Archive | June 12th, 2010

NAZI ASSAULT ON GAZA AID FLOTILLA

NOVANEWS  

EXCLUSIVE: New Video Smuggled Out from Mavi Marmara of Israel’s Deadly Assault on Gaza Aid Flotilla

Culturesofresistance

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we bring you a sneak preview of previously unseen raw footage from the Mavi Marmara that will be formally released at a press conference at the United Nations later in the day.

The footage shows the mood and the activities onboard the Mavi Marmara in the time leading up to the attack, and the immediate reaction of the passengers during the attack.

We are joined by filmmaker and activist Iara Lee, one of the few Americans on the Mavi Marmara ship. Her equipment was confiscated, but she managed to smuggle out an hour’s worth of footage. [includes rush transcript]

Filed under Gaza, Israel Palestine

Guest:

Iara Lee, filmmaker and director of the Cultures of Resistance network that brings together artists and activists from around the world.

Related stories

Rush Transcript

JUAN GONZALEZ: Over a week after Israel’s deadly assault on the Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla that left nine Turks dead, questions remain about exactly what happened on the Mavi Marmara or on the other boats that fateful Monday morning.

President Obama addressed the incident during a joint press conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday. He expressed his support for an investigation that, quote, “met international standards” and said it was, quote, “in Israel’s interest to make sure that everybody knows exactly how this happened so that we don’t see these kinds of events occurring again.” Obama also described the situation in Gaza as “unsustainable. “

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We saw the tragedy with the flotillas, something that I think has drawn attention all around the world to the ongoing problems in Gaza. As part of the United Nations Security Council, we were very clear in condemning the acts that led to this crisis and have called for a full investigation. And it is important that we get all the facts out. But what we also know is that the situation in Gaza is unsustainable.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Israel has refused to agree to an international investigation, has also tightly controlled the images of its naval raid on the flotilla, seized almost all of the photographic and video equipment of the passengers aboard the ship, also jammed all communications as they were raiding the ships.

But a handful of people were successful in smuggling out some of their video and photographs. Yesterday we brought you the Australian reporters with the Sydney Morning Herald. Kate Geraghty had managed to get out some of her photos. We showed them, and you can go to our website online at democracynow. org.

Today, in a Democracy Now! global exclusive, we bring you a sneak preview of previously unseen raw footage from the Mavi Marmara that will be formally released at a news conference today at the United nations. The footage shows the mood and the activities onboard the Mavi Marmara in the time leading up to the attack, and the immediate reaction of the passengers during the attack, as well as a number of the injured passengers, a number of the passengers who were shot.

For more, we’re joined here in New York by filmmaker and activist Iara Lee. She directs the Cultures of Resistance network and was one of the few Americans on the Mavi Marmara ship. Her equipment was confiscated, but she did manage to have smuggled out an hour’s worth of footage.

Iara Lee, welcome to Democracy Now! Describe that day.

IARA LEE: We were prepared for a confrontation, but we never thought it was going to be this kind of violent, disproportional violence, confrontation. So the women were going to scream, the men were going to push and kick. But when we saw commandos coming down the helicopter and all these Zodiacs full of navy soldiers coming just around, it was just—we had no words.

And it started at 11:00. We noticed the two navy Israeli ships.

JUAN GONZALEZ: That’s 11:00 p.m., right?

IARA LEE: Yeah, it’s 11:00 p.m. We were in the middle of international waters. And then, around 4:00 a.m., the assault started. And apparently their trademark is silence, so they came—

AMY GOODMAN: As you’re talking, we’re going to be playing some of the video. And for our radio listeners, you can go to our website at democracynow. org.

Continue, Iara.

IARA LEE: And so, the Zodiacs came and surrounded, and the helicopters had their commandos coming down. And it was chaos, total chaos. The women were told to go downstairs and stay quiet and calm. And, you know, I was very concerned about my cameraman, my friends, so I went up. And by the time I went up just to see what was going on, I already saw many injured and dead bodies. It was terrifying.

In the media room, the journalists were trying to hide there. But at the end of the operation, we had all our equipment confiscated. During the raid, all the people had their cameras and videos, but unfortunately everything got confiscated.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And when you say you went up, that means that you were down in a lower deck before the—as the attack unfolded, and your cameraman was on an upper deck?

IARA LEE: Yes. Everybody was roaming around, and everybody has their cameras and their video cameras, so everybody was documenting. It’s just that nobody was able to bring the footage out or the photographs out.

AMY GOODMAN: When you show the video of the helicopters above—and we’re showing that now—we see that there is—and we can hear below the sound of an explosion. What was happening there?

IARA LEE: I can’t give you all the technical information about what is rubber bullet sound, what is, you know, live ammunition. But obviously, they came with live ammunition. And minutes afterwards, we had the megaphone in our rooms, in every room on the ship, saying, “Stay quiet and calm. They’re using live ammunition. There is no way we can resist. They are taking over the ship. Just stay calm and don’t resist at all.” You know? The other boats, they used rubber bullets and tear gas; they didn’t kill people. But in our ship, they came to kill.

JUAN GONZALEZ: The issue of these explosions, several people have said, have told us, that the explosions occurred, and even some shooting, before any soldier landed on the boat. Is that your recollection, or do you know for sure?

IARA LEE: We didn’t have guns. We were, you know, grabbing chairs. And, you know, the boys were taking like whatever they could get hold of, like broomsticks and so forth. And it was just completely disproportionate. And the injuries and the dead people started happening very quickly, to the point that—you know, you can see here in the footage.

They managed to get hold of some Israeli soldiers, but obviously we were so brainwashed about nonviolence as our methodology that we didn’t kill any of the Israeli soldiers. Actually, when they got injured with the commotion, they actually got treated by our passengers. But the megaphone kept saying, “We are civilians. Don’t use violence.

And we have extremely injured people. We need medical help,” because we were not prepared medically to take care of, like, dead people. But we were ignored, and a lot of people who were injured actually ended up bleeding to death and died.

AMY GOODMAN: Describe that, because this is the footage, as the narrative was laid out over the days, we of course did not see, although the Israeli military has all of it in their possession. This footage that you have shows one person after another being dragged out and attempts at treating them. Describe the injuries that you saw.

IARA LEE: As I said, I was going up and down, just trying to get an overview and making sure some of the people I knew were OK. And, you know, like, it was very chaotic. I just know that when they call us like a hate boat, this is insane, because obviously we were there to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, and they were the ones using live ammunition, to the point when they did the autopsy, the people who are found dead, they had like thirty bullets.

So, can we say the Israeli navy and the commandos, they came to play ball with us? No, they came to kill. They wanted to take over the ship. And we were actually—according to some research, the ship was even fleeing, because we didn’t want this kind of like heavy confrontation. But they came in the middle of international waters and overpowered us.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re showing some footage now, which I want to describe for our radio listeners, of a clearly wounded man. He’s on the ground. He’s been wounded in the chest, and they are trying to treat him on the ground of the ship.

Let’s listen to this. What was that?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: All the passengers are sitting down

AMY GOODMAN: And now we see a woman speaking.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We are not [inaudible]. We are civilians taking care of injured people! Don’t use violence! We need help for the people! Don’t use violence against the civilians!

AMY GOODMAN: The woman is saying, “Don’t use violence against the civilians. People are sitting. We have many injured people. Please don’t attack.” And that is the video footage.

IARA LEE: Yes, I think the miscalculation was that the Israelis thought, by jamming our satellite system, the world would not have any access to information. And they didn’t know that we had a backup system that was able to transmit live some of the events. And obviously it was dark in the middle of the ocean, so they thought they had it all taken care, as far as like no information would come out.

They would be the only ones holding the information, because they were obviously filming. And we were hundreds of people, so some of us did manage to get, you know, photographs and video footage out. And today we are showing raw, uncensored footage, and everybody can take the clue. And we’ll make it available to the world for investigations.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Interestingly, in the video that you’ve been showing here, obviously, in the outdoors, it’s very dark, and unless you have a light, it’s kind of hard to make out what’s going on, unless you have a flood lamp on. But the footage that the Israelis posted on YouTube, it looked like it was daylight. And could you talk about how they managed to do that?

Because it looked like this was occurring in the middle of the day, not, as it was, at 4:00 in the morning.

IARA LEE: Yeah, it’d be the technology. I think once people start using our footage for investigation, they would always—they will always be able to brighten out and analyze, frame by frame, you know? But it was 4:00 a.m. It was dark, you know?

AMY GOODMAN: In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Hasan Huseyin Uysal, a Turkish doctor, said he treated Israeli commandos who were captured and briefly detained during initial stages of the raid on the ship challenging the blockade. And then the soldiers were given back to the Israeli commandos.

IARA LEE: Which basically proves that we were not there to lynch anybody, because we had the opportunity of killing or really like mistreating these soldiers, and we didn’t, you know, because we are humanitarian. Despite the chaos, we knew we were supposed to stay nonviolent.

JUAN GONZALEZ: One of the amazing things to me is that given the number of people that were on that boat, the lack of any attempt by the—especially the US media, including this account in the New York Times, which is the only attempt to, quote, “reconstruct” what happened, are not really saying—giving details, how were these people shot. Where were they at the time they were shot?

 What were their wounds like? What was happening around them? There is really no attempt to reconstruct an incident, where there were hundreds, literally, of witnesses to what actually happened.

IARA LEE: That’s why we demand our footage back, because they confiscated all our hard drives and camera equipment. We could reconstruct the events, if we were given our footage back, and not the idea of using a manipulative fashion.

They are extracting things for their stories and putting on the YouTube by their channel. This is like complete violation of respect for media. And, you know?

AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday we interviewed two reporters from the Sydney Morning Herald, reporter and photographer Paul McGeough and Kate Geraghty, and she managed to secrete one—a few of her disks out. They found others. But they kept all of their equipment, $60,000 to $80,000 of equipment and hard drives.

They repeatedly said they would return it, but on the Turkish dock there was none of it. People can go online and see her photographs on our website.

Interestingly, also, a group of top Israeli Naval reserve officers Sunday, this was in, I believe—

JUAN GONZALEZ: In Ha’aretz.

AMY GOODMAN: In Ha’aretz—”publicly called on Israel to allow an external probe into its commando raid of a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla.” They wrote a letter to Netanyahu and the Israeli Defense Forces chief. “The Navy officers denounced the commando raid as having ‘ended in tragedy [both at] the military and diplomatic levels.'”

They said, “We disagree with the widespread claims that this was the result of an intelligence rift. In addition, we do not accept claims that this was a ‘public relations failure’ and we think that the plan was doomed to failure from the beginning.”

They said, “First and foremost, we protest the fact that responsibility for the tragic results was immediately thrust onto the organizers of the flotilla.” That’s Israeli Navy reserve officers demanding an independent investigation.

IARA LEE: Yeah, I read this article, and I think the international community must keep putting pressure for an independent, unbiased investigation. And we must get all our footage back to reconstruct what happened. I will make my footage available. That’s why it’s uncensored, it’s raw. And people can bring the international lawyers, who need to apply international law to investigate those crimes.

JUAN GONZALEZ: I want to read here just from the Guardian’s coverage in England on Friday, which I think is one of the few that actually attempts to explain what happened. And they’re reporting the forensic report of the Turkish authorities, where they say that, as you were mentioning, a total of—the people, the nine people who are so far identified as dead, thirty times they were shot.

 Five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head. And interestingly, it says the nineteen-year- old, Furkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, “was shot five times from less than 45 cm […], in the face, the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back.” At less than forty-five centimeters, you’re talking at almost point-blank range that he was shot five times.

IARA LEE: Our main internet person in our media room also got shot in the head. You know, this was not like a non-premeditated—

AMY GOODMAN: Was he killed?

IARA LEE: No, no. The only people killed were the Turkish people and this one US citizen, yeah. But people were getting—

AMY GOODMAN: And how was he shot in the head?

IARA LEE: I don’t have the details, but I know, since we were always with the media department, that I heard that he was the one that got shot.

JUAN GONZALEZ: The Guardian report also says that forty-eight other people suffered gunshot wounds and that six activists remain missing.

IARA LEE: Yes. And—

JUAN GONZALEZ: Have you unidentified who those missing are?

IARA LEE: Obviously, we cannot jump to conclusions, but they are not hurt, they are not injured, they are not killed. They disappeared. I don’t know. It’s something that must be investigated. I mean, some people even speculate that we had spies, so maybe some of these missing people were, you know, Mossad agents. We don’t know. We need to investigate. Were they thrown off the boat?

AMY GOODMAN: What happened to you after?

IARA LEE: Everybody got handcuffed and taken—basically kidnapped from international waters to Israel. And when we arrived there, they said, “Sign here,” that you’re going to be deported because you’re illegally in Israel. And we were, like, shocked. We didn’t want to be in Israel. We were kidnapped from international waters and brought to Israel. And we were completely incommunicado. All the questions—

AMY GOODMAN: Did you agree to sign?

IARA LEE: No. At the beginning, we didn’t sign. We didn’t answer questions. I mean, most people. Myself, I said, “Listen, I need my embassy. I need a lawyer. I’m not going to be submitting myself to this kind of interrogation. ” But we were incommunicado, you know? And I think the embassies put a lot of pressure. And then, a couple of days later, or even three days later—I can’t even remember, because it was just so chaotic—the embassies were able to start talking to us, and we were able to make one phone call to our families. Not everybody even managed to make one phone call to their family to say that we were alive.

AMY GOODMAN: How long could you speak?

IARA LEE: Hmm?

AMY GOODMAN: How long could you speak on the phone?

IARA LEE: Oh, no, it was just like, you know, one minute. And me, I had to call my office, because people are working. And the girl, the security girl, she hangs up, saying, “I told you, you can only call home.” I said, “But my sister is at the office. I can’t call her at home. She’s working.” She didn’t allow me to say not even two words. I just said, “Are you at the office?” And then she hangs up.

AMY GOODMAN: Where were you deported to?

IARA LEE: We were—the ship was brought to Ashdod port, and apparently they had organized already, a few months earlier or a few weeks earlier, a whole prison facility to accommodate us. It was a new facility that was ready to keep hundreds of people, innocent people.

AMY GOODMAN: So you were held there for a number of days. And then where were you deported to?

IARA LEE: At the very end, we didn’t know. We thought we were going home. And when we got to Tel Aviv airport, they told us that we were all going to Istanbul. And then I found out that the prime minister of Turkey had sent Turkish Airlines airplanes to evacuate us all. That was another like huge drama, because the Turkish prime minister said that we would not depart until everybody was returned, and especially the president of IHH, the IHH, the main humanitarian organization.

So we sat at the Tel Aviv airstrip on these planes for many, many hours in complete agony, because there was some sort of declaration that if they didn’t release the president of IHH, this would be considered a declaration of war. And I was just like, my god, this is getting more and more surreal by the minute. But finally, very late—I think it was like in the middle of the night—they released the president of IHH. We took off, and we landed around 4:00 a.m. in Istanbul, all of us.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Iara Lee, I want to thank you for being with us. When are you releasing this at the United Nations today?

IARA LEE: So it’s today at 4:00 p.m. for the United Nations press people. And also outside media people, they can just go to our Facebook or <a href=”http://www.cultures ofresistance. org/culturesofresistanc e.org to get information.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you very much for being with us, Iara Lee, filmmaker and director of the Cultures of Resistance network that brings together artists and activists from around the world. On the Mavi Marmara, she got this footage smuggled out that we aired today. And there is a full hour that they will be releasing later today.

Recent Activity:

Visit Your Group

Accuracy and content of all postings are the responsibility of posting author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of CEIA-SC.

To learn more please visit us at http://www.ceia-sc.org/
Read articles, find useful links, download resource materials.

Support justice for Palestine, donate to CEIA-SC at http://ihcenter.org/groups/ceia-sc.html
Contact us at: info@ceia-sc.org

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on NAZI ASSAULT ON GAZA AID FLOTILLA

ZIO=NAZI STUPIDITY ‘GO BACK TO AUSHWITZ’

NOVANEWS

1. Shocking Testimonials from the Mavi Marmara survivors. And one Israeli fembot by Lauren Booth

DateFriday, June 11,
One of the most striking trends following the flotilla attack has been how quickly Israeli hasbara is being exposed by internet journalists.
The doctored IOF audio clips, where amateurs with mock Arab accents hiss ‘Go back to Aushwitz’ to Israeli naval officers. Well they didn’t take long to pull apart did they? Then there are the (so-pathetic-they’re-almost-funny  claims the flotilla was linked to Al Quaeda. I laughed out loud to read in an Israeli paper that humanitarian activist (and former US marine) Ken O’Keefe was going to Gaza to; ‘train a commando unit in Hamas.’
I know Ken fairly well. Quite frankly I’m not sure who should be more insulted by this stupidity him or Hamas? Either way flinging the words ‘Hamas’ ‘Jihadists’ and ‘Israel’s security’ around is no longer having the same shock and awe effect on journalists or the public at large.

2. New Video: Don’t Use Violence, we are civilians!!!

3. Humanity vs Tribalism

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on ZIO=NAZI STUPIDITY ‘GO BACK TO AUSHWITZ’

OBAMA & ZIONIST SPELL

NOVANEWS

Held hostage by oil spill, or by Israeli spell

June 8, 2010

by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

Obama and Netanyahu at the oval office

It’s the things we don’t see that worry me the most.

In his song “too much rope “, Roger Waters, the Rock musician of the Pink Floyd goes something like this; Moslem or Christian Mullah or Pope Preacher or poet who was it wrote Give any one species too much rope and they’ll mess it up. Yes… give British petroleum too much free hand in the Gulf of Mexico, and the USA will wake up one morning to the worst environmental disasters ever.

Give Israel the unconditional support and vetoed protection, and the USA will wake up another morning to find herself lost in Iraq and Afghanistan…And maybe soon in Iran or Pakistan.

The live streaming pictures of oil gushing from the sea floor with the potential to devastate the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico from the marshes and beaches to the deep sea ecosystems, is so terrifying to the extent that led The American government’s point man on the Gulf oil spill to call it “an insidious enemy that’s attacking our shores” and “holding the Gulf hostage.”
But we can easily speak of another insidious enemy that holds the whole USA hostage to his endless selfish demands, that is Israel.

The tangible vs the intangible

The Gulf oil leak crisis grabbed the attention of all Americans, because it`s a tangible threat, obvious and clear danger, no eye can see it differently, one look at a suffocated bird washed ashore would make you contemplate the hideous perils that lie ahead, if this spill is not promptly contained.

The Israeli threat to America is something of a greater magnitude and harm, the Zionist danger is the one we should refer to as genuinely insidious, it`s not as obvious and clear to the eyes as the oil leak, but it’s tenfold as catastrophic, it is the perfectly intangible danger.

You can’t watch it gushing out live on TV, but with attentive scrutiny you can recognize its perilous consequences;
– Israel is the main reason why most Muslim and Middle Eastern countries are engaged in anti – American sentiment.
– Israel is the main reason why Americans are entangled and fighting somebody else`s unjust and false wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and any time soon in Iran or Pakistan. Israel is the main reason why the flag of the USA is constantly humiliated abroad.

The origin of the tumor

Many have characterized the relationship between what the United States does in the Middle East and what the Zionist lobby wants it to do as a case of an Israeli malignant tumor spreading slowly in the US body, the tumor cells of this malignancy or better known as AIPAC , is seen as virtually dictating policy to whatever administration and Congress are in power, and its critics have stated it acts as an agent of the Israeli government with a “stranglehold” on the US Congress.

There are myriad examples of this dynamic, most notably Israel’s invasion of Lebanon 2006, the brutal offensive against Gaza 2008-2009 and lately the assassination of the freedom flotilla activists in international waters in the dead of night.

Israel has lately been under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assault on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range, in what apparently seems that Israel had operated a “shoot to kill policy”.

But is America willing to allow such an inquiry to proceed, this is the main question, the question that point out how Israeli policies adversely affect America’s strategic interests in the region and the whole world now. “I want BP to be very clear, they’ve got moral and legal obligations here in the Gulf for the damage that has been done,” Obama said.

The Gulf oil spill weighing down wild life

“We’ve assigned federal folks to look over BP’s shoulder” to make sure they honor those obligations, the president said. But then, can the president of the United States be equally firm and decisive when addressing any Israeli problematic issue.

Nobody is expecting that the Israeli regime would come to terms with the pressures imposed by the international community, and submit to an international inquiry of the criminally suspected conduct of the Israeli commandos on the Gaza aid flotilla deck.

But then, why abide by the international law, when you safely keep the American veto in your pocket. Why not act criminally, when you can escape the back fire, slipping through the American backdoor.

Preventive measures should be applied

“I’m not too worried about oil on the surface,” says chemist Ed Overton of Louisiana State University in comment to the gulf oil spill and added “It’s going to cause very substantial and noticeable damage—marsh loss and coastal erosion and impact on fisheries, dead birds, dead turtles—but we’ll know what that is. It’s the things we don’t see that worry me the most.

