Tuesday, June 30, 2009

At least 29 killed Unlawfully by Israeli Drones in Gaza, Report Say

Portion below; whole article below:  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6611572.ece

At least 29 Palestinian civilians were unlawfully killed by missile-firing Israeli drones during its offensive in the Gaza Strip, a US human rights group said.

A report by Human Rights Watch, published six months after the operation, said that Israel had failed to exercise proper caution “as required by the laws of war” in their use of drones. Mrac Galasco, a senior military analyst for Human Rights Watch, said that although 29 cases had been highlighted in the report, as many as 87 civilians could have been killed in drone attacks.

"It is absolutely unacceptable, clearly unlawful, and not what we expect from the world's most moral military," he said.

Israel heavily relies on a fleet of drones — unmanned aerial vehicles — to patrol the Gaza Strip. Their technology is among the most sophisticated in the world, Mr Garlasco said, so it was all the more surprising that so many civilians could have been targeted.

"They used as much force as they could use at any time… It seems clear that there was something of a shoot first and ask questions later.”

In one case, also examined by The Times, a missile hit the rooftop of the al-Habbash family in Gaza City. Of the six children playing on the roof, two were killed instantly, while two others lost their legs.

Reminder: Save Gaza Vigil- Saturday July 4, Noon-2:00p

Stand Up for Palestine and Demand That Israel Release All Political Prisoners, Including the Free Gaza Boat People!
What:  Save Gaza Vigil

Saturday July 4, Noon - 2:00pm

Where: Westlake Center on 4th & Pine
Amin Odeh 
"Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone"

Monday, June 29, 2009

Latuff Nails It Again!

People Are Suffering and Starving Out There -- While the Banks Get Bailed Out!

Israeli Banks Accused of Holocaust Profiteering -- Jonathan Cook

Portion of article below; whole thing here: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10626.shtml
A quarter of a million Holocaust survivors are reported to be in Israel, with one-third of them living in poverty, according to welfare organizations.

Shraga Elam, an Israeli investigative financial journalist based in Zurich, said after the war many Israelis showed little sympathy for the European Jewish refugees who arrived in Israel.

"David Ben Gurion [Israel's first prime minister] notoriously called them 'human dust,' and I remember as children we referred to them as sabonim, the Hebrew word for soap," he said, in reference to the rumored Nazi practice of making soap from Jewish corpses.

"In fact, I can't think of any place in the world where [Holocaust] survivors are as badly treated as they are in Israel," Elam said.

He said Bank Leumi's "lost" accounts were only a small fraction of Holocaust assets held by Israeli companies and the Israeli state that should have been returned. The total could be as much as $20bn.

He said European Jews had invested heavily in Palestine in the pre-war years, buying land, shares and insurance policies and opening bank accounts. During the Second World War Britain seized most of these assets as enemy property because the owners were living in Nazi-occupied lands.

In 1950 Britain repaid some $1.4 million to the new state of Israel, which was supposed to make reparations to the original owners.

However, little effort was made to trace them or, in the case of those who died in the Holocaust, their heirs. Instead the Israeli government is believed to have used the funds to settle new immigrants in Israel.

"These are huge assets, including real estate in some of the most desirable parts of Israel," Elam said.

Last year the Israeli media reported an investigation showing that the finance ministry destroyed its real estate files in the 1950s, apparently to conceal the extent of the state's holding of Holocaust assets.

The case against Bank Leumi may end the generally muted criticism inside Israel of the banks' role. Officials and even the families themselves have been concerned about the damage the case might do to Israel's image as the guardian of Jewish interests.

In 2003 Ram Caspi, Bank Leumi's lawyer, used such an argument before the parliamentary committee, warning its members that the US media "will say the Israeli banks also hide money, not just the Swiss."

Organizations that led the campaign for reparations from European banks, such as the Jewish Claims Conference and the World Jewish Restitution Organization, have also downplayed the role of the Israeli banks.

Free Gaza Boat Spirit of Humanity Leaves Cyprus for Gaza!

Free Gaza Boat "Spirit of Humanity" Departs Cyprus

For more information, please contact:
Greta Berlin (English/French) or Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish)
tel: +357 99 081 767 / email: friends@freegaza.org

(LARNACA, 29 June 2009) - The Free Gaza boat the "Spirit of Humanity"
departed Cyprus at 7:30am on Monday, 29 July. Twenty-one human rights and
solidarity workers representing eleven different countries were aboard.
The passengers include Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S.
congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The ship also carries three tons of
medical aid, children's toys, and rehabilitation and reconstruction kits
for twenty family homes.

Over 2,400 homes were destroyed in Gaza during the Israeli massacre in
December/January, 490 of them by F-16 airstrikes, as well as 30 mosques,
29 educational institutions, 29 medical centers, 10 charitable
organizations, and 5 cement factories.

Each kit carries a small amount of supplies for a single family,
representing sectors of civil society currently being blockaded by Israel:
Agriculture, Building & Reconstruction, Education, Electricity, Health,
and Water & Sanitation. Although over 4 billion dollars in aid was
promised to Gaza in the aftermath of the Israeli onslaught, little
humanitarian aid and no reconstruction supplies have been allowed in.


Mairead Maguire, co-winner of the 1977 Nobel Peace prize for her work in
Northern Ireland:
"[The Palestinians of Gaza] must know that we have not and will not forget

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney:
"[T]he U.S. should send a message to Israel reiterating the reported White
House position that the blockade of Gaza should be eased, and that medical
supplies and building materials, including cement, should be allowed in
... Will [President Obama] stand by his own words and allow us to provide
relief for Gaza or will he back down?”

Huwaida Arraf, Chairperson of the Free Gaza Movement:
"Israel’s closure policy is a blatant violation of international law. We
call upon our governments to take action to uphold their obligations under
the Fourth Geneva Conventions. Until they do, we will act.

Passengers aboard the Spirit of Humanity include:

Khalad Abdelkader, Bahrain
Khalad is an engineer representing the Islamic Charitable Association of

Othman Abufalah, Jordan
Othman is a world-renowned journalist with al-Jazeera TV.

Khaled Al-Shenoo, Bahrain
Khaled is a lecturer with the University of Bahrain.

Mansour Al-Abi, Yemen
Mansour is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera TV.

Fatima Al-Attawi, Bahrain
Fatima is a relief worker and community activist from Bahrain.

Juhaina Alqaed, Bahrain
Juhaina is a journalist & human rights activist.

