distinct religious, linguistic and cultural traditions,
and national experiences;

-The creation of a non-sectarian state that does not privilege the
rights of one ethnic or religious group over another and that
respects the separation of state from all organized religion;

-The implementation of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees
in accordance with UN Resolution 194 is a fundamental requirement
for justice, and a benchmark of the respect for equality.

-The creation of a transparent and nondiscriminatory immigration

- The recognition of the historic connections between the diverse
communities inside the new, democratic state and their respective
fellow communities outside;

-In articulating the specific contours of such a solution, those who
have been historically excluded from decision-making -- especially
the Palestinian Diaspora and its refugees, and Palestinians inside
Israel -- must play a central role;

-The establishment of legal and institutional frameworks for justice
and reconciliation.

The struggle for justice and liberation must be accompanied by a
clear, compelling and moral vision of the destination – a solution
in which all people who share a belief in equality can see a future
for themselves and others. We call for the widest possible
discussion, research and action to advance a unitary, democratic
solution and bring it to fruition.

Madrid and London, 2007


Ali Abunimah
Naseer Aruri
Omar Barghouti
Oren Ben-Dor
George Bisharat
Haim Bresheeth
Jonathan Cook
Ghazi Falah
Leila Farsakh
Islah Jad
Joseph Massad
Ilan Pappe
Carlos Prieto del Campo
Nadim Rouhana
The London One State Group

The Wall

As street artist Filippo Minelli hits the West Bank partition, National Geographic offers a pre-Christmas reflection on the route into Bethlehem Mary and Joseph couldn't make were they around to try it in 2007 (see first pic above).

Found on, whole article is at

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Nooses Making a Comeback--NYTimes: Geography of Hate

Go to linked article (below) to see an enlargement of this amazing graphic.

FROM the 1880s to the 1960s, at least 4,700 men and women were lynched in this country. The noose remains a terrifying symbol, and continues to be used by racists to intimidate African-Americans (who made up more than 70 percent of lynching victims).

In the past decade or so, only about a dozen noose incidents a year came to the attention of civil rights groups. But since the huge Sept. 20 rally in Jena, La., where tens of thousands protested what they saw as racism in the prosecution of six black youths known as the “Jena 6,” this country has seen a rash of as many as 50 to 60 noose incidents. Last Tuesday, for example, a city employee in Slidell, La., was fired after being accused of hanging a noose at a job site a few days earlier.

These incidents are worrying, but even more so is the social reality they reflect. The level of hate crimes in the United States is astoundingly high — more than 190,000 incidents per year, according to a 2005 Department of Justice study.

And the number of hate groups, according to the annual count by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has shot up 40 percent in recent years, from 602 groups in 2000 to 844 in 2006.

It seems that the September rally in Jena — much as it was seen by many civil rights activists as the beginning of a new social movement — signaled not a renewed march toward racial and social justice, but a surprisingly broad and deep white backlash against the gains of black America.

The graphic, above, shows some of the reported sightings of nooses in the past two years.

Mark Potok is the director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Luke Visconti is the co-founder and Barbara Frankel is the executive editor of the magazine DiversityInc. Nigel Holmes is a graphic designer.

Associated Press Defends Photographer

NEW YORK — A series of accusations raised by the U.S. military against an Associated Press photographer detained for 19 months in Iraq are false or meaningless, according to an intensive AP investigation of the case made public Wednesday.

Evidence and testimony collected by the AP shows no support for allegations that Bilal Hussein took part in insurgent activities or bomb-making, and few of the images he provided dealt directly with Iraqi insurgents.

“Despite the fact that Hussein has not been interrogated since May 2006, allegations have been dropped or modified over time, and new claims added, all without any explanation,” said the 48-page report compiled by lawyer and former federal prosecutor Paul Gardephe.

The report, along with copious exhibits and other findings, were provided to U.S. and Iraqi officials last August but have never been publicly released by the AP.

“The best evidence of how Hussein conducted himself as a journalist working for AP is the extensive photographic record,” Gardephe wrote. “There is no evidence — in nearly a thousand photographs taken over the 20-month period — that his activities ever strayed from those of a legitimate journalist.”

The U.S. military notified the AP last weekend that it intended to submit a complaint against Hussein that would bring the case into the Iraqi justice system as early as next Thursday. Under Iraqi codes, an investigative magistrate will decide whether there are grounds to try Hussein, who was seized in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on April 12, 2006.

Military officials have alleged that Hussein, 36, had links to terrorist groups but are refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Iraqi Children Bear the Burden of an Uncalled-for War

Portion below; to read more (if you can bear it):

NEW YORK -- Looking at photos of Iraqi children maimed by the war makes the conflict unforgettable. Reflecting on the causes that led to that war makes it unforgivable. Slowly but steadily new information is coming out on the effects of the war on children, and how it has affected not only their health but also their quality of life and prospects for the future.

