Wednesday, October 31, 2012

$60 billion in Superstorm Sandy devastation, one of worst US clean-up bills

The damaged front of an auto repair shop on Atlantic Avenue is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's landfall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, October 30, 2012.  (Reuters / Tom Mihalek)

"The worst of Superstorm Sandy may be over, but it’s left a trail of extensive – and expensive – devastation behind. Lost business and damages will cost up to $60 billion to fix, says forecasting firm HIS Global Insight.
The costs include an estimated $20 billion in property damages and $10 billion to $30 billion in lost business, AP reports.
What’s worse is that most homeowners will have to pay for home repairs out of their own pockets – because standard insurance policies don’t cover flood damage and few homeowners have flood insurance"
Read more

Manufactured Crisis: A History of the Iranian Nuclear Scare

Mitt Blows it on Sandy: Did the Hurricane Just Cost Him the Election?

"It’s impossible not to see that this storm has devastated Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy. The response to the hurricane has seemed like one long dramatic Obama campaign commercial, a lesson in “We’re all in this together,” while Romney, the man who said he’d dismantle FEMA, flails on the sidelines."
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Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam’s history

Three of the world’s oldest mosques are about to be destroyed as Saudi Arabia embarks on a multi-billion-pound expansion of Islam’s second holiest site. Work on the Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, where the Prophet Mohamed is buried, will start once the annual Hajj pilgrimage ends next month. When complete, the development will turn the mosque into the world’s largest building, with the capacity for 1.6 million worshippers.
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European NGOs to EU: Rhetoric is not enough, ban settlement products now

Tomer settlement
Jordan Valley settlement of Tomer
The EU imports over 100 times more per settler than per Palestinian. The EU issues statements about the illegality of the settlements, criticizes and condemns them, but has failed to take any meaningful action leveraging economic or political pressure. This undermines the EU’s strategic interests and values, facilitates the growth of the illegal settlements and threatens the prospect for a two state settlement.
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News you wouldn't see in the media..Human rights activist Bassam Tamimi arrested for a 3rd time

Bassem Tamimi, 45, a Palestinian protest organizer and grassroots activist from the village of Nabi Saleh, was arrested last Wednesday, October 24, during a demonstration inside Sha’ar Benyamin settlement, east of Ramallah.
As the demonstration came to an end, several Israeli police officers violently detained Tamimi, breaking three of his ribs in the process. He was subsequently interrogated on participating in an unauthorized demonstration and assault of a police officer.
 During his latest prison stint, which ended only in March, Tamimi was recognized as a human rights defender by the European Union and pronounced a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. He was convicted of protest-organizing related charges, and sentenced to 13 months of imprisonment, as well as a 17-month suspended sentence that now looms over his head
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Sandy's trail of destruction in... Cuba. But you wouldn't see it in the MSM

Hurricane Sandy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hunger strike for immigrant rights in Berlin

This photo is of the hunger strike protest 20 Afghan & Irani immigrants are holding in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin demanding legal residency--which is sparingly allocated in Fortress Europe. The growing combativeness of undocumented immigrants, particularly the young, is a matter of concern to governments around the world. These immigrants risk detention & deportation to stand  up for their rights. That is also an important development in the US, with thousands of undocumented youth protesting immigration laws. This is a remarkable & inspiring development. If these Afghan & Irani immigrants just lie low, they won’t risk deportation but they have chosen to stand & fight.   Our fullest solidarity with them. (Photo by Kay Nietfeld/EPA)

Haute Hauteur

You couldn’t make this moment up! These well-heeled Chinese golf fans are watching the Tiger Woods-Rory McIIroy match in Zhenghou, China. Their privileged class must have a whole repertoire of haughty attitudes but even they’re bemused by the insufferable hauteur of this fashion model. Of course, Chinese runways are strutting rhinestone gas masks--likely as samizdat environmental protest!? Where did this elitist pose come from? Who decided it was haute couture? It will surely pass from fashion long before it’s begun to be a pleasure. (Photo by Hong Wu/Getty Images)

Contribute to Caravana de Madres Centroamericanas (Caravan of Central American Mothers)

Mothers from the Caravana de Madres Centroamericanas (Caravan of Central American Mothers) hold photos of their disappeared children during a special mass at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City on Sunday, October 28th. The caravan of 60 mothers is to investigate & put a spotlight on the crimes committed against immigrants on their journey through Mexico to the US. Although it is legal for Central American immigrants to travel through Mexico, it is one of the most dangerous migration routes in the world & thousands are assaulted, raped, kidnapped, murdered, disappeared. 

The Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano (MMM) is the Mexican immigration rights group organizing the Caravana which has visited the sites of immigrant massacres & mass graves, shelters & hostels along the way which provide help to immigrants (& which are under frequent assault), & followed the rails of the infamous La Bestia, the freight train immigrants are forced to ride north. MMM has organized rallies & speak-outs at universities & other venues where the mothers have told about their children & about their loss--& brought attention to immigration as a human right.

MMM, like any activist organization, is not rolling in dough & the Caravana relies on contributions from those who support immigrant rights. They are a reputable organization. If you want to support their work & contribute to the Caravana you can send a Money Order to:
Martha Fernanda Sanchez Soler 
Gabriel Mancera 1817 - 201
Colonia del Valle Sur
Delegacion Benito Juarez
Mexico, DF 03100

It is best to send it after November 4th, when the caravan ends, since they will be back in their offices.

(Photo by Marco Ugarte/AP)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Frightening and Amazing Photos From Those Enduring Sandy's Wrath

October 29, 2012  |  
As Hurricane Sandy pummels the East Coast, people who still have power and internet connections have taken to all forms of social media to show the storm's effects and how they're coping. Mashable reported earlier today that on Instagram "users are uploading 10 images per second with the hashtag #Sandy alone." A number of photos have gone viral today, but many of them are fake photos meant to dupe folks (you can see the fakes here).
While some images have given a few moments of levity to an otherwise instense and scary day, many more capture the horror that millions are facing right now as the first reports of fatalities from Sandy in the continental U.S. are begining to be reported. Below is a collection, including some by brave AlterNet staffers in New York. We'll continue to update this as the storm progresses. 
This one is from AlterNet's Kristen Gwynne, taken in New York City by Houston St. of FDR Drive underwater.

This building in New York City on 8th Ave between 14th and 15th Streets show the entire front of the buildling blown off. The photo is by @MegRobertson.
This one below is posted by @HobokenGirlBlog of lower Manhattan. 
Instagram user nicksummers caught this picture of the lights out in the Village in NYC.
Things looks scary in Brooklyn as well. Here's a shot from Instragram user doorsixteen of Plymouth St. and a flooded park in the DUMBO neighborhood. 
Here's one from earlier on Monday as the storm neared Virginia, posted to Flickr Creative Commons by doxella.
Further afield Instagram user factsoffishing posted this picture with the caption, "Lake Erie is looking nasty now & #Sandy is just getting started. Wave are predicted to be 22ft tonight."
More photos coming soon, here.

65 years in US federal prison for sending aid to charity groups in Gaza with no connection to violent activity

‘This is travesty of American criminal justice’: Supreme Court denies Holy Land Five appeal
"The Holy Land Five -- Shukri Abu Baker, Mohammad el-Mazain, Ghassan Elashi, Mufid Abdulqader, Abulrahman Odeh -- were convicted of providing humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza through zakat committees allegedly connected with Hamas. The case relied on "secret evidence" from an anonymous Israeli intelligence source. Four of the five defendants are now serving sentences in a Communication Management Unit, or CMU, an "experimental" detention facility outside of oversight from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where two-thirds of the inmates are Arab and/or Muslim. Detainees in these facilities are subject to arbitrary policies that restrict their movement within prison cells, and minimal contact with the families and attorneys."
Read more

Democracy denied: Millions of Americans blocked from voting

Voter suppression efforts today echo 19th century efforts to block urban immigrant working class from casting vote.
Paul Rosenberg

"Habitual non-voters are more Democratic and more social democratic than habitual voters are, so the GOP has a vested interest in keeping the electorate as limited as possible," says author [EPA]
The US Presidential race is being fought out most visibly in its "air war" - the barrage of TV ads concentrated in swing states, and the televised debates reaching tens of millions of viewers at once. But in the end, the outcome may well be determined by its trench warfare, a crucial component of which, for the GOP, consists in an intensively-fought effort to prevent as many Democrats as possible from voting.
It's a throwback to a bygone era, when similar efforts throughout the North - stopping short of the blood-stained mass terror favoured in the South - were employed to suppress the votes of thousands, perhaps millions of naturalised working class voters.
With roughly seven million voters effectively prevented from voting in 2008, according to the Co-operative Congressional Election Study, and perhaps five million more imperiled by new voter-suppression measures, according to another study in 2011, this should be a dominant campaign story.
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Israel is an apartheid state (no poll required)

A new Ha'aretz poll indicates a majority of Jewish Israelis favour apartheid - but that's nothing new.
Ben White

"Firstly, a clarification about terminology. To talk about Israeli apartheid is not to suggest a precise equivalence with the policies of the historic regime in South Africa. Rather, apartheid is a crime under international law independent of any comparison (see here, here, here, and here). As former UN Special Rapporteur John Dugard put it in the foreword to my first book: "It is Israel's own version of a system that has been universally condemned."
It is impossible to understand this "system" without remembering that its foundations were laid by the ethnic cleansing that took place in the Nakba. With the establishment of Israel in 1948, up to 90 per cent of the Palestinians who would have been inside the new state were expelled, their properties confiscated, and their return prevented. As these refugees were denied citizenship and their right to return ignored, Israel passed legislation to open up the new borders to Jews everywhere."
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The migrants deadly odyssey through Mexico

Dorma Espinoza, a mother from Honduras, has a photo of her son Alberto Sadai, an undocumented immigrant who disappeared 10 years ago traveling through Mexico to reach the US. She is part of the “Caravana de Madres Centroamericanas” (Caravan of Central American Mothers), a group of 60 mothers from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, & Guatemala who are following the route of migrants to investigate & bring attention to the plight of thousands of Central American immigrants who are murdered & disappeared in Mexico. (Photo by Edgard Garrido/Reuters)

The indomitable women of Bahrain

The indomitable women of Bahrain: (On top) a democracy protestor protects herself from the excessive police use of tear gas with a scarf which reads “Ready to die for Bahrain”. This was last March in the town of Sanabis, west of Manama, when riot cops attacked protestors.

(On bottom) democracy protestors shouting demands & facing off against tear gas attempt to enter al-Eker, a village south of Manama on October 22. A week earlier, seven people had been detained over the killing of a cop in al-Eker & police were blocking off the town. It was reported ‘clashes broke out’ (that is, riot cops attacked protestors) near al-Eker when rights activists & medics tried to enter the town. 

(Top photo by Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters; bottom photo by Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)

Tear down Fortress Europe

Seth Kusorgbor, a 46-year-old man from Ghana, is a refugee living in the Hal Far refugee center on the Mediterranean archipelago of Malta (just south of Sicily off the toe of Italy). Mr. Kusorgbor was burned & disfigured when his tent caught fire from a candle  knocked over in the middle of the night. Hal Far, one of 15 refugee centers on Malta, houses nearly 1,000 mostly African refugees in filthy, rat-infested, overcrowded tents without proper sanitation or clean water. It’s frigid in the winter & tabletop cookers are the only means of heating the tents. There are regular power cuts at the facility so residents (inmates?) use candles for light & some measure of warmth, substantially increasing fire risk.

The Maltese government only provides emergency medical treatment so Mr. Kusorgbor had to spend all his savings (which he needed for traffickers to take him to Italy) on medicines. Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres runs a clinic at Hal Far using the medical triage system. In 2009 it suspended operations because the Maltese government refused to provide even minimum hygienic conditions for treatment of such things as infectious diseases. All of the immigrants have just come through a brutal odyssey, many from war-torn countries (60% of the immigrants at Malta are from Somalia), crossing deserts & in rickety boats across the Mediterranean Sea. So most come with severe psychological distress, malnourished, with skin, respiratory, & infectious conditions. They were either rescued or intercepted at sea by the Maltese military which has search & rescue jurisdiction in that part of the Sea.

Conditions are so inhumane in Malta detention centers that several agencies have made formal complaints to the European Union (EU); there have also been several rebellions by immigrants protesting conditions. In response to the pressure, the European Commission said it will increase surveillance of detention centers in Malta. But of course, the EU has no intention of doing a damn thing to ameliorate conditions; Malta is a dumping ground where most immigrants are confined for nearly two years, denied migrant status to Europe, & then dumped back in Africa--including Libya where violence against African immigrants is a humanitarian crisis.

The EU has no intention of resolving this immigration crisis because its policies directly mandate it. Passports & visas for travel anywhere were not generally required until WWI. One of the primary causes of WWI was the conflict (between Germany, other European countries, Russia, Japan, & the US) over colonial partition of the world, including Asia, Africa, & the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Passports were a method of controlling/deterring the flow of immigrants from those colonies. The EU was formed to solve the problems of global competition, making European countries stronger against the US & Japan, but using the language of internationalism. Europe was now borderless & EU citizens were free to move & work without showing passports. Europe was not just a superstate but a supra-state, a higher & more harmonious form of political organization than the nation-state. National rivalry would be replaced with collaboration. Don’t you just love how they peddle baloney as filet mignon!?

In fact, the EU is riven with conflict & we witness it now breaking down before our eyes. It doesn’t work for “Europeans” & was always an exclusionary, xenophobic, racist Iron Curtain system of border patrols & detention centers. Its critics appropriately call it, “Fortress Europe.” It has encouraged racism & white supremacy, fomented the rise of neo-Nazi & Islamophobic groups in every country, exacerbated tensions between nationalities, broken down international solidarity, & made the lives of millions of immigrants a living hell. It has made the Mediterranean Sea a grave yard for immigrants.

The EU is now proposing a $410 million project deploying drones over the Mediterranean Sea along with increased satellite activity & sensors to keep an eye on immigrants--not for surveillance of inhumane conditions in detention centers, not to save them when their boats are sinking--but robotic eyes to intimidate & force them to return to the African continent. “European” political leaders & trade union officials accepted the neoliberal EU project as advancing working people’s interests. Tell that to the Greeks, the Portuguese, the Spanish, et al! Immigration rights are human rights; immigration rights are workers rights & the sooner “European” workers get that in their bones, the sooner Fortress Europe can be torn down & genuine, enduring bonds of international solidarity built up. (Photo by Luiz Santos from

Israel may 'go crazy' after UN bid, its own diplomats warn

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israel's diplomats are warning that President Mahmoud Abbas' bid to upgrade Palestine's status at the United Nations could lead to unrest, Israeli media reported Friday.

Foreign Ministry officials and Israeli diplomats abroad have been warning of a scenario in which Israel's government "goes crazy" the day after the UN vote, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

The newspaper said diplomats are warning countries worldwide and particularly Europe as part of an intensive diplomatic campaign against the move, which comes months amid Israeli elections.
Read more

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stand with us or step aside, buster! There is no lesser evil in US politics!

We’re coming down to the wire on these odious elections where the scam of lesser evil politics crescendoes to a frenzy of panic. I go back to the “I like Ike” election in 1952, so forgive me if I don’t share the panic--not just because I’ve heard it all before, but because I don’t think social transformation will ever come from double-talking, millionaire politicians. Social transformation is a democratic & participatory process; there are no saviors in politics. It’s just plain hard work.

As a long-time feminist, it is regrettable to me that US feminists are among the most ardent supporters of Obama, arguing that he is emancipating women from 'barbarous, Islamic regimes' by killing them & their loved ones with drone aircraft, bombing their homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, fields, destroying their countries. That political dissonance is because the leadership of the women’s movement of the 1970s made a devil’s pact with the Democratic Party (DP), hitched its fortunes to Democratic politicians, & demobilized as a social movement. That’s the function of the DP--to control & demobilize progressive movements. In that stinking bargain, many feminists made their peace with war, racism, & colonialism.

That is more than evident in the present election when you witness feminist reaction to the attack on Malala Yousufzai, which they use to justify support for Obama despite massive drone bombings in several countries which are killing thousands of men, women, & children. And it is evident when feminists ignore these barbarous assaults claiming that even if Obama is a war-monger, at least he will maintain reproductive rights in this country. The truth is, women’s rights are under attack because the women’s movement is parked inside the DP, waiting for that male-dominated, misogynist party to save us & has refused to lead a relentless fight for women’s rights regardless of who is in power.

What is equally disturbing to hear is progressive people who reject the lesser evil paradigm but accept the false counterposition between war & women’s reproductive rights. This mendacious dichotomy is a fiction perpetrated by DP ideologues. Women’s rights are not negotiable--at least to the millions of women who face unwanted pregnancy or the hundreds of thousands who die from illegal abortions or the thousands subjected to racist population control programs. Principled politics are not horse trading. We don’t throw women’s rights--or anyone’s rights--under the bus just because cynical ideologues of the Democratic Party play that game. We don’t decide which demands can be dumped as secondary or as extra baggage because that’s the death trap of divide & conquer. We demand every human right we’re due, leaving nothing out because of expedience, & making no concessions whatsoever to lesser evil mendacity.

We demand the immediate cessation of bombing & the unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO troops; we demand women’s rights, & civil rights, & LGBT rights, & worker’s rights. And if candidates cannot stand with us & our demands, we throw our votes for them under the bus!

Mantis shrimp

Mantis Shrimp

Mantis shrimp or stomatopods are marine crustaceans, the members of the order Stomatopoda. They may reach 30 centimetres (12 in) in length, although exceptional cases of up to 38 cm (15 in) have been recorded. The carapace of mantis shrimp covers only the rear part of the head and the first four segments of the thorax. Mantis shrimp appear in a variety of colours, from shades of browns to bright neon colours. Although they are common animals and among the most important predators in many shallow, tropical and sub-tropical marine habitats they are poorly understood as many species spend most of their life tucked away in burrows and holes.

About the Image : A colourful stomatopod, the peacock mantis shrimp, (Odontodactylus scyllarus) seen in the Andaman Sea off Thailand
A colourful stomatopod, the peacock mantis shrimp, (Odontodactylus scyllarus) seen in the Andaman Sea off Thailand 
Mantis shrimp or stomatopods are marine crustaceans, the members of the order Stomatopoda. They may reach 30 centimetres (12 in) in length, although exceptional cases of up to 38 cm (15 in) have been recorded. The carapace of mantis shrimp covers only the rear part of the head and the first four segments of the thorax. Mantis shrimp appear in a variety of colours, from shades of browns to bright neon colours. Although they are common animals and among the most important predators in many shallow, tropical and sub-tropical marine habitats they are poorly understood as many species spend most of their life tucked away in burrows and holes.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

James Proudfoot


James Proudfoot (British, 1908-1971), Sun on a House, Dieppe, 1937. Oil on canvas. Perth & Kinross Council.
James Proudfoot (British, 1908-1971), Sun on a House, Dieppe (France) 1937. Oil on canvas. Perth & Kinross Council.

Jamie Smithers

“Treetops Reflections”
30” x 30”
Jamie Smithers
“Treetops Reflections” 30” x 30”

Henry Ward Ranger


Connecticut Woods by Henry Ward Ranger
Connecticut Woods
1899- Henry Ward Ranger: Born: Syracuse, New York 1858- Died: New York, New York 1916- Oil on canvas- 28 1/4 x 36 1/4 in. (71.7 x 91.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum

IDF hoax claiming a photo of Bahrain protest is of Palestinian tossing a fire bomb.

Photo: Share this, because the mainstream media will not. 
Here's the original. More photos from Bahrein here.

What's in a wall?

Monsanto chicken

This is from someone who would never sanction any phony or photoshopped items. We can only presume this is a chicken fed on Monsanto grains. If anyone knows chickens, you will understand their feisty, pecking, plucking nature and nobody wants them to increase in size. Soon enough, they'll rule the world. Stop Monsanto now! (Photographer not identified)

Friday, October 26, 2012

An ‘industry’ built on hate: How the right-wing successfully brought anti-Muslim bigotry into the American mainstream

Alex Kane for Mondoweiss
Ahmed Sharif was a 44-year-old Muslim Bangladeshi taxi driver in New York City. It was August 24, 2010, a time that marked the height of vitriolic protests against a planned Islamic center to be located in lower Manhattan, a few blocks away from the site of Ground Zero. Sharif picked up 21-year-old Michael Enright for an early evening ride. Everything was going smoothly until Enright, three blocks away from his stop, yelled at Sharif, “this is a checkpoint, motherfucker, and I have to bring you down.”
Enright, a filmmaker who kept a diary filled with strong anti-Muslim sentiment, pulled out a knife and slashed Sharif across the throat, face and arms. Enright tried to escape, but was arrested by the New York Police Department. Sharif survived, but he packed up and moved to Buffalo, in upstate New York. It was a crime that seemed to fit in with the general climate of hysteria over Muslims that developed that summer.
This is how Nathan Lean begins telling the story of how a small group of bigots seized upon the frustrations and fears of post-9/11 America and exploited those feelings to create a circular industry of hate. Lean’s new book, The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims, is a compact and punchy look at this industry stretching across continents that has sowed hatred of Muslims into the fabric of Western society.
The book, written by the editor-in-chief of Aslan Media, comes at an opportune time. Released in September 2012, the book landed just one month after American Muslims witnessed a stark increase in hate attacks during the holy month of Ramadan. A report by the Council on American Islamic Relations documented that the Ramadan of 2012 “saw one of the worst spikes of anti-Muslim incidents in over a decade.
Read more

Downing Street to White House: ‘UK would be in breach of international law if it facilitated pre-emptive strike on Iran’

UK Government reiterates its current opposition to military action against Iran after revelation US has requested use of UK bases
The UK government has reiterated that it does not believe military action against Iran would be appropriate at the moment, following the disclosure that Britain has rebuffed US requests to use UK military bases to support the buildup of forces in the Gulf.
Read more (The Guardian)

Zeev Tene - Jewish ...How do you live with it? How do you remain indifferent?

You lock an entire nation behind a fence
Just because it wants from you to be free
You stand and sing about being free
Yet, you forget what humanity is
You forget that only yesterday you were the Other
You forget that just yesterday it was you there behind the fence
Jewish! How do you live with it?
How do you remain indifferent?
You who were pushed down
The scent of your burnt flesh is still in the air
You’ve seen how in a split second
A man can become a beast
Jewish! Wake up!
It’s only yourself whom you lock behind the fence
Jewish! Wake up!
It’s only yourself whom you lock behind a fence

Who Owns the World? Noam Chomsky on U.S.-Fueled Dangers, from Climate Change to Nuclear Weapons

Democracy Now
In the week when President Obama and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney debated issues of foreign policy and the economy, we turn to world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and MIT professor, Noam Chomsky. In a recent speech, Chomsky examined topics largely ignored or glossed over during the campaign: China, the Arab Spring, global warming, nuclear proliferation, and the military threat posed by Israel and the U.S. versus Iran. He reflects on the Cuban missile crisis, which took place 50 years ago this week and is still referred to as "the most dangerous moment in human history." He delivered this talk last month at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst at an event sponsored by the Center for Popular Economics. Chomsky’s talk was entitled "Who Owns the World?" [includes rush transcript]

Humeur du jour

Been thinking. How many sheep have been slaughtered on this special day of celebration? Hundreds of millions to be sure. My sympathy goes to them. I wish this relic of ancient times called sacrifice one day ends. How about scarifying some veggie for a change?

Don't they make your heart sing!?

"I want to travel without passport"

This is a magnificent poem--an anthem, really--by Indian poet, Musab Iqbal, to the right of every human being to travel where they want on this planet for whatever reason without impediment & with "wings of hope."

I want to travel
I want to travel without passport
Without the papers being stamped
Without luggage, without tickets
I want the bond of strangeness
To travel with me, travel till end.

I want to bring
The dreams of all Dervesh to be true
I don’t want them to crucified by cruel wires
I don’t want them to be stranded at Athens airport
I don’t want them to be quizzed by check posts.
I don’t want the colors of passport to bear justice

I want to travel
With my wings of hope
Covering the bloody sky of tyranny
Which holds fractured stars and dead moon.
And my head high high in the air
Where there is no line except of infinity

Afghan youth protest treatment of immigrants in Germany

As part of NATO operations, Germany currently has 5,350 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, along with reconnaissance aircraft, armored vehicles, & artillery like howitzers & rocket launchers. It is one of the main contributors of troops & one of the main generators of massive human suffering, dislocation, & death to Afghanis. One would think therefore (in a sane world, that is), that the German government would recognize its responsibilities for the thousands of Afghan refugees, including unaccompanied minors, flooding Germany. As of 2009, the German government estimated there are over 126,000 Afghanis living in Germany (the largest Afghan community in Europe) with only 77,253 given “legal” status.

But of course, we don’t live in a sane world so there are international laws governing the  treatment of war refugees & in particular the treatment of children. There are UN asylum laws & EU asylum directives; all EU member states are signatories of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international framework for child protection. Lord knows, Afghan refugees (including hundreds of unaccompanied minors as young as 12) are traumatized, not just by nearly 30 years of war & occupation but by the migration Odyssey that includes a flight through Pakistan, Iran, & Turkey to Greece, sleeping outdoors, being hunted & maltreated by border guards, injuries, hunger, repeated confinement in detention camps in overcrowded & barbaric conditions, witnessing or experiencing racist attacks, & fear of deportation after all that. But when it comes to human rights, international law isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. That isn’t an overstatement; it’s an understatement.

Reviewing the maneuvers of Merkel & the Bundestag (which has only gone down hill after it supported WW1) on immigration & the humanitarian crisis faced by Afghans (& others, like Roma, who have EU status), one gets further documentation of the bankruptcy of modern parliamentary systems. The Bundestag writes 500-page laws that go nowhere; deny necessary social services to immigrants, including minors & the elderly, the infirm, & disabled; require German language proficiency to new migrants; deport single women & people up to 70-years-old back to a country where they no longer have family & without even the basic structures of social security; massively deport people back to a war zone which is hemorrhaging thousands of refugees per month. Considering the disastrous, life-threatening situation in Afghanistan, it is a crime against several human rights to deport any Afghan refugee back to their homeland.

The heartening news is that in every country where undocumented migration is an issue, there are active human rights & immigration rights groups, including Greece, Germany, & every European country. Such groups include Clandestina in Greece & Pro Asyl in Germany. These activists, students, people of all kinds work tirelessly to change laws, mobilize defense, & forge solidarity with the immigrants. In this photo, an Afghan refugee named Maiwand sits in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin during a hunger strike of 20 refugees from Iran & Afghanistan to demand changes in the treatment of refugees. It is at the Brandenburg Gate that John Kennedy gave his “Ich bin ein berliner” speech about tearing down the Berlin Wall & it appears Maiwand may have written those words on his umbrella. This action is reminiscent--actually, it is part of the same international movement--of undocumented youth in the US who risk deportation to protest the outrages of US immigration law. Immigration is a human right; tear down those damn walls. (Photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The truth of US aid to Haiti

So after all the laudations & baloney slung by the Clintons & their entourage of predators over the $300 million Caracol Industrial Park, here’s the real story: a woman in Port-au-Prince, Haiti grieves as her tent is flooded & pummeled by the deluge of Hurricane Sandy. She is one of almost one million Haitians still homeless after the January 2010 earthquake--nearly three years ago. The US has yet to build or repair a single home. Of the thousands of NGOs operating in Haiti, none has raised a public objection to the plunder--demonstrating that they more often play the role of facilitators of colonialism than ‘saviors to the poor’ as they pretend. Haitians have a proud political history as the first people to fight colonization & set up a Black republic in the western hemisphere. They don’t need saviors; they need our solidarity which means standing up against the US & its allied predators in Haiti. Haiti for the Haitians! (Photo by Dieu Nalio Chery/AP)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

An open letter to Obama & the women who will vote for him

Many of us just cannot get past the several wars & bombing sieges conducted & defended under the Obama regime to consider him the "lesser of two evils." Whether the other differences between him & Romney are microscopic or monumental, their mutual support for those wars & what they do to millions of human beings condemn them both as too malignant to vote for. This is a letter written by Trista Lee Hendren Løberg, who is a feminist & was a single mother when she supported Obama in 2008. Many will find her letter of great value. She has faced sharp criticism for publishing it; she deserves our respect & admiration.

Join the movement to end caste today!

"The idea of hoping to remove untouchability without destroying the caste system is an utter futility. The underlying idea that caste and untouchability are two different things is founded on a fallacy. The two are one and are inseparable..." - Dr B.R.Ambedkar

One of the most important political struggles in India is that against the caste system where Dalits & other oppressed castes, especially women & children, are subject to discrimination & violence of every kind. It's a historic struggle important for us to understand & support & many have the great fortune of Indian friends involved in the movement to annihilate caste & in educating us on its injustices & repugnancies. Here is an event people may want to know about (or attend if you live in India):

This website is a useful resource for understanding the struggle to destroy caste:

Haiti is open for plunder

Both of the Clintons joined Haitian president, Michel Martelly--along with a glamorous entourage of movie stars Sean Penn, Maria Bello, & Ben Stiller, fashion designer Donna Karan, model Petra Nemcova, British flyboy Richard Branson, USAID & State Department functionaries, bankers from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) & other investors--in the opening ceremony of the $300 million Caracol Industrial Park in northern, rural Haiti. According to media flattery, the work of both Clintons in Haiti--in particular this industrial park--will shape their political legacy. Damn straight it will! It already earns them a special place in hell & merits them a special tribunal for human rights crimes against the people of Haiti. But loathsome as the Clintons are, they are not down there in some rogue capacity; they are agents of US government policy.

After the January 2010 earthquake, US & other international power brokers moved swiftly to establish a decision-making system in Haiti which took all power out of the hands of Haitians & institutions run by & accountable to them. They set up the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) headed by Bill Clinton--not because of his organizing talents but because of his treachery. Michel Martelly was the IHRC candidate of choice to run for president in 2011. Martelly is a former honky-tonk singer, committed Duvalierist, & admitted participant in the Tonton Macoutes, paramilitary death squads Duvalier used in a reign of terror against political opponents: hundreds of thousands of people were disappeared, tortured, murdered, stoned, burned alive, their corpses put on display & often hung in trees. Family members who tried to remove the bodies for burial often disappeared themselves.

When the Clintons speak they are at pains to explain how they’re "working for the Haitians,” are "Haitian-led" & “helping the Haitian people to achieve their own dreams.” If that’s true they have to explain why this project is at odds not with the dreams but the expressed demands of the Haitian people. The Clintons, et al, explain this industrial park will bring up to 65,000 Haitian jobs. But of course, just to remove the earthquake rubble, find ways to reuse it, construct & repair homes, build sanitation systems, health clinics & schools would take even more workers--in the cities where they live & not in the countryside where they don’t. The IHRC has prioritized & fast-tracked infrastructure projects like this industrial park, highways, telecom, building the tourist industry, & privatizing public services not because these are the dreams of Haitians but because they suit the needs of international capital & exploitation which wants to turn Haiti into a Caribbean sweatshop.

Even a cursory look at this park project will expose the truth since it’s what’s not explained that damns the whole project: first of all, more than 300 small farmers were forcibly displaced from their holdings to make way for the industrial park; the Haitian government simply claimed the land as state property. It is prime agricultural land & environmentally essential. Turning it into a giant sweatshop reduces the already compromised ability of Haiti to produce food for its people, & the oil-burning power plant funded by USAID will destroy the environment.

The park’s anchor tenant is Sae-A, a South Korean garment company notorious & nearly run out of Guatemala on a rail for egregious labor violations, including violence against workers. They expect to pay workers $5 a day to make clothes for stores like Walmart & the Gap. In fact, Sae-A recently shipped its first order of Haitian-made garments to Walmart. They were persuaded to set up the sweat shop by walking into a ready-made factory with tax & tariff accommodations to make it super-profitable to them. Sean Penn, the willing stooge of US colonialism in Haiti, lauds Sae-A for their “maverick nature” but sycophants like him can’t distinguish the antisocial from the maverick. The only other tenant so far is Peintures Caraïbes, a Haitian paint manufacturer, who expects to hire 300 workers max. Their presence is a gesture to cover the colonialism of the whole project.

The reason Penn & the other movie stars are there is to help peddle this crap not just to Haitians but to the rest of us; the reason Karan is there is likely so she’ll get her ritzy clothes made there cheap; & the reason Branson is there is because building up tourism is part of the master plan for Haiti, which includes expansion of the Cap Haitien airport to accommodate international flights. Of course, this master plan was determined by international power brokers & predators, not subject to the voice of the Haitian people themselves. The good news is there are reports of massive protests in Port-au-Prince against the policies of Martelly & neoliberalism. Demand the US & its predatory allies get the hell out of Haiti; Haiti for & by the Haitians! (Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters)

'Homeland,' Obama’s Show

Joseph Massad
(Joseph Massad is Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia Uni)
The award winning TV show does little to alleviate the myths and misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims, writes author. 

If in the 1970s, American children were taught on the American children’s TV program “Sesame Street” that the word “danger” connotes “Arabs” by showing a drawing of an Arab with a headdress next to the word, a more recent and very popular American program titled “Homeland” hardly deviates from this formula, except to add that Arabs are so dangerous that even all-American White men can be corrupted by them and become equally dangerous to America. That Homeland (broadcast on the Showtime cable channel) is an American adaptation of an Israeli series titled Hatufim (Hostages) that airs on Israeli television station Channel 2 will surprise no one.
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Israeli TV admits: No rockets were ever fired from UNRWA schools in Gaza during “Cast Lead”

On 17 January 2009, Israeli forces bombed a school run by the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.
(Iyad El-Baba / UNRWA)
Another staple of Israeli propangada has been busted, as Israeli television has – years late – admitted that claims rockets were fired from UNRWA schools in Gaza were false.
UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, issued a statement yesterday, in eastern occupied Jerusalem, that says in part:
Israel’s highest-rating news programme, Channel Two News, has published a statement correcting false claims that rockets were fired from schools operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) during the Gaza war in 2008-2009. The statement makes clear that Israeli officials themselves acknowledged that such claims were false and that there was no evidence to support them.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein blasted both major-party candidates for having a “slave-like” mentality toward Israel

“This slave-like mentality toward Israel is absolutely unjustified,” Stein said. “We need to start raising the bar for Israel and holding them to an equal standard for supporting human rights and international law, and ending occupations and illegal settlements and apartheid.”
Stein’s remarks came at the tail end of her response to a question about U.S. foreign policy regarding Iran, in which she accused both President Barack Obama and and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, of sabre-rattling.
“They’re both vowing their obedience to the right-wing government in Israel, and they are both saying that they will stop at nothing, but that war will be the last resort,” Stein said. “So, once again we’re seeing shades of gray here between the Democratic and Republican candidates, but we’re not seeing what the American people really need and what international security really needs.”

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Baboon invasion

Alexandre Casias, a Canadian tourist from Montreal, watches his car raided by baboons on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. Imagine those wolf-like schnozzes, muscle-bound jaws, & big butts coming at you in a troop! You can tell yourself this is not funny & say no one should laugh at his terror & dismay but now we know he survived the ordeal, so laugh away! There’s no report on how the car fared--or how long yon Casias stayed in South Africa after they released him from the mental asylum. Hats off to a courageous man who will probably never visit South Africa again. (Photo by Schalk van Zuydam/AP)

Zionism: the nationalism of fools became an ideology of apartheid

According to a public survey reported on by Gideon Levy in Haaretz, most Israeli Jews support the establishment of an apartheid regime if Israel formally annexes the West Bank. Two-thirds say Palestinians in the West Bank should be denied the right to vote if annexed, three out of four support segregated roads for Israelis & Palestinians in the West Bank. Nearly six out of ten say Jews should be given preferential treatment over Palestinians in government jobs, 49% say Jews should be treated better than Arabs, 42% do not want to live in the same building as Arabs, & 42% do not want their children going to school with Arabs. Levy comments, “It’s good to live in this country, most Israelis say, not despite its racism, but perhaps because of it.”

In this photo, a Zionist settler, living illegally on stolen Palestinian land, throws wine on a passing Palestinian woman, in Hebron, West Bank. This is the monstrosity created by Zionism, originally the nationalism of fools & now an ideology of apartheid. It was based not just on an attempt to escape anti-Semitic persecution but on the conviction of ethnic superiority. There is no escape from oppression of any kind without human solidarity, without fraternity & sorority between all nationalities. If there is one thing the rancid ideology of Zionism shows us, it is that. That does not mean the oppressed & persecuted defer to the dominant groups to maintain phony harmony; it means engaging in conflict with them to obtain justice. (Photo by Rina Castelnuovo/NYTimes)

Palestinian cause gains ground in the American mainstream

Student and new media activism contribute a great deal in changing perceptions of what is happening on the ground.
Ahmad Moor-Al Jazeera
"Israeli apartheid has been permitted to metastasise unimpeded across Palestinian lives - and that has galvanised the human rights community," says author [EPA]
On Palestine, change is underway. Despite the best efforts of Binyamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama and John Boehner, the Palestinian cause is gaining ground in the American mainstream - a necessary step for changing the reality on the ground. Just how much we have gained was evident in downtown Manhattan in the first week of October.
The first Russell Tribunal was convened by Bertrand Russell in 1966 in opposition to the American war in Vietnam. Jean Paul-Sartre and Julio Cortazar were only two of about 30 Tribunal members who gathered to review evidence of war crimes. Their activism led to a condemnation of the war and a non-binding, but morally profound verdict finding that crimes against humanity had been committed."
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Four of five speakers pull out of UNESCO conference honoring Israel’s Peres at University of Connecticut

Electronic Intifada
A “human rights” conference at the University of Connecticut was in disarray after almost all the speakers pulled out. The Hartford Courant reports today:
Four of the five speakers scheduled to address a conference on human rights scheduled for [today] Tuesday at the University of Connecticut canceled Monday, with one of those speakers saying she would not come because the event was honoring Israeli President Shimon Peres.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Build the international antiwar movement!

This photo of US soldiers in Kuwait during the first Gulf War against Iraq (1990-91) goes a long way toward explaining why so many veterans suffer PTSD & why their suicide rate rivals that of combat deaths. This unit on grave detail is burying Iraqi bodies without even a semblance of decency or respect. Unless you’re a complete psychopath, this conduct will haunt your life without reprieve. One of the most poignant testimonies of the psychological damage done to veterans is “Bloods: Black Veterans of the Vietnam War: An Oral History,” where one soldier describes how his unit used Vietnamese farmers as target practice. When he returned to civilian life & faced what he had done, he was never able to restore trust in himself. He had become emotionally eviscerated.

After the Vietnam War, which antiwar veterans played a major role in opposing, the media reported on the “Vietnam Syndrome,” which was a deep, strong opposition in the US, shared by people around the world, to US military interventions. The media considered this opposition a malady, a social sickness with the potential of impeding future US wars. The international antiwar movement considered it an achievement. Media concern changed how they reported the many US wars after Vietnam, particularly in Central America during the 1980s. The changes included self-censorship & news blackouts. They termed these wars “low intensity warfare,” though of course for those countries under siege like Nicaragua & El Salvador, it was anything but low intensity. The new military strategies relied more on use of proxy armies & increased covert operations. Throughout these wars the antiwar movement remained active & strong.

The first Gulf War is when the full brutality of US military aggression was again deployed. But that war signified a turning point in antiwar opposition in the US. For several reasons which have never been sufficiently evaluated, the antiwar movement declined & has not recovered its strength while the number of US-NATO wars has increased. There are now wars, occupations, & bombing sieges in at least 7 countries (that we know of) along with increased covert activity. People in those countries are struggling heroically against the might of US-NATO barbarism. The philosopher, Spinoza, said “we study the past neither to weep nor to laugh, but to understand.” We need to assess why massive antiwar activity in the aggressing countries has declined at a time when it is more urgent than ever--& without resorting to that misanthropic “sheeple” stuff. Political activity always takes a beating during election years--which is why the ruling elite drag the damn things out so long. Meanwhile, we continue the patient work of building an international movement demanding immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO forces. (Photo by Peter Turnley)

Aint love grand!?

Child labor in Afghanistan

US & UN agencies report on the millions of dollars invested to strengthen the Afghan education system after the US-NATO occupation: new textbooks, upgraded curriculums, back-to-school programs, construction of new schools & repair of war-damaged schools, technical & vocational training. But who’s kidding who!? Despite all the blithering idiocy of the war propaganda, the condition of Afghan children has only worsened from the war. There are no reliable figures of civilian deaths from the US-NATO occupation because the occupying armies do not think Afghan lives & deaths worth noting. But one study several years ago found that over 40% of Afghan children had lost one or more parents in the war, forcing thousands of them to work to support themselves & their families. UNICEF estimates up to 30% of primary school age children are working, often as the sole support of their families. The emancipation of Afghan children depends on the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO troops. (Photo from Voices from Russia)

You need to have a dream, veteran U.S. civil rights activist tells Obama after visiting West Bank

Vincent Harding, a friend and associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, says Washington should reexamine its relationship with Israel in light of its 'official policy toward the indigenous Palestinian populace.
Amira Haas-Haaretz
Harding in A-Nabi Saleh. 
"To Americans his name is immediately connected with Dr. Martin Luther King, because Harding was a close friend and partner of this leader of the struggle for equal rights in the United States, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The 80-year-old historian and theologian, a native of Harlem and a believing Christian, wrote (and says ) in polite words that Obama's problem is that he was not sufficiently daring.
"I quoted somebody [in the letter] who mentioned Franklin D. Roosevelt. One of the ways he developed to serve the nation was that he was willing to go outside the traditional borders in search of advisors. He sought out advisors that nobody ever heard of, because he was willing to go out of the expected respectable ways.
"Obama was not able, was not free maybe to make those kinds of choices. Because, cautious man that he so often is, he probably didn't want to bring in too visible associates with him, too many people that would simply be counted as African Americans. I think he has continued to suffer from the paucity of creative inventiveness that deviate from the accepted norms.""
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Gideon Levy: Apartheid without shame or guilt / That’s just the way we are

We're racists, the Israelis are saying, we practice apartheid and we even want to live in an apartheid state. Yes, this is Israel.
Gideon Levy- Haaretz

As elections draw near, the season of public opinion surveys is upon us. But here is a survey that is more disturbing and significant in its revelations than those informing us whether Yair Lapid is taking off or Ehud Barak is crashing in the polls.
This one lays bare an image of Israeli society, and the picture is a very, very sick one. Now it is not just critics at home and abroad, but Israelis themselves who are openly, shamelessly, and guiltlessly defining themselves as nationalistic racists.
We're racists, the Israelis are saying, we practice apartheid and we even want to live in an apartheid state. Yes, this is Israel.
Among its terrifying results, the survey discovers a certain innocent candor. The Israelis admit this is what they are and they're not ashamed of it. Such surveys have been held before, but Israelis have never appeared so pleased with themselves, even when they admit their racism. Most of them think Israel is a good place to live in and most of them think this is a racist state.
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Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel

Survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews.
checkpoint - Nir Kafri - February 11 2011 
Gideon Levy-Haaretz

Most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formally annexes the West Bank.
A majority also explicitly favors discrimination against the state’s Arab citizens, a survey shows.
The survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews. The survey was commissioned by the New Israel Fund’s Yisraela Goldblum Fund and is based on a sample of 503 interviewees.
The questions were written by a group of academia-based peace and civil rights activists. Dialog is headed by Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs.

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 percent don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.
A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.
A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. A quarter – 24 percent – believe separate roads are “a good situation” and 50 percent believe they are “a necessary situation.”
Almost half – 47 percent – want part of Israel’s Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority and 36 percent support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the PA, in exchange for keeping some of the West Bank settlements.
Although the territories have not been annexed, most of the Jewish public (58 percent ) already believes Israel practices apartheid against Arabs. Only 31 percent think such a system is not in force here. Over a third (38 percent ) of the Jewish public wants Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them, while 48 percent object.
The survey distinguishes among the various communities in Israeli society – secular, observant, religious, ultra-Orthodox and former Soviet immigrants. The ultra-Orthodox, in contrast to those who described themselves as religious or observant, hold the most extreme positions against the Palestinians. An overwhelming majority (83 percent ) of Haredim are in favor of segregated roads and 71 percent are in favor of transfer.
The ultra-Orthodox are also the most anti-Arab group – 70 percent of them support legally barring Israeli Arabs from voting, 82 percent support preferential treatment from the state toward Jews, and 95 percent are in favor of discrimination against Arabs in admission to workplaces.
The group classifying itself as religious is the second most anti-Arab. New immigrants from former Soviet states are closer in their views of the Palestinians to secular Israelis, and are far less radical than the religious and Haredi groups. However, the number of people who answered “don’t know” in the “Russian” community was higher than in any other.
The Russians register the highest rate of satisfaction with life in Israel (77 percent ) and the secular Israelis the lowest – only 63 percent. On average, 69 percent of Israelis are satisfied with life in Israel.
Secular Israelis appear to be the least racist – 68 percent of them would not mind having Arab neighbors in their apartment building, 73 percent would not mind Arab students in their children’s class and 50 percent believe Arabs should not be discriminated against in admission to workplaces.
The survey indicates that a third to half of Jewish Israelis want to live in a state that practices formal, open discrimination against its Arab citizens. An even larger majority wants to live in an apartheid state if Israel annexes the territories.
The survey conductors say perhaps the term “apartheid” was not clear enough to some interviewees. However, the interviewees did not object strongly to describing Israel’s character as “apartheid” already today, without annexing the territories. Only 31 percent objected to calling Israel an “apartheid state” and said “there’s no apartheid at all.”
In contrast, 39 percent believe apartheid is practiced “in a few fields”; 19 percent believe “there’s apartheid in many fields” and 11 percent do not know.
The “Russians,” as the survey calls them, display the most objection to classifying their new country as an apartheid state. A third of them – 35 percent – believe Israel practices no apartheid at all, compared to 28 percent of the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities, 27 percent of the religious and 30 percent of the observant Jews who hold that view. Altogether, 58 percent of all the groups believe Israel practices apartheid “in a few fields” or “in many fields,” while 11 percent don’t know.
Finally, the interviewees were asked whether “a famous American author [who] is boycotting Israel, claiming it practices apartheid” should be boycotted or invited to Israel. About half (48 percent ) said she should be invited to Israel, 28 percent suggest no response and only 15 percent call to boycott her.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Zionist testimonies from 1948

Yerachmiel Kahanovich described how he had dug a hole in the wall of the Dahmash Mosque in the center of Lydda, where more than 150 Palestinians had taken shelter, and shot an anti-tank shell through it. Asked what had happened to the Palestinians, he said they were all crushed against the walls by the pressure from the blast.

Israeli military attack Gaza-bound ship, Estelle, in international waters

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gore Vidal on "philosopher" Ayn Rand. Scathing!

"This odd little woman is attempting to give a moral sanction to greed and self interest, and to pull it off she must at times indulge in purest Orwellian newspeak of the “freedom is slavery” sort. What interests me most about her is not the absurdity of her “philosophy,” but the size of her audience (in my campaign for the House she was the one writer people knew and talked about). She has a great attraction for simple people who are puzzled by organized society, who object to paying taxes, who dislike the “welfare” state, who feel guilt at the thought of the suffering of others but who would like to harden their hearts. For them, she has an enticing prescription: altruism is the root of all evil, self-interest is the only good, and if you’re dumb or incompetent that’s your lookout."
"Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society. Moral values are in flux. The muddy depths are being stirred by new monsters and witches from the deep. Trolls walk the American night. Caesars are stirring in the Forum. There are storm warnings ahead. But to counter trolls and Caesars, we have such men as Lewis Mumford whose new book, The City in History, inspires. He traces the growth of communities from Neolithic to present times. He is wise. He is moral: that is, he favors right action and he believes it possible for us to make things better for us (not “me”!). He belongs to the currently unfashionable line of makers who believe that if something is wrong it can be made right, whether a faulty water main or a faulty idea. May he flourish!"
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Roger Waters' (Pink Floyd) statement in Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Tribunal epilogue.

The JNF( Jewish National Fund) is starting to pay the price for dispossessing the Bedouin

 "Simon Rocker, a writer for the Jewish Telegraph, which is one of the most important and widely distributed newspapers in the Jewish community in Britain, published a piece on October 12 on the dramatic drop in donations to JNF-UK. In 2011, JNF-UK lost more than 50% of income generated by donations, investments and inheritances—from 5,1 million pounds sterling in 2010 to a little more than 2,4 million pounds in 2011. As part of this drop, direct donations to JNF-UK dropped by 1 million pounds."
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Destruction of the Bedouins in Israel

Courtesy of the Jewish National fund which wants their lands to "plant trees"..

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Israeli settlers launch assault on Palestinian agriculture

Ruth Pollard (The Age)

A Palestinians demonstrator is restrained by an Israeli soldier as he tries to reach Palestinian lands to pick grape and olive trees, near the fence of the Israeli settlement of Karmi Tsour, north of the West Bank town of Hebron. Photo: AFP

TWO weeks into the West Bank’s annual olive harvest, Israeli settlers have destroyed hundreds of trees and attacked Palestinian farmers in what rights groups warn is a dangerous escalation of violence.
Settlers uprooted 300 trees in al-Mughir and Turmusaya villages, cut down 120 trees in Nablus, destroyed 100 olive saplings and 60 vine trees in al-Khader village, uprooted 40 trees in Ras Karkar and assaulted at least four Palestinian farmers, three of whom had to be taken to hospital, the Palestinian Authority reported.
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