Friday, December 30, 2011

A friend's response to a Ron Paul fan lashing out at RP critics

"...all of Paul's racism, bigotry and fundamentalist beliefs are well documented, as is his top contributors from his 2008 campaign, which I happen to think is very revealing about his supposed anti-empire credentials. I can only speculate as to why you would conjure up so many ad-hominems and say that calling a racist a racist is inflammatory or irrational, or calling a homophobe a homphobe. more than a gullible moron, it takes a petit bourgie to ignore all of the disturbing attributes of Paul's politics and cherry pick anti-war comments, or anti-fed comments, or pro-norml comments. what is most inflammatory and irrational is hiding apologetics for such a crypto-fascist under civil words. again we are talking about a white, upper-middle class republican politician from Texas who thinks women shouldn't be allowed to have reproductive rights; who routinely says he would've voted against the civil rights act, social security, the minimum wage, medicare, medicaid and more (though he hides his attack on blacks and the poor under defending the "freedom" of property--apparently the right of the propertied classes to exploit the poor and people of color is more important than the rights of the latter, and that it's "slavery" if they cant exploit); a politician who has said the US shouldn't constrain Israel in their criminal behavior, and no the US should not block the UN from holding Israel accountable (and while I agree with you the US should not be the world's police, it should be pointed out that what should be isn't, and that the fact of the matter is in the real world we inhabit the US has considerable influence over Israel, and its entirely appropriate for the US to employ that influence to stop injustices--I would be very content if the US told Israel all aid would stop if it didn't cease its occupation and return to the green line); who says he believes evolution is "just a theory"; who comes off as an anti-war and anti-imperial candidates but oddly is financed considerably warmongers (and considering the influence of money in politics this shouldn't be taken lightly); who has known ties to white supremacist groups; and so on and so on and so on."
This commenter is someone who was very active on the Angry Arabs' blog when it was open for comments.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Look who's coming out as a friend of Israel!

Ron Paul to Haaretz:
"I believe I’m the only candidate who would allow Israel to take immediate action to defend herself without having to get our approval." "I opposed President Obama’s attempt to dictate Israel’s borders this year." "I believe that Israel is one of our most important friends in the world."

Gideon Levy: World must interfere in Israel's internal affairs

25 Dec -- Of all of Israel's complaints against the world, one is especially brazen: Goodness gracious, the world is meddling in the Jewish state's internal affairs ... Israel may be the last country on earth with the right to be outraged over foreign interference. Since its founding, Israel has not ceased working around the world to bring Jews here; it has clandestinely carried out underground subversive activity among shady regimes; it has openly preached abroad for Jews to leave their native lands and immigrate here, or at least send financial support; and Israel has moved heaven and earth against manifestations of anti-Semitism and supports parallel alternative Jewish and Zionist educational systems around the world. It is also a country that simultaneously calls on the world to maintain the blockade of Gaza because of Hamas' rise to power there. Israel has acted in Lebanon and elsewhere in support of one communal faction against another. It has not ceased to meddle in the internal affairs of foreign countries and entities, so of all countries, it should not be heard to complain about foreign interference.
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WATCH: Ultra-Orthodox spit on “immodest” 8-year-old girl in Beit Shemesh

Since this news report last Friday, about a little girl from Beit Shemesh, secular-religious relations seem to be the only thing Israelis are talking about

Haredi in Bet Shemesh. "You are sick. I'm healthy" (photo: youtube)

Naama Margolis, an 8-year-old from Bet Shemesh, is the most famous girl in Israel today. In fact, nobody can stop talking about her.

And why is that? Well, on Friday evening, Naama told her story on the most watched news show in the country. Interviewed by Channel 2’s Shai Gal, Naama told how she was afraid to go to school, just a few hundred meters from her house in Bet Shemesh, because Haredim cursed and spit on her for being dressed “immodestly.”

The report, translated in full below, has sent Israeli public discourse on relations between secular and religious into a frenzy.

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Number of Palestinians in World is 11.22 Million

RAMALLAH, December 26, 2011 (WAFA) – The projected number of Palestinians in the world increased to reach 11.22 million at the end of 2011, Monday said a report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

There are 4.23 million Palestinians in the Palestinian Territory, 1.37 million in Israel, 4.99 million in Arab countries and around 636,000 in other countries, said the report.

Around 4.2 million Palestinians live in the Palestinian Territory, around 2.6 million in the West Bank and 1.6 million in the Gaza Strip at the end of 2011.

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The Israeli occupation the world forgot: the Golan Heights

While the mainstream media commonly refers to the West Bank and Gaza as the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it often incorrectly calls the Golan Heights part of Israel. How has the occupation impacted the Golan? And why has the world forgotten it?

Protesters mark the anniversary of the 1982 uprising that some locals refer to as "the Intifada of the people of the Golan Heights" or the Golan Intifada (photo: Mya Guarnieri)

Earlier this month, The Atlantic published “2011: The Year in Photos.” It included a picture of Palestinian protesters climbing the fence that separates, according to The Atlantic, the “Israel-Syria border… near Majdal Shams.” The caption explained that Majdal Shams is located in “northern Israel.”

Imagine the fury if mainstream media outlets referred to the occupied West Bank as “Judea and Samaria.” That would be equivalent to calling the Golan Heights, which also lies beyond the Green Line, “northern Israel.” Calling the Golan “northern Israel” tacitly legitimizes the 1981 Israeli annexation, which has been rejected by the United Nations on numerous occasions in numerous resolutions and goes unrecognized by the international community.

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Arabic place names erased in Municipality’s campaign to Hebrew-ize Jerusalem

Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) -- The Jerusalem Municipality has ramped up its on-going campaign to alter the identity of Jerusalem and its place names, changing many Arabic street names in East Jerusalem to Hebrew ones.

Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan has been officially named “the City of David” by the Municipality, while Al-Bustan has become “the Park of the King”; Wadi Rababa “the Valley of Ben Hinoum”; and Al-Thouri “Giva’t Hannanyah”. Wadi Hilweh main street has been renamed “Ma’lout Ir David”; Cemetary Street “Ofel”; Al-Mister Street “Malki Tsadik; Dung Gate Hill “Malout Hashaloum”; and Wadi Hilweh Park “Givate Park”, in reference to the Givate unit of the Israeli Military Forces.
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Ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem: 70,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites to be re-classified as West Bank citizens

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat has announced that the city Municipality will now classify 70,000 citizens of Jerusalem as non-residents, furthering the right wing Israeli campaign to achieve a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem. Seventy thousand Palestinian residents already cut off from the rest of Jerusalem by Israel’s Apartheid Wall will now be cast out on paper as well, with their affairs turned over from the Municipality to the Israeli military’s West Bank civil administration.

Palestinian Jerusalemites vehemently reject the segregation of their city, criticizing the “false justification of security that Israeli authorities peddle in order to take over our lands and separate us from our families – amidst a disgraceful silence from the international community.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why Stratfor was Really Hacked

In the wake of the recent operation by which Stratfor's servers were compromised, much of the media has focused on the fact that some participants in the attack chose to use obtained customer credit card numbers to make donations to charitable causes. Although this aspect of the operation is indeed newsworthy, and, like all things, should be scrutinized and criticized as necessary, the original purpose and ultimate consequence of the operation has been largely ignored.Stratfor was not breached in order to obtain customer credit card numbers, which the hackers in question could not have expected to be as easily obtainable as they were. Rather, the operation was pursued in order to obtain the 2.7 million e-mails that exist on the firm's servers. This wealth of data includes correspondence with untold thousands of contacts who have spoken to Stratfor's employees off the record over more than a decade. Many of those contacts work for major corporations within the intelligence and military contracting sectors, government agencies, and other institutions for which Anonymous and associated parties have developed an interest since February of 2011, when another hack against the intelligence contractor/security firm HBGary revealed, among many other things, a widespread conspiracy by the Justice Department, Bank of America, and other parties to attack and discredit Wikileaks and other activist groups. Since that time, many of us in the movement have dedicated our lives to investigating this state-corporate alliance against the free information movement. For this and other reasons, operations have been conducted against Booz Allen Hamilton, Unveillance, NATO, and other relevant institutions. The bulk of what we've uncovered thus far may be reviewed at a wiki maintained by my group Project PM, Although Stratfor is not necessarily among the parties at fault in the larger movement against transparency and individual liberty, it has long been a "subject of interest" in our necessary investigation. The e-mails obtained before Christmas Day will vastly improve our ability to continue that investigation and thereby bring to light other instances of corruption, crime, and deception on the part of certain powerful actors based in the U.S. and elsewhere. Unlike the various agents of the U.S. Government, the hacking team that obtained this information did not break down the doors of the target, point guns at children, and shoot down any dogs that might have been present; Anonymous does not resort to SWAT tactics, and this is simply one of many attributes that separate the movement from the governments that have sought to end our campaign and imprison our participants. Of course, such points as these will not prevent our movement from being subjected to harsher scrutiny than is given to those governments which are largely forgiven their more intrusive tactics by virtue of their status as de facto holders of power in a world that has long been governed in accordance with the dictate that might makes right. Incidentally, many of us are more than happy to proceed according to that amoral dictate if we find it to be necessary. And, increasingly, we have found it to be so. Barrett Brown Project PM ORIGINALLY POSTED TO BARRETTBROWN ON MON DEC 26, 2011 AT 08:38 PM PST. ALSO REPUBLISHED BY ANONYMOUS DKOS.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Just what the world doesn’t need; US politicians telling us what to read online

This is the inevitable push by the “war on terror” crowd who have no problems with war propaganda from our side – the glorious fighting machines of Israel, America, Britain or the West – but the evil enemy must be silenced: American congressmen are calling on Twitter to block Taliban propagandists from the micro-blogging site. Senators want to stop feeds which boast of insurgent attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan and the casualties they inflict. Aides for Joe Lieberman, chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the move was part of a wider attempt to eliminate violent Islamist extremist propaganda from the internet and social media. The Taliban movement has embraced the social network as part of its propaganda effort and regularly tweets about attacks or posts links to its statements. The information has ranged from highly accurate, up-to-the-minute accounts of unfolding spectacular attacks, to often completely fabricated or wildly exaggerated reports of American and British casualties. Twitter feeds including @ABalkhi, which has more than 4,100 followers, and @alemarahweb, which has more than 6,200 followers, regularly feature tweeted boasts about the deaths of “cowardly invaders” and “puppet” Afghan government forces. Taliban spokesmen also frequently spar with Nato press officers on Twitter, as they challenge and rebut each other’s statements. Twitter declined to say if the company had been asked to block the feeds by Mr Lieberman. Rachel Bremer, a spokesman for Twitter, said: “This isn’t something we’d comment on.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Israel claims its army is “one of the most moral armies” in the world as it treats prisoners and detainees with honor.

Unit 504: Israeli Torture Methods Revealed An Israeli reserve military colonel has revealed disturbing information about indecent torture methods exercised against Arab and Iranian prisoners in Israel's notorious Unit 504 interrogation center. Unit 504 is the Israeli army's Intelligence Corps unit tasked with interrogating prisoners, particularly those with Arab and Iranian nationalities. The colonel, who has come to be known as Het, shed light on the cruel abuse and inhumane treatment of Iraqi refugees by an Israeli inspector identified as Captain George. He has also divulged details on how Captain George tortured his subjects including Mustafa Dirani, a former member of the Shia Lebanese Amal Movement, founded in 1974. Het said that he attended an interrogation session during which Captain George raped a prisoner using a baton. The captain, who has never been questioned, now serves as the Arab affairs adviser to the chief of the Jerusalem district police. This is while Dirani, who was abducted by Israeli forces in 1994, has testified that he was sodomized and tortured while being interrogated in Unit 504. According to media reports, Israel's Channel 2 later aired a footage showing a nude interrogator stripping Dirani while beating and raping him with a rod. In 1999, Het contacted Zvi Rish, an Israeli attorney who represented Diraini and some abused Iraqi refugees, and insisted that he was seriously ill and wished to disclose his unit's interrogation methods to "clear his conscience." Additionally, in late December 2010, a human rights group called Public Committee Against Torture in Israel revealed that Palestinian detainees are systematically denied the right to meet a lawyer during interrogations. Being shackled to chairs for long periods, sleep deprivation, intimidation, torture and abysmal detention conditions are some of the cases the rights group documented in its report. Israel claims its army is “one of the most moral armies” in the world as it treats prisoners and detainees with honor. But in recent years videos have come out, showing how Israeli soldiers abuse and humiliate blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian detainees. (Press TV)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Do you know why is Chile today home to 490,000 Palestinians??

Answer: The South American Palestinians population was created by an Israeli government initiative during the post war period (1948 to 1952) when Palestinian Israelis were "encouraged" to leave Palestine (now Israel) and sell up their property in Israel.
Martial law and having the threat of confiscation of land was a big incentive. Palestinian owned land was put out of bounds by the military governor and then the Ottoman laws on land cultivation were used to appropriate Palestinian owned land. A case of sell up or have it taken anyway. Many Palestinians had to sell (at a very reduced price) and get away from martial law.
The same method is used today in the West Bank, only difference is that Israeli authorities don't bother with offering Palestinians the chance to sell.
For more info on Palestinian Diaspora or Shatat, here.

Anonymous takes down Egyptian Websites.

DECEMBER 20TH, 2011–In what appears to be a massive and carefully orchestrated DDoS attack, a dozen Egyptian government websites have been taken down. Sites ranging from the Presidential website to the bureau for Tourism have been hit.

The hacktivist group Anonymous has taken credit for the attack on at least one Brazilian Operations page. The hackers claim the attacks are in response to the brutal treatment of protesters in the country. The hashtags #Egypt #Solidarity #Anonymous #CabinCr3w were used repeatedly on twitter as the event was being reported live, followed by the familiar phrase, “Tango Down.” The phrase was used by hackers before after defacing the CIA’s website.

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If this isn’t Zionist apartheid, then what is part 553222?

Haaretz uncovers an important document: Israel’s Civil Administration issues 101 different types of permits to govern the movement of Palestinians, whether within the West Bank, between the West Bank and Israel or beyond the borders of the state, according to an agency document of which Haaretz obtained a copy. The most common permits are those allowing Palestinians to work in Israel, or in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Over the decades, however, the permit regimen has grown into a vast, triple-digit bureaucracy. There are separate permits for worshipers who attend Friday prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and for clerics working at the site; for unspecified clergy and for church employees. Medical permits differentiate between physicians and ambulance drivers, and between “medical emergency staff” and “medical staff in the seam zone,” meaning the border between Israel and the West Bank. There is a permit for escorting a patient in an ambulance and one for simply escorting a patient. There are separate permits for traveling to a wedding in the West Bank or traveling to a wedding in Israel, and also for going to Israel for a funeral, a work meeting, or a court hearing. The separation fence gave rise to an entirely new category of permits, for farmers cut off from their fields. Thus, for instance, there is a permit for a “farmer in the seam zone,” not to be confused with the permit for a “permanent farmer in the seam zone.” Human rights organizations have challenged the permit regime on various grounds. According to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, international agencies operating in the West Bank waste an estimated 20 percent of their working days on permits from the Civil Administration – applying for them, renewing them and sorting out problems. The checkpoint-monitoring organization Machsom Watch claims that the Shin Bet security service uses the permit regime to recruit informers. Palestinians whose permit requests are rejected “for security reasons” are often invited to meetings with Shin Bet agents, who then offer “assistance” in obtaining the desired permits in exchange for information. Guy Inbar, spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, said in response that the Civil Administration is aware of the issues raised in the article and intends to evaluate them in the coming year as part of its streamlining program.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Norman Finklestein on Hitchens

"Even some of the critical commentary on Hitchens’s passing pays tribute to his atheism, which no doubt shocked readers of Vanity Fair.

But the ultimate irony seems to have gone over everyone’s head.

When I first learned that Hitchens was diagnosed with an excruciating and terminal cancer, it caused me to doubt my atheism.

Could it be merely chance?

The news came just as Hitchens was about to go on a book tour for his memoir.

It was as if he was setting out on his victory lap when the adulating crowds were supposed to fawn over him and—wham!—his legs were lopped off at the kneecaps.

Could it be the hidden hand of a Jehovah?

If I still had doubts, the events of the past week dispelled them.

First Hitchens passed.

If that wasn’t burden enough to bear, the next day Vaclav Havel imploded.

The deep thinkers among us were now beside themselves with grief.

But then, on the third day, Kim Jong-il kicked the bucket.

Was this a practical joke, and who was the joker?

Biblical scholars report that divine interventions usually come in threes.

Moe, Larry, Curly.

Christopher, Vaclav, Kim.

I cannot help but see in this otherwise improbable sequence a divine intelligence at play."

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The wall of shame: Israel’s unquenchable thirst for Palestinian land and resources is painfully demonstrated in this shocking documentary.

The Wall of Hate from Global Information Services on Vimeo.

Sticking it to Lacoste.

Damn your fathers, you shot baba!

This story began when I was looking for a child who has lived through the First Palestinian Intifada (uprising), or been active participant. The project was part of Palestinian bloggers' campaign to mark the twenty-fourth anniversary of the "First Intifada." We had agreed, each of us, will publish a text or story commemorating this important era in our history which we have nostalgia to.
Due to Mustafa Tamimi's murder by the Israeli army in Nabi Saleh village, I had lost my desire to write for some time. So the story came late.
Two days before the anniversary of the Intifada, I came a cross a tweet by Mahmoud Omar, a young Palestinian living in Egypt, saying "after watching it perhaps hundred times, after I was able to escape few inches away of her eyes, I saw she was still making the victory sign." And he shared this video:
Few minutes later, he added another tweet "the Palestinian cause, the whole Palestinian cause, is in the eyes of this young girl."
This drew me to watch the video, I watched it several times, and I understood what Mahmoud meant. At that moment, I decided to reach that child, who is now an adult woman.
I examined the picture she was holding of her father, the martyr of the first Intifada. His name was clear: The martyr Ibrahim Ahmed Hussein Odeh. After few taps on the web, I found out that he was martyred in 1988 in Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem.
I called and emailed some friends, asking if anyone has good connections with people from Dheisheh and if they could help me reach the family of martyr Ibrahim Ahmed Hussein Odeh. My friend Najla was quick to reply and promised to help. Later on, Najla reached a friend of her who knows the son of the martyr, the brother of the little child.
I called him, and explained the long story, who am I and why am I contacting him, the video, the picture, the child, her eyes, the Internet everything. He was very kind and gave me the phone number of his sister, Nour. Now I know her name, Nour.
I called Nour, and again told her the long story.
Then I was silent and she spoke.
She told me how her father was killed, she still remembers.
At the time, she was three years old, she was at home with her family, mother, father, and her seven siblings. She is the one before the last. Her younger sister was still in her mother’s womb when the father was killed. Her father was standing in the kitchen with her mother, when a bullet called "dumdum" hit his head. It was a shot by Israeli soldiers from outside the house. His head exploded in front of them.
What she remembers from the funeral is the image of his body wrapped with Palestinian flag. From now on, she has become the daughter of a martyr.
Today, Nour, 26 years old, remember how she met a week later Israeli soldiers who were passing in front of their home, she screamed at them: "damn your fathers, you shot baba." They responded by throwing at her a thick ax-like stick, it did not hit her, but made her fall down the stairs, the horror stayed inside her body for long time.
Nour remembers that after the murder of her father she found a small piece of his head skin with some hair. She kept it for six years, until her mother convinced her to bury it, because this will help her release her grief and trauma. Nour used to hold her father's picture and talk to it for long.
She also remembers how her father’s martyrdom became a charge against her family. The Israeli army used to raid the house every couple of days, take her brothers, and sometimes force them to remove the political graffiti on the camp’s walls.
Nour told me a lot, many things she asked not to publish, so upon her request I stop here. All that’s left for me is to quote what she said at the end of our conversation, when I asked her what she thinks about the First Intifada, she answered with honesty and simplicity, "I do not like it because I lost my father. I am angry at our grandparents, if they were like our generation, we wouldn’t have lost Palestine."
When we talk about the First Intifada, with great romance, we must remember that there are thousands of children who have lived orphans against their will, so we can be free. The least we can do to reward them, is to liberate ourselves and them.
This piece was originally published at For the Arabic version of this article, click here.

Poison in the Air

Activists across the Middle East are reporting a mysterious toxin, possibly a banned nerve agent, in the thick clouds of tear gas used by security forces to suppress anti-government protests in recent months.

“This wasn’t tear gas, it was something else,” says Hassan. “It burned the skin and lungs, and we all fell to the ground shaking uncontrollably.”
A similar gas is suspected of causing the deaths of at least eight civilians in Bahrain since February. In Yemen, doctors reported that anti-government protesters exposed to what appeared to be tear gas arrived at field hospitals paralysed, unconscious, or in convulsions. Routine treatments for tear gas exposure had no effect.
“We are seeing symptoms in the patient’s nerves, not in their respiratory systems. I’m 90 percent sure it’s nerve gas and not tear gas that was used,” Dr. Sami Zaid, a physician at the Science and Technology Hospital in Sanaa, said in March.
…Tear gas canisters recovered from protest sites in Arab cities bear markings of several different companies.

“We think the CTS canisters are causing the strange symptoms (reported in Egypt),” says Sherif Azer of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR). “But we also found some canisters with no markings at all.”

One concern is a buildup of malononitrile [link added] in the expired canisters. When heated, the acidic powder degrades into highly toxic hydrogen cyanide gas [Charles: this part of the description is a little dicey; it is clearly a potential source of hydrogen cyanide, however] – the same gas used with lethal effect in Nazi Germany.
According to medical sources, symptoms of cyanide poisoning include weakness, nausea, and difficulty in breathing. Higher concentrations can lead to a loss of consciousness followed by convulsions, muscle twitching and apnea. Less than a gram of cyanide is fatal to humans.

Experts, however, dispute the possibility of lethal chemicals forming spontaneously in aging or improperly stored tear gas canisters. They argue that like medicine, CS loses its efficacy over time.

Independent analysis allegedly found the tear gas used in Cairo contained a mixture of 2.5 percent bromine cyanide and arsenic – though this could not be verified. Thanks Maracatu

Israel isolated (and criticised) on the world stage (except the US needless to say!)

Israel officials: Security Council criticism on West Bank violence 'disgusting'
Foreign Ministry sources describe outrage in wake of what they call a European-led assault on Israel, interference in Israel's internal affairs.

The diplomatic faceoff between Israel and the European members of the United Nations Security Council began as soon as Tuesday night, following the UNSC's monthly session on the Middle East.

A senior Foreign Ministry official told Haaretz that what would have been a mundane discussion turned into an "attack on Israel," lead by Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin along with the Indian, Brazilian, and South African representatives.

However, sources said that the assault wasn't limited to the representatives of those nations, with European UNSC members joining in as well. The only country reportedly not engaging in the unusual bout of criticism was the United States.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Swiss Musée de l'Elysée withdraws from racist Lacoste prize (which deemed the work inappropriate for being "pro Palestinian")

Artist Larissa Sansour Speaks Out About Her Ejection From the Lacoste Art Prize for Being "Too Pro-Palestinian"

"Olive Tree," from Larissa Sansour's "Nation Estate" project

Politically-charged censorship or crisis-management gone horribly wrong? The tale of Palestinian multimedia artist Larissa Sansour's dramatic removal from the shortlist of the 2011 Lacoste Elysée Prize appears to have torpedoed the French luxury-goods brand's association with Lausanne institution Musée de l'Elysée, which on Wednesday evening announced that it was immediatley cancelling its partnership to host the 25,000 photography award, now only in its second year.

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Owner of Lacoste, which censored Palestinian artist, is major donor to Israel, Zionist causes

The Musée de L’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland, which administers the prize today took the extraordinary step of canceling the 2011 contest in protest at Lacoste’s insistence that Sansour be excluded. Lacoste has also announced that it will no longer sponsor the contest, which now appears to be dead.

Richard Falk on Christopher Hitchens

I knew Christopher Hitchens casually, envied his rhetorical fluency, abhorred his interventionist cheerleading, and was offended by his arrogantly dismissive manner toward those he deemed his inferiors in debate or discussion. Perhaps, his sociopathic arrogance is epitomized by the kind of explanation he often gave of why he was such a heavy drinker, as for instance, ”..because it makes other people less boring. I have a great terror of being bored.” I confess that someone who needs to drink hard liquor to bear the company of others likely to be a bore, if not a boor! Presumably as result of his profligate life style, Hitchens surprisingly graduated from Oxford with rather paltry third class honors. If some non-academic institution of appraisal were available to offset Hitchens’ undeniable gifts of the mind with his deficiencies of character and heart, the Oxford grade would seem deserved even if Hitchens had been a dutiful student.

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Republicans want Jerusalem? Herzl promised pope, kaiser and sultan to leave it outside Jewish state

Herzls portrait over Ben Gurion
Herzl's portrait over Ben Gurion,
announcing the establishment of Israel, 1948
Republican candidates for the presidential nomination have been falling over one another in promises to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
And the rightwing prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, proclaims Jerusalem to be the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish state.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed it in 1970. The world refuses to recognize that annexation. Meanwhile, Israel digs up neighborhoods all around the Old City to find coins showing a Jewish presence there in ancient times-- justifying the eviction of more Palestinians from their Jerusalem homes.
All international plans for Jerusalem have called for Jerusalem to be an international city.
And (as I first pointed out 2-1/2 years ago) Theodor Herzl, the Hungarian-Austrian journalist/playwright (1860-1904) and founder of political Zionism, promised many world leaders that he would internationalize the city if Jews could have Palestine.
In the last five years of his life, Herzl went from chamber to chamber of powerful men in Europe, and made these promises.
I have been rereading his diaries, and would offer these ten excerpts, all containing that promise, explicit and implicit:
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Klein: Ron Paul is surging because he opposes another neocon war for Israel, Philip Weiss

"Joe Klein is great. Full stop. He hated the Vietnam war and then he hated the Iraq war and had more courage than any other journalist in the mainstream, to nail it back in '03 as a war for Israel's security. He says it again here. And Klein is a liberal Zionist! He understands the importance of Ron Paul, who NPR says is at the top of the latest Iowa polls. Why? Because he's antiwar!"

Bradley Manning Faces Life Sentence, While Criminals WikiLeaks Exposed Have Suffered No Consequences - Glenn Greenwald

We speak with constitutional lawyer and blogger Glenn Greenwald about the military pretrial hearing now underway for alleged U.S. Army whistleblower Bradley Manning, who has been accused of releasing classified U.S. documents to WikiLeaks. Greenwald comments on the possible strategy being put forth by Manning’s defense. "All the Manning [tribunal] hearings have been shrouded in secrecy," Greenwald says, noting there may be more transparency in Guantánamo detainee hearings than there has been for the Manning tribunal. "Presumably, his lawyer believes that one of the best ways that they have to keep him out of prison for the next six decades is to argue that he had diminished capacity by virtue of emotional distress over the gender struggles that he had over his sexual orientation being in a military that had a policy of banning those who were openly gay. "

New Tunisia President urges return of country's Jewish population

Moncef Marzouk tells chief Tunisian rabbi that Jews are full citizens; Tunisia ousted longtime dictator Ben Ali in first of Arab Spring revolution.

Jewish colonist thugs carry out over 100 racist attacks on Palestinians in 2011

Jewish colonists have attacked 96 Holy Muslim and Christian sacred sites in the West Bank and 46 sacred sites in Occupied East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Islamic Affairs, the colonists have left behind racist and threatening messages after vandalising Palestinian property
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Egyptian women protest against brutal treatment by military - video

Hundreds of women protested in Cairo against military rule and brutal treatment of female protesters by Egypt's security services. They rallied outside a government complex in Tahrir Square, where earlier at least four demonstrators were shot dead. Dozens of male supporters joined the rally, acting as a protective cordon

Iran is too rational to attack Israel

Israel's policy makers now face a complicated dilemma regarding Iran's nuclear program: Should they work on the assumption that mutual deterrence of the Cold War variety is applicable to the Iranian situation?


For starters, the question is whether an Iran with a nuclear capability would act as a rational state. If it were impossible to deter Iran's leaders from firing nuclear bombs at Israel, since their deliberations and decisions would be irrational, a nuclear Iran would indeed pose an existential threat to Israel, one that Israel could never countenance.

Under such circumstances, there would apparently be no choice but to try to destroy Iran's nuclear program. In contrast, if we assume that the political leaders and ayatollahs in Tehran are rational, we could rely on Israel's deterrent powers and live under the shadow of an Iranian bomb.

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Amira Hass: Palestinians are heroes, braving Israeli dictatorship

Palestinians are heroes, and that's not simply a flowery journalistic phrase, but a fact not intended for thugs, rather for people who shut their eyes - and they are many.

Amira Hass

The Palestinians are heroes, and that's the only fact that's relevant after the slight shock of the hilltop thugs. The hands are the hands of thugs, and the head? The head is the head of the hostile regime under which the Palestinians live and which harasses them every moment of every day, week after week for decades. To live this way and remain sane - that's heroism. "And who says we're sane?" Palestinians answer me. Well, here's the proof: self-irony.

The thugs of the hills are only the icing on the cake. Most of the work is being done by thugs wearing kid gloves. Unlike the people who threw the stone at the deputy brigade commander, these are fan favorites in Israel. The flesh of our flesh. Officers and soldiers, military jurists, architects and contractors in the service of the army, Interior Ministry and National Insurance Institute clerks. The hands are their hands. The head is the head of the demos, the Israeli-Jewish people, who by the democratic process send governments to be the dictator over the Palestinians.

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182 countries vote for Palestinian right to self-determination 21Dec11

The Permanent Palestinian Observer at the United Nations, in New York – USA, Riyad Mansour, stated that 182 countries at the General Assembly voted Monday for the Palestinian right to self-determination.

Seven countries ( Among which the mighty nations of Micronesia and Palau) , headed by the Unites States and Israel, voted against the resolution. Three countries, including the new South Sudan state, abstained.

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French clothing firm Lacoste censors, expels Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour from prestigious contest

Image from Larissa Sansour’s Nation Estate project censored by the Lacoste Elysée Prize

The high-end French clothing chain Lacoste has demanded the removal of work by Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour from the shortlist for the €25,000 Lacoste Elysee Prize that is awarded by the Swiss Musee de l’Elysee with sponsorship from the firm.

A Palestinian who is “too pro-Palestinian”

Sansour was among eight finalists shortlisted for the 2011 prize. According to a press release issued by Sansour, “Lacoste stated their refusal to support Sansour’s work, labelling it ‘too pro-Palestinian.’”

This latest instance of apparent censorship of Palestinian artists by a cultural institution comes just months after the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, California censored an exhibit of art by children in Gaza just before its planned opening under pressure from anti-Palestinian Zionist groups.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Calling all McCarthyists; Zionism needs you now

Antony Loewenstein
Debate over Israel/Palestine is shifting. Can you imagine even five years ago a Palestinian-American such as Ahmed Moor (co-editor with me on a book coming out in 2012 called After Zionism) talking constructively to a Jewish Rabbi about the one-state solution?

Meanwhile, in mad Zionist land, where another Holocaust is always around the corner, the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick (a woman who makes a good living scaring Jews about a litany of Muslim “threats”) is back today with another piece that praises the increasingly paranoid and aggressive tactics of hardline Zionists who want to shut down any debate over Israel/Palestine. This is her ideal future:

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Thank You Anarchists

Nathan Shneider-The Nation

"The anarchists’ way of operating was changing our very idea of what politics could be in the first place. This was exhilarating. Some occupiers told me they wanted to take it home with them, to organize assemblies in their own communities. It’s no accident, therefore, that when occupations spread around the country, the horizontal assemblies spread too.

At its core, anarchism isn’t simply a negative political philosophy, or an excuse for window-breaking, as most people tend to assume it is. Even while calling for an end to the rule of coercive states backed by military bases, prison industries and subjugation, anarchists and other autonomists try to build a culture in which people can take care of themselves and each other through healthy, sustainable communities. Many are resolutely nonviolent. Drawing on modes of organizing as radical as they are ancient, they insist on using forms of participatory direct democracy that naturally resist corruption by money, status and privilege. Everyone’s basic needs should take precedence over anyone’s greed. "

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Afghanistan should watch out; vulture capitalists on the prowl

Antony Loewenstein

Although it receives little media coverage, Afghanistan has vast energy reserves. This is perfect for foreign firms to exploit a very vulnerable country. This story on ABC highlights the Australian role in this sordid activity:

Link to the article.

First of all: the ICJ is only enabled to give advisory opinions, not binding resolutions.

Contributed by VAA
Sometimes the comments on are more informative than the posts themselves . I came across this comment by Hostage on December 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm

"First of all: the ICJ is only enabled to give advisory opinions, not binding resolutions."
That's totally incorrect, but beside the point. The applicable international laws aren't non-binding and neither are the legal determinations made by any of the primary UN organs made within the area of their competence.
FYI, the General Assembly acknowledged that both Israel and Palestine had made declarations in-line with their acceptance of resolution 181(II) and its minority protection plan. See General Assembly resolutions 273/3; 43/177; and the discussion about the resolution 181(II) guarantees in Chapter “III The United Nations Charter and the treaties concluded after the war”, starting on page 22, in E/CN.4/367
Resolution 181(II) contained a compromissory clause which gives the ICJ compulsory jurisdiction to settle any dispute between Israel or Palestine concerning the rights of the people that were placed under the protection of the UN. Palestine introduced the request for the Emergency Session that resulted in the referral to the ICJ and that emergency session endorsed the ICJ findings in resolution ES-10/15, 2 August 2004. Here is the applicable portion of resolution 181(II):
Chapter 4: Miscellaneous Provisions
The provisions of chapters 1 and 2 of the declaration shall be under the guarantee of the United Nations, and no modifications shall be made in them without the assent of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Any Member of the United Nations shall have the right to bring to the attention of the General Assembly any infraction or danger of infraction of any of these stipulations, and the General Assembly may thereupon make such recommendations as it may deem proper in the circumstances.
Any dispute relating to the application or interpretation of this declaration shall be referred, at the request of either party, to the International Court of Justice, unless the parties agree to another mode of settlement.

Israel’s Lies and myths

Contributed by VAA
To revisit one of the most important of these myths about the infant state of Israel, the number of Arab armies that invaded Israel after its establishment is described in a range of standard accounts as ranging from Five to seven.However,there were only seven independent Arab states in 1948 (some hardly independent, and some hardly sates in any meaningful sense of the word), two of which,Saudi Arabia and Yemen, did not even have regular armies and no means of getting any armed forces they might have had to Palestine.Beyond his,of the five Arab regular Arab regular armies,one(That of Lebanon) never crossed the international frontier with Palestine,two(those of Iraq and Transjordan) scrupulously refrained from crossing the frontiers of the Jewish state laid down in the United Nation plan as per secret Jordanian understandings with both Britain and the Zionist leadership and thus never "invaded" Israel, and one ( that of Syria) made only minor inroads across the new Israeli state's frontiers. The only serious and long lasting incursion into the territory of the Jewish state as laid under the partition plan was that of the Egyptian army.Meanwhile the fiercest fighting during 48 war took place with the Jordanian army during multiple Israeli OFFENSIVES into area assigned by the UN. to the Arab state.This story of an invasion by multiple, massive Arab armies, and other legends,is not just an important element of the Israeli myth of origin:it's a nearly universal myth.

Enough with the praise,Hitchens loved the smell of dead Muslim flesh in the morning

Sunday, December 18, 2011

From the Angry Arab on Tawakul Karman

"An informed Person sent me this: "before tawakul karman was given the nobel prize the nobel committee wrote to find out what her views were on the palestinian israeli conflict"."
The Angry Arab

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New "kids" on the blog. Yipee

I'm excited to inform you that two members/contributors have joined me on the blog. Yes, it was too lonely at the "top" (or bottom as it could be more accurately described sometimes) as I was feeling a bit disengaged at times, overwhelmed at other with seasonal, irregular bouts of renewed enthusiasm as you may have noticed. Help and support were much needed. The two members, Filfil ( a "veteran" commenter from the Angry Arab's blog, Arab American) and Mary, American, will be introduced in due time as they will start as soon as they familiarise themselves with the posting process. This should be a huge addition in every term possible. More variety of topics or subjects, opinions and approaches. All I can say for the time being is that what we're going to have are two very strong personalities, knowledgeable in a wide variety of areas but most importantly determined to make a difference in every possible way.

PS. I'm also in a position to tell you that we may have Molly back on board in a more intermittent, less regular fashion. But more on that later.

US: Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

"Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too `rich' to qualify," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.

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Far right settlers set alight a Jerusalem mosque

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 Dec -- Right wing Israelis set fire to a mosque in Jerusalem overnight, Israeli police said. "During the night, there was an attempt to set fire to a disused mosque in the city center," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. "Police also found graffiti on the walls. The police have opened an investigation." Vandals sprayed the Star of David and racist graffiti including "Muhammad is a pig" and "A good Arab is a dead Arab" in Hebrew on the mosque's walls. They also sprayed "price tag" on the building
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Settler thugs biting the hand feeding them

Settlers break into Israeli military base, sabotage property
IMEMC 13 Dec -- Israeli sources reported Tuesday that a group of extremist Israeli settlers of the Hilltop Youth settler movement infiltrated, on Monday at night, an Israeli military base near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, sabotaged property and vehicles, and hurled stones at the soldiers, wounding a senior officer ... The settlers also blocked a main road in the area and hurled stones at Palestinian cars causing damage to a number of vehicles. Israeli media sources stated that the attacks seem to be motivated by Israeli intentions to dismantle some random settlement outposts in the West Bank by March of next year.
In related news, the Israeli Police apprehended 17 extremist settlers who barricaded themselves, on Monday, at the site of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. They settlers hung banners with photos of the right-wing Jewish leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky, who called for the "Jewish state to expand beyond the Jordan river into the state of Jordan and all the way to Iraq.”
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thieves to the core

A country which has theft and dispossession as foundational cornerstones has no qualms thieving the culture and heritage of the very people it has cannibalised.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Manaqeesh (with the extra, veggies) : Arabic pizza..

I saw this photo today and it instantly made my eyes wet (not to mention my mouth). This is Arabic (Lebanese/Palestinian/Syrian etc.) manqoosh/manouch (plural manaqeesh/manaeesh). Traditional dough with Za'tar, sesame seeds. The extra not always on the menu for breakfast, tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers and mint. It used to be what we would grab, burning hot, for breakfast (as a roll) in a hurry on the way to school. My regret is that while I can find it in Sydney in many places, I still have to go out of my way to buy it. Yeah, I know, life is unfair, but that's neither an excuse nor a consolation. :(

Jewish National Fund board member resigns over eviction of Palestinian family in Silwan

Wow! Looks like someone in that cesspool has a bit of humanity (and moral sense) left in him.

Via Mondoweiss:
Seth Morrison writes in the Forward about his decision to resign from the Jewish National Fund board, and sever all ties with the organization, over the eviction of the Sumarin family in Silwan:
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New film documents resilience of Bedouin village destroyed 30 times

12 December 2011

For nearly a year and a half, the Bedouin villagers of al-Araqib in the Naqab (Negev) have been incessantly brutalized by the Israeli government and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in an ongoing, broad-daylight ethnic cleansing operation.

The village has been razed to the ground approximately thirty times since July 2010, and yet, as The Electronic Intifada has reported, the villagers — who are Israeli citizens — remain steadfast by rebuilding, regrouping and resisting after each demolition.

Focusing especially on the courage and determination of al-Araqib’s women, young and old, as forefronts of the resistance, the new documentary film Sumoud (steadfastness in Arabic) offers a valuable glimpse into the daily struggle of villagers to hold onto their land, their livelihoods and their heritage.

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"The Arab People Have Woken Up": Yemeni Activist Tawakkol Karman Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was presented this weekend to three women for "their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work." Democracy Now! aired highlights on Monday of the acceptance speeches of Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first democratically elected female head of state on the African continent. Today we complete our coverage with the acceptance speech of Tawakkol Karman from Yemen, the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, as well as its youngest winner to date. Karman, a 32-year-old mother of three and an outspoken journalist and activist, has agitated for press freedoms and staged weekly sit-ins to demand the release of political prisoners from jail. She founded Women Journalists Without Chains and has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy in Yemen. Most recently, she has led rallies in the protests against the rule of the longstanding U.S. ally, President Ali Abdullah Saleh. "The Arab world is today witnessing the birth of a new world, which tyrants and unjust rulers strive to oppose. But in the end, this new world will inevitably emerge," Karman says. "Our oppressed people have revolted, declaring the emergence of a new dawn in which the sovereignty of the people, and their invincible will, will prevail. The people have decided to break free and walk in the footsteps of civilized free people of the world."
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The Jewish Daily Forward: Israel Turning Into Theocracy

It's Drifting Away From the Liberal Ethos of World Jewry
By Eric Alterman
It is becoming increasingly obvious that a break between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, particularly its American variety, is fast approaching. The reason for this is that Israel is slowly but inexorably turning into a conservative theocracy while the Diaspora is largely dedicated to liberal democracy.

The strategy of the “pro-Israel” camp among American Jewish organizations and neoconservative pundits has been, so far, one of avoidance of unpleasant facts coupled with unpleasant insinuations about the loyalties of those who insist on taking them seriously. But denial can work in only the short term, and only with an American Jewish population that identifies closely with Israel and relates all threats back to the Holocaust. These conditions, like the generation that sustained them, are not long for this world. Once this aging constituency is gone, the truth will prove unavoidable and it will be too late to deny it any longer.

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More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat

For the second year (2010) in a row, more US soldiers killed themselves (468) than died in combat (462). “If you… know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know,” General Peter Chiarelli told the Army Times, “because we don’t know.”

Suicide is a tragic but predictable human reaction to being asked to kill – and watch your friends be killed – for a war based on lies. Perhaps being forced to bag the mangled flesh of fellow soldiers could be another reason why some are committing suicide.

Body Bagging… ever heard the term? Soldiers in the Marine Corps’ Mortuary Affairs unit at Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, are given this job… of collecting and cataloging the bodies of dead marines. They sift through the remains of the soldiers, from prom photos to suicide notes and love letters — and put their remains and effects into bags, metal boxes and refrigerators. (clarify please – are you talking about their physical remains/bodies and their effects – ie. photos, etc. or both?).

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