Huwaida Arraf, US
Huwaida is the Chair of the Free Gaza Movement and delegation
co-coordinator for this voyage.

Ishmahil Blagrove, UK
Ishmahil is a Jamaican-born journalist, documentary film maker and founder
of the Rice & Peas film production company. His documentaries focus on
international struggles for social justice.

Kaltham Ghloom, Bahrain
Kaltham is a community activist.

Derek Graham, Ireland
Derek Graham is an electrician, Free Gaza organizer, and first mate aboard
the Spirit of Humanity.

Alex Harrison, UK
Alex is a solidarity worker from Britain. She is traveling to Gaza to do
long-term human rights monitoring.

Denis Healey, UK
Denis is Captain of the Spirit of Humanity. This will be his fifth voyage
to Gaza.

Fathi Jaouadi, UK/Tunisia
Fathi is a British journalist, Free Gaza organizer, and delegation
co-coordinator for this voyage.

Mairead Maguire, Ireland
Mairead is a Nobel laureate and renowned peace activist.

Lubna Masarwa, Palestine/Israel
Lubna is a Palestinian human rights activist and Free Gaza organizer.

Theresa McDermott, Scotland
Theresa is a solidarity worker from Scotland. She is traveling to Gaza to
do long-term human rights monitoring.

Cynthia McKinney, US
Cynthia McKinney is an outspoken advocate for human rights and social
justice issues, as well as a former U.S. congressperson and presidential

Adnan Mormesh, UK
Adnan is a solidarity worker from Britain. He is traveling to Gaza to do
long-term human rights monitoring.

Adam Qvist, Denmark
Adam is a solidarity worker from Denmark. He is traveling to Gaza to do
human rights monitoring.

Adam Shapiro, US
Adam is an American documentary film maker and human rights activist.

Kathy Sheetz, US
Kathy is a nurse and film maker, traveling to Gaza to do human rights

Farming Under Fire in Palestine -- Israeli Incursion in Faraheen

27 June 2009

Israeli forces have entered the village of Faraheen this morning and are still currently there using bulldozers to destroy farmland. According to local villagers there are now 2 graders, 4 tanks, 2 tanks armored with canons, 2 tractors and 4 bulldozers on the farmland. The army has also ignited a fire.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Troublemakers Know No Country -- Hurray for Us!

"Kind of funny" they put this on front page of online "global" NYTimes but not U.S. NYTimes!


[Ezra Nawi's] family has trouble understanding his priorities. His mother says she thinks he is wasting his time. And many Israelis, when told of his work, wonder why he is not helping his own. Mr. Nawi has an answer.

“I don’t consider my work political,” he said between phone calls as he drove. “I don’t have a solution to this dispute. I just know that what is going on here is wrong. This is not about ideology. It is about decency.”

For his activist colleagues, Mr. Nawi’s instinctual connection to the Palestinians is valuable.

“Ezra knows Palestinians better than any of us,” said Amiel Vardi, a professor who works closely with him. “This is not only because of the language, but because he gains their confidence the minute he starts talking with them. He has all sorts of intuitions as to what should be done, what are the internal relations — things we hardly ever notice.”

The difficulties of Palestinian life in the West Bank have been well documented: Israeli military checkpoints, a rising separation barrier and Israeli settlers. But in this area, the problems are more acute. The Palestinians, many of them Bedouin, are exceptionally poor, and the land they bought decades ago is under threat by a group of unusually aggressive local settlers. The settlers have been filmed beating up Palestinians. Settlers have been killed by Palestinians. But Mr. Nawi said that the law inevitably sided with the Israelis, and that occupation meant there could be no equity.

“The settlers keep the Palestinian farmers from their land by harassing them, and then after several years they say the land has not been farmed so by law it is no longer theirs,” Mr. Nawi said. “We are only here to stop that from happening.”

That is not the view of the settlers.

He is a troublemaker,” asserted Yehoshua Mor-Yosef, a spokesman for Israeli settler communities in the area. “It’s true that from time to time there is a problem of some settlers coming out of their settlements to cause problems. But people like Nawi don’t want a solution. Their whole aim is to cause trouble.”

True or not, Mr. Nawi is now in trouble. Having spent several short stints in jail for his activism over the years, he now faces the prospect of a long one. He is due to be sentenced Wednesday for assaulting an Israeli policeman two years ago during a confrontation over an attempt to demolish Palestinians’ shacks on disputed land on the West Bank. The policeman said Mr. Nawi struck him during that encounter. Mr. Nawi denied it, but in March a judge convicted him.

What is left of the Israeli left is rallying around him, arguing that Mr. Nawi is a known pacifist who would not have raised his hand against anyone.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Reminder: Save Gaza Vigil in WEST SEATTLE this Saturday!

What: Save Gaza Vigil 

When: Saturday June 27, 12:00pm - 2:00pm

Where: West Seattle on the corner of California Ave& SW    Alaska St.

Amin Odeh 
"Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Single Payer Action at Gay Pride Sunday June 28


WHERE: Seattle Gay Pride Parade Grounds

DATE: Sunday, June 28th

MEETING TIME/ PLACE: 11 am at 4th and Denny

WEAR: White T shirt; lab coat; scrubs

BRING: Backing for two sided sign if you have a preference. Approx 11 x 22

1) Please bring three 'talking' points so you are well prepared to dialogue with folks about single payer
2) We will have a table with a sign up so attendees can get on board for future single payer events
3) Getting attendees to contact their congressional representatives

Latuff Says It All (Again!)


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Free Gaza & Spirit leaving LARNACA PORT 10am Thursday 25 June

24 June 2009

The Free Gaza Movement will depart Larnaca Port for the Gaza Strip at 10am on Thursday 25 June. We are sending two ships, the Free Gaza and the Spirit of Humanity, with 3 tons of medical supplies, 15 tons of cement, and human rights workers and journalists from 14 countries, including Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. This will be our first attempt to challenge Israel's naval blockade on Gaza by sea since the Israeli Navy brutally rammed our boat, DIGNITY in December, and nearly sank the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY with all on board in January.

We will be holding a press conference at Larnaca Port between 9am and 10am, prior to our departure.

For more information, please contact Greta Berlin or Ramzi Kysia at +357 99 081 767, friends@freegaza.org

Greta Berlin
Free Gaza Movement
357 99 081 767

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No Day at the Beach for Israel Supporters

Bikini-clad activists from the women's group CODEPINK covered themselves in mud and stood outside the Israeli Ministry of Tourism's Tel Aviv Beach party in Central Park on Sunday.

