Voices of Palestine flyered with information about the origins of Land Day. One commenter affirmed the idea of the dispute being about land. "No one talks about that."
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Voices of Palestine flyered with information about the origins of Land Day. One commenter affirmed the idea of the dispute being about land. "No one talks about that."
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Gene Simmons has been known for a lot of less-than-savory things. His long tongue is probably his most infamous, and yet few have said much about his big, bigoted, misogynist mouth. The Kiss front-man, who was born Chaim Witz near Haifa, recently opened that mouth to call artists boycotting Israel "fools."
Simmons is currently in Israel to film scenes for his reality show, Gene Simmons' Family Jewels. In an interview with the Associated Press, he gave some rather condescending advice to those same artists: "The countries they should be boycotting are the same countries [where] the populations are rebelling ... People long to be free ... And they sure as hell don't want somebody who's a ruler who hasn't been elected by them" ("AP Interview: Kiss bassist Gene Simmons says boycotters of Israel are 'fools'," 22 March 2011).
For his own part, Simmons has been a long and vocal supporter of Israeli and American foreign policy. He loudly stumped for both the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and in 2006, as Israel bombed Lebanon, he sent messages of support to Israeli soldiers. And his supposed liberalism hasn't prevented him from describing Islam as a "vile culture" to The Sydney Morning Herald in 2004.
Now he's directed this same bile at some of music's most legendary figures. The Pixies, Gil Scott-Heron, Carlos Santana and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters are only a few of the personalities who have lent their names to the cultural boycott over the past few years.
The call for an economic, academic and cultural boycott goes back to 2004, when groups, intellectuals and activists from within Palestine issued the call ("Call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel"). The past nine years have seen the call supported by a growing number of groups world-wide and since Israel's lethal attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in May 2010, the amount of cancelled gigs has greatly increased. Elvis Costello, who pulled out of two shows in Tel Aviv after the raid, explained his rationale on his website:
"One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament ... Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent" ("It is After Considerable Contemplation ...").
Costello, along with many other artists like him, have been lambasted by countless voices both in the mainstream press and the world-wide blogosphere. Right-wing columnist and radio host Debbie Schlussel labeled him "scum," and accused him of "appeasing" Hamas. Shuki Weiss, a high-profile Israeli concert promoter, called the boycott "cultural terrorism." Indeed, Gene Simmons' own words highlight the momentum that the cultural boycott of Israel has gained lately -- and what a potential problem it's become for Israel's public image abroad.
Simmons is notably careful to put the whole question in terms of "freedom," a rather oblique word that any politician is ready to trot out at a moment's notice. The same interview notes that his own mother was a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, which once again pulls the whole conversation about Palestine and Israel away from the realities of colonialism and boils the conflict down to a matter of "Jew vs. Muslim." It's a mistaken notion that nonetheless seems to jive with Simmons' own "clash of civilizations" worldview.
Of course, at least in the interview, there's no mention of the boycott on its own terms, no mention of the one word that Israel and its backers fear: apartheid. After all, to do so might put Simmons on history's bad side.
It's a potent line to cross. Those who struggled against apartheid in South Africa no doubt remember the loud and proud role that music played. Artists United Against Apartheid, launched in 1985 by Little Steven Van Zandt, garnered support from countless musicians. Run-DMC, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Herbie Hancock, Joey Ramone, George Clinton, Peter Gabriel are just a few of the musicians who famously refused to play South Africa while apartheid remained intact.
Simmons wasn't part of AUAA. But then, "integrity" has never been the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Kiss, a group who have eagerly lent their image to anything that will make them money -- lunch-boxes, action figures, cartoons, soda commercials and credit cards have all been deemed worthy of the Kiss "brand," but alas, not the struggle for human rights.
The real insult, however, comes in his insistence that artists should be boycotting the "countries [where] the populations are rebelling." He conveniently skips over the fact that Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and most of the other Middle East dictatorships have survived through steadfast support from Israel and the US. An example of this would be one of the key demands being fought for by those still struggling in Egypt -- opening the border with Gaza!
You have to hand it to him though; Simmons has impeccable timing. His comments and visit to Jerusalem come right as Israel has launched a spate of fresh bombings of Gaza. Simmons, it seems, may have front-row seats to a crime against humanity. No doubt these particular segments of Family Jewels are going to be particularly stomach-turning. But while he runs his mouth off to no end, the fact remains that a growing number of musicians have decided Israel deserves nothing but silence from them.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
He supports the military intervention by U.S./UN/EU/NATO.
My response, which is awaiting moderation on his site (4 pm, Sunday):
Two things (out of many) I disagree with in this letter:
For a professor who is an expert in political affairs, Cole's definition of anti-imperialism is ridiculous:2. Absolute anti-imperialism (all interventions in world affairs by outsiders are wrong).Cole keeps confusing the people of the world with the institutions that rule over them. The UN, which Cole keeps citing in his article to legitimize his rationalization for the empire's intervention, banned the Lincoln Brigade and the U.S. prosecuted people who joined it.
Imperialism is defined as:"the policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies."
Anti-imperialism is thus against the moves of empires, not just any "outsiders," as Cole characterizes it.
Which leads me to second problem with Prof. Cole's analysis.In the US, progressive people actually went to fight in the Spanish Civil War, forming the Lincoln Brigade. That was a foreign intervention.By early 1937, its [Lincoln Brigade] numbers had swelled from an initial 96 volunteers to around 450 members. In February 1937, the European powers comprising the League of Nations Non-Intervention Committee banned foreign national volunteers.
When you support this intervention, you are giving power to the same entities who are doing this:
american-media-bury-story-of- drone-attack-that-killed-40- in-pakistan-incg-many-tribal- elders.html/comment-page-1# comment-299750
The capitalists in this country collaborated with Hitler until they saw the necessity to save investments in Britain and France, to whom they had loaned millions of dollars. Remember their denial Jewish immigration to the U.S.? It did not serve the interest of some sector of the elites.
If more anti-imperialists had stuck to their principles and supported Eugene Debs and Rosa Luxembourg, we may not have had the carnage that was World War I.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
It's time for the ISRAELI OCCUPATION to END. It's time for the PALESTINIAN PEOPLE to be FREE!
Come join us to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for Freedom!
Saturday, March 26
WestlakePlaza, 4th & Pine
"Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone"
Friday, March 25, 2011
When the Knesset approves legislation banning the Nakba commemoration, it seems surreal. Yet, there is also something good in this commotion. At least, there's no denial of the Nakba.
UJ ENDS ISRAELI LINKS - Historic moment for boycott of Israel movement
Today, setting a worldwide precedent in higher education, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has officially severed ties with Israel's Ben-Gurion University (BGU). This was after UJ's Senate found there to be "significant evidence that BGU has research and other engagements that support the military and armed forces of Israel, in particular in its occupation of Gaza."
UJ is the first institution to officially sever relations with an Israeli university - a landmark moment in the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel campaign. Throughout the campaign progressive academics and international human right activists have been anticipating this decision. This boycott decision, coming from a South African institution, is of particular significance. It could start a domino boycott effect.
The movement to end ties with BGU began with the advent of the UJ Petition (www.ujpetition.com) - a statement in support of UJ academics and students who were calling on their university to end its apartheid-era relationship with BGU. As the UJ senate met today, over 400 South African academics, including nine Vice-Chancellors and Deputy Vice-Chancellors (highest non-ceremonial university positions), had joined the campaign.
Included in the list of supporters are some of South Africa's leading voices: Professors Neville Alexander, Kader Asmal, Allan Boesak, Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Barney Pityana and Sampie Terreblanche. South Africa's popular cartoonist Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro, Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, Bishop Rubin Phillips, former Minister Ronnie Kasrils and leading social activist Zackie Achmat also backed the campaign.
Further, over 100 internationals have lent their support, including several prominent international scholars: Professors Judith Butler, Vijay Prashad, Michael Burawoy, Wendy Brown, Ernesto Laclau, and acclaimed British author, John Berger.
Today UJ has made history by upholding and advancing academic moral integrity. Palestinians, South Africans and the international academic and solidarity community rejoice at this decisive victory in isolating Israeli apartheid and supporting freedom, dignity and justice for the Palestinian people. UJ continues the anti-apartheid movement.
ISSUED BY DASANTHA PILLAY ON BEHALF OF THE UJ PETITION COMMITTEE:
Dasantha Pillay: firstname.lastname@example.org / +27 (0) 84 211 9988
Professor Peter Alexander: email@example.com
Professor Farid Esack: firstname.lastname@example.org / (0) 83 459 9989
Salim Vally: email@example.com / (0)82 802 5936
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
I am sitting so close to my mother, expecting anything to happen any time. I hate to listen to the radio but I have to. The Radio announcer keeps repeating the same sentence again and again “People, try to take as much caution as possible!” What a silly call! Who knows which is or is not a safe place in Gaza during war time? All I want right now is to see my family members around me. I keep moving my eyes over and around them. They are totally silent but features of worry and fear are easy to make out on their faces. “It sounds like another war” mum said. I just looked and listened in silence, and continued pressing the keyboard buttons. I feel cold like never before. I feel so much in need of a blanket or a sweater but two things stops me from that; my legs and my lips. I can’t break my silence as well as my stiffened state. Nothing but my fingers are moving.
I laughed at myself as I remembered how I bolted down in a flash from the second floor to the first floor where my family stays। Fear takes over, pushes you further. Subconscious strength drove my legs to gather with the others—the safest place I can be. Suddenly, I stopped writing. I couldn’t see anything around me, all colors are unclear. A series of flashbacks from the last war on Gaza that were buried somewhere in my absent memory have reemerged. The sound of war planes is getting louder. The sirens of ambulances are still ringing. I wish I can move and bring some cotton to close my ears. This is the only time when I envy the deaf. “7 children are injured!” the announcer said. I felt as if somebody had thrown freezing water over my face so strongly that it sounded like a slap, though I remained unmoved and unconscious to it.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The Arab Counterrevolution is Winning
UPDATE: Great minds -- me & Pepe Escobar
House of Saud 'liberates' Bahrain
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Abu Rahmah was released this evening, after having served the 16 months sentence imposed on him by the Israeli Military Court of Appeals for organizing demonstrations. Abu Rahmah was received by his family, friends and supporters at the prison's gate and vowed to continue the struggle.
After much delay, Abu Rahmah who was supposed to have already been released yesterday, was finally released from the Ofer Military Prison this evening. He was received by hundreds who waited for him at the prison's gate.
Abu Rahmah, who during his trial was declared a human rights defender by the EU and a prisoner of conscious by Amnesty International, vowed to continue struggling against the Occupation, despite his unjust imprisonment and the six-months suspended sentence still imposed on him. He said, “On my release, I have no intention to go back home and sit there idly. In fact, by imprisoning me they have silenced me long enough. Our cause is just, it is one striving for freedom and equality, and I intend to continue fighting for it just as I have before”.
Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, wasarrested last year by soldiers who raided his home at the middle of the night and was subsequentlyindicted before an Israeli military court on unsubstantiated charges that included stone-throwing and arms possession. Abu Rahmah was cleared of both the stone-throwing and arms possession charges, but convicted of organizing illegal demonstrations and incitement.
An exemplary case of mal-use of the Israeli military legal system in the West Bank for the purpose of silencing legitimate political dissent, Abu Rahmah's conviction was subject to harsh international criticism. The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, expressed her deep concern "that the possible imprisonment of Mr Abu Rahma is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest[...]", after EU diplomats attended all hearings in Abu Rahmah's case. Ashton's statement was followed by one from the Spanish Parliament.
Renowned South African human right activist, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, called on Israel to overturn Abu Rahmah's conviction on behalf of the Elders, a group of international public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates, brought together by Nelson Mandela. Members of the Elders, including Tutu, have met with Abu Rahmah on their visit to Bil'in prior to his arrest.
International human rights organization Amnesty International condemned Abu Rahmah's conviction as an assault on the right to freedom of expression, and declared him a prisoner of conscious. Human Rights Watch denounced the conviction as well, pronouncing the whole process "an unfair trial".
Israeli human rights organizations also criticized the conviction – including statements by B’Tselem, which raises the issue of questionable testimonies by minors used to convict Abu Rahmah, and The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) which highlights the impossibility of organizing legal demonstrations for Palestinians in the West Bank.
Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, was acquitted of two out of the four charges brought against him in the indictment - stone-throwing and a ridiculous and vindictive arms possession charge. According to the indictment, Abu Rahmah collected used tear-gas projectiles and bullet casings shot at demonstrators, with the intention of exhibiting them to show the violence used against demonstrators. This absurd charge is a clear example of how eager the military prosecution is to use legal procedures as a tool to silence and smear unarmed dissent.
The court did, however, find Abu Rahmah guilty of two of the most draconian anti-free speech articles in military legislation: incitement, and organizing and participating in illegal demonstrations. It did so based only on testimonies of minors who were arrested in the middle of the night and denied their right to legal counsel, and despite acknowledging significant ills in their questioning.
The court was also undeterred by the fact that the prosecution failed to provide any concrete evidence implicating Abu Rahmah in any way, despite the fact that all demonstrations in Bil'in are systematically filmed by the army.
Under military law, incitement is defined as "The attempt, verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order" (section 7(a) of the Order Concerning Prohibition of Activities of Incitement and Hostile Propaganda (no.101), 1967), and carries a 10 years maximal sentence.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
In Benghazi, the turning point was when protesters turned on the katiba, the military base from which they had been coming under fire for days, attacking it with home-made grenades used to catch fish, and bulldozers. By the 20th, Mehdi Zeyo had seen enough dead teenagers. He filled his car with gas cannisters and drove towards the katiba. Bullets sprayed his car, and the explosion blew a hole in the wall, allowing the protesters and defectors in. There was no turning back.
Some have questioned the speed with which events happened, the speed of defections, and the speed with which the protests became an armed movement. They question the claims that it was the violence unleashed on the protesters that resulted in the army defecting and the weapons coming over to the other side. I would argue that over 400 deaths in 5 days (from the 15th to 20th) don’t happen as a result of tear gas and rubber bullets. I would refer those people to the photographs of people whose bodies were literally torn into two, and the photographs of people, including children, whose heads were pulverised. That is not the result of normal live ammunition.
By now, with the estimated death count somewhere around 6000 [ed. - there are no reliable figures] and the regime still clinging to the number of 100, the lies are too barefaced to be believed. Like Mubarak, Gaddafi sees the media as a weapon. Beneath the wild claims of Al Qaeda, Nescafe, and hallucinogenic pills, the regime conducts an Orwellian propaganda operation, accusing the revolution of everything the regime has done – from hiring mercenaries to burning bodies to kidnapping people. Bombing an oil depot and then regretfully informing the world that the “terrorists” are burning the oil allows the regime to appear like a government instead of criminals with battalions at their disposal. In the early days of the uprising, spreading news of air strikes on the civilian population allowed them to accuse Al Jazeera of running false stories and being “discredited.” It allowed Saif to steeple his fingers and say: “Where are those areas? Show me those areas now.”
Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise that Libya’s revolution has been “chaotic.” There was no Kefaya or April 6th movement in Libya, because there was no space for opposition. Any sign of dissent was brutally suppressed, and civil society was decimated. While Tunisians and Egyptians demanded the changing of articles in their constitutions, Libyans don’t even have a constitution. As I read recently in a tweet, most people knew nothing about Libya except that its leader was mad, and that silence is as clear a sign as any of just how oppressive the regime is. Libya was a country ruled and stifled by a megalomaniac madman so jealous of power that he had kept all others out of any kind of spot-light. At one point, even football players in Libya were known only by their numbers. The only cultural figures given room to flourish were the “poets” who lauded the “King of Kings” of Africa. His sons are as deeply disturbed as he is. Saadi, for example, once decided that a crowd that had cheered the “wrong” team at a football match should be rewarded with a hail of bullets. A few days ago he expressed his dissatisfaction with the revolution for upsetting his safari plans, while Saif and Gaddafi insisted that the “rebels” were Al Qaeda fighters and drug addicts and teenagers and communists and foreign agents and mercenaries.
Its worth remembering that before the uprising, the last protest Libya had seen was in front of the Italian embassy in Benghazi – not against the regime but against an Italian minister who had worn a T-shirt with the Danish cartoons satirizing prophet Mohammad. The unarmed protesters were shot dead, and a spokeswoman for the regime came on Al Jazeera to say she hoped Italy would “appreciate the gesture.” That was on February 17 2006. It was to mark that day that the Day of Rage was planned for February 17 2011.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
The United States, governed by a Nobel Peace Prize winner, tortures political prisoners. That truth is on display for all the world to see, in the treatment of Wikileaks defendant Private Bradley Manning, who is stripped naked every night in an effort to crush his psyche. "The enemy is anyone, anywhere who dares to consider revealing the truth about how this country actually conducts itself around the world."
"Manning is denied the use of sheets and now is forced to sleep naked and stand naked outside of his cell when it is inspected."
If members of the Norwegian Nobel committee do not feel embarrassment for making Barack Obama a peace prize laureate, then they are as shameless as the man they foolishly chose to honor. Barack Obama is every bit the authoritarian as his predecessor George W. Bush. He too believes in his right to declare anyone an enemy combatant and restrict their rights to due process. He too has cracked down on whistle blowers and is determined to ferret them out and punish them.
The continued psychological torture of Pfc. Bradley Manning is the latest case in point. Manning is accused of leaking information to Julian Assange of Wikileaks, telling the world about the indiscriminate killings of Iraqis and other horrors brought about by the continuing American occupation.
Manning, who has yet to be tried or convicted of any crime, has been kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours per day ever since his arrest ten months ago. Last week the army added 22 additional charges, including "aiding the enemy."
"Manning has been kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours per day ever since his arrest ten months ago."
Manning’s one hour outside of his cell allows him only to walk in circles in another room. He is denied the use of sheets and now is forced to sleep naked and stand naked outside of his cell when it is inspected.
The government’s objective is a simple one. They want to break Manning so that he will talk about any communications he has had with Julian Assange. In other words, they are trying to drive him crazy in order to prosecute someone else. Manning has been denied visits from friends, journalists and even government officials such as Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
When the state decides to destroy a human being, a member of Congress gets the bum’s rush as quickly as anyone else. Manning, Kucinich, and the rest of us, must be taught a simple lesson. It is true that Manning is being used to get to Julian Assange, but the significance of his treatment goes much deeper.
We are all being warned not to get any big ideas about telling the truth. The new charges claim that Manning aided the enemy. The charge doesn’t say who the enemy is, but that doesn’t really matter. The enemy is anyone, anywhere who dares to consider revealing the truth about how this country actually conducts itself around the world.
"Ultimately, Barack Obama is responsible for Manning’s treatment."
Among the files which Manning allegedly leaked is a video showing American soldiers shooting a Reuters photographer and his driver, and an innocent bystander and his young children, and then laughing as an already dead body is crushed by an armored vehicle. The soldiers also enjoy themselves. They are positively gleeful about committing murder, laughing at their victims and pleading with their superiors to allow them to kill more people.
Anyone who reveals this grotesque behavior becomes a de facto enemy of the state. It was so during the Bush administration and now it is so as Obama sits in the oval office. Ultimately, Barack Obama is responsible for Manning’s treatment. Even if he did not directly order it, he certainly is aware of it now, and if it continues, it is because he wants it to.
"Manning’s treatment is not an aberration of American policy."
It is important to note that Manning’s treatment is not an aberration of American policy. Even supporters like Kucinich miss that fact, asking "Is this Quantico or Abu Ghraib?" The answer is that Quantico and Abu Ghraib are one in the same. It is United States government policy to torture prisoners both domestically and internationally, petty criminals, "enemy combatants" and whistle blowers can all expect the same treatment.
The question now is about Barack Obama and the treatment he deserves. Will he be punished for betraying his supporters in this country and for continuing to bring death and destruction in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia? He shouldn’t be tortured, but he should experience what is torture to a politician. He must be opposed and his policies must be resisted. He should see usually reliable Democrat voters vote for third and fourth parties. If not, then Manning will have suffered for no reason and no one will again dare to bring the truth to light.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
To support the pledge (see below), please click on the link above and sign on. Linda
23 anti war and international solidarity activists have been subpoenaed to appear in front of a Grand Jury in Chicago, headed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. They have done nothing wrong. They have educated and organized against U.S. wars around the world. And they have stood in solidarity with the peoples of Palestine and Colombia.
All 23 of the targeted activists said that they will not cooperate with this witch hunt against the movements so many of us have worked to build. The U.S. attorney is working to put these activists in prison. Whether some of them indicted, or others are jailed for refusing to testify, the threat is very real.
- We will carry forward the fight for our right to speak out, organize and to stand in solitary with those who want freedom.
- We will stand up to any escalation of the attacks on anti-war and international solidarity activists.
- We will join the national day of protest when anti-war and international solidarity activists are ordered to appear in front of the Chicago Grand Jury or indicted.
Anti-war and international solidarity activism is not a crime!
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
"Exclusive: Moazzam Begg Interviews Sami El-Haj, Former Guantanamo Inmate and Cameraman for Al Jazeera"
MB: On one hand, you have spoken to people about what took place in Guantanamo and informed them of that. However, you have also been in contact with many brothers who have returned from Guantanamo, particularly those from Arab countries, as well as in Europe and elsewhere. Could you talk about some examples which you have seen of those who got out of Guantanamo, focusing on the worst cases?
SH: Honestly, brother, I can tell you that the suffering did not end with their release from the prison in Guantanamo, rather it continued even more for many prisoners after release. Most former prisoners were subjected to judicial trials and they were subjected to detention, on the level of the Arab governments and others. Those who were not imprisoned by the governments were imprisoned by the public, i.e. society did not accept them. Society may be convinced that this man is wronged in what happened to him, but everyone remains a victim of their deep seated fear. Many would say to you: "I sympathise with you and I know that you are wronged, but I fear for myself, as I, too, may be accused of terrorism (or what is called terrorism) and may go to a worse place than that from which you came!" Therefore, we can say that most former prisoners, especially those in North Africa, have been subjected to reincarceration. For example, in Tunisia, they were sentenced to many long years; in Libya, they disappeared completely, and until now no one knows anything about their whereabouts, or whether they are alive or dead; in Morocco, they were sentenced; in Algeria, some of them were sentenced... and the list goes on.
Secondly, and on the other hand, these people, after they returned, did not find anyone to help them reacclimatise to society. A person who has been absent from his family, and many of them have wives and children... for example, our brother Abu Abdullah the Algerian has not seen his wife until this moment, despite having been released over three years ago and spending more than five years in Guantanamo. Now, his daughter may have got married, and his children still live in Pakistan while he is in Algeria. He cannot go to them in Pakistan and cannot bring them over from Pakistan to Algeria because he cannot afford the cost of their plane tickets. He does not have the money to even build for them a home and he cannot issue for them a visa. This situation is oft repeated and is nearly identical to the case of Sheikh Alaa’ in Albania: his wife is in Sudan, his daughter got married, and he has not seen his children in more than ten years, and he is unable to bring them over or get them together.
Others are ill. Some suffer from psychological conditions and others from illnesses as a result of poor nutrition, and they have been unable to seek treatment up to this moment. Others are severely ill, such as our brother, uncle Salih in Yemen, who suffers from heart conditions and requires a catheter. Even worse, many former detainees, in fact most of them, are unemployed; no one is willing to offer them any work. So, you can see how a person who was released from this injustice and gained his freedom, but in reality he is imprisoned in a large world, as he found no one to help him and stand with him. Others were charged and subjected to huge financial penalties. Others have children whom they cannot meet or bring up. Imagine a person who has been deprived of his family for more than seven years, then after he returns he is unable to purchase some medicine for his son. He looks at himself and feels paralysed, as he cannot even fulfil his son’s dues; unable to buy his son a chocolate bar or medicine or anything else. This puts him in a very bad psychological state, which may be more difficult than his prison days, because in prison he was incarcerated and in isolation, but now he is before his child who is crying from thirst, hunger, the cold or for whatever reason, yet is unable to offer him anything. He is a man and he is capable of work, but there are no job opportunities; everyone is afraid of him, whether governments or individuals. Even those who sympathise with you and are convinced that you have been done injustice and are in need of help cannot help you out of fear of being held accountable for that.
Islamic organisations all over the Islamic world are being chased by America. America demands Kuwait to shut down the Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage; America demands Saudi Arabia to shut down the Al-Haramain Foundation and to imprison its Sheikh and those working in it. In the meanwhile, we find that Doctors Without Borders’ has a budget of 15 billion Euros from charitable donors, and no one would hold them to account or demand to know the sources of this wealth. Bill Gates in America donates a billion to the organisation, while the Zakat, which is specified by the Shari’ah as an obligation upon you, you are afraid to pay to help these people who really are in need of help.
There is real suffering. Therefore, I can say that former Guantanamo inmates are now suffering from more psychological problems that what they used to suffer in Guantanamo.
$1.2 Trillion Spent on the Military While the Rest of Us Fight Over Crumbs -- Laura Flanders on Alternet
So after all that cash is gone, what are we left with? Not a whole heck of a lot for the rest of us.
March 6, 2011 |
There’s been a joke going around the labor protests. It goes something like this:
A union member, a CEO and a Tea Party member are sitting at a table with 12 cookies. The CEO grabs 11, turns to the Tea Partier and says “The Union’s out to take your cookie!”
I’ve been thinking that the joke applies pretty well to another situation. For instance, the military. Our military spending grabs 11 cookies and leaves us all battling over the 12th.
Christopher Hellman at TomDispatch added up all the military-related spending in the budget and came to a startling number: for fiscal year 2012, the actual military budget is something like $1.2 trillion dollars.
Trillion with a T.
Just to put that in perspective for a second, a million seconds is 12 days. A trillion seconds is 31,688 years.
So after all that cash is gone, what are we left with? Not a whole heck of a lot for the rest of us. “Discretionary” spending is nearly 40% of the budget, but if Hellman’s numbers are accurate, that $1.2 trillion eats up nearly 90% of discretionary funds, leaving just 10% for the rest of us. (That doesn’t include mandatory spending on things like Social Security and Medicare, which are separate.)
To be fair, Tea Partiers have called for military spending cuts, too. Rand Paul, hardly a progressive, pointed out that you could cut all of the non-military discretionary spending and not balance the budget—and Politifact rated it True.
The point behind the joke still holds, though. Instead of fighting over the last crumbs, maybe it’s time to team up and grab some of the cookies back from the people who’ve been hanging on to far more than their share.
Laura Flanders is the host of GRITtv, Mon-Thursday on Free Speech TV (Dish Network chn. 9315) and streaming at GRITtv.org.
Monday, March 07, 2011
In 1980, a song I wrote, “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2,” was banned by the government of South Africa because it was being used by Black South African children to advocate their right to equal education. That apartheid government imposed a cultural blockade, so-to-speak, on certain songs, including mine.
Twenty-five years later, in 2005, Palestinian children participating in a West Bank festival used the song to protest Israel’s apartheid wall. They sang “We don’t need no occupation! We don’t need no racist wall!” At the time, I hadn’t seen first-hand what they were singing about.
A year later in 2006, I contracted to perform in Tel Aviv.
Palestinians from the movement advocating an academic and cultural boycott of Israel urged me to reconsider. I had already spoken out against the wall, but I was unsure whether a cultural boycott was the right way to go. The Palestinian advocates of a boycott asked that I visit the occupied Palestinian territory, to see the Wall for myself before I made up my mind. I agreed.
Under the protection of the UN I visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw that day. The Wall is an appalling edifice to behold. It is policed by young Israeli Soldiers who treated me, a casual observer from another world with disdainful aggression. If it could be like that for me, a foreigner, a visitor, imagine what it must be like for the Palestinians, for the underclass, for the passbook carriers. I knew then that my conscience would not allow me to walk away from that Wall, from the fate of the Palestinians I met, people whose lives are crushed daily in a multitude of ways by Israel’s occupation. In solidarity, and somewhat impotently, I wrote on their wall that day: “We don’t need no thought control.”
Realizing at that point that my presence on a Tel Aviv stage would inadvertently legitimize the oppression I was witnessing, I canceled my gig at the football stadium in Tel Aviv and moved it to Neve Shalom an agricultural community devoted to growing chick peas and also, admirably, to cooperation between people of different faiths, where Muslim, Christian and Jew live and work side by side in harmony.
Against all expectations, it was to become the biggest music event in the short history of Israel. 60,000 fans battled traffic jams to attend. It was extraordinarily moving for me and my band, and at the end of the gig I was moved to exhort the young people gathered there to demand of their government that they attempt to make peace with their neighbors and respect the civil rights of Palestinians living in Israel.
Sadly in the intervening years, the Israeli government has made no attempt to implement legislation that would grant civil rights to Israeli Arabs equal to those enjoyed by Israeli Jews, and The Wall has grown, inexorably, illegally annexing more and more of The West Bank.
I had learned that day in Bethlehem in 2006 something of what it means to live under occupation, imprisoned behind a Wall. It means that a Palestinian farmer must watch olive groves centuries old, uprooted. It means that a Palestinian student cannot get to school because the checkpoint is closed. It means a woman may give birth in a car, because the soldier won’t let her pass to the hospital that’s a ten minute drive away. It means a Palestinian artist cannot travel abroad to exhibit work, or to show a film in an international film festival.
For the people of Gaza, locked in a virtual prison behind the wall of Israel’s illegal blockade, it means another set of injustices. It means that children go to sleep hungry, many chronically malnourished. It means that fathers and mothers, unable to work in a decimated economy, have no means to support their families. It means that university students with scholarships to study abroad must watch the opportunity of a lifetime slip away because they are not allowed travel.
In my view, the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance.
Where governments refuse to act, people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal. For some that meant joining the Gaza Freedom March, for others it meant joining the humanitarian flotilla that tried to bring much needed humanitarian aid to Gaza.
For me it means declaring my intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine, but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their governments racist and colonial policies, by joining a campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it satisfies three basic human rights demanded in international law.
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands [occupied since 1967] and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
My conviction is born in the idea that all people deserve basic human rights. My position is not anti Semitic. This is not an attack on the people of Israel. This is, however, a plea to my colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines, to join this cultural boycott.
Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa’s Sun City resort until apartheid fell and whites and blacks enjoyed equal rights. And we are right to refuse to play in Israel until the day comes — and it surely will come — when The Wall of occupation falls and Palestinians live alongside Israelis in the peace, freedom, justice and dignity that they all deserve.
Sunday, March 06, 2011
"Waters said he was extremely affected by his tour of the West Bank, scrawling "We don’t need no thought control", lyrics from one of Pink Floyd's most popular songs, on the wall, and cancelling his performance in Tel Aviv. Instead, the British star held the concert in Neve Shalom, a cooperative village founded by Jews and Arabs. In the letter Waters wrote announcing his support of a cultural boycott of Israel, he said that in his "view, the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance."" (thanks Sarah)
Friday, March 04, 2011
Leonard Peltier Offense/Defense Committee Northwest Regional Organizer's Office
P.O. Box 5464
THE NEW NORTHWEST LEONARD PELTIER CLEMENCY CAMPAIGN
As individual fingers we can easily be broken, but all together we make a mighty fist. -- Sitting Bull
REGIONAL MARCH AND RALLY FOR CLEMENCY FOR LEONARD PELTIER
SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2011, TACOMA, WA.
12:00 NOON: MARCH FOR JUSTICE Portland Ave. Park (on Portland Ave. between E. 35th & E. Fairbanks. Take Portland Ave. exit off I-5 and head east)
1:00 PM: RALLY FOR JUSTICE U.S. Federal Court House, 1717-Pacific Ave.
Like an onslaught of a mighty storm, crisis has beset the people from many directions. Those that have it all keep on wanting more from those who have very little at all. They who have it all believe that their greed and power is the natural order of things, the way things must be. We struggle now, as we must, against powerful forces that just take and never concede to us anything in return without a struggle. This is a hard road we travel down and there is none of us who can really escape this reality.
The forces of greed would have us believe that each struggle is an issue in itself, separate and unconnected to others. This keeps us divided and weak. For if we are to withstand the onslaught of greed, we need to come to understand that all things are connected. An injury to one is an injury to all.
Our struggles are like streams of water flowing down a mountain side. We can turn these streams aside to flow alone, or dam them with our limited understand of the way things are and thus disperse harmlessly upon the land. Or our streams can flow into a river of joint connections, adding greater power with every stream that merges with it as it washes down the mountain side to become a great power that none can ignore.
In understanding connections, we learn that what is done to some of us, both in trying to get something from us they want and repressing those of us that speak out and stand up for the people, can be done to any of us at any time. Thus, when we stand in solidarity with others, we stand also, in solidarity with ourselves.
There is no better example of how far the forces of greed and repression will go than the case of Leonard Peltier. Here is a case where there was something corporations and the government wanted, the natural resources on Native land, and they were willing to do anything to get what they wanted. Here is a case where justice did not matter, the laws of this land did not matter, and even the constitution could not stand in the way of their illegal acts. Even lives lost meant nothing to them in their pursuit of that which they wanted.
Leonard is not a history lesson of things in past times. Leonard is still in prison, locked-up since 1976 for the crime of defending his people and Mother Earth. Leonard has grown old in prison and he has severe health problems. It is time to begin a new Leonard Peltier Clemency campaign. President Obama will either win the next election, but can't run after that, or he will lose and will be going out of office. Either way, he will be more open to granting clemency than he has been so far. A campaign like this takes time to build. This campaign in order to be successful needs to be out in the public view. For these reasons we are starting our new clemency campaign with a regional march and rally in Tacoma on May 21, 2011. It is essential that this public show of support be as strong as possible.
All of you who support Leonard Peltier, we need your help. We cannot let things that might divide us or possible disagreement stand in our way. Given Leonard's health, the only question that makes any sense is which side are you on? If you stand in solidarity with Leonard, the time has come to act in unity for him.
The Leonard Peltier Offense/Defense Committee (LPODC) has been working hard to rebuild Leonard's support. Realizing that they cannot do that alone, they have asked some long time Peltier activists to taken on the job of being regional organizers for LPODC. Based upon my past work with the old Northwest Leonard Peltier Support Network, LPODC has asked me to be the regional organizer for the northwest. I agreed to that because I am committed to Leonard for as long as it takes. I wish to point out that I am only an organizer, and not the leader. It is Leonard's supporters, each and everyone one of you, who are the leaders of this movement. But reality sets in here. I am not what I use to be. I have grown old, I have health problems and I don't have my own money to put into this like I use to do. I have been out of work for 7 ½ months. But I am willing to give this all that I have, but I need your help even more than in the past.
1. Donations and benefits. Getting the word out costs money.
2.People who can do nice lay-out of fliers and posters.
3. People who can print fliers and posters.
4.People who can handout fliers or post them along with posters.
5. People who can get march fliers out through their newsletters or get articles printed in their publications.
6. People who can forward march statements, like this one, to friends, groups, organizations, e-mail lists, on Facebook, Twitter, to web sites or any other place...
7. People who can help organize car caravans for justice (car pools) to Tacoma.
8. We need a sound system and generator.
9. People to organize video showings.
10. People to make banners and signs.
It will be the people who free Leonard by their strong solidarity. Each and everyone of you can help in some way. Each of you have as much power over as much work as you are willing to do. Please help us show all to see that the people demand Leonard to be set FREE1
Arthur J. Miller
Leonard Peltier Offense/Defense Committee
Northwest Regional Organizer
P.O. Box 5464
Tacoma, WA 98415
If you want up-dates on the march and on Leonard Peltier please send a request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information go to: www.whoisleonardpeltier.info
Please pass this on.....
It's time for the ISRAELI WAR CRIMES to STOP. It's time for the ISRAELI OCCUPATION to END. It's time for the PALESTINIAN PEOPLE to be FREE!
Come join us to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for Freedom!
Saturday, March 5
Westlake Plaza, 4th & Pine
"Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone"
In the early days of the rebellion in Egypt, US TV viewers had the somewhat surreal experience of seeing Al Jazeera being broadcast on one of the two sets in Obama’s office, though Al Jazeera English is blacked out to cable viewers in the US, with the exception of those in Toledo, Ohio; Burlington, Vermont and Washington DC. (This did not prevent both Obama and Mrs Clinton from decrying censorship in Iran.)
Poor Mrs Clinton. She envisages a vast imperial communications network disseminating sophisticated propaganda for the American way. She hints that it should be financed out of public funds, a ramped up version of Voice of America, devotedly followed by audiences behind the Iron Curtain half a century ago. The propaganda model is the “Mighty Wurlitzer”, as the propaganda apparatus commanded by the CIA’s Frank Wisner Sr. was termed.
But the world has moved on. One has only to watch US TV for 10 minutes to conclude that America’s communicators no longer have the intellectual resources and political literacy to mount successful, well-informed propaganda. The Fox Channel is for home-turf idiots. And besides, what would the state-subsidized propagandists be able to boast about? Predator raids in Afghanistan? Guantanamo? Thirty million on part-time work or jobless in the Homeland? America is not the sell it once was, when the economic growth rate was headed up and capitalism seemed capable of delivering on its promises.
March 2 was a busy day. The Army filed 22 new charges against PFC Bradley Manning, suspected of passing classified information to the WikiLeaks website. The charges include "aiding the enemy," -- a capital offense. These charges coincided with Gen. Petraeus apologizing, also on March 2, to Afghanistan’s puppet leader Karzai for the deaths, via machine-gun from Apache attack helicopters, of 9 children, killed as they gathered firewood in a mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan. A 10th child was injured. The general said he was really, really sorry, and that it seemed that "regrettably, there appears to have been an error in the handoff between identifying the location of the insurgents and the attack helicopters that carried out subsequent operations."
Among the material that Manning is accused of handing on to Wikileaks is footage of Apache helicopter assaults in Baghdad. The worldwide web was transfixed on April 5, 2010, when Wikileaks put up on YouTube a 38-minute video, a 17-minute edited version, taken from a U.S. Army Apache helicopter, one of two firing on a group of Iraqis in Baghdad at a street corner in July of 2007. Twelve civilians died, including a Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and a Reuters driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40.
Two lethal helicopter assaults, two different outcomes for those divulging them. Petraeus gets a pat on the back for his swift effort at damage control; Manning gets charges that carry the death penalty.
Representatives from the pentagon, the tea party and the unions are sitting at a table with 10 cookies on it. The pentagon general grabs 9 cookies and says to the tea party guy, "Hey, the unions are trying to get your cookie."
Fact: 90 % of US govt discretionary funding (not mandated by law) is spent by and for the US military.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
The picture says it all really, but there is a great accompanying article at the link above. L
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Please go to link to read last two paragraphs of this article. Zubin Mehta, the conductor of the Israeli Philharmonic, acknowledges that the boycott might be preventing artists from working with them. Linda
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
"U.S. & NATO Escalate World’s Deadliest War On Both Sides Of Afghan-Pakistani Border" Rick Rozoff STOP NATO
Afghans are not to be spared another decade – or generation or more – of Western military occupation and attacks of the sort that occurred on February 17 in the eastern province of Kunar.
A week after the event, an Afghan government investigation determined that NATO air strikes targeted civilians in a village in the province, killing over five dozen people including 50 women and children, among them 19 females from seven months to 18 years of age. 21 teenage boys and 15 elderly men were also slain. 
The head of the government delegation appointed to conduct the probe stated:
“After four days of discussions and interviews with tribal leaders, security officials and other civilians, we found that 65 civilians were killed by NATO missiles in the Ghazi Abad district of Kunar province.” 
In the week between the slaughter and the release of the report documenting its details, a NATO attack in the province of Nangarhar “hit a house, killing a couple and their four children,” according to a spokesman for the province’s governor. 
During the same period the U.S. was occupied in killing people on the Pakistani side of the border. Drone missile attacks were launched near Miranshah, the administrative headquarters of North Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. A local security official told the news media that “three missiles were fired at a residential compound in Dattakhel Mohammedkhel,” resulting in five people being killed in an “attack which completely demolished [their] house.”
The same source added, “the identity of those killed could not be ascertained.”
Another local official described what has become the typical modus operandi of the murderous CIA missile strikes when he detailed that “two people were killed when a missile strike from another drone hit a vehicle proceeding towards the house that was targeted earlier.”