Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Activists Fight U.S. Army’s Targeted Pitches"

Thanks, Kathy!

Delgado says recruitment promises of a college degree and citizenship are particularly compelling to the Latino community because their options are so limited: Undocumented or noncitizen youths face increasing challenges in employment, making a college tuition, particularly at out-of-state prices, unaffordable for most families. Delgado says he works with many people who wind up in a cycle of dropping out of school, going back to work to earn enough to get by or back into class, only to repeat the cycle. Recruiters come with an answer. The 2009 Dream Act grants qualifying illegal immigrant students the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency in exchange for two years service in the military.

"When you hang a big shiny apple like that over their heads, a lot of them jump," Delgado said.

"The seesaw thing of education is really stressful. They're at that point where there is no solution but to join the military."

"It is not for me to tell people what to do or not to do," Delgado said. "We just have to make solid decisions around these issues."

No Soy El Army is a platform to discuss not just military recruitment tactics, but immigration issues and the vitality of the peace movement as a whole.

Kari Koch with the Rural Organizing Project has worked as a community organizer for many years, and says that it has become clear that the movement as a whole has stagnated with the wars overseas appearing endless. The peace movement, Koch says, "is in a bad place."

Meanwhile, the interest and momentum around immigration rights continues to grow, particularly with the recent anti-immigration law passed in Arizona. Koch said that workers with ROP are also hearing more stories about police in Oregon collaborating with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to identify and deport undocumented immigrants. (Clackamas County recently became the first in the state to send all the fingerprints of arrestees to the ICE and Department of Homeland Security to identify and deport undocumented immigrants.)

"More people are getting picked up for nonviolent, minor offenses and getting deported. We're hearing those stories and trying to track that," Koch says. In the past year, Koch says she's also noticed how the anti-immigration movement has ratcheted up racial tension with more negative language and violence.

The attitudes surrounding the wars, immigration and the vulnerable status of Latino youths are all intertwined, according to Koch. One mimics the other, she says.

"We think that the war plays a critical part to that and it's directly linked to the economy," Koch says. "The war is sucking the finances away from the country. There's no money for anything else. And it's feeding on this public sentiment of fear—fear of `the other.'"

Portland Public Schools allows recruiters access to high schools, but it has a policy against such recruitment efforts for younger grades. However, in March, the PPS board voted 4 to 3 to renew it's $320,000 contract with the controversial Starbase program, a science and technology immersion course for grade-schoolers. It is paid for entirely through the Department of Defense, reportedly funded through its recruitment budget, with classes conducted on the Portland National Air Guard Base.

The Starbase curriculum focuses on the STEM courses - science, technology, engineering and math, and includes a section on STEM careers in the military. The Department of Defense specifically states it wants to encourage a new generation of scientists and engineers "who will apply their talents in support of national security."

With an effort to reach "at-risk" students, the majority of schools the Starbase program contracts with are those serving lower-income and minority populations.

The No Soy El Army tour is hoping to intersect the counter-recruitment and peace movement with the immigration movement on a common concern.

"We want part of the event to be a dialogue about what they are experiencing in their community," Koch says. "How is war, the immigration crackdown - how is it affecting people in the community and what are we doing to try to keep that away from our youths?"

Megan Hise, with the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee says the Aug. 26 event will raise awareness about the acceleration of militarization along the border and South America, even as the military targets immigrants from that part of the world for recruitment.

"We're concerned about these measures that are incentivising the military for the immigrant community," Hise said. "They're getting it on both sides of the border."

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Polity Is Broken -- Here and in Palestine

I saw this in an article about the "direct negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that are happening tomorrow (supposedly):

Ordinary Palestinians, as well as the political factions, feel they have little influence on the Palestinian leadership’s decisions. The Palestinian polity is broken. There is no functioning parliament [and the same can be said about our corporately funded congress]. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank are divided under the leaderships of rival factions. The PA government under Salam Fayyad was appointed by presidential decree and elections – presidential, parliamentary and municipal – have all been postponed indefinitely. [Whereas we keep having elections; we elect a different face for the corporate bureaucracy in D.C.]


I think we are in the same boat. The polity is broken. We have no levers to control the decision-making in Washington.

As the Glen Ford article I just posted said, we are cornered -- no way out without a fight! That's all of us, but the Palestinians are old hands. Hopefully we will learn from their sumoud (steadfastness).

We Are Cornered -- There Is No Way Out Without A Fight -- Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report


A corporate offensive is rolling down upon us, aimed at wholesale privatization of the public sector. If the Left has learned anything in the last year and a half, it should be that President Obama is Wall Street’s guy, having “delivered the highest return on corporate campaign investment in the history of bourgeois democracy.” In this struggle, the people will be left to their own devices.

There is no cavalry coming over the ridge to save the people from massed capital. Certainly not the Democrats, whose self-caged left wing now finds its marginalized encampments under lockdown by their own president’s hostile patrols, while the GOP and its Tea Party irregulars howl from the circling darkness. That’s what happens when progressives maneuver themselves onto the same side of the battlefield as Goldman Sachs, as they did with abandon in 2007-08, deliriously fighting their way into a cul-de-sac in which they are now surrounded.

The leftish brigades rallied to a commander who styled himself an incarnation of Abraham Lincoln, but turned out to be a General George McClellan, the Union’s first commander of the Army of the Potomac. McClellan was great at rousing the troops and putting his army on parade, but constantly overestimated his Confederate adversaries and, in Lincoln’s final estimation, refused to fight. The political roots of his reluctance to crush the Confederacy became clear after his dismissal when, in 1864, he challenged Lincoln on the Democratic “peace” party’s ticket. McClellan never really wanted to win the war, or, at the very least, saw victory in a very different way than Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

It has long been clear that Barack Obama’s idea of victory required decisively defeating the Left of his own party. Everyone to his left is to be neutralized, while those to his right rate an open hand and endless concessions, the scenario from the very start of his health care “negotiations” with the drug and insurance industries. Victory in the racial arena means an end to race agitation, a Black stand-down, which remains largely in place. Success in war, not pursuit of peace, is his goal, one that will surely elude him, but not for lack of trying.

Obama and finance capital began an early, thoroughly vetted, and white hot love affair that was anchored in mutual contempt for those who would challenge the rule of money. He has delivered the highest return on corporate campaign investment in the history of bourgeois democracy, allowing Wall Street to pocket at least $12 trillion in return for contributions of less than $1 million per investment house. (Goldman Sachs was top giver, at $994,795.) Obama was BP’s biggest political campaign recipient: $71,000, an investment that boosted the corporation’s value by billions – albeit temporarily – when the president opened up offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Obviously, Goldman Sachs and BP considered Obama a “greater good,” in terms of their interests, than John McCain. And they made out like bandits, confirming their assessment of Obama’s immense value to their side in the class war. The question is, how in the hell did lefties conclude that Big Capital’s and Big Oil’s “greater good” candidate was also the progressive side’s fountain of Hope – or even a “lesser evil” – in 2008? Both camps placed their bets on Obama, but only one side could possibly win.

It is the Left that wound up trapped in the cul-de-sac, with every major item on its 2008 political wish list betrayed, sidetracked, mangled or spat upon by Obama and his friends – although, to be fair to the Devil, the Left had often simply imagined they had Obama’s ear or support when such was not even remotely true. On war, for example.

Most devastatingly, Obama and his Democratic legislative allies have successfully shielded their Wall Street masters from anything worthy of the name financial reform. This means finance capital and its “shadow,” derivatives-based economy (nominally, ten times bigger than the “real” global economy) remain beyond the reach of meaningful public intervention by conventional methods. With the air knocked out of mainstream reformers’ bony chests, Wall Street is poised for a Great Offensive against the political and social infrastructure of the United States.

Producing nothing of real value, fatally hooked on ever-mounting rates of return, simultaneously divorced from and a parasite on the “real” economy, and with the executive and legislative branches in their pockets, the Lords of Capital are set to devour the entirety of the public sector – while forcing the public to finance the feast. The rallying cry is “austerity,” but the motivation is not, as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman maintains, ideological. Rather, it is hunger.

Finance capital is, at this stage of the system’s decline, incapable of reproducing itself through productive investment, and so must feed on existing producers or on the State. Since Wall Street over the decades has already broken up, consumed and exported much of the U.S. productive economy, that leaves the State and all of its parts. Far from acting as a brake on his vampire friends, Obama leads the charge on corporate hijacking of public education, and signaled in January 2009 that all elements of the safety net, including Social Security, should be “on the table” – which can only mean some form of privatization.

The pace of finance capital deterioration quickens, accelerating the timetable of the Right’s offensive. As the hunger grows, Wall Street’s servants become more aggressive and demanding, and there is nothing in the Democratic Party, as presently constituted, to stop them.

One truth remains: only a massed people can defeat massed capital. If the American Left is capable of bearing that in mind in the critical times ahead, it might just escape the cul-de-sac and make some modest contribution to the world.

"Top Ten Reasons for Skepticism on Israeli-Palestinian Talks"


On August 20, the Obama Administration announced that it will reconvene under its auspices direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations beginning on September 2.

While a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace is in everyone’s interest, there are profound reasons to be skeptical about the likelihood of success for the following reasons (not necessarily listed in order of importance):

1. No more photo-ops, please. There is a desperate need for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. Negotiations can be a key to that. But the last thing Palestinians and Israelis need are phony negotiations. They only breed disillusionment, resentment, and cynicism about the possibility of Israeli-Palestinian peace based on human rights and justice. So rather than enter into negotiations for the sake of negotiations, the Obama Administration should exert real political pressure on Israel by cutting off military aid to once and for all get it to commit to dismantling its regime of occupation and apartheid against Palestinians, and make clear that the framework for all negotiations will be based on international law, human rights, and UN resolutions. As long as it fails to do so, U.S. civil society must keep up the pressure through campaigns of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to change these dynamics and by joining up with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

2. The United States is not evenhanded. For decades, the United States has arrogated the role of convening Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. To convince the world that it is suitable to play this role, the United States declares that it is evenhanded, when it in fact arms Israel to the teeth and is aware that Israel will employ these U.S. weapons to conduct its human rights abuses of and apartheid policies toward Palestinians. Under international law, an outside party that provides weapons to a party in an armed conflict violates laws of neutrality. The United States is scheduled to provide Israel with $30 billion in weapons from 2009-2018 (part and parcel of a broader strategy to further militarize the region with an additional $60 billion in weapons sales to Gulf States). The United States cannot credibly broker Israeli-Palestinian peace while bankrolling Israel’s military machine and simultaneously ignoring Israel’s human rights violations.

3. Israeli colonization of Palestinian land continues. In one of its most abject policy failures, the Obama Administration has contented itself with resuming direct negotiations without securing an Israeli freeze on the colonization of Palestinian land, despite spending an initial nine months trying to do so. Israeli colonization of Palestinian land, including the expansion of settlements, the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, the building of the Apartheid Wall, continues apace. Previous failed rounds of negotiations have demonstrated that Israel utilizes negotiations as a fig leaf to actually increase its pace of colonization of Palestinian land, and there is every reason to believe that it will continue to do so. Meanwhile, Israel’s ongoing colonization of Palestinian land creates difficult-to-reverse “facts on the ground” that only make a two-state solution–purportedly the end game of the negotiations–less achievable.

4. Negotiations supersede accountability. The Obama Administration, building on decades of previous U.S. efforts to shield Israel from accountability, has worked actively to scuttle international attempts to hold Israel accountable for its previous violations of international law and human rights, and its commission of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. Both after the Goldstone Report and Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, the United States used its leverage at the United Nations to prevent Israel from being held accountable, arguing that accountability undermines prospects for peace negotiations. On the contrary, for peace negotiations to be successful, Israel must be held accountable for its actions and shown that it will pay a price for its illegal policies. Otherwise, it has no reason to alter its behavior.

5. No terms of reference. In his August 20 press briefing, Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell confirmed that the United States is not insisting on any guiding principles for the negotiations, or “terms of references” in diplomatic parlance, and that these terms will be worked out by the parties themselves. In other words, Israel will be free to marshal its overwhelming power to refuse to negotiate on the basis of human rights, international law, and UN resolutions, the only viable basis for a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. Instead, Israel–backed by the United States–will negotiate based on its own exclusive terms of reference, namely what is in Israel’s “security interests.” As in previous failed rounds of negotiations, Palestinian rights will not enter into the conversation.

6. No timeline. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes that negotiations “could” be concluded within a year. Of course, successful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations could be wrapped up within in a year. In contrast to “peace process industry” pundits, there is nothing intrinsically complex or complicated about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if Israel were to negotiate in good faith by declaring an end to its policies of occupation and apartheid against Palestinians. After all, South Africa concluded negotiations to end apartheid within a few months once the decision had been made to transition to democracy. However, Israel has given no indication whatsoever that it is prepared to alter its policies toward Palestinians, setting the stage for prolonged and fruitless negotiations.

7. Can a leopard change its spots? A recently-leaked video from 2001 shows current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrogantly bragging that “I actually stopped the Oslo Accord [shorthand for the failed 1993-2000 Israeli-Palestinian "peace process'].” (The Institute for Middle East Understanding has provided a useful translation and transcript of the video here.) His current Foreign Minister, Avigdor Leiberman, lives in an illegal Israeli colony built on stolen Palestinian land and has openly declared his support for ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. With this negotiating team in place, how can Palestinians expect even a bare modicum of fairness and justice to emerge from these negotiations?

8. Increased U.S. military aid to and cooperation with Israel make it less likely to negotiate in good faith. In July, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro told the Brookings Institution that “I’m proud to say that as a result of this commitment [to Israel's security], our security relationship with Israel is broader, deeper, and more intense than ever before.” Indeed, it is. President Obama has requested record-breaking levels of military aid to Israel, and stepped up joint U.S.-Israeli military projects, such as the missile defense system “Iron Dome.” This increased level of military aid only makes Israel more reliant on military might in its attempt to subdue Palestinians into submission, and less likely to negotiate with them fairly as equals.

9. All the parties are not at the negotiating table. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell, who previously brokered a peace agreement in Northern Ireland, when discussing its success often referred to the necessity of having all the parties to the conflict around the negotiating table. What held true though for negotiations in Northern Ireland, apparently doesn’t apply to Israel/Palestine since Hamas, which currently governs the Israeli-occupied and -besieged Gaza Strip and legitimately won the 2006 legislative elections held at the behest of the United States, was not invited to participate in the negotiations. If, by some long-shot, an agreement were to emerge from these negotiations, it is difficult to see how it would be implemented without having Hamas as part of the discussions.

10. Negotiations help Israel mitigate its growing international isolation. Last, but certainly not least, images of Israeli and Palestinian political leaders negotiating presents the world with a false sense of normalcy and allows Israel the opportunity to state that it is making a legitimate effort to achieve peace. With Israel as the party pressing for direct negotiations, it is quite transparent that its desire for these talks has more to do with easing its growing international isolation and defusing the energy from the international movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), rather than with genuinely negotiating a just and lasting peace. This point brings the analysis full circle: advocates for changing U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine to support human rights, international law, and equality should not be lulled into complacency by the resumption of negotiations, but need to keep up the pressure with campaigns of BDS to change the dynamics that will eventually lead to the possibility of a just and lasting peace.

Sign a petition to the Obama Administration, which states that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations must be based on human rights, international law, and UN resolutions to be successful by clicking here.

Nakba Remembrance at Greenlake -- August 28, 2010

In a stiff August wind, amid tents representing just some of the villages destroyed when the Israeli state landed on top of Palestine in 1948, information about Israel apartheid and boycott was offered to people on the path at Greenlake Saturday afternoon.

Some good discussions (and one catcall from a jogger) ensued.

We will mount this event again in the next few weeks. Please join us!

"Zionist Dossier Exposed: 'How to Expose Ali Abunimah When He Comes to Your Campus'

On Ali Abunimah's blog (url below) he has uploaded a 12 page document from Stand With Us on how to counter & expose him. Interesting information for all of us who are working on the boycott:

In advance of my speech tomorrow [actually tonight] in Port Townsend, Washington, anti-Palestinian activists have been privately circulating a 12-page dossier on me, and on how to "counter" and "expose" me. The document is being circulated by Rob Jacobs, Northwest Regional Director of StandWithUs. StandWithUs is an extreme pro-Israel hasbara group supported by funderswith a clear anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim agenda.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

An Artist's Pledge to Boycott -- Dave Lordan


Alongside the financial, political and military support of western rulers, the cultural support of western artists is a crucial link in the chain of oppression that tightens every passing minute around the neck of Palestine. Artists occupy a position of public privilege. What we think and feel as it is expressed through our art is elevated above ordinary discourse and seriously discussed at events, in classrooms, and in all kinds of media. Both individually within our local networks and communities, and collectively at a national and international level, we can and do have a disproportionate effect on opinion. We are, I think, perhaps the last significant body of people to enjoy large-scale public trust in most parts of the globe. Added together, what we say and do publicly in our art and in our lives as citizens is reflected upon by many people in a much more profound way than the utterances of most politicians. Our deeds and words ring louder then, and wider, and longer, then those of many others. But so do our silences, our non-actions. That is why both the tacit and the enthusiastic support of artists have been worth so much to dictators and criminal systems like apartheid over the centuries, and why we have been so brutally persecuted when we have refused to give it.

All an Israeli major has to do to unwind after a day directing the bulldozing of ancestral Palestinian homesteads is to change into her casuals and head out to see a platinum-selling rock group, or to clap along politely like everyone else is doing at the poetry of some prize-glittering western writer. Then she can feel as refined, as hip, and as justified, as any other liberal westerner. The presence of international artists in apartheid Israel normalizes and buttresses the apartheid system, contributing to its self-confidence and smooth functioning.

By performing in Israel, in despite of the clear call of the Palestinian artists and cultural institutions to boycott Israel, an international artist gives -- whether or not they are conscious of it -- a signal of approval to the settler-pirates and to the racially brainwashed conscripts who take pleasure in having themselves photographed beaming with national joy in front of blindfolded and humiliated Palestinians. Approval for these and countless other abuses and injustices is exactly how the appearance of international artists in apartheid Israel is interpreted by its politico-military leadership and, crucially, by its rank-and-file soldiers, boosting the morale of those who must implement the bloody practicality of apartheid on the ground.

The boycott, if it gained momentum, could have just the opposite effect. It could remove the visage of respectability and normality which the leaders of apartheid Israel so desperately crave in order that they can continue with the dirty work of oppressing the Palestinians unperturbed by the moral opinion of the rest of the world. It could undermine the confidence of the military rank and file and cause significant numbers to question and refuse the implementation of apartheid policies. Above all, it could help to inspire the continuing anti-apartheid resistance of the Palestinian people, and contribute -- similarly to how international solidarity with black South Africans did in their case -- to the eventual collapse of the apartheid system. To have played even the tiniest of roles in such an outcome would be a greater honor than any prize, review, or invitation is capable of giving us.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Hamas, the I.R.A. and Us" -- Ali Abunimah in the NEW YORK TIMES!


GEORGE J. MITCHELL, the United States Middle East envoy, tried to counter low expectations for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations by harking back to his experience as a mediator in Northern Ireland.

At an Aug. 20 news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, announcing the talks that will begin this week, Mr. Mitchell reminded journalists that during difficult negotiations in Northern Ireland, “We had about 700 days of failure and one day of success” — the day in 1998 that the Belfast Agreement instituting power-sharing between pro-British unionists and Irish nationalists was signed.

Mr. Mitchell’s comparison is misleading at best. Success in the Irish talks was the result not just of determination and time, but also a very different United States approach to diplomacy.

The conflict in Northern Ireland had been intractable for decades. Unionists backed by the British government saw any political compromise with Irish nationalists as a danger, one that would lead to a united Ireland in which a Catholic majority would dominate minority Protestant unionists. The British government also refused to deal with the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, despite its significant electoral mandate, because of its close ties to the Irish Republican Army, which had carried out violent acts in the United Kingdom.

A parallel can be seen with the American refusal to speak to the Palestinian party Hamas, which decisively won elections in the West Bank and Gaza in 2006. Asked what role Hamas would have in the renewed talks, Mr. Mitchell answered with one word: “None.” No serious analyst believes that peace can be made between Palestinians and Israelis without Hamas on board, any more than could have been the case in Northern Ireland without Sinn Fein and the I.R.A.

The United States insists that Hamas meet strict preconditions before it can take part in negotiations: recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by agreements previously signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, of which Hamas is not a member. These demands are unworkable. Why should Hamas or any Palestinian accept Israel’s political demands, like recognition, when Israel refuses to recognize basic Palestinian demands like the right of return for refugees?

As for violence, Hamas has inflicted a fraction of the harm on Israeli civilians that Israel inflicts on Palestinian civilians. If violence disqualifies Hamas, surely much greater violence should disqualify the Israelis?

It was only by breaking with one-sided demands that Mr. Mitchell was able to help bring peace to Northern Ireland. In 1994, for instance, Mr. Mitchell, then a Democratic senator from Maine, urged President Bill Clinton — against strenuous British objections — to grant a United States visa to Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader. Mr. Mitchell later wrote that he believed the visa would enable Mr. Adams “to persuade the I.R.A. to declare a cease-fire, and permit Sinn Fein to enter into inclusive political negotiations.” As mediator, Mr. Mitchell insisted that a cease-fire apply to all parties equally, not just to the I.R.A.

Both the Irish and Middle Eastern conflicts figure prominently in American domestic politics — yet both have played out in very different ways. The United States allowed the Irish-American lobby to help steer policy toward the weaker side: the Irish government in Dublin and Sinn Fein and other nationalist parties in the north. At times, the United States put intense pressure on the British government, leveling the field so that negotiations could result in an agreement with broad support. By contrast, the American government let the Israel lobby shift the balance of United States support toward the stronger of the two parties: Israel.

This disparity has not gone unnoticed by those with firsthand knowledge of the Irish talks. In a 2009 letter to The Times of London, several British and Irish negotiators, including John Hume, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the Belfast Agreement, criticized the one-sided demands imposed solely on Hamas. “Engaging Hamas,” the negotiators wrote, “does not amount to condoning terrorism or attacks on civilians. In fact, it is a precondition for security and for brokering a workable agreement.”

The resumption of peace talks without any Israeli commitment to freeze settlements is another significant victory for the Israel lobby and the Israeli government. It allows Israel to pose as a willing peacemaker while carrying on with business as usual.

As for Mr. Mitchell, since he was appointed Middle East envoy, he has so far enjoyed almost 600 days of failure. As long as the United States maintains the same hopeless approach, he can expect many more.

Happy Birthday Free Gaza!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Riḥlah Saʿīdah to My Friend Ahmad & His Family!

They are moving back to Palestine after Ahmad's receipt of his doctorate from the University of Washington. We will miss you at our events, Ahmad. But our loss is Palestine's gain.

TJP -- - Ken O’Keefe

You are among the conscious minority who can see amid the collective insanity of the masses who are blind.

You have a heart and you use it for so much more then the simple necessity of pumping of blood.

You are truly blessed yet this blessing is often lost in the illusions of popular culture.

You have been given the greatest gifts of all, the gifts of life & humanity… and you are wise enough to exercise and nurture them.

You are often ignored or vilified or imprisoned or worse, yet you are who you are, you are human.

You are the conspirator and co-creator of a better world, a just and peaceful world.

You are the ancestor of those yet unborn.

You are my brother, my sister, my family, and we are one.

We are Truth, we are Justice, we are Peace,

And we are indomitable!


- Ken O’Keefe

"Pentagon’s New Global Military Partner: Sweden" -- Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO


Last week the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead arrived in Sweden to inspect some of the country’s warships and a submarine and meet with his counterpart Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad to "discuss present and future operations between the two navies in the region and around the globe." [17]

Sweden’s top military commander, General Sverker Goranson, was at the Pentagon on August 5 to meet with Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Goranson had earlier studied at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and served as military attache in the United States.

With eleven years of NATO expansion and the Alliance’s transformation into the world’s first internationally-oriented military bloc, no nation in Europe is permitted to be neutral and none can avoid involvement in military missions, including wars, abroad. Sweden is no exception, having joined scores of other previously non-aligned nations around the world in being pulled into the Pentagon’s orbit in the post-Cold War period.

To illustrate how widely the network has expanded, on July 16 military officers from 63 nations enrolled at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College – Swedish military chief Goranson’s alma mater – visited state officials in Topeka, Kansas.

The officers were from Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Botswana, Britain, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda and Ukraine. [18]

"Bedouin Women Hold Non-Violent Demo Against Razing Of Villages"


Around 700 Bedouin women held a protest in Jerusalem challenging the demolition of their villages by Israeli forces. They travelled to Jerusalem from the Negev desert in southern Israel, where they live in 'unrecognized' villages that have been razed multiple times since Israel was created in 1948.

They gathered outside the Israeli Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday, after the destruction of al-Arakid village this past weekend, holding signs and chanting slogans. Even as the mid-day sun beat down, and the women maintained their daily Ramadan fast of no water and food from sunrise to sunset, they continued to chant and attempt to dialogue with employees entering and leaving the building.

The women also submitted a letter of demands to the Israeli Interior Minister's advisor on minority affairs, Saeed Muadi. The demands included a recognition of their villages, and equal treatment under the law.

One activist, Hanan el-Sana, told the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahranoth, “The systematic razing of unrecognized villages in the Negev by the authorities shows the State has no respect for human dignity or the religious customs of the area's inhabitants. The (Bedouin) women feel that no one is hearing their cries. They feel this is the beginning of a long public campaign that will continue until the Israeli government recognizes the villages. For 60 years, we have suffered in our villages without basic necessities such as water, sewage systems, and electricity, and we have also lost our traditional livelihood because of the land appropriation policy. Add to this the recent home demolitions – the situation has become intolerable.”

The head of the Council of Unrecognized Villages in the Negev, Ibrahim al-Waqili, called on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to resign due to his blatant violation of international human rights law with his ongoing policy of destruction of Bedouin villages in southern Israel.

Save Gaza Vigil & Nakba commemoration at Greenlake, Saturday 8/28


Please join us and bring your family and friends.

Time: Saturday 8/28, noon-2pm

Location: Green-lake, near the corner of N. 65th & Greenlake Way


Amin Odeh

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

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cevdet Kiliclar, IHH Aid Worker Murdered by IDF -- Lawrence of Cyberia Tells Us More

"What can a simple man do in front of a huge fire?

He could run away, leaving to their fate the others who cannot flee or have nowhere to go. He could also stand and whine, sit and level accusations. Or he could fill the teaspoon in his hand with water, time and time again, and pour it on the flames...

The teaspoon in the simple man's hands is very small and the fire is very big. Nonetheless".
-- from The Order of the Teaspoon by Amos Oz; Yedioth Ahronoth, 18 April 2002.
Photos: Cevdet Kiliçlar, aid worker with the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), participating in the IHH's program to supply clean drinking water through the drilling of new wells in villages across the Sahara belt of northern Africa; Niger, 2007. (hat tip)

for more on Cevdet go to Lawrence's blog here:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Petition to Prevent Quran Burnings in Florida on 9/11

This petition is being circulated in support of people trying to prevent a Quran burning in Gainsville, Florida on Sept. 11th (there has been some news coverage of this). Linda J.






Don't support occupation & apartheid? Boycott Israeli products http://www.bdsmovement.net/

“Palestine is not about a tiny spot on the map; it is about the awakening of human conscience.”

"[T]he whole state of Israel is one big gated community." -- Ron Nachman, Mayor of Illegal West Bank Settlement Ariel [And it's a racist one, to boot!]

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Fighting Expulsion And Western Hypocrisy In Jerusalem"


Occupied Jerusalem: Earlier this summer, Israel arrested Muhammad Abu Tir, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and Hamas. Israel also ordered two other PLC members, Muhammad Totah and Ahmad Attoun and the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) former minister of Jerusalem affairs Khaled Abu Arafeh to leave their home town of Jerusalem.

Rather than comply with the order, the three men have sought sanctuary in the Red Cross compound in occupied East Jerusalem. Israel’s order is an open violation of international law, which forbids the expulsion of a population from occupied territory, and the three men are hoping the international community will intervene. Their choice of the Red Cross compound while they wait for such intervention has also exposed the hypocrisy of the international donor community, which finances humanitarian aid organizations with a fraction of the funds that are supplied to Israel with military and financial assistance.

While the three taking shelter at the Red Cross are threatened with separation from their families, certain other Palestinian public figures enjoy the limited privileges of a co-oped leadership.

In a farewell article to the four men published in June by The Palestinian Information Center entitled “You Shall Return as Conquerors,” Abdel Sattar Qassem, a prominent Palestinian author, reminds us that there are Palestinian politicians and officials who have received VIP status from the Israeli authorities. This status allows them to travel unimpeded, to shop in Israeli malls or visit Tel Aviv’s beaches. This includes some politicians, like the PA’s appointed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad who are not even elected. Meanwhile, many Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank, especially children, have not seen the Mediterranean Sea in many years — if ever. When the Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqi took advantage of his VIP status to attend the reception held for members of the Arab Monitoring Committee on their return from Israel’s bloody attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla earlier this summer, his VIP pass was immediately confiscated by Israeli authorities.

In contrast to these VIPs, there are leaders who were elected because they serve their people in their daily struggle against the Israeli occupation, which continues to adopt new rules expanding its apartheid regime. The Palestinian struggle for survival in Jerusalem was always difficult, and has become more unbearable since the 2009 election of Mayor Nir Barkat. Barkat was supported by Jerusalem’s secular public, not surprising since secular Zionists always committed the cruelest crimes against Palestinians from the 1948 dispossession to the winter 2008-09 invasion of Gaza. Under Barkat, the situation for Palestinians has worsened: house demolitions, land expropriation accompanied by new construction of exclusively Jewish settlements, confiscation of identity cards, deportations, families torn apart by Israel’s apartheid wall, and daily harassment by the municipal authorities.

After the three men sought refuge in the Red Cross compound it became a place of pilgrimage almost overnight. Supporters from all levels of Palestinian society and representatives of all political parties visited the three. International delegations have not stopped flowing to the solidarity tent in support of the expelled, among them a group of British lords, as well as Egyptian and Jordanian ambassadors. But most exciting are the constant visits by local delegations from all over Jerusalem, including groups of children from summer camps.

When a group of elementary school students paid a visit, Totah, Attoun and Abu Arafeh welcomed them and treated them with attention and respect, not skipping one handshake for each of their forty little guests. The children asked questions and were treated as seriously and respectfully as the lords and ambassadors.

One of the children asked, “Since they expel adults, will they also expel children?” Abu Arafeh, trying to calm the child’s fears, answered, “I do not think so, but if you will oppose the occupation when you grow up, they may expel you.” The child insisted, “But they expelled one boy to Tel Aviv!” Abu Arafeh acknowledged that the child was right. One child from nearby Silwan was expelled to the the West Bank village of Anata and another child to Tel Aviv, where his elder brother works. There is no way to protect children from knowing the harsh truth.

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities continuously monitor the Red Cross compound, photographing and videotaping all those who enter and leave. A few days ago they suddenly arrested Muhammad Totah’s brother, Muatassem, who was sitting at the compound’s gate, in a case of mistaken identity. Other relatives are constantly threatened with arrest and Totah’s children have complained that they were asked to put pressure on their father to leave the compound and surrender to the police.

Although the men have found refuge in the Red Cross compound, there is no denying the obvious truth that these humanitarian aid organizations serve as a fig leaf for the Israeli occupation. The Red Cross — like the different UN bodies — is one of countless Western humanitarian and nongovernmental organizations that quickly multiplied during the Oslo period (1993-2002). Their activities provide a veneer of respectability to the ongoing negotiations and obscure the continuing Israeli occupation, actually relieving Israel of its obligations as the occupied power.

Since the Red Cross is supposed to protect Palestinian inhabitants of occupied East Jerusalem but has never fulfilled that role, Totah, Attoun and Abu Arafeh have put Red Cross officials in a difficult and awkward position. Since Israel occupied the city in the June 1967 War, 86,226 Palestinians have been stripped of their residency rights. By seeking refuge in the Red Cross compound, the three men have drawn attention to the hypocrisy of the international donor community which funds both the aid organizations and underwrites Israel’s apartheid policies. The principle is clear: human rights organizations multiply in direct proportion to the deepening of oppression. They keep real activists out of the struggle, compete with authentic local organizations, blur the signs of oppression and create an illusion of normality in the overall situation.

Israel, which has often ignored international public opinion, can send its forces into the Red Cross compound at any moment. Such an action will arouse international media attention for a few days at the most. Totah, Attoun and Abu Arafeh are aware that this will be the likely outcome and insist that there is no going back for them. They will not leave the Red Cross compound voluntarily until they are assured of their right to remain in Jerusalem. In the interim, the three men are a source of inspiration and optimism in the depressing daily reality that Palestinians must endure. They are loved not because they are VIPs but because of their boundless devotion to their people. This is what makes them an existential threat to Israel and a strategic threat to the US and its allies.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Palestinian "Father Charged With ‘Resisting Arrest’ Despite Video Evidence Disproving Charge"


A man whose arrest was filmed and spread on Youtube, showing his child begging soldiers to leave his father, has been sentenced by an Israeli court to three months and a fine.

The video shows Fadil al-Jabari's four-year old son tugging on his father's shirt and begging the soldiers not to take his daddy away. The footage is emotional and difficult to watch, as the child cries and repeatedly calls to his 'papa'. The soldiers push the boy away and leave him on the side of the road alone as they take his father away in a military jeep.

Al-Jabari was charged with resisting arrest and striking an officer. Both of these charges are easily disproven by the video of the incident, but the video evidence was not allowed to be shown in court.

Apparently, the man was in a 'restricted area', trying to get clean water from a well that used to be Palestinian, but was seized by the Israeli military. Israeli authorities severely restrict access to water for the Palestinian population in the West Bank, cutting off water completely for 15 - 20 days at a time, even while Israeli settlements are able to water their lawns and swim in swimming pools.

According to local news agency Ma'an News, which interviewed Fadil al-Jabari's mother, her 4-year old grandson has been severely traumatized by the incident, and repeatedly calls for his father. He has never had a history of behavioral problems, she said, but now, after watching the soldiers take his dad away, he has become agitated, and begun hitting his younger sister.

Palestinians say such abductions by Israeli troops are common, even leaving small children on the road without an adult, as the Israeli soldiers assume that some Palestinian will come along and help the child after the soldiers take their parent away. Israeli troops make no provisions whatsoever for the children of those whom they abduct.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Will Better Human Rights Training Stop IDF from Abusing Palestinians? Hmmm.


Couple Comments on the Cordoba Islamic Center in NYTimes

More comments here: http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/08/20/nyregion/20muslims.html?sort=recommended

First of all: the 9/11 attacks were conducted by criminals!

Muslims were amongst the victims as well as Christians, Jews, Hindus, Agnostics, you name it.

Question: since when does freedom of speech (and of practicing one's religion) exclude Muslims?

It is time to speak up against people and political parties who are trying to make this open and free country an isolated camp. They are worst enemies of our Nation.
Wake up America, our strength is our diversity!

FYI: I am not religious by any means.


The 'discussion' of the Islamic Center in the 'hallowed ground' near ground zero is a reflection of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bigotry and ignorance, plain and simple.

The only possible legal reason for this center not to be built eliminated when the Landmarks Commission refused to designate the site as a landmark. The claim that the area is 'hallowed ground' is a joke to anybody who has actually walked through the area where this project is located.

Whether or not other people are upset by the location of this center is of no more significance than whether or not people are upset by the opening of a Catholic Church or a Chinese Restaurant in their previously "American" neighborhood.

The 'opinions' of the demagogues who have been exploiting this project to spread fear and division should no longer be given the free ride they have enjoyed from the media.

Ya Gotta See This: "Cows with Guns"


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gene Burnett - Jump You F*#kers (A Song For Wall Street)


"A Report from Gaza" (via Massachusetts resident)


Waltham [Massachusetts] resident Ridgely Fuller is spending several weeks in Gaza to document the effect of the Israeli blockade on children. This is his second trip. A social worker, Fuller is especially interested and trained in using specially designed play routines to help heal and build resiliency in children who have experienced trauma. He is in Gaza at the invitation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is responsible for critical service delivery to much of the population.

Dear Folks,
News to many of you who understandably think I am spending August on the deck in Maine: I arrived in Gaza barely 36 hours ago with intent to stay two weeks. This trip is again at the invitation of the UN with the purpose of addressing needs of children who, as we know amount to 65% of the population in Gaza. I have brought resources to work at children centers with the goal of introducing staff and children to the therapeutic play routine I used in the West Bank. We will see if it is useful enough to consider an expanded program during summer camps next year when 22,000 children attend the UN camps alone.I had barely begun unpacking when I got a call from the Gaza Mental Health Center to join a staff meeting to be held in two hours.It will hopefully be a busy time even though we are here during Ramadan, a month focused on fasting,prayer and family.

This trip of four was organized rather quickly when we heard that Egypt's response to the Israeli attack on the Free Gaza flotilla was to provide easier access, especially to those with foreign passports, through their Rafah crossing into Gaza. So again entrance into Gaza took me through chaotic Cairo, across the Suez Canal, over the Sinai desert, through funky seaside el Arish to the Egyptian border where we waited only about 4 hours. The most amazing sight at the border was a group of 40 Malaysians, including doctors,lawyers,3 Members of Parliament and activists among whom were two who had been on the attacked Mave Marmara flotilla ship, being escorted by their government's black limousine complete with mounted flags through the border. Likewise, yesterday I joined a group of Scottish doctors at the Islamic University who were also accompanied by their Member of Parliament. To me, this very visible level of open international governmental support for Palestinian rights boldly reflects the ever increasing and dangerous isolation of the United States.

Even though it is very hot,no airconditioning as generating fuel is very limited due to the Israeli blockade...I am thrilled to be back on Palestinian soil where the kindness and generousity even to US citizens whose taxes make the 3 year blockade and recent invasion possible, is simply unbelievable to those who have not visited either Gaza or the West Bank. For example, my first chore was to get a cellphone ( the cellphone I bought in Egypt wouldn't work hear despite assurances which I naively accepted)..the store owner walked me to the bank to withdraw money when his machine wouldn't work..due to wear from repeated electrical blackouts,gave me a gift of a cell phone holder with a heart marked love,and called the next day to see if there was anything he could do for me..I wager I will get an invitation to break the Ramadan fast with his family sometime during the two weeks I will be here.

So, my main goal I outlined above, but I am equally interested in how things have changed in Gaza during the 14 months since I have been here. I am eager to re visit the Samuni family who had at least 20 family members killed during the Israeli invasion. You may remember I asked the head of the family about the one planted field among all the incredible destruction; he responded " I want to make the field green because then the children will feel safe" . So I look forward to describing conditions and changes in further emails..as always if you get way too many emails and want me to remove you from this list, please let me know; if you have any special interest or questions please let me know..

take care,

"Beware the 'Progressive Agenda'" -- Charles Davis


Since taking office nearly 18 months ago, Barack Obama has failed to deliver on his promise to close Guantanamo Bay, has expanded the war in Afghanistan, has dropped cluster bombs on civilians in Yemen, has intensified a proxy war in Somalia and is currently seeking the authority to search every Americans e-mail and web history without so much as a warrant from a rubber-stamping intelligence court. In other words, he’s been successfully advancing the progressive agenda, or so liberal magazine The American Prospect tells me in a piece that notes the bulk of the professional bloggers and Democratic activists who attended the recent “Netroots Nation” conference in Las Vegas likewise believe our smooth-talking murderer-in-chief is a Pretty Swell Guy.

Take it away, Jamelle Bouie:

The Netroots Nation straw poll, conducted during the conference by Revolution Messaging, shows President Obama with an approval rating of 84 percent among the attending activists, journalists, and bloggers. Given the mostly somber mood of the conference, this is higher than I expected, but on reflection, I’m not too surprised. Among conference attendees, there didn’t seem to be much disagreement with the idea that Obama has been pretty successful in advancing a progressive agenda. While I’m sure there was plenty of disappointment over the lack of a public option in the Affordable Care Act, for example, I don’t think anyone challenged the notion that passing health care is a defining achievement for the administration.

I particularly like the last line: while sure the president didn’t actually deliver on his promise to enact a public option, much less the single-payer system desired by much of the liberal left, passing something and calling it “health care reform” was certainly an achievement, and shouldn’t we all be proud of that? Absent from the piece, you’ll of course notice, is any mention of all those dead foreigners that liberal cosmopolitans purportedly care about, which I guess might just indicate that they never really cared about them. A civilian killed by a Democratic president in an unjust landwar in Asia just doesn’t inflame a liberal’s passions as much as when it’s a nasty ‘ol Republican dropping the bombs.

Beyond just the sickening partisan morality of these activists, the Netroots poll also shows that the liberal lore that the Democratic rank-and-file are more willing to stand up to their politicians than their mouth-breathing Republican counterparts — carbon-copies, I say — is just that: Lore. Fiction. Bullshit. The Netroots liberals are just as impressed by the pomp and prestige of the presidency, are just as worshipful of authority and liable to join a creepy cult of personality, as any conservative.

What, too much? A bit unfair? Yeah, well: 84 percent.

"Massive anti-US rally held in Afghanistan" -- Press TV


In eastern Afghanistan, hundreds of people have taken to the streets to protest against the mounting civilian death toll in US-led raids in the war-torn country.

Some 600 demonstrators blocked the main highway linking the Capital, Kabul and the eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday. The protesters were chanting slogans against the growing foreign presence in the country and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

An Afghan father and his son were killed when their house in Nangahar Province was stormed overnight by NATO soldiers, triggering an outcry that led to the demonstrations.

The US-led forces in the country say they killed two militants in the operation, a claim local villagers have firmly rejected.

Earlier this week, a similar rally was held in the eastern province of Wardak.

A UN report published earlier this week said that 386 civilians were killed by NATO or Afghan forces in the first six months of 2010.

On Monday, at least five Afghan civilians, including a woman and her three children, were killed after a NATO supply vehicle hit their motorcycle in southern Afghanistan. According to Afghan officials, the accident took place on a road in Helmand province, a Press TV correspondent reported Sunday.

Civilians have been the main victims of violence in Afghanistan, particularly in the country’s troubled southern and eastern provinces. The issue of civilian casualties has caused friction between Washington and the Karzai government in Kabul.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Obama/Murray Bloodsucking Event in Seattle 8-17-10

Shot of the protest pen on Olive Way & 5th across from the Westin. Mostly occupied with the immigrant rights folks with the El Comite Pro-Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia. They broke out later and made to the Westin, but were turned back.

Democrat party people nonchalantly waiting to deposit their bloody tribute with the President and Senator, after a super fine repast, I'm sure.

Me. On the sidewalk in front of me was a small contingent of antiwar, protect social security, Obama is a war criminal, troops home from afghanistan folks.

A couple of us tried to move to the other side to make our signs more visible to the war funders, but the cops would not allow it, seeing as how we weren't paying the big bucks.

The tea party was pretty tiny. Unlike me, they were not vocal. I tried to give the Dems in line the word that they were funding the deaths of children in Pakistan and Palestine. I was definitely heard; doubt if I was heeded.

"Protests Greet John Yoo on First Day of Classes" -- Way to go Cindy


Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war activist, and dozens of protestors from Code Pink, The World Can’t Wait, the Boalt Alliance to Abolish Torture and other groups marched through Berkeley Law School today to protest John Yoo’s position as a member of the faculty.

After holding a brief press conference outside the law school, the group marched through the halls and into an outdoor plaza where many students had gathered to have lunch. The protestors were wearing latex gloves dipped in red paint and they yelled “Torture is a war crime,” and “What do we want for John Yoo? Arrest! Indictment! Imprisonment!”

Monday was the first day of classes at Berkeley Law and most students seemed more interested in reuniting with friends and eating than hearing what the protestors had to say, although most politely took bright pink flyers when offered them.

“I didn’t expect to see this,” said Daniel Gillaspia, a first year student from Houston. He had just come out of his first class – on torts – when a woman who had dipped her hand in red paint confronted him. “It’s cool and stuff but your first day of classes you don’t expect to run into that.”

Gillaspia, who was aware of Berkeley’s reputation as a place with numerous protests, said he didn’t yet have an opinion about whether Yoo should be teaching at the school.

Yoo was a member of President’ Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003. During his tenure, he authored memos providing legal justification for waterboarding and other forms of torture.

The Obama administration ordered the Justice Department to investigate Yoo’s work. It determined that Yoo and his former colleagues showed “poor judgment” but did not commit professional misconduct.

Yoo, who started teaching at Berkeley Law School in 1993 and who received tenure in 1999, returned to Berkeley in August 2004. He has compared his residency in Berkeley as akin to “being in West Berlin during the Cold War, a shining beacon of capitalism and democracy surrounded by a sea of Marxism.”

Members of Code Pink and other organizations think that Yoo’s authorship of memos justifying torture should disqualify him from teaching constitutional law. They have called for him to be fired and were handing out “pink slips” to him on Monday.

Cindy Sheehan addressing the crowd.

“Even though the Bush administration is no longer in power, many of the policies continue,” Sheehan told the crowd during the rally outside the law school. “Their responsibilities didn’t end on Jan. 20, 2009. John Yoo should be sitting in prison, not teaching courses here at Berkeley.”

Christopher Edley, the dean of the law school, has defended Yoo’s position. “Because this is a public university, he enjoys not only security of employment and academic freedom, but also First Amendment and Due Process rights,” Edley wrote in a memo in August 2009.

Michael Couzens, an Oakland attorney who graduated from Boalt Hall (the former name of Berkeley Law School) in 1975, thinks Yoo’s positions make him unfit to talk about civil liberties.

“I don’t think John Yoo should be teaching constitutional law,” said Couzens. “He’s unfit to do that. He believes in dictatorship, not the constitution.”

The protestors are hoping that the Berkeley City Council declares October 10 to 16 “No to Torture Week.” The city’s Peace and Justice Commission approved a resolution for the week and the City Council is scheduled to consider the proposal on September 21.

Court Finds Israel Responsible for 10 Yr Old Abir Aramin's Shooting Death

via Aletho News

JERUSALEM — An Israeli court ruled Monday that the state was responsible for the fatal 2007 shooting of a 10-year-old Palestinian girl in a village near Jerusalem.

The court ruled that an Israeli border guard shot Abir Aramin in the head with a rubber bullet in Anata village north of Jerusalem, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. Abir was buying sweets during a break from school with her sister and two friends when she was killed.

An army statement at the time said troops were responding to a riot in the village and “were forced to respond with methods for dispersing protesters.” The army has never accepted responsibility for the killing.

Ruling the shooting “totally unjustifiable,” the court found that Abir and her friends were walking down a street from which no stones were thrown, and “there was no apparent reason to fire in that direction,” Haaretz reported.

Judge Orit Efal Gabai ordered the government to pay damages to the family.

The civil suit was brought to the Jerusalem District Court after the army and state refused to open a criminal investigation into the killing. An appeal to the High Court to force an investigation was rejected in October 2009, when Judge Beinish ruled that Abir may have been killed by stones thrown by Palestinian protesters.

Judge Orit Efal Gabai said Monday that “There is no debate over the conclusion that Abir was injured by a rubber bullet shot by border guards, which in turn leads to the conclusion that the shooting of Abir occurred out of negligence, or in violation of the rules of engagement,” Haaretz reported.

Abir’s father is a founding member of Combatants for Peace, a joint Israeli-Palestinian peace group.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Israel's Destruction of the Bedouin Village Al-Arakib


Friday, August 13, 2010

UK Dance Group Faithless Join the Growing List of Artists Choosing to Boycott Israel

All Races All Colours All Creeds Got The Same Needs.

Hi, this is Maxi Jazz and these are just some of the lyrics I perform every night with my friends known as Faithless. And this short note is for all fans and family of the band in Israel. It's fair to say that for 14 years we've been promoting goodwill, trust and harmony all around the world in our own small (but very loud!) way. Ok. We've been asked to do some shows this summer in your country and, with the heaviest of hearts, I have regretfully declined the invitation. While human beings are being wilfully denied not just their rights but their NEEDS for their children and grandparents and themselves, I feel deeply that I should not be sending even tacit signals that this is either 'normal' or 'ok'. It's neither and I cannot support it. It grieves me that it has come to this and I pray everyday for human beings to begin caring for each other, firm in the wisdom that we are all we have.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reminder: Gaza still under Siege! Vigil for Gaza, End the Israeli occupation of Palestine!

Please forward to your list....


Saturday, August 14

Noon-2:00 pm

Westlake Plaza, 4th & Pine


Amin Odeh


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

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sameh Habeeb -- Inside Gaza

Life in Gaza is unique. Misery is mixed with joy, pain, happiness and suffering. Siege still suffocates people via different manners and tactics. Israel which indirectly pushed Hamas and Fateh towards the split is announcing day and night that siege has been lifted. But facts on the ground are obviously different. Siege is still on there with the same manner but with a different shape.

As you walk and tour in Gaza you will discover that a change has been made recently. Israeli goods ranging from fruits, to vegetables to snacks and other products are streaming into Gaza. Whilst other goods are brought from Egypt via tunnels. Although these goods are filling markets but prices are high while buying force is less. Not everyone in Gaza can afford the prices which dramatically became higher.

Egyptian smuggled cars started to stream into Gaza. But the prices are high. Every car getting into Gaza should cost between 7 to 10 thousand dollars as tax and smuggling fees for the local authorities of Hamas. This made it difficult for people to buy such cars in which their prices will be high.

Speaking to taxi drivers can expose you to what's inside Gaza. They listen a lot to those commuters and daily passengers. They know exactly what the people need or what they are up to. As I have arrived in Gaza over a month ago, I started to chat with every driver. I like doing this to measure the mood of the public in Gaza. I spoke to a car driver in al Nusairat area mid of Gaza City.

The driver told me zealously, "We are not dying from hunger but rather from the huge anger. We are jailed in our spirits and psyche. We don't feel happiness. I work as a car driver. I gain around 50 NIS a day nearly $15. This is not enough for me and my kids. Daily life became expensive while some of my kids are students at local colleges. The anger we experience due to political failure of Hamas and Fateh. It's due to Israel who is continuing its polices against us. Still we are suffering to get power. Heat is higher this year between 30-42 degrees. Imagine we are living in such temperatures with electricity and water. If power is cut water will be cut too. My house is made of metal sheets. No exaggeration, sometimes it becomes oven like!"

In Gaza, restaurants' prices are high. I see it can be the same of some of London's restaurants. Roots, Lighthouse, Beech and Al deera restaurants are the most elegant places to eat at or visit. Israeli premier, Binyamin Netanyahu, through his cunning policy mentioned such places to say that there is no siege in Gaza. He sent out through his PR machine (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) an old video for Roots restaurants to say that there is no siege in Gaza. But the fact he didn't mention is who are those who visit those places. Obviously they are a few people. I visited these places and came to know that those who visit these place are those journalists, foreigners, politicians and others who are engaged and work for International organizations along with their local peers. Workshops and conferences for HRW organizations, USAID, Save the Children and other organizations are running these places with their money. Some high class people in Gaza and War landlords (Tunnels owners) visit these places. But normal Gazans don't visit such places. A meal could cost you between 30 to 100 British Pounds.

Power and Water problems are making life worse here in Gaza. Whenever you want to have a rest from the summer heat you will find no power to run an air conditioner or a fan. Whilst Water is cut as water wells rely on generators that need power to pump water to residential areas. Some people, and I'm one of them, go to the sea to have some fun and rest. But in vain, heat is over there as well as huge rates of humidity. Tens of thousands of people are going to the sea as it's their only place left to relax.

Infrastructure is still destroyed. Sewage water leaks in many residential areas. If you visit Jabalia Refugee camps you will see an extra suffering. Besides the power cut and the heat; sewage water is filling its small streets and corroders. Smell is sharing the house with those refugees. Indeed, it's unbearable for a visitor, so how about those who reside in it. the camp is in bad need of rebuilding and renovation. But with the siege nothing is changing. Israel still prevents construction materials to stream into Gaza. Many are still homeless due to the last war.

Garbage and rubbish are everywhere. Local municipalities (as they say!) they do their utmost to keep the Gaza cities clean. But looking into the ground, facts are grim and different. Indeed, life in Gaza remains grim. Political failure, siege, lack of hygiene, power and water. Heat and summer, high and low classes with no one in the middle. War landlords and taxis. Smuggling and victims. Lack of infrastructure. Lack of health basics. People still die due to lack of medications or inabilities to leave abroad for treatment. Violations of human rights and muting of freedom.

Monday, August 09, 2010

"One More War, Please" -- David Bromwich



Afghanistan, for now, is the war we are in. Iraq is the war we’re getting out of — even if tens of thousands of soldiers and mercenaries remain, and the bases that protect them, and the world’s largest embassy. Yet our image of what we did to Iraq has been remarkably cleansed. The mainstream media have taken the cue of the president’s pledge not to look at the past. So, when we get a story of the impoverishment and squalor of Iraq, nothing appears to trace such effects to the economic sanctions of 1990-2003. Those were part of the “decent” fight against Saddam Hussein, according to American mythology; the pressure skillfully applied under the older, wiser Bush and under Bill Clinton. But pass now from the American media to a review of the evidence on sanctions by Andrew Cockburn in the London Review of Books, and a different story emerges. To take one example: the sanctions kept out pumps for the treatment of dirty water; and, writes Cockburn,

Every year the number of children who died before they reached their first birthday rose, from one in 30 in 1990 to one in eight seven years later. Health specialists agreed that contaminated water was responsible.

The effect, meanwhile, of inflation and unemployment was to make the people of Iraq ever more dependent on their dictator. Madeleine Albright in March 1997 declared that even if Saddam Hussein complied with the inspection requirements, the sanctions should not be lifted, since they were there to help overthrow the dictator himself.

Thirteen years after an American secretary of state uttered those words, we come no closer to the truth about U.S. policy when we read of the “benchmark” of electrical competence in a recent Times story by Steven Lee Meyers. Meyers tells us that “chronic power shortages are the result of myriad factors, including war, drought and corruption, but ultimately they reflect a dysfunctional government.” “Ultimately” must be taken here outside its normal usage to refer to the latest but not the largest cause. This mode of analysis is in keeping with other elements of Meyers’s coverage; for example the way the brute fact of American destruction of the electrical grid (a central feature of Shock and Awe) is dropped into a sagging sentence whose tenor is the vague idea that things happen: “Before Mr. Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait 20 years ago this month, Iraq had the capacity to produce 9,295 megawatts of power. By 2003, after American bombings and years of international sanctions, it was half that.” Notice the reluctance to say it plain: “American bombs destroyed Iraq’s electrical grid, and American insistence organized and maintained the sanctions.” Yet the Times story by Steven Lee Meyers is hardly a terrible example; it is if anything more honest and less self-acquitting than most that appear in the Times and elsewhere.

So much for present and past wars. What of the future war, the war a significant body of Israeli and American opinion is already preparing, the war against Iran? President Obama has called Israel a “sacrosanct” ally, and even before he used language so pious, fulsome, and unsuitable to the leader of an independent republic, Iran did not entirely trust the United States. To remember why, we would have to violate President Obama’s pledge to look only at the future, and actually look at the past. But let us follow his injunction for the moment; look only at the war of the future. How, then, does Iran link up with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? From the tenor of Obama’s recent words about Afghanistan, one would suppose he is doing the best he thinks possible now — namely, getting out — but at the speed his domestic opponents compel, that is, more slowly than he knows it would be right to do. With Iran, by contrast, Obama seems to be doing what he believes is wrong — namely adding momentum to the pressure for a future war — but, again as with Afghanistan, he is doing it more slowly than he knows his opponents would wish in order to secure their ends. The war party within his administration is placated but not yet happy. Possibly the result Obama is hoping for is that these two manifestations of slowness, slow on the right side in Afghanistan, slow on the wrong side with Iran, will meet somewhere in the middle, and spare us two catastrophes at once. Yet time, in politics, doesn’t work like that; a fact this president often seems unwilling to absorb. It is sometimes important to say No early and definitively. You must say it early and definitively if you don’t want to get trapped into saying yes later in spite of yourself. History suggests that wars, by their nature, are not as well equipped for multitasking as the mind of Obama.

We are involved now in a slow effort to extricate ourselves from the defeat of our hopes for an empire in Asia. That seems the uncontroversial meaning behind Obama’s recent words if not all his actions; yet he is trying to do it without surrendering the assumptions we began with. The strongest word that Obama ever said against the Cheney-Bush war in Iraq was not that it was unjust, impolitic, or ignoble, only that it was “dumb.” A harsh condemnation in the idiom of technocrats, but not really in a league with Gladstone’s appeal to the English people

to ask whether you are substantially to be governed, your future pledged, your engagements enormously extended, the necessity for your taxes enlarged and widened, not only without your assent, but without your knowledge, and not only without your knowledge, but with the utmost care to conceal from you the facts.

It is hard to say which is worse, the expenditure or the secrecy, but as Gladstone saw, both function on the same principle. Much of the spending goes to beneficiaries whose identity must be kept secret, and every blunder committed in secret requires fresh outlays to cover it up.