Thursday, January 31, 2013

US out of Africa!

Before I saw the photo of these beautiful children, I didn't know there was a country called Central African Republic (I'm American; we're deliberately kept stupid about geography)--or that it was in the bulls-eye of US & European military aggression in Africa--situated in a gold, diamond, & oil rich area. But now we know why they're beginning to deploy US Marines in the region--for purposes of expropriation, grand larceny & savagery. For US oligarchs, these sweet children are objects of profit. For the rest of us, they are reason to fight for a better world suitable for them to live & love in. (Photo from Mercy Corps)

Beware US population control programs

It’s all over the news today (although it’s been going on for several months) that unspecified “Islamic militants” in Pakistan are threatening health workers administering the polio vaccine to children. These zealots claim the health practitioners are actually spies for the US. And that may be over the top. They also claim the vaccine is intended to sterilize Muslim children. Now whatever on earth would give them that idea!? What could possibly make them so paranoid!? Why such distrust of the US medical & pharmaceutical establishment!?

Could it be the numerous syphilis “studies” done by US health agencies on Black veterans & Guatemalan women? Might it be eugenics & forced sterilization programs on Latina, Native American, Black, & Puerto Rican women--which continue to this day without the women’s knowledge or consent? Might it be the US eugenics programs conducted all over the African continent? Or could it be that poor people in other countries, most prominently India, are now guinea pigs for drug testing by US & European drug companies?

Racist eugenics, under the guise of population control, has been a focus of US policy domestically & overseas for decades. Some of the most despicable figures in US science & medicine have promoted & administered these programs which the US government bankrolls. These programs aggressively contracept, sterilize, & abort millions of women. They are coercive & racist & flout the fundamental right of women to control their own reproductive lives--including the right to have children.

India & African countries have always been prime targets of the eugenicists. The explanation given for extreme poverty in those countries is that there are too many babies--& that lying-assed theory is promoted at the highest levels of government & pseudoscience. The problem in those countries is not babies but local oligarchs & predatory nations who extract wealth at the expense of the working poor.

US eugenics & population control programs have been called a holocaust & that is exactly what they are. The unidentified “Islamic militants” in Pakistan are absolutely right to question vaccination programs & every other US bankrolled program that pumps unspecified chemicals into Pakistani babies.

The women’s movement in the 1970s raised the issue of eugenics & forced sterilization & put itself at odds with eugenics/population control forces. Regrettably, much of the opposition today is from opponents of reproductive freedom who promote false science & alarmist conspiracies to mask their right-wing agenda. Advocates of women’s right to reproductive freedom must wrest the debate back from these creeps & place women’s rights firmly in the center of the debate.

 (Photo is of Pakistani child being vaccinated: by Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

Israel fails to show up at mandatory UN human rights review

Adri Nieuwhof (Electronic Intifada)
 Despite pressure from the US, Israel has boycotted the review of its human rights situation which was scheduled for today. All UN member states are required to undergo such Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) by the Human Rights Council. It is the first time that a state has refused to cooperate in this mandatory review process without giving a reason. Until now, all countries have attended, including Syria and North Korea.
However, the council has not let Israel off the hook. It unanimously agreed — supported by the US — to defer the review until its next session in October and November at the latest.
Israel’s boycott follows the decision to cut its working relations with the UN Human Rights Council in March last year in response to the council’s decision to investigate Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Read more

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Solidarity with Egyptian women protestors

Public protest in Egypt has crescendoed over the past several months in response to the allocation of dictatorial powers by the Morsi regime, the exclusion of human & democratic rights in the new constitution, the continuing dominance of the Egyptian military, & continuing police brutality against protestors. Hundreds of thousands of people are defying martial law & reasserting the demands of the January 25, 2011 uprising that bounced the dictator Mubarak. As of Sunday, over 40 people had been killed & 500 injured in police assaults on the protestors. This is a political resurgence of the greatest consequence to those struggling against tyranny around the world.

One of the most reported stories coming from the massive resurgence is about the violent sexual assaults on women in Tahrir Square, Cairo. In a typical attack, a mob of men surround an isolated woman, collectively grope, manhandle, & strip the woman, endanger her, & in some instances rape her--regardless of whether her attire is secular or Islamic. Over the past months, activist men & women have formed groups & squads to intervene, rescue the victims & provide services to them in safe houses. One of the most prominent groups is Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment (OpAntiSH), set up last November.

This is all very disturbing news which could lend credence to the Morsi regime claim that the protestors are thugs trying to bring down the new democracy. It could even make credible the Islamophobic claim that rampant sexual harassment is endemic to Arab & Egyptian culture. Some media report these assaults as spontaneous outbursts of mob violence akin to the everyday street harassment women face in Egypt. There is no question that sexual aggression & violence is a problem in Egypt. As we know from assault & rape rates from the US to India to Egypt, sexual violence & harassment is a massive social problem in every country.

OpAntiSH & other activist groups are cogent & unambiguous in their statements that  the attacks on women do not appear to be hordes of spontaneously combusting misogynists but rather paid & armed assailants targeting women to deter them from participating in the protests--in other words, most likely police agents. From the beginning of the Egyptian uprising, women have played a central role & terrorizing them by making Tahrir Square dangerous not only weakens the power of the movement but discredits it before the world.

OpAntiSH activists are not simply engaging in conspiracy thinking. In monitoring the attacks they have observed a pattern--in terms of location, encirclement of isolated women, method of assault, & the use of weapons--that bear a remarkable resemblance to attacks by police agents under both the Mubarak & Morsi regimes. That would explain the complete inaction by the state despite appeals from the UN & groups like Human Rights Watch. It is certainly not irrelevant that along with this inaction, the new Egyptian constitution explicitly excludes rights for women.

But we don’t have to rely just on the judgement of OpAntiSH or other political & women’s rights activists in Egypt. For several days in the fall of 2011, the entire world witnessed aghast as the Egyptian military & police physically & sexually assaulted women protestors--stripping, beating, manhandling, & dragging them through the streets by their hair. There are numerous photos but those here (from Nov 2011) are among the most outrageous & memorable.

Most of the media accounts cite the authority of OpAntiSH on the assaults but many neglect to include their judgement that the attacks on women are most likely organized by police agents.You can bet your bottom dollar this omission is in the service of Islamophobia in order to discredit & undermine support for the Egyptian uprising.

To such rubbish our response is fullest solidarity with our Egyptian sisters & with the Egyptian uprising against tyranny. End all US aid to the Morsi regime! (Top photo: Reuters photo; bottom photo: AFP/Getty Images)

OpAntiSH Twitter account:
OpAntiSH Facebook:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Did Israel violate the Genocide Convention by forcing contraceptives on Ethiopian women?

Ali Abunimah (Electronic Intifada)
After initial denials, Israel has admitted that medical authorities have been giving Ethiopian women long-term contraceptive drugs and it has been alleged that this was done without the women’s consent.
If the allegations are proven, this practice may fit the legal definition of genocide.
The government has now ordered clinics not to renew prescriptions for the long-acting injectable contraceptive drug Depo-Provera “for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”
Read more

Betty Windsor's not going anywhere until the undertaker comes

Imagine the delight to wake to the news that Betty is abdicating her throne--only to have delight turn to dust that it turned out to be Betty of the Netherlands (most moochocrats don’t have last names to disguise their often discredited & questionable parentage) & not Betty Windsor. And just as regrettable, Betty of the Netherlands is only stepping aside for her middle-aged son rather than eschewing the ancient barbarism of feudalism.

England’s royal watchers (they’re called sycophants or ass-kissers in the rest of the world) are speculating up a storm about whether Betty of England will follow suit & cede the throne to Chucky. Many say this unlikely since the 1936 abdication of Eddie VIII to marry Walleyed Simpson created such a stink in the realm. Does that explanation make sense to anyone!? Others say Betty considers queenship a spiritual responsibility & a lifelong commitment but that explanation only appeals to halfwits & royal watchers.

Let’s be frank even if it hurts Chucky’s feelings since--to a guy who says he loves his wife “whatever love is”--those feelings are not likely to run deep. Betty may be a mooch but she’s no damn fool (except when it comes to Phil, her “anus horribilis”). The moochocracy is  more secure if Chucky continues to play the ponies & is kept away from matters of state & grand larceny of the royal sort. Regrettably Chucky is even more stupid than President Bush (either one of them) & that’s the price paid by those who do nothing but feed at the trough of moochocracy.

Here Betty is shaking hands with Chucky at a jubilee celebration last year. Well it could be asked, “who in the hell shakes hands with their mother instead of kissing her?” And vice versa! That’s how we know Betty Windsor isn’t going anywhere until the undertaker comes.  (Photo by Joel Ryan/AP)

No US military aid to Bahrain!

This isn’t the best photo of this funeral/protest in Daih, Bahrain but it best reveals the defiance & courage of the Bahrain revolution. The funeral is for Qassim Habib Marzooq, an 8-year-old child with special needs who died from respiratory problems he developed from the excessive use of tear gas by riot cops.

The treacherous duo of super-cops John Timoney & John Yates were hired by the regime to destroy the revolution by extreme violence & repression. One of the methods they employ is called “carpet gassing” in residential areas. Many have been sickened or killed as a result.

Meanwhile the lesser evil Obama regime continues to fund the Bahrain military. In 2010, they provided $20 million in military aid to a country of 500,000 people who are not under siege by other countries. In 2011 the Obama regime lobbied for $53 million in arms sales to Bahrain but was blocked by the US Congress. So instead they supplied aid in equipment & spare parts along with training the Bahrain military & riot cops. The US aid is disguised as support for the US 5th fleet occupying the region.

Human rights violations against protestors are so egregious that several conservative human rights NGOs appealed to Hillary Clinton last September to suspend US aid. Claiming that none of the equipment is used for crowd control, upfront US military aid was resumed in 2012. No US aid to Bahrain! Bring the 5th fleet home!  (Photo by Mazen Mahdi/EPA)

Protestors in Bangladesh demand justice for garment workers

Protestors in Savar, Bangladesh are here performing a play to dramatize their demand for justice for victims of the November 2012 Tazreen factory fire. The fire killed 112 workers, including women & children, & injured 150 others. The bodies of 52 victims were charred beyond recognition & wrapped only in cloth were dumped & buried in a mass grave. About 700 garment workers have been killed in dozens of fires in Bangladesh since 2006. Not a single owner has been prosecuted. The owner of Tazreen was questioned by police after survivors of the fire reported they were barred from leaving the factory when the fire broke out. But he has not been arrested or charged with mass murder.

These protestors are demanding punishment for the owner & compensation for the victims’ families since many were unable to give their loved ones proper burial. We can show our solidarity with the victims & their families by boycotting Walmart & Sears. The clothing lines of mega-millionaire US rap singer Sean Combs were also made there so add the clothing lines “Sean John” &  "Sean by Sean Combs" to your boycott. (Photo by A.M. Ahad/AP)

Egypt: new regime/same as the old

Protestors in Cairo are here dismantling one of the cement walls the regime has built all over the city to frustrate & contain political protests. Massive protests are going on all over Egypt. President Morsi, wagging his finger at the cameras, imposed a state of emergency in towns along the Suez Canal & the military deployed there, ostensibly to protect commerce traffic on the canal. But General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the military, is making veiled threats of military deployment against protestors in other cities who are now being attacked by riot cops. In response, defiant crowds are chanting, "Down, down with Mohammed Morsi! Down, down with the state of emergency,” & “Leave means go, & don't say no!"

There are 80 million Egyptians. How many did the new regime/same as the old think they were kidding when their new constitution juridically formalized the independence of the military!? They had to use election fraud to get the thing passed. Who does the regime think they’re outfoxing when they still accept $1.3 billion (including tanks & jet fighters) in military aid from the US!? Some Zionist media have expressed concern this arsenal will be used against Israel but of course the US provides it only because Morsi will maintain the same relationship to Israel as the Mubarak regime--as a flank & a proxy for the US military & as a battering ram against the Palestinians if need be.

Our fullest solidarity with the protestors in Egypt & our greatest respect for their courage & intransigence. End all US aid to the Morsi regime!  (Photo by Hussein Tallal/AP)

"It is not considered racist in Israel to discriminate against 20 percent of the population"

Mairav Zonszein
What Yair Lapid's anti-Zoabi comments reveal about Israeli politics
"It is not considered racist in Israel to discriminate against 20 percent of the population and the millions more living in the occupied West Bank. It is considered the self-determination of the Jewish people."

Cartoon by the legendary Gerald Scarfe in London's Sunday Times stirs furor among Jewish groups ( Yawn..).

In Haaretz:

Four reasons why U.K. cartoon of Netanyahu isn't anti-Semitic in any way

"Netanyahu's depiction is grossly offensive and unfair but that is only par for the course for any politician when cartoonist Scarfe is at his drawing-board."

Murdoch owner of the paper apologises for "grotesque" cartoon:

'Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times,' Rupert Murdoch tweeted in response to criticism by Jewish groups, who said the drawing was reminiscent of anti-Semitic blood libels.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Peace laureates my ass!

Am going to Chicago in a few months to do some research & thought it would be fun to look up the women I was in a novitiate with for a few years after graduating high school. To a working class kid with no money & no dreams, graduation looked like the Cliffs of Moher: a 600 foot drop. So I became a novice in an order which worked with children who had learning disabilities since I love kids & was especially interested in those with learning problems.

It was a conservative order of Italian peasants become nuns; I don’t say that haughtily since options were surely more limited for young women farmers in Italy during the 1940s than they were for a working class woman in the 1960s. The order didn’t take a liking to me since I refused to use physical force on the children & intervened repeatedly when other nuns would beat a child. I was soon removed from child care & assigned to the kitchen to be trained as a cook. My family never could afford meat & I had never seen it raw. Confronted with giant cow tongues, the rancid smell of powdered eggs, & institutional cooking affronted all my hopes for my life & set me on a collision course with the abbess.

At that time, the Vietnam war was becoming public & one of my older brothers was shipped there in a Marine unit. I was concerned about him & the war so I would get newspapers the chaplain left in the kitchen, turn to articles on the war, & read while I peeled potatoes. Another novice serving in the kitchen named Sr. Arlene was a misanthropic & constipated personality with a disturbing dark side & a particular disapproval of me--who she snortingly called “the wayward novice” & (inexplicably) “a female Elmer Gantry.” She once described to me her visit to a home for the offspring of human & animal matings. (Even with a high schoolers understanding of biology I knew she was talking through her ass.) She reported me to the abbess for reading the newspapers & I was called on the carpet & ordered to never read them again.

I never did read the papers again but every morning before my kitchen duties I was sent to the chaplain’s house accompanied by a monitor to clean his toilet. That was a punishment for openly detesting him since he told the abbess I wasn’t smart enough to go to college for nursing or teaching. I still gloat today that I never once cleaned his stinking latrine. I would lock the door, put the toilet seat down, flush & run the faucet, & read Time & Newsweek (which he kept in a rack on the door) on the Vietnam war--a Jesuitical but useful distinction between the spirit & the letter of the vow of obedience.

Soon enough I left the joint, sent home only in a shabby over-sized dress from Sears & wearing my nun shoes. Within the year I was marching against the war. But I loved many of my fellow novices & went to visit them a few times when antiwar conferences were held in Chicago. My Carmelite younger sister told me they were still using photos of me with the children to recruit at nun conferences years after I left.

So this is the hilarious part--showing that life is filled with many unintended sarcasms. As I searched the order’s website to see if any of my friends are still in Chicago, I found out that our snitching, mean-spirited, & still in need of prunes-faced Sr. Arlene is now a superior in Manila, Philippines & in 2005 won the Gusi International Peace Prize. Now do you see how Obomba won the Nobel Peace Prize!? Now do you see why it’s foolish to take these prizes seriously!? Sr. Arlene, who had a dozen other character flaws I haven’t bothered to mention (but if you goad me just a little I’ll be glad to elaborate) got a peace prize when she didn’t have a serene bone in her body! God bless her & may hell receive her graciously!

(Sr. Arlene is the nun in the middle in an outfit they couldn’t have ordered me to wear.)

Updating the NRA way

Gable cartoonist- Globe and Mail. Toronto.

Bring the troops home now!

Placing US women in combat is not an idea whose time has come. Nor is it a step forward for women's rights. The Pentagon is likely making this concession to increase personnel for its many wars & occupations. During the 1970s & the Vietnam war there was discussion of including women in the draft--which many liberal feminists lauded despite massive antiwar opposition to the draft for men.

The point is not to increase US fighting capability but to oppose & end it. The US military is not a force for democracy but the enforcer of colonialism & tyranny. To train young women as killers & to inculcate them with racist hatred so they can shoot without scruples is an abomination which will have serious antisocial consequences. The testimony of (male) antiwar veterans speaks to the psychological & social damage of participating in colonial slaughter.

End the wars! End the drone attacks! Bring the troops home now!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Then and now..

Oscar-nominated Palestinian film 'Five Broken Cameras' shocksIsraeli youth. They "didn't know".

Bringing 'Five Broken Cameras' to Israeli youth
Bringing the award winning film “Five Broken Cameras” that tells the inspiring and engaging story of a Palestinian non-violent movement to Israeli youth.

The award-winning documentary “Five Broken Cameras” tells the story of Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer, who in 2005 picks up a camera to film the nonviolent movement that erupted in his village, Bil’in, to stop the confiscation of their lands. For the next 6 years, Emad documented the growing movement, which was joined by Israeli and international peace activists. He also filmed his private life, his family and especially his son Gibreel who was growing up in this violent reality. Emad partnered with Israeli filmmaker and activist Guy Davidi to create this inspiring and engaging film.
“Five Broken Cameras” achieved major worldwide success due to its sensitive tone and sincere storytelling. It was shortlisted for the 2013 Oscars; won 30 awards worldwide including Sundance Film Festival 2012 Directing Award, International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) Audience Award and Jury Mention and Best Documentary in Michael Moore’s Documentary Festival in Traverse City.
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Ramzi Baroud: Discourse of the Arab Spring

Abused and misused, the “Arab Spring” has now become a concept around which international powers vie as imperial politics unfolds
Ramzi Baroud for Al-Ahram

A reductionist discourse is one that selectively tailors its reading of subject matters in such a way as to only yield desired outcomes, leaving little or no room for other inquiries, no matter how appropriate or relevant. The so-called “Arab Spring”, although now far removed from its initial meanings and aspirations, has become just that: a breeding ground for choosy narratives solely aimed at advancing political agendas that are deeply entrenched with regional and international involvement.
When a despairing Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, lit himself on fire on 17 December 2010, he ignited more than a mere revolution in his country. His excruciating death gave birth to a notion that the psychological expanses between despair and hope, death and rebirth and between submissiveness and revolution are ultimately connected. His act, regardless of what adjective one may use to describe it, was the key that Tunisians used to unlock their ample reserve of collective power. President Zein Al-Abidine bin Ali’s decision to step down on 14 January 2011, was in a sense a rational assessment on his part if one is to consider the impossibility of confronting a nation that had in its grasp a true popular revolution.
Egypt also revolted less than two weeks later. And it was then that Tunisia’s near-ideal revolutionary model became prey for numerous, often selective readings and ultimately for utter exploitation. The Egyptian January 25 Revolution was the first Arab link between Tunisia and the upheavals that travelled throughout Arab nations. Some were quick to ascribe the phenomenon with all sorts of historical, ideological and even religious factors thereby making links whenever convenient and overlooking others, however apt. The Al-Jazeera Arabic website still has a map of all Arab countries, with ones experiencing revolutionary influx marked in red.

A Kurdish child in Iran

Remember this little girl? She’s a Kurdish child on a rooftop in Palangan, Iran, a near-vertical village showing the immense inventiveness of human beings in creating habitats. In the US saber-rattling against Iran she is one of the innocent victims whose lives will be torn asunder. Stop the US threats against Iran! It is up to the people of Iran to settle scores with their oppressive government. (Photo by Amos Chapple)

Anniversary of the historic Egyptian uprising

Today is the second anniversary of the historic Egyptian uprising that overthrew US-bankrolled dictator, Hosni Mubarak. This is the scene today in Cairo as opponents of president Mohammed Morsi (who has  not broken with US control) confront riot cops. Many look at this scene & see defeat for the forces of social transformation (now apparently reduced to a rag-tag band of zealots) against the well-armed, US-backed forces of repression. Cynicism is never a wise gauge in political determinations.

Political conflict of such an extreme nature as the Egyptian uprising separates the wheat from the chaff, the committed from the half-hearted & teaches thousands of activists in the relentless school of revolution what works & what does not--and this is not to minimize the extreme danger the Egyptian freedom fighters face.

Now we know for sure that social transformation of the kind demanded by the Arab uprisings does not come easy & is not only local. It is an international movement. But despite the set-backs & confusions & weaknesses of the Egyptian revolution, we also know for sure that our Egyptian brothers & sisters have set a dynamic in motion that will not be reversed nor will it be daunted by drones, the CIA, the US State Department, the Pentagon. That dynamic is the power of united, massive, fearless opposition to tyranny. And as the  US taxpayers who bankroll these monstrous institutions, we can only trust that our solidarity with our Egyptian brothers & sisters will help to bring this tyranny to an end. (Photo by Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)

Don't mess with beauty!

Those who find Picasso’s art misogynist & dismembering of women often face the wrath of art professors who see nothing but brilliance. The professors have forgotten that the power of art is visual & visceral & does not bend to the decorums of sycophancy.

There are those who claim that fashion runways which efface women to make us appear hybrid & zombi monsters are just missing the point of fashion & lack a sense of humor to boot. Only a feminazi could miss the irony in this image, right!?

Let’s set the record straight! When you make a woman’s beautiful face look like a horse’s ass you’re expressing misogyny & not style--and maybe you should consider dressing ponies at the state fair rather than messing with the natural beauty of all women. (Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

Dignity comes first; style second!

When the price of au couture is human dignity it’s time to start shopping retro & second-hand. Women are accustomed (though not reconciled) to being treated like effaced mannequins on fashion runways but more & more often men are showing up as Little Lord Fauntleroy & fool. One word of advice to the wise: if a suitor shows up on your doorway dressed in this attire & looking constipated, you are not wrong to ignore the doorbell. (Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images)

Separated at birth!?

Donald Trump & conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson: separated at birth!?

You would think nature would recognize its mistake after the birth of Trump but instead it went on to repeat it in the birth of Johnson.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


A Los Angeles-based state appeals court just overturned a rape conviction because a woman who was raped in her sleep by a man impersonating her boyfriend is unmarried. The victim, who at first thought the man was her boyfriend, tried to stop him once she regained consciousness enough to realize he was an imposter. However, because the woman and her boyfriend are not a married couple, her rapist will walk away without penalty: The court said that its decision is based on a California law stating that tricking a victim into sex by impersonation only counts as rape if the victim is married.


The Wall Street Journal calls this Hellary Clinton’s “resolute” face. The rest of us see it as having a more rabid character--fitting her role as the enforcer for US aggression. In any case, it’s her at her most real & odious as she warns about the threat of growing militancy since the Arab uprisings. That threat of course is the hope of the future. To paraphrase Che Guevara: "Create two, three, many Arab uprisings!?   (Photo by Pete Marovich/European Pressphoto Agency)

HHHHairy on war in Afghanistan

How often in life does a feminist find herself agreeing with the Taliban!? But when they accuse HHHHairy of mental problems for comparing the US-NATO slaughter in Afghanistan to playing PlayStation and Xbox they have their hands on the pulse of imperialism. How odious is that!?

The inarticulate little puke admits the only thing in his entire life worth redeeming is his thumbs which he uses to play video games. Well he’s wrong about that too. Buckingham boasts he’s now completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan--most of which he spent playing soccer & video games in a drunken stupor. HHHHairy says the war was a “hell of an experience.” Wait ‘til the moochocracy is booted & the little creep has to get a real job. Thumbs don’t make you eligible for much but cleaning toilets would be a suitable entry level position. (Caricature from William Rudling)

Eviction in Nepal

This poignant photo is of a little boy holding his baby sister after riot cops in Kathmandu, Nepal forcibly evicted mostly Dalit families who had set up an “illegal” settlement in an area targeted for gentrification (in May 2012). It is one of the memorable moments from 2012 captured by photojournalists. The government of Nepal is heralded by many who call themselves socialists because it calls itself socialist. But you can’t play ball with the IMF, World Bank, & international agribusiness & prioritize human welfare at the same time. Something has to give. And if it’s human housing, health care, & well-being then what’s the point of being socialist!? Before the word, there is the deed!  (Photo by Bikash Dware/Reuters)

The scourge of child labor

Reposting this article I wrote on child labor for Wisdom Blow in January 2012. It is increasing exponentially as capitalism continues its decline into barbarism. The manicured patricians who run multinational corporations exploiting children as miners, garment workers, farm workers, sex slaves have no scruples because racism is a fundamental component of child labor--along with the economic compulsion to drive down the political power of adult labor. Child labor is an intolerable scourge for humanity & must be actively opposed.

There are many wrenching images of child laborers from around the world but this photo is of a child farm worker in the US. Last year, the lesser evil Obama regime demolished legislation to protect child farm workers from the violent predations of agribusiness. There are an estimated 800,000 (mostly Mexican) children working with pesticides, dangerous tools, livestock in the US. Lesser evil Obama made it illegal to ever again attempt to even monitor such labor practices.

This post is a tribute to the child garment workers who lost their lives in the November 2012 Tazreen garments factory fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Their sweet lives were incinerated so Walmart & Sears could make a killing in Christmas sales. May these little brothers & sisters RIP. And may we memorialize them appropriately by boycotting those stores & doing everything in our power to end child labor. That will require giving feudalism & capitalism a rocket to oblivion.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stolen Books, Stolen Identity: What Did Israel Do with Palestinians’ Literary Heritage?

Since 2010 we've been tracking The Great Book Robbery, the documentary by Israeli-Dutch director Benny Brunner, including here and here. But nothing quite prepared me for Nora Lester Murad's review Stolen Books, Stolen Identity: What Did Israel Do with Palestinians’ Literary Heritage? as she captured the audience reaction at the first screening in Palestine last week with almost 150 people in attendance.
One of the Palestinians opens a book and finds “Khalil Sakakini” written by hand in the inside cover. He gasps. The audience watching the film, crammed into the basement floor of Educational Bookshop on Salah Al-Din Street in Jerusalem, is captivated.  I crane my neck to see past the tall woman in front of me. The importance of this book, a one-time possession of one of the Arab world’s most important educators and nationalists, jumps off the screen. I feel an unspoken sadness in the room as we grasp the reality: This priceless piece of Palestinian heritage, and so many others, is held by Israel’s National Library.
During the discussion that followed the film, he [Brunner] also made the point that rare manuscripts (estimated by a knowledgeable member of the audience as numbering around 50,000, originating from 56 libraries in and around Jerusalem) are not included in the estimates and are totally unaccounted for. There are rare Palestinian manuscripts in the collection at the National Library, but they are not accessible by the general public. There are also rare Palestinian manuscripts at Hebrew University.
“We should remember,” Brunner added, “the film only addresses books that were stolen in 1948. We don’t know the details of what happened in 1967, though we do know there is a pattern of Israeli looting of Palestinian books, photographs and archives, including the PLO archives in Lebanon.”
To prove this point, a member of the audience later told me that a rare copy of Palestine in Pictures from the early 1920s was confiscated by the Israelis when her father crossed Allenby Bridge from Jordan in 1987 after he waited five hours to get it back. He finally asked for and was given a receipt for his book, but as history proves, documentation does not necessarily lead to restitution. The only other copy the owner knows of is in Bodleian Library at Oxford University

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The obtuse Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal really needs to fire whoever writes the captions to their photos. Do they actually think this caption is appropriate for a photo showing an 11-year-old girl working in the unhealthy & dangerous environs of a brick factory!?

“TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK: Neeta, 11 years old, helped her father as she carried material to be used in a kiln at a brickyard on the outskirts of Kota, India, Tuesday.”

My letter of complaint suggested that an editor with such callous indifference & ignorance might better serve emptying waste baskets.

(Photo by Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

US out of Yemen!

This is the time of year when media publish albums of the most striking photojournalist images of the past year. Many are worth reposting.

This photo from March 2012 is of 12-year-old Saleem al-Harazi held by his mother in Sana, Yemen. Saleem lost both eyes when he was shot by a government sniper as he protested against the US-backed dictatorship in March 2011. (That was during the term of lesser evil Obama.)

This young boy is a reminder of what millions of people around the world endure in the struggle against tyranny & for democracy: debilitating injuries, torture & death. With his assaults on the US Bill of Rights, including the NDAA, this is what lesser evil Obama is trying to institute in the US. It’s time to get beyond the idiotic smooch-fest of the inaugural & start holding the Obama regime to account! US out of Yemen! Stop supporting the dictatorship! Stop the drone attacks on the people of Yemen!

(Photo by Stephanie Sinclair—VII)

From the archives of the fight against racist injustice

From the archives of the US Civil Rights Movement:

Scene from the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom, August 28, 1963, where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech.” Thousands of chartered buses & cars poured into the city from around the country. The crowd was estimated at over 300,000 people but it may well have been much larger since estimating crowds of such a size would have been difficult coming out of the McCarthy witch-hunt era of the 1950s when public protest was minimal. The couple in the foreground were with the New York delegation.

With thousands of Black young people denied employment & railroaded out of schools into prisons for minor offenses, it is long-past time for a new civil rights movement. Studying the heritage of this earlier movement--its achievements & its weaknesses--is part of rebuilding that new movement.

(Photo by Paul Schutzer—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

The soul of revolution

This portrait is of a woman activist in Bahrain. If eyes are the window to the soul, you are looking at the soul of revolution.

(Photo by Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP)

Monday, January 21, 2013

The au couture US taxpayers bankroll

I  have no time for all the baloney & pomp of the inaugural celebrations & don't find a singular thing about the Obomas that charms or hoodwinks me. But Michelle Obama's coat sure was stylish & let me say, it must have cost a bundle! Did the taxes on my social security check pay for it?

Emancipation US-style: debt bondage for Afghan children

These three small children--(from left) 8-year-old Sanjeeda, 7-year-old Nagina, & 8-year-old Parwana--work in a brick factory in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, a district known for brick manufacturing. Many of the children are debt bonded labor who earn $2 a day for 8 to 12 hours of work. The brick factory owners loaned their families money (most often to return from Pakistan as refugees from the war) & then indentured them for loans often as small as $800--but crippling debt in a war economy. Entire families must work a lifetime to pay them off.

Brick yard work is heavy labor especially for children (who start work as young as 4-years-old). Injuries & broken bones are common & children are expected to work even with untreated injuries (leading to permanent impairment). Emissions from brick kilns include fine dust particulates, several toxic chemicals, carcinogenic dioxins (if kilns are fueled by tires), carbon monoxide (if fueled by coal).  Epidemiological studies link brick kiln emissions to heart disease, lung & respiratory disease (bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, rhinitis, coughs), eye irritations, & fibrosis.

Children interviewed at brick yards understand their misery & many speak poignantly of their desire to go to school, some of their desire to become teachers. (The oppressed have always viewed education as emancipatory. The desire for access to education is a compelling force in women’s struggles. There are also powerful stories of Black slaves in the Americas struggling to read & write--which explains why under Black Reconstruction the new Black governments in the US South pioneered free public education for white children as well as Black.)

US & UN agencies boast of the millions of dollars invested in 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 since over 40% of Afghan children have been orphaned or left homeless in the war, many are forced to work to support themselves & surviving kin. UNICEF estimates up to 30% of primary school age children are working, often as the sole support of their families.

So now is the time to ask the question of UNICEF, other UN agencies, & the army of NGOs operating in Afghanistan: why don’t you fork over some of the billions you’ve received for humanitarian aid to pay off those lousy debts so the kids can go back to school!? Why don’t you stop issuing manifestos & reports & instead put your money where your mouth is!? Why don’t you speak out volubly against the US-NATO occupation which has reduced Afghan children & families to such penury!? Why not join us in demanding the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO troops from Afghanistan!?  (Photo by Rahmat Gul/AP)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sports need a level playing field

This is a belated story about Palestinian participation in the London Dowlympics games last summer. Olympic games are a combination criminal enterprise & circus for the world’s richest people. (Who else considers yachting & fencing sports!?) Most of the elite athletes come from the monied class since it costs a bundle for years of training. While working class kids are flipping burgers & babysitting for dough, the athletes are spending hours in gyms with high-paid trainers to become olympiads. And good for them! But until those class inequities are eliminated & there is in fact a level playing field, olympian status can only be considered qualified. If wealth eliminates most of the competition, can you still call it a competition? Who knows what those unable to contend would achieve? Spoken, of course, as a sore loser!

The delightful photo here is of children mimicking Gaza runner Bahaa al-Farra in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City where he trained. He didn’t get real running shoes until a few months before the Dowlympics when he & a woman teammate from Nablus, West Bank traveled to Qatar for a fully equipped training camp. Of the five Palestinian competitors in the games, only one judo athlete qualified; the other four were given wild card entries (meaning they were below qualification standards). Because there is no competition-sized pool in Gaza or the West Bank, the two swimmers had to travel to Barcelona, Spain to train & the two runners had to jockey between Jordan & Egypt for training facilities.

By contrast, Israel sent 37 athletes to the games, 15 or more of whom were Zionist settlers trained for the most part in countries like Russia, Argentina, Ukraine, South Africa, the US--all with trainers & accessible training facilities, as well as in Israel.

But even such sour grapes cannot ruin the delight of this photo. (Photo by Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

From the archives of the Vietnam War

From the archives of the Vietnam war (1959-1975): this is the cover of a 1965 Life magazine which included a pictorial on the war. The Viet Cong were the political army of guerrilla & regular troops who opposed the US military in South Vietnam--& won.

Coming out of the McCarthy witch-hunt era, the US government & media were recklessly straightforward in their coverage of the Vietnam war. The pictorial in this issue of the magazine included this photo of the abuse of a prisoner, as well as photos of napalm fire bombing, peasant homes being torched, & a Viet Cong prisoner being threatened with a knife with the caption, “In interrogating prisoners each side in the Vietnam War occasionally resort to terror.” That candor led to massive international opposition to the war with millions of people in the streets in nearly every country. It led to deep, widespread opposition to war pathologized in the media as the “Vietnam Syndrome”--a social malady that needed to be overcome. In future wars, the norm became media blackouts, embedded reporters, & stinking mendacity to hide the ugly, monstrous truth about the conduct of US wars & occupations. That might be when they started giving all their wars poetic names like Desert Storm & Enduring Freedom because they can’t call them what they really are: colonial plunder.

For Palestinians, memory matters. It provides a blueprint for their future

Why do some people have the power to remember, while others are asked to forget? That question is especially poignant at this time of year, as we move from Holocaust Remembrance day in early spring to Monday's anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence on May 14, 1948.
In the months surrounding that date, Jewish forces expelled, or intimidated into flight, an estimated 750,000 Palestinians. A living, breathing, society that had existed in Palestine for centuries was smashed and fragmented, and a new society built on its ruins
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

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EU Trade Sustains Israeli Settlements in West Bank

The Jordan Valley has the potential to be the Palestinian breadbasket, yet restrictions on Palestinians’ use of land, water, and on building in the valley are keeping them poor while helping nearby Israeli settlements thrive. This stark report by Oxfam says Palestinians could generate an extra $1.5 billion annually if these Israeli restrictions were removed. However, the reality remains that this arable area is benefiting few Palestinians and a majority Israeli settlers, who are given unhindered access to land and water resources.

And the depraved, obscenely dishonest settlers take over this Palestinian woman's house..

Photo David Mitchell
A photo of an 88 year-old Palestinian woman who was evicted from her home in East Jerusalem. She now resides with another family across the street from her home -- a house that Israeli settlers (some of them are seen in the background) now have taken over the front section of as well. They take turns living there, spitting on this old lady and spewing obscenities at her.

We met this woman in January 2012 during a delegation I led in Palestine. The settlers actually pointed their barking, frightening dogs at us while we spoke with her.

This is part of the Israeli government’s slow and steady campaign of continuing to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of its Palestinian inhabitants, using settlers who take over house after house.

Palestinian homes are also systematically bulldozed and Palestinians often must pay the Israeli government exorbitant costs for the destruction of their homes. One of the most painful images I have ever seen was of an entire family destroying their own home with their own hands after receiving a demolition order because it was cheaper to do so themselves.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Our chance to make the world suitable for children to live & love in

Found the photo of these little homeless guys in my files with no information of where they’re from or who the photographer was. I only know that after several days of dealing with horrors about CIA crimes their sweet faces reminded me of why we put ourselves through all this rather than bury our heads in romance novels or booze. All children deserve to grow up in a world full of love & abundance & free of exploitation & violence--and it is our job to make a contribution to their future--without cynicism or despair & with gratitude for the chance to do so.

Apres la conflagration, le prosecutions!

Protestors in Kenya have a mighty fine idea here! Last week outgoing legislators (who seem to be shysters in every country) tried to give themselves a bonus of $110,000 (£69,000)--most likely for doing as little as the US Congress in terms of advancing human civilization. The coffins represent each member of the Kenyan parliament & protestors went on to burn the coffins in protest. This is an idea whose time has come! Now on to the prosecutions! (Photo by Ben Curtis/AP)

Perils of breathing in China

Now we know why rhinestone gas masks are showing up on fashion runways in China. It’s not fashionista; it’s survival! Here a man in Beijing wears a flimsy face mask in a vain attempt to breath in the smog-shrouded capital city.

Implementation of environmental laws in China is weak in legal oversight & bends over backwards to accommodate multinational corporations. Over the past several years, China has cited dozens of multinational corporations (including American Standard, Panasonic, Pepsi, Nestle, & 3M) mainly for discharges of substandard waste water but there don’t seem to be any consequences for polluting the country. The government’s reckless disregard for environmental concerns has provoked confrontations with thousands of Chinese citizens & environmentalists who do not like seeing their cities, fields, & rivers laid waste & stinking like cesspools & their air quality turned into toxic smog. Reportedly, there are thousands of environmental protests in China. Hopefully, a thunderous awakening is on the horizon in China.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Mourning & defiance in Bahrain

The Bahraini revolution continues unabated with protests every day all over the country. It is a massive, deep, fearless rebellion--no matter how persistently western media ignores it. Here women in Malikiyah, Bahrain show their defiance as they mourn an 88-year-old man who died from respiratory illness caused by tear gas inhalation at a 2012 protest.

The “lesser evil” Obama administration & the UK government continue to stand by the murderous regime with sales of armaments, combat vehicles, combat helicopters, communications equipment, & a missile system. Both countries play a training role in the use of death squads & military equipment. A team from Scotland Yard is training & directing the al-Khalifa police force. And of course, without doubt the CIA is there training torturers. The US & UK claim the weaponry is for Bahrain’s external defense but Bahrain is not a country under military siege by outside armies (unless you count the occupation by the US Fifth Fleet); it is a regime conducting an all-out war against it’s own people.

US & UK support has emboldened the regime to escalate violence & repression; they use special force units to target & round up human rights activists; death squads; torture, beatings, kidnappings, disappearances (including of children); indiscriminate but methodical use of tear gas in residential areas (termed “carpet gassing”) resulting in maiming, blinding, deaths; incarceration; house raids; road check points for routine stops, searches, & intimidation.

After an international commission (in late 2011) found Bahrain’s police & military used excessive force, torture, summary execution, & countless other violations of human rights to crush the democracy movement Hamad al-Khalifa, the hereditary dictator, pledged to reform police & military to conform to “international standards”--by which he must have meant the standards set by the Pentagon & CIA. To oversee the “reforms” he hired John Yates, a corrupt UK cop famous for his use of wire-tapping & police surveillance, & John Timoney, a US cop notorious for militarized methods against peaceful protestors, including rubber bullets, Tasers, concussion grenades, pepper spray, tear gas, electrified riot shields, baton charges, & police agents. Yates insists criminals are attacking unarmed police & claims kettling would work well in Bahrain to counter such “wanton damage” & vandalism. Timoney & the regime claim the repression is necessary because protests make traffic difficult. This may be the only case where the “banality of evil” is a suitable expression.

According to photojournalist, Mohammed Al-Shaikh, wearing a full veil (niqab) is not required in Bahrain but during protests almost all women wear them so as not to be identified by the cops--& likely also as protection against tear gas. Al-Shaikh says marches conform to religious tradition when men & women protest at the same time by marching in different groups, but there are also women only marches: “The women want to show that they’re not just following the movement, they’re also capable of leading the revolution. Actually, they drive the police completely nuts. A policeman cannot grab a woman & handcuff her; that type of physical contact isn’t allowed. So it’s almost impossible to stop the protests by women. The police have to settle for using tear gas to disperse the crowd.” That’s probably why they now have an all-female division of the riot police.

Since the operatives of the US & UK are not restrained by scruples of any kind their nasty little think tanks are likely working overtime to develop ways to counter the central role of women in the Bahrain revolution. Our fullest respect & solidarity with the fearless Bahraini revolution. End all US & UK aid to Bahrain! Bring the Fifth Fleet home! (Photo by Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ingenious Afghan designer’s tumbleweed clears land mines

Mine Kafon - Massoud Hassani
The Mine Kafon, by Afghan designer Massoud Hassani, is designed to be blown across dangerous terrain by the wind, triggering mines as it passes over them. A single unit, which costs about $50 to make, could remove several mines, as each explosion will only destroy a few of the Mine Kafon’s limbs.
“Made from bamboo and biodegradable plastics, the Mine Kafon also has a GPS chip integrated in it,” explains Hassani. “You can follow its movement on the website and see were it went, where are the safest paths to walk on and how many land mines are destroyed in that area. On paper, Afghanistan is said to have 10 million land mines. In truth there are far, far more. Every destroyed land mine means a saved life and every life counts.”

The Mine Kafon will soon become part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which will host an exhibition by Hassani in March 2013.

The destruction of Palestinian life on their lands accelerates

House Demolition, Al Maleh, Jordan Valley, 17.01.2013

The Israeli bulldozers accompanied by the Israeli army demolished around 70 structures including residential, animal sheds, and others barracks in Al Maleh and Al Mayta areas in the northern of the Jordan Valley, West Bank, January 17, 2013.
Photo by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ayman Baalbaki, Lebanese artist

Building 0. Acrylic on board. 2012
Ayman Baalbaki , born in 1975 in Odeisse, Lebanon is a Lebanese painter. He studied at the Lebanese University and at the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs in Paris. His large-scale expressionist portraits of fighters made him one of the most popular young Arab artists.

M J Rosenberg: How AIPAC gets Congress to do its bidding.

"Between 1993 and 1995 I worked for a member of the House Appropriations Committee. That is the body that writes the legislation that provides the money after its Subcommittee on Foreign Operations submits its recommendations which are then quickly approved and, after adoption by the full House and Senate, go to the president for his signature.
Here is how it works. AIPAC provides each staffer on the subcommittee with legislative “language” that spells out precisely what it wants for Israel and the amount of dollars it wants for each provision. The language helpfully arrives in electronic form so the staffer does not have to do anything but drop it into a letter that each legislator writes to the chairman of the committee. Each staffer receives the same “wish list” from AIPAC ensuring that each member of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations will be requesting the same thing."

Israel’s worldwide role in repression

"This pamphlet focuses on the role of Israel's government, its military, and related corporations and organizations in a global industry of violence and repression. The states most involved with this industry profit from perpetual war and occupation across the globe while maintaining vastly unequal societies of their own.
Israel exports weapons, technologies, training, and techniques of violence for use by governments and corporations against populations around the world. The expertise on which it relies has been developed through its occupation of Palestine and parts of Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt, as well as its repression of and military aggression against the people living there.
The colonization of Palestine was once part of the British and French assault on the movement for Arab unity and independence that threatened European control of the region’s resources. The state of Israel is now a junior partner in the US-allied strategy for the same control of the region’s resources.
For Israel, this partnership has enabled the imposition and maintenance of a settler colonial state in Palestine. For its Western partners, Israel has ensured control of what F.D.R.’s administration once described as "the greatest prize in human history" – Arab oil."

The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

Musket(Photo: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery)The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says "State" instead of "Country" (the Framers knew the difference - see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote.  Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.
In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the "slave patrols," and they were regulated by the states.
In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state.  The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.
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Waterboard this!

US Chief of Propaganda, Kathryn Bigelow, has responded in the LA Times to charges that “Zero Dark Thirty” glorifies CIA use of torture. It’s an impotent response not even worth reading--unless you like wimpy apologetics. She says it’s her First Amendment right to create works of art without censorship--& she’s damn right about that. So why  did she allow the CIA to guide the creation of her monstrosity!? Isn’t that more like censorship? Isn’t that more like propaganda than art?

Three US senators have been making a stink because they say the film erroneously suggests coercive interrogation was instrumental in tracking down Osama Ben Laden &  they believe Bigelow got that misimpression from CIA officials. The senators might be more politically judicious than the thugs in the CIA by understanding many Americans don’t approve of waterboarding to get information. They’re pursuing this with the CIA most likely for damage control against a potential tsunami of political opposition to the CIA for unspeakable crimes committed in the name of national security. The CIA may have made a colossal misjudgement in exposing what they do.

No slouches when it comes to national security, the US media is citing the role of Maya, the female torturer who headed up the hunt for Ben Laden, to play up the role of women in the CIA as analysts, agents, officials--as if that’s a selling point for torture. They use feminism as justification for war so why not for waterboarding too!? They dragged out Valerie Plame Wilson & another woman agent who confirmed the CIA is still a man’s world. (Who’s kidding who!? It’s a hell hole of misogyny.) Wilson said women make good torturers (she erroneously used the word agents) because they listen better & are more nurturing “when that’s useful.” Both her & the other agent who creates disguises for the CIA hope the film will motivate more women to join. The rest of us hope it generates a growing opposition to CIA departments & recruitment on campuses & inspires people around the world to picket the agitprop thing when it shows up in your local cinema. Because torture administered by psychotic women isn’t one bit more nurturing than when it’s done by psychotic men. Nor is propaganda glorifying it one bit less repugnant when directed by a woman.

(Photo is of waterboarding)

Please sign the petition at the end of this post

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) captioned this photo: “NATURAL HABITAT: An indigenous woman stood in an Indian museum in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday. Squatters who have been living in the abandoned museum are protesting against their impending eviction before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A parking lot is planned for the location.”

An abandoned natural history museum is a “natural habitat” for indigenous people!? The colonial mentality is rancid. Natural history museums around the world originated as colonial projects to showcase the booty & plunder by white anthropologists of peoples  who they considered inferior & primitive. That’s where indigenous & African art & artifacts are displayed. Burial sites & tombs were desecrated & ransacked, ignoring that these peoples are not extinct. Their art & cultural heritage is not deemed worthy of a fine arts museum where “advanced civilizations” are showcased.

But the real story here is not the racism of the WSJ & natural history museums; it is the repugnant irony that native peoples of Brazil are now reduced to squatting in an abandoned Indian museum. For the past 6 years, about 10 ethnic groups (mostly Guarani, Pataxo, Kaingangue and Guajajara) forcibly expelled from their ancestral lands by neoliberal agribusiness enterprises, created a settlement in Rio de Janeiro by occupying an old colonial building once the premises of the Museum of the Indian. (It should be noted that the resistance of the native peoples to the encroachments of foreign agribusiness continues to this day--in the courts & in popular resistance--but faces brutal force by the Brazilian government.)

The new settlement became known as Maracanã Village since it is adjacent to the  Maracanã sports stadium now undergoing reconstruction to host the opening & closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics & the final match of the 2014 World Cup. The settlement premises are needed to construct parking lots, bars, restaurants & a shopping center for the sports events. On Saturday, January 12th, Maracanã Village awoke to find itself surrounded by military policy in riot gear who without warning & no warrant came to evict the entire community--although there is a continuing & protracted legal battle over the occupation of the space. Political & human rights activists began arriving at Maracanã Village in support, including a worker from the stadium construction site who was fired after joining the sit-in. The residents locked the main gate at noon & hoisted later arriving supporters into the complex by lowering a wooden ladder over the brick wall.

The resistance of the the Guarani & others should have come as no surprise to the government of Brazil since their intransigence in the courts & on the streets against agribusiness land grabs is nearly legendary. That intransigence & the support they rallied on site, on social networking & independent media threw the government off balance--at least for the meanwhile. After hours of confrontation & negotiation between activists & military cops, politicians & government officials, the military left the scene without illegally charging the building. But they will be back. Sergio Cabral, the governor of Rio de Janeiro, told a news conference in October 2012: “The Indian Museum near the Maracana will be demolished. It’s being demanded by FIFA & the World Cup Organizing Committee. Long live democracy, but the building has no historical value. We’re going to tear it down.”

In the long run there’s something else that will have to be torn down: the Brazilian state. And it’s certain the Guarani & other native peoples will be in the vanguard of that charge. Meanwhile, here is a petition addressed to Sergio Cabral, governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro to demand “that the Governor undertake not to bring down the building of the former Museum of the Indian & ensure the permanence of the people in the current Maracanã Village.”

(Photo by Pilar Olivares/Reuters)

Legal expert to High Court: Israel could be tried in Hague if it evicts West Bank villagers

susia eviction
Amira Hass
The expulsion of Palestinian residents from an army live-fire zone in the West Bank would enable the Palestinians to address the International Criminal Court. That is the legal opinion attached to a revised petition being submitted Wednesday to the High Court of Justice against the eviction.
The petition relates to some 30,000 dunams in the South Hebron Hills that were declared a live-fire zone in the early 1980s. In 1999, the Israel Defense Forces ordered Palestinians living in the area to leave, and evicted some by force. But in response to two earlier petitions, the High Court issued an interim injunction allowing them to return.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Noam Chomsky Slams America's Selfish Ayn Randian Elites

Chomsky explains how elites' obsession with short-term personal gain threatens humanity.
In an interview broadcast on Al Jazeera English, Noam Chomsky argues that people who have the most privilege owe the most to society. "The more privilege you have the more responsibility you have," says Chomsky, "It's elementary." 
Asked why the opposite seems to be true in America, where many wealthy people refuse to give up their time or money to help those in need, Chomsky replies that the lack of public responsibility among many elites makes sense; after all, if you've devoted your life to enriching yourself and wealth is what you value the most, you don't care as much about other people. But it goes beyond that, argues Chomsky. "It's also institutional. In its more pathological form, it's Ayn Rand ideology: 'I just don't care about anyone else. I'm only interested in benefiting myself. That's good and noble."
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The shyster's way of not telling the truth

The caption to this photo in the LA Times said: “Yatta, West Bank: Palestinians remove rubble after their home was reportedly destroyed by a bulldozer in the village of Yatta. The house, apparently located in a closed military zone where Israel exercises full control, was believed to be constructed without permission.”

Those equivocating adverbs--”apparently” & “reportedly”--along with the verb “believed to be” don’t really constitute a lie so much as an evasion of the truth. But of course equivocation is the shyster's sneaky way of dodging the truth. It isn’t preferable to the outright lie.

So let’s caption this photo without the evasions: Palestinians who have lived & farmed in Yatta, West Bank for generations are being forcibly evicted & their homes bulldozed by the Israeli military (IDF) under the pretense that Palestinians are squatting on live ammunition firing ranges belonging to the IDF. However, confiscating Palestinian lands for IDF purposes is one of the primary ways Israel uses to evict Palestinians so they can move in soldiers, tanks, bulldozers, & Zionist settlers with or without that special Jewish Y-chromosome. And in doing so, Israel is violating several international laws & agreements they are party to & are proving themselves a rogue & criminal state.

Support the Palestinians right to their own lands by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729) & by demanding an end to all US aid to Israel. (Photo by Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA)