Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Peace Might Upend Wealth of Israelis" -- Jonathan Cook

Those [retired IDF] who spent their service in the West Bank and Gaza Strip quickly learn how to apply and refine new technologies for surveillance, crowd control and urban warfare that find ready markets overseas. In 2006 Israel’s defence exports reached $3.4bn, making the country the fourth largest arms dealer in the world.
If you saw the information on how an Israeli firm has been helping the U.S. spy on peace activists, we know the U.S. & Israeli military industrial bloodsuckers are working hand in glove. Linda J.

NAZARETH // With the resumption of settlement construction in the West Bank
yesterday, Israel’s powerful settler movement hopes that it has scuttled peace talks
with the Palestinians, too.

It would be misleading, however, to assume that the major obstacle to the success of
talks is the right-wing political ideology the settler movement represents. Equally
important are deeply entrenched economic interests shared across Israeli society.
These interests took root more than six decades ago with Israel’s establishment and
have flourished at an ever-accelerating pace since Israel occupied the West Bank and
Gaza Strip after the Arab-Israeli War in 1967.

Even many Israeli Jews living within the recognised borders of Israel privately
acknowledge that they are the beneficiaries of the seizure of another people’s lands,
homes, businesses and bank accounts.

Most Israelis profit directly from the continuing dispossession of millions of Palestinian refugees.

Israeli officials assume that the international community will bear the burden of restitution for the refugees. The problem for Israel’s Jewish population is that the refugees now living in exile were not the only ones dispossessed.

The fifth of Israel’s citizens who are Palestinian but survived the upheaval of 1948 found themselves either transformed into internally displaced people or the victims of a land-nationalisation programme that stripped them of their ancestral property.

Even if Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, signed away the rights of the refugees, he would have no power to do the same for Israel’s Palestinian citizens, also known as Israeli Arabs. Peace, as many Israelis understand, would open a Pandora’s box of historic land claims from Palestinian citizens at the expense of Israel’s Jewish citizens.

But the threat to the economic privileges of Israeli Jews would not end with a reckoning over the consequences caused by the state’s creation. The occupation of the Palestinian territories after 1967 spawned many other powerful economic interests opposed to peace.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Hungry But Resilient" -- In Gaza

*photo: Emad Badwan


Sep 29, 2010 (IPS) – “Sometimes, for a day or two we don’t even have bread, nor flour to make bread. There’s a store nearby that, when we are truly desperate, lets us take a bag of bread or something simple, on credit. I owe them a lot of money for the food I’ve brought from them, but I still can’t pay them.”

Umm Khamis Khattab, 52, lives in a single, bare-bones room in central Gaza’s Bureij refugee camp. Khamis, her disabled son, 30, is married but has no source of income.

“Our situation is very bad. We used to receive financial support because my son is disabled. Now, we get nothing. After my husband died five years ago, his family tried to help us, for a short while. But they can’t take care of themselves, let alone us,” says the widow. “So we get by on hand-outs from neighbours now and then.”

Umm Khamis tries to generate an income selling eggs from the handful of chickens she tends. “We are three people living off 20 shekels (roughly five dollars) per week from the eggs.”

The World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) define food insecurity as people not having “adequate physical, social or economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs.”

Palestinians vulnerable to food insecurity are further defined as “households with both income and consumption below 5.6 dollars per adult equivalent per day.” Actual food insecure households are defined as having “an income and consumption below 4.7 dollars per adult equivalent per day.”

In the Gaza Strip, where unemployment levels soar up to 65 percent, and more than 80 percent people are food aid dependent, the average income per day per person is just two dollars. According to the WFP and FAO, the food insecure in Gaza are an alarming 61 percent, with another 16 percent vulnerable to food insecurity.

"Why the US Doesn't Talk to Iran'" -- By Ismael Hossein-zadeh and Karla Hansen

September 28, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- The unrelenting diplomatic and geopolitical standoff between Iran and the United States is often blamed on the Iranian government for its "confrontational" foreign policies, or its "unwillingness" to enter into dialogue with the United States. Little known, however, is that during the past decade or so, Iran has offered a number of times to negotiate with the US without ever getting a positive response.

The best-known effort at dialogue, which came to be known as Iran's "grand bargain" proposal, was made in May 2003. The two-page proposal for a broad Iran-US understanding, covering all issues of mutual concern, was transmitted to the US State Department through the Swiss ambassador in Tehran. Not only did the State Department not respond to Iran's negotiating offer, but, as reporter Gareth Porter pointed out, it "rebuked the Swiss ambassador for having passed on the offer".

Since then, Iran has made a number of other efforts at negotiation, the latest of which was made by President Mahmud Ahmadinejad ahead of last week's trip to the United States to attend the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Regrettably, once again the US ignored Ahmadinejad's overture of meeting with President Barack Obama during his UN visit.

The question is why? Why have successive US administrations been reluctant to enter into a conflict-resolution dialogue with Iran, which could clearly be in the national interests of the United States?

The answer, in a nutshell, is that US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, is driven not so much by broad national interests as they are by narrow but powerful special interests - interests that seem to prefer war and militarism to peace and international understanding. These are the nefarious interests that are vested in military industries and related "security" businesses, notoriously known as the military-industrial complex. These beneficiaries of war dividends would not be able to justify their lion's share of our tax dollars without "external enemies" or "threats to our national interests."

Taking a large share of the national treasury was not a difficult act to perform during the Cold War era because the pretext for continued increases in military spending - the "communist threat" - seemed to lie conveniently at hand. Justification of increased military spending in the post-Cold War period, however, has prompted the military-security interests to be more creative in inventing (or manufacturing, if necessary) "new sources of danger to US interests".

When the collapse of the Soviet system and the subsequent discussions of "peace dividends" in the United States threatened the interests of the military-industrial conglomerates, their representatives invented "new threats to US interests" and successfully substituted them for the "threat of communism" of the Cold War. These "new, post-Cold War sources of threat" are said to stem from the so-called "rogue states", "global terrorism" and "Islamic fundamentalism." Demonization of Iran and/or Ahmadinejad can be better understood in this context.

Now, it may be argued that if beneficiaries of war-dividends need external enemies to justify their unfair share of national treasury, why Iran? Why of all places is Iran targeted as such an enemy? Isn't there something wrong with the Iranian government and/or Ahmadinejad's policies in challenging the world's superpower knowing that this would be a case of David challenging Goliath, that it would cause diplomatic pressure, military threats and economic sanctions on Iran?

These are the kind of questions that the "Greens" and other critics of Ahmadinejad's government ask, rhetorical questions that tend to blame Iran for the economic sanctions and military threats against that country - in effect, blaming the victim for the crimes of the perpetrator. Labeling Ahmadinejad's policies as "rash", "adventurous" and "confrontational," Mir Hossein Mousavi and other leaders of the "Greens" frequently blame those polices for external military and economic pressures on Iran.

Accordingly, they seek "understanding" and "accommodation" with the US and its allies, presumably including Israel, to achieve political and economic stability. While, prima facie, this sounds like a reasonable argument, it suffers from a number of shortcomings.

To begin with, it is a disingenuous and obfuscationist argument. Military threats and economic sanctions against Iran did not start with Ahmadinejad's presidency; they have been imposed on Iran for more than 30 years, essentially as punishment for its 1979 revolution that ended the imperial US influence over its economic, political and military affairs. It is true that the sanctions have been steadily escalated, significantly intensified in recent months. But that is not because Ahmadinejad occasionally lashes out at imperialist/Zionist policies in the region; it is rather because Iran has refused to give in to the imperialistic dictates of the US and its allies.

Peace Talks -- Bendib

Protest FBI Raids on Peace Activists! Tomorrow at 4 p.m., 3rd & Spring

Action Name: Protest Against FBI Intimidation of the Peace Movement

Date: 2010-09-30

Event Time: (All Day Event)

Organization: Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

Description: Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace (VFP 92) and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) are working together to organize a Thursday afternoon rally outside of the FBI offices in downtown Seattle. Many local peace, solidarity and civil rights organizations are being invited to join us in denouncing recent FBI raids on anti-war and solidarity activists in Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois.

