Saturday, March 30, 2013

Iraqi oil: Once seen as U.S. boon, now it’s mostly China’s

Iraq oil cropped
An U.S. Army soldier stands guard near a burning oil well in the Rumaylah Oil Fields in Southern Iraq April 2, 2003. 
"Bush administration officials suggested shortly after the invasion that revenue from Iraq’s oil fields could largely pay the cost of rebuilding the country. That turned out to be wrong, and $60 billion in American taxpayer funds ended up going into the reconstruction of Iraq. The war devastated Iraq’s oil industry, as kidnappings, sabotage and attacks on infrastructure made it virtually impossible to do business."

Read more here:"

Egyptian Female Cartoonist Pokes Fun at Fundamentalists

During the Egyptian uprising, Eladl and her colleagues supported the revolution by printing up some of their fiercest political satire, the kind that would not have been published, and handing them out in Tahrir Square. “I don’t think artists like myself should be members of political parties or organizers, but we should certainly use our art to speak out against injustice and oppression.”
Eladl’s blistering caricatures have landed her in hot water with some of Egypt’s powerful fundamentalists. She now has the distinction of being the first cartoonist in Egypt to face blasphemy charges. In 2012 Salafi lawyer Khaled El-Masry, Secretary General of a group called National Center for Defense of Freedoms, filed a complaint against her for defaming religious prophets. The cartoon he objected to shows an Egyptian man with angel wings lecturing Adam and Eve. The man is telling Adam and Eve that they would never have been expelled from heaven if they had simply voted in favor of the Brotherhood’s draft constitution in the recent Egyptian referendum. The court has not yet heard the case.Egyptian Female Cartoonist Pokes Fun at Fundamentalists_html_31e90d9a
If the fundamentalists are upset about her irreverent depictions of religious figures, one has to wonder if they have seen her searing drawings about women’s rights—and wrongs. One cartoon against child marriage shows a lecherous, old man with a cane peering greedily up the skirt of a little girl holding a teddy bear.
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Another has the streaming beard of a fundamentalist flowing across a woman’s mouth to silence her.
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Eladli uses her art to bring attention to domestic violence, underage marriage, sexual harassment, violence against women, and the new phenomenon of attacks against female demonstrators. Some accuse of her being sacrilegious, claiming that her work is too shocking. The accusations don’t seem to phase her, and they certainly haven’t influenced her style.
Most disturbing, yet thought-provoking, is one cartoon against female genital mutilation, in which a man is standing on a ladder between a woman’s legs, reaching up to cut her with a pair of scissors.
Egyptian Female Cartoonist Pokes Fun at Fundamentalists_html_m6b2f53ec
I criticize habits that I think are wrong and should be totally reconsidered, like female circumcision, which doesn’t stem from the Muslim religion at all. There are Muslim scholars who say female circumcision is a crime against humanity and is not related to Islam. Yet it is still being practiced in Egypt’s countryside and unfortunately, in the name of religion.”
While Eladl was delighted to see Mubarak ousted, she says that in many ways, the situation for women is worse because now those in power use religion to dominate women. A Muslim who covers her head out of choice, Eladl is vehemently opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood. “They interpret religion in their own way but I don’t think it is the real way of Islam. Since the revolution, I feel compelled to draw cartoons about women in order to defend my own personal freedoms, which are threatened under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Eladl complains that the new constitution does not guarantee women’s rights or respect the international treaties that protect women. It does not give rights to divorced women or guarantee equal rights for women workers. If the constitution is implemented, she fears women’s right will be turned back.
One of her cartoons shows a professional-looking woman walking up to the door of Parliament, only to be told by a bearded man “Sorry, this is only for men.”
Eladl’s critique of the post-Mubarak era goes way beyond the treatment of women. She says there has been little change in general because the new government is similar to the old, more concerned about holding onto power than making life better for the poor. One drawing depicts the “new ruler” as a bull, fighting the military matador to get onto the king’s throne.
Egyptian Female Cartoonist Pokes Fun at Fundamentalists_html_m52ac6f1f
Another shows the head of Mubarak severed from his body, but his suit plastered with the faces of many more Mubaraks.
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Eladl is also disappointed in U.S. policy. Like millions in the Arab world, she had high hopes when Obama was first elected. “We were so hopeful when Obama came to Cairo with his beautiful speech, but then we saw that he continued to support repressive regimes, including here in Egypt, and that his words were hollow.” That’s why she drew a cartoon of Obama surrounded by a huge empty speech bubble. Another sketch shows Qaddhafi’s army shooting at civilians, while a big arm of America reaches out to grab a giant barrel of oil. The caption says: “America lends a hand to Libyan revolutionaries.“ “I see the hypocrisy of U.S. policy, intervening in places like Iraq and Libya that have a lot of oil, but not in the case of Syria,” says Eladl.
Egyptian Female Cartoonist Pokes Fun at Fundamentalists_html_18a507a4
If Eladl is worried about the blasphemy case and the enemies she is making with her scornful brushstrokes, she doesn’t show it. “The extremists don’t scare me,” she insists. “Whatever they do, I will continue to use my skills to poke fun at them. They must understand that we Egyptians have changed with the revolution, and we will not go backwards.”

 One of the women who spoke at the Women’s Assembly during the World Social Forum in Tunisia was not a political activist, but a cartoonist. Dooa Eladl is 34-year-old Egyptian woman who calls herself a Muslim anarchist. Her work appears in the prominent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm She has become one of Egypt’s best-known political cartoonists, in a field completely dominated by men. (One of her humorous drawings is a portrait of herself marching to work, her hair tied to the mustaches of four of her male colleagues.)
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The underwear bomber was a CIA operative

In case you missed the news last year, the “underwear bomber” who tried to take out Detroit with an explosive in his boxers (in December 2009) but only burned his balls was actually an undercover informer with Saudi intelligence & the CIA.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed they supplied & trained the guy whose Nigerian father is “one of the richest men in Africa.” He was convicted in a US court for use of a WMD & sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Which part of this story makes sense to you? We need the name of that prison so we can verify it isn’t a suite in his father’s mansion in Nigeria. This also raises the question, “Does Al Qaeda actually exist?” Is there a shred of hard evidence other than assertions by the CIA & Pentagon? They’re hardly the most reliable sources. Has anybody ever met an Al- Qaeda operative or taken photos of one of their camps? Do we have to suspend disbelief to understand the world?

And one final question: are CIA operatives the only men moronic enough to don a diaper loaded with explosives in the interests of gathering information? Have they no respect for their private parts!? Someone please enlighten us!

Roma-phobia & persecution in France

Roma-phobia & persecution against Romani people goes back centuries in Europe where they were stigmatized as criminal & shiftless vagabonds, relegated to the lowest rungs of society, & subjected to extreme violence. They were hung & executed without trial, imprisoned, beaten, expelled, drowned, dismembered. In the 16th century, a diet of the Holy Roman Empire declared that "whosoever kills a Gypsy, will be guilty of no murder." They originated in India & became the Dalits of Europe.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that simple-minded “racial” pseudo-science was formulated--which, of course, had everything to do with giving theoretical veneer to the atrocities of European & US colonialism. The progeny of those rancid ideas include the genocides of WWII, including the Romani holocaust--estimated as high as 1,500,000 people. Racism is the ideology of genocide & the language of murderous fools.

In France (with a population of 66 million), there are about 500,000 Romani Travellers who are French citizens leading an itinerant life. In addition there are about 15,000 Roma (part of the extended Romani ethnicity) who are migrants from elsewhere in Europe, particularly Romania & Bulgaria. France is like Arizona USA writ large for the Roma. They are subject to employment restrictions, denied health care, endure ethnic profiling & identity checks with pat-downs. Though they have always been subject to harassment, eviction & deportation, in 2010 Nicholass Psychozy declared war on them using the most inflammatory & racist language, accusing Roma of illegal trafficking & using children for prostitution & criminality.

Without notification & in flagrant violation of French law, their makeshift settlements were dismantled & sometimes torched; extreme police violence was used against them; families--including children, elderly, disabled--were evicted even in extreme winter weather & without alternative housing. Thousands were made homeless, thousands of families with children were detained, & hundreds were deported back to Eastern Europe--where the persecution is just as harsh.

When François Hollande campaigned last year as Socialist Party (SP) candidate against Psychozy, he promised to reform policy toward the Roma. Yet not a damn thing has changed except the rhetoric used to justify escalating evictions & persecution. All ethnic references are replaced with legal & human rights jargon. In 2012, two-thirds of the 12,000 Roma evicted across France were after the SP came to power. Psychozy bluntly stated he didn’t give a rat’s ass if they had alternative housing; Manuel Valls, the SP minister in charge, sweet-talks public housing while he sends cops in to manhandle residents & bulldoze homes. Homelessness speaks louder than words!

These bereft Roma families in Villeurbanne (near Lyon) watched last Thursday as their homes were bulldozed. Housing is a human right! As for the SP--it’s merde!

(Photo by Jeff Pachoud/AFP)

Friday, March 29, 2013

News round-up for Mar 29, 2013

News round-up for March 29, 2013:

Barbara Walters, better known as Baba Wawa, is expected to announce her retirement next year. Now she can finally stop pretending she’s a journalist & admit she’s a  gossip columnist (or is there no difference in US journalism!?). She can also come out of the closet as a right-winger with no particular party affiliation but an affinity for creeps like Henry Kissinger.

Just found out Dave Brubeck died last December. Has too much time passed for me to feel bereft?

Scientists are warning about massive bugs that give the “creepy-crawlies.” But they don’t understand the US Congress & politicians have inured us to repugnant slugs. Larval things don’t scare us anymore.

It didn’t take long for Chuck Hagel to throw egg in the face of those progressives who lobbied for his selection as US war minister because Zionists opposed him. As if one international serial killer was preferable to another! He claims the US is not menacing North Korea with B-52 bombers flying over the Korean peninsula; it’s just routine military exercises. Exactly! And they call the North Korean regime paranoid!?

These little North Korean girls singing their hearts out are not a threat to anyone & have a right to live free of US military threats against their country.

US hands off North Korea!

(Photographer to be identified)

Angelina Jolie's third finger, left hand is not the news in DR Congo

Angelina Jolie is on one of her phony humanitarian jaunts to the DR Congo to talk to rape survivors & investigate rape as a weapon of war. In a case of the blind leading the blind, she is guided by British politician, William Hague. Ignoring at least the stated reason for sending no-nothing celebrities into war zones, media reporting was all about the ring on Jolie’s third finger, left hand. She had removed the massive, half-million dollar diamond ring given her by Pitt & replaced it with a gold band. Media speculation ran wild: were they now secretly married? One report said the ring switch might be ‘out of respect for the seriousness of her mission’.

The competitive plunder of foreign corporations to control the immense mineral wealth of DR Congo (especially diamonds & gold) is the primary cause of the war in DR Congo that has raged for nearly 20 years. The war is the world's most murderous conflict since World War II, displacing millions & killing nearly 6 million people. The hefty diamond ring Jolie sports would have been a neon red-alert to the refugees & rape victims she talked to--signaling her not as an ally but as complicit in the crimes against them.

The gold band was no improvement on the insult. Gold mining is harsh, back-breaking work. While the price of gold is now $1,500 an ounce on the world market, according to an Al Jazeera investigation in 2009, at the end of each day workers receive a bucket of earth from the pit as payment. It may or may not contain gold.

Media reporting raises the question: is the media really that venal, are they that incapable of getting the real story!? Is it racism that blinds? Or celebrity? Or collusion?

(Photographer not identified)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

'US lawmakers forced to support Israel' - Cynthia McKinney

"Getting rid of the Arabs" 
"Getting rid of the Arabs of Gaza was only one facet of much broader goals. During the 1948 expulsions, Israeli government Arabists predicted that the refugees would either assimilate elsewhere or “would be crushed” and “die,” while “most of them would turn into human dust and the waste of society, and join the most impoverished classes in the Arab countries.” Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s view for the “Arabs of the Land of Israel” who remained after the expulsion of 1948 was that they “have only one function left to them — to run away.” Though vigorously denied for many years, the causes of the refugee flight are no longer seriously in question. Few would question the conclusions of the most prominent Israeli historian of the topic, Benny Morris. In his words, “Above all, let me reiterate, the refugee problem was caused by attacks by Jewish forces on Arab villages and towns and by the inhabitants’ fear of such attacks, compounded by expulsions, atrocities, and rumors of atrocities — and by the crucial Israeli cabinet decision in June 1948 to bar a refugee return,” leaving the Palestinians “crushed, with some 700,000 driven into exile and another 150,000 left under Israeli rule.” Morris is critical of Israeli atrocities, in part because they were too limited. Ben-Gurion’s great error, Morris observes, perhaps a “fatal mistake,” was not to have “cleansed the whole country — the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River.” Recently declassified cabinet records indicate that Ben-Gurion may have agreed that it was a serious error."
Noam Chomsky- Violence and Dignity: Reflections on the Middle East
2013 Edward Said Lecture, Friends House, London, March 18, 2013

Gaza City

Have We Ever Gotten to the Bottom of Exactly 'Why' Bush and the Neocons Disastrously Invaded Iraq?

The true purpose of the Iraq invasion remains opaque. Here's a theory why.

"That rationale has often been dressed up as “democratizing” the Middle East, but the idea was more a form of “neocolonialism,” in which American proconsuls would make sure that a favored leader, like the Iraqi National Congress’ Ahmed Chalabi, would control each country and align the nations’ positions with the interests of the United States and Israel.
Some analysts have traced this idea back to the neocon Project for the New American Century in the late 1990s, which advocated for “regime change” in Iraq. But the idea’s origins go back to the early 1990s and to two seminal events.
The first game-changing moment came in 1990-91 when President George H.W. Bush showed off the unprecedented advancements in U.S. military technology. Almost from the moment that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, the Iraqi dictator began signaling his willingness to withdraw after having taught the arrogant al-Sabah ruling family in Kuwait a lesson in power politics.
But the Bush-41 administration wasn’t willing to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the Kuwait invasion. Instead of letting Hussein arrange an orderly withdrawal, Bush-41 began baiting him with insults and blocking any face-saving way for a retreat.
Peace feelers from Hussein and later from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev were rebuffed as Bush-41 waited his chance to demonstrate the stunning military realities of his New World Order. Even the U.S. field commander, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, favored Gorbachev’s plan for letting Iraqi forces pull back, but Bush-41 was determined to have a ground war."
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How Brazil, Russia, India and China Are Standing Up to the American Empire

Pepe Escobar-AlterNet
Western corporate media is flooded with stories about the weakening of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, but these are defensive measures.
 Reports on the premature death of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have been greatly exaggerated. Western corporate media is flooded with such nonsense, perpetrated  in this particular case by the head of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. 
Reality spells otherwise. The BRICS meet in Durban, South Africa, this Tuesday to, among other steps, create their own credit rating agency, sidelining the dictatorship - or at least "biased agendas", in New Delhi's diplomatic take - of the Moody's/Standard & Poor's variety. They will also further advancethe idea of the BRICS Development Bank, with a seed capital of US$50 billion (only structural details need to be finalized), helping infrastructure and sustainable development projects.
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Psychozy is back!

Things haven’t been the same since Psychozy, the Pepe Le Pew of French politics, got bounced from office last year. But thanks to his corruption & penchant for theft, he’s back in the news again. Last October, an anti-corruption group filed a complaint for alleged misuse of public funds. Alleged, my ass! They estimate he used €9.4 million for private opinion polls on issues like his relationship with Carla Bruni & how people viewed Dominique Strauss-Kahn, his political opponent (although they’re peas in a pod).

This week our man is being investigated for weaseling campaign donations out of a 90-year-old woman with dementia. In all fairness, he might not have recognized her condition since that would be his voter base. She was as coherent as the rest of his supporters.

Francois Hollande has been taking up the breach in Psychozy’s absence by making himself quite despicable to French voters. This has given Psychozy hopes for a political comeback though it now appears he’ll be campaigning from a penitentiary.

By the way, that's Psychozy on the right.

Former opposition leader sucking up to generals

It’s about time the media dropped the appellation “Burmese opposition leader” before the name of Nobel peace prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi. She remains completely mute on the continuing ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. Last week she defended neoliberal land grabs that dispossess thousands of farmers & enrich the military & told the heckling farmers, “I think we have to deprioritize our emotions & needs when it comes to the greater good.” This week she’s in the reviewing stand chatting up the generals at a military parade. Did she have to deprioritize her emotions or does betrayal of trust come as easy to her as it does to Obama?

(Photo from Reuters)

This is US policy in Palestine

This is US policy in Palestine; this is what lesser evil Obama lauded on that platform in Israel. This is Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing. Not just hauling in children for throwing stones but targeting them because breaking the fighting spirit of children is central to destroying Palestinian intifada.

There is no description of when this arrest took place; it’s a daily occurrence in the West Bank as Palestinians resist land grabs by Zionist settlers. Add your voice to the growing Palestinian solidarity movement. Demand “No US aid to Israel!” Boycott all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729).

(Photographer not identified)

Getting educated don't come easy

The obstacles kids & their parents overcome to get to school are surely one of the most amazing things about the human race. There are photos of wee children rafting to school, crossing footbridges or using makeshift bridges over rivers & chasms, scaling cliffs, fording rivers; there are stories of teachers in India (including a FB friend), Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia & in refugee camps who set up free schools under bridges & in the open air to give the impoverished or children in crisis a chance to learn.

In his magisterial work, “Black Reconstruction,” W.E.B. DuBois described how during reconstruction former slaves set up the first universal free public education system for Black & white children in the US south because education had been denied them & they understood it’s value. Learning, knowledge, ideas are respected by the dispossessed because they represent power & the ability to affect the world. To the privileged, they are often a symbol of status to be flaunted. There are so many moving stories from around the world of people struggling to learn against all odds.

That’s why there are so many political struggles (& personal defeats) around education: from the recent suicide of a Filipino girl forced to withdraw from university because she was unable to afford tuition--& the protests her death set off by other students who identified with her plight; to the large number of Dalit university students committing suicide in India after enduring caste discrimination; to the resegregation & systematic destruction of public education in the US; to the often vicious treatment of children with disability in public schools.

Political struggles to defend public education against governmental weapons of mass destruction are paramount in every country. Education is a human right because knowledge does mean power & the ability to change the world.

Here students traverse a river on a collapsed bridge to get to school at an Indonesian village. 

(Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters)

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has reneged on promises to Palestine


Many Palestinians celebrated when Morsi was elected Egyptian president, but the Muslim Brotherhood’s record on Palestine since coming to power has been questionable.
(Wesam Nassar / APA images)
The euphoria that erupted in Gaza minutes after Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February 2011 probably came second only to Egypt’s. The ousted dictator was Israel’s “strategic asset” for good reason. He secured the blockade of the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side, sided against Hamas and proved a reliable ally.
Even during the 22-day Israeli war on Gaza at the end of 2008, Mubarak kept the Rafah border crossing firmly shut, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention which binds Egypt, as a signatory, to protect civilians during times of war and foreign occupation.
Read more

Crushing defeat for Israel lobby as anti-boycott litigation fails in UK

Asa Winstanley
 A British judge comprehensively dismissed a high-profile legal attack on the University and College Union, it emerged on Monday. The case was brought after democratic union bodies discussed boycotts of Israel.
An Employment Tribunal ruled the claim of “institutional anti-Semitism,” brought by union member and Academic Friends of Israel director Ronnie Fraser, was dismissed on all counts.
The ruling is a dramatic and comprehensive defeat for the Israeli “lawfare” strategy, and may even have backfired for its proponents who today descended into acrimonious internal back-biting.
Read more

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Revolution is for rebels--however old they are!

My email junk box used to receive porno ads for all sorts of peculiar sex. Now I get nothing but adverts for incontinence diapers & the Scooter store. Worse than the guy who invited me to play Bingo! Now I understand why seniors die before their time or drink themselves to death. There’s no dignity afforded aging. That’s why my heart sings when I see photos of seniors round the world kicking ass for social & political justice. They used to say ‘revolution is for the young.’ Screw that prejudice! Revolution is for those pissed off enough to keep marching! And if photojournalism & the antiwar movement are any judge, seniors are taking the lead--right behind the women!

(Photographer not identifed)

Racism sells war

I don’t normally like to post photos of those who are grieving since it seems a disrespectful invasion of privacy. I make exception here to counter US racist propaganda used to justify every damn one of their wars. We’re told the Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghanis are “not like us.” They have no respect for human life, they’re not ready for democracy, they can’t get along without US occupation. Not just US soldiers but the public are fed a steady diet of this rubbish. Antiwar veterans have given wrenching testimony of finding out the hard way that it is recycled every war to justify abominations.

This is an Iraqi family mourning a death (we are not told whose) in 2004. Do they appear to you as bereft of respect for human life!? Bring the troops home now!

This is the poignant testimony of one antiwar Iraq War veteran at Winter Soldier 2007:

(Photo by Carolyn Cole/LA Times)

Petraeus apologizes for the wrong crime

US media today is dutifully reporting the first volley of the public campaign to rehabilitate the stinking reputation of David Petraeus, who resigned as head of the CIA in November 2012 after his extramarital affair hit the news. Petraeus took the penitent tone at his first public appearance at a ROTC dinner in Los Angeles. Since his resignation, he’s been in seclusion but received a standing ovation & a pair of silver cuff links at the dinner of hopeful military officers. He should have been carted off in handcuffs & placed in solitary confinement for his crimes against the peoples of Iraq & Afghanistan.

The stench coming off Petraeus has nothing to do with sex & marriage; it has to do with violence & war crimes of the most unspeakable kind. It has to do with his orchestrating & overseeing torture, death squads, & human rights crimes as counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq that fostered civil conflict between Sunni & Shia.

There’s a whole list of war criminals who should be prosecuted along with Petraeus, from the White House to the Pentagon to the CIA beginning with Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Albright, Clinton, & including Obama who offered absolution for war crimes & indicated his collusion when he said: “We have been through a dark & painful chapter in our history. Nothing will be gained by spending our time & energy laying blame for the past.” Obama is dead wrong! This "dark & painful chapter" won't be over until the Iraqi people who have suffered so much have a chance to testify against these criminals in a court of law & expose their crimes for all the world to see.

The linked video reports a Guardian-UK & BBC investigation of the US military counterinsurgency program in Iraq. It directly indicts Petraeus as the general in charge of operations. It also shows US soldiers were aware of the special ops torture of prisoners & were troubled by it. Witnessing torture is most certainly implicated in soldier & veteran suicides & PTSD--but it makes the testimony of antiwar veterans that much more compelling to building the movement against these wars.

Petraeus will likely be trolling the country for honoraria as part of his rehabilitation program. He should be met at every stop with activists & banners demanding “US out of Iraq!” & “US out of Afghanistan!”

(Photo is of Iraqi men "detained for questioning" in 2004 in Kufa, Iraq. Many will not survive the questioning. Photo taken by Carolyn Cole/LA Times)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Solidarity with the occupied of Kashmir & Palestine

Kashmiri photojournalist, Showkat Nanda, took this photo of a small Kashmiri boy facing off with stones against an Indian army tank (2009). The boy had just seen another young boy die in his arms after being shot by the Indian army. Resistance was his response to murder & loss & occupation. When Nanda took this photo, he had in mind the iconic image of Faris Odeh, the Palestinian boy who defied an Israeli tank armed only with stones. Ten days after Odeh’s picture was taken, he was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in another stone throwing incident. It is probably small comfort to those who loved him that Odeh has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation.

Stones & political solidarity are the only weapons of the dispossessed against tyranny & occupation. So this poem by Indian poet, Musab Iqbal, solidarizing & linking the struggles of the Kashmiri & Palestinian people is particularly powerful. It is an anthem & act of defiance against those tyrannies:

I found some crushed saffron near that body
Bath in red, married to an intimate bulletIn
In a mournful street of Hebron


I found some black olives rolling down
From the sloppy street of Srinagar, breathing under
the curfewed democracy

They were delivered by the same courier, same
Same spirit.
Which resist the obsession of the operation and oppression.

Dissimilarity of two abysses are marked by High
And the sorrowful sea.

One bowing down to kiss, another oscillating to

The two stem of same heaven ruined by tanks and
Darwesh and Agha must be read together; As unfortunately the paradise has no post office

When the spring of blood kills the courier, gives birth
To a fresh one!

- 14th March 2013

Poverty has a gender & a nationality

Those who fulminate contemptuously against “identity politics” (it’s usually white men who call themselves internationalists) need to explain why the gender of poverty is female & the nationalities are brown & black, if identity is not an issue. They might add an explanation for why the lesser evil Obama administration is targeting the elderly & disabled (by orchestrating massive attacks on Medicare & Social Security) if identity is divisive.

The fulminators need to wake up & smell the artillery being directed at women, seniors, disabled, & at Black women & children especially. We’re on the battle field fighting for our lives while in the rearguard the chorus is denouncing us for being divisive. Divide & conquer only operates if differences between human beings can be exploited & played by stupidities like racism & misogyny & privilege. As attacks rain down on the vulnerable & unorganized, the chorus of bozos crescendoes, denouncing identity politics as reactionary. With the steady beat of a drum they shout, ‘Blacks should not organize as Blacks against the onslaught their communities face, women should not organize as women because that is divisive.’ So will the rearguard chorus step into the breach & join us in the battle? Fat chance!

As lesser evil Obama slashes the Free School Lunch & Breakfast Program & cuts family food stamp programs, as millions of children prowl the streets looking for food in the summer months, who will step into the breach to defend them? As millions of elderly with no pensions live solely on puny Social Security (SS) checks & with Medicare coverage already slashed to the bone, who will step into the breach to defend them? Who will defend those with disability whose puny little SS checks don’t even cover rent, let alone rent & food. Will the chorus come forward? Or will they just continue to stand in the rear denouncing us for defending ourselves?

The truth is we are being targeted because our political organizations are weak, if they exist at all. The truth is no one is defending us & we are standing on the battle field unarmed. The advocacy groups that do exist substitute lobbying/begging for charity & largesse rather than engage in political struggle. Most groups have been long since mortgaged to the Democratic Party (DP). The way it works is that the DP gets political leaders to compromise, buys them off with foundation grants & other blandishments. The money buys silence & collusion--& injustice prevails.

This indictment includes women’s & civil rights groups, disability rights groups, immigration rights groups, & most significantly the unions. A coalition of these mighty forces could reverse the onslaught against working people--but first they have to pull their heads out of Obama’s ass. They have to stop groveling & start fighting again. The rearguard chorus needs to study US history. The only times history has moved forward instead of backwards is when Blacks, women, immigrants, working people took the initiative guided by the principle that “an injury to one is an injury to all!”

(Photographer not identified)

Monday, March 25, 2013

"They have stones we need drones"

Turkey conditions normalization on Israel ending Gaza blockade, compensating for flotilla

Resuming normal ties with Israel will take time, PM Erdogan clarifies: Israel must make good on its promises first. 
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday suggested that normalization of ties with Israel would take time, hinting that Turkey wanted to ensure the victims of a flotilla raid were compensated and Israel remained committed to the easing of restrictions of goods to Gaza before restoring relations.
"We have said: An apology will be made, compensation will be paid and the blockade on Palestine will be lifted. There will be no normalization without these," he said in a public address on Sunday. "Normalization will happen the moment there is an implementation. But if there is no implementation, then I am sorry."
Read more

What liberation looks like

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hahahahahaa..Please don't tell me some Americans can be THAT dumb, I won't believe it!

Fox: Americans Need Assault Weapons To Protect Themselves From An Iranian Invasion, Al Qaeda

During a roundtable discussion on Friday, Fox News’ Lou Dobbs agreed with a network contributor who argued that Americans need to access military-style assault weapons to protect themselves from an Iranian invasion.
“What scares the hell out of me we have a president, as we were discussing during break, that wants to take away our guns, but yet he wants to attack Iran and Syria. So if they come and attack us here, we don’t have the right to bear arms under this Obama administration,” Angela McGlowan, a former lobbyist for News Corp., said in the midst of a conversation about violence in Syria.
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

1963: The year the Israel Lobby Transcended US Law

Fifty years ago this May, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opened a series of unprecedented hearings investigating the clandestine activities of foreign agents active in the United States. The investigation focused most intensively on the operatives and financing of key Israel lobbying organizations such as the American Zionist Council, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the American Section of the quasi-governmental Jerusalem-based Jewish Agency. Thanks to a secret memo only declassified in 2010, the public may now know what fears motivated the hearings.
The March 17, 1961 staff report expressed concerns that “indigenous groups based on racial or national origins have been organized in the United States, and have often concentrated on influencing United States foreign policy in directions designed primarily to promote the interests of other states.” The Senate was particularly – though not exclusively – concerned about Israel-coordinated overseas provocations intended to tripwire the United States into action. “Operation Susannah,” an all-but-forgotten 1954 Israeli false flag terror attack on U.S. facilities in Egypt designed to keep international forces stationed in the Suez Canal zone is mentioned twice as a reason for investigating “how they do it.” Although such a line of inquiry was clearly “explosive” the Senate proposal included having “testimony on the Lavon Affair, and similar ‘gray area’ activities.”
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Do they have such things as love in Pyongyang!?

One doesn’t have to support the regime in North Korea to scorn the parody of US propaganda & oppose the repeated threats of military aggression against it’s people. If the uninformed & gullible weren’t taken in by the propaganda & it didn’t pose a threat to the people of Korea, the stuff is a cornucopia of idiotic delights.

Best of all are the constant photos of goose-stepping parades; second are the synchronized swimmers--as if North Koreans only did things in rigid formations. The world stood still when we saw a photo of a young couple walking hand-in-hand in the park. Do they have such things as love in Pyongyang!? But the propagandists have really overdone a good thing. As repeatedly observed, you see one goose-stepper, you’ve seen them all! And who ever watches synchronized swimming anyway--even in the Dowlympic games!?

This little photo is a gem of a whole other sort. The caption reads: “A North Korean teacher holds open a children's pop-up book, which depicts a US soldier killing a Korean woman with a hatchet, in a library room at Kaeson Kindergarten in central Pyongyang on March 9, 2013. For North Koreans, anti-American indoctrination starts as early as kindergarten.”

Is it possible to suspend disbelief & put aside the Korean War & the continued over 60-year occupation of South Korea (which confirm in spades that little pop-up)? Is it possible to ignore the constant US threats against North Korea or the missiles lined up headed directly for Pyongyang? In US history (not just in kindergarten but all the way through college), Black & Native American kids question how they got disappeared in US history--just written out, like they were never there--instead of being central to the very formation & development & systemic crises of this country.

At first glance, this photo looks like a US video war game--teaching kids to hate other people. The only difference between North Korean pop-ups & US video games is that the US really does attack other countries--& North Korea just threatens.

(Photo by David Guttenfelder/AP)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Update on eviction of indigenous people in Rio de Janeiro

                                         (Photo by Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

                                         (Photo by Felipe Dana/Associated Press)

An update on a story posted in January 2013:

Six years ago, several ethnic tribes (mostly Guarani) created a settlement in Rio de Janeiro by occupying an old colonial building once the premises of a natural history museum. They had been forcibly expelled from their ancestral lands by foreign agribusiness & despite tenacious legal & popular resistance to the encroachments were forced to relocate by brutal force from the Brazilian government.

The settlement became known as Maracanã Village since it is adjacent to the Maracanã sports stadium now undergoing reconstruction to host the 2016 Olympics & 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, military policy in riot gear surrounded Maracanã Village & without warning or a warrant intended to evict the entire community--although there is a continuing legal battle over the occupation of the space. Political & human rights activists (including a worker from the stadium construction site who was fired for joining the sit-in) arrived at Maracanã Village to support the residents.

The resistance of the the Guarani & others came 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, in petitions, on social networking & independent media threw the government off balance--at least for the meanwhile. After hours of confrontation & negotiation between activists & military cops, & political officials, the military left the scene without charging the building. But it was certain they’d be back because at a news conference in October 2012, Sergio Cabral, the governor of Rio de Janeiro announced: “The Indian Museum near the Maracanã 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.”

Last Friday, a Brazilian federal court (demonstrating once again the cozy relationship of the judicial system to the power elite) ruled that residents had 72 hours to vacate the building. There are no reports the residents have complied with the order & their continuing protests suggest they intend to defy it. This man & woman are residents of Maracanã Village. It’s likely the government will now send in riot cops & bulldozers. Our fullest respect & solidarity with the struggle of the residents. Housing is a human right. And if the Brazilian government stands in the way of that right, it will have to go!

Roger Waters Calls for Boycott of Israel (In the Rolling Stones)

Roger Waters performs in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

 Jon Blistein
 Pink Floyd's Roger Waters says a boycott of Israel, similar to the one implemented against South Africa during apartheid, is the "way to go." He accuses the Israeli government of running a similar regime by occupying the West Bank and Gaza territories in a new interview with the Electronic Intifada.
Waters became an outspoken supporter of the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel after visiting the West Bank in 2006, where he spray-painted the lyric "We don't need no thought control" from Pink Floyd's famous anthem "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" on the Israeli West Bank barrier.

Palestine Youth Orchestra: A Bridge to the World

The Palestine Youth Orchestra. (Photo: Supplied)
The Palestine Youth Orchestra. (Photo: Supplied)
By Tariq Shadid
Not everything in the Middle East, or more specifically in Palestine, is about politics. In this occupied nation, people are not only struggling for liberation and independence, but also to live a life that is as normal as possible under the difficult circumstances of Israeli oppression, persecution and segregation. People who are politically engaged may be inclined to dismiss such efforts of ordinary life as being of minor relevance, or may perhaps even entertain a negative view towards any activities that draw attention away from the struggle. This way of thinking may be understandable from an emotional point of view, but misses some important points which become obvious when the subject is approached from a more rational angle.
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Long live Palestinian intifada!

                                      (Photo by Majdi Mohammed/AP)

(Photo of Ramallah protest, photographer not identified)

From the media, we’re accustomed to the most egregious lies about the conflict between Palestinians & Israel. But the coverage of Obama’s trip reaches levels of banality & deceit never scaled before--except for admission by most of the media that the trip was pointless. On the street, where we like to call a spade a spade, we call it horse shit (asking pardon for the scatology).

Obama & Netanyahu kept that frosty drama going so we don’t see any photos of them hugging & they still kept up their mad faces. But Obama was met with a red carpet, state dinners, & reportedly many streets were lined with children waving US & Israeli flags. Strained relationship my ass! But you expect such sycophancy when Obama comes bearing billions of US tax dollars in military equipment, weaponry, & missile systems.

It’s when Obama headed for the West Bank to meet Abbas that the story really takes a dive & the level of banality crescendoes. The media reported Abbas was going to talk to Obama about the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners (including hunger strikers & small children) subjected to abuse & torture in stinking Israeli prisons. There were those who remained skeptical since Abbas has been such a sniveling, groveling servant of neoliberalism in Palestine. These latter were not disappointed in their skepticism.

Imagine that as hunger strikers are nearing death, as Palestinians are burying activists tortured to death in Israeli prisons, as 30 children were being manhandled & hauled in by Israeli soldiers for throwing stones; only months after the barbaric bombing siege of Gaza; as Zionist settlers continue to expropriate Palestinian lands, & Israel is throwing up new settlement housing--Abbas greets Obama with a bear hug. A betrayal witnessed round the world!

While the media showcases photos of Israeli children waving flags, the photos of Palestinian children at a youth center near Ramallah dancing for Obama, posing for photos with him, bowing & shaking hands with him are hidden behind a paywall. Is Abbas, the master groveler, tutoring children in the arts of sycophancy? Or are these the children of the elite being schooled to identify with the colonizer rather than their fellow Palestinians?

Their are, thank heavens, many photos of Palestinians who met Obama with the dignity of the intifada & of political resistance to apartheid & deceit & groveling. Protest camps were set up on proposed settlement sites with banners directed at Obama, saying “You promised hope and change--you gave us colonies and apartheid.” Protestors in Ramallah & Bethlehem held protests drawing on the heritage of the US Civil Rights Movement, with masks of Martin Luther King & teeshirts emblazoned with ”I have a dream.” One poster showed an image of Obama with the slogan “No hope,” & another said “Obama: persona non grata.” One eloquent Palestinian protestor said, “We’d like him to come here & visit the museum of apartheid.” Posters, hung along the streets of Ramallah & Bethlehem, were torn down or defaced. Some people threw their shoes at Obama’s image.

These are the forces of social transformation & of justice for Palestinians. There isn’t a single case in human history where groveling won justice. For Abbas & the elite class, groveling provides comfort & wealth. That’s why he’s gotta go along with Netanyahu & Obama! Long live the intifada!

No US aid to Israel! Boycott all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729)! Support Palestinian intifada!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Growing numbers of Druze refuse to serve in Israel’s army

Samer al-Sakleh is a Palestinian Druze who has refused to serve in the Israeli army. (Photo courtesy of Samer al-Sakleh)
The number of refuseniks is growing within the Druze religious minority in Israel, according to Samer al-Sakleh, a 20-year-old who has refused to serve in the Israeli army.
“Around 70 percent of the Druze men in my village go to the army,” said al-Sakleh, who hails from Meghar, a village in the Galilee. Yet he is hoping that his protest and that of other Druze will encourage more young people to become conscientious objectors.
Meghar is also home to Omar Saad, a Druze musician who received international attention last year for his decision not to undertake military service.
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Boy oh boy, are they mad at each other!

There are only flimsy retrospectives on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War because there is other so much more compelling news--although they are reporting on the Sunni-Shia conflict & the fact that Iraqi Muslims turned against Christians after the occupation. The media wants us to really understand that Iraqis can’t get along without US military presence.

Leading off the more important news is the continuing drama of KKKKaty’s baby bump; that Selena Gomez made Justin Bieber cry; & that Tiger Woods found someone crazy enough to date him. And on the political front, the first volley of the 2016 election has been fired by Clinton claiming she favors gay marriage. Brace yourself for the prolonged living hell of the campaign & the next traveling clown caravan of candidates--which provide infinitely more agony than comic relief.

Obama has arrived in Israel still playing out that phony-assed drama of a strained relationship with Netanyahu--while he’s handing over our Medicare & Social Security checks for the next several years. Israel will have bombs & missile systems; we will eat dog food.

They report without an ounce of sarcasm that Obama will give “gentle encouragement” to Netanyahu to “be more sensitive to the new realities of the region & not take actions that provoke or irritate the very people with whom they desire better ties.” When you translate, that means the US is scared to death of those Arab uprisings surrounding Israel & they wish Israel would show more restraint in carpet bombing Gaza--not because it’s genocide but because it will increase the fury of the Arab peoples & force their rulers to stop colluding with Israel.

Obama will continue on to meet with Abbas, who wants to talk to Obama about Palestinian prisoners, including children & hunger strikers. But Obama is going there to scold Abbas about that UN recognition. Many Palestinian groups have called for protests against Obama who is bankrolling the expropriation of their lands, the arsenal used against them, & the incarceration of their activists with US tax dollars & our Social Security funds.

Those who oppose Israeli terror & ethnic cleansing can demand “No US aid to Israel” & boycott all Israeli goods (barcode beginning 729).

(Photo of Obama & Netanyahu playing out their soap opera roles by unidentified photographer. For all we know, it was posed in a studio.)

International Criminal Court Complaint Filed Against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Rice, Gonzales

International Criminal Court Complaint Filed Against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Rice, Gonzales
Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. has filed a Complaint with the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “Accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” perpetrated upon about 100 human beings. This term is really their euphemism for the enforced disappearance of persons and their consequent torture. This criminal policy and practice by the Accused constitute Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute establishing the I.C.C.
The United States is not a party to the Rome Statute. Nevertheless the Accused have ordered and been responsible for the commission of I.C.C. statutory crimes within the respective territories of many I.C.C. member states, including several in Europe. Consequently, the I.C.C. has jurisdiction to prosecute the Accused for their I.C.C. statutory crimes under Rome Statute article 12(2)(a) that affords the I.C.C. jurisdiction to prosecute for I.C.C. statutory crimes committed in I.C.C. member states.
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Iraq invasion 'the most vile crime against humanity of our lifetime'

Millions of Iraqi children have suffered the death of a close family member at the hands of the U.S. military, and will forever be impacted by the trauma of living under a brutal occupation for nearly a decade.
Kevin Baker
(The author is a former Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army infantry who spent a total of 28 months in Iraq.)
 "Today marks the tenth year “anniversary” of the U.S.-led invasion against the people of Iraq. But this wasn’t the beginning of the U.S. war against the people of Iraq, it began much earlier. The United States has been for over 22 years (and still to this day) torturing the Iraqi people. From the bombing of powdered milk factories to the destruction of water purification facilities, the United States government has targeted the most innocent of Iraqis, their children. 500,000 Iraqi children were executed by the United States in the form of sanctions, embargos, starvation and bombing campaigns prior to the invasion in 2003.
Today Iraq is in shambles because of the almost decade-long US occupation and war. The majority of Iraqi people do not have access to continued supply of clean water, food, shelter, education, healthcare or security. The current Iraqi government has expressed its concern for the Iraqi people in the form of U.S.- supplied guns, bullets and misery. Peaceful demonstrations against government corruption and injustice are met with deadly violence from the new “democratic” government; organizers are jailed and tortured."
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Another reason to change the world!

This delightful photo won a recent Sony World Photography Award. There’s no information about who the children are or where they live--but from the laughter to the little girl’s scuffed knees it could be anywhere because the beauty of children is universal. They will always be the most compelling reason to change the world.

(Photo by Mac Kwan/Ming Huo Guan)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Noam Sheizaf: Democracy for Jews, dictatorship for Palestinians

"There’a quote by Ahmed Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, saying that Israel is indeed a Jewish and democratic state - it’s a democratic state for the Jews and a Jewish state for the Palestinians. Meaning that only Jews enjoy democracy. … If you’re an Israeli Jew, you’re pretty much safe; If you’re a Palestinian in the West Bank, you don’t experience democracy, you experience a dictatorship. And this is something many people don’t understand.Many people think that either Israel is a dictatorship for everyone, and it’s not - it’s a functioning democracy for Israeli Jews, and limited and imperfect and all that, and on the other hand you have this phrase “the only democracy in the Middle East,” where Palestinians never experienced this democracy."
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A day of shame

Miko Peled: Obama won’t bring peace to Palestine


US President Barack Obama at the Israel lobby group AIPAC’s conference in 2011.
Miko Peled- The Electronic Intifada
If US President Barack Obama wanted to move the Palestine/Israel issue along, he would need to demand that Israel free thousands of political prisoners it holds in violation of international law, end its violations of Palestinian human rights, lift the siege on Gaza or at the very least end the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians.
However, because the fear that retribution by Israel’s lobby will be swift and painful, none of these things will be said — much less demanded — even though they are well-documented and widely known. And so, President Obama’s planned trip to Israel will not offer any solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict.
The Israeli-Palestinian issue is, politically, a toxic wasteland that no US president in his right mind would want to clean up. It has become a vicious cycle of deceit and double standards, and it will contaminate any US politician who tries to clean it up. One may trust that President Obama, being fully aware of this, will avoid getting involved with this issue in his second term, just as he did in his first term.
Even if he does visit the West Bank city of Ramallah during his planned visit, there can be little doubt that Barack Obama will continue to stand behind Israel and place his real efforts elsewhere. It’s the cost of doing business.
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MJ Rosenberg: The Times Eviscerates The Occupation

"On Sunday, the New York Times ran an extraordinary magazine piece (it was the cover story) on West Bank Palestinians who are resisting the Israeli occupation through non-violence. For those who follow the issue closely, the extraordinary aspect of the piece was not so much anything author Ben Ehreneich revealed as it was that the article appeared in the New York Times at all.
You just don’t expect to find this type of reporting on Israel in the Times which, ever conscious that it is the New York Times, is always cautious about its reportage on Israel. Most of its coverage is either extremely balanced (“the Palestinians say this, the Israeli government says that”) or slavishly supportive of the Israeli line. (Columnists Tom Friedman and Nick Kristof both consistently deviate from the line, but they are columnists, influential columnists to be sure, but opinion columnists nonetheless)."
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Tear down the walls!

“Something there is that doesn’t like a wall.” (Robert Frost) But there are dozens of the damn things going up all over the world to prevent immigration or enforce apartheid. They’re barbaric & an assault to human freedom & the spirit of international good will. They go back a long way in human history because the rulers have always been too stupid to understand that human beings will not be deterred by impediments that can be crossed or torn down. Most of the old ones are now tourist attractions like the Great Wall of China & the remnants of the Berlin Wall.

The new ones--in Asia, Africa, North America, Europe--are built of cement or steel or chicken wire; they’re erected with malice & hatred & guarded by armed men & vicious dogs. Much of the barrier wall cutting off the West Bank & Gaza from Israel has become a palette for rebellious graffiti like the section of the wall here in Bethlehem, West Bank. The monstrous eyesore closing off the US from Mexico has caused hundreds of immigrant deaths, violated the land rights of indigenous peoples, caused environmental ruin, disturbed major avian migration routes, broken dozens of laws, & violated every human right in the book.

It is long since time for men & women of good will to tear down the walls & to initiate an era of human solidarity by opposing the stupidity, insularity, racism, & greed of our rulers. While they are on a rampage to break down all obstacles to global plunder they build one wall after another to divide us from each other. This historic task may require moving them from the gated communities where they live isolated from the rest of us to the gated penitentiaries where they belong (of course, without denying them due process along the way). So if they're wise, they won't shred the entire Bill of Rights. They may need it someday.

This song by Roger Waters titled "We Shall Overcome: Song for Palestine" is an anthem to our historic mandate to tear down the walls & make this world suitable for human beings to live & love in.

(Photo by Libertinus at Flickr)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Time to march against the wars!

This photo was taken 10 years ago in March 2003. The man is an Iraqi prisoner of war being held by the US Army. A soldier cut off the plastic handcuffs but left the black sandbag on his head while he comforted & held his screaming child. This was almost a year before the Abu Ghraib revelations of US torture of prisoners. While the Bush administration parsed the legalities of the Geneva Convention on the humane treatment of prisoners--claiming prisoners in Guantanamo & al Qaeda members were exempted from coverage--we now know they flouted them for all prisoners in Iraq. The generals called it the “stress matrix” & approved 20 torture techniques for use in Iraq. Hooding a prisoner is surely torture.

At Abu Ghraib the approved techniques included punching with fists & objects, urinating on prisoners, pouring phosphoric acid on them, raping & sodomizing them, tying ropes to their legs or penises & dragging them, humiliating them sexually, forcing them to crawl naked while US soldiers rode them like ponies.

Alfred W. McCoy, in his book, “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror,” claims the methods used at Abu Ghraib were straight out of the CIA manual of torture techniques. Although the soldiers involved were court martialed & should indeed have been held to account for war crimes, the US government, including the administration & the generals who sanctioned torture & the CIA operatives who taught these techniques have never had to face the music for their crimes. Not only do they continue to employ torture today but the Obama administration has given it legal sanction. Isn’t it time we throw the bums out!?

We cannot adequately compensate for the suffering imposed on the people of Iraq by the US government but we can take an active stand against the continuation of the war & occupation. Antiwar protests are planned for this spring & though the movement is small & still weak, it can only grow strong by participation. US out of Iraq! US out of Afghanistan!

(Photo by Jean-Marc Bouju/AP)

Behold the revolution!

Behold the persecuted Muslim woman! She’s taking cover from riot cops at a democracy protest in Sanabis, Bahrain (near Manama). Meanwhile, dull-minded conservatives hold up Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel as models of female political leadership. On the left, young men are reading Marx & quoting Zizek, hoping they’ll be the next Lenin. Others are looking to women protesting naked or in sexy lingerie as the vanguard of feminism. Let’s get real! These are the teachers & leaders of revolution; these are the feminist vanguard. Revolutions are led by those who do & dare & defy power.

No offense brothers but from Egypt to Cambodia to India to Brazil to Bahrain it’s looking very much like revolutions are being led by women. It doesn’t matter much which gender leads them as long as they transform society from predatory to suitable for human life. But let the world stand witness & testify to the leading role played by mothers, sisters, daughters. Male companeros will be advised to stop hogging center stage.

(Photo by Mohammed al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images)

Displaced Palestinians return to village after 64 years

The third generation of the displaced community of Iqrit decided that they’d had enough of waiting for authorities to allow them to return to their village lands, taking matters into their own hands. Last August, they set up their base in a room adjacent to the old church and haven’t left since.
Welcome to Iqrit. The revivers of the village (Oren Ziv / Activestills)
Welcome to Iqrit. The revivers of the village (Oren Ziv / Activestills)
In 1948, the Christian Orthodox village of Iqrit surrendered to the IDF without a fight. When soldiers ordered residents to leave for two weeks for security reasons, considering the village is extremely close to the Lebanese boarder, nobody thought twice about it. Three years later, in July 1951, when the High Court of Justice ordered the state to fulfill its promise and allow the displaced people, who were still living in temporary houses in other villages, to return to their homes and lands, the small community was thrilled. But on Christmas Eve of that year the IDF blew up the entire village, leaving only the church in place. The people of Iqrit realized that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Labeeb and Marth Ashkar holding a picture of the village they were deported from in 1948 (Oren Ziv / Activestills)
Labeeb and Marth Ashkar holding a picture of the village they 
were deported from in 1948 (Oren Ziv / Activestills)
Since then, sixty-four years have passed. In the summer of 2012, like in all other summers since 1995, the entire displaced community organized a summer camp for their youth on village lands near the old church that they frequent on a monthly basis. They told the youngsters tales of village life and explained to them once again how they have been fighting for their right of return, a right which was guaranteed to them by courts and governments alike over the years. Iqrit is one of only two cases in Israeli history in which such promises have been made (the other being the nearby village of Bir’em).

The summer camp ended, and as everybody was returning home, some of the guides got to talking. They were sad to see how the generation of their grandparents was slowly fading away, and feared that whatever implementation of their recognized rights they had been unable to achieve in 64 years would not be achieved anytime soon. It was then and there that they decided to do something. They decided to return.
The young villagers of the New Iqrit enjoying lunch outside the church (Oren Ziv / Activestills)
The young villagers of the New Iqrit enjoying lunch outside the
 church (Oren Ziv / Activestills)
Six months have passed since that day. While three Palestinian outposts in the West Bank were erected and swiftly destroyed by the army – the youth of Iqrit were able to stay. Indeed, whenever they try to build something outside the church and its single adjacent room, authorities quickly show up to demolish it. But other than that, they’ve been living rough and making it happen: planting and growing their own food, collecting timber for  fire, unearthing ruins of the old village, uploading pictures to their Facebook page from their mobile phones (there’s no electricity for computers), and making plans for the entire community’s future return.