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.