The protest rally and sidewalk press conference will be on Thursday, Sept. 30, 4 pm, at 1110 3rd Ave., on the northeast corner of 3rd and Spring.

For more information, call Gerry Condon, Veterans for Peace, Greater Seattle Chapter 92, at 206-499-1220.

"Anti-Austerity Protests Sweep Across Europe"

Riot police detain protesters in Brussels Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010. Labor unions prepared a march of nearly 100,000 workers on the European Union institutions on Wednesday to protest the budget slashing plans and austerity measures of governments seeking to control spiraling debt. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Pickets block the exit of a bus depot during a nationwide general strike organized by the Spanish unions, in Madrid, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010. Picketers hurled eggs at buses and blocked trucks from delivering produce to wholesale markets as Spanish workers went on a general strike Wednesday to protest austerity measures imposed by a government struggling to slash its budget deficit and overcome recession. (AP Photo/Paul White)


Monday, September 27, 2010

Father, Forgive Me, I Will Not Fight for Your Israel

"34 Killed in NATO Raid" -- "Most Intensive Barrage ... Since 2004"

via Rick Rozoff at Stop NATO

ISLAMABAD: According to the eyewitness and news sources from the tribal area, the US troops on two helicopters conducted raid in Pakistan territory and killed at least 34 people in the region near Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Although the US drones are frequently conducting strikes against militant targets in the tribal areas but raid of the US ground troops with help of helicopters is a rare incident, wherein over 34 people were statedly killed on Saturday night.

Two years back, in September, 2008, the US troops had conducted a similar raid across border and 20 people were in the raid, which had elicited strong criticism from Pakistan. Moreover,[text missing in original]

Two US drone strikes targeting vehicles killed eight people on Sunday in North Waziristan near the Afghan border, officials said. Both attacks took place in Asar village of Datta Khel town, some 50km (31 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district. “The US drone fired three missiles at the militants’ vehicle, killing four rebels,” a senior security official in the area said of the first strike.

Another senior security official in the area confirmed the strike and toll.

The second strike, also targeting a vehicle, killed three rebels in the same village. “Four missiles fired from a US drone on another vehicle which was going to the site of the first attack for rescue work, killing three militants,” a senior security official in the area said. The two strikes came little over 24 hours after a similar drone attack in the same Datta Khel area, which killed four militants on Saturday. The US has launched eighteen such drone attacks in just 23 days in North Waziristan.

More than 1,100 people have been killed in over 130 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008.

Suspected US drone aircraft carried out two missile strikes against a house and a vehicle in North Waziristan on Sunday, killing seven alleged militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said. The US is now suspected of conducting 19 such attacks this month, the most intense barrage since the strikes began in 2004. Most have targeted Datta Khel, part of the North Waziristan tribal area that is dominated by militants who regularly stage attacks against Nato troops in Afghanistan. In the first strike Sunday, a drone fired three missiles at a house in Lwara Mandi village in Datta Khel, killing three suspected militants, said the intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Minutes later, a drone fired two missiles at a vehicle in the same area, killing four suspected militants, the officials said. The exact identities of the seven people killed in the attacks were not known, but most of this month’s strikes have targeted forces led by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a commander who was once supported by Pakistan and the US during the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.—Agencies.

"Jewish Boat Heads Toward Gaza with Aid" -- CNN

CNN) -- An aid ship sponsored by Jewish activist organizations around the world continued toward Gaza on Monday, despite a blockade to the occupied territory.

The ship set sail Sunday from Cyprus.

The boat, named Irene, was carrying 10 passengers and crew, including Jews from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Israel.

"The boat will attempt to reach the coast of Gaza and unload its aid cargo in a nonviolent, symbolic act of solidarity and protest -- and call for the siege to be lifted to enable free passage of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip," organizers said in a statement.

The Israeli foreign ministry said Monday that when the boat nears, officials will ask for its destination. If they are told that the boat intends to go to Gaza, it will be told to dock at Al Arish port in northeastern Egypt near Gaza or Israel's Ashdod ports. If the boat refuses, it will be intercepted and towed to Ashdod, said ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

The boat's cargo includes children's toys, musical instruments, textbooks, fishing nets and prosthetic limbs, the organizers said.

They plan to deliver the goods to the Gaza Mental Health Program.

"Israeli government policies are not supported by all Jews," said Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, one of the organizers. "We call on all governments and people around the world to speak and act against the occupation and the siege."

Police in Cyprus said they were not aware of the ship's departure, spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said.

Cyprus has a ban on vessels leaving the southern part of the island for Gaza. It was unclear from what part of the island the boat departed.

In May, an aid flotilla headed to Gaza from Turkey was intercepted by Israeli forces. Violence broke out, resulting in the deaths of nine people.

On Wednesday, the United Nations' Human Rights Council concluded that Israeli forces committed serious violations of international law in the mid-sea interception.

The 56-page report described the circumstances of the deaths of "at least six of the passengers" as being "consistent with ... an arbitrary and summary execution."

Israel has maintained its troops used force on the activists in May after they were attacked by those on board one boat. But passengers on board the boat insist Israeli troops fired on them without provocation.

CNN's Joyce Joseph, Shira Medding and journalist Paul Malaos contributed to this report.

The FBI Raids in Context -- Ron Jacobs -- Oct. 9 Antiwar Demo

If you didn't have a reason to show up at the October 9, U.S. Out of Afghanistan demo, now you do. Stand up against FBI/state intimidation of antiwar/solidarity/social justice activists. 1 pm Rally @ Westlake Park, 2 pm March

url for Ron Jacobs article:
via Aletho News

On September 24, 2010 the FBI raided several houses and a couple offices in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago and North Carolina under the guise of looking for proof that the people living in those houses were involved with organizations that “lent material support to terrorists.” Ironically (or perhaps presciently) the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) also released an 88-page document titled The Policing of Political Speech: Constraints on Mass Dissent in the U.S on that day. Not content with criminalizing the representation provided by attorneys to those accused of fomenting terrorism, as in the case of Lynne Stewart, with these raids the Obama administration has stepped up the repression that became quite commonplace under George Bush.

In short, the government is attempting to criminalize the organizing of antiwar protests. Furthermore, it wants to make opposition to the the government’s assistance in repressing struggles for self-determination illegal. Other repressive actions by law enforcement against US citizens, including the sentencing of a videographer to 300 days in jail for trespass after he tried to film an unauthorized talk in Chicago and the acknowledgment by the Pittsburgh FBI office that it had spied on peace activists and used a private agency to help out, makes it clear that the PATRIOT Act and its excesses are alive and well under the Obama administration. Repression is a bipartisan activity, especially when it comes to the repression of the left.

These raids are a clear and vicious attempt to intimidate the antiwar movement. The grand jury is a fishing expedition, as evidenced (for example) by the warrant asking for papers from no determined time. This intimidation is a continuation of the harassment of the Twin Cities left/anarchist community that began before the 2008 Republican National Convention. As I recall, several organizers had their homes and offices raided prior to the convention. In addition, hundreds of protesters were arrested and many more were beaten by law enforcement thugs. Eight organizers were eventually charged with a variety of charges including conspiracy. As of September 25, 2010, three of those charged had all of their charges dropped and the rest face trial on October 25, 2010.

This is not just about the movement in the Twin Cities, however. The September 24 raids also took place in Chicago and North Carolina. There is a grand jury being convened in October 2010 with the intention of perhaps charging some of the people (and maybe others) subpoenaed on September 24. These raids are an attempt by the federal government to criminalize antiwar organizing. They are also an attempt to make support for the Palestinians and other people fighting for self-determination illegal.

The PATRIOT Act was passed on October 26, 2001. Since that passage, the level of law enforcement intimidation and outright repression increased quite dramatically. From little things like protesters being forced to protest in so-called free speech zones or face arrest to the recent approval of the assassination of US citizens by federal death squads, there has been a clear progression away from any concern for protecting civil liberties. Indeed, the concern for civil liberties is usually dismissed by politicians, judges, and other people in power almost as if they were some worthless costume trinkets from grandma’s jewelry box. As mentioned earlier, this harassment and repression is not new to US history. In addition to multiple murders of Black liberation activists, illegal surveillance, false imprisonment and other forms of harassment, the use of grand juries was essential to the repression of the antiwar and anti-racist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. As the NLG document points out, “from 1970-1973, over 100 grand juries in 84 cities subpoenaed over 1,000 activists.” However, nowadays there seems to be less resistance to it. Some of this can be attributed to the lack of press coverage, which is quite possibly intentional. Much of the lack of concern, however, can be attributed to the state of fear so many US residents live in. This is a testimony to the power of the mainstream media and its willingness to serve as the government’s propaganda wing.

To those who argue that the media don’t always support the government and then cite Fox News’ distaste for Obama or a liberal newspaper’s distaste for certain policies enacted under George Bush, let me point something out. Like the two mainstream political parties (and the occasional right wing third party movement like the Tea Party), even when different media outlets seem to be opposing each other, the reality is that none opposes the underlying assumptions demanded by the State. In fact, the only argument seems to be how better to effect the underlying plan of the American empire. The plan itself (or the rightness of the plan) is never seriously questioned.

The September 24, 2010 raids in the Twin Cities, Chicago and North Carolina may not seem like much, even to other antiwar organizers and leftists. The setting up of “free speech zones” may also appear minor. A grand jury fishing for supposed links to “terrorism” by antiwar activists may seem like no big deal. Violations of human rights in cases involving foreign nationals like Aafia Siddiqui (who was sentenced to 86 years after a trial that barely recognized her defense) do not even register on most Americans’ radar. Yet, it is the cumulative effect of all of these efforts at repression that we should be aware of. As James Madison wrote: “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation.”

If these seemingly minor encroachments on liberties we assume we have go unchallenged, how long might it be before assassinations and torture by the US military and their mercenary cohorts are carried out on US citizens? Oh wait, that’s already happening.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Support Activists Raided by FBI -- Sign Statement via Email

The following statement was read and agreed upon at the community
meeting at Walker Church on the evening of Friday, September 24, 2010.
If you would like to add your name and/or organization to this list,
please email

(Note: not everyone who signed on 9/24 is yet reflected in the list below)

Statement of Solidarity with Activists Raided and Subpoenaed on 9/24/10

The raids and grand jury subpoeanas against antiwar and international
solidarity activists on the morning of Friday, September 24, 2010 are
not just an attack on particular activists, but on our movements for
social justice as a whole. With a united voice, we condemn this
repression; we demand the federal government cease its investigation
and withdraw the subpoenas immediately; and we vow to continue our
work for true justice.

We reject the allegation that the government's investigation into our
movements is based on "material support for terrorism" in any form.
This allegation is particularly ludicrous considering the terror
tactics the U.S. government engages in on a daily basis, both globally
and domestically. Aimed against valued members of our community, the
raids against activists on Friday morning were particularly offensive
to us. However, we recognize that they are unexceptional instances of
repression when compared to the daily crimes against humanity carried
out by U.S. imperialism.

We refuse to let the accusations of a notoriously untruthful,
repressive government divide us in any way. Because an attack on one
of us is an attack on all of us, we resolve to set any ideological or
other political differences aside and respond in solidarity with one
another. Our struggle will continue.


(All organizational affiliations listed are for identification
purposes only unless otherwise noted)

Adam Briesemeister
Adam Greeley
Alicia Ronney
Amy Selvins, AFSCME 3800
Andrea Palumbo
Andrew Carhart, AFSCME 3800
Andrew Somers, Students for a Democratic Society
Angel Buechner, Welfare Rights Committee
Angella Khan, Welfare Rights Committee
Anne Benson
Bill Sorem
Brandom Madsen, Socialist Alternative
Brett Hoven, UAW 879, Socialist Alternative
Brian Payne
Bruce Berry, Vets for Peace
Bryan Berry, Junkyard Empire
Bryan Jones
Catherine Salonek, Socialist Alternative
Chante Wolf
Charlene Wilford, Welfare Rights Committee
Charles Underwood
Christopher Clauson
Christopher R. Cox, Junkyard Empire
Chuck Turchick
Cian Prendiville, Socialist Party--Ireland
Coleen Rowley
Colleen McGilp, Women Against Military Madness
Communities United Against Police Brutality (organization)
Cynthia Clark
Dan DiMaggio, Socialist Alternative
Danny King, Welfare Rights Committee
Darryl Robinson, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Dave Bicking, Green Party
David Keuhl, Anti-War Committee
David Riehle, United Transportation Union
Deb Konechne, Welfare Rights Committee
Deborah Howze, Welfare Rights Committee
Dori Ullman, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Doug McGilp, IBT--Retired
Earl Balfour, Mayday Books
Earth Warriors are OK! (organization)
Elizabeth Raasch-Gilman, RNC 8 Defense Committee
Eric J. Angell, Our World in Depth
Erik Zakis
Eryn Trimmer, RNC8
Garrett Fitzgerald, RNC 8
Gary North
Gaylyn Bicking
Greg Gibbs
Hallie Wallace
Heather Haymond
Jaime Hokanson, RNC 8 Defense Committee
Jane Franklin, Twin Cities Indymedia
Janelle Colway, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Janet Nye, Green Party
Jean Heberle, Women Against Military Madness
Jennie Eisert, Anti-War Committee
Jim McGuire, Industrial Workers of the World
Joan Feakins
Joann Gonzalez, Welfare Rights Committee
Joanne Schubert
John Everett Till
John J. Braun, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Pax Christi USA
John Kolstad
Joyce Wallace, Women Against Military Madness
June C. Conner, Welfare Rights Committee
Karen Redleaf, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network--Twin Cities,
Our World in Depth
Karthik Ramanathan, Minnesota Cuba Committee
Katie Molm
Katrina Plotz, Anti-War Committee
Kieran F. Knutson, Industrial Workers of the World
Kimberly A. DeFranco, Welfare Rights Committee
Kira Downey
Kristen Keuhl
Kurt Seaberg
Linda Leighton, IPAC, SEIU 284, Industrial Workers of the World--Twin Cities
Linden Gawboy, Welfare Rights Committee
Lucas de Gracia
Luce Guillén-Givins, RNC8
Marie Braun, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, WAMM
Max Specktor, RNC 8
Melinda McGowan
Melissa Hill, Twin Cities Indymedia
Mia Overly, Univ. of Minn. Students for a Democratic Society
Michelle Gross, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Michelle Mandeville
Mickey Patterson, Women Against Military Madness
Minneapolis Autonomous Radical Space (organization)
MK Davis
Monica Bicking, RNC8
Nicole Duxbury
Phil Grove
Phillip Lickteig
Phyllis Walker
Polly Kellogg, Professor, St. Cloud State University
Rachel E.B. Lang, National Lawyers Guild--Minnesota Chapter
Rebecca Zaremba
Riva Garcia
RNC 8 Defense Committee (organization)
Robert Heberle, Veterans for Peace
Roger W. Cuthbertson
Roshaun White, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Sandra K. Bandli
Scott & Carrie Support Committee (organization)
Socialist Alternative (organization)
Stephen Abraham
Sue Ann Martinson, Women Against Military Madness
Susan Kolstad
Susanne Waldorf
Suzanne Linton, Green Party of Minnesota
Theodros Shibabaw, Socialist Alternative
Thomas Dooley, Mayday Books, Veterans for Peace
Timmy Ramone, Usual Suspects
Tom Schumacher, Boneshaker Books
Tonia Secor
Treana Mayer
Ty Moore, Socialist Alternative
Virginia Amy Weldon, Welfare Rights Committee
Welfare Rights Committee (organization)
If you would like to add your name and/or organization to this list,
please email

George Galloway Lowers the Boom on Zionist Lies About Iraq -- 24 min.

Support the Farmers of Saffa in Replanting Their Land -- Palestine Solidarity Project
Join the Palestine Solidarity Project as we prepare to replant the Saffa valley, destroyed by settlers in 2009 and currently under threat of annexation by the Israeli military. Saffa is a Palestinian agricultural community at the edge of the illegal Bat Ayn settlement, and Saffa farmers are frequently subject to settler violence and harassment. A series of settler attacks in the summer of 2009 left several Palestinian farmers wounded and much of the land destroyed.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

""Don't F*** With Our Activists" - Mobilizing Against FBI Raids"

"A Party for Marty" -- Great Video

The notoriously racist editor of The New Republic Martin Peretz was recently honoured by Harvard University at an event hosted by E.J. Dionne and Michael Walzer (among others). Some students organized a party to mark the occasion. (See press release below)


CAMBRIDGE, Sept. 25—Over 100 members of the Harvard community and others “welcomed” New Republic editor and the university administration’s favorite racist, Martin Peretz, at the 50th anniversary of Harvard’s Social Studies program with a combination of protests, walk-outs, and probing questions.Demonstrators at the event confronted Peretz outside Harvard’s Science Center—which was held in part to launch a $650,000 research fund in his name—and followed him for several minutes while chanting slogans rejecting his racist stances.

“Just because President Faust wants to honor a longtime public bigot doesn’t mean that the Harvard community does,” said senior Abdelnasser Rashid, a social studies concentrator. “We’ve billed this demonstration as a ‘Party for Marty’ to show how absurd Harvard’s decision to celebrate Peretz is.”

"Domestic Disturbance: FBI Raids Bring the Terror War Home" -- Chris Floyd

I'm sure that if I had met Paul Craig Roberts 25 years ago -- or indeed, had even known of his existence -- I would have felt strongly antagonistic toward this Reagan Administration apparatchik and all that he stood for. And for all I know, if I met him today, I still might find that we were at loggerheads on some issues, maybe many issues.

But I must say there are few people out there today speaking truth about power with the unblinking, unvarnished ferocity of Roberts. (And as I've noted here before, it is speaking truth about power -- not the old cliché of "speaking truth to power" -- that we so desperately need. There's no point in speaking truth to power -- power already knows the truth of its monstrous crimes, and it doesn't give a damn.) Time and again, I've started to write a post about some outrage only to find that Roberts has already been there, laying into the issue with a flaming brand.

And so it was today, when I came in from a gorgeous autumn afternoon -- one of those bright, crisp, golden days that break through the English gloom like some rare flower -- and saw the stories about the FBI raids on antiwar activists across the United States. I know that domestic duties -- that is to say, the actual living of one's life, the common and deeply meaningful byt that lies far beyond the howling madness of power -- would as usual keep me from writing until the wee hours, but I thought: I'll have to take this up later, I think I have something to say about this.

But by the time that night had come, and duties were done, and loved ones were asleep, I found that, once again, Roberts was already on the case. He too had something to say -- everything that I was going to say, in fact, and more. So I'll just let Roberts speak the truth, beginning with his title: "It is Official: The US is a Police State":

Now we know what Homeland Security (sic) secretary Janet Napolitano meant when she said on September 10: "The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’ is just that — the old view." The new view, Napolitano said, is "to counter violent extremism right here at home."

"Violent extremism" is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning’s FBI foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience, it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with "the material support of terrorism," just as conservatives equated Vietnam era antiwar protesters with giving material support to communism.

Antiwar activist Mick Kelly, whose home was raided, sees the FBI raids as harassment to intimidate those who organize war protests. I wonder if Kelly is underestimating the threat. The FBI’s own words clearly indicate that the federal police agency and the judges who signed the warrants do not regard antiwar protesters as Americans exercising their Constitutional rights, but as unpatriotic elements offering material support to terrorism.

"Material support" is another of those undefined police state terms. In this context the term means that Americans who fail to believe their government’s lies and instead protest its policies, are supporting their government’s declared enemies and, thus, are not exercising their civil liberties but committing treason.

I agree that the threat goes far beyond mere harassment. Roberts goes on to spell out one of the first thoughts I had on reading these stories: that those who are accused of the slightest association with "terrorism" -- on little evidence, on manufactured evidence, or no evidence whatsoever -- are now subject to the merciless, lawless mechanisms of the Terror War state:

As this initial FBI foray is a softening up move to get the public accustomed to the idea that the real terrorists are their fellow citizens here at home, Kelly will get off this time. But next time the FBI will find emails on his computer from a "terrorist group" set up by the CIA that will incriminate him. Under the practices put in place by the Bush and Obama regimes, and approved by corrupt federal judges, protesters who have been compromised by fake terrorist groups can be declared "enemy combatants" and sent off to Egypt, Poland, or some other corrupt American puppet state — Canada perhaps — to be tortured until confession is forthcoming that antiwar protesters and, indeed, every critic of the US government, are on Osama bin Laden’s payroll.

Of course, they can also just be killed outright, without charges, without due process, at the lawless whim of the president or one of his designated minions -- or indeed, one of the literally thousands of people, many of them foreigners, that the United States government now pays to roam various regions of the earth killing people: blowing them up in their houses, murdering them in their beds, machine-gunning their children, drone-bombing their neighborhoods, knifing them on street corners, pushing them out of windows, poisoning them in restaurants, whatever. Just this week, the lawyers of the Peace Laureate were in federal court trying zealously to quash a civil lawsuit that would threaten the president's unrestricted power to kill American citizens without the slightest pretense of due process, if he feels like it.

(It is astonishing -- unbelievable -- that one could even write such a sentence, that this is the kind of state we live in. That is, it would be astonishing and unbelievable -- if I hadn't been writing sentences just like it for almost nine years, since my first piece on George Bush's assertion of this universal power of life and death, back in November 2001.)

Roberts notes the deeper implications of the "terrorism" taint that the government of the Peace Laureate is now smearing across the antiwar movement:

Almost every Republican and conservative and, indeed, the majority of Americans will fall for this, only to find, later, that it is subversive to complain that their Social Security was cut in the interest of the war against Iran or some other demonized entity, or that they couldn’t have a Medicare operation because the wars in Central Asia and South America required the money.

Americans are the most gullible people who ever existed. They tend to support the government instead of the Constitution, and almost every Republican and conservative regards civil liberty as a coddling device that encourages criminals and terrorists.

The US media, highly concentrated in violation of the American principle of a diverse and independent media, will lend its support to the witch hunts that will close down all protests and independent thought in the US over the next few years. As the Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels said, "think of the press as a great keyboard on which the Government can play."

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Israelis Kill Toddler with Tear Gas in Occupied East Jerusalem"

JERUSALEM — A Palestinian toddler was reported dead late Friday after Israeli forces fired tear gas amid clashes in a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

Medics said 14-month-old Muhammed Abu Sneneh suffocated after the gas was fired at residents and their houses in Al-Isawiya.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he had not received any reports of injuries and that police were using minimum force to respond to incidents in Al-Isawiya, Silwan and Ras Al-Amoud.

Clashes in the occupied city have been ongoing since Wednesday, when a settler security guard shot dead two Palestinians in Silwan.

The wife of 28-year-old Samer Sarhan, one of the Palestinians killed on Wednesday, was transferred to hospital on Friday night after inhaling tear gas, medics said. On Thursday, locals reported that Israeli forces fired tear-gas at Sarhan’s home in Silwan, sparking further clashes.

At Sarhan’s funeral on Wednesday, attended by over 1,000 mourners, violent clashes occurred and Israeli border guards fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at the funeral procession.

Officials estimated that 3,000 Israeli police and border guards were deployed across East Jerusalem on Friday, as the city remained on a state of alert.

Checkpoints were installed at the entrances to several neighborhoods, sparking clashes as residents fought with Israeli forces in several areas, including Al-Isawiya and the Shu’fat refugee camp, where restrictions prevented any movement in and out of the area.

L'il Israel

"East Jerusalem Clash Turns Deadly" -- Al Jazeera via Real News Network

More at The Real News

"FBI Raids of Pro-Palestine Activist Homes in Four US States" -- Nigel Parry

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Twin Cities Indymedia reports that FBI raids took place today in Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina and Illinois. While there is limited information right now, the FBI appears to be targeting people associated with the Freedom Road Socialist Organization for activist work relating to Palestine and Columbia.

The federal search warrants appear to be focusing on seizing electronic devices, international travel, and alleging "co-conspirators." The warrants hyped potential documents indicating any contacts/facilitation with FARC, PFLP, and Hezbollah - what it called "FTOs" or "foreign terrorist organizations".

They mentioned seeking information on the alleged "facilitation of other individuals in the US to travel to Colombia, Palestine and any other foreign location ins upport of foreign terrorist organizations including but not limited to FARC, PFLP and Hezbollah".

The wording of the warrant appears to indicate the government seeks to create divisions among social justice and international soldarity activists by hyping alleged connections to what they call "foreign terrorist organizations."

Follow the story on Twin Cities Indymedia:

Also see:

Nigel Parry comments:

Two of the activists whose homes were raided, Jess Sundin and Meredith Aby, are very well known anti-war activists in the Twin Cities, where I lived for a decade.

This investigation is totally bogus and seems to be related to a very public delegation they organized to Palestine. It's as impossible to visit Palestine without meeting with HAMAS or PFLP members as it's impossible to visit America and not meet any Republicans or Democrats.

HAMAS is the party that was democratically elected as Palestine's government in January 2006. Prior to the elections, HAMAS practiced a unilateral ceasefire for over a year. Israel did not.

HAMAS was displaced as the legitimate government in the West Bank by a U.S. funded coup. Directly after the 2006 elections, Condi Rice visited Palestine and gave their defeated opposition, Fatah, $10 million in weapons and a green light to attack HAMAS.

I lived in Palestine for 4 years and had many friends who would self-identify as members of HAMAS or the PFLP. It's impossible not to, just like it would be impossible to live in the US and not have friends who were Democrats or Republicans.

To define entire mainstreams of the Palestinian political arena as "terrorist" is a position entirely indefensible when the on the ground reality in Palestine or any other countries we presume to bring "democracy" to is examined.

America—a country whose wars around the world continue to kill and injure hundreds of thousands of civilians—has become a self-destructive entity whose concept of "enemies" and "terror" is delusional. All of us who live in the United States will ultimately pay the price for this delusion.

Reminder: Gaza STILL under Siege! Vigil for Gaza, End the Israeli Occupation of Palestine

Please forward to your list....

Saturday, September 25
Noon-2:00 pm
Westlake Plaza, 4th & Pine

Amin Odeh

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Update on Mumia Abu-Jamal

There is a significant new development regarding my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, the journalist and author who has been on Pennsylvania's death row for nearly three decades.

Oral argument scheduled, United States Court of Appeals: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has just granted oral argument in Mumia's case. (Abu-Jamal v. Beard, No. 01-9014.) The arguments will be before a three-judge panel on November 9, 2010, 2:00 pm. This will be in the Ceremonial Courtroom, U.S. Courthouse, 6th & Market Streets, Philadelphia.

Mumia & I spoke shortly after the order was received. He was humbled by the good news. We are cautiously encouraged that the federal court has taken this step.

This is significant in the ongoing litigation to save Mumia's life and win the case. At stake is whether he will be executed, or granted a new jury trial on the question of the death penalty. We previously won on this issue, but early this year the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that decision and ordered that the case be again reviewed by the federal court.

New movie, Justice On Trial: Yesterday Justice On Trial premiered in Philadelphia. It is by Johanna Fernandez, a professor at Baruch College, New York, and Kouross Esmaeli of Big Noise Films. The release of this superb film comes at a perfect time since it counters another movie,The Barrel of a Gun, that was also shown the same day. The Barrel production is replete with distortions and wild theories, and is supported by those who wish to see my client executed including the Fraternal Order of Police.

Petition to President Barack Obama (Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty): Over 24,000 people from around the world have signed the petition, including three Nobel Prize winners. We need many more for this to benefit Mumia. Some of the signers are: Desmond Tutu, South Africa (Nobel Peace Prize, 1984); Günter Grass, Germany (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1999); Elfriede Jelinek, Austria (Nobel Prize in Literature, 2004); Danielle Mitterrand, Paris (former First Lady of France); Fatima Bhutto, Pakistan (writer); Colin Firth (Academy Award Best-Actor nominee, 2010); Noam Chomsky, MIT (philosopher and author); Ed Asner (actor); Mike Farrell (actor); Robert Meeropol (son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed in 1953); Michael Radford (director of the Oscar winning film Il Postino); members of the European Parliament; members of the German Bundestag; European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights; and Reporters Without Borders, Paris.

How to Help: For information on how to help, both by signing the Obama petition & donating funds, please go to Mumia's website (

Conclusion: Mumia is in the greatest danger since being arrested in 1981. We will not stop until he is saved.

Yours very truly,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117

Yikes! Sorry for the Repeat Articles on UN Panel Blasting Israel -- Heck, It Was Worth 2 Looks, Right?

UN Human Rights Council Report: Israel Flotilla Raid Broke International Law

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu praised Thursday the UN Human Right Council's report on the Gaza flotilla, telling Anatolia news agency that the report was fair, impartial and used strong evidence.

The report, compiled by three United Nations appointed human rights experts, said that Israeli forces violated international law when they raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, killing nine activists, earlier this year.

The UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission concluded that Israel's naval blockade of the Palestinian territory was unlawful because of the humanitarian crisis there, and described the military raid on the flotilla as brutal and disproportionate.

"We expected the council to release a strong report based on strong evidence, and in this sense the report met our expectations," said Davutoglu. "We hope that Israel will learn to use language of international law and act in line with it."

The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded late Wednesday by saying the Human Rights Council had a biased, politicized and extremist approach.

Israel has maintained that its soldiers acted in self-defense when they shot and killed eight Turkish activists and one Turkish-American aboard the Mavi Marmara on May 31. Israel Defense Forces released footage showing its troops coming under attack as they tried to board the boat.

The Human Rights Council blamed Israel prior to the investigation and it is no surprise that they condemn after, said Andy David, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, referring to the 47-member body's resolution in early June condemning the raid.

Israel refused to cooperate with the panel, preferring instead to work with a separate UN group under New Zealand's former Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and Colombia's former President Alvaro Uribe that is also examining the incident but has yet to publish its findings
"Israel is a democratic and law abiding country that carefully observes international law and, when need be, knows how to investigate itself," the Foreign Ministry statement said.

"That is how Israel has always acted, and that is the way in which investigations were conducted following Operation Cast Lead, launched to protect the inhabitants of southern Israel from rockets and terror attacks carried out by Hamas from Gaza," said the statement.

MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad), who was on board the Mavi Marmara, praised the UN Human Rights Council's report and added that "the criminals" who ordered and carried out the raid should be brought to justice.

Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for the Islamic militant group Hamas that controls Gaza, said the report emphasized that Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories violates human rights not only against Palestinian people but against innocent people who came to show their sympathy.

"Now it's required to be a mechanism in order to translate this report into action and to bring the occupation commanders to trial for the crimes they committed," Barhoum said.

The Human Rights Council's report was compiled by former U.N. war crimes prosecutor Desmond de Silva, Trinidadian judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips and Malaysian women's rights advocate Mary Shanthi Dairiam. It is scheduled to be presented to the council on Monday

The Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, was re-established in 2006 by then UN Security General, Kofi Annan, following accusations that its predecessor, the UN Commission on Human Rights, openly and systematically discriminated against Israel.

But the new body has also passed several resolutions condemning Israel over the past few years, especially for its actions in the Palestinian territories, and is often of accused of unfair bias against Israel.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Rally to Free Bradley Manning" -- Ft. Lewis, Sept. 18

"Gaza Flotilla Attack: UN Report Condemns Israli 'Brutality'"

Not sure why the Guardian chose to put quotes around "brutality." No question that's what it was! Linda

A UN-appointed panel said today that Israeli forces violated international law, "including international humanitarian and human rights law", during and after their lethal attack on a flotilla of ships attempting to break the blockade of Gaza in May.

The UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission judged Israel's naval blockade of the Palestinian territory to be "unlawful" because there was a humanitarian crisis in Gaza at the time.

The panel's report, published today, described Israel's military response to the flotilla as "disproportionate" and said it "betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality".

Eight Turkish activists and one Turkish-American were killed in the raid, which prompted international criticism of both the attack and Israel's policy of blockading the Gaza Strip. Israel has since eased its embargo, although still refuses to allow full imports and exports and the free movement of people.

Israel says the soldiers acted in self-defence. But the mission criticised the Israeli government for failing to co-operate with its inquiry. "Regrettably to date, no information has been given to the mission by or on behalf of the government of Israel," it said.

The panel was led by Karl Hudson-Phillips, a retired judge of the international criminal court and former attorney general of Trinidad and Tobago.

The report said: "The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence. It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality. Such conduct cannot be justified or condoned on security or any other grounds. It constituted grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law."

The panel concluded that there was "clear evidence" of wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment and wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health – all crimes under the Geneva Convention.

The panel expressed the hope that there would be "swift action" by the Israeli government to help victims achieve effective remedies. "The mission sincerely hopes that no impediment will be put in the way of those who suffered loss as a result of the unlawful actions of the Israeli military to be compensated adequately and promptly," it said. It described the blockade of Gaza as "totally intolerable and unacceptable in the 21st century".

The Israeli government has fiercely resisted demands for an independent international inquiry into the flotilla attacks, establishing three internal investigations to avert pressure from the UN, Europe and Turkey.

"Palestine Solidarity Activist Ken O'Keefe Coming to Seattle on 10/2"

***Please Forward***

Palestine Solidarity Activist Ken O'Keefe Coming to Seattle
Survivor of the Mavi Marmara Attack & Founder of Aloha Palestine to Speak in Ballard

When: 4 PM, Saturday, October 2, 2010 (doors open at 3:45 PM; please use the sanctuary entrance off NW 65th Street)
Where: Trinity United Methodist Church, 6512 23rd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117
Contacts: Ken O'Keefe 808-499-9115 or Eileen Fleming 352-217-2542

Ken O'Keefe is a US Marine veteran of Operation Desert Storm turned justice and peace activist who has appeared on the BBC news programs, Hardtalk and Panorama. He will be speaking about his experiences when Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara last May in international waters. The ship was carrying humanitarian relief workers and supplies to Gaza. Israeli forces killed nine people and wounded dozens more on the Mavi Marmara. O'Keefe will also be speaking about and raising funds for Aloha Palestine. Aloha Palestine was founded in the UK by O'Keefe and British journalist Lauren Booth in order to lawfully break the Israeli blockade of Gaza by carrying out trade activities under the provisions of international trade agreements. The organization is endorsed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, peace activist and former British MP Tony Benn, Professor Noam Chomsky, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, journalist John Pilger, former British MP George Galloway, Professor Ghada Karmi, MD and others. Ken O'Keefe's appearance at the Trinity United Methodist Church is sponsored by Greater Seattle Veterans for Peace and Voices of Palestine.

New Yorkers Organize Against Bigotry

Picture from this great rundown of events in NY around 9/11 and the Islamic Cultural Center intolerance drive:

"Palestinians Take to Jerusalem Streets after Killing" -- Joseph Dana

Israeli police fire tear gas at demonstrators.

Samir Sarhan's funeral in Silwan.

"At 3:30 or 4am I heard some noise outside of my window," Silwan resident Abdallah Rajmi told me as we stood on a narrow street in the middle of a battle between young Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli occupation forces from the Border Police. "I thought it was a simple drunken fight but then I heard a lot of noise coming from the people involved and my neighbors began waking up."

Silwan is a neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, near the walled Old City, and is the target of an ongoing Israeli government plan to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes and replace them with Israeli settlements and a Jewish-themed park.

Rajmi recalled the events as tear gas and rocks were being thrown from both sides onto the alley where we were standing. "At this point I went to my roof to see what was happening and I saw three settler guards with 'small weapons' approach a group of young Palestinian men," referring sarcastically to the guards' large Uzi assault riles. "The guards began shooting the men and everyone in Silwan woke up."

At this point, we had to move to the entrance of Rajmi's house because a storm of rocks started to rain down on us and the Border Police began to use rubber-coated steel bullets.

"I could not believe my eyes. I saw a man lying in his own blood and dying. The settler guards had just shot him in cold blood and watched him dying. He was there, on the ground, for one hour until an Israeli ambulance arrived on the scene, of course they would not allow any of us to get near him. The Israelis did, however, bring over forty settler guards and Border Police to the scene before the he was moved."

The dead man was named as Samir Sarhan, aged about 30 according to news reports, and the father of five children.

Rajmi spoke clearly while looking me straight in the eye but once could see the rage simmering over the killing. "This is not a good situation. This is an extremely hard situation and I think that chaos is going to break out here," he said. "If another one dies from his wounds sustained last night, I think that Silwan is going to blow up. You just wait and see what happens during the funeral march." The procession was to end at a cemetery near the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Indeed, Rajmi was correct about the unrest in Silwan boiling over. I had been in the neighborhood since 8am, right when the protests of stone throwing at Israeli Border Police started. Silwan sits in a deep valley and the area has many small winding alleys. Thus pockets of resistance were surfacing all over the place as groups of young Palestinians would sneak up on Israeli forces and rain stones upon them with calls of "leave this place" and "this is not your place, leave now!" Border Police reacted with waves of tear gas which would cover the village including the houses where women and children were hiding from the street fighting. At points, the Israeli forces would use rubber-coated steel bullets from very close range, which has often resulted in permanent or lethal injuries. Tires were set on fire and trash cans overturned. It was hard not to think of images of the second Palestinian intifada as I was trying to get photographs.

"Port Townsend Co-op Rejects Boycott on a Technicality" -- via Mondoweiss

The following update was just sent out by Jefferson County Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions:

Following the intervention of the Israeli Consulate and a national lobbying group, the Port Townsend Food Coop Board of Directors decided to reject a proposal to boycott Israeli products on Tuesday night.

A similar proposal had been passed at the Olympia Food Co-op on July 16, the first of its kind to pass in the country. “This kind of interference by the Israeli government and a national organization show how important boycotts are to Israel,” said Anna-Marie Murano, Olympia Food Co-op member, “Boycott supporters are telling Israel that it will not benefit from the ongoing oppression of Palestinians.”

In July, a group of Port Townsend Co-op member-owners presented a proposal to the board, asking that the store pull Israeli products from its shelves until Israel complies with U.N. decisions regarding the occupied territories, lifts the siege on Gaza, ends its hafrada (apartheid) policies against Palestinians, and recognizes the refugees’ right of return. Over 350 members signed a petition supporting the boycott.

The meeting, held at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, was attended by approximately 120 people and at times very emotional.

“In 5, 10, or 15 years, when the full impact of what happens in Gaza, the West Bank, and in Israel becomes as known to the world as earlier crimes, I want to be able to look my daughter in the eye and say we did everything we could to stop the killing,” stated boycott supporter Dena Shunra, drawing on her family’s World War II experience and placing the boycott proposal in a historical context.

The reason stated for rejection of the proposal was that “the boycott proposal is inconsistent with the [Co‑op’s] boycott policy.” Board president Sam Gibboney said that there is nothing in the boycott policy that permits the boycotting of a country. The board’s vote was 4 to 2 against the proposal.

The boycott proposal generated much needed discussion about Palestinian human rights, which opponents have not succeeded to silence. “Our anguish here is just a fraction of what people in Gaza experience”, said Kit Kittredge of Quilcene, WA, a boycott supporter who has visited the Gaza Strip several times.

Boycott supporters are confident that the momentum will continue, Palestine is now ‘on the map’, and people will continue to educate themselves about the conflict, support Palestinian human rights, and organize support for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.

"US helping to Keep Israel's Dangerous WMD Out of the Spotlight at IAEA Conference"

Monday, September 20, 2010

France's "justice" persecutes BDS

On 29th October, representatives of CAPJPO Europpalestine, a French BDS group, are to appear in a French court in Paris, to answer charges that publishing the above video of a BDS action that took place in July 2009 at a Carrefour supermarket in Avry, constituted an "offense of incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence against a group of people on account of their belonging to the Israeli nation."

The plaintiff, the "National Bureau of vigilance against antisemitism (because, naturally, according to antisemites and fake "vigilantes against antisemitism" alike, to speak against Israel is to attack Jews for being Jewish), is looking for opportunities to promote repression of Palestine solidarity activism, and the French state is more than happy to oblige. Europalestine was chosen out either randomly or out of convenience. As a matter of fact, the action was sponsored by a long list of organizations, including a Jewish group (IJAN) and a national political party (the New Anti-Capitalist Party), both of which it would probably be counter-productive for the Zionists to attack in court.

CAPJPO is asking everybody to host this video in solidarity with their struggle against this spurious accusation of racism, which targets political expression, uses laws against racism to defend war crimes, and is a scandal given the magnitude of the real racism that is spearheaded by the state of Israel and defended by this judicial action.

So please host this video.*

The cited activists also ask everybody to write to
Monsieur le Procureur de la République
près du Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris
Palais de Justice 14, quai des Orfèvres,
75001 Paris, France,
and ask to be included among those charged for racial incitement. We should be proud of being "accused" of associations with such BDS actions against Israeli apartheid. To be accused of racism by such racist rascals is a badge of honor.

Likewise, please take action to protest this type of attempt to persecute activists and to declare solidarity with Palestinians "racist."

This latest judicial persecution is not a single incident but a campaign: This month will come to appeal the conviction of Sakina Arnaud for racial incitement for having damaged an Israeli product packaging. Next month, three activists from Perpignian, Yamina Tadjeur, Jeanne Rousseau et Bernard Cholet From "Collective 66 for Peace and Justice in Palestine" are going to be tried for BDS. Later in October come to trial the cases of Green Party activist Alima Boumedien-Thiery and New Anti-Capitalist Party activist, Omar Salouti. There are probably many more in the pipeline.

Please let the Paris court know that this is not a "French" matter. It is a universal human rights matter, and we've taken notice!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Drones on Trial: Narrowing the Gap Between Law and Justice" -- Jerica Arents
I received an education yesterday.

I wasn’t in a classroom. I wasn’t laboring over a paper, strategizing in a small group, poring over a textbook or hustling across campus. I was sitting as a spectator in the front row of Judge Jansen’s courtroom in Clark County, Nevada.

Fourteen peace activists were on trial for trying to hand-deliver a letter to the base commander at Creech Air Force Base in April of 2009. Their letter laid out concerns about usage of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones, for surveillance and combat purposes in Afghanistan. The Creech 14 believe that the usage of remote aerial vehicles to hunt down and kill people in other lands amounts to targeted assassination and is prohibited by international and U.S. law. Soldiers carrying M16s stopped them after they had walked past the guardhouse at the base entrance and a few hours later Nevada state troopers handcuffed the Creech 14 and took them into custody.

The next day, they were charged with trespass to a military facility and released. The charges were later dropped, then reinstated. Defendants, upon learning of a September 14, 2010 court date, had ten months to plan for their trial. They decided to represent themselves pro se and to call, as expert witnesses, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Colonel Ann Wright and Professor Bill Quigley, the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. What were the chances that a Las Vegas court that normally handles traffic violations and minor offenses would admit three expert witnesses to testify on behalf of defendants charged with a simple trespass? Slim to zero in the view of most observers.

In an opening statement, Kathy Kelly summarized what defendants would prove regarding their obligations under international law and their exercise of rights protected by the U.S. constitution. The judge told her, quite firmly, that any testimony unrelated to the charge of trespass would be disallowed.

Yet, much to our surprise, Judge Jansen decided that all three expert witnesses would be allowed to testify. Rev, Steve Kelly, SJ rose and called on former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark as his first witness.

After Clark was sworn in, he slowly sat down and scanned the room.

About fifty supporters filled the court. The defendants were seated in the jury box. To me, they represented a choir of my finest teachers. Steve Kelly remained standing, and then, with great care, questioned Ramsey Clark, first to establish his credibility as a witness and then to elicit his testimony regarding the issue of trespass. Steve asked Ramsey Clark about his history as a deputy attorney general during the civil rights era. Ramsey Clark spoke of lunch-counter sit-ins with his soft-spoken charm, emphasizing how important it was for people to violate the “No Trespass” rules that forbade blacks and whites to drink coffee together. Later, he relied on the age-old necessity defense to advocate on behalf of people who protested indiscriminate killing in Viet Nam. Bringing us up to date, Ramsey asked a question. ”When indiscriminate killing is occurring, are you just supposed to stand by the gate [of Creech Air Force Base] and hide your face?”

Despite Judge Jansen’s insistence that the defense could only discuss matters related to a misdemeanor trespass charge, each of the expert witnesses were able to knit together the Nuremburg principles, international law, and the justification of necessity to establish not only the right but sometimes the duty of people to engage in acts that violate trespass laws. Ann Wright spoke about how isolated military members were from public opinion and of how likely it was that, if informed they would respond to any great debate taking place in the public forum.

Bill Quigley, the last defense witness to take the stand, testified that when he taught law students about trespass statutes, he always raised with them the possibility of a necessity defense. Helping demonstrate “the space between law and justice,” he held his hands in front of him, about a foot apart. ”I encourage my students to work, every day, to narrow the gap between law and justice,” said Bill Quigley. “I ask them to adopt a ‘Hundred Year Vision,’ and remember that 100 years ago, Jim Crow laws were permitted, domestic violence was allowed, and discrimination against women, and the disabled were all considered legal acts.

The prosecution clearly hoped to discredit all three expert witnesses. “And do you know any of the defendants?” barked the prosecutor when cross-examining Ramsey Clark. “Of course”, answered Ramsey Clark, maintaining eye contact with the prosecutor. “I love them.”

Following the prosecutor’s cross-examination of Bill Quigley, Judge Jansen asked him several questions, the last of which pertained to Quigley’s advice to law students who might contemplate crossing a line for idealistic reasons. “Now if some of your students informed you of their intention to cross onto an Air Force Base clearly marked with a No Trespass sign,” Judge Jansen wondered, “What would you say to them?”

“I would tell them to weigh the consequences carefully”, answered Bill Quigley, noting that their convictions would come at a steep price.

With the possible exception of the prosecution, all assembled seemed in agreement that they had witnessed an extraordinarily rich education about our collective duties to uphold basic human rights. But, so far, the word “drone” had been mentioned only in the opening statement. Brian Terrell rose to deliver a closing statement. Brian referred to a metaphor already employed by two of our witnesses, that of a baby trapped inside a house on fire. “We fourteen are people who saw the smoke,” said Brian, “We’ve seen the babies dying in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and no trespass sign can keep us from trying to reach the children.”

Judge Jansen then addressed all of us. He said that he had just celebrated his 25th anniversary as a judge, but in all those years every trespass case that came before him was settled with a plea. This was the first time that defendants took a trespass case to trial. Given that this was his first time trying such a case and considering the many important issues raised, Judge Jansen stated that he would need time to study the issues and write his decision. He said he’d need at least three months and then invited the defendants to quickly examine their calendars and propose a date for their next court appearance. All agreed to return on January 27th 2011.

It’s one thing for me to announce that I’ve received an exceptional education over the course of an unusual day. It’s quite another for a U.S. judge who has been on the bench for 25 years to voice appreciation for what he has learned from defendants and witnesses, and then promise his continued attentiveness to the issues that were raised.

His delayed decision gained him entry into the choir of teachers. “Go in peace,” he said, as he left the courtroom.

– Jerica Arents ( completed her M.A. in Social Justice at Loyola University at Chicago in 2010. She co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence and lives with the White Rose Catholic Worker community.

"Circle Jerks: Delaware Distraction Obscures Oval Office Atrocities" -- Chris Floyd

BELOW IS AN EXCERPT (I'd read the whole thing if I were you):
The political-media-blogospherical establishment is currently working itself into a lather over the elevation of a "nutty" Tea Party woman to the Republican nomination for a Senate seat in Delaware. The selection of Christine O'Donnell by a tiny sliver of voters in a closed primary in a tiny state whose main claim to fame is its decades of whorish service as a protective front for rapacious corporations is, we are told, an event of world-shaking proportions fit for endless analysis and scary headlines all over the world.

It's true that O'Donnell has taken the politically risky step of denouncing America's national pastime -- masturbation -- and has, over the years, supported any number of positions that put her on the far side of common sense. But one struggles in vain to find that she has advanced anything remotely as radical -- or lunatic -- as the idea that the President of the United States is some kind of intergalactic emperor who holds the power of life and death over every living being on earth in his autocratic hands. Yet this is precisely the position proclaimed -- openly, before Congress, God and everybody -- by the highly educated, intellectually sophisticated, super-savvy Laureate of Peace currently residing in the White House.

This same president has also fought tooth and nail -- often in open court -- to shield torturers, escalate pointless wars of aggression, relentlessly expand a liberty-stripping Stasi-style security apparatus, give trillions of tax dollars to rapacious financiers, health-care corporations, insurance companies and bloodstained war profiteers, while launching cowardly drone missile attacks on the sovereign territory of close ally, killing hundreds of civilians in the process - and has just signed off on the biggest arms deal in history with one of the most viciously repressive tyrannies on earth.

So I'm sorry, but I just don't see how a putzy, klutzy, wilfully ignorant Tea Partier from perhaps the most corrupt state in the Union is somehow more dangerous than the people we have in power now -- including a Vice-President who for decades was the senator (and corporate bagman) from this very same most corrupt state in the Union, and used his power to advance a "Bankruptcy Bill" that was one of the most savage class-war attacks on working people -- and the poor, and the sick, and the vulnerable -- that we have seen in many a year. Then again, as far as I know, Joe "Bankruptcy Bill" Biden has never publicly condemned the practice of masturbation.

Do I want to see Christine O'Donnell in the Senate? No, of course not. Not only because in her freely chosen ignorance she has embraced the most primitive, bleakly reductive understandings of religion, politics, power, sexuality and human reality in general, but also -- and mainly -- because she will support all of the policies delineated above: the imperial wars for loot and domination, the presidential power to kill and incarcerate at will, the slavish support for Big Money in all of its destructive manifestations, the perversion of every single public program into an engine of private profit for the elite, and so on down the line. But as her Democratic opponent will do the same thing if he is elected, I don't see why we should be all het up about O'Donnell's corporate-funded victory in the teeny-tiny Republican primary in little bitty Delaware.

But hey, it's all good fun, right? The tribal partisans get to jerk their knees in orgiastic spasms, drawing oceans of newsprint and TV airtime, while the real business of empire -- slaughtering, torturing and repressing human beings -- goes on unnoticed and unabated.

'By Colonizing the West Bank and Depriving Palestinians of Basic Rights, Israel Has Made a Two-state Solution Impossible" -- Ahmed Moor,0,4161025,print.story

Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Michael B. Oren, argues in his Sept. 15 Times Op-Ed article that Israelis want peace, and I believe him. They've said so often enough. But the Israelis want lots of other things too.
For instance, they want the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In addition, they want the Palestinian aquifers situated beneath the West Bank, and they want to preserve their racial privilege in the Jewish state. They also want to shear the Gaza Strip from Palestine.
Most of all, the Israelis want Palestinian quiescence in the face of Israeli wants. Those wants have made the two-state solution impossible to implement.
For decades, the Israelis have taken what they want from the Palestinians. Consequently, there are about 500,000 settlers in Jewish-only colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Today, the Israelis are discovering that what one wants and what one can afford sometimes diverge.
Some Israelis — but apparently not Oren — are beginning to realize that the deep, irreversible colonization of territory comes with a price: the end of the Jewish state as it is. It's a painful lesson to learn, especially after decades of superpower indulgence. America's obsequious coddling turns out to have been a curse for the Jewish state. Serious cost-benefit analyses around occupation policies — collectively, apartheid — were evidently never conducted.
When Israel killed 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza — proportionally equivalent to 300,000 Americans — in Operation Cast Lead, incoming President Obama stayed mum. The Israelis counted on and got American cover. But they didn't anticipate the impact of Richard Goldstone's damning report on world opinion and the American layperson's views. No one seems to have ever asked, "Wait, what will killing more than 300 children do to our image abroad? Can we afford to launch an assault against a defenseless and captive population just because President Bush says we can while Obama remains silent?"
Oren's words fail to obscure the "facts on the ground" Israel has established in recent decades. These facts were engineered to entrench Israel's permanent presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The conversation the ambassador is engaging in would have been timelier 42 years ago before Israel's colonies killed the two-state solution, which was never an equitable solution anyway.
Today, the ambassador's words are not just empty platitudes to peace but also effectively irrelevant. That's because honest and well-informed observers understand that there will never be a viable Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza.
Obama's circus — the so-called peace process — is designed only to pacify the perennial bugaboo of U.S. politics. The Israel lobby wants to promote the illusion that Israelis want a Palestinian state to enable the continued colonization of occupied land. It's unclear why anyone seems to think that the theatrics are an effective smokescreen at this late stage.
Yet the reality is that Palestine/Israel is already one country. Five hundred thousand settler-colonists in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have congealed in place; small numbers may be evacuated, but the vast majority are not going anywhere.
Furthermore, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad stand for no one and nothing. The two men have no democratic mandate. Their terms in office having long expired, they are propped up by American and Israeli leaders who seek weak leaders as more apt to concede fundamental Palestinian rights. Of course, these are concessions they are incapable of making legitimately.
Abbas' presidential term ended in January 2009, and Fayyad was illegally reappointed after the Fatah coup attempt against Hamas in June 2007. They cooperate so extensively with Israeli forces that the Palestinian Authority is more like a subcontracted colonial government than an adversarial negotiating party.
Obama recently asserted that Abbas knows "the window for creating a Palestinian state is closing." But Abbas, Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are already too late. Unless Abbas accepts noncontiguous "Bantustans" and uses U.S.-trained forces to enforce the abandonment of Palestinian rights, one state will become increasingly clear to all involved as the only alternative to apartheid. In effect, Israel will have colonized itself out of existence.
As in South Africa, it is time for Israeli leaders to embrace a pluralistic and humanistic vision for the state. Rather than lecture on Israel's desire for a lopsided "peace," Oren should begin to imagine a state in which each person — Jewish or non-Jewish — is equal under the law irrespective of religion or race. He can begin to imagine an apartheid-free society.
To see it in practice, he could travel through the American South. Yes, the American South and post-apartheid South Africa are not perfect, but they are dramatically improved over the reality of 50 years ago — a discriminatory and racist reality still endured today by Palestinians.
To be fair, we Palestinians also want a lot. We want what people everywhere else do: to live as free human beings in our country, in the absence of a foreign military occupation. We want to return to our towns and cities that were ethnically cleansed of us in 1948. We want to vote for our government, the one that controls every aspect of our lives. We want a united Jerusalem. And, when the state is united, we want an ambassador who speaks for all of us, not just the Jewish half of the country.
Put differently, we want equality and justice.
Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian American journalist living in Beirut.