Thursday, December 25, 2014

Gaza: One War, One Family. Five Children, Four Dead -- Sarah Helm in Newsweek #FreePalestine #FreeGaza #DamnUS&Israel!


Everyone in Gaza finds themselves entangled in the multiple prongs of what they call the “menacing mechanism”. International aid workers, seeking to improve Gazans’ shattered lives, find their own movements more restricted and their own plans for reconstruction stalled.
“We are all strangled by the mechanism too,” says one senior figure working on aid coordination. “We are all hanging on the words of Major Elrom,” says another, referring the Or Elrom, the Israeli woman major, who implements the mechanism at Erez check point. She says the mechanism will work and is the only way to deal with a “terrorist entity’ – though like most other Israelis she has never been inside Gaza herself. The major now has more power than John Kerry, the US secretary  of state, and certainly more than Tony Blair, who, as middle east peace envoy for the ‘quartet group’ (the US, UN EU and Russia) has not even been to Gaza to see the damage, for security reasons. “He has no balls,” said a senior Palestinian minister. Moreover, grand ideas of peace once dreamt up by statesmen have shrivelled into a “nasty mechanism”. “Everything has to go through the Israeli window. It’s Kafka,” says Raji Sourani, the human rights activist. “It’s the Stasi,” says Avishai Margalit, professor emeritus of philosophy at Hebrew University. “It’s all about control.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

@Tweet_Palestine Captures Heart of the Season

from @Tweet_Palestine:  " is about bringing joy to those who need it the most cheers children in the rubble in

Only Way I Want to Hear "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" from Now On!!! via @LeonardPeltier

from Indian Country blog

Sunday, December 21, 2014

At "Messiah" Performance, @Voices4Pals w/Vets for Peace Allies Inform Seattle Concertgoers of the Plight Palestinians in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem is under siege and we let Seattle know why with this card from Banksy via If Americans Knew.

Text on back of card:

The people of Bethlehem are asking for our help.

Towering walls and militarized fences now encircle Bethlehem, turning the 4,000-year-old city into a virtual prison for its Palestinian Christian and Muslim citizens. Bethlehem has only three gates to the outside world, all tightly controlled by Israeli occupation forces.
Israel has confiscated almost all the agricultural land in the area for illegal settlements, making it impossible for many Palestinian farmers to continue tending their land. Outside the town, the fields where shepherds once watched their flocks are being filled by Israeli housing blocs and roads barred to the descendants of those shepherds.
“It is unconscionable that Bethlehem should be allowed to die slowly from strangulation,” says South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Bethlehem’s residents increasingly are fleeing Israel’s confining walls, and soon the city, home to the oldest Christian community in the world, will have little left of its Christian history but the cold stones of empty churches.
Though most Americans don’t know it, we are directly involved in Israel’s strangulation of Bethlehem. Fortune Magazine and other analysts consistently rank the Israel lobby as one of the most effective special interests in Washington; Americans give Israel over $8 million per day. In its just over 60 years of existence, Israel has received more US tax money than any other nation.
As we seek peace and joy for the world, it is time to reconsider an expenditure that perpetuates injustice, tragic violence, and conflict. Please help.
For more information:

Happy Solstice!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Vigil for Bethlehem this Sunday, Dec. 21 at 1:00 pm at Benaroya Hall. This vigil will replace our Saturday Gaza vigil for this weekend only!

Please join us this Sunday to raise awareness about the plight of the Palestinian people. 

Voices for Palestine and VFP92 Greater Seattle Chapter of Veterans For Peace will be distributing "O Little Town of Bethlehem " cards to guests attending a performance of Handel's Messiah at Benaroya Hall.

We are planning to meet in front of Benaroya Hall at 1:00 PM. Please join us! 

What: Vigil for Bethlehem
Where: Benaroya Hall, 200 University Street • Seattle, WA 98101 
When: Sunday Dec. 21 at 1:00 PM
See you there!

Amin Odeh

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

From Washington's Blog: "Torture Is 'Not Who We Are.' Which 'We' is This Guy Talking About?" by Robert Barsocchini


If Obama is referring to people living in the US who haven’t tortured anyone and who oppose torture (which is the majority and does not include Obama), then he’s kind of right, except to the extent that these people are still forced to support torture through having their money stolen from them and used for torture, and having zero influence over state policy.
But if by “we” he means the US state/oligarchic apparatus itself – his group – then (gasp) he’s a liar.  Who would’ve thought?
Here Colten Stokes gives a brief overview of US pre 9/11/01 torture (just torture, not things like slowly killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children in the 90s).  It’s only a tiny sample of the endless volumes of documentation that are available, and only covers post WW2 US evil, such as throwing people from helicopters, giving electric shocks, and driving rods into people’s skulls through ear canals.
The US also loves for its proxy forces to torture people, so it sends them torture equipment and teaches classes, including on live victims (homeless people), on such civilized dinner-conversation topics as “how to torture women”.
The US was water-boarding people when it invaded the Philippines in 1899.  Oh, and being “consciously genocidal” (p. 58), as in General J.M. Bell, 1901, stating he would:
…destroy everything I find outside of towns.  All able bodied men will be killed or captured. … These people need a thrashing to teach them some good common sense…
Damn right.
And the Philadelphia Ledger reported:
…our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog. . . . Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to make them talk, and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.
And a marine noted that he was instructed to “kill and burn … that the more he killed and burned the better pleased [his commander] would be…”
Hey, if this grosses you out, you might not have the stomach to be a member of Obama’s “we”, but it might help to remember what a US general said at the time:
It has been necessary to adopt what in other countries would probably be thought harsh measures.
Breathe that sigh of relief.  The invasion and these tactics were “necessary”.  ‘Cuz that guy, whoever he was, said so, which makes it okay.
This US war of conquest against the Philippines (the US afterwards maintained the most brutal dictatorial control over the Philippines for about 100 years) killed perhaps a million people.  The US locked hundreds of thousands in concentration camps, where they dropped like flies from horrific, perhaps “Salt Pit“-like conditions and neglect.
You know the divinely ordained US and white race was bringing civilization to the Philippines and world, because “It was a time of intense racism in the United States. In the years between 1889 and 1903, on the average, every week, two Negroes were lynched by mobs — hanged, burned, mutilated. The Filipinos were brown-skinned, physically identifiable, strange-speaking and strange-looking to Americans. To the usual indiscriminate brutality of war was thus added the factor of racial hostility.” (Zinn)
Soldiers writing about what they were doing said things like:
“…we all wanted to kill ‘niggers.’ . . . This shooting human beings beats rabbit hunting all to pieces.”
It suuuure does.
Why was the US committing genocide in the Phililppines?  Why was this “necessary”, as the US general informed us?  Ask Senator Albert Beveridge, speaking on January 9, 1900:
The Philippines are ours forever. . . . And just beyond the Philippines are China’s illimitable markets. We will not retreat from either. . . . We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race…
The Pacific is our ocean. . . . Where shall we turn for consumers of our surplus? Geography answers the question. China is our natural customer. . . . The Philippines give us a base at the door of all the East. . . .
No land in America surpasses in fertility the plains and valleys of Luzon. Rice and coffee, sugar and cocoanuts, hemp and tobacco. . . . The wood of the Philippines can supply the furniture of the world for a century to come. At Cebu the best informed man on the island told me that 40 miles of Cebu’s mountain chain are practically mountains of coal. . . .
I have a nugget of pure gold picked up in its present form on the banks of a Philippine creek. . . .
It has been charged that our conduct of the war has been cruel. Senators, it has been the reverse. . . . Senators must remember that we are not dealing with Americans or Europeans. We are dealing with Orientals.
Ahh.  That makes sense.  Same reasons why Europe committed genocide in the Americas.
This type of behavior is uniform back to 1776, when the US was, exactly like the psycho antagonist in Silence of the Lambs, skinning people (the original inhabitants of the continent) and making clothing, horse-reigns, and other useful items for themselves out of human skin.
In response to the recent release of the censored report on the latest US torture war crimes, some Fox News extremist said “America is awesome.”  Well, America (Obama’s “we”) has been “awesome” for a very long time.
“We”, as in the public, oppose torture, as found in this major study of US public opinion polls.  “We” as in the state/oligarchy, are long-time, non-stop, evil torturers, running a fifty-plus country torture regimen.
To say torture is “not who we are” is merely more childish propaganda from the current spokes-head.
The torturing, executing, genocidal “we”, of which the spokes-head is a member, must be separated from the non-torturing “we”.  Let the torturing “we” go do what they want.  See how long they can keep it up without a captive population footing their bills.  Just leave us alone, you monsters.
Robert Barsocchini focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry.  He is a regular contributor to  Washington’s Blog, and is published in Counter Currents, Global Research, State of Globe, Blacklisted News,,, Information Clearing House, Press TV, and other outlets.  Also see: Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Follow Robert and UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ABOLISH THE CIA! Torture Report Exhibits Their Zombie Brutality.