One child dies every five minutes because of the war, and many more are left with severe injuries. Of the estimated 4 million Iraqis who have been displaced in Iraq or left the country, 1.5 million are children. For the most part, they don't have access to basic health care, education, shelter or water and sanitation. They carry on their shoulders the tragic consequences of an uncalled for war.

"Sick or injured children, who could otherwise be treated by simple means, are left to die in the hundreds because they don't have access to basic medicines or other resources. Children who have lost hands, feet and limb are left without prostheses. Children with grave psychological distress are left untreated." That is the assessment of 100 British and Iraqi doctors.

Never mind that according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483, the U.S. and Great Britain are recognized as Iraq's occupation powers and as such are bound by The Hague and Geneva Conventions that demand that occupying powers are responsible not only for maintaining order but also for responding to the medical needs of the population. Tragedies like that don't have parents.

In the meantime, malnutrition levels among children continue to increase, and they are now more than double what they were before the U.S.-led invasion. Iraq malnutrition rates are now on a par with Burundi, a central African country torn by a brutal civil war, and higher than Uganda and Haiti. The number of Iraqi children who are born underweight or suffer from malnutrition continues to rise, and is now higher than before the invasion, according to a report by OXFAM and 80 other aid agencies.

Almost a third of the population -- 8 million people -- needs emergency aid, and more than 4 million Iraqis depend on food assistance. The collapse of basic services affects the whole population. For example, 70 percent of Iraqis lack access to adequate water supplies and 80 percent lack effective sanitation, both conditions breeding grounds for a parallel increase in intestinal and respiratory infections that predominantly affect children.

"Children are dying every day because of lack of essential medical support. The bad sewage system and lack of purified water, particularly in suburbs, has been a serious problem which might take years to solve," warns Ahmed Obeid, an official at the Ministry of Health.

Annapolis, As Seen from Gaza--Laila Haddad

While politicians press their suits, the siege on Gaza continues: A relative of Fatah activist Ahid al-Biyari cries during his funeral in the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, 15 November 2007. Al-Biyari and two other activists from the Fatah movement were killed and three other Palestinians were wounded after an Israeli air strike on Beit Hanoun, medical sources said. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

Even in the worst of times, there's one thing we're never short of in our troubled part of the world: another conference, meeting, declaration, summit, agreement. Something to save the day, to "steer" us back to whatever predetermined path it is we are or were meant to be on. And to help us navigate that path.

Never mind the arguable shortcomings of this path, or the discontent it may have generated, for we all know what happens to people who question that; the important thing is to move forward, full steam ahead.

Enter Annapolis. I've been there a couple of times. Beautiful port city, great crabs, quaint antique shops. And of course, the US Navy.

So what exactly is different this time around? Well, if you believe some of the newspaper headlines, lots. Like the fact that Ehud Olmert has promised not to build new settlements or expropriate land.

And yet, as recently as September, Israel expropriated 1,100 dunams (272 acres) of Palestinian land in the West Bank to facilitate the development of E-1, a five-square-mile area in the West Bank, east of Jerusalem where Israel plans to build 3,500 houses, a hotel and an industrial park, completing the encirclement of Jerusalem with Jewish colonies, and cutting it off from the rest of the West Bank.

The conference simply generates new and ever-more superfluous and intricate promises which Israeli leaders can commit to and yet somehow evade. An exercise in legal obfuscation at its best: we won't build new settlements, we'll just expropriate more land and expand to account for their "natural growth," until they resemble towns, not colonies, and have them legitimized by a US administration looking for some way to save face. And then we'll promise to raze outposts.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Problem in Pakistan--Tony Karon

Tony Karon (Rootless Cosmopolitan) explains the Pakistan problem (portion below);
whole thing here:
(found on Uruknet initially), in which he explains that ties to the U.S. GWOT
are the culprit.

"The rather silly media narrative in which Washington supposedly suddenly faces a dilemma between backing the decrepit dictatorship of General Musharraf, or the Jeanne D’Arc pretensions (Winnie Mandela may be a closer analogy) of the kleptocratic Benazir Bhutto, has mercifully been laid to rest. That narrative’s connection to reality has always been somewhat tenuous, and the visit last weekend of Deputy U.S. Secretary of State John Negroponte — the man you send when there’s fixing to be done among unsavory clients in the troubled provinces, as his track record in Central America reminds us — made clear that business will continue as usual in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, notwithstanding some ritual scolding of Musharraf for the limits he sets on civilian participation in government.

"The absurdity of the dictatorship vs. democracy-and-rule of law script was laid bare earlier this week when Musharraf’s hand-picked Supreme Court struck down most of the challenges to his reelection as president. Was that a setback for democracy and the rule of law? Perhaps. But it was a setback that fit with the U.S. design for getting Musharraf reelected, and then having him share power with Benazir Bhutto in order to broaden the base of the "war on terror" in Pakistan. (And let’s not forget that if Musharraf hadn’t gotten rid of the independent judiciary, Benazir herself would still be facing corruption charges.)

"Negroponte delivered the perfunctory exhortation for Musharraf to lift his emergency rule — and, of course, Washington would certainly like to see him cede more power to Benazir, the civilian politician it has deemed "reliable" — as opposed to, say, Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister overthrown by Musharraf and now in exile in Saudi Arabia. You don’t hear U.S. officials excoriating Musharraf for sending Nawaz unceremoniously back to Saudi Arabia when he tried to return from exile, last month. (Musharraf, of course, being the cynical sort, has now flown off to Riyadh where he is expected to reach out to Nawaz and bring him on board, now that Benazir is refusing to play. The great unwritten story of this whole "crisis" is the Saudi outlook, because Riyadh wields considerable influence in Islamabad, particularly with the military, as it has done since General Zia took power in 1977. The great journalistic question that needs answering, right now, I think, is what does Saudi Arabia want to happen in Pakistan.)

Coming to your Holiday Table--The Spoils of War--Mark Hurwitt

by Mark Hurwitt in the Black Commentator

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hearts and Minds

Hi. We came to win your hearts, minds, and livers. Smile, damn it.

Angry Arab caption for this picture.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Port of Olympia Protests--Brave, Brave People Resisting War

From a Seattle Times article
A group of (mainly) young people in Olympia have been blockading Stryker shipments coming back from Iraq to keep them from being run through their town and used again to kill. Last night a soldier walked away from the convoys, shook the protestors' hands and said he wasn't going to kill anymore. See more on that story here:


At a Port Commission meeting Tuesday, protesters asked for an end to military shipments through Olympia but were told by two of the three commissioners that demonstrators had gone too far.

Patti Grant, spokeswoman for the port, said that for security reasons she could not say whether any additional equipment would be unloaded Wednesday. She said that the port has suffered minimal damage, but was disappointed with the behavior of the protesters.

"The port respects the right of people to protest against the war. Lawful, peaceful demonstrations is what our society is all about," she said. "Unfortunately, the demonstrators here in Olympia have chosen tactics that break the law."

Protester Sandy Mayes said that the group did not condone the damage that was done downtown, but noted that most of the protesters "have been engaging in peaceful, nonviolent resistance."

"These brave, brave people keep standing up to block these convoys to make a statement, knowing they will take abuse," she said.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Studs Terkel: The World's Greatest Interviewer

Portion below; whole thing here:

Terkel, as unembedded a reporter as ever lived, once described himself as "a guerrilla journalist. I know my terrain. Like the colonials against the British. Like the Vietnamese against us." In the time I spend with him, the only living reporter he commends with enthusiasm is Robert Fisk. He has no interest in celebrity for its own sake, and becomes especially waspish when discussing politicians.

"You try to shame them," he complains, "but they are shameless." He dismissed Ronald Reagan as "a mean-spirited prick" and castigated Margaret Thatcher for legitimising the basest of human instincts. ("It's dog eat dog," he said, in a classic Radio 4 documentary Under American Eyes, in 1987. "But we're not dogs; that's the problem.") He caricatures Tony Blair as Jeeves to George W Bush's Bertie Wooster, and speaks of Gordon Brown in terms of one of the dour agency butlers who torment Wooster when his regular man is on leave. When he wrote his 1995 book, Coming of Age, about people over 70, somebody suggested he call it Mellowing. "I said: 'Mellowing? A lot of these people are god-damn furious... they're doing what Dylan Thomas told them to: raging against the dying of the light. Did my mother mellow as she got older? Sure as hell, no. She got worse.'"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Civilian Casualties--Sadr City Iraq

Maliki Promises Inquiry Into Civilian Deaths from U.S. Air Attack


UPDATE: Layla Anwar about the above picture:

I have often wondered if Americans are breast fed criminality...or maybe some especially made, designed baby formula only available in the U.S.

And exported to Great Britain, Israel and other corners of the world where you have your trusted allies.

Or maybe it is the other way round, an Israeli baby formula injected into your own infants, or maybe a British baby formula patent that you took over and refined...

Whatever it is that you were given as children has proved to be very effective.
You have indeed grown up into the perfect strong adults, into the perfect "master" race, of...criminality. Of this, I have absolutely no doubt.

As a matter of fact, your breast feeding has not stopped in childhood, it continues right into your advanced years, ensuring that you remain an orally voracious group, sublimating raw cannibalism through murder.

A series of pictures, or should I call them your trophies, or maybe the remains of your today's meal, have appeared following your aerial bombardment of Madinat Al Thawra now baptized Sadr city.

Many toddlers in these pictures, blown to pieces...and a few youngsters, blown to pieces too and a few adults blown to pieces, as well...

Charred and barbequed, just the way you like 'em.

So what was it, rare to medium rare or well done ?