That is exactly what the Americans should be worried about, the undersurface, hardly detected, constantly ongoing intangible Zionist cancer that enlarges and spreads throughout the American political system. If the United States is unable to distinguish the world’s or its own real needs from those of another state and that state’s lobby, then it simply cannot say that it always acts in its own best interests.

In medical terms, the only curative approach to a malignancy is the early detection as a preventive measure. Thus isn’t it about time the Americans sought prevention!

 

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on OBAMA & ZIONIST SPELL

CRIMINAL BUSH:TRIGGER GLOBAL FINANCIAL CHAOS

NOVANEWS

AIG’s problems far greater than Bush officials told public

June 9, 2010

by Michael Leon

Financial Reform

By Greg Gordon | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — At the peak of the 2008 financial crisis, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and top Federal Reserve officials told the nation that there was an urgent need for the government to lend $85 billion to the American International Group so the giant insurer’s temporary cash squeeze wouldn’t trigger global financial chaos.

Nearly two years later, taxpayers are on the hook for twice that amount, and it now appears that Paulson and senior Federal Reserve officials either plunged ahead without understanding AIG’s financial situation and the risks it posed to taxpayers — or were less than candid about one of the largest corporate bailouts in U.S. history.

AIG reported combined total losses of $110 billion in 2008 and 2009, erasing any doubt that the government stepped into a colossal mess.

AIG was at the epicenter of all the government bailouts of financial institutions in 2008, a company through which more than $90 billion in federal money flowed out the back door to some of the same Wall Street banks whose risky behavior fueled the crisis. Among the leading beneficiaries of the AIG bailout was investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, which Paulson headed until June 2006.

Explanations of the bailout from current and former top government officials have never fully jibed, fueling allegations that most of the money was always intended for Wall Street rather than Main Street.

Elizabeth Warren, the chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel that’s tracking the use of bailout money, said at a hearing in late May that the government “broke all the rules” with its rescue of AIG, which she labeled a “corporate Frankenstein” that defied regulatory oversight.

As the Fed wired billions of dollars to AIG in the fall of 2008, state and federal officials assured the public that the company’s financial woes were limited largely to its parent, which had wagered $2 trillion on exotic financial instruments and incurred massive losses on housing-related investments. AIG’s six dozen U.S.-based insurance companies, the regulators said, were all on solid footings.

A McClatchy analysis of the finances of 20 of AIG’s larger insurance subsidiaries at the time has found a much bleaker picture, however: More than $200 billion in potential red ink was obscured by entanglements in which these subsidiaries bought stock in, reinsured or guaranteed debts of their sister companies.

Despite the regulators’ public assurances and AIG’s assertion that pooling arrangements among its subsidiaries made the liabilities look worse than they actually were, AIG has since propped up its insurance subsidiaries with $31 billion of taxpayers’ dollars, and its total debt to taxpayers — once as much as $182 billion — still could reach $162.5 billion.

Now the company, nearly 80 percent owned by taxpayers, is reporting profits again and appears to have stabilized. Even before AIG’s planned $35.5 billion sale of a prized Asian insurance subsidiary collapsed on June 1, however, government auditors projected that bailing it out will still cost taxpayers as much as $47 billion.

Most experts agree that shoring up the giant insurer was important to prevent a systemic financial breakdown, but critics question the government’s handling of the bailout — from its misleading early portrayals of AIG’s financial condition to failing to press Wall Street creditors such as Goldman to accept discounted payments from AIG.

Warren, whose panel is completing a critical report on the bailout, said, “The government invented a new process out of whole cloth.”

In a normal restructuring, she said, AIG’s shareholders “should have lost everything, and its creditors should have taken substantial losses.”

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general assigned to watch over hundreds of billions in federal bailout dollars, last fall also criticized the Fed’s decision to pay Goldman and others 100 cents on the dollar to settle AIG’s insurance-like bets, known as credit-default swaps, on offshore mortgage securities.

Instead, creditors such as Goldman were paid in full, and AIG shareholders’ stock was diluted twentyfold, but not wiped out.

Now Barofsky is investigating whether New York Fed employees may have concealed information about the bailout and whether Wall Street firms might have defrauded taxpayers by concealing risks in seven offshore deals that AIG had insured. To settle AIG’s positions, the New York Fed wound up buying mortgages in deals that appeared headed for default.

A central question is how much U.S. officials knew about the company’s problems when they decided to bail it out.

Thomas Baxter, the general counsel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, acknowledged in phone interviews that the Fed’s understanding of the insurer’s financial condition “changed over time as we got to know AIG and its problems.”

“That led us to come up with different solutions as we learned . . . that its problems were both liquidity (a cash squeeze) and capital (insufficient assets),” he said.

Robert Eisenbeis, a former research director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said that the AIG bailout “was painted as a liquidity problem, and it was a solvency problem. And it’s still a solvency issue.”

In making the massive loans to AIG, the Fed was wielding vast emergency powers that dated to the post-Depression era and were expanded by Congress in 1991.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who headed the New York Fed in the fall of 2008, told Congress in late January that the central bank had the authority “to protect the financial system from broad-based runs,” but could lend only to “firms that were solvent,” able to pay their debts.

He made no mention of AIG’s questionable solvency.

In his recently published book, “On the Brink,” Paulson describes advising President George W. Bush at a White House meeting on Sept. 16, 2008, that AIG needed a large but temporary cash infusion.

Paulson also wrote that he persuaded presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain not to call the AIG rescue a “bailout,” and they obliged.

He recalled that he told Bush that AIG, unlike the investment bank Lehman Brothers, which had gone bankrupt two days earlier, didn’t have a shortage of assets — “at least we didn’t think so at the time.”

However, Paulson also recalled learning within weeks that AIG was “in dreadful shape . . . a badly wounded company” on the verge of collapse, unable even to make the interest payments on its government loans. On Nov. 5, 2008, the day after the presidential election, Paulson advised Bush that the Treasury Department would pay $40 billion to buy preferred stock in the insurer to keep it alive.

Paulson wrote that Bush asked his Treasury Department aide, Jim Lambright: “Will we ever get the money back?”

“I don’t know, sir,” Lambright replied.

A spokeswoman for Paulson referred a reporter to his book and declined further comment.

The GAO found last year that Paulson and the New York Fed initiated the rescue without consulting the Office of Thrift Supervision, a Treasury Department agency that regulated AIG’s consolidated operations because the insurer owned a savings bank, but which never policed the company effectively.

The OTS had sent AIG a scathing, confidential letter in March 2008 citing its failure to write off losses from its swaps dealings properly and downgrading the insurer’s regulatory rating.

However, the officials at the New York Fed who were watching over AIG knew so little about its financial troubles that the insurer wasn’t among the “top 10 exposures” they were monitoring until days before the bailout, Sarah Dahlgren, an executive vice president at the powerful regional bank, told Warren’s panel.

Insurers such as AIG seldom make much of their money from policy premiums, which they must set aside to pay future claims. To generate big profits, they need investment bonanzas.

