Barack Obama we knew about.
If you are disappointed in Obama, shame on you.
He was right up front.
He told us from the beginning he was the corporations’ man.
During the campaign, he promised opposition to single payer health care for all.
He promised war in Afghanistan.
He promised to promote nuclear power.
So, shame on you if you were deceived.
It’s not Obama’s fault.
It’s your fault.
Corporations latched on to the great black hope.
And now they won’t let go.
If you were disappointed in the Congressional Black Caucus, shame on you.
It’s not the Congressional Black Caucus fault.
It’s your fault.
For years, we have known that the Congressional Black Caucus was a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America.
An article in the New York Times last week detailed the millions in corporate dollars flooding into the Black Caucus and its corporate shells – from cigarette, alcohol, internet gambling corporations – among others.
“Black people gamble. Black people smoke. Black people drink,” Elsie L. Scott, chief executive of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, told the Times.“And so if these companies want to take some of the money they’ve earned off of our people and give it to us to support good causes, then we take it.”
Of course, the Congressional Black Caucus won’t side with the American people – black or white – on single payer health care, on cutting the bloated, wasteful military budget, on cracking down on corporate and white collar crime, on battling the junk food corporations.
Because they are bought and paid for.
Obama is a living breathing human being.
He was taken over by corporate America.
And he is doing its bidding.
The members of Congressional Black Caucus are living, breathing human beings.
They were taken over by corporate America.
And they are doing its bidding.
But Martin Luther King is dead and gone.
Who is going to stand up and fight back for Martin?
Who is going to give voice to his concerns about the military industrial complex?
Who is going to give voice to his concerns about the injustice of the health care system?
Surely not Obama.
Surely not the Congressional Black Caucus.
In December, construction began on the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. – across from the Jefferson Memorial – for a memorial for King.
It’s scheduled to open in the fall of 2011.
It will include a giant statue of the civil rights leader — now being shipped in from China.
And an inscription wall with fourteen sayings from King.
So, who decides which sayings from Martin Luther King go on the wall?
The memorial says its a council of historians – made up of among others – Maya Angelou, Cornel West, John Hope Franklin, and Henry Louis Gates Jr.
The money for the memorial – more than $100 million – was raised primarily from big corporations or big corporate foundations.
But apparently, the council of historians excised King’s most biting critique of corporate America.
Missing from the wall will be this:
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Among the donors to the King Memorial Project Foundation — some of the biggest health insurance corporations.
Corporations that would be put out of business by a single payer – health care for all – reform.
Corporations like UnitedHealth and CIGNA – which each gave $1 million – and Aetna – which gave $100,000.
Or companies whose profits would be crimped by single payer – like Pfizer – whose foundation gave $1 million.
Junk food makers – the purveyors of diabetes and high blood pressure in the African American community – gave generously – Coca-Cola Foundation $2 million, McDonald’s $1 million, PepsiCo Foundation $1 million.
This quote also didn’t make it onto the Martin Luther King Memorial wall:
“This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Neither did this one:
“I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government – There is something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that would praise you when you say, ‘Be nonviolent toward Jim Clark,’ but will curse and damn you when you say, ‘Be nonviolent toward little brown Vietnamese children!’ There is something wrong with that.”
Corporations that continue to profit from war gave significantly to the Memorial Foundation.
Boeing gave $1 million.
(Boeing has no shame. The military giant is even running television ads promoting the memorial.)
General Motors gave $10 million.
General Electric gave $1.2 million.
Northrop Grumman gave $100,000.
This quote also didn’t make it onto the wall:
“I’m convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. . . .When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies.. . .True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation.”
Those big corporations that are really good at economic exploitation gave generously to the foundation.
BP America, the ExxonMobil Foundation, Shell Oil each gave $1 million.
The foundation for Exelon – the nuclear power company with close ties to Obama – gave $1 million.
Corporate monopolists like Wal-Mart gave $1 million.
Which raises a couple of questions:
Was the radical Martin Luther King scrubbed from his own memorial?
Was his memorial hijacked by the same corporations that hijacked Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus?
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I hope against hope the inner resources that have kept him alive and strong over these past, oh, so unjust decades since 1977 will allow him to keep remembering that no one can jail his spirit.
Today we received word that the parole decision has been affirmed by
the U.S. Parole Commission. The Parole Commission made no concessions
except for one -- to finally recognize Leonard's "recent prison
record of good conduct." The Parole Commission went on to say that
Leonard's age, health, and release plan were all considered, but that
these elements "don't warrant his release at this time." All legal
arguments made by the Peltier attorney Eric Seitz were rejected.
Once again, we're told that innocence is no defense. Yet again,
the government has singled out Leonard Peltier as a scapegoat. As
has always been the case, they intend to force Leonard Peltier to
pay the price for the killings of their agents despite the lack
of evidence against him. This is nothing short of politically
Leonard won't receive another full parole hearing until he is nearly
80 years old. Already at risk for blindness, kidney failure, stroke,
and certainly premature death given his diet, living conditions,
and health care, this parole decision is also nothing less than a
Don't accept the unacceptable. Demand Leonard's freedom. Call the
White House comment line every day to express your outrage. Call:
(202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1112. You also can send an e-mail
to the White House. Mail or fax a letter to President Barack Obama, The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC
20500; Fax - (202) 456-2461.
Time to set him free... Because it is the RIGHT thing to do.
Friends of Peltier
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The humanitarian march of civilization goes on, and on, and on, and on .....
A NATO helicopter airstrike on Sunday against what international troops believed to be a group of insurgents ended up killing as many as 27 civilians in the worst such case since at least September, Afghan officials said Monday. ...
The attack was carried out by United States Special Forces helicopters that were patrolling the area hunting for insurgents who had escaped the NATO offensive in the Marja area, about 150 miles away, according to Gen. Abdul Hameed, an Afghan National Army commander in Dehrawood, which is part of Oruzgan Province. General Hameed, interviewed by telephone, said there had been no request from any ground forces to carry out an attack. ....
Zemarai Bashary, the spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the victims were all civilians who were attacked by air while traveling in two Land Cruisers and a pickup truck, which carried 42 people in all ...
How dare these people go about in motor vehicles in their own land! Don't they know there's a war on?
Fortunately, the ever-apologetic commander of the Humanitarian Expeditionary League of Love (HELL), General Stanley "Black Ops" McChrystal, was quickly wheeled out once again to apologize profusely for "the tragic loss of innocent lives." Well, as long as you're sorry, that's OK.
But really, Barack Obama's vaunted "Nobel Peace Surge" in Afghanistan is churning out collateral damage at such a clip that Stan should probably just go ahead and schedule a regular "Oops" conference on, say, every Friday, so he can dole out a one-stop dollop of crocodile tears for all the week's atrocities. He's a busy man, after all; it takes a lot of time and energy to lead the forces of HELL.
Monday, February 22, 2010
A recent poll suggests that only 14 percent of Americans have complete faith in the United States government and the way it functions.
Results of a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll published Sunday further indicated that 85 percent of those surveyed believe that "the system of government is broken."
The polling center interviewed 1,023 adult Americans, including 954 registered voters, over phone between February 12 and February 15.
Compared with a similar survey in 2006, the percentage of Americans who think the government is broken has increased by eight points.
"That increase is highest among higher-income Americans and people who live in rural areas," said Keating Holland, CNN polling director.
The poll's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
This letter from Bil′in′s Abdallah Abu Rahmah was conveyed from his prison cell by his lawyers.
Please circulate widely.
For more information go to http://popularstruggle.org/
Dear Friends and Supporters,
It has been two months now since I was handcuffed, blindfolded and taken from my home. Today news has reached Ofer Military Prison that the apartheid wall on Bil'in's land will finally be moved and construction has begun on the new route. This will return half of the land that was stolen from our village. For those of us inOfer , imprisoned for our protest against the wall, this victory makes the suffering of being here easier to bear. After actively resisting the theft of our land by the Israeli apartheid wall and settlements every week for five years now, we long to be standing along side our brothers and sisters to mark this victory and the fifth anniversary of our struggle.
Ofer is an Israeli military base inside the occupied territories that serves as a prison and military court. The prison is a collection of tents enclosed by razor wire and an electrical fence, each unit containing four tents, 22 prisoners per tent. Now, in winter, wind and rain comes in through cracks in the tent and we don't have sufficient blankets, clothes, and other basic necessities.
Food is a critical issue here in Ofer, there's not enough. We survive by buying ingredients from the prison canteen that we prepare in our tent. We have one small hot plate, and this is also our only source of warmth. Those whose families can put money in an account for us to buy food, do so, but many cannot afford to. The positive aspect to this is that I have learned how to cook! Tonight I made falafel and sweets to celebrate the news about our victory. I cannot wait to get home and cook for my wife and children!
I was arrested in my slippers, and to this day my family has been unable to get permission to supply me with a pair of shoes. I was finally given my watch after repeated requests. For me this is an essential way to keep oriented; it was unbearable not being able to see the rate at which time passes. Receiving it, I felt so overjoyed, like a child getting his first watch. I can barely imagine what it will be like to have a pair of proper shoes again.
Because of our imprisonment, the military considers our families to be a security threat. It is very hard for our wives, children and extended family to visit. My friend Adeeb Abu Rahmah , also a political prisoner from Bil'in, cannot receive visits from his wife and one of his daughters. Even his mother, a woman in her eighties who is currently in bad health, is considered a security threat! He is afraid that he will not see her before she dies.
I am a teacher and before my arrest I taught at a private school in Birzeit and also owned a chicken farm. My family had to sell the farm at a loss after I was arrested. I don’t know if I will have my position at the school when I am released. Adeeb 's family of nine is left without their sole provider, as are many other families. Not being able to care for our loved ones who need us is the hardest part of being here.
It is the support that I receive from my family and friends that helps me go on. I am grateful to the Palestinian leaders who have contacted my family, the diplomats from the European Union and to the Israeli activists who have expressed their support by attending my hearings. The relationship we have built together with the activists has gone beyond the definition of colleague or friend, we are brothers and sisters in this struggle. You are an unrelenting source of inspiration and solidarity. You have stood with us during demonstrations and court hearings, and during our happiest and most painful occasions. Being in prison has shown me how many true friends I have, I am so grateful to all of you.
From the confines of my imprisonment it becomes so clear that our struggle is far bigger than justice for only Bil’in or even Palestine. We are engaged in an international fight against oppression. I know this to be true when I remember all of you from around the world who have joined the movement to stop the wall and settlements. Ordinary people enraged by the occupation have made our struggle their own, and joined us in solidarity. We will surely join together to struggle for justice in other places when Palestine is finally free.
Missing the five-year anniversary of our struggle in Bil'in will be like missing the birthday of one of my children. Lately I think a lot about my friend Bassem whose life was taken during a nonviolent demonstration last year and how much I miss him. Despite the pain of this loss, and the yearning I feel to be with my family and friends at home, I think that if this is the price we must pay for our freedom, then it is worth it, and we would be willing to pay much more.Yours,
Abdallah Abu Rahmah
From the Ofer Military Detention Camp
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Let's see if we can make things change a bit more for the people of Gaza and Palestine in March 2010 and 2011. Craig and Cindy Corrie are definitely still working hard on it. Very good to see them and many other friends at the two-day Sabeel Conference for Friends of Palestinian Christians this weekend.
Sent out today on the Political Theatrics weblist
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
"... Officials in Jerusalem say they are confident that the current criticism leveled at Israel will be dying down soon. On Thursday, Israeli envoys in several European capitals were summoned by local officials in order to provide explanations about the Dubai assassination, and particularly about the use of foreign passports in the operation.
However, Israeli officials are saying that the criticism is leveling off as it turns out all Western states share the same interest in the war on terror..."
What makes people from Brazil to Berlin and beyond rally in support of a new trial for America’s most recognized death row inmate – Mumia Abu-Jamal – award-winning journalist and convicted cop killer?
Many, like Victor Toro from Chile, see Abu-Jamal’s legal battles as symbolizing struggles of oppressed people worldwide.
“For us, Mumia is our Mandela. He is a political prisoner and a revolutionary,” said Toro, who was expelled from Chile in 1976 due to his activism against the notorious dictator Augusto Pinochet – whose U.S.-backed regime tortured Toro and his wife.
“In America there is racism and violence against people of color,” Toro said recently during a Philadelphia event for Abu-Jamal, the former radio reporter and Black Panther Party (BPP) member from 1968 to 1970 during his mid-teenage years.
Abu-Jamal, despite confinement in a death row isolation cell for over twenty-five years, remains prolific publishing six acclaimed books and thousands of perceptive commentaries.
Many radio stations worldwide regularly broadcast Abu-Jamal’s commentaries on current events. Interestingly, his books and commentaries rarely reference his case where he’s proclaimed innocence since his 1981 arrest.
Abu-Jamal holds ‘Honorary Citizen’ status in over 20 cities worldwide including Montreal and Paris. The European Parliament and South African labor unions support Abu-Jamal receiving a new trial as does Amnesty International.
French supporters of Abu-Jamal include Julia Wright, daughter of acclaimed Afro-American novelist Richard Wright and Mireille Mendes-France, daughter of Caribbean-born psychiatrist/philosopher Franz Fanon whose books on colonialism influenced the teenaged Abu-Jamal.
Those supporting Abu-Jamal’s execution – like Pa Governor Ed Rendell –denigrate Abu-Jamal’s worldwide supporters as dupes, blinded by propaganda generated in support of the murderer responsible for shooting Philadelphia Policeman Daniel Faulkner.
The case against Abu-Jamal arguably contains compelling aspects of guilt, albeit circumstantial and lacking conclusive forensic evidence normally produced in high-profile prosecutions.
The two policemen claiming Abu-Jamal confessed didn’t report this significant evidence for over two months. Police experts never matched bullets removed from Officer Faulkner to Abu-Jamal’s legally registered gun.
During the time of Abu-Jamal’s arrest, trial and death sentence, Ed Rendell was Philadelphia’s District Attorney – its chief prosecutor.
Courts – state and federal – have overturned many murder convictions obtained during Rendell’s DA tenure citing incidents of misconduct by his prosecutors inclusive of withholding evidence of innocence and engaging in racially discriminatory jury selection practices – two improprieties polluting Abu-Jamal’s conviction.
While mounds of evidence unearthed since Abu-Jamal’s 1982 conviction document numerous legal violations, courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, continuously uphold Abu-Jamal’s conviction.
Conviction advocates trumpet this court ruling record while supporters criticize courts for employing irregularities to refuse him the relief given other inmates raising the same legal claims.
Curiously, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania courts found no errors – evidentiary or procedural – in Abu-Jamal’s case despite finding major flaws in 86 Philadelphia death penalty convictions between Abu-Jamal’s 1981 arrest and October 2009.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ordered a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision voiding Abu-Jamal’s death sentence.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip —Feb. 14, 2010
The United States should break Israel's blockade of Gaza and deliver badly needed supplies by sea, a U.S. congressman told Gaza students.
Rep. Brian Baird, a Democrat from Washington state, also urged President Barack Obama's Mideast envoy to visit the Hamas-ruled territory to get a firsthand look at the destruction caused by Israeli's military offensive last year.
The Obama administration, like its predecessor, shuns Hamas because the Islamic militant group refuses to recognize Israel or renounce violence.
Israel and Egypt have restricted access to Gaza since Hamas' victory in parliament elections in 2006 and tightened the blockade after Hamas seized Gaza by force in 2007.
Israel allows humanitarian supplies and food into Gaza, but has kept out cement and other building supplies needed for reconstruction. Israel argues such materials could be diverted by Hamas for military use.
Baird, who has announced his retirement from Congress, told a group of Gaza students Sunday evening that the U.S. should not condone the blockade.
"We ought to bring roll-on, roll-off ships and roll them right to the beach and bring the relief supplies in, in our version of the Berlin airlift," he said, adding that the supplies could be delivered to U.N. aid agencies.
Excerpt is below; whole article is at link above
Despite the common mischaracterization of Palestinian resistance as wholly violent or radical, there is a long and rich history non-violent actions and campaigns, as well as a large number of contemporary ones. For instance:
In 1902, the inhabitants of three Palestinian villages – al-Shajara, Misha and Melhamiyya – held a collective peaceful protest against the takeover of 70,000 dunums (7,000 hectares) of agricultural land by the first European Zionist settlers.
In 1936 Palestinians held a six-month non-violent industrial strike against the British Mandate’s refusal to grant self determination to Palestine. The ultimate aim of the strike was to make Palestine ungovernable by anyone but the Palestinians themselves.
Fifty years later, in 1986, Hannah Siniora, then editor of the East Jerusalem Arabic Daily, called for Pales-tinian civic disobedience by boycotting Israel-made cigarettes. This led to a full-scale Palestinian boycott of Israeli soap, food, water, clothes and other consumer goods.
The 1987-1993 First Intifada was largely conducted non-violently. Palestinians held mass public demonstra-tions, refused to pay taxes, and sought out local alternatives to Israeli facilities. Community leader Mubarak Awad initiated olive tree planting on Palestinian land about to be confiscated by Israeli settlers. Israeli law prohibited any construction on land dedicated to growing fruit. Awad used non-violent resistance, and Israel’s own laws, to challenge the encroaching settlements.
Currently, and especially since construction of the separation Wall began on June 16th 2002, Palestinian villages across the West Bank have cooperated in non-violent resistance. The communities of Jayyous, Budrus, Bil’in, Ni’lin and Umm Salamonah have all non-violently resisted the Wall being built around them. Weekly non-violent demonstrations against the Wall are held in the cities of Bil’in and Nihlin (north of Ramallah) which bring together Palestinians and Israelis, as well international activists.
As long as we are willing to defy these forces we have a chance, if not for ourselves, then at least for those who follow. As long as we defy these forces we remain alive. And for now this is the only victory possible.
Excerpt below; whole article here: https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/88/chris-hedges.html
All traditional standards and beliefs are shattered in a severe economic crisis. The moral order is turned upside down. The honest and industrious are wiped out while the gangsters, profiteers and speculators walk away with millions. The elite will retreat, as Naomi Klein has written in The Shock Doctrine, into gated communities where they will have access to services, food, amenities and security denied to the rest of us. We will begin a period in human history when there will be only masters and serfs. The corporate forces, which will seek to make an alliance with the radical Christian right and other extremists, will use fear, chaos, the rage at the ruling elites and the specter of left-wing dissent and terrorism to impose draconian controls to ruthlessly extinguish opposition movements. And while they do it, they will be waving the American flag, chanting patriotic slogans, promising law and order and clutching the Christian cross. Totalitarianism, George Orwell pointed out, is not so much an age of faith but an age of schizophrenia. “A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial,” Orwell wrote. “That is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.” Our elites have used fraud. Force is all they have left.
Our mediocre and bankrupt elite is desperately trying to save a system that cannot be saved. More importantly, they are trying to save themselves. All attempts to work within this decayed system and this class of power brokers will prove useless. And resistance must respond to the harsh new reality of a global, capitalist order that will cling to power through ever-mounting forms of brutal and overt repression. Once credit dries up for the average citizen, once massive joblessness creates a permanent and enraged underclass and the cheap manufactured goods that are the opiates of our commodity culture vanish, we will probably evolve into a system that more closely resembles classical totalitarianism. Cruder, more violent forms of repression will have to be employed as the softer mechanisms of control favored by inverted totalitarianism break down.
It is not accidental that the economic crisis will converge with the environmental crisis. In his book The Great Transformation (1944), Karl Polanyi laid out the devastating consequences – the depressions, wars and totalitarianism – that grow out of a so-called self-regulated free market. He grasped that “fascism, like socialism, was rooted in a market society that refused to function.” He warned that a financial system always devolves, without heavy government control, into a Mafia capitalism – and a Mafia political system – which is a good description of our financial and political structure. A self-regulating market, Polanyi wrote, turns human beings and the natural environment into commodities, a situation that ensures the destruction of both society and the natural environment. The free market’s assumption that nature and human beings are objects whose worth is determined by the market allows each to be exploited for profit until exhaustion or collapse. A society that no longer recognizes that nature and human life have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, commits collective suicide. Such societies cannibalize themselves until they die. This is what we are undergoing.
If we build self-contained structures, ones that do as little harm as possible to the environment, we can weather the coming collapse. This task will be accomplished through the existence of small, physical enclaves that have access to sustainable agriculture, are able to sever themselves as much as possible from commercial culture and can be largely self-sufficient. These communities will have to build walls against electronic propaganda and fear that will be pumped out over the airwaves. Canada will probably be a more hospitable place to do this than the United States, given America’s strong undercurrent of violence. But in any country, those who survive will need isolated areas of land as well as distance from urban areas, which will see the food deserts in the inner cities, as well as savage violence, leach out across the urban landscape as produce and goods become prohibitively expensive and state repression becomes harsher and harsher.
The increasingly overt uses of force by the elites to maintain control should not end acts of resistance. Acts of resistance are moral acts. They begin because people of conscience understand the moral imperative to challenge systems of abuse and despotism. They should be carried out not because they are effective but because they are right. Those who begin these acts are always few in number and dismissed by those who hide their cowardice behind their cynicism. But resistance, however marginal, continues to affirm life in a world awash in death. It is the supreme act of faith, the highest form of spirituality and alone makes hope possible. Those who carried out great acts of resistance often sacrificed their security and comfort, often spent time in jail and in some cases were killed. They understood that to live in the fullest sense of the word, to exist as free and independent human beings, even under the darkest night of state repression, meant to defy injustice.
When the dissident Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was taken from his cell in a Nazi prison to the gallows, his last words were: “This is for me the end, but also the beginning.” Bonhoeffer knew that most of the citizens in his nation were complicit through their silence in a vast enterprise of death. But however hopeless it appeared in the moment, he affirmed what we all must affirm. He did not avoid death. He did not, as a distinct individual, survive. But he understood that his resistance and even his death were acts of love. He fought and died for the sanctity of life. He gave, even to those who did not join him, another narrative, and his defiance ultimately condemned his executioners.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Palestine, February 13, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) - "Murderous blood flows in Israeli arteries," says the grandson of former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
Avindav Begin, who is also the son of the current Likud Knesset member Benny Begin, refuses to stand during the Israeli national anthem "Hatikva" and participates in protests against the Apartheid Wall. He does not see himself as a Jew or a Zionist and believes that his grandfather did not make real peace with Egypt. He also is not worried about being the target of rotten eggs after his inflammatory interview with Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot.
The newspaper said in a lengthy report: "(Avindav) Begin examines the psychological roots of the Jewish-Arab conflict in his new book 'End the Conflict,' which was published recently in both Hebrew and Arabic. He suggests a radical solution to spare all religious, national and ideological sectors, encouraging everyone to live together as human beings. Despite being brought up in a very nationalistic family, and perhaps for this reason, he did not agree with the theories of his father and grandfather.
This is the grandson of one of the most murderous, messianic criminals in the short history of this conflict. One who INTRODUCED terrorism to the region.
Albert and Herman send their love and best wishes--still cheering the victory of the Saints with the hope it brings an enhanced recovery to New Orleans. Albert's brother, Michael shared his conviction that the Saints victory is a sign that Albert's case will be resolved soon and Herman and Albert will finally be free this year. We think this is a darned good prediction and along with Michael, await a day soon when justice will at long last be served.
New Angola 3 Film Will Debut at Santa Barbara Intl. Film Festival and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival London
The new documentary about the Angola 3 titled 'In The Land Of The Free...' is going to be shown at The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, February 11-14 and at The Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London, March 24-25. An essay written by filmmaker Vadim Jean has just been released at www.AnitaRoddick.com, where Jean writes: "I believe Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox are innocent. I believe their continued incarceration in solitary confinement is in violation of the 8th amendment of the United States constitution which forbids 'cruel and unusual punishment' in the land of the free. I hope the film may do its small part in helping to bring attention to this injustice. But most of all I made this film for Anita. Because to be a compassionate, kind, human being who will not stand by where there is injustice, to be the kind of person that Anita was, we must 'just do something'. And this is my something."
For more information, please visit the film's website here.
Just when you think everything is going to be OK, you find you're in Crawford, Texas
TEXAS -- In the Fort Worth train station, we are like children waiting for Christmas, like children who only get presents at that one special time of year. All we want is for the Amtrak train to finally get here and take us out of this cold waiting room, this icebox inside the bigger freezer outside where huge flakes of snow are bonding with jagged chunks of ice.
Surrounded by the down-and-out of downtown Fort Worth, a woman on my right moans with pain at the cold and the pin in her wrist wrapped in gauze. President Obama is now on the television above us, saying we shouldn't begrudge the executives who got multi-million dollar bonuses in bailout dollars.
I look around me at the pitiful mass of human beings. Most have lost their jobs or lost their homes, some have lost their hope. Everyone has lost something. Outside frail and desperate people are pushing shopping carts with rags through the snow. Sadder looking still are the young men in camouflage, all going somewhere, some home after a tour of duty, others on their way to war. They look so young, like fifteen year olds, all so very sad, all with downcast eyes, worried and troubled eyes.
Obama's words about bonuses for the rich are salt on the wounds here and the wounds are fresh. Mothers with babies cringe at his words, as homeless people shuffle past the menacing security guards, trying to avoid being chased into the freezer outside.
Here, surrounded by people who live out of shopping carts, surrounded by people wrapped in blankets, Obama's words glorifying bailout dollars for the rich are daggers to the hearts. It is an error, not just an error for the future of a politician, but an error coming from a human being in a time of so much loss.
It is cold, a rare snowstorm has blanketed Texas, and people are hungry.
Finally, we are onboard the Amtrak train and headed south. A blind man sits across from me. A couple goes to get him a cheeseburger and I think, yes, America is changing for the better. The grief and loss has yielded a gentler humanity, a more caring society.
But just as I ponder this, the Amtrak announcer tells us that we will soon be passing through Crawford, Texas, and the very café where George W. Bush and his wife liked to have their morning coffee. Ugh. What? How could this happen? I don't want to remember George W. Bush and the sorrow, grief and trail of torture and death he left around the world. I don't want to remember this man who left a dark stain of greed across the land, a stain in the earth of blood and death.
What I do want to know is where Cindy Sheehan held her protests here in Crawford, Texas. I want to think of her standing out there, standing out there somewhere, telling the world that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are wrong. I want to visualize her out there, taking a stand for her son.
But the Amtrak man doesn't mention Cindy Sheehan.
A young man down on his luck without a dime from South Carolina says he has never been anywhere. He had never been out of South Carolina or the factory town where he worked. "You'll love Texas," an African American man says, who has lived here all his life.
I wondered. I wondered about this state that has executed so many people, including blacks, before the time when DNA could have proven the innocent were innocent. I wondered about this state, where genocide and massacres annihilated most of the original inhabitants and drove most of the remaining Native Americans to the state's remote border regions.
I wondered about this state that glorifies a man like George W. Bush.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Excerpt below; whole article here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17594
I also wrote Myth America for people who knew that the wars of aggression were wrong when Bush was president, but magically transformed into born-again warniks when Obama took the oath of office—these newby warniks had begun to see through the propaganda over the last eight years, but allowed one of the more insidious myths to take over—the myth that there is a difference between an elected Democrat and an elected Republican. These are the same people who came to my talks after The Obama came to power to proclaim that the
U.S.needs to stay in to “protect the women.” Afghanistan
During my campaign against House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in 2008, it became so clear to me that the only relevant division in this nation, indeed world, is a class division. I know I have been late to this game and analysis, but remember less than six years ago my entire world was my family and this suburban intellectually challenged sinkhole.
During my campaign, I experienced the myths that “Elections Matter” and that the
has a “Free Press” as I struggled in a fierce campaign to even achieve ballot status as an independent and garner a few crumbs of media attention. Even the so-called “Liberal media” abandoned me and when I did get media attention—even from the papers that endorsed me—the punch line always was, “but she has no chance.” U.S.
I struggled with the working class to get labor to endorse me, but in each and every case, members of my own class endorsed the Queen of the Robber Class, Nancy Pelosi.
has done nothing for labor, except to operate her vineyards in wine country without unions, support most “free” trade agreements and hire someone to iron her fabulously wealthy husbands’ shirts. So why did labor endorse Pelosi and not a hard working member of their own class with a labor platform that was hailed from all over this planet? Because she’s a Democrat, that’s why. Labor cares more about access to politicians than access to sane policies. Nancy
It was towards the end of my campaign when the infamous “bankster bailout” happened. After the bill failed in the House, Pelosi came out all haggard to whine about having to bailout the companies, but pushed the stuffing out of her caucus to ram it through the second time.
Democratic candidate and Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, called members of the House to browbeat them to change their votes and my neighboring Congresswoman, Barbara Lee of Oakland, did a rare about-face and betrayed her principles and her poor constituents—that’s when I finally woke up to what Robber Warren Buffet said: “It’s class warfare all right, and its my class, the rich class that’s making war, and we are winning.” Well, in our Mythocracy, Buffet’s class is really the only class that knows we are at war. Most of the rest of us believe that we live in a “Democracy” where even the lowest of us can attain Robber Class status.
Well, in this Mythocracy, if there’s a Robber Class, then what’s the other class? The one that over 99 percent of us belong to? The Robbed Class—the class that must remain “Hope”notized by those myths and divided amongst ourselves so we don’t even realize that just about everything we hold dear is being stolen from us, right out from under our own noses with our apathetic acquiescence. It’s the age-old Robber Class strategy of "divide and conquer."
What is the revolution that I write of?
First it’s the very revolutionary idea of recognizing that we do live in a Mythocracy and the lower one is on the socio-economic ladder, the farther apart the reality and myth of this country are.
Secondly, the myths must be exposed and dispelled—my new PDF book is an addition to this conversation.
Thirdly, we must work together across racial, political, religious, gender, and sexual preference lines to build community and strength in our class to resist the larcenies of the Robber Class.
Finally, I foresee this top heavy Empire of cards toppling in the foreseeable future. My revolution will create the necessary umbrella to be able to deflect some of the more damaging rubble that will come crashing down.
The Robber Class knows two things that we need to learn quickly…
That they need us far more than we need them and there are far more of us then there are of them.
This is a revolution that we can win.
Friday, February 12, 2010
GAZA – The PA ministry of prisoners and ex-prisoners affairs in Gaza said on Thursday that the Israeli occupation authorities kidnapped 150 Palestinian citizens over the past two days, most of them from Jerusalem city.
According to Reyadh Al-Ashkar, the information officer in the ministry, the IOA rounded up nearly 100 Palestinian youths in the refugee camp of Shafat, north of the occupied city of Jerusalem during a military incursion described as the most violent in recent years.
Another 15 Palestinian civilians of one family, including children, were also kidnapped by the IOF troops after they swept into the northern borders of the Gaza Strip near the town of Beit Lahia. The whereabouts of the kidnapped Gazans is still unknown.
In the West Bank, the IOF troops kidnapped 38 Palestinian citizens, including at least 15 minors, over the past couple of days.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Salem military court extended the administrative detention of Palestinian female captive Sanabil Nabegh Brek, 19, for the 40th time successively. The Palestinian lady was kidnapped since September, 2008.
The court also extended the detention of Muntaha Al-Taweel, 45, wife of Al-Beireh mayor Jamal Al-Taweel, who was kidnapped from her house three days ago. Al-Taweel is a mother of five children, at least two of them need special care.
In this regard, the ministry appealed to international human rights and legal institutions to immediately intervene to protect the unarmed Palestinian civilians, and to pressure the IOA to halt the heinous practices against them.
The IOA is holding nearly 12,000 Palestinian citizens captives in its jails, many of them spent more than 20 years in jail so far. The issue of prisoners is considered one of the most crucial issues for the Palestinian people.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Excerpts below; whole article at link: http://www.paltelegraph.com/hot-topic/4126-us-expanded-weapons-stockpiling-in-israel
US, February 11, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) - Sameh Habeeb, a young, independent, Palestinian journalist, lived in a modest house in the middle of Gaza City in December 2008. From his bedroom window, Habeeb reported to international news outlets exactly what he saw night after night during Israel's lethal 22-day assault. On one occasion, Habeeb told Truthout, "the Apache helicopter gunship hovered less than 200 meters away from us. The children, my brothers and sisters, were hiding in the corners of the house, taking shelter. It was horrendous. The sky was dark; there was nothing but the sound and the red lights of the Apache, the screams of the children, and the sound of the bombings close by. The house shook like an earthquake every time there was a bombing. I thought I was going to be the next victim. We smelled the gun powder everywhere."
According to a Jan. 11 report in the weekly paper Defense News, the Obama administration had previously mapped out a plan that would place $400 million worth of military equipment in Israel. However, the project was doubled in scope after a meeting in December between the Israeli military's technology and logistics branch and Rear Adm. Andy Brown, logistics director of the U.S. Army European Command.
Included in this agreement is the provision that Israel, after approval from the U.S. government, would be able to access the American weapon and ammunition stockpile in case of a military "emergency." The terms and definition of such an "emergency," including against whom the weaponry could be used, remain unclear.
Barbara Opall-Rome reported that "[w]artime emergencies warranting Israeli use of such weaponry typically require Israel to reimburse Washington under foreign military sales procedures." However, conveniently for Israel, "[r]eimbursement costs are funded through annual U.S. military grant aid to Israel."
During the election campaign and over its last year in office, the Obama administration has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to what it calls "Israel's security."
An anonymous U.S. defense official stated that Washington believes that up until now, "[American] economics and inflation were taking their toll on the Israel-based pre-positioning," thereby limiting - in relative terms - the procurement of weapons caches by the Israeli government.
Missiles, armored vehicles, aerial ammunition and artillery ordnance have already been stockpiled in Israel since the U.S. Congress began expanding their "forward basing" program in 1990. South Korea remains a U.S. ally, enjoying a similar agreement with the U.S. government. Opall-Rome wrote that the value of the American stockpile in Israel began with "a starting ceiling of $100 million that quickly grew to $300 million following the 1991 war in Iraq ... Under the new agreement, Israel not only gains access to more armaments, but enjoys greater latitude in the categories and specific types of weaponry it can request for in-country storage."
Raytheon, a weapons manufacturer headquartered in Waltham, Mass., is a prime contractor for U.S.-administered arms deals with Israel. Among Raytheon's arsenal of unconventional weapons is the 2.2-ton GBU 28 "bunker-buster" "mini-nuke" bomb that was used against Iraq in 1991, and then swiftly dispatched to Israel during the height of that country's 2006 attack against Lebanon. The weapon can blast through 100 feet of earth and 20 feet of solid concrete. Raytheon's spokesperson refused to answer Truthout's questions regarding its expanding relationship with Israel. His response to a query about Raytheon's possible role in fulfilling the $800 million stockpiling agreement was a curt "no comment," and he told Truthout to "ask the U.S. government" about further details.
Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich told Truthout that there is no oversight process for the stockpiling deals with Israel. "There is no monitoring," he said. He noted that these weapons stockpiling agreements send a worrisome message to the people in the region. "What's troubling is the pullback from serious diplomatic initiatives ... and the reliance on weapons to solve what are really diplomatic issues. There's no doubt that there is some strategic consideration at work. And there is the fact that several U.S. administrations now have failed to enforce the Arms Export Control Act. The policies are not consonant with peace.They're consonant with war."
In the December 2009 Congressional Research Report to Congress, prepared for U.S. representatives preceding their vote in the House to approve funding for such programs, it is pointed out that Israel was designated in 1998 as a "major non-NATO ally," which "qualifies" the state to receive excess defense articles under Section 516 of the Foreign Assistance Act and Section 23(a) of the Arms Export Control Act.
Frida Berrigan of the U.S. Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute in New York noted that the U.S. State Department originally raised questions about Israel's use of cluster bomb munitions during the 2006 Lebanon assault -- saying it was concerned about the amount of bomblets that were dropped. "But after a year of its own investigation," Berrigan told Truthout, "the results were officially 'inconclusive.' A report was forwarded to the U.S. Congress, and that's where it ended. If Israel uses these [U.S.-made] weapons, it is defined under 'defense' as far as Congress is concerned. Because under the Arms Export Controls Act, there are no set activities, no definition of what 'defense' really means."
Berrigan explained that although Congress routinely questions other weapons packages for allied countries, military aid to Israel is rarely, if ever, challenged. "There is a fast-track mechanism [for Israel] in place.
The recent decision to double American weaponry and military equipment stockpiles on Israeli soil comes on the heels of Obama's recent signing of a $30 billion, 10-year agreement to expand U.S. military aid to the Israeli government. The first installment of the aid package, $2.775 billion, was released in December by President Obama, and was earmarked completely for Israel's military budget, instead of both civilian and military infrastructure as was the case previously. This massive military package is over and above the annual $3.1 billion in loan guarantees for Israel that the Obama administration plans to continue.
As a part of the 10-year agreement, Israel is required to spend 75 percent of the package on the purchase of American-made military equipment and ammunition, intended to further subsidize U.S. weapons manufacturers. This arrangement was conceived by the Bush administration and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and was designed, Berrigan explained, to "lock in" the US-Israeli military relationship, tying the hands of the forthcoming US administration. "This benefits only the American weapons manufacturers," she said, "and it sets the Obama administration up with a solid framework which Israel sought out and insisted on ahead of time. Once again, the United States was eager to comply."
Saturday, Feb 13
Westlake Plaza, 4th & Pine
"Do you think you have seen it all?" Click here http://www.voicesofpalestine.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
PRESS CONFERENCE TO ADDRESS RECENT ISRAELI CRACKDOWN ON NON-VIOLENT ACTIVISTS IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
************ * FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***** *****
Jamal Juma 052 
Jonathan Pollack 054 
AIC 624 1424
PRESS CONFERENCE TO ADDRESS RECENT ISRAELI CRACKDOWN ON NON-VIOLENT ACTIVISTS IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
WHO: Jamal Juma. Coordinator of Stop the wall Campaign
Bridgette Chappell and Ariadna Jove Marti The International Solidarity Movement
WHEN: 12:00 PM Feb. 12, 2010,
WHERE: Alternative Information Center, Queen Shlomzion Street 4 Jerusalem
Over the past several months the Israeli Occupation forces have pursued a campaign against non violent activism and the international support of such activism against apartheid and ethnic cleansing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Targeted organizations include The International Solidarity Movement,. Stop The Wall and the Popular committees of Bilin, Nablus popular committee, Naalin popular committee among others
Following the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court toe release on bail of the two activists who were arrested on Sunday during a pre-dawn raid on the Ramallah media office of the International Solidarity Movement Ariadna Jove Marti, a Spanish journalist, and Bridgette Chappell, an Australian student at Beir Zeit university have now however, been banned from the occupied territories. The ISM media office was raided once again, on February 10, 2010. According to two internationals present; Ryan Olander of the U.S. and Nick Bryer of the U.K, Nine IDF soldiers kicked in the door of the ISM media office and demanded the passports of the internationals present. After verifying passports and visas, The IDF confiscated a desktop computer used by ISM volunteers.
In addition on Monday, February 8, 2010,Israeli soldiers raided the Ramallah offices of Stop the Wall Campaign and the Peoples Party. They stole computers, media equipment and documents from the office. Jamal Juma, the coordinator of Stop the Wall, a Palestinian campaign at the forefront of the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid, and Mohammad Othman, a Stop the Wall activist, were recently released with no charges after being imprisoned for three weeks and four months respectivly by Israeli forces.
In response to the accusation that she is a "security risk, Chappell said, "Our 'weapons' were not like the ones the Israeli soldiers waved about wildly after barging into our apartment, they were our cameras. These let the world see the violence that the occupiers visit upon the Palestinians and they were quite dangerous to Israel's institutionalized domination."
"I hope that our presence makes the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine that much more difficult. In light of the illegal raid that led to our incarceration, it seems that the 'security' of the Israeli army means that their injustices are securely hidden from the world," said Marti.
The Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO clearly forbid any Israeli incursion into Area A, which includes the major Palestinian cities in the West Bank, for reasons not directly and urgently related to security, even in ?hot pursuit.? In practice however the Israeli military continues to exercise full control on the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. The overall legality of the raid (under Israeli law) remains contested and should be reviewed by the Supreme Court in the continuation of the court case. In the mean time the court has ordered the release of the two on a NIS 3,000 bail each, and on the condition that they will not enter the Occupied Territories pending final decision in the case.
In addition to the raids on the ISM media office, the recent crackdown on the growing non-violent Palestinian movement of resistance to Israeli apartheid has included leaders of the popular Palestinian struggle who have been taken from their homes in night military raids.
Abdullah Abu Rahme coordinator of the Bil'in popular committee, Wa'el Faqueeh the coordinator of the Nablus popular committee, and Ibrahim Amiraa coordinator of the Naalin popular committee, all arrested from their homes, remain incarcerated. In addition, dozens of Palestinian activists who have participated in the demonstrations are in prison.
Mohammed Khatib, coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said, "The popular struggle is spreading. More and more Palestinians are turning to nonviolent resistance, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement is growing here and internationally and Israeli war criminals are being challenged by courts around the world. These night raids show that Israel has panicked, deluding itself that by arresting Palestinian and international activists it can stop the movement and hide its crimes from the world." Khatib was also arrested recently in a military raid at his home, and
Israel is also targeting the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) outside of the media office, arresting ISM activists working in support of the popular campaign against the wall. Over the last ten months, the "Oz" immigration unit illegally arrested and attempted to deport four other international activists. Eva Nováková, a Czech national and ISM media coordinator, was arrested in Ramallah on January 11, 2010, and deported the next day, before the deportation could be appealed: She too was arrested by the Immigration Police. Nováková?s lawyer is currently in the process of preparing an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court to challenge the legality of her arrest
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Saturday, February 06, 2010
The United States, Israel and Palestine:
What Does Justice Require of US?
The premiere event of Sabeel Puget Sound, a member of Friends of Sabeel--North America
working with and on behalf of Palestinian Christians
for justice through nonviolence in the Holy Land.
Saint Mark’s Cathedral
1245 Tenth Avenue East
Seattle WA 98102
DOWNLOADS AT THE BOTTOM: flyer, brochure, schedule, mail-in registration form, Seattle lodging & transportation
NOTICE of schedule change: The dinner and keynote address by Naim Ateek on Friday evening, February 19 has been moved to University Presbyterian Church a few miles from St. Mark's Cathedral. The church's address is 4540 15th Avenue, N.E., Seattle, WA 98105. Attendees will have time to leave St. Mark's and get to University Presbyterian by car pools, vans and city buses. Detailed information will be available at the conference."
CONFERENCE: Featuring internationally acclaimed speakers and a vibrant array of activist voices, this conference will explore the situation in Israel and Palestine today, the experience of occupation, the role of U.S. policy and nonviolent strategies for peace. Distinguished speakers who will share with us their experience of the places where faith and politics meet include:
The Rev Naim Ateek The Rev. Naim Ateek is an Arab Israeli citizen, founder and leader of Sabeel, (Arabic for 'the way'), and a former canon pastor of the Episcopal Cathedral of Jerusalem. He is the author of many books and articles including Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation and, most recently, A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation. He has been called the Bishop Tutu of Palestine.
Neve Gordon is a senior lecturer on Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University, the author of Israel's Occupation, and editor of From the Margins of Globalization: Critical Perspectives on Human Rights.
Kathleen and Bill Christison: Kathleen is a former CIA political analyst and has worked on Middle East issues for 35 years. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession. Bill is also formerly with the CIA. Kathleen and Bill have just published Palestine in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on the Israeli Occupation.
Mark Braverman is a Jewish American clinical psychologist, founder of Crisis Management Group Associates in Maryland, and activist for justice. Mark focuses on the role of religious beliefs and theology in the current discourse on Israel/Palestine and the future of interfaith relations. He has recently published Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land.
Jeff Halper is coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and an Israeli-American peace activist. He is also a professor of anthropology, an acclaimed speaker and a 2006 Nobel Prize nominee. He is the author of Obstacles to Peace: A Re-framing of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and An Israeli In Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel.
Steve Niva is professor of International Politics and Middle East Studies at Washington's Evergreen State College. A frequent contributor to journals and newspapers, he is completing book a on suicide bombers.
Cindy and Craig Corrie are the parents of Rachel Corrie and founders of the Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
Tom Nelson is a co-founder of Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights. A former corporate lawyer now in solo practice focusing on health and health care, he has investigated possible war crimes in Gaza, with a concern for upholding international law.
...along with additional workshop leaders.