Whole article here:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bipartisan Perversity: Rebuking the Truth, Mocking the Dead--Chris Floyd

I don't know if you saw the Youtube of Stark reaming out Bush
but here is what happened after that. Portion below; whole thing here:

"Here's how it works in the fightin' progressive liberal anti-war Democratic majority in Congress: if you speak the actual truth about George W. Bush's murderous war crime in Iraq, you get slapped down.

Pelosi Rebukes Stark for Iraq Comments (AP)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuked a fellow San Francisco Bay-area liberal Friday for what she said were "inappropriate" comments about Iraq during a congressional debate. During a debate on children's health care Thursday, Rep. Pete Stark accused Republicans of sending troops to Iraq to "get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

[This is what he said: "They sure don't care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where ya gonna get that money? You going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement...But President Bush's statements about children's health shouldn't be taken any more seriously than his lies about the war in Iraq. The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up. In Iraq, in the United States and in Congress."]

Pelosi issued a statement Friday evening rapping Stark, who is in his 18th term representing the liberal East Bay. He's California's longest-serving House members...

After numerous Republicans called on him to apologize, Stark said it was they who should be apologizing, for failing to provide the votes to override Bush's veto.

"Stark told the absolute truth about Bush; as Buzzflash and others noted, Bush has quite literally turned the war into a matter of mirth, particularly in the infamous "comedy" bit at the White House Correspondent's Dinner, when he hilariously pretended to hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction -- the ostensible reason he had sent thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths -- behind the curtains and under the sofa in the Oval Office. Not even Hitler or Stalin ever turned war into such a macabre public joke. But Bush did, in front of the national press -- whose high mandarins roared with laughter at the sickening display.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Payback Time for Putin--No Iran War--Srdja Trifkovic

Portion below; whole thing here on Global

"The result of Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Caspian Summit in Iran earlier this week is that there will be no “Operation Iranian Freedom” (or some equivalent thereof) in the remaining 15 months of this administration. A powerful Euro-Asian bloc, based on the Moscow-Peking axis that opposes American challenges along the Continental Heartland’s outer perimeter, is now preempting threats to the existing balance in real time. Mr. Putin is effectively helping President George W. Bush avoid an adventure that would bring ruin to all involved, save the promoters of an Islamic end-times scenario.

"The Declaration signed at the end of the summit commits the littoral states to a de facto non-aggression pact. It warns the outside powers to refrain from using the Caspian region for military operations or interfering in any other way, and supports the right of Iran to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Articles 14 and 15 of the Declaration specifically state that the littoral states would not use their armed forces against each other, and—more importantly—that they would not allow any other state to use their territory for military operations against any of the littoral states. Regional commentators are in no doubt that this agreement has thrown a decisive wrench into any plans the Bush Administration may have against Iran:

The entire Caspian region, including the convenient territory of Azerbaijan, is suddenly out of bounds for American military. It would leave Afghanistan and Iraq as the possible staging areas for American military operations against Iran. The fact that the US military options are suddenly limited is just one of the effects of Tehran summit. By a symmetrical sequence of commission and omission, the littoral states have locked Azerbaijan into a push-pull bracket. On the one hand Azerbaijan has been warned against any flirtation with the American military and on the other hand there is a big carrot of North-South corridor. If the Azeri leadership is half as smart as it appears to be, it would lose no time in barricading itself against any foreign military overtures.

"This is payback time for Mr. Putin. His displeasure over U.S. missile defense installations along Russia’s western borders and over the stated intention of Washington to recognize Kosovo come what may, was on symbolic display when he kept the US secretaries of state and defense waiting for over 40 minutes when they visited him in Moscow earlier this month. Now he has helped produced something tangible: before leaving Tehran he commented that the use of force in the Caspian region had been rendered unthinkable: “We must not submit to other states in case of aggression or some other kind of military action directed against one of the Caspian countries. We regard that authority in Caspian only belongs to littoral states. It is also connected with subsoil resources.”

Nobel Hypocrisy--Stephen Lendman

There's more; click on the link to read about GORE!

"Henry Kissinger was likely the most noted war criminal ever to win the Nobel Prize (in 1973 with Vietnam's Le Duc Tho who declined his award saying there was no peace in his country). The sheer scope of his crimes is breathtaking:

-- three to four million Southeast Asian deaths in the Vietnam war,

-- the bloody overthrow of a democratic government in Chile and support for Latin American dictators,

-- backed Surharto's takeover of West Papua and his invasion of East Timor killing hundreds of thousands,

-- supported the Khmer Rouge early on and its reign of terror rise to power,

-- backed Pakistan's "delicacy and tact" in overthrowing Bangladesh's democratically elected government causing a half million deaths, and much more around the world as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Abstinence 1, S-Chip 0--Dems Caving on Every Front

The Democrats--Why Do They Bother? They Should Join the Repugs and Get It Over!

"DEMOCRATIC leaders are right to contest President Bush’s veto of their bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance program. But sadly, their “bipartisan compromise” will leave millions of young Americans vulnerable to sickness and suffering of the most preventable kind.

"To entice Republicans to support the bill, the House of Representatives agreed to increase money for abstinence-only sex education by $28 million, to a total of about $200 million a year. Abstinence-only courses, the only form of federally financed sex ed, teach that sexual activity outside of marriage is likely to cause psychological and physical harm.

"If that were true, our health care system would be not only broken, but besieged. A 2002 survey found that 93 percent of American adults had had premarital sex by the age of 30.

"In addition to provoking shame about a nearly universal activity, abstinence-only sex education is ineffective and dangerous. Last April, a 10-year study found that students who took abstinence-only courses were no more likely to abstain from sex than other students. Previous studies revealed that abstinence-only students avoid using contraception.

"Programs in public schools teach patently false information like “the chances of getting pregnant with a condom are one out of six” and H.I.V. “may be in your body for a long time (from a few months to as long as 10 years or more) before it can be detected.”

"The results are tragic. The United States has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the developed world (about the same as Ukraine’s), and the highest abortion rate in the Western world. Sexually transmitted infections like syphilis and gonorrhea are on the rise for the first time since the 1980s, and chlamydia is being diagnosed twice as often as it was a decade ago.

Monday, October 08, 2007

U.S. Cultural Worker in Iraq: I Survived Blackwater--

Does this woman seem incredibly naive for someone who spent a couple years in Iraq? Especially, calling Iraqis her "hosts"??? Portion of article below; whole thing here (found on the Progressive Review):,0,1155563.story?coll=la-opinion-center

"One particularly infuriating time, I was in the town of Irbil in northern Iraq, being driven to a meeting with a Kurdish political leader. We were on a narrow stretch of highway with no shoulders and foot-high barriers on both sides. The lead Suburban in our convoy loomed up behind an old, puttering sedan driven by an older man with a young woman and three children.

"As we approached at typical breakneck speed, the Blackwater driver honked furiously and motioned to the side, as if they should pull over. The kids in the back seat looked back in horror, mouths agape at the sight of the heavily armored Suburbans driven by large, armed men in dark sunglasses. The poor Iraqi driver frantically searched for a means of escape, but there was none. So the lead Blackwater vehicle smashed heedlessly into the car, pushing it into the barrier. We zoomed by too quickly to notice if anyone was hurt.

"Until that point I had never mentioned anything to my drivers about their tactics, but this time I could not contain myself.

"'Where do you all expect them to go?" I shrieked. "It was an old guy and a family, for goodness' sake. Was it necessary for them to destroy their poor old car?"

"My driver responded impassively: "Ma'am, we've been trained to view anyone as a potential threat. You don't know who they might use as decoys or what the risks are. Terrorists could be disguised as anyone."

"'Well, if they weren't terrorists before, they certainly are now!" I retorted. Sulking in my seat, I was stunned by the driver's indifference.

"The Iraqis with whom I dealt quickly learned to differentiate between the U.S. military and private contractors. The military has established rules of engagement, plus it is required to pay compensation for damages (though it is a difficult and bureaucratic process). Blackwater seemed to have no such rules, paid no compensation and, per long-standing Coalition Provisional Authority fiat, had immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.

"As we do the work of bridge building and improving our host citizens' lives, if the people providing our transportation and security are antagonizing, angering and even killing the people we are putatively trying to help, our entire mission is undermined.

Military Sees Big Decline in Black Enlistees--Iraq War Cited in 58% Drop since 2000

Portion of article below; whole thing here:
Found on the Progressive Review:

"WASHINGTON - African-Americans, whose longstanding relationship with the US military helped them prove their abilities and offered a way to get ahead, have turned away from the armed forces in record numbers since 2000, a period covering the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the start of the Iraq war.

"Defense Department statistics show the number of young black enlistees has fallen by more than 58 percent since fiscal year 2000. The Army in particular has been hit hard: In fiscal year 2000, according to the Pentagon statistics, more than 42,000 black men and women applied to enlist; in fiscal year 2005, the most recent for which a racial breakdown is available, just over 17,000 signed up.

"The unpopular Iraq war is the biggest reason, according to military analysts, Pentagon surveys, and interviews with young African-Americans. But they say mistrust of the Bush administration is adding to the problem - along with the notion that black soldiers are being steered to combat jobs, a lingering perception from the Vietnam War.

"The decline in enlistment applications among blacks is by far the fastest of any demographic group. Between fiscal 2000 and 2005, white applicants declined by more than 10 percent. Hispanic applicants dropped by almost 7 percent.

"The Army Recruiting Command acknowledged that the Iraq war has presented special challenges in the African-American community, but said it continues to reach out to black recruits.