AIG’s gambles instead racked up colossal losses.

One AIG investment company, AIG Securities Lending, borrowed as much as $94 billion in high-grade bonds from domestic life insurers and loaned $76 billion of the bonds to U.S. banks in return for cash. It then invested the short-term money in long-term mortgage securities backed by loans to homebuyers with marginal credit.

Douglas Slape, the chief financial analyst for the Texas Department of Insurance, said that Texas regulators discovered, during a routine exam in 2007 just as the housing market began to stutter, that AIG had “overinvested in one sector — the housing market.”

State regulators pressed AIG to unravel the program, but it had divested only about a quarter of its risky securities by the third quarter of 2008, when the crisis hit.

The banks’ demanded their short-term money back in return for the bonds, which escalated AIG’s cash drain.

After the taxpayer bailout, McClatchy found, AIG distributed $20 billion in securities lending losses among its insurance subsidiaries, and then offset the red ink by booking similarly sized capital contributions that only could have come from taxpayers. That lifeline kept seven life insurers in the black, according to their regulatory filings.

However, AIG then assessed several of the insurers $7 billion, cobbling that together with government cash and loans to finance a $43.7 billion settlement that returned the bonds to the insurers and left taxpayers holding risky mortgage securities.

W.O. Myrick, a retired Louisiana chief insurance examiner who’s studied AIG, criticized state regulators for allowing the insurers to “falsify” their balance sheets by continuing to list the bonds as assets while they were loaned to banks.

“Had something been done back then,” Myrick said, “there would have been people that would have been speaking up to avoid long prison terms,” perhaps leading to action that could have prevented the massive securities lending losses.

Many of the company’s troubles have been blamed on its colorful former chairman, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg. While he presided for 37 years over its growth into a trillion-dollar goliath with operations in more than 130 countries, the firm also ran afoul of the law.

Beginning in 2004, the SEC obtained three court injunctions barring AIG from illegal practices including bid rigging and accounting fraud, including concealment of liabilities in offshore companies that it secretly controlled. In 2004 and again in early 2006, the Justice Department and AIG signed agreements that deferred criminal prosecution.

The worst shenanigans didn’t occur until after Greenberg’s 2005 departure, however. The firm’s London subsidiary, AIG Financial Products, issued $500 billion in insurance-like contracts, known as credit-default swaps, which amounted to bets on the performance of securities.

From 2004 to 2006, AIG wrote swaps for Goldman and other banks covering $70 billion in mortgage securities, most of them backed by home loans to shaky borrowers.

When the housing market crash sank the securities’ value, the banks clamored for the cash AIG had posted as collateral on these swaps.

AIG wound up settling most of its bad bets by effectively buying the underlying securities from U.S. and European banks, most of them for their full face value of $62 billion, including $15.6 billion to Goldman, a firm that had a decades-long relationship with the insurer and former executives perched in senior Bush administration jobs.

AIG then used the securities as collateral for a $24.3 billion loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Some critics allege that in buying those securities, the New York Fed illegally accepted as loan security the same kinds of toxic assets that firms such as Goldman were desperate to dump.

Unlike President Franklin Roosevelt in the Depression era, neither Bush nor Obama stood up to the major financial institutions by refusing to bail out those with “bad assets,” said Michael Aguirre, a San Diego lawyer who’s fighting in an appeals court for the right to sue AIG for allegedly defrauding policyholders.

“AIG went to always higher levels of fraud, higher levels of risk, and finally this whole thing blew up,” but the insurer still got bailed out, Aguirre said.

Fed officials say the loans were legal, and that the securities, the best slices of packages marketed offshore, have recouped so much value that taxpayers are ahead $6 billion to $7 billion.

A newly released October 2008 draft analysis by Blackrock, Inc., a financial services firm assisting the New York Fed with the bailout, concluded that the securities were essentially safe bets all along. Even in a catastrophic scenario, Blackrock found, there was little risk of more than a partial loss of interest payments on those mortgage-backed securities.

Sylvain Raynes, an expert in structured securities who’s followed the subprime mortgage meltdown, said that if Blackrock’s analysis is accurate, Goldman and others had few grounds to demand more cash from AIG, and “no bailout was needed.”

The New York Fed’s Baxter said the rescue of AIG “wasn’t about Wall Street,” but about calming panic and unfreezing credit markets.

AIG’s creditors “came in all shapes and sizes, and I’m not fighting that some were large financial institutions,” Baxter said. “But that’s not why we did what we did. It was the rest of America, really: Pensions, 401K holders, municipalities.”

Thomas Gober, a former Mississippi chief insurance examiner, however, fears that AIG’s problems run so deep that taxpayers and insurance policyholders will be left holding the bag.

Gober, who said he’s been paid as a plaintiff’s expert witness in suits against the company, alleged that until it was rescued, AIG’s parent followed a business model that he said resembled a Ponzi scheme.

The parent company, he charged, drained billions of dollars in dividends from its subsidiaries, deceived regulators by shifting liabilities to affiliates or offshore companies and lured consumers to make lump sum investments in a bid to keep pace with spiraling obligations.

AIG denies such allegations.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/06/08/95534/aigs-problems-far-greater.html#ixzz0qM3a17Z9

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on CRIMINAL BUSH:TRIGGER GLOBAL FINANCIAL CHAOS

DID ZIONIST ATTACK USS LIBERTY?

NOVANEWS

Clemons: ‘Did I Read This Right? Brookings Scholar References Israel Attack on USS Liberty?’

June 9, 2010

by Michael Leon

USS Liberty

Chomsky, Finkelstein, Ellsberg, Greenwald, Sullivan, [me too], Levy, Cook, Danger, Duff, Cockburn, Whitney, on and on, the list is growing of accredited anti-Semites demonstrated per force by their objection to Israeli militarism and human rights violations.

Now, Steve Clemons appears poised to join the gang. And he seems like such an intelligent, genuinely nice guy. [Ingenious cover by Clemons often employed by those who secretly hate all Jews (except for the self-hating Jews—they’re okay)].

By Steve Clemons

A friend of mine wrote to me about the piece below, released yesterday by Brookings, wondering when Brookings Energy Security Initiative Director Charles Ebinger will be spending time with Helen Thomas.

We hope Ebinger stays gainfully busy at Brookings — but wow.

This came from Brookings!? Very interesting, and an important sign of the times.

It’s a powerful, blunt piece that reaches back to Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty, as he writes “the only maritime incident in U.S. history where our military forces were killed that was never investigated by Congress.”

Here is the Brookings piece, “The Attack on the USS Liberty: Lessons for U.S. National Security“:

The Attack on the USS Liberty: Lessons for U.S. National SecurityCharles K. Ebinger, Director, Energy Security Initiative

The Brookings Institution — June 08, 2010

It is ironic that the Israeli Defense forces attacked a flotilla of relief ships bound from Europe to Gaza in international waters in a manner all too similar to its assault against the USS Liberty also in international waters on June 8 forty-three years ago.

It is even more tragic and a national disgrace that in the immediate aftermath of Memorial Day there is scant remembrance of the 34 crew members comprising naval officers, seamen, two marines and a civilian who were killed in the attack along with the 171 crew members who were wounded.

While the official inquiries by both nations found the attack to be a case of mistaken identity of the Liberty, to this day there is a long record of distinguished officers and journalists who take strong exception to this view believing that the attack was deliberate.

Indeed the attack on the Liberty is the only maritime incident in U.S. history where our military forces were killed that was never investigated by the Congress.

While few would dispute that the United States and Israel share vital strategic interests, all too often it has been Israeli intransigent policies rather than U.S. interests which have dominated our bilateral relationships.

As a global superpower, the U.S. has strategic interests in the Middle East that go far beyond our bilateral relations with Israel–regional political stability, access to oil, control of sea lanes, etc.

However so lopsided have our bilateral relations become that even after scandals such as the Pollard spying case in the 1980s came to light, high level officials and lobbyists in both Washington and Israel went out of their way to downplay the significance of the information Pollard passed to both Israeli and Russian intelligence (in order to keep Jewish immigration to Israel alive), despite testimony by four retired admirals who had served as Directors of National Intelligence that Pollard’s revelations had been devastating to U.S. national security and that any premature release would be “irresponsible.”

Again in 1973, it was the decision by the United States to resupply Israel’s military following the outbreak of war that led to the OAPEC oil embargo transforming the Geopolitics of Oil as the world’s economy was sent reeling owing to the spike in the price of oil.

The 1973-1974 war by changing the geographical contours of the Middle East set the stage for the growing radicalization of the Middle East as increasingly young men and women grew resentful of their leaders’ inability to change the political and social status quo both in their own countries and in their nations’ relations with Israel.

The second oil shock in 1979 and 1980, following the overthrow of the Shah and the coming to power of Ayatollah Khomeini, led to a further radicalization of the region which further inflamed relations among Iran/Iraq,Shites/Sunnis,Christains/Druze/Palestinians in Lebanon and Iran and Iraq in their bilateral relations with various governments throughout the region.

At the same time, accelerated settlements by Jewish immigrants in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem created a growing crescendo of radicalism. Then in 1982 the ill-conceived invasion of Lebanon in response to provocations by Palestinians and other radical forces led to the massacres of Palestinian and allied groups men, women and children at Sabra and Shatila by the Christian Phalanges while the IDF stood on the sidelines losing all pretense of a higher moral ground.

Since that time there have been provocations by both the Israelis and the Palestinians and their affiliated allies throughout the Middle East. There have been lost diplomatic opportunities, ill tempered rhetoric by leaders on both sides and a tragic loss of life.

Indeed there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides and reasons for each side to be wary of any overture by the other. However, what has been lost during these decades throughout the Islamic world is the view of the man and woman on the street and children in the madrasahs that United States is an honest broker for peace.

Having worked throughout the Islamic world for over 35 years, it is a tragedy that this has occurred, but when successive Presidents and other high ranking officials ask Israel not to expand settlements yet hardly voice a “public squeak” of opprobrium let alone some real expression of disapproval (such as a curtailment of military assistance, rescinding favorable trade provisions, etc.) when Israel continues to do so, what is the Islamic World to think about the even handedness of U.S. policy?

Nowhere was the failure of the U.S. to take strong action more visibly demonstrated than during Vice President’s Biden’s visit to Israel when Israel gave the green light for 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in annexed East Jerusalem in flagrant violation of international law.

In response, both the Vice President and Secretary of State Clinton labeled the action “insulting” to the United States and destructive to the peace process while at the same time doing nothing visible to make Israel pay a price for such actions against the second highest official of our nation.

America, it is time to wake up and listen to the very few of our leaders such as General Petraeus, who even before the Vice President’s visit warned that the stalled Middle East peace process is a direct threat to U.S. interests and prestige in the region and that the lack of progress in Palestine foments anti-Americanism, undermines Arab regimes, limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships, increases the influence of Iran, projects an image of U.S. weakness and serves as a potent recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.

General Petraeus and his briefing team went on to say that the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian peace stalemate undermines the prospects for success in Afghanistan.

As we approach the anniversary of the attack on the Liberty, let us take a few minutes to reflect soberly on whether the time has not come to once again be a honest broker, to call our Israeli friends to account when necessary with sanctions that hurt and to make clear to one and all that acts such as the attack on the flotilla of humanitarian ships bound to alleviate the suffering of the men, women and children of Gaza will not occur with impunity.

I’m in agreement with Ebinger that the failure to move forward on Israel-Palestine peace is undermining American national security interests in a way far more consequential than whatever actually transpires between Palestinians and Israelis. It is becoming an increasingly tense fault line in geostrategic affairs.

I myself would not go back to the USS Liberty as a driver in this debate, but I understand that Ebinger is trying to illustrate that there are fundamental differences in strategy and objectives between Israel and the US that can’t be papered over by speeches and rhetoric that “there is no daylight” between the countries. Of course, there is daylight between them — and has been always.

Good luck to Ebinger in holding back the storm that no doubt will hit him inside Brookings and out.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized1 Comment

USS LIBERTY: ZIONIST ATTACK ON U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY

NOVANEWS

The Attack on the USS Liberty: Lessons for U.S. National Security

June 9, 2010

by Michael Leon

USS Liberty

It comes down to this: Are Gazans and other Arabs really human? And if so, are they the right kind of human?

By Charles K. Ebinger, Director, Energy Security Initiative-The Brookings Institution

It is ironic that the Israeli Defense forces attacked a flotilla of relief ships bound from Europe to Gaza in international waters in a manner all too similar to its assault against the USS Liberty also in international waters on June 8 forty-three years ago. It is even more tragic and a national disgrace that in the immediate aftermath of Memorial Day there is scant remembrance of the 34 crew members comprising naval officers, seamen, two marines and a civilian who were killed in the attack along with the 171 crew members who were wounded.

While the official inquiries by both nations found the attack to be a case of mistaken identity of the Liberty, to this day there is a long record of distinguished officers and journalists who take strong exception to this view believing that the attack was deliberate. Indeed the attack on the Liberty is the only maritime incident in U.S. history where our military forces were killed that was never investigated by the Congress.

While few would dispute that the United States and Israel share vital strategic interests, all too often it has been Israeli intransigent policies rather than U.S. interests which have dominated our bilateral relationships.

As a global superpower, the U.S. has strategic interests in the Middle East that go far beyond our bilateral relations with Israel—regional political stability, access to oil, control of sea lanes, etc.

However so lopsided have our bilateral relations become that even after scandals such as the Pollard spying case in the 1980s came to light, high level officials and lobbyists in both Washington and Israel went out of their way to downplay the significance of the information Pollard passed to both Israeli and Russian intelligence (in order to keep Jewish immigration to Israel alive), despite testimony by four retired admirals who had served as Directors of National Intelligence that Pollard’s revelations had been devastating to U.S. national security and that any premature release would be “irresponsible.”

Again in 1973, it was the decision by the United States to resupply Israel’s military following the outbreak of war that led to the OAPEC oil embargo transforming the Geopolitics of Oil as the world’s economy was sent reeling owing to the spike in the price of oil. The 1973-1974 war by changing the geographical contours of the Middle East set the stage for the growing radicalization of the Middle East as increasingly young men and women grew resentful of their leaders’ inability to change the political and social status quo both in their own countries and in their nations’ relations with Israel.

The second oil shock in 1979 and 1980, following the overthrow of the Shah and the coming to power of Ayatollah Khomeini, led to a further radicalization of the region which further inflamed relations among Iran/Iraq,Shites/Sunnis,Christains/Druze/Palestinians in Lebanon and Iran and Iraq in their bilateral relations with various governments throughout the region.

At the same time, accelerated settlements by Jewish immigrants in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem created a growing crescendo of radicalism. Then in 1982 the ill-conceived invasion of Lebanon in response to provocations by Palestinians and other radical forces led to the massacres of Palestinian and allied groups men, women and children at Sabra and Shatila by the Christian Phalanges while the IDF stood on the sidelines losing all pretense of a higher moral ground.

Since that time there have been provocations by both the Israelis and the Palestinians and their affiliated allies throughout the Middle East. There have been lost diplomatic opportunities, ill tempered rhetoric by leaders on both sides and a tragic loss of life. Indeed there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides and reasons for each side to be wary of any overture by the other.

However, what has been lost during these decades throughout the Islamic world is the view of the man and woman on the street and children in the madrasahs that United States is an honest broker for peace. Having worked throughout the Islamic world for over 35 years, it is a tragedy that this has occurred, but when successive Presidents and other high ranking officials ask Israel not to expand settlements yet hardly voice a “public squeak” of opprobrium let alone some real expression of disapproval (such as a curtailment of military assistance, rescinding favorable trade provisions, etc.) when Israel continues to do so, what is the Islamic World to think about the even handedness of U.S. policy?

Nowhere was the failure of the U.S. to take strong action more visibly demonstrated than during Vice President’s Biden’s visit to Israel when Israel gave the green light for 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in annexed East Jerusalem in flagrant violation of international law.

In response, both the Vice President and Secretary of State Clinton labeled the action “insulting” to the United States and destructive to the peace process while at the same time doing nothing visible to make Israel pay a price for such actions against the second highest official of our nation.

America, it is time to wake up and listen to the very few of our leaders such as General Petraeus, who even before the Vice President’s visit warned that the stalled Middle East peace process is a direct threat to U.S. interests and prestige in the region and that the lack of progress in Palestine foments anti-Americanism, undermines Arab regimes, limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships, increases the influence of Iran, projects an image of U.S. weakness and serves as a potent recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.

General Petraeus and his briefing team went on to say that the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian peace stalemate undermines the prospects for success in Afghanistan.

As we approach the anniversary of the attack on the Liberty, let us take a few minutes to reflect soberly on whether the time has not come to once again be a honest broker, to call our Israeli friends to account when necessary with sanctions that hurt and to make clear to one and all that acts such as the attack on the flotilla of humanitarian ships bound to alleviate the suffering of the men, women and children of Gaza will not occur with impunity.

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on USS LIBERTY: ZIONIST ATTACK ON U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY

UNITED WE STAND,TOGETHER THEY SHALL FALL: THE UNITED STATES OF APARTHEID ISRAEL

NOVANEWS
25 June 2010

usa_israel_flag

Moscow, June 26, 2010 (Pal Telegraph—Rachael Rudolph):  For those of us who have grown up, lived  in or gone to a US school in America, the pledge of allegiance recited every morning before the start of our elementary school days still rings in the memory of most, if not all.  The opening, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which is stands…”, lingers irrespective of how old one gets, how many years past, or the number of places lived and visited. 

Nowhere do the stanzas read “I pledge allegiance to the flag of “Israel” and definitely not “for which it stands.”  Yet, for some reason, our policymakers pledge their allegiance through their unwavering monetary and verbal support of and policies toward the Apartheid State of Israel, where freedom and democracy definitely do not ring true.  One ponders, with the current US Supreme court decision, how much longer shall there be vestiges of democracy and freedom in the United States of America?

This past week the US Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that bans providing support to groups or individuals designated by the government as engaging in acts of terrorism.  A quick sweep of newspaper headlines, news tickers at the bottom of the television screen, or twitter posts would not have many Americans batting an eyelid.  I can hear some of my students or those walking across the college campus in rural Virginia, and even my grandfather and brother in mountains of western Maryland, making reference to the US government having a right to ban those who want to aid so-called known “terrorists.”

To diverge just a bit, one should recall the designation of a movement as a terrorist organization or an individual as a terrorist is political.  Some non-state actors, engaged in acts of resistance, despite them having a right under international law, are defined as engaging in acts of “terrorism.”  State policies intentionally targeting civilians are defined by some as acts of terrorism, and others as necessary in the name of state security.  History has demonstrated that states and the international community use this classification as a political tool to designate those they are opposed to as “terrorists” and those they support as “freedom fighters” or “liberation movements.”  As the saying goes, one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist best sums up US policy of supporting and opposing non-state actors that cross its path in the pursuit of its foreign policy goals.

One need only look at US foreign policy toward Apartheid Israel as one of the more recent examples, or even the US Supreme Court’s decision upholding the lower court’s decision.  What happened to the days where the US pursued a foreign policy not designed to interfere in the domestic politics of another state or region?  Where are the days when foreign economic aid was provided to help feed a starving population and fund schools for those who lacked an education?  When precisely did the tide turn to playing politics, interfering in the domestic affairs of others, and funding states to systematically starve, target and exterminate an entire population?

The problem with the quick sweep of the headlines regarding the US Supreme Court’s decision is that they lay a security blanket over the overworked, average working person.  What is being covered up and protected is that the US Supreme Court Decision, which divided the court, is the type of aid being banned.  Deemed a criminal act and aiding terrorism are providing advice, counseling or teaching others how to work within the confines of international law, to abide by human rights, and to engage in acts of nonviolent resistance.  This decision also bans providing humanitarian aid to an entire population because the government has designated one of the political parties as a terrorist organization.  It is only a matter of time before the US government, in its so called “War on Terrorism” begins to target humanitarian and human rights groups that provide aid to the besieged Palestinians.

According to former President Jimmy Carter, the upholding of this law inhibits the work of human rights and conflict resolution groups.  The law seeks to criminalize those who want to work within the confines of international law, to promote human rights, and to reduce armed conflict.  Where have the values of and respect for that which democracy is supposed to stand for gone?  Where is the outrage over the upholding of this injustice?

The defining, promotion and protection of human rights has become a political game waged by states.  They have been able to do so because for far too long American citizens, participants in the International Community and concerned humanitarians worldwide have failed to demand accountability of those representing them in the International community.   Today, the voices of Americans are heard unequally;  the privileged participate more than any other group or segment in society; and, public officials are more responsive to them than to the average and less affluent.

From the many students to the overworked average citizen, the voices complaining about US politics, politicians and government are similar.  What does it matter, as our voices are not heard, our votes irrelevant, and our system corrupt.  These voices are actually not too different from a study conducted by the Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy.  It found that more than 50% of Americans distrust, lack faith in, and feel the US government, its policies and the politicians elected do not represent them.  The thesis put forward in that study is the ideal of equal citizenship and responsive government are undergoing threat in the United States due to an era of persistent and rising inequalities.  Disparities of income, wealth and access to opportunity are growing more sharply in the US then in many other countries.

It is time for the people of the United States to demand of their representatives to stand for the values enshrined in, and that form the basis of, the US constitution rather than acting as the voice of and representatives for the people of Apartheid Israel.  We are two separate entities, and the duty of our elected representatives is to those living in and who are citizens of the United States.  Is it not time for the United States to care for its own, the hungry, unemployed and sick that are alive within the borders of the United States?  Will we, the people of the United States, continue to allow our representatives to bankrupt our country, thereby depriving our young and future children and grandchildren with a future that our forefathers promised?

An end to military aid to Apartheid Israel will force it to engage in real dialogue, with all Palestinian parties and not just those actors that will acts as its servants, and to find a solution whereby a Palestinian state is possible.  Apartheid Israel will remain acting with impunity so long as it continues to receive military and financial support from the United States.  While the government of the United States provides financial support and protection to Apartheid Israel, US citizens will continue to go bankrupt.  Nonethe lss, as participants in the international community, the United States does have an international duty. 

Its duty should be the implementation and protection of human rights and not criminalizing the behavior of those seeking to work within international law, uphold human rights and reduce conflict.  The US Supreme Court decision and the policies of the US government run contrary to the values upon which American was founded and the principles embodied in international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

When shall the act of systematically starving and killing civilians, including women, children and the elderly become an act of terrorism, one engaged in by the state?  When shall aid to a state that carries out such policies be considered providing material support to those known or suspected of engaging in acts of terrorism?  Those silent over the many Palestinians that have been injured, harmed and lost their life as a result of the sanctions and siege imposed are just as guilty as those states in the international community that are committing human rights abuses by their enforcement or military aid.

Where is our leadership?  Where are our states?  The time has come for concerned humanitarians worldwide and states claiming to be our representatives in the international community to stand steadfast and in solidarity with human rights and international law, to join forces, take a stand, and speak out against the unjust, inhumane, and degrading treatment of all, including Palestinians.  It is time to end the unjust and criminal siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and aid to Apartheid Israel.

The street or public sentiment are often demonized by others, particularly politicians, who deem them and their voices as being irrational and emotional, unorganized and leaderless, thus hostile for a time being and within a particular context or around salient issues within a given time and space.  Some would argue that the voices that speak out do not reflect public sentiment or express public discontent, as the majority is merely submissive and unconcerned.  Others argue that the power of the people is nothing more than a myth, a fiction that those living in a fantasy world would like to see be reality.  The street or public, however, are part of and form public opinion within a country, region and in the international community.

They may dismiss us as being irrelevant, irrational and governed by emotion, but the louder we speak, the more we act, the larger the crowds that take to the streets demanding action, the more we shall become a reality to be reckoned with.  Then, the voice of the voiceless will be formulated into policy and policies that actually reflect reality on the ground and the preference of the people.

Gone are the days when politicians can dictate what we are to believe and an old political order governed by neo-imperialist political elites seeking to control, dominate and subordinate others for their own self-interests.  Our politicians and governments are there to represent us and not the interests of other countries.  Is it to be the United States of America or the United States of Apartheid Israel?  Shall we continue to support our politicians and governments who send funds so that others can exploit, slaughter, starve and enslave a population?  While of course at home, the homeless will continue to increase, the unemployment lines will get longer, healthcare will bankrupt the system, and our loved ones will continue suffer.

Governments and those in power may be able to imprison an entire people such as what the Apartheid Entity has done to Gaza; beat and torture protesters; take passports to prevent us from traveling; and, accuse or charge us with aiding terrorism because we choose to work within the confines of international law or send aid to those being systematically subjugated and strangled because of the policies of our government.  They, however, cannot stop us from globally mobilizing against injustice, oppression, repression and subjugation.  Apartheid, occupation, systematic killing, and targeted extermination must be brought to an end.  Let there be no more wars led by (neo)imperialist elites; no more sanctions, blockades and embargoes designed to starve a population into submissiveness; and, no more silence from the street.  The days of apathy have ended, and the voice of the voiceless has risen.

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on UNITED WE STAND,TOGETHER THEY SHALL FALL: THE UNITED STATES OF APARTHEID ISRAEL

A duty to protect, not torture

NOVANEWS
Moscow, June 12, 2010 (Pal Telegraph– by Rachael Rudolph)-  In most countries the duty of an officer of the law is to protect ordinary citizens, and not to brutally beat, torture and kill those they are charged with protecting.  Two officers, Mohamed Alfallah and Awaad Elmokhber, have been accused of beating, torturing and killing Khalid Saeed in Alexandria, Egypt.  For many human rights observers the death of young Khalid is just one of many cases that have occurred at the hands of the current Egyptian government under the so-called Emergency Laws.Khaleed Saeed, a 28-year old, was in an internet café that he frequently visited when the officers stormed in demanding to see the identification cards of all those present.   Under Egyptian emergency laws, enacted following the assassination of Anwar Elsadat in 1981, parts of the Egyptian Constitution were suspended in order to restrict the freedom and basic human rights of ordinary citizens.  Police are granted the power to arrest, detain and search individuals without due process afforded under the Egyptian Criminal Procedure Code.

When the officers demanded the identification cards of those present in the internet café, young Khalid demanded to know the reason for their request.  Rather than having to explain themselves, according to those present in the café, the officers brutally kicked young Khalid in the chest and stomach.  His head was then bashed repeatedly into the concrete floor of the internet café.  Khalid was then taken into custody.  After several hours, witnesses reported seeing his dead, tortured, mangled body being dumped into the streets.  It was suggested that the body was dumped so that the officers can claim they found young Khalid dead, after being attacked by unknown assailants, thus avoiding culpability.

According to the Islamic Human Rights Commission in the UK, the family of young Khaled submitted a complaint to the General Prosecution against the Ministry of Interior, requesting an investigation.  The family has accused some informers and polices officers with torturing their son at the police station.  Ahmed Saeed, the brother of the tortured young man, said that Alexandria Prosecution ordered the coroner to investigate.  Nassar Centre for Human Rights issued a statement condemning the killing.

Egypt has consistently come under fire for its violation of basic human rights.  Human Rights Watch and other nongovernmental human rights groups have continuously called on the Egyptian government to halt the use of torture by police and security forces.  The use of torture is in violation of international customary law and the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Concerned humanitarians can no longer remain idle or silent.  They have a moral duty to stop injustice and demand justice.  Cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment can no longer be tolerated if the global world is to live harmoniously, where respect and tolerance for different opinions coexist.   Humanitarians around the world must add their voices, standing steadfast and in solidarity with the human rights organizations in Egypt, in the call for an investigation and condemnation of the killing of Khalid Saeed.

Posted in EgyptComments Off on A duty to protect, not torture


Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING