Sunday, September 30, 2012

New Yorker magazine editor says Netanyahu is 'arrogant and dangerous'

"New Yorker magazine editor and Pulitzer-Prize winning author David Remnick accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday of endangering Israel, interfering in U.S. elections and aligning with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a "neocon strategy" against U.S. President Obama."

THis Negev Bedouin's home was demolished to make room for Jews

This old man"s ( known as Abu Hubeira and said to be centenary) house was destroyed in recognized Bedouin village of Bir Hadaj in the Negev in Israel. He has not been provided any alternative before demolition
Photos - Jalal Ziadna

The Wall of Shame

There is a myth that people who go to elite universities are really smart people & that’s why they run the world. There is, however, considerable evidence to the contrary. This photo is the terminal point of the border wall between the US & Mexico, located at Tijuana, Baja California. Do you see any evidence of smarts here!? This is no Great Wall of China--though it’s certainly an even bigger boondoggle. It isn’t really true you can see the Great Wall of China from the moon but this one was probably invented by someone from outer space, schooled in the Ivy League, of course. And that’s without mentioning the road headed into the Pacific Ocean on the US side! The US side of the fence is a state park kept intentionally desolate to function as a buffer zone for border patrol purposes but if they think this piddly little thing will deter migrants who have just completed an over 1000-mile treacherous trek from Central America, they’re even dumber than the wall suggests.

There are signs posted saying, "Danger - Objects Under The Water" & some border patrol guards claim raw sewage is pumped into the Pacific by the Tijuana, MX city government. But Tijuana sewage is treated elsewhere in Mexico. These postings are intended to scare off immigrants & are reminiscent of signs posted in the McAllen, TX-Reynosa, MX border area warning of alligators in the Rio Grande River--a border patrol version of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, since alligators are not native to the area.

At this terminus you can see the folly & low intelligence behind the border wall; further along the nearly 2,000 mile wall, the malice & criminality are more evident. Beginning in the Bush regime, nearly thirty-six environmental, public health, & cultural heritage laws were waived to facilitate wall construction, including statutes designed to protect endangered wildlife, drinking water, & Native American graves. Massive flooding in Arizona causing millions of dollars in property damage has been attributed to the wall; the wall cuts straight through the heart of north-south avian migration routes & breeding corridors used by threatened species like the jaguar, ocelot, & pygmy owl; dozens of Native American burial sites have been destroyed by bulldozers used in wall construction; & the dynamic cultural exchange along the US-Mexican border has been replaced with paranoia & fear. Most important of all, it is an assault on the human rights of immigrants. The barbarians behind US immigration law defend the right of US business to prowl the planet looking for cheap labor but then deny working people the right to go where they want to earn a living for themselves & their families. It truly is a Wall of Shame. Tear the damn thing down. Immigration is a human right! (Photo by Bob Chamberlin/LA Times)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lobbyist Says Israel Should Create A 'False Flag' To Start A War With Iran

Speaking at the WINEP policy forum luncheon on "How to Build US-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout," Clawson (ironically) said that "if, in fact, the Iranians aren't going to compromise, it would be best if someone else started the war."

March against US occupation

Two Afghani kids watching US soldiers patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan: is this how little kids should be growing up? Is this emancipation? Or is this colonial occupation? Demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO forces from Afghanistan. Join the US antiwar marches on October 5-7. (Photo by Tony Karumba/AFP)

Palestinian children protesting Zionist land grabs

Here Palestinian children build a roadblock near the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh during their weekly Friday protest against the expansion of Halamish, the nearby Zionist settlement taken in a land grab of Palestinian lands in 1977. In 2009 the settlers fenced off a vital spring which is on land privately owned by Bashir Tamimi, who has long lived in Nabi Saleh & residents of Nabi Saleh began regular protests against the annexation of their farmland. From the beginning, they were committed to holding peaceful protests but were always met by Israeli soldiers using tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, & skunk bombs. Skunk bombs are a chemical weapon made of synthetic skunk liquid which smells like raw sewage. Like skunk spray, the odor is impossible to wash off. While considered non-lethal & an improvement over tear gas & rubber bullets, the Israeli army deploys them all against unarmed Palestinians. 

Last December, 28-year-old Mustafa Tamimi (nephew of Bashir), a resident of Nabi Saleh protesting the land grab, died after an Israeli soldier shot him directly in the face with a tear gas canister. It is reported the canister blew off half  his face & when other protestors reacted with horror, the Israeli soldiers laughed & taunted, “So?” Bassem Tamimi, a leader of the protests, has been arrested 12 times by Israeli soldiers & was once confined to administrative detention without trial. In March 2011, he was found guilty in an Israeli court of sending youth to throw stones & holding a march without a permit. Boycott all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729) to show solidarity with Palestinians opposing the expropriation of their ancestral lands. (Photo by Majdi Mohammed/AP)

Haute couture gas masks

Gas masks have begun showing up on high fashion runways. A rhinestone one paraded down the runway at China Fashion Week in Beijing last March but it seemed to be a form of samizdat protest against the environmental disaster that is China. Is it possible riot cops are now the inspiration for haute couture? Or do these fashion houses know something we don’t? Are the rich preparing for nuclear Armageddon? Or does the stinky air just get to them too? (Photographer not identified)

Israel lobby uses discredited anti-Semitism definition to muzzle debate

28 September 2012

A shelved EU draft definition of anti-Semitism is being used to stifle criticsm of Israel on US campuses.

Top administrators at the University of California are considering what action to take against speech and activities alleged to be anti-Semitic. As part of their discussions, the university may endorse a seven-year-old document, which — despite not having an official status — is often called the European Union’s “working definition” of anti-Semitism.
Although the administrators have indicated that their motive is to protect Jewish students, a careful examination of the definition indicates that the real agenda may be to stifle Palestine solidarity activism and criticism of Israel in the classroom.
Read more

Friday, September 28, 2012

Washington Post propaganda outlet for Israel

‘Washington Post’ runs op-ed pushing Iran attack without saying authors work for Israel’s registered foreign agent
  Philip Weiss (Mondoweiss)
 "More subterfuge in our discourse. The Washington Post published an op-ed piece yesterday on the importance of finding a legal basis for an attack on Iran. Not surprisingly, the op-ed's authors, Jeffrey H. Smith and John B. Bellinger III, lawyers at Arnold & Porter, supplied such a basis."
 Read more

The so-called drug war in Mexico

This story would be a political parody if the lives of nearly 60,000 Mexican citizens were not the death toll of the so-called drug war. And that makes this story a horrific & tragic tale. Here a Mexican soldier is carting off marijuana plants during a military operation in Tequila, Jalisco, MX, where troops found 100 acres (40 hectares) planted. Since former president, Felipe Calderon ordered 45,000 troops into the drug war (bankrolled by the US) in 2006, the acreage dedicated to marijuana farming has almost doubled in Mexico; acreage devoted to opium poppies has also gone through the ceiling, making Mexico the second-leading heroin producer in the world, after Afghanistan.

Mexican troops burned out 77,500 acres of marijuana in 2005, the year before Calderon took office. But last year they cleared just 43,000 acres, according to the Mexican army. The official explanation for this is that troops are deployed to cities to wage urban warfare against narco-criminal gangs & Mexican soldiers are up to their eyeballs fighting cartel gunmen in places like Monterrey & Acapulco. They can’t rip out marijuana plants in the countryside & fight the urban cartels too!  Mexican heroin production has grown from 8 metric tons in 2005 to 50 metric tons in 2009. Do they honestly expect us to believe they can’t spare some of the 45,000 troops to locate thousands of acres devoted to marijuana & poppy production because they’re so busy in the cities!?

There is no US-Mexican war against drugs in Mexico; there is only a drug operation run by criminals in the highest levels of the US & Mexican governments & business. The violence is directed at immigrants from Central America & Mexico, & not at drug peddlers. The evidence of that is the death toll, which is primarily the gruesome murder of hundreds of undocumented immigrants & no more than a dozen arrests of drug traffickers.  (Photo by Alejandro Acost/Reuters)

Children earning a living in Honduras

Here a young boy collects waste at a landfill to sell for recycling in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Picking through garbage is how millions of people around the world make their livelihoods. A friend  suggested I read “Trash” by Andy Mulligan, about three “dumpsite boys” who make a living picking through mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a Philippine city. It’s a wonderful little book & one of the protagonists describes that picking through waste for resalable items involves plowing through human & animal excrement. This is no way for a human being, let alone our children, to survive. Many ask why millions of immigrants make the perilous trek from Central America through Mexico to the US border. This photo more than explains why, but of course it doesn’t offer a solution. US economic & military predation in Honduras is the reason children are forced to work & are subjected to such hazardous employment. Part of the solution is to demand the US end all economic & military relationships with Honduras. Those young migrants have a right to work in the US but they don’t want to leave their families & homeland just to find work scrubbing dishes or picking fruits here for chump change. They want work in their own countries. And that is their right & our duty to support. (Photo by Jorge Cabrera/Reuters)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

In front of global audience, Netanyahu draws his red line (on his ridiculous bomb cartoon)

Last year it was the "Insatiable Crocodile of Militant Islam", this year it was a bomb torn from the pages of Spy v.s. Spy. For the highlight of Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the UN General Assembly today see the screenshot above.
Here's a roundup of some of the immediate reaction on Twitter:
Read more

Cable stations cut away from Abbas but show Netanyahu in full

Philip Weiss (Mondoweiss)
"Racism. Pure and pristine anti-Arab racism in the U.S. Why do they hate us? Because this is the most important foreign policy issue the US faces, and we are  about to hear from a rightwing Jewish leader, but the Arab moderate making a case for Palestinian rights is denied a platform. MSNBC cut away from a segment of the speech just as Abbas was saying "another Nakba." To what? To Andrea Mitchell talking to Dennis Ross about the need to attack Iran. What planet are they living on?
Read more

The Walls Remember

In the early days of the women’s movement of the 1960s-1970s, some women preoccupied themselves with what they considered the insignia of feminism: mannish attire & no mascara--& they could be quite harsh on those who did not agree & dress accordingly. Most women however, considered feminism a commitment to action, a “come-as-you-are” movement to fight the horrific violence & injustice women endured.
In an ironic comparison, veiled Muslim women became the symbol for Islamophobia used to vilify Muslims & justify war & occupation. But attire is never of the essence. A fighting spirit is all that counts.

Here, Basma Ali Khan, a veiled activist in Sana’a, Yemen, holds posters of her disappeared father at a protest that is part of “The Walls Remember” campaign to  educate about the hundreds of activists disappeared by the government. Her headband reads: “The walls remember their faces.” Yemeni activists  are using street art & graffiti on walls to protest. This is another example of images of murdered activists coming back to haunt justice.

Media reports of Yemen are all about US drone attacks on al-Qaeda but it isn’t some phantom enemy in the hills the Pentagon & White House are worried about. It’s fearless activists like Basma Ali Khan. Our fullest solidarity with their struggle. And we don’t give a damn what they wear. (Photo by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)

Betty's in an ugly mood!

Betty’s been in a sour & sullen mood ever since she got caught with her royal knickers down. Seems a usually discreet (meaning he doesn’t object to the idiocies of moochocracy) BBC reporter named Frank Gardner started name-dropping on an unscripted BBC radio program & blabbed about Betty’s political views. He said she was aghast that Abu Hamza, a Muslim cleric facing imminent extradition to the US, could not be arrested at his London mosque where he expresses “vehement anti-British views”. Her tolerance of free speech apparently doesn’t meet the standards of the US Bill of Rights but is in full accord with Obama’s NDAA: if you don’t like what they say, lock ‘em up! Our less-than-Frank Gardner is the BBC security correspondent reporting on “terrorism-related issues”. He breached the unwritten but respected convention (called obedience training outside of media circles) that when Betty expresses repugnant views in an interview, they are considered confidential & not to be repeated.

Mum’s the word from Buckingham after this breach of obedience protocol, but the best part of the story is the BBC’s reaction: groveling, sniveling apologies to Buckingham & Betty. Can somebody in England tell them the guillotine is gone & the Tower of London is just a tourist trap now!? The BBC director general tried to put a dignified spin on groveling but even better minds have failed to make the unseemly appear noble. There’s no news of less-than-Franky’s future assignments; actually there’s no news of his present whereabouts, so maybe BBC is right to grovel. After all, they do know those things said behind closed doors that we do not. (Photo by Peter Morrison/AP)

Greek general strike

As we have seen at previous union protests, Greek trade unionists seem to have written the book on dishing it back to aggressive cops. They’re among the originators of the infamous red paint bomb. Now it looks like they’re advisedly showing up to protests in gas masks & riot gear. Here a protestor at yesterday’s general strike bolts from riot cops who arrested dozens protesting spending cuts of $15 billion (11.5bn euros or £9bn). You read that right; the staggering figure is not a misprint. Our fullest solidarity with our Greek brothers & sisters against this ruthless attack on their rights & living standards. (Photo by Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Roma expulsions

A Roma woman & her child watch an excavator demolish 30 illegally built homes in Maglizh, a suburb of Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. A succession of European countries, including Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, France, England, Denmark, Romania & Serbia, have been breaking up Roma caravan sites, & illegal settlements & forcibly evicting residents. Many families have occupied the illegal settlements for decades, often without sewage or plumbing, & were never required by city officials to regularize their tenancy or the buildings they constructed. It is estimated that up to 70% of Roma housing in Bulgaria is  on public lands & formally illegal. In the last decade, municipalities began transferring title of the land to private investors for urban development projects which prioritize infrastructure projects over housing.

There is, of course, considerable discrimination against Romani in every sphere of life, not just housing, including segregated education, denial of social services & health care, massive unemployment. They endure racist harassment, racially motivated crimes, & attitudes which consider them lazy, thieving, dirty freeloaders.

Rights & Roma political groups denounce forcible evictions for violating human rights & international law, even calling them ethnic cleansing since thousands are made homeless, including elderly, infirm, disabled, & children. Many evictees have been forcibly deported, especially from Italy & France, which offered financial incentives to leave the country. In some countries (like Denmark), Romani have successfully litigated against deportation orders but if they prevail in the courts, find themselves subject to police harassment & arrest.

Since within European Union (EU) countries citizens are entitled to residence, employment, & free movement, appeals have been made to the European Commission (EC) to take action. The EC claims a majority of member states are compliant with free movement rules & that the commission will take action if arbitrary infringements of free movement continue. It has begun legal action against 10 countries, including the UK, Germany, Spain, Poland, & the Czech Republic for not adopting the EU free movement directive into law. Of course, France which is now expelling thousands of Roma, does have laws against arbitrary expulsions. Interesting how the EU can exercise such dictatorial powers when it comes to imposing austerity programs on countries but is completely ineffectual when it comes to human rights.

It is probably not irrelevant that the European Investment Bank (EIB) imposing the IMF austerity programs, is bankrolling a multi-million dollar urban development program in Stara Zagora, as well as other cities in Bulgaria. When an EIB project in Serbia came up against a Roma community, it was bulldozed.  (Photo by Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Madrid, Spain today

Madrid, Spain today: protestors surround parliament demanding the immediate resignation of the Spanish government, which is attempting to impose greater austerity. Hallelujah! (Photo by Juventud SIN futuro)

Is history reversing itself?

Does anyone else get the sense that Europe is becoming a dictatorship run by a mafia of bankers led by the IMF? National sovereignty & democracy were main achievements of the democratic revolutions that ended feudalism & ushered in the reign of capitalism. And now, despite massive resistance with general strikes involving millions in Portugal, Spain, & Greece, this mafia is running roughshod over national sovereignty & democracy in order to extract blood out of a turnip. They’re going after pensions, wages,  social services--their attacks targeting especially the elderly & children--& trying to get people to pay for the very air they breath. You don’t have to be a socialist to see that capitalist rapacity created this crisis but wants working people to pay for it. The austerity conditions they’re trying to ram through are looking more & more like feudalism. Historical “déjà vu all over again”! But anyone who’s read history knows damn well the serfs back then didn’t like it at all & we’re not likely to take to it either.

The IMF is now negotiating with the Greek government for another round of austerities; the unions have responded with a nationwide general strike for tomorrow. The unions are most often run by compromised leaders who call one-day strikes as a show of force but stop short of exercising the power that can shut the country down until the government & financial dictatorship back off permanently. But the people of Portugal, Spain, & Greece have been under siege for a very long time now & their fighting spirit doesn’t seem open to compromise. Our fullest solidarity with their struggle; their victory is ours. This graffiti is posted in Athens (with no clue given for why it’s in English rather than in Greek). (Photo by Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

Palestinian courage

This montage of photos shows the fearless determination of Palestinian resistance to apartheid. It is wondrous to behold but the young should not have to live so combatively to survive. In solidarity boycott all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729).

Palestinian resistance

A Palestinian boy in the West Bank town of Nablus blocking an Israeli bulldozer from destroying Palestinian homes. The courage of his resistance is all the more remarkable since Israeli courts just ruled the bulldozer death of US solidarity activist Rachel Corrie was all her fault. Boycott Israeli products (barcode beginning 729).

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Cultural imperialism?"

The French used to complain about US “cultural imperialism” & now we can see their point. Here inmates at a women’s prison in Lima, Peru are celebrating the arrival of Spring. The event is part of a program to reduce prisoner stress & build self-confidence. Lordy lordy, has self-confidence come to this!? Knockoffs of Katy Perry!? (Photo by Martin Mejia/AP)

Flooding in northern India

We know all about the prom gowns at the Emmy award show last night but so little about the flooding in Assam & other states in northern India which inundated nearly 2,000 villages & displaced over 1.5 million people. Last June, flooding in the same area affected nearly 2 million people, inundating more than 2,080 villages & washing away thousands of homes mostly made of bamboo & straw, as well as roads, bridges & power lines. Here children pole a raft in a village in Assam where at least 15 people have died. So good to know US media has its priorities straight. (Photo by Anupam Nath/AP)

Palestinian solidarity with the people of Syria

These Palestinian children at the Jabaliya Refugee Camp in Gaza hold a solidarity march with the Syrian people. With over 100,000 residents on small acreage, the camp is the largest refugee camp in Palestine & one of the most densely populated places on earth. The First Intifada in 1987 began in Jabaliya which is a frequent target of Israeli bombing.

During the Israeli aerial bombardment of Gaza in Dec. 2008-Jan. 2009, over 40 people in Jabaliya died when Israel bombed a school crowded with hundreds of people seeking refuge from the bombing. Most killed were in the school playground & in the street. These are children who well understand the power of solidarity.  (Photo by Hatem Moussa/AP)

More evictions in Manila

Residents being evicted from a shanty town in Manila, Philippines take on riot cops protecting the demolition squad. There are so many of these forcible evictions in Manila one can hardly keep track of them. Thousands of people are thrown out of their homes for commercial development & government projects as part of gentrification. Sometimes residents are offered alternative housing which they often decline because it is in flood & landslide-prone areas--which means they become homeless. More than 2 million people in the Manila metropolitan area (about a fifth of the population) live in shanty towns. It is estimated that one-sixth of the world’s population live in them. Shanty towns are makeshift dwellings made of scrap material like plywood & corrugated metal & often lack proper sanitation & electricity. 

It cannot be claimed the Philippines lacks the resources to build public housing. It was reported last July that military spending in the Philippines rose by 80% in the past 3 years to now over $3 billion a year. President Benigno Aquino just announced the government will continue expanding its military capabilities & increasing defense spending by $1.8 billion in order to acquire more weapons, cannons, personnel carriers, frigates, cargo planes, attack helicopters. Like its US ally, the Philippine government has money for war but not for housing. (Photo by Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

Separated at birth?

US war minister, Leon Panetta & Mister Quincy Magoo: separated at birth?

Most people know Mister Magoo as a myopic, slightly daft cartoon character but he was created in 1949 by two animators who had been blacklisted for political activity. He was conceived as a mean-spirited, misanthropic, politically reactionary parody against the rise of McCarthyism. With the ascendant Cold War, Magoo was handed off to another animator  who scrubbed his image of its political content & morphed Magoo into a blustering, harmless loudmouth & blowhard. Some of the later TV versions of the 1960s (at the height of the Civil Rights Movement) included racist stereotypes in the character of Charlie (pronounced in episodes as, “Cholly”)  his Chinese “houseboy”. Eventually Magoo ended up shilling products for General Electric & a spectacle company.

Panetta, shares all the repugnance of Magoo & none of the charms. In this photo (which is trimmed), Panetta is being honored by the Chinese defense minister during his recent visit to China. (Photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/AFP)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tweedle-Dee & Tweedle-Dumber

Whoop-de-doo! This election is so exciting. Who will win? Who gives a damn? Most eligible registered voters give a collective yawn & find something else to do on election day. We have a choice between two turkeys with us in their cross fires. What’s to prefer? Independent political action is the harder choice but by a long shot, the only real choice. Vote a resounding no to both of the above. And then start marching.

More reasons to change the world

Aren’t they lovely!? And aren’t they more compelling reasons to change the world!  (Photographer not identified)

The questions return to haunt us (on the failures of the 1973 war)

Due to the Agranat Report, the impression that the main failure of the 1973 war was an intelligence failure took hold; documents released last week prove that this is not so.

Golda Meir - Reuters - April 25, 2012
Moshe Dayan and Golda Meir in the Golan Heights, during the Yom
 Kippur War. Photo by Reuters
Due to the Agranat Report, the impression that the main failure of the
 1973 war was an intelligence failure took hold. The studies and the
 transcripts of the testimonies to the Agranat Commission released last
 week prove that this is not so. The biggest failure was that of the
 political leaders.
Golda, Dayan and their partners did not want peace with Egypt, at the
 price later paid by Menachem Begin. Nor did they share with the
 intelligence analysts the secrets that would have changed the assessment
 and heightened the alert level. Golda and Dayan, not Elazar and Zeira,
 deserve to be remembered as the ones responsible for the toll the war
 Read more

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The spirit of Intifada

A Palestinian woman handing it to an Israeli soldier: now we know where the kids get their toughness! (Photographer not identified)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Saber-rattling in the Persian Gulf

The US Navy & 29 other countries are now engaged in mine-clearing & mine-countermeasure military operations in the Persian Gulf region. These 12-day, so-called exercises are a show of force against Iran involving helicopters, diving, small-boat exercises, underwater explosive devices, & explosive ordnance disposal. In addition to the mine-sweeping operation, the US has two aircraft carrier strike groups in the region. According to the Pentagon, the exercise will focus on the “hypothetical threat” of Iran mining the strategic waterways in the region, including the Strait of Hormuz (the waterway between Iran & Oman where a fifth of the world’s traded oil is shipped), the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, & the Persian Gulf. The Iranian government periodically threatens to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to international sanctions to dissuade them from developing nuclear weapons. There’s nothing hypothetical at all about the threats against Iran coming out of the White House, Pentagon & US Congress: according to one spokesperson, the carriers tell Iran the US “can easily project devastating power onto Iranian soil at a moment’s notice”, & according another spokesperson, the multinational participation shows “we are not alone--it’s just not the United States bullying Iran.” You don’t have to be a supporter of the Iranian government to oppose the threat of war against Iran & to oppose the provocation these exercises represent, where the US & its allies do a trial run of their siege right near Iran’s border.

It is not irrelevant that US military personnel have set up camp & are holding press briefings in Bahrain, where under the direction of US & UK police officials, the regime is engaged in violent repression against the democracy movement. Undoubtedly, the saber-rattling operation is directed at the people of Bahrain as well as Iran. This photo is of the US military base in Manama, Bahrain.

The US is involved in so many military operations the antiwar movement can hardly keep up with them. But it tries. Antiwar actions are planned for October 5-7 in several US cities. For info contact:

(Photo by Hasan Jamali/AP)

General strike in India

Millions of people in India took to the streets yesterday for a one-day nationwide strike called by several political parties against economic measures (facetiously called “reforms” by the government) announced last week. Schools & small shops were closed, buses stopped running, & protestors blocked roads & trains. This photo of protestors blocking railway tracks is from Allahabad city in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The new law, called Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), includes a substantial increase in subsidized fuel prices & a decision to open India to foreign supermarket chains like Tesco, Carrefour, & Walmart.

FDI is brazen neoliberal policy in a country which has seen millions of small farmers devastated by neoliberal policy in agriculture, allowing multinational agribusiness firms (like Monsanto & Cargill) to take over agriculture. Millions of small grocers, vegetable sellers, & street vendors selling everything from matches to clothing to hardware to crockery are at grave risk under FDI which will allow foreign retailers to own a 51% stake in a business in India. It is estimated that for every job Tesco, Carrefour, & Walmart create in India, at least 17 workers will lose employment. The government & pro-business groups promoting FDI have a whole raft of reasons why this law will be good for India by which of course, they mean profitable for themselves. There is overwhelming evidence just from the record of Walmart in the US showing the disastrous effects of these superstores on local economies & small businesses. There is really no debate necessary here; it’s a matter of contending class interests. When the government introduced these measures last November, widespread protests forced them to reverse them. Public opinion in India is against FDI & the trade unions & opposition parties are saying they will continue to strike & protest until the government backs down. That’s exactly what it will take. (Photo by Reuters)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Burned out in Manila

Rapid & massive urbanization into slums & shanty towns by rural people displaced in predatory land-grabs & by IMF economic policies is an international phenomenon. But so is urban gentrification which involves forcible evictions creating massive homelessness so cities & landowners can build high-priced condos & shopping malls. Because residents have mounted fierce resistance to the evictions in so many  countries, cities & landowners often employ a policy of simply burning down the slums. This is no reckless accusation; it is a charge frequently repeated by burned-out residents in many countries. Because there is no provision of public housing, residents have fought many legal battles against evictions, along with street protests against demolition bull dozers--often confronting extreme police brutality (including the use of water cannons & other assaultive weapons) when cops protect the demolition squads sent to evict them.

The housing battles in Quezon City (a section of Manila) in the Philippines go back years with appeals by residents to the Commission on Human Rights, to the Manila Development Authority (which deploys the demolition squads), & attempts to the get the Quezon city council to declare moratoriums on evictions until there are enough relocation sites--which does not mean public housing provided to evictees, but empty lots where they can move. Most of these housing battles are not won by the residents--either in the courts or on the street. Quezon City was identified in 2008 as the richest city in the Philippines & has embarked on a massive infrastructure program including business parks, IT call centers, malls, & other projects designed to attract investment. Shanty towns stand in the way & must be demolished--or burned down.

This is the scene of a predawn fire today in Quezon City which destroyed a slum, killed two residents, including a small boy, & displaced 800 residents. Massive urbanization & homelessness are both the result of economic predation. Housing is a primary human need denied millions of people in every country. It must become a primary demand in all political agitation. Money for housing, not for war!  (Photo by Noel Celis/AFP)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Protests in Afghanistan against US

Western media is making such a flap about the Muslim protests against the Islamophobic video. While the media plays up the volatility of the protests--what they call “Muslim rage”--what is really remarkable is their geographic breadth--reportedly, they’re going on in at least 20 countries. Reporting is quite sketchy, but what exists shows many protests are peaceful, many are religious in character, & some, especially those with young people, are rowdy. The rowdy seems mainly to involve burning tires, cars, US flags, & effigies of Obama; shouting anti-US slogans; & in some instances, scaling embassy walls & breaking some windows. We saw worse in the Arab uprisings. If you listen to the inflammatory reports, you’d think there was a massive death toll. In fact, there are only reports of 7 deaths, all protestors most certainly killed by security forces. What’s scaring the hell out of Western governments is the breadth & fury of these protests & the media is dutifully using them to increase hysteria against Muslims.

Last spring, there were massive protests in Afghanistan when the US military disrespectfully dumped copies of the Quran in a bon fire. Yesterday, these young Afghan protestors against the video chanted, “Death to America,” & reportedly set some cars on fire. Trashing their holy book & mocking the prophet Mohammad are obviously only a part of Afghan grievances against the over ten-year US bombing & occupation. Afghans have seen millions flee into exile, thousands made homeless & living in refugee tents, thousands injured through land mines & bombing, they’ve seen their fields, schools, hospitals, mosques, homes destroyed, the young forced to migrate to find work, & their children live in terror. Demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO forces from Afghanistan.  (Photo by Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

US-NATO out of Afghanistan!

Are these Afghan protestors burning the US flag (on Sunday) rendering a verdict on “lesser-evilism” & the upcoming US elections? Afghanistan has been occupied & bombed under both Democrats & Republicans, so they’re in a strong position to judge. That photo looks like a composite of Barack Obama & Alfred E, Newman, the mascot  of Mad magazine. Alfred, whose face is assembled from features of US politicians (Nixon’s nose, Johnson’s ear, Reagan’s hair, Eisenhower’s grin), periodically runs for president under the slogan, "You could do worse... and always have!" The gap in his front teeth derives from the “credibility gap” created by all politicians, including Obama who claims he’s already ended the Iraq War & is going to end the atrocity in Afghanistan. All out to the October 5-7 antiwar protests to demand US-NATO out of Afghanistan! (Photo by Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

Down with colonialism!

There are many who rue my loathing for moochocracy & wish I would just leave Betty Windsor & her indolent relatives alone. Well take a gander at this photo of WWWWilly & KKKKaty in the Solomon Islands where Betty is considered the monarch--& tell me once again, the moochocracy is just a harmless tourist attraction! I remained silent about the topless photos of KKKKaty even though it’s top of national network news in the US. Sunbathing is what these people do best & at least they’re good at something. But this colonial, white supremacist image will take a while to clear my head. It’s odious & those two dumbasses sitting on the thrones actually think it’s their due. Down with feudalism! Give the Windsors a job!  (Photo by Mark Large/Getty Images)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bahraini protests continue

These masked teens in Bilad al-Qadeem, Bahrain, are setting up roadblocks to prevent riot police vehicles from chasing after a protest march that just passed by (on Saturday). Protestors, who were marching despite violent police repression, were demanding freedom for jailed students & the jailed leader of the teachers union (Mahdi Abu Deeb). These kids are probably the rear guard of an action led by their mothers who are playing such a central role in this revolution. And their mommas taught them right: not just how to build roadblocks but how to stand up & courageously defy tyranny. (Photo by Hasan Jamali/AP)

Civilians killed by US-NATO bombs in Afghanistan

Afghan villagers here grieve the deaths of two of the eight women killed by US-NATO bombing yesterday in Laghman province. On the same day, Western media had the temerity to report protests in Kabul “against the US-made film that mocked Islam turned violent when anti-riot police prevented the protesters from attacking public & private property.” The juxtaposition of protestors armed with rocks against cement buildings to B-52 aircraft dropping bombs on civilians & villages exposes the hypocrisy of outrage over the film protests. There is no possible equation of aggression & violence. Antiwar protests demanding the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO forces are planned in the US on October 5-7. For info contact:
(Photo by Parwiz/Reuters)

Homeless in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

In a few months it will be three years since the Haitian earthquake which made 1.5 million people homeless. This photo of two little brothers having breakfast in a Port-au-Prince displacement camp was taken last week & shows the state of housing reconstruction despite billions of dollars in donations & reconstruction aid. An estimated 400,000 people continue to live in 575 makeshift camps without clean water, garbage disposal, with one shower for every 1,200 people & with one functioning toilet for every 77. This is not to suggest that housing has been provided for one million people no longer living in tents. Only 5,700 permanent houses have been built, mostly by aid groups such as Habitat for Humanity. The Haitian government does not have a housing reconstruction plan or program. Those colonial overlords & NGOs (including the Red Cross who raked in millions for Haitian relief) who put themselves in charge of the Haitian people invested a paltry sum of money in building about 125,000 transitional one-room houses made of plywood & not earthquake or hurricane-resistant (in an area where hurricane season is annual). That housing will of course become permanent slum dwellings. In desperation, many Haitians returned to the unstable rubble of their condemned homes to rebuild but with precious little reconstruction money to aid them. Only 15,000 homes have been repaired with reconstruction assistance. The US colonial overlords administering US aid have not built a single house. Directed by both Clintons, they instead built a polluting power plant & are setting up maquilladora sweat shops.

After his election in 2010, President Michel Martelly pledged to close all camps within six months. His pledge did not mean relocation to new homes; it meant puny cash bribes to induce people to leave or forcible eviction (often without prior notice) if necessary. So rather than building & reconstructing homes, the Haitian government along with private landowners supported by police & UN peacekeepers have been on a violent eviction rampage to clear the camps. With no homes to go to, hundreds of thousands have simply been made homeless. According to Under Tents (a housing rights coalition of Haitian political groups & 30 human rights groups working in Haiti), one in five displaced Haitians is at risk of imminent eviction.

Reyneld Sanon, a housing activist & leader of Under Tents is currently touring the US. Sanon will visit New Orleans Sept. 14-15; Houston Sept. 16-17; Washington, D.C., Sept. 18-20; New York City Sept. 21-24, & Miami Sept. 25-26. You can follow the speaking tour & their work at their website:; or on FB at:
(Photo by Dieu Nalio Chery/AP)

"Muslim Rage"?

Megan Reif
Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Colorado Denver

NATO strike kills women and girls gathering firewood

Wounded Afghan women lie on beds in a hospital in Mihtarlam city of Laghman province.(AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada )

Wounded Afghan women lie on beds in a hospital in Mihtarlam city of Laghman province.(AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada )

Afghan villagers look at the bodies of women killed by NATO air strikes in Laghman province.(Reuters / Parwiz Parwiz)
Afghan villagers look at the bodies of women killed by NATO air strikes in Laghman province.(Reuters / Parwiz Parwiz)

A NATO airstrike killed eight women and girls in eastern Afghanistan, local officials reported. The alliance said the strike targeted 45 armed insurgents but admitted some civilians may have been killed.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) initially claimed that the airstrike targeted insurgent forces. However, it later issued a statement that the “ISAF takes full responsibility for this tragedy,” expressing its “deepest regrets and sympathies" over "civilians who died or were injured."
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Dead Guantanamo Prisoner On Why He Gave Up on Life

"Adnan Latif was found dead in his cell on September 10th, 2012, just a day before the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. He was 32. Latif, a Yemeni citizen, had been detained at Guantanamo Bay for over a decade, despite a 2010 court ruling that ordered the Obama administration to "take all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps to facilitate Latif's release forthwith," due to lack of evidence that he had committed any crime. He suffered at the hands of the US government in ways that most people can't begin to comprehend, and his death should be a reminder that the national shame that is Guantanamo Bay lives on and now enjoys bipartisan support".
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Documents reveal the entire responsibility of Ariel Sharon and partial responsinbility of the US in Sabra and Shatila massacre

"While Israel’s role in the massacre has been closely examined, America’s actions have never been fully understood. This summer, at the Israel State Archives, I found recently declassified documents that chronicle key conversations between American and Israeli officials before and during the 1982 massacre. The verbatim transcripts reveal that the Israelis misled American diplomats about events in Beirut and bullied them into accepting the spurious claim that thousands of “terrorists” were in the camps. Most troubling, when the United States was in a position to exert strong diplomatic pressure on Israel that could have ended the atrocities, it failed to do so. As a result, Phalange militiamen were able to murder Palestinian civilians, whom America had pledged to protect just weeks earlier."
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Insiders Tell Us What Really Happened In Libya

Libya consulate resized

AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri

The emerging consensus about the embassy attack in Libya that killed an American ambassador and several other Americans is that it was a "well-planned commando style attack."

According to a government and journalist source we have spoken to, this actually does not appear to be the case. Rather, the attack appears to have been a spontaneous decision by an extremist group to capitalize on otherwise non-violent protests about an anti-Muslim film trailer.

Iraqi Jews reject "cynical manipulation" of their history by Israel, Zionists, writer Almog Behar tells EI

It is far from the first instance of tampering with, exploiting, and deleting our history, but it is the straw that broke the camel’s back, and so … we formed the Committee of Baghdadi Jews in Ramat-Gan.”

This is how Almog Behar, described a decision by a group Jews from Arab and Kurdish backgrounds to speak out forcefully against renewed Israeli government propaganda efforts to counter Palestinian refugee rights by using the claims of Jews who left Arab countries for Israel in the 1950s.

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Storming the bastions of US power

“Innocence of Muslims,” the video which has fueled anti-US protests in over 20 countries, isn’t merely Islamophobic rubbish; it’s an obscene & cinematic disaster--& not even a need for documentation can persuade one to plow through its entirety. Very likely, the majority of protestors haven’t viewed it since YouTube censored it in many countries after it provoked protest. Just as obscene is the propagandistic response to the protests by US officials, the media, & the various expert half-wits they employ for analyses. A lifetime of reading this crap & you never become inured to the banality & cynicism! 

Expert analysts quoted in the media are from the most right-wing, establishment think tanks in the country: the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institute, the Center for American Progress. This little gem of insipid drivel is from the LA Times: “The demonstrations & destruction were instigated by Islamic militants, many linked with Al Qaeda, who are attempting to steer the volatile societies emerging from the Arab Spring toward Islamic law, known as sharia, & their narrative that only violence, not political change, will solve age-old problems of economic disparities & sectarian tensions, several Middle East experts said.”

The NY Times is just as lying & loathsome but in a more existential way: “Did he {Obama} do enough throughout the Arab Spring to help the transition to democracy from autocracy? Has he drawn a hard enough line against Islamic extremists?”

Farah Stockman, an ace reporter from the Boston Globe, appeared on TV to say, with no apparent irony: “People in Egypt, & Libya, & some of these places don’t understand freedom of speech & don’t understand these are not the views of the American people & the US government.” Millions of the people she refers to spent over a year in the streets, dodging bullets & tear gas (both provided by the US), braving military violence, incarceration, torture & they don’t understand freedom of speech!? 

But for sheer hypocrisy, venality, & malignancy, few rival the homiletics of Barack “I’ve come to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the US & Muslims” Obama & Hillary Clinton. They both deplore the content & disclaim any official US role in the video & blither on about respect for Islam but their primary criticism is directed at protestors & violence against US diplomatic agencies--because they can see the political tsunami coming when people fearlessly defy the very bastions of US power. According to the NY Times, the US Is “preparing for a long siege of Arab unrest.” And well it should, because the fury is not just about the desecration of Islamic ideals & institutions but about opposition to using Islamophobia to justify meddling, occupation, bombing, & war. These are protests against US-NATO wars & bombing sieges in several Islamic countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan) & direct involvement in thwarting democracy movements (in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Palestine, Bahrain, Morocco, Yemen, & elsewhere) & they deserve our full support. Here protesters in Sana’a, Yemen storm the gate of the US Embassy on Thursday.

The most powerful way to oppose Islamophobia & express solidarity with Muslims & others under US-NATO siege is to participate in upcoming antiwar protests on October 5th-7th. Info on actions available at:
(Photo by Hani Mohammed/AP)