El Al Israel Airlines turned the bandshell into Israel's mediterranean beach to celebrate Tel Aviv's 100th Anniversary and the first day of summer.

The beach was complete with games, tanning spots, and a rock concert.

The protest grabbed attention as they chanted, "Tel Aviv - you can't hide, we can see your dirty side!" CODEPINK states the mud they covered themselves in was to represent the "dirty policies Irsrael holds towards Palestine."

Holding pink umbrellas outside the artificial Tel Aviv Beach, the women held signs that read, "Say no to Israel's war crimes." 

The Tel Aviv Beach Party was sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consulate General of Israel in New York, Israel Ministry of Tourism, Israel Government Tourist Office in New York, and the Tel Aviv-Yafo Centennial Administration.

"Adalah: Israeli illegally selling Palestinian Refugee Property"

Some chutzpah, huh?  Kick people out of their homes and then sell them to someone else!
In a press conference held in Jerusalem on Monday, Adalah, The Legal Center for the Arab Minority in Israel, announced that the Israeli government is selling Palestinian refugee property to the private sector.

One of the houses that belongs to Palestinian refugees annoucned for sale (Photo  www.adalah.org
One of the houses that belongs to Palestinian refugees annoucned for sale (Photo www.adalah.org

Israel controlled the property of the Palestinians that became refugees when Israeli was created in 1948 in a law that was called the Absentees law. The Custodian for Absentees' Property transferred these properties to the Israel Lands Administration; these properties are classified as absentees' property under the Absentees' Property Law - 1950.

Recently, the Israel Lands Administration has been publishing tenders for the sale of "absentee" properties held by the Development Authorities of municipalities such as Nazareth, Haifa, Led (Lod), Akka (Acre), Rosh Pina and Beit She'an in Israel. Attorney Hassan Jabareen, director of Adalah told IMEMC.

Jabareen added that in 2007, the Israel Lands Administration issued 96 tenders; in 2008, 106 tenders; and to date in 2009, 80 tenders.

The Absentees' Property Law was the main legal instrument used by Israel to take possession of the land belonging to the internal and external Palestinian refugees. Under this law, any property belonging to absentees was taken and passed to the Custodian of Absentee Property for guardianship of the properties until a political solution for the refugees was reached. 

This law provides a very broad definition of who is an "absentee"; it encompasses Palestinians who fled or who were expelled to neighboring countries during and after the War of 1948.

During the War of 1948, as many as 800,000 Palestinians were expelled or forced to flee outside the borders of the new state of Israel.

Adalah sent a letter to the Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz; the Director-General of the Israel Lands Administration, Yaron Bibi; the General Director of Amidar (a state-owned and state-run housing company), Yaakov Brosh; and Ronen Baruch, the Custodian of Absentees' Property in May 2009 demanding the cancellation of tenders issued by the Lands Administration for the sale of Palestinian refugee property in Israel.

Jabareen said that selling these absentee properties to private individuals is illegal under Israeli law. It contradicts the essence of the law which provides that the Custodian of Absentee Properties is the temporary guardian of these properties, until the status of the Palestinian refugees is resolved. 

In relation to international law, Jabareen argued that the sale of Palestinian refugee properties contradicts international humanitarian law which stipulates the need to respect the right of private property and explicitly prohibits the final expropriation of private property following the termination of warfare.

"Fictions on the Ground" -- Tony Judt

Part of article below; whole here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/opinion/22judt.html_r=1&sq=tony%20judt&st=Search&scp=1&pagewanted=all

There are occasions, however, when political hypocrisy is its own nemesis, and this is one of them. Because the settlements will never go, and yet almost everyone likes to pretend otherwise, we have resolutely ignored the implications of what Israelis have long been proud to call “the facts on the ground.”

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, knows this better than most. On June 14 he gave a much-anticipated speech in which he artfully blew smoke in the eyes of his American interlocutors. While offering to acknowledge the hypothetical existence of an eventual Palestinian state — on the explicit understanding that it exercise no control over its airspace and have no means of defending itself against aggression — he reiterated the only Israeli position that really matters: we won’t build illegal settlements but we reserve the right to expand “legal” ones according to their natural rate of growth. (It is not by chance that he chose to deliver this speech at Bar-Ilan University, the heartland of rabbinical intransigence where Yigal Amir learned to hate Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin before heading off to assassinate him in 1995.)

THE reassurances Mr. Netanyahu offered the settlers and their political constituency were as well received as ever, despite being couched in honeyed clichés directed at nervous American listeners. And the American news media, predictably, took the bait — uniformly emphasizing Mr. Netanyahu’s “support” for a Palestinian state and playing down everything else.

However, the real question now is whether President Obama will respond in a similar vein. He surely wants to. Nothing could better please the American president and his advisors than to be able to assert that, in the wake of his Cairo speech, even Mr. Netanyahu had shifted ground and was open to compromise. Thus Washington avoids a confrontation, for now, with its closest ally. But the uncomfortable reality is that the prime minister restated the unvarnished truth: His government has no intention of recognizing international law or opinion with respect to Israel’s land-grab in “Judea and Samaria.”

Thus President Obama faces a choice. He can play along with the Israelis, pretending to believe their promises of good intentions and the significance of the distinctions they offer him. Such a pretense would buy him time and favor with Congress. But the Israelis would be playing him for a fool, and he would be seen as one in the Mideast and beyond.

Alternatively, the president could break with two decades of American compliance, acknowledge publicly that the emperor is indeed naked, dismiss Mr. Netanyahu for the cynic he is and remind Israelis that all their settlements are hostage to American goodwill. He could also remind Israelis that the illegal communities have nothing to do with Israel’s defense, much less its founding ideals of agrarian self-sufficiency and Jewish autonomy. They are nothing but a colonial takeover that the United States has no business subsidizing.

But if I am right, and there is no realistic prospect of removing Israel’s settlements, then for the American government to agree that the mere nonexpansion of “authorized” settlements is a genuine step toward peace would be the worst possible outcome of the present diplomatic dance. No one else in the world believes this fairy tale; why should we? Israel’s political elite would breathe an unmerited sigh of relief, having once again pulled the wool over the eyes of its paymaster. The United States would be humiliated in the eyes of its friends, not to speak of its foes. If America cannot stand up for its own interests in the region, at least let it not be played yet again for a patsy.

Voices of Palestine/PSC Vigil at Fremont Fair 6/20/09

Pics taken as the crowd was dispersing after parade.

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Special Interest Money Means Longer Odds for Public Option" -- from Politics Done Righ


As I lamented yesterday, health care is one of those areas where both popular opinionand sound public policy seem to take a backseat to protecting those stakeholders who benefit from the status quo. But can we actually see -- statistically -- the impact of lobbying by the insurance industry on the prospects for health care reform? I believe that the answer is yes.

"The Policy That Dare Not Speak Its Name" -- Robert Kuttner

Portion of article below; whole article here: http://www.calnurses.org/media-center/in-the-news/2009/june/the-policy-that-dare-not-speak-its-name.html

Republicans and the health industry have been kicking and screaming that this [Medicare-like public plan] is socialistic. But the poll suggests that defenders of the public plan have nothing to fear politically, and that Republicans are in danger of getting on the wrong side of a popular issue.

However, that's only the beginning of the story. The reform package, as drafted by the Obama administration and the House leadership, is dubious legislation even with the inclusion of a public option. Basically, it leaves the two worst aspects of the system intact. First, private insurers will continue to dominate. Second, most people will continue to get their insurance through their employers. Given these two bedrock realities, there is no way that the bill can make serious inroads on cost without cutting back on care. The high cost of the approach is already causing key legislators to back off. The current system wastes huge sums, but because it is so fragmented the money flows to profit opportunities and not to the most cost-effective forms of health care.

Also, as my American Prospect colleague Paul Starr warns, a mixed system with a public option effectively invites the most expensive and hard-to-treat people to opt for the public plan, while private insurers will seek to insure the young and the healthy. This is a familiar problem known as adverse selection. The private insurers will then smugly point out that the public plan is less "efficient," when in fact it simply will have a more costly population. The only way to avoid this problem is to have everyone in the same universal plan--what's otherwise known as a single-payer plan.

The public option is a not-very-good second best--because our leading liberal politicians lack the nerve to embrace the one reform that simultaneously solves the problem of cost, quality, and universal inclusion. The policy that dare not speak its name is of course comprehensive national health insurance, or Medicare-for-All. I try to avoid using the term "single payer," because a technical, policy-wonk phrase not understood by most civilians has become insider shorthand for national health insurance. Let's call the thing by its rightful name. Medicare-for-All is something regular people understand.

The Times-CBS poll is evidence that this is what more than two Americans in three really want. Most voters have not followed the nuances of how the public option in the Obama plan would compete with private insurance. The poll simply indicates that voters want access to a straight-up, Medicare-style plan to be available to one and all. In past polls, when Times-CBS pollsters ask whether people favor national health insurance, responses generally favor Medicare-for-All by margins of about two-to-one.

In the current debate, liberals find themselves fighting to keep the public option alive, so that some form of efficient, publicly-run health insurance will stay in the mix--but knowing that it is embedded in a reform package that is far more costly and inefficient than it should have been. Instead of validating the common sense and reformist demands of ordinary Americans and identifying the insurance, drug, and corporate elites as the obstacles to real reform, too many of our liberal leaders from President Obama on down hope to co-opt business elites with a convoluted scheme that undermines the efficiencies of a comprehensive and universal system. And just wait until it gets watered down further in order to retain the support of these same elites. A plan that all of these groups would endorse would not be worth having.

So what's the matter with our politicians? Why are the people so far ahead of their elected leaders on this one? One reason, as usual, is money. The combination of the insurance industry, the drug industry, the American Medical Association, the hospital lobby--all of whom oppose Medicare-for-All--represents a huge amount of political spending. It takes a brave politician to face down all of these industries, even though the people are on the side of real reform. The AMA's position is especially shameful, since the professional societies that represent most actual physicians favor national health insurance.

The second reason that liberal politicians wimp out on single payer is that the self-styled realists in this debate have decided that Medicare-for-All, even if it's the first-best system, is too hard politically. But think about it. Has the administration picked up one Republican vote by supporting the present system plus a public option? Hardly. The current House leadership bill, offering a mixed system, with a robust public option, a requirement that employers provide good insurance or pay a tax, and that insurers not discriminate against pre-existing conditions, is just as heavy a political lift as national health insurance--and far inferior policy. So why not just go for the first-best?

"Iran, Gucci Anti-imperialism and Movement Anti-intellectuals"

End portion of article below; whole article (via Uruknet.info) here: http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2009/06/iran-gucci-anti-imperialism-and.html
It is one thing to defend the Iranian state from outside assault and interference, all necessary and laudable, one thing to recognize the occasional political usefulness of the Iranian state on the world's stage, which is real enough if often exaggerated, one thing to admit that the replacement of the Shah's kingdom of thieves with the Islamic Republic was a positive historical development with real material gains for the Iranian working class, and quite another thing to cheer the crackdown on dissent and to root for state violence against a mass movement of people demanding basic civil and political rights, especially rights that our Gucci anti-imperialists enjoy in their safe(r) abodes. Furthermore, in so far as divide-and-rule is the lifeblood of imperialism, the pitting against each other of different forms of oppression, the demand that we chose exclusively, whether one is pro-Palestinian OR pro-civil rights in Iran, but not both, whether one is against Islamophobia OR for womens' rights, but not both, and so forth, in short, imposing whichever struggle we fancy to be more important on others and demanding that they put their demands for liberation on hold, is not anti-imperialist. On the contrary, it deepens the divisions on the basis of which imperialism flourishes.

As outside observers it is not our role to decide between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. Nor it is our role to certify or decertify the elections or solve the legitimation crisis of the Iranian state. It is reasonably clear that much of the popular support behind Ahmadinejad is based on legitimate concerns and claims, including fears that Mousawi wished to deepen exploitation and collaborate with the West. It should be equally clear that the millions of working people who are now braving state violence in the streets also have legitimate concerns and claims, including true self-determination, which is not only freedom from U.S. imperialism, but also freedom from state violence and basic civil rights, including the right to form independent trade unions and parties that militate for real economic transformation and not just palliative populism.

As outside observers, we have two obligations now. First, we need to keep our own states from using the events in Iran to advance imperialist stratagems. But we also need to show solidarity with the struggle for greater freedom in Iran. And not much is demanded from us. All that is asked for is, as Hamid Dabashi phrases it,

the active solidarity of ordinary people around the globe to be a witness to their struggles and demand from their media an accurate and comprehensive representation of their movement (Hamid Dabashi)

All we are asked for is to respect the Iranian people, all of them, both those who voted for Ahmadinejad and those who didn't, and not to confuse their voice and their interests with that of either their unelected ruling clique or the foreign "support" that seek to exploit them.

Is that too much to ask from the radical left?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Different Perspective on the Iranian Elections -- Gary Sudborough

I gotta say this makes sense to me. Linda P.S. I wish Gary well. And thanks to Rik for posting this article.
It is utterly amazing how liberals and some who consider themselves even radical leftists get confused over the relationship between elections and democracy. Haven't the two elections involving George W. Bush proved that all sorts of tricks can be used to give a false result. The United States through various government agencies like the CIA and Agency for International Development and many others, some which are supposed to be NGOs, pumps enormous amounts of money into foreign elections to get the result they want. They want to get a government into power in these countries which is totally sympathetic to US foreign policy and the penetration by US corporations into their economy. They definitely do not want any country which is unsympathetic to total privatization and has any ideas about nationalization of anything- particularly very valuable natural resources like oil. Hence, we have the so-called Rose revolution in Georgia, the Orange revolution in the Ukraine and the Velvet revolution in Lebanon. In case, there are some who get confused by all the repetitious propaganda and think the US would never influence foreign elections, there is the very well documented case where the CIA used every trick in their book, including vast amounts of money, to prevent the Italian Communist Party from winning the election in Italy immediately following World War 2. When the election turns out the way the United States desires, a very nice sounding name is given to it like Rose or Velvet. Since these elections are so far from anything resembling true democracy, why not call them skunk, outhouse or rotting corpse revolutions. It would be exceedingly more appropriate. If the US puppet gets a little imperialistic like the one in Georgia and attempts to expand its influence by military force, it sometimes gets a pummeling by a state like Russia, which is now very nationalistic and not completely a US puppet, like it was under Yeltsin. Then, the US and most of the corporate controlled media call it an invasion by Russia, which it was not, but a response to an invasion by Georgia and massacres of civilians by Georgian troops, recently trained by the US military and CIA.

Now, let us turn to recent events and the elections in Iran. The United States and the corporate elite definitely want a change of government in Iran. Under George W. Bush the idea of an open invasion or a bombing campaign like the one against Yugoslavia that would bring them to their knees was openly discussed. Why is Iran so important to US foreign policy? One of the main reasons can be deduced by simply looking at a map. Iran lies directly between their military conquest in Iraq and all the profits that will bring to US and British oil companies and Afghanistan and the oil rich republics of Central Asia. Iran itself has a large quantity of oil. Iran is a large country, and it simply can not be overemphasized, situated between the military bases and the world's largest US embassy, which looks like a fort, in Iraq and the US military bases in Afghanistan, which not surprisingly are located on the once proposed Unocal pipeline from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. Remember Zbigniew Brezezinski's grand chessboard of the Middle East and all the countries US imperialism should control for maximum US domination of the region. Iran is a gigantic missing piece. Iran is definitely not a US puppet state, its oil is nationalized and it has formed alliances with countries like Venezuela and Bolivia, which the United States and its corporate elite despise because of their socialistic policies. All of these things aggravate the United States intensely.

This whole situation presents a great dilemma to US foreign policy. They can't openly invade because the American people would be adverse to a major war, which this would entail. Iran has some modern weapons, which could probably sink US ships and aircraft carriers and cause large US casualties, which the American people would definitely oppose, even if a major propaganda campaign was unleashed in the media. Therefore, the other options are a coup or an election strongly influenced by the United States, which would bring a regime sympathetic to US foreign policy and corporate desires to power in Iran. When I saw the pictures on television of the riots in Iran, it brought back memories of similar riots I saw occur, which were orchestrated by the CIA and caused the overthrow of Mossadegh and the installation of the Shah, who naturally privatized the oil and invited US oil companies back into the country.

I realize that there is a difference between a coup like the one that brought the Shah to power and an election, but with the exceedingly sophisticated methods the United States uses to influence foreign elections, I think the difference is rapidly evaporating. I am not a supporter of theocracy or lack of true democracy. In fact, I would love true democracy all over the world, but that would entail the dissolution of corporations and imperialism, and US imperialism is far from dying. I suspect the hand of US imperialism in the Iranian elections and the riots immediately following. It seems I am all alone in this opinion as every leftist publication I am aware of or leftist pundit is strongly of the opposite opinion. Every time there is an election against a regime which is oppressive to some degree, these people get all excited and forget that there is something called imperialism, which has been operating for hundreds of years and should be the immediate thought of every true leftist. Some regimes like those with socialist governments must be repressive to some degree because the CIA spends every waking moment trying to devise a method to overthrow them. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe the new government in Iran, if it had been elected, would have been just as antagonistic to US imperialism as the previous one. However, I am very, very suspicious because of all the reasons I have mentioned in this article.

As a post script to this article, I have just researched the opposition candidate to Ahmadinejad, Mr Mousavi, on Wikipedia and found that he favors privatization and also that he ordered the execution of 30,000 political prisoners from various leftist parties in Iraq in 1988, including the Tudeh or Iranian Communist Party. This fact alone would make the CIA very happy. Is this the candidate leftists in the United States should be supporting? Emma Goldman, Joe Hill and a thousand other real leftists must be rolling in their graves. Isn't there something terribly wrong with the so-called left in this country? Hell, we aren't even strong enough to get single payer health insurance, which almost all industrialized capitalist countries have had for many years. It is pathetic. I don't even know why I continue to write. Indymedia is the only place that dares publish my writings. I have spinal stenosis and no insurance and little money, so my writings may be coming to a close, I am sure to the great glee of those who love capitalism. I gave it my best effort on behalf of justice, peace and a decent standard of living for all humans on Earth.

Alaska Polar Bear Numbers Declining

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, June 18 (Reuters) - Polar bear populations in and around Alaska are declining due to continued melting of sea ice and Russian poaching, according to reports released Thursday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Fewer polar bears have survived in the southern Beaufort Sea, which extends from northern Alaska to parts of Canada, and in the Chukchi and Bering Seas between northwestern Alaska and Russia, the agency's draft population assessments show.

Officials say the drop among the Chukchi and Bering bears is likely steeper than for those in the Beaufort, due to a more dramatic melt of sea ice -- which the bears need to travel and forage for food -- and an illegal Russian hunt believed to be killing 150 to 250 bears a year.

The assessments, though incomplete, are disturbing, said an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned and later sued the federal government to add polar bears and walruses to the U.S. Endangered Species Act list.

"That information, when you look at it, paints a pretty grim picture for the species," attorney Brendan Cummings said.

The United States officially recognized polar bears as an endangered species last year as a result of the warming Arctic climate, which has wiped out much of the summer sea ice critical to the animals' survival.

Russian poaching, believed to be spurred by a market for bear hides, represents what the Fish and Wildlife Service describes as a potential compounding threat to the population, said Bruce Woods, the agency's spokesman in Alaska.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Save Gaza Vigil This Saturday at Fremont Fair

Please join us and bring your family and friends
What:     Save Gaza Vigil 

Saturday June 20,  11:00am - 2:00pm

Where:   Fremont Fair-  Phinney Ave N & N 36th St

Amin Odeh 
"Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone"

CIA Paying Poverty-Stricken Pakistanis to Place Drone Targets

Portion of article below; whole thing here:
A paper published last week by the influential pro-military Center for a New American Security (CNAS) criticizing the Obama administration's use of drone attacks in Pakistan said US officials "vehemently dispute" the Pakistani figures but offers no further data on the program.

In an interview with IPS, Nathaniel C Fick, the chief operating officer of CNAS, who co-authored the paper, said Pentagon officials claim privately that 300 al-Qaeda fighters have been killed in the drone attacks. However, those officials refuse to stipulate further just who they have included under that rubric, according to Fick, and have not offered any figure on civilian deaths.

What is needed is "a strict definition of the target set" and "a definition of who is al-Qaeda", said Fick.

Press reports that the CIA is paying Pakistani agents to identify al-Qaeda targets by placing electronic chips at farmhouses supposedly inhabited by al-Qaeda officials so they can be bombed by predator planes has raised new questions about whether the CIA and the Obama administration have simply redefined al-Qaeda in order to cover up an abusive system and justify the program.

The initial story on the CIA payments for placing the chips by Carol Grisanti and Mushtaq Yusufzai of NBC News, which ran on April 17, was based on a confession by a 19-year-old in North Waziristan on a video released by the Taliban. In his confession, the young man said, "I was given US$122 to drop chips wrapped in a cigarette paper at al-Qaeda and Taliban houses. If I was successful, I was told, I would be given thousands of dollars."

He goes on to say, "I thought this was a very easy job. The money was so good so I started throwing the chips all over. I knew people were dying because of what I was doing, but I needed the money."

The video then shows the man being shot for being a spy for the United States.

A US official told NBC news that the video was "extremist propaganda", but a story in The Guardian on May 31 said residents of Waziristan, including one student identified as Taj Muhammad Wazir, had confirmed that tribesman have been paid to lay the electronic devices to target drone strikes.

The knowledgeable Washington source told IPS the Guardian article was consistent with past CIA intelligence-gathering methods in Afghanistan and elsewhere. "We buy data," he said. "Everything is paid for."

The implication of the system of purchasing targeting information for drone strikes is that there is "no guarantee" that the people being targeted are officials of al-Qaeda or allied organizations, he said.

Fick, who is a veteran of the post-9/11 military operations in Afghanistan and the early phase of the Iraq war, said that kind of intelligence for targeting is "intrinsically problematic"

Death by Drone -- U.S. Kills More Pakistanis


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Thirteen people have been killed and several wounded in an attack Thursday suspected to have been carried out by an American drone against the camp of a local Taliban commander in South Waziristan, a Pakistani intelligence official based in the area said.

The drone fired a total of four missiles into a compound in the village of Raghzai near Wana, the capital of South Waziristan, which was being used as a base by the Taliban commander Wali Mohammed, local residents and officials said.

Mr. Mohammed, who is better known by his nom de guerre, Malang Wazir, was not in the compound and survived the attack, a fighter loyal to Mr. Mohammed said in a telephone interview. The intelligence official, who like the fighter, spoke on condition of anonymity, said a nephew of Mr. Mohammed died in the attack.

According to residents in the area, one person died in an initial double missile strike on the compound. When people rushed to the scene to rescue the wounded, two more missiles struck. Eight more people were killed in the second strike, the residents said. The intelligence official said that four additional people had died.

There have been at least 18 drone attacks in Pakistan so far this year, according to local residents and Pakistani officials, as compared with 36 last year. The missile-carrying, remotely piloted aircraft are operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, which has a standard policy of not commenting on whether an attack took place. A spokesperson for the agency declined to comment on the latest attack.

Mr. Mohammed, the commander who survived Thursday’s attack, was a member of the local Taliban consultative body that wields de facto control over the town of Wana, under the city’s top Taliban commander, Molvi Nazir.

In recent months, as the strikes against the Taliban in the area have intensified, Mr. Nazir and his fighters entered into a mutual security agreement with Baitullah Mehsud, the powerful Taliban commander who controls much of South Waziristan, local residents said. Mr. Mehsud is responsible for dozens of suicide bombings and is a prominent target in the Pakistani government’s widening offensive against Taliban militants in the country.

The drones had been flying over the Wana area since Wednesday, and were in the air at the time of the attack, local residents said. As a result, the Taliban had mostly vacated their bases and training camps, leaving only a few people in the compound when the strike occurred.

A Pakistani government official reached in Wana said Thursday that the Taliban had cordoned off the area where the strike occurred, and that they were still recovering dead bodies from the debris.

There has been a lull in drone attacks over the past month, as the Pakistani government has stepped up its fighting in the Swat Valley and other areas, and begun its own aerial strikes in South Waziristan. The drone attacks, which often kill civilians, are deeply unpopular among the local population.

A succession of peace deals over the years has allowed Mr. Mehsud and his supporters to dig themselves securely into some of the most rugged terrain in the country. Analysts said that they believed this latest attack could bring Mr. Nazir closer to Mr. Mehsud, which would make it more difficult for the military to defeat them.

Sharon Otterman contributed reporting from New York.

Rethink Afghanistan (Part 4): Civilian Casualties

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Shame: The 'Anti-War' Democrats Who Sold Out and Gave Billions More for War" -- Jeremy Scahill

Portion below; read more about my chickenshit congressperson and the others here: http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=55226&s2=18
June 17, 2009

In a vote that should go down in recent histories as a day of shame for the Democrats, on Tuesday the House voted to approve another $106 billion dollars for the bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and increasingly Pakistan). To put a fine point on the interconnection of the iron fist of U.S. militarism and the hidden hand of free market neoliberal economics, the bill included a massive initiative to give the International Monetary Fund billions more in U.S. taxpayer funds.

What once Democrats could argue was "Bush's war," they now officially own. In fact, only five Republicans voted for the supplemental (though overwhelmingly not on the issue of the war funding). Ron Paul, who made clear he was voting against the war, was a notable exception.

This vote has revealed a sobering statistic for the anti-war movement in this country and brought to the surface a broader issue that should give die-hard partisan Democrats who purport to be anti-war reason for serious pause about the actual state of their party. Only 30 Democrats voted against the war funding when it mattered. And these 30 did so in the face of significant threats to their political future from the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That means that only 30 out of 256 Democrats are willing to stand up to the war and the current president presiding over it. Their names are listed below; I would encourage people to call them and thank them for standing up and voting no when it counted.

Two other Democrats, not expected to vote against the war funding, joined the anti-war Democrats. Brad Sherman and Pete Stark brought the total number of Democratic votes against the supplemental to 32.

Now, there are many Democrats who consistently vote for war funding, including Nancy Pelosi, but not many of them have such little shame that they dare characterize themselves as anti-war. Remember, 221 voted Tuesday in favor of the war funding. But for those who campaign as anti-war and signed pledges not to continue funding war and then vote for billions more for wars they claim to oppose, Tuesday should be remembered as a day of shame and cowardice. Here are the Democrats who voted against war funding when it didn't count and yes (on Tuesday) when it did--and when refusing to do so might have affected them personally: Yvette Clarke, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Jerry Costello, Barney Frank, Luis Gutierrez, Jay Inslee, Steve Kagen, Edward Markey, Doris Matsui, Jim McDermott, George Miller, Grace Napolitano, Richard Neal (MA), James Oberstar, Jan Schakowsky, Mike Thompson, Edolphus Towns, Nydia Velázquez, and Anthony Weiner. These legislators should be called and asked why they voted for war funding they claimed to oppose last month.

Tuesday's vote came after an intense campaign by progressive bloggers, activists and anti-war Congressmembers Dennis Kucinich, Lynn Woolsey and Jim McGovern to get the 39 Democrats needed to block war funding to vote against it. This was made possible due to a roller-coaster-like series of events in the weeks and days preceding the vote.

The White House and the Democratic Congressional Leadership played a very dirty game in their effort to ram through the funding. In the crosshairs of the big guns at the White House and on Capitol Hill were anti-war legislators (particularly freshmen), and the movement to hold those responsible for torture accountable.

In funding the wars post-Bush, the Obama White House has been able to rely on strong GOP support to marginalize the anti-war Democrats who pledged back in 2007 to vote against continued funding (as 51 Democrats did in May when the supplemental was first voted on). But the White House ran into trouble on this bill because of Republican opposition to some of the provisions added to the bill (primarily the IMF funding) and one removed (the Graham-Lieberman amendment that would have blocked the release of prisoner abuse photos). This created a situation where the White House and pro-war Democrats actually need a fair number of anti-war Democrats (whose votes seldom matter this much) to switch sides and vote with them. That is why this battle was so important for the anti-war movement.

"Netanyahu's 'Brilliant' Peace Plan"

After elucidating some of the points made by Netanyahu (please read at link above -- they are really amazing), Hasan and Ali Abunimah point out the realities of the current situation:
It would be nice if we could really dismiss Netanyahu's speech as a joke. But it is an important indicator of a hard reality. Contrary to some naive and optimistic hopes, Netanyahu does not represent only an extremist fringe in Israel. Today, the Israeli Jewish public presents (with a handful of exceptions) a united front in favor of a racist, violent ultra-nationalism fueled by religious fanaticism. Palestinians are viewed at best as inferiors to be tolerated until circumstances arise in which they can be expelled, or caged and starved like the 1.5 million inmates of the Gaza prison.

Israel is a society where virulent anti-Arab racism and Nakba denial are the norm although none of the European and American leaders who constantly lecture about Holocaust denial will dare to admonish Netanyahu for his bald lies and omissions about Israel's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Netanyahu's "vision" offered absolutely no advance on the 1976 Allon Plan for annexation of most of the occupied West Bank, or Menachem Begin's Camp David "autonomy" proposals. The goal remains the same: to control maximum land with minimum Palestinians.

Netanyahu's speech should put to rest newly revived illusions -- fed in particular by US President Barack Obama's Cairo speech -- that such an Israel can be brought voluntarily to any sort of just settlement. Some in this region who have placed all their hopes in Obama -- as they did previously in Bush -- believe that US pressure can bring Israel to heel. They point to Obama's strong statements calling for a complete halt to Israeli settlement construction -- a demand Netanyahu defied in his speech. It now remains to be seen whether Obama will follow his tough words with actions.

Yet, even if Obama is ready to put unprecedented pressure on Israel, he would likely have to exhaust much of his political capital just to get Israel to agree to a settlement freeze, let alone to move on any of dozens of other much more substantial issues.

And despite the common perception of an escalating clash between the Obama administration and the Israeli government (which may come over minor tactical issues), when it comes to substantive questions they agree on much more than they disagree. Obama has already stated that "any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state," and he affirmed that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided." As for Palestinian refugees, he has said, "The right of return [to Israel] is something that is not an option in a literal sense."

For all the fuss about settlements, Obama has addressed only their expansion, not their continued existence. Until the Obama administration publicly dissociates itself from the positions of the Clinton and Bush administrations, we must assume it agrees with them and with Israel that the large settlement blocks encircling Jerusalem and dividing the West Bank into ghettos would remain permanently in any two-state solution. Neither Obama nor Netanyahu have mentioned Israel's illegal West Bank wall suggesting that there is no controversy over either its route or existence. And now, both agree that whatever shreds are left can be called a "Palestinian state." No wonder the Obama administration welcomed Netanyahu's speech as "a big step forward."

What is particularly dismaying about the position stated by Obama in Cairo -- and since repeated constantly by his Middle East envoy George Mitchell -- is that the United States is committed to the "legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own." This formula is designed to sound meaningful, but these vague, campaign-style buzzwords are devoid of any reference to inalienable Palestinian rights. They were chosen by American speechwriters and public relations experts, not by Palestinians. The Obama formula implies that any other Palestinian aspirations are inherently illegitimate.

Where in international law, or UN resolutions can Palestinians find definitions of "dignity" and "opportunity?" Such infinitely malleable terms incorrectly reduce all of Palestinian history to a demand for vague sentiments and a "state" instead of a struggle for liberation, justice, equality, return and the restoration of usurped rights. It is, after all, easy enough to conceive of a state that keeps Palestinians forever dispossessed, dispersed, defenseless and under threat of more expulsion and massacres by a racist, expansionist Israel.

Through history it was never leaders who defined rights, but the people who struggled for them. It is no small achievement that for a century Palestinians have resisted and survived Zionist efforts to destroy their communities physically and wipe them from the pages of history. As long as Palestinians continue to resist in every arena and by all legitimate means, building on true international solidarity, their rights can never be extinguished. It is from such a basis of independent and indigenous strength, not from the elusive promises of a great power or the favors of a usurping occupier, that justice and peace can be achieved.

Chinese Students Laugh at Geithner's Claims About Safe Dollar


17th June 2009 Video Free Gaza News

"On Iran" -- from The Angry Arab Newservice

Alexander sent me this (I cite with his permission): "As an Iranian and avid reader of your blog, I wanted to share my thoughts on your "Iranian developments" post with you. First of all, your point about Western coverage of Iranian democracy vis-a-vis other countries in the region is spot-on. I think you are right to criticize the impact of Ahmadinejad's rhetoric on Palestine, and I would like to explain a little about that. In the past, Palestinian liberation was a cause championed by the Iranian secular left, but nowadays it is strongly associated with the religious right. This is not due only to Ahmadinejad (every Iranian leader since Khomeini has expressed the idea that Palestine is a "Muslim issue" that Iranians should be concerned about) but it has gotten worse under Ahmadinejad. It's not just the statements he makes in international settings, but more importantly the way the issue is used domestically in order to distract people from their own issues. People are told not to protest economic stagnation, repressive government, etc. because they shouldn't complain when Palestinians have it so much worse. "Pray for Gaza" is shoved down their throats in the same breath as "fix your hijab." In addition, many people resent the fact that the Iranian state spends so much money on Palestinian and Lebanese affairs when there is such poverty and underdevelopment at home. Incidentally, one of the popular (and hyperbolic) chants at the protests that are going on right now is "mardom chera neshastin, Iran shode Felestin!" (People, why are you sitting down? Iran has become Palestine!").
Finally, I am glad that you are defending neither Ahmadinejad nor Mousavi. It is frustrating that everyone I talk to from Pakistan to Egypt loves Ahmadinejad and is shocked to hear that many Iranians think he is ineffective and embarrassing. Meanwhile every Westerner seems to think that Mousavi is a great reformist or revolutionary, and some kind of saintly figure beloved by all. He's an opportunist crook. That being said, I support the students and protesters in Iran, even the ones chanting Mousavi's name. I believe they are putting their lives on the line to fight for greater freedom, accountability, and democracy within the Islamic Republic, and they have to couch that in the language of Islam and presidential politics in order to avoid even greater repression than that which they already face. A friend who is in Iran right now confirms: "half the kids throwing rocks at the police didn't even vote." To me, that means that they are not fighting for a Mousavi presidency, but for more freedom, which they must hide under a green Mousavi banner in order to have legitimacy in the eyes of the state."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Marcy Newman: A Step Backwards [jimmy carter promises zionist settlers a haven]

portion below; whole article here:  http://bodyontheline.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/a-step-backwards/

yesterday i had a close encounter with one of jimmy carter’s entourage. i was looking for a book at the american colony hotel bookshop and talking with the owner, munther fahmi, when a white woman came in the shop looking for a place to charge her iphone. munther asked her why carter’s press conference the previous day only had a couple of palestinians invited and the room was brimming with zionist colonists. of course, she did not have a proper answer. i chimed in, of course. i said something to the effect that of course he’s not interested in equality; he’s towing the american line. she asked me if i have read his books. i said, yes. but his book, especially palestine: peace, not apartheid, is deeply problematic because he does not recognize apartheid in 1948 palestine and he refuses to call for refugees’ right of return. and that was that.

carter is here in palestine and heading for gaza today. but yesterday he met with zionist terrorist colonists and he told them that their colony in the west bank shall remain forever:

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter met with settler leaders from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc on Sunday and told them that he believed that their settlement is among the ones which should be able to remain under a final peace deal with the Palestinians.

“This particular settlement is not one that I envision ever being abandoned, or changed over into a Palestinian territory,” Carter said. “This is part of the close settlements to the 1967 line that I think will be here forever.”

Bendib: Corporate Hypocrisy


Monday, June 15, 2009

Video: Farmers, Activists Beaten and Arrested in Saffa


This Saturday, as has been done every Saturday for over a month, International and Israeli activists joined Hamad and Jabber Soleiby and their families as they worked their land in Saffa, near Bat 'Ain settlement. This Saturday, however, both the Israeli army and settlers from the right-wing extremists were ready and waiting.

While soldiers stood by and watched, settlers threw rocks at the farmers and solidarity activists and rolled boulders down into the agricultural land. Soldiers then shouted across the small valley to the solidarity activists, telling them it was a closed military zone and the people would have to leave. While the farmers and solidarity activists agreed they would leave if ordered to, attempting to avoid a confrontation such as those that had occurred the previous two weeks, they still demanded that the settlers were forced to leave at the same time, fearing they would do damage to the agricultural land after the farmers left the area.

After the solidarity activists and farmers began to leave the area, soldiers and border police ran up from behind the group and grabbed the youngest farmer. When international and Israeli activists from Palestine Solidarity Project and Anarchists Against the Wall objected, the soldiers began indiscriminately beating the solidarity activists. Internationals were placed in choke-holds, thrown to the ground and had their heads smashed into rocks. Israeli activists were dragged by their hair and all were beaten with batons while trying to protect the Palestinian farmer.

Finally, the soldiers managed to pull the Palestinian farmer away from the activists, who were held on the ground by several soldiers and border police. In the end, the Palestinian was only questioned and asked to show his ID before being released, while one American-Israeli from Palestine Solidarity Project, and a Scottish National and a German national from International Solidarity Movement were all arrested and accused of attacking soldiers and border police.

While in custody, the Scottish national was attacked again by one of the border policemen, who grabbed him by the throat and threw him against the wall while in the Qiryat Arba police station.
Even though the aggression and violence was clearly on the part of the border police and soldiers, the three activists were still brought before a judge in the Jerusalem "peace" court, where they were all given conditional releases pending a further investigation of the allegations.