"'The main thing everyone has to realize is that an all-volunteer force is just that," said S. Douglas Smith, public affairs officer for the US Army Recruiting Command. "We try to make sure we communicate to every part of society and let them know what we have to offer. We try to be as open as we can about the risk of service and the benefits of service. After that, it's a matter of people choosing if they want to come in and serve."

"But some military specialists worry that the trend could persist long after the current administration and war are over.

"'African-Americans have been such a key part of the modern military," said Michael O'Hanlon, military analyst for the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution. "There's obviously been a degree where the black community in the United States has seen [military service] as culturally valuable and promoted it. That whole culture and value system is at risk in the black community. That is a big, big change. To me, it portends the possibility of a longer-term loss of interest. It can be tough to get it back."

"Interviews with young African-Americans confirmed a lack of faith in the president and the war.

They Coulda Left Off the Flag, But Cool Anyway

1,000-plus war protesters in Berkeley spell out opposition to Bush

Sunday, October 07, 2007

War on terror' has been a 'disaster': British think tank

Portion below; whole article here:

"On Afghanistan, the ORG said ousting the hardline Taliban from power in late 2001 had been of "direct value" to Al-Qaeda and militia sympathetic to its violent Islamist ideology were now re-invigorated, it added.

"In addition, mass detentions of suspected extremists, torture, prisoner abuse and the "extraordinary rendition" of suspects for questioning in third countries outside US legal jurisdiction was a useful propaganda weapon.

"But he said even if that were successful, it would still take at least a decade to make up for mistakes so far.

"Among the ORG's recommendations are the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq and an increase in diplomacy, including with Syria and Iran; greater civil aid to Afghanistan, a scaling down of military action and talks with militia.

"'Extraordinary rendition", detention without trial and prisoner abuse should stop immediately; countries should commit to advancing the stalled Middle East peace process, because of its central role in anti-Western sentiment, it said.

Medicare Audits Show Problems in Private Plans

Portion below; whole thing here:
Single payer, anyone?

"WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 — Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.

"The problems, described in 91 audit reports reviewed by The New York Times, include the improper termination of coverage for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, huge backlogs of claims and complaints, and a failure to answer telephone calls from consumers, doctors and drugstores.

"Medicare officials have required insurance companies of all sizes to fix the violations by adopting “corrective action plans.” Since March, Medicare has imposed fines of more than $770,000 on 11 companies for marketing violations and failure to provide timely notice to beneficiaries about changes in costs and benefits.

"The companies include three of the largest participants in the Medicare market, UnitedHealth, Humana and WellPoint.

"The audits document widespread violations of patients’ rights and consumer protection standards. Some violations could directly affect the health of patients — for example, by delaying access to urgently needed medications.

"In July, Medicare terminated its contract with a private plan in Florida after finding that it posed an “imminent and serious threat” to its 11,000 members.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Annals of Alliance: Democracy Marches Onward Under Bush Bud Musharraf

From the NYT: "A plainclothes police officer in Karachi detained an opponent of Gen. Pervez Musharraf on Saturday during protests against the re-election of General Musharraf as the president of Pakistan."

This is the portrait of authoritarian, militarist "managed democracy" under a "unified executive" regime. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you -- if it's not there already. Boycotts and Legal Fight Cloud Victory for Musharraf.


Friday, October 05, 2007

AP: Iraqis Say U.S. Targeted Civilians in Air Attack

Portion below; whole story here:
Can the U.S. and its hangers-on please just get out of Iraq now??????????

"The two versions over the airstrike deaths emerged following a U.S. mission in the violence-wracked province of Diyala.

"U.S. forces launched a mission seeking the commander of a Shiite militia group linked to members of the Quds Force, an elite branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Intelligence indicated he was helping smuggle weapons from Iran to Baghdad, the military said.

"Ground forces called for air support as they faced an onslaught by gunmen armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades in Khalis, a Shiite enclave surrounded by Sunni areas, the military said. At least one man was carrying what appeared to be an anti-aircraft weapon, it added.

"An American attack helicopter and a warplane destroyed two buildings, said Maj. Winfield Danielson, a military spokesman in Baghdad. The military said 25 militiamen were killed. Danielson said no civilian deaths had been confirmed.

"But a different account was offered by local leaders and hospital officials.

"'They said U.S. aircraft bombed the neighborhood repeatedly, killing at least seven children and local men who organized watches to guard against extremist attacks.

"'We were on a night watch in the village because we were afraid of possible al-Qaida attacks. There were no militias, we were trying to protect our families," said 28-year-old Muntasir Abbas, who was wounded in his left leg.

"The mayor of Khalis, Odai al-Khadran, said "locals were protecting themselves by guarding their village. They are not militias."

"Mahmoud Khazim said he had just left a guard post to get tea when it was hit by an airstrike, killing his son and several other men.

Right on, Ted Rall

The Children of 5767--Gideon Levy

Portion below; whole article here:

"It was a pretty quiet year, relatively speaking. Only 457 Palestinians and 10 Israelis were killed, according to the B'Tselem human rights organization, including the victims of Qassam rockets. Fewer casualties than in many previous years. However, it was still a terrible year: 92 Palestinian children were killed (fortunately, not a single Israeli child was killed by Palestinians, despite the Qassams). One-fifth of the Palestinians killed were children and teens - a disproportionate, almost unprecedented number. The Jewish year of 5767. Almost 100 children, who were alive and playing last New Year, didn't survive to see this one.

The article ends this way:

"Abir Aramin was even younger; she was just 11. The daughter of an activist in the Combatants for Peace organization, in January she left her school in Anata and was on the way to buy candy in a little shop. She was fired upon from a Border Police vehicle. Bassam, her father, told us back then with bloodshot eyes and in a strangled voice: "I told myself that I don't want to take revenge. Revenge will be for this 'hero,' who was so 'threatened' by my daughter that he shot and killed her, to stand trial for it." But just a few days ago the authorities announced that the case was being closed: The Border Police apparently acted appropriately.

"'I'm not going to exploit my daughter's blood for political purposes. This is a human outcry. I'm not going to lose my mind just because I lost my heart," the grieving father, who has many Israeli friends, also told us.

"In Nablus, we documented the use of children as human shields - the use of the so-called "neighbor procedure" - involving an 11-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy. So what if the High Court of Justice has outlawed it? We also recorded the story of the death of baby Khaled, whose parents, Sana and Daoud Fakih, tried to rush him to the hospital in the middle of the night, a time when Palestinian babies apparently mustn't get sick: The baby died at the checkpoint.

"In Kafr al-Shuhada (the "martyrs' village") south of Jenin, in March, 15-year-old Ahmed Asasa was fleeing from soldiers who had entered the village. A sniper's bullet caught him in the neck.

"Bushra Bargis hadn't even left her home. In late April she was studying for a big test, notebooks in hand, pacing around her room in the Jenin refugee camp in the early evening, when a sniper shot her in the forehead from quite far away. Her bloodstained notebooks bore witness to her final moments.

"And what about the unborn babies? They weren't safe either. A bullet in the back of Maha Qatuni, a woman who was seven months pregnant and got up during the night to protect her children in their home, struck her fetus in the womb, shattering its head. The wounded mother lay in the Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus, hooked up to numerous tubes. She was going to name the baby Daoud. Does killing a fetus count as murder? And how "old" was the deceased? He was certainly the youngest of the many children Israel killed in the past year.

"Happy New Year.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wanted: Who Killed the Antiwar Movement? -- Gabriele Zamparini

Portion below; whole thing here at The Cat's
Found on

See, the thing that bothers me is that we are asking people to be inconsistent when we ask them to condemn only the occupation in Iraq, but not in Afghanistan and Palestine. Isn't much easier to ask people to condemn imperial occupations everywhere? Isn't this a "teaching moment"? Are some land- and resource-grabbing occupations good?

Or is it possible to clean out all the wounds of empire that are festering so close
to the surface now by flooding them clarity? It seems at least a failure of courage and may be, as Zamparini says, be a fatal mistake, when we don't even try.

Is this failure to explain consistently the reason we are finding it so difficult to dislodge people's illusions in the Democratic Party, the alternate face of imperial aspiration? Linda

"Even though the brainwashing for the war of aggression against Afghanistan worked very well, there was a very high and organized opposition in the US and in the UK for the coming war of aggression against Iraq. That opposition was much higher in the rest of the world and possibly for the first time in history, thanks also to the Internet, we experienced a real internationalist movement connected and mobilized against the World’s warlords. On 15 February 2003 millions of people took the streets of the world to denounce their opposition to the mass murderers’ plans; where the United Nations failed, the United Nations’ Peoples claimed their democratic sovereignty: DON’T ATTACK IRAQ – NOT IN OUR NAME.

"Four and half years later, the anti-war movement is just a shadow of itself while in Iraq the genocide of a whole People and the annihilation of the whole country is business as usual; the banality of evil in XXI Century flavour.

"What happened?

"Of course, everybody agrees with Howard Zinn, “there is no magical panacea, only persistence." But in these past few years the anti-war movement’s establishment has taken all the wrong decisions and the worst directions.

"In the US especially, the anti-war planners wanted to go mainstream.

"The oldest, most experienced and committed segments of the movements have been isolated because too “old fashioned” and not presentable to the “new friends”, the generous foundations linked to the Democratic Party. Socialism and Marx can’t really be welcomed at fundraising dinners and cocktail parties.

"In spite of the many anti-war planners’ claims that the Israel Lobby has no real power to influence the US government’s policies, that Lobby is so very powerful to influence even the anti-war movement from within. The Palestine issue needed to be downplayed and many Palestine’s supporters and campaigners have been marginalized.

Monday, October 01, 2007

From Angry Arab Newservice--U.S. Arms--They're Everywhere

"The United States maintained its role as the leading supplier of weapons to the developing world in 2006, followed by Russia and Britain, according to a Congressional study to be released Monday. Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia were the top buyers."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

No One is Guilty--Gideon Levy

"No one is guilty in Israel. There is never anyone guilty in Israel. The prime minister who is responsible for the brutal policy toward the Palestinians, the defense minister who knew about and approved the bombardments, the chief of staff, the chief of command and the commander of the division who gave the orders to bombard - not one of them is guilty. They will continue with the work of killing as though nothing has happened: The sun shone, the system flourished and the ritual slaughterer slaughtered. They will continue to pursue the routine of their daily lives, accepted in society like anyone else, and remain in their posts despite the blood on their hands."
Substitute United States for Israel in the above quote from Gideon Levy's article ( about the IDF killing civilians in Beit Hanoun and you see the same dynamic that we have in the U.S. about the massacre of millions
of Iraqis and Afghanis, not to mention the uncounted millions, including the inhabitants of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, and on and on.

These people who have committed war crimes (most of Congress should be included) are "accepted in society like anyone else." This has to stop. They are not like us. Until we shed ourselves of the idea that they feel the same way we do about humanity, we will not be able to combat their hideous plans for the world.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pro-white Backlash Seen in Jena 6 Case--Howard Witt


"HOUSTON — No sooner did tens of thousands of African-American demonstrators depart the racially tense town of Jena, La., last week after protesting perceived injustices than white supremacists flooded in behind them.

"First a neo-Nazi Web site posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of some of the six black teenagers and their families at the center of the Jena 6 case and urged followers to find them and "drag them out of the house," prompting an investigation by the FBI.

"Then the leader of a white-supremacist group in Mississippi published interviews that he conducted with the mayor of Jena and the white teenager who was attacked and beaten, allegedly by the six black youths. In those interviews, the mayor, Murphy McMillin, praised efforts by pro-white groups to organize counterdemonstrations; the teenager, Justin Barker, urged white readers to "realize what is going on, speak up and speak their mind."

"The Jena 6 case has drawn scrutiny from civil-rights leaders and hundreds of African-American Internet bloggers concerned about allegations that blacks have been treated more harshly than whites in the criminal-justice system of the town of 3,000, which is 85 percent white.

"David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, last week announced his support for Jena's white residents, who voted overwhelmingly for him when he ran unsuccessfully for Louisiana governor in 1991.

"'There is a major white-supremacist backlash building," said Mark Potok, a hate-group expert at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights group in Montgomery, Ala.

"On Thursday a crowd of at least 20,000 peaceful demonstrators from around the country marched through the central Louisiana town to support the six black high-school students who were initially charged by the local prosecutor with attempted murder for attacking Barker last December. The charges were later reduced to aggravated second-degree battery.

"The racial unrest began when three white students hung nooses from a tree at the high school after black students asked permission to sit under it, triggering a series of fights. The whites involved were charged with misdemeanors or not at all while the blacks drew various felony charges.

Life Behind the Wire--Chris Doyle


"Imagine if, after an IRA bombing, a British prime minister declared Catholic areas in Northern Ireland to be hostile territory, and threatened to reduce or cut off goods, water, fuel and electricity supplies.

"It sounds implausible but the one and a half million residents of the Gaza Strip, an area the size of the Isle of Wight, may soon face this scenario. The Palestinians of Gaza, already imprisoned, their land, air and sea borders totally closed, are now considered by Israel eligible to have their water, electricity and power cut off. Israeli officials insist that humanitarian considerations will be taken into account, though the Israeli record is not one to reassure Palestinians. These were not a concern when Israel bombed Gaza’s only power plant last summer.

"This Israeli decision comes after more Qassam rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel at local communities such as Sderot and a military barracks, where 69 Israeli soldiers were wounded. Israel has a duty to protect its citizens, but are its responses legitimate, commensurate to the threat or even effective?

"This is an expansion of an existing sanctions regime. One of the Israeli Prime Minister’s advisers, Dov Weissglass, chillingly described the Israeli policy a year ago: "It’s like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die."

"It was no joke. Since Weissglass’s comments after the Hamas election victory in 2006, Gazans have indeed learnt how to diet. The World Food Programme lists it as a global hunger hotspot. Out of its 1.5 million residents, 1.1 million have to survive on food handouts. The Israeli journalist, Amira Hass, describes Gazans as being imprisoned in "an enclosed space like battery hens".

"The "moderate" Israeli vice-premier, Haim Ramon has pushed for this, describing it as cutting off the "infrastructural oxygen". Imagine a Palestinian mother having to tell her children that there is no electricity because you are not allowed any infrastructural oxygen.


"The Israeli army arrested hundreds of under-age detainees since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada which erupted late September 2000.

"They, along with the vast majority of the detainees, were tortured during interrogation and were confined to solitary for extended periods as a sort of psychological pressure.