"The full horror of the CIA interrogation and detention programmes launched in the wake of the September 11 terror attack was laid bare in the long-awaited Senate report released on Tuesday.
While parts of the programme had been known – and much more will never be revealed – the catalogue of abuse is nightmarish and reads like something invented by the Marquis de Sade or Hieronymous Bosch.
Detainees were forced to stand on broken limbs for hours, kept in complete darkness, deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, sometimes standing, sometimes with their arms shackled above their heads.
Prisoners were subjected to “rectal feeding” without medical necessity. Rectal exams were conducted with “excessive force”. The report highlights one prisoner later diagnosed with anal fissures, chronic hemorrhoids and “symptomatic rectal prolapse”.
The report mentions mock executions, Russian roulette. US agents threatened to slit the throat of a detainee’s mother, sexually abuse another and threatened prisoners’ children. One prisoner died of hypothermia brought on in part by being forced to sit on a bare concrete floor without pants.

The Dungeon

The CIA began the establishment of a specialised detention centre, codenamed DETENTION SITE COBALT, in April 2002. Although its location is not identified in the report it has been widely identified as being in Afghanistan. Conditions at the site were described in the report as poor “and were especially bleak early in the program”.
The CIA chief of interrogations described COBALT as “a dungeon”. There were 20 cells, with blacked-out windows. Detainees were “kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud music and only a bucket to use for human waste”. It was cold, something the report says likely contributed to the death of a detainee.
Prisoners were walked around naked or were shackled with their hands above their heads for extended periods of time. About five CIA officers would engage in what is described as a “rough takedown”. A detainee would be shouted at, have his clothes cut off, be secured with tape, hooded and dragged up and down a long corridor while being slapped and punched.
A CIA photograph shows a waterboard at the site, surrounded by buckets and a bottle of an unknown pink solution and a watering can resting on the beams of the waterboard. The CIA failed to provide a detailed explanation of the items in the photograph.

Frozen to death

Gul Rahman
 Gul Rahman died in the early hours of 20 November 2002, after being shackled to a cold concrete wall in a secret CIA prison. Photograph: AP
At COBALT, the CIA interrogated in 2002 Gul Rahman, described as a suspected Islamic extremist. He was subjected to “48 hours of sleep deprivation, auditory overload, total darkness, isolation, a cold shower and rough treatment”.
CIA headquarters suggested “enhanced measures” might be needed to get him to comply. A CIA officer at COBALT ordered Rahman be “shackled to the wall of his cell in a position that required the detainee to rest on the bare concrete floor”.
He was only wearing a sweatshirt as a CIA officer has ordered his clothes to be removed earlier after judging him to be uncooperative during an interrogation.
The next day, guards found Rahman dead. An internal CIA review and autopsy assessed he likely died from hypothermia – “in part from having been forced to sit on the bare concrete floor without pants”. An initial CIA review and cable sent to CIA headquarters after his death included a number of misstatements and omissions."

Monday, December 08, 2014

Rasmea Odeh Coming Home! Judge Allows Bail!

Rasmea Defense Committee

Press inquiries: Hatem Abudayyeh,

Judge rules that Rasmea can be released pending sentencing

We are pleased to announce that Judge Gershwin Drain just filed his ruling granting Rasmea's motion for reconsideration of his November 10th order revoking her bond.  RASMEA IS COMING HOME!

The defense committee is working now to secure the money for her release.  Please help us raise it by donating HERE now!
We also thank you all for your passionate work to help restore her freedom!  We believe that the hundreds of letters to the judge, and the incredible response to the county jail's punitive measure of placing Rasmea in solitary confinement, played a major role in making this happen.  In the ruling, the judge wrote: "Defendant's dedication to her community work and the people that such work assists, as well as the presence of relatives in Chicago, demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that she is not as significant a flight risk as originally believed."
In addition, all your letters to Rasmea helped keep her spirits up, and strengthened her resolve to continue challenging the unjust ruling, detention, and treatment in jail. 

Of course, we are going to appeal the conviction, and there is still a ton of organizing work to be done, but today we celebrate and prepare to bring Rasmea home.  Thank you all for your support!
Rasmea Defense Committee

Azadeh N. Shahshahani 
National Lawyers Guild 


Thanks to Nima Shirazi for reminding me.  For Rog.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Friday, December 05, 2014

We Check the ER Services at Virginia Mason -- Ivy volunteered to be the guinea pig ...

But don't be fooled, you 1% evil doers who are determined to smash all of us down here.  Ivy and Dorli, heroines of the 99%,  are hale and hearty and on the case!  They and their loyal hench people shall not fail to lay waste your scurrilous skullduggery!  Viva Ivy!  Viva Dorli!  El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido!