Wednesday, March 27, 2013

'We Died When Obama Indefinitely Detained Us' - Gitmo Inmate

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Obama Makes Fun of Heckler Asking "Who Killed Rachel Corrie?" -- Linah Alsaafin in Electronic Intifada

Obama’s next stop was at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, where he gave a long-winded sycophantic speech to over a thousand Israeli students and academics from different universities. It was during this speech that Obama laid out his formula for peace: Palestinians, who have shown a willingness to renounce violence — as if violence is inherent to Arabs — should accept Israel, their colonizer and occupier, as a democratic and Jewish state. In return, Israel should halt its illegal settlement building.
Twenty-five-year-old Rabeea Eid, a student activist and member of the National Democratic Assembly, had heard and had enough. He stood up in the middle of Obama’s speech and called him out on three issues that summarized the flaccid nature and flagrant inefficacy of Obama’s visit to occupied Palestine.
“Did you really come here for peace or to give Israel more weapons to kill and destroy the Palestinian people? Did you happen to see the apartheid wall on your way here?”Grovelling
What is the point of Obama’s visit? It is to bribe the PA to maintain its repression of Palestinian protests and “unrest” to uphold Israel’s security and to pressure it to re-enter bilateral negotiations with Israel without any pre-conditions?
The unnecessary bit is the Israeli side to the question. Obama wants to fall short from supplicating himself fully on the ground to an extremist government, in which the defense minister has likened Palestinians to cancer and the housing minister has pledged to construct more settlements and the minister of trade, industry and labor wants to annex over half of the West Bank. US foreign policy has always favored and strongly supported the Israeli occupation and rewarded it with billions of dollars in military aid annually — that is nothing new. From 1949 until the present day, the US has given Israel more than $115 billion.
The level of groveling, the cringe-worthy speeches and recycled propaganda and lies of depicting Israel as a small pioneering country that started off with its back against the wall amid a sea of hostile enemies alternates between tedium and sarcastic amusement. Even David Ben Gurion recognized that Israel is a colonial enterprise, nothing more and nothing less. Is it necessary to out-Zionize even the most ardent Zionists just to reaffirm support for Israel?
Of course, Obama didn’t see the apartheid wall on his way from Ramallah to Jerusalem, he was too busy reveling in orgasmic pleasure at Israel’s innovative technology (with bases set up on occupied lands), its vibrant ancient history, and the mighty brave “Israeli Defense Forces” (who by the way arrested 30 schoolchildren on Wednesday in the old city of Hebron.) Eid continued:
“There are Palestinians sitting in this hall. This state should be for all of its citizens, not a Jewish state only.”Ah, the conundrum of being Jewish and democratic. Twenty percent of Israel’s population, more than 1.5 million Palestinians, are citizens of Israel. Where exactly do they fit?  Surely not as third class citizens battling an institutionalized racist and discriminatory society on a daily basis, or the more than 60 laws issued by Israel since 1949 that discriminate against Palestinians in the education, public services, and civil rights sectors, to name a few. Eid also said:
“Who killed Rachel Corrie? Rachel Corrie was killed by your money and weapons!”Not a word
Some could say this is the nub of the relationship between Israel and the US. Rachel Corrie, an American citizen, was killed ten years ago by a bulldozer as she tried to protect a Palestinian family’s home from being demolished in Rafah, Gaza. Nine years after her murder, an Israeli court ruled that she was to blame for her own death. The US administration didn’t say a word.
Does the US allow Israel to continue with its impunity and grave violations of human rights and give it unconditional support because three thousand years ago, Jews were exiled from the holy land? Or — as Obama correctly noted in his opening speech on Tuesday — because of the similarities between the US and Israel: both colonizing entities that committed (in Israel’s case, continues to commit) massacres and ethnic cleansing of the population indigenous to the land they settled on?
“I couldn’t stand listening to the speech any more,” Rabeea Eid, who writes for theArabs48 website, said. “It was a very Zionist speech that made other speeches by Zionist figures pale in comparison.”
Rabeea was dragged out of the hall by security guards, who handed him over to the police. They handcuffed him, threatened him, and attempted to intimidate him. They told him he was under arrest. A Fox News journalist had followed the security guards outside and wanted to know what Rabeea had said to Obama. Soon afterwards, other journalists and reporters followed suit, asking him questions.
“You can say that the media circus is what got me released,” Rabeea told The Electronic Intifada a few hours later. “I felt it was important to show Palestinian voices within the ’48 territories do not welcome Obama.
“[Obama’s visit] in its entirety clearly shows the bias the US has towards Israel. I obviously wasn’t expecting Obama to talk about the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the discrimination against them. Yet I’m baffled that even after his pro-Israel speeches, the Palestinian leadership continues to welcome him, thus supporting the US hegemony in the Middle East and its policies around the world.” 

Palestinians Reacted Angrily to US President's Visit

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Obama Thank You for Supporting Our Apartheid State

via Jews Sans Frontieres

Friday, March 22, 2013

Nazareth -- via @Omar_Gaza

Breathtakingly beautiful #Nazareth, where I originally come 4... on Twitpic

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

As #Obama Spends The Day praising Apartheid #Israel, Its Army Kidnaps Children As Young as 8 in Occupied Hebron -- @AngryWhiteKid

From Detroit to Cyprus, Banksters in Search of Prey -- Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report #ClassWar
Detroit and the people of Cyprus share the same enemy, a class that is beyond the reach of simple civil rights suits. The Lords of Capital on Wall Street and the City of London and the Federal Reserve in Washington and in the “troika” at Brussels confront their own existential crisis, which compels them to liquidate the public sector so that it can eventually be transferred to their own balance sheets. There are many ways to accomplish this, through privatization of existing public institutions, or by simply blowing a hole in public services and allowing privateers to fill the void, subsidized by public funds. However, nothing can save the banksters from inevitable, and increasingly imminent, collapse. Ever-increasing profit margins must be achieved, somehow, or the system implodes. Hundreds of trillions of notional dollars in derivatives must be serviced and fed by a class that makes nothing and can only survive by chicanery and coercion by governments under their control. 
In Cyprus, they are prepared to brazenly snatch euros directly from working and retired people’s accounts to fund a bank bailout, without even bothering to construct a convoluted pathway from the victims’ accounts to their own. They have reached the point of outright confiscation, and will not stop until they have stripped society of the potential to save itself from the ruins. 
We have no choice but to confiscate them – to destroy them utterly as a class.

'Gitmo Prisoners Feel They Are in Living Tomb' -- Andy Worthington

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rachel Corrie & Palestine -- 10 Years of Inspiration -- Speakers at Olympia Rally

Friday, March 15, 2013

No Gaza Vigil at Westlake this Saturday, But We Will be in Olympia to Support the Corries. Please join us.....

Olympia Remembers Rachel Corrie
10 years later

Saturday, March 16th - Rachel Corrie - 10 Years
Sylvester Park & The Olympia Ballroom (116 Legion Way SW, downtown Olympia) - expect a dynamic day of social action, speakers, music, dance, food, reflection, remembrance, and community!
        • 1 pm - Rally at Sylvester Park: Ten years is enough! Challenge U.S. aid to Israel and the lack of accountability for how those resources are used
        • 2:30 - 9pm - Olympia Ballroom - Keynote Speakers: Phyllis Bennis and Ramzy Baroud - 10 Years
        • Music and Dance- Batiste Dabke, House of Tarab, David Rovics, and more!
        • Community Potluck (5:00-7:00 pm) - an Olympia tradition
        • Remembrances - from Cindy and Craig Corrie and others
        • Interactive Displays- A visual feast reflecting Rachel Corrie - the writer, artist, and activist, and the continuing struggle; ten years for the Rachel Corrie Foundation; ten years for our community's work on Israel/Palestine; and ten-years of local peace-building.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

After Hard-Fought Battle, Students Celebrate Divestment Vote Victory at UC San Diego

VIA Electronic Intifada

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Red Lake Nation Tribal Members Blockade Enbridge Pipelines #RLBlockade

Resist like the #rLIndigenous!  #RLBlockade

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

US Will Stay in Afghanistan ‘Indefinitely’: Analyst Rick Rozoff from StopNato

via RT's John Robles

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

"What You Won’t Hear About Hugo #Chavez in the Establishment Press" -- by Rania Khalek on her blog

Update: I initially linked to a piece at the Boston Review showing Chavez was anti-semitic to demonstrate that he was flawed. It turns out that the piece was based on a Chavez quote edited by the right-wing media in 2006 to paint him as anti-semitic and the mainstream media eventually picked it up. Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting explains the timeline of events that led to the charge in a piece titled “Editing Chavez to Manufacture a Slur“.
I’m no expert on whether Chavez was anti-semitic or not but I’m hesitant to accuse him of bigotry if the only evidence is an edited quote and criticism of Israel and Zionism.
* * * *
The US establishment loves to hate on Hugo Chavez for his economic policies that favor the poor. Don’t get me wrong, Chavez was not perfect. But he overcame huge obstacles to reduce poverty in Venezuela. That’s no easy feat in Latin America as Naomi Klein demonstrates in the first half of “The Shock Doctrine”.
Following news of Chavez’s death this afternoon, the mainstream media wasted no time trashing him. I’ve already lost track of the number of times he’s been called a dictator, conspiracy theorist, tyrant and anti-American, among other things. In light of this slanderous coverage, here are aspects of Chavez’s leadership that you likely won’t hear in the mainstream press:
Venezuelan Elections were Fairer and Freer than the USThough US elites often label Chavez a dictator, there is no question that he was democratically elected in elections monitored by Jimmy Carter. The same can’t be said in America, where voter suppression and waiting hours in line to cast a ballot are the norm.
United States Linked to 2002 Coup AttemptThe mainstream media loves to paint Chavez as a conspiracy nut because of his repeated accusations that the US has tried to overthrow him. But is he wrong? Aside from the CIA’s sordid history of assassinating left-leaning Latin American leaders (again, check out “The Shock Doctrine”), Chavez had good reason to fear the United States, especially after finding out that the 2002 coup’d'etat attempt against him was backed by members of the Bush administration who happen to be some of the same people behind the overthrows and assassinations of the 1980s.
Media Outlet that Chavez ‘Censored’ was Instrumental in Coup AttemptIf  CNN conspired to overthrow the democratically elected President of the United States, there’s no doubt in my mind that they would be shut down and jailed for treason with little objection. Yet, when Chavez denied a license to Venezuela’s privately owned RCTV for their role in the 2002 coup, the US media framed it as Chavez censoring a media outlet that was merely critical of his politics, a talking point that is still employed today. (For more on this, read Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting’s coverage).
Redistributionist Policies WorkedAs for his social policies, the media often lambasts Chavez for manipulating the poor with his charisma and handouts. They’re just pissed because he successfully reduced poverty ending corporate domination of the economy, particularly the oil industry. Here are some of the most important highlights laid out by nonpartisan and highly respected Center for Economic and Policy Research:
Among the highlights:
  • The current economic expansion began when the government got control over the national oil company in the first quarter of 2003. Since then, real (inflation-adjusted) GDP has nearly doubled, growing by 94.7 percent in 5.25 years, or 13.5 percent annually.
  • Most of this growth has been in the non-oil sector of the economy, and the private sector has grown faster than the public sector.
  • During the current economic expansion, the poverty rate has been cut by more than half, from 54 percent of households in the first half of 2003 to 26 percent at the end of 2008. Extreme poverty has fallen even more, by 72 percent. These poverty rates measure only cash income, and do not take into account increased access to health care or education.
  • Over the entire decade, the percentage of households in poverty has been reduced by 39 percent, and extreme poverty by more than half.
  • Inequality, as measured by the Gini index, has also fallen substantially. The index has fallen to 41 in 2008, from 48.1 in 2003 and 47 in 1999. This represents a large reduction in inequality.
  • Real (inflation-adjusted) social spending per person more than tripled from 1998-2006.
  • From 1998-2006, infant mortality has fallen by more than one-third. The number of primary care physicians in the public sector increased 12-fold from 1999-2007, providing health care to millions of Venezuelans who previously did not have access.
  • There have been substantial gains in education, especially higher education, where gross enrollment rates more than doubled from 1999-2000 to 2007-2008.
  • The labor market also improved substantially over the last decade, with unemployment dropping from 11.3 percent to 7.8 percent. During the current expansion it has fallen by more than half. Other labor market indicators also show substantial gains.
  • Over the past decade, the number of social security beneficiaries has more than doubled.
  • Over the decade, the government’s total public debt has fallen from 30.7 to 14.3 percent of GDP. The foreign public debt has fallen even more, from 25.6 to 9.8 percent of GDP.
  • Inflation is about where it was 10 years ago, ending the year at 31.4 percent. However it has been falling over the last half year (as measured by three-month averages) and is likely to continue declining this year in the face of strong deflationary pressures worldwide.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Samer Issawi -- "We are fighting for all Palestinians" -- Guardian News

My story is no different from that of many other Palestinian young people who were born and have lived their whole lives under Israeli occupation. At 17, I was arrested for the first time, and jailed for two years. I was arrested again in my early 20s, at the height of the second intifada in Ramallah, during an Israeli invasion of numerous cities in the West Bank – what Israel called Operation Defensive Shield. I was sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges relating to my resistance to the occupation.

I am not the first member of my family to be jailed on my people's long march towards freedom. My grandfather, a founding member of the PLO, was sentenced to death by the British Mandate authorities, whose laws are used by Israel to this day to oppress my people; he escaped hours before he was due to be executed. My brother, Fadi, was killed in 1994, aged just 16, by Israeli forces during a demonstration in the West Bank following the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in Hebron. Medhat, another brother, has served 19 years in prison. My other brothers, Firas, Ra'afat and Shadi were each imprisoned for five to 11 years. My sister, Shireen, has been arrested numerous times and has served a year in prison. My brother's home has been destroyed. My mother's water and electricity have been cut off. My family, along with the people of my beloved city Jerusalem, are continuously harassed and attacked, but they continue to defend Palestinian rights and prisoners.

After almost 10 years in prison, I was released in the Egypt-sponsored deal between Israel and Hamas to release the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.  However, on 7 July 2012, I was arrested again near Hizma, an area within the municipality of Jerusalem, on charges of violating the terms of my release (that I should not leave Jerusalem). Others who were released as part of that deal were also arrested, some with no declared reason. Accordingly, I began a hunger strike on 1 August to protest against my illegal imprisonment and Israel's violation of the agreement.

My health has deteriorated greatly, but I will continue my hunger strike until victory or martyrdom. This is my last remaining stone to throw at the tyrants and jailers in the face of the racist occupation that humiliates our people.

I draw my strength from all the free people in the world who want an end to the Israeli occupation. My weak heartbeat endures thanks to this solidarity and support; my weak voice gains its strength from voices that are louder, and can penetrate the prison walls.

My battle is not just for my own freedom. My fellow hunger strikers, Ayman, Tarik and Ja'afar, and I are fighting a battle for all Palestinians against the Israeli occupation and its prisons. What I endure is little compared to the sacrifice of Palestinians in Gaza, where thousands have died or been injured as a result of brutal Israeli attacks and an unprecedented and inhuman siege.

However, more support is needed. Israel could not continue its oppression without the support of western governments. These governments, particularly the British, which has a historic responsibility for the tragedy of my people, should impose sanctions on the Israeli regime until it ends the occupation, recognises Palestinian rights, and frees all Palestinian political prisoners.

Do not worry if my heart stops. I am still alive now and even after death, because Jerusalem runs through my veins. If I die, it is a victory; if we are liberated, it is a victory, because either way I have refused to surrender to the Israeli occupation, its tyranny and arrogan

Saturday, March 02, 2013

AIPAC to Hill: 'You Can starve America But Don't Touch Israel Aid!'

Friday, March 01, 2013

Olympia Remembers Rachel Corrie -- 10 Years Later

Olympia Remembers Rachel Corrie
10 years later

Saturday, March 16th - Rachel Corrie - 10 Years
Sylvester Park & The Olympia Ballroom (116 Legion Way SW, downtown Olympia) - expect a dynamic day of social action, speakers, music, dance, food, reflection, remembrance, and community!
        • 1 pm - Rally at Sylvester Park: Ten years is enough! Challenge U.S. aid to Israel and the lack of accountability for how those resources are used
        • 2:30 - 9pm - Olympia Ballroom - Keynote Speakers: Phyllis Bennis and Ramzy Baroud - 10 Years
        • Music and Dance- Batiste Dabke, House of Tarab, David Rovics, and more!
        • Community Potluck (5:00-7:00 pm) - an Olympia tradition
        • Remembrances - from Cindy and Craig Corrie and others
        • Interactive Displays- A visual feast reflecting Rachel Corrie - the writer, artist, and activist, and the continuing struggle; ten years for the Rachel Corrie Foundation; ten years for our community's work on Israel/Palestine; and ten-years of local peace-building.