Archive | June 29th, 2010



The Independent Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Barred from Jerusalem for crime of being Palestinian

Engineer’s battle to overturn loss of residency highlights plight of thousands

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Samir Abu-Khalaf holds a photograph of his son Murad, whose East Jerusalem residency was revoked by Israeli authorities

To say that Palestinian Murad Al-Khalaf’s roots are in Jerusalem is a serious understatement. His family lived in the Baka district of West Jerusalem until they were forced to leave in the war of 1948. They have since lived – and live – in the inner East Jerusalem district of Ras al-Amud. His family doctor father’s clinic in East Jerusalem’s main street of Salahadin is opposite three shops owned by each of his uncles. One of his brothers, also a doctor, works at one of Jerusalem’s two main (Israeli) hospitals, the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre. The city is, in short, his home.

But when the next hearing of a case of fundamental importance to the future of this super-qualified young man takes place in the Jerusalem District Court today, he won’t be there. At the age of 33, he has suddenly become, to use his own word, “stateless”. His only “crime” has been to spend several years in the US doing an electrical engineering PhD, completing post-doctoral research funded by a division of the US Army, acquiring high-tech work experience with the sole purpose of bettering his future career prospects in the Holy Land, and being a little homesick.

Yet in 2008 the young Dr Abu-Khalaf became a statistic, one of a record 4,577 Palestinian residents to have their Israeli-conferred status as a resident of East Jerusalem revoked in that year and with it the right to live permanently or work in either Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories. It is this revocation which is being challenged in court on his behalf by the Israeli human rights lawyer Leah Tsemel today, and about which he says: “Losing my residency in my country is a source of pain to me… I feel I am being asked to choose between building my career and my homeland.”

For Dr Abu-Khalaf has been told his only chance of having the revocation “reconsidered” – and it’s far from certain this would succeed – is if he gives up his high-flying job as a software developer, leaves the US and stays here for at least two years – maybe “working in a café”, as he puts it. So far Dr Abu- Khalaf has been told he will no longer qualify for an Israeli travel document. He would still be able to visit the country as a tourist, though not work or live in it, and then only if he obtains a US travel document.

If Dr Abu-Khalaf was an Israeli citizen he would be able to take up temporary residency for as long as he liked without losing his rights. But his case exemplifies the fragile status of more than 200,000 East Jerusalem Palestinians, who have Israeli conferred ID, and the right – denied to most West Bank Palestinians – to travel in Israel and access to certain benefits like Israeli health insurance, but not the security of full citizenship. According to Ir Amim, an Israeli NGO campaigning for an “equitable and stable” shared Jerusalem, the sharp increase in residency revocations are part of “an ongoing Israeli policy to reduce the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem”.

When Israel unilaterally annexed Arab East Jerusalem after the Six-Day War – an annexation whose legality has never been accepted by most of the international community, including Britain – it offered Palestinian residents citizenship. But the large majority refused, believing that to accept would reinforce Israel’s claim on occupied East Jerusalem.

Part of Dr Abu-Khalaf’s problem was that he applied successfully for a “green card” purely to maximise his job opportunities, but unwittingly reinforcing Israel’s determination to cut off his Jerusalem residency. Dr Abu-Khalaf said when he was job-searching “many potential employers replied to me asking if I held a green card.” They told him that “otherwise they could not employ me… I never knew it would cause all this fiasco.”

His father, Samir Abu-Khalaf, wanted Murad to return and marry when he had laid the firm basis of a career. “It’s injustice to deal with us in this way,” he said. “It seems they want Palestinians only to be workers, cleaners.” To his son it is illogical that in an age when academic and corporate life is increasingly multinational, he should be penalised for participating in it. The loss of residency “in my home country”, he said, is “at best inconsiderate… extremely backward looking, and short-sighted.”

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman said the law prescribed that East Jerusalem residents were treated like any other people with resident status, losing it if they are away for more seven years or take up residency elsewhere. Asked whether the position of native East Jerusalemites was not different from – say – those from France temporarily living and working in Israel she added: “If you want someone to justify the policy you are asking the wrong person. But it’s the law.”




There is a Zionist lobby in Australia and let’s look inside some more

 29 Jun 2010

Following the story in yesterday’s Fairfax media about Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her love for Israel and its cuddly lobby here in Australia, the following letters appear in the Age today:

Peace throughout the Middle East cannot be achieved until Western nations such Australia show we are as concerned about justice for Palestinians as we are about security for Israelis. The Israeli lobby in Australia has been very effective in gaining the support of governments over the past 60 years.

Evidence that our new Prime Minister (The Age, 29/6) is following this pattern does not give cause for optimism that Australia will bring new initiatives to this conflict. Until our government shows respect and effective concern for the situation of the Palestinians, our costly commitments to bringing peace in Afghanistan and Iraq will be ineffective.

Wal Jenkyn, Manifold Heights

We may have Israeli lobbyists in Australia but we also have Palestinian lobbyists who work just as hard. In the past two weeks, two pro-Palestinian Labor MPs gave speeches in Parliament. Also, senators from both sides of Parliament and Arab ambassadors recently attended a dinner organised by Australians for Palestine. Visiting Palestinian activist Dianna Buttu was the guest speaker. It was one of many events organised by Palestinian lobbyists and was just as legitimate as Israeli lobbyists doing their job.

Lobbyists from all countries cover political and non-political issues. I am sure Australia has its own in Washington, Britain and China.

Michael Burd, Toorak


Chomsky on the invisible Iranian nuclear ghost

 29 Jun 2010

Noam Chomsky on a nation that threatens something other than Israel:

Such harrowing pronouncements aside, what exactly is the Iranian threat? An authoritative answer is provided in the April 2010 study of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Military Balance 2010. The brutal clerical regime is doubtless a threat to its own people, though it does not rank particularly high in that respect in comparison to US allies in the region. But that is not what concerns the Institute. Rather, it is concerned with the threat Iran poses to the region and the world.

The study makes it clear that the Iranian threat is not military. Iran’s military spending is “relatively low compared to the rest of the region,” and less than 2% that of the US. Iranian military doctrine is strictly “defensive,… designed to slow an invasion and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities.” Iran has only “a limited capability to project force beyond its borders.” With regard to the nuclear option, “Iran’s nuclear program and its willingness to keep open the possibility of developing nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy.”

Though the Iranian threat is not military, that does not mean that it might be tolerable to Washington. Iranian deterrent capacity is an illegitimate exercise of sovereignty that interferes with US global designs. Specifically, it threatens US control of Middle East energy resources, a high priority of planners since World War II, which yields “substantial control of the world,” one influential figure advised (A. A. Berle).


Is there a connection between Dubai and Gilad Shalit?

29 Jun 2010

Remember Israel’s hit on a Hamas operative in Dubai?

The story is still running though is largely ignored by the mainstream press these days.

Newsweek publishes an intriguing piece that adds more spice to the yarn:

European investigators believe that a man arrested by Polish authorities earlier this month may be a key fixer in Europe for Israel’s Mossad spy agency. The man, who a European official said was arrested at Warsaw airport when trying to enter Poland on June 4, was using an Israeli passport in the name of Uri Brodsky. A second European official familiar with the inquiry said investigators believe Brodsky is not the suspect’s real name and that his true identity remains a mystery.

Official and unofficial spy aficionados are still puzzled over why Israel would ruin its previously friendly relationship with authorities in a key Gulf emirate, and blow the identities of so many undercover operatives, just to eliminate an obscure Hamas operative. One theory gaining support among intelligence experts is that Mossad’s intent was to drug and kidnap Mabhouh, and then try to use him in a trade for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held hostage in Gaza by Hamas. But the Israelis, according to this theory, may have overdosed their target on knockout drops.


We’re dying in Afghanistan and you want to hug a general?

 29 Jun 2010

While here’s yet another mainstream journalist upset that Michael Hastings actually embarrassed military men in Afghanistan – it truly seems that many corporate reporters and commentators would rather general worship towards men and women in uniform – the real cost of two devastating wars is brought home. When was the last an injured service person was given air-time in our mainstream media as opposed to soft-ball interviews with war officials in Kabul?

A blogger and writer claims American military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan now exceed 500,000.

That’s if you count certain injuries and diseases including mental illness that he alleges the Department of Defense doesn’t include in its official combat-related casualty toll in an effort to soften U.S. military losses in the wars and win funding for them from the Congress.

For example, cases of traumatic brain injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, as a result of serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are excluded from the official list of casualties.

“Under this scheme, chronic injuries and many acute internal injuries such as hearing impairment, back injuries, mild traumatic brain injuries, mental health problems and a host of diseases suffered by personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan are usually not counted as being war-related regardless of how debilitating they are,” writes Matthew Nasuti in an article published on the Afghan news site and media organization Kabul Press. “They are either generally lumped into the category of ‘non-hostile wounded’ or simply not counted at all.”


Walid Shoebat should not be heard in Pakistan

 29 Jun 2010

This is weird. Pakistan is reportedly planning to massively increase its online censorship regime. Just another US-backed dictatorship wanting to shut down debate. Not much new here except one site has supposedly already been blocked, of Mr Walid Shoebat, former Palestinian militant and now rabid Zionist and anti-Islam activist.

Is Pakistan seriously banning this man because of his views on Islam?


The battle between Wikileaks and Miley Cyrus

 29 Jun 2010

According to this Canadian writer, Wikileaks has been largely ineffective in truly bringing change because of our incredibly short attention spans:

The “collateral murder” video has been viewed almost 7m times on YouTube – that’s 128 times fewer than the video for Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA. That comparison might seem silly, but it hints at a bigger problem. That is, the “collateral murder” video, as it became a part of the usual TV structure of message-advertisement-message, was reduced to an equivalent of all other parts of the usual pattern of disarticulation and abstraction of signs. In essence, “collateral murder” was overshadowed by a Miley Cyrus video because, in the end, it became part of a structure inherently designed to nullify its message by promoting the status quo of the culture industry.

So, as much as WikiLeaks thrives in its online setting, its information still falls prey to the sameness of modern media. Even if someone were to see the video on YouTube, the same mechanisms prevail, with all information – including web advertisements and other videos – being presented as equal. Effectively, the only way one can view a WikiLeaks video without that influence is on the site itself, where it lives within certain confines, and with less influence.


What is wrong with this picture?

 29 Jun 2010

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says this week that an independent Palestinian state is at least two years away.

Jerusalem’s mayor continues to expand Jewish control in the city, pushing out Palestinian families.

The International Trade Union Confederation votes to maintain the status-quo, oppose boycott, divestment and sanctions and speak like it’s still 1993.

But there is trouble in paradise. Zionists and their supporters who simply hope and pray for a change in Israel are deluding themselves. Action is being taken:

The leaders of European Friends of Israel (EFI), the European lobby for Israel and its economy, warned yesterday of a deterioration in the political climate in Europe against Israel, and an increase in the phenomenon of boycotts of Israeli products and businesspeople throughout Europe.  They noted that there was a growing phenomenon of European investment funds that were divesting from Israeli companies, for reasons defined as “business ethics.”


Don’t speak to terrorists because we must keep Israel strong

 29 Jun 2010

This is how Fox News deals with the Middle East. The Obama administration may be speaking to Hamas. Treason!

The people of Gaza are too fat and healthy

 28 Jun 2010

Zionist lobbyists, get a grip:

A pro-Israeli advocacy organization is throwing a cocktail party in New York Monday night to discuss a phenomenon it says is a crisis in Gaza: Palestinians are too fat.

“[T]he only humanitarian crisis in Gaza is OBESITY,” the group Fuel For Truth said in an email inviting young Jewish professionals to a promotional event at a lower Manhattan bar.

The subject line of the email was “Media Launch Party: Drinks and Fat Gazans.”

The group also included a video apparently mocking the situation Gaza. The video did not mention that the United Nations and all international aid groups agree that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza resulting from Israel’s blockade of the territory, a measure which the Red Cross says is illegal under international law.

In its video the group said Palestinians are receiving too much aid, despite the fact that, as the UN noted in a report last week, the number of truckloads of goods entering Gaza is still at only one-fifth of the level before the blockade was imposed in June 2007.

On its website Fuel For Truth (FFT) says it ”equips young Americans with the basic facts and skills necessary to advocate to young adults, to increase support for Israel and America through education of radical Islamic terror.”

The group also holds a regular “boot camp” for pro-Israeli activists and says Israel lobbyists should “arm themselves,” with information, presumably.

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I’m crushed and livid (massive Jewish expansion set for Obama’s lap, East Jerusalem)

Posted: 28 Jun 2010

I’m crushed and livid. Jerusalem master plan: Expansion of Jewish enclaves across the city:

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee is set to approve an unprecedented master plan that calls for the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, a move largely based on construction on privately owned Arab property.

This is heating up to massive proportions. And Coteret brings us more info:

Channel Ten News: Construction starts at Shepherd Hotel settlement compound in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem

Last night, riots broke out in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan as settlers, backed by Border Police, moved to evict Palestinians from a structure used as a mosque. …. Yaacov Elon: Very quietly Israel began construction of a new neighborhood in the Shepherd Hotel complex in East Jerusalem. ..You can hear the construction sounds in the background. What’s happening there, Roi? Roi Sharon: Work ended here this afternoon at the Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem.

Work began this morning, the construction that has already caused several diplomatic crises between Jerusalem and Washington, materialized this morning when the construction team arrived here with a micro fine drill and began the work.

Aha! Careful incisions! So livid. I’m practically speechless.

Religion doesn’t matter any more,

Posted: 28 Jun 2010

Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School says in a piece in the NYT pointing out that Elena Kagan will make it three Jews on the Supreme Court, and no Protestants. It’s easy for him to say, he’s a winner. Also, Feldman served in the Coalition Provisional Authority in the Iraq war and occupation. Was Zionism, which has a religious component, a factor in support for the Iraq war among Jews manning the establishment? 

By the way, Feldman doesn’t credit E. Digby Baltzell with helping to open the blueblood doors in the ’60s. His book the Protestant Establishment was very important, though; it said that a caste of WASPs was keeping out the talented, including many Jews. The honest question that Feldman won’t go near here is whether the networks that I was part of at Harvard in the 70s, the rising Jewish establishment that lifted him too, didn’t have a castelike quality.

Certainly we looked out for one another. Is it mere coincidence that Lawrence Summers, a Jew, taps Elena Kagan to be dean of the Law School? What is our Jewish obligation, as winners, to hire diversely? (And yes, I include myself).

P.S. Here is Adam Garfinkle, also of the Iraq war braintrust, writing in Jewcentricity about religion and the neocons, and showing that religion matters very much indeed:

Neoconservatives are the purest expression of two phenomena simultaneously. First, they are an American Jewish example of the broad modern tendency for religious energies to attach themselves to politics, and second, they are an expression of stereoscopic chosenness, having filtered out the realism-inducing study of Jewish history and replaced it with the heroic narratives of American and modern Zionist histories…

Neoconservatives tend to unite aroudd the conviction that small, beleaguered groups of chosen believers can prevail over all odds if they stick to their beliefs… If this sounds like the sort of reaction one would have expected from Jews in centuries past who were assailed in their ghettoes and small villages by masses of threatening ignoramuses around them, that’s no coincidents. There really is such a thing as the moral chauvinism of the downtrodden…

Supporting Iraq war was, and apparently still is, a good career move

Posted: 28 Jun 2010

I’m told that last year in a panel at Columbia Journalism School, a writer for The New Yorker said that only one member of the magazine’s staff who dealt with foreign policy opposed the Iraq war. Wow. Why did this leading magazine that told people how to think about Vietnam flub this one so bad?

There is no introspective spirit in this New Yorker piece by George Packer about why we went to war with Iraq. Apparently, Peter Beinart and Packer himself did so because of Republicans, and a spirit that fairies implanted in the American establishment:

Reagan’s rhetorical call for an end to the Soviet Empire prompted second-generation neoconservatives, such as Robert Kagan, William Kristol, and Elliott Abrams, to imagine that democracy could be delivered to the whole world by F-22s…

President George H. W. Bush’s invasion of Panama, in December of 1989, now seems hardly more consequential than Reagan’s splendid little war in Grenada. But, as Beinart reminds us, Panama became a dress rehearsal for the ideological battle over Iraq, and a key transition from the hubris of toughness to the hubris of dominance.

But Beinart and Packer are liberal Democrats. What did they believe that made them so wrong? Packer gives us class-day bromides:

“Beinart’s fundamental message is to avoid hubris and cultivate wisdom.”

Got that? I bet those two isms that scare me so much, careerism and Zionism, had something to do with it. Beinart has said recently that he would sacrifice his liberal values in Israel for his Zionism. What else would it make him do? Why did Tom Friedman say he wanted the U.S. to smash something in the Arab world to answer suicide bombers in Tel Aviv?

Why did Ken Pollack, leading the New York Times forward to the hustings, dismiss the Palestinian issue as meaningless to the Arab street?

P.S. The piece misspells the word “overweening,” putting an a in it. Hard times at the New Yorker.

The movie where Ari Ben Canaan finds out his father is Darth Vader

Posted: 28 Jun 2010

From Slate’s the best movies never made:

Genesis 1948
In 1970, Otto Preminger bought the screen rights to Dan Kurzman’s 800-plus-page nonfiction chronicle of “The First Arab-Israeli War,” intending a follow-up to his 1960 epic, Exodus. At a press conference, he said, “We’ll show both the conflict on the battlefield and in the political arenas in Washington, Moscow, the United Nations, and the Mid-East.” He expressed the hope that the film “will offend neither Arabs nor Jews” without acknowledging that Exodus had certainly offended Arabs.

 Israeli parents, meanwhile, had reason to be wary of Preminger’s planned location shoot. While filming Exodus, he labored over one scene in which a dozen very young Israelis were to cry on cue as Arabs attacked their homes. When they wouldn’t cooperate with tears, Preminger instructed an assistant to lead the children’s mothers over a hill and out of sight. ”You see, your mothers have been taken away,” Preminger informed them.

”You are never going to see them again—never!” The children obediently burst into tears. But instead of Genesis 1948, he made a domestic-discord movie, Such Good Friends.

Elena Kagan made who/whom mistake in 2006

Posted: 28 Jun 2010

And oh god, I bet she’s another sleeper Zionist, too; the Times says she praised an Israeli judge as her hero at Harvard Law School.

In 2006, while dean of Harvard Law School, Ms. Kagan introduced Judge [Aharon] Barak during an award ceremony as “my judicial hero.” She added, “He is the judge or justice in my lifetime whom, I think, best represents and has best advanced the values of democracy and human rights, of the rule of law and of justice.”

Of course this Times story paints Barak as a great liberal. The only democracy, right? God save the Jewish people, and the people people too.

To defuse one-staters, liberal Zionist must justify ‘wrongs’ of ‘48

Posted: 27 Jun 2010

This is further evidence that Zionists across the board are seriously out of touch with reality. In Haaretz, Chaim Gans invokes humanism and morality in condemning the post 67 settlements but accepts as just the far greater crimes that were committed in 1948, which he doesn’t deny. Gans is forced to make the argument because he states that the one-state position has been given impetus not just by the left, but by right-wing settlers who are endangering the entire enterprise: 

the wrongs committed after 1967 threaten the justice of Zionism in its entirety, while pre-’67 wrongs were wrongs of particular moves in the realization of Zionism.

The source of this distinction is of course the well-known distinction between the jus ad bellum and jus in bello. There is no contradiction between the claim that Britain’s bombing of Dresden during World War II was a criminal act and the claim that this criminality represented a step taken in a just war – even a sublimely just war, the war against Nazism.

We must acknowledge the great injustices committed by Zionism up to 1967. We have to take responsibility for them (via reparations ) – mainly for the expulsion of refugees. We must also acknowledge the high price the Palestinians paid for the realization of Zionism, even when Zionism did not commit injustices against them. But none of these admissions undermines the justice of Zionism in the least.

Thus, his embrace of Jewish superiority, in the end, makes him no different than those he criticizes. Comparing the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians with the allied bombing of Dresden, as if the Palestinians had initiated a massive war against the Jews and  deserved no more consideration than did the Nazis, is mind boggling from someone who is attempting to present himself as a reasonable man. Are there, one may well ask, any reasonable Zionists?

Anti-Zionist show in Rochester is back on, though not in original church venue

Posted: 27 Jun 2010

Yesterday we ran musician Rich Siegel’s report that a gig he was doing at a church in Rochester, NY, with Gilad Atzmon, like Siegel an anti-Zionist, got cancelled because of political pressure, including from a local temple, B’rith Kodesh. Some folks who read the report queried John Keevert, a Rochester social justice activist who had helped schedule the event at his Unitarian church.

Keevert said that Siegel’s report was inaccurate. “We did not cancel because of Temple pressure.” Why then? “Scheduling conflict,” he wrote in a note to the questioners. “it has been scheduled in a new location, same time.” We asked Siegel for the latest:

The concert has been reinstated, but at a different venue.  I am convinced that the concert was initially canceled because of the objection from the rabbi.  And I believe that what is being said now is pure bull.

Here’s the story:  This concert/presentation at First Unitarian of Rochester has been booked for probably around two months- I can check old e mails to verify.  All of a sudden we get a communication that the concert is canceled.  Two reasons are given:  1) that there are other events scheduled at the same time in the building, and the noise level would interfere, and 2) that a local rabbi contacted the church objecting to Gilad Atzmon.

So please note that it was stated outright from the start that ONE of two reasons was the communication from the rabbi. To deny this now is disingenuous.

The concert/presentation came about when Dan McGowan, founder and chairman of Deir Yassin Remembered, booked us to play in Geneva, NY, which we are also doing, and then got in touch with the church and offered us for a second night.  Dan continued to be involved, and when the church canceled giving those two reasons, Dan offered two options: to move the concert to a different venue, or to keep it at the church, removing the musical aspect of the evening and turning it into spoken presentations by the three of us- Dan, Gilad, and myself.

No noise. The church turned him down, proving that the rabbi’s objection was the one and only reason for the cancellation.  The church was clearly determined to just shut down the event, and was not interested in options, and I have e mails indicating exactly that.

Dan and I had a conversation and agreed that we should organize an e mail and telephone campaign.  I’m good at that, so I spread the word and people started making communications.  A friend of mine, Emman Chehade Randazzo, a Palestinian woman married to an American and living in Chicago, telephoned John Keevert, chair of the Social Justice Council.  He was one of the two people involved in both the booking and the cancellation, the other being Ron Johnson of the church. 

 (I’m not sure if the council is part of the church or a separate entity.)  John Keevert took Emman’s call, and explained to her that he had heard some very disturbing things about Atzmon (evidently from the rabbi).  Emman communicated to me that he said, basically, that Atzmon is a Jewish Anti-Semite.   This was significant because it made it clear that the people we were dealing with had been influenced by propaganda, and it was not just the rabbi’s objection that caused the cancellation but it had evolved into a situation where it had become, through the rabbi, our own host’s objection.

I got in touch with Atzmon and communicated the situation to him.  He in turn called Keever and explained that he is often quoted with “cherry-picked” quotes taken out of context, and was able to convince Keever that he is not an Anti-Semite and that it would be very bad indeed to cave into pressure from Zionists. 

 I wasn’t privy to the conversation but all of a sudden we were back on, at another venue, but still hosted by the church and the Social Justice Council.  And it seems from the character of subsequent conversations that our hosts have returned to being as enthusiastic as they previously had been. It seems that they came to a realization of some sort, probably that the rabbi was part of an agenda that they don’t want to support.

‘NYT’ makes excuses for Netanyahu

Posted: 27 Jun 2010

Can it be a coincidence that just as Netanyahu is about to visit Obama, reports surface that the the un-frozen settlement ‘freeze’ continues in robust fashion (“Construction begins on 20 homes in Sheikh Jarrah”).

I’m not a prophet, but I’m going to guess that this, too, will be chalked up to bureaucratic snafus that Netanyahu had no control over or knowledge of.

And I wonder if that excuse/explanation will make it into the NYT lede if/when they choose to report this. I always appreciate tips on how to think about news developments in the Middle East.

Oh: Isabel Kershner in the NYT:

another example of an awkwardly timed, seemingly bureaucratic Israeli maneuver that could upset fragile peace efforts.

Long predicted, Goldberg’s eclipse finally begins

Posted: 27 Jun 2010

Everyone’s talking about this post by Glenn Greenwald on Jeffrey Goldberg’s journalistically-disastrous performance in the buildup to the Iraq war. Greenwald puts more fuel on a fire that can only be built now, when that tragic decision is in the past, about why we made the mistake. He know that this has to do with “Israel-obsessive devotees” like Goldberg. Showing that the left understands, we can’t get past the Iraq war without talking about the occupation. 

unlike [Judith] Miller, who was forced to leave the New York Times over what she did, and the NYT itself, which at least acknowledged some of the shoddy pro-war propaganda it churned out, Goldberg has never acknowledged his journalistic errors, expressed remorse for them, or paid any price at all.  To the contrary, as is true for most Iraq war propagandists, he thrived despite as a result of his sorry record in service of the war. 

In 2007, David Bradley — the owner of The Atlantic and (in his own words) formerly “a neocon guy” who was “dead certain about the rightness” of invading Iraq  — lavished Goldberg with money and gifts, including ponies for Goldberg’s children, in order to lure him away from The New Yorker, where he had churned out most of his pre-war trash.  

One of his most obscenely false and damaging articles — this 2002 museum of deceitful, hideous journalism, “reporting” on Saddam’s “possible ties to Al Qaeda” — actually won an Oversea’s Press Award for — get this — “best international reporting in a print medium dealing with human rights.”  Goldberg, whose devotion to Israel is so extreme that he served in the IDF as a prison guard over Palestinians and was described last year as “Netanyahu’s faithful stenographer” by The New York Times’ Roger Cohen, wrote an even more falsehood-filled 2002 New Yorker article, warning that Hezbollah was planning a master, Legion-of-Doom alliance with Saddam Hussein for a “larger war,” and that “[b]oth Israel and the United States believe that, at the outset of an American campaign against Saddam, Iraq will fire missiles at Israel — perhaps with chemical or biological payloads — in order to provoke an Israeli conventional, or even nuclear, response,” though — Goldberg sternly warned — “Hezbollah, which is better situated than Iraq to do damage to Israel, might do Saddam’s work itself” and “its state sponsors, Iran and Syria, maintain extensive biological- and chemical-weapons programs.” 

That fantastical, war-fueling screed — aimed at scaring Americans into targeting the full panoply of Israel’s enemies — actually won a National Magazine Award in 2003.  Given how completely discredited those articles are, those are awards which any person with an iota of shame would renounce and apologize for, but Goldberg continues to proudly tout them on his bio page at The Atlantic.

Despite all of those war-cheerleading deceits — or, again, because of them — Goldberg continues to be held out by America’s most establishment outlets as a preeminent expert in the region.



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hey Eric didn’t I tell you you were too dumb to write about Palestine?

I have just seen Eric Alterman’s response to the response to the Nation’s cool-tempered editorial on the massacre on the Mavi Marmara:

You know, it’s funny. Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are all engaged in this blockade (which I strongly oppose). But if you read The Nation’s editorial on the topic, “Free Gaza,” you’d have to assume that they are all doing this because it’s fun, or because they are big meanies or, at best, for no reason at all.

Never mind priorities, that the siege in intolerable and must end. Never mind reality, which is that Israel is engaged in a terroristic blockade to overthrow a democratically elected government. Never mind that Egypt complies because it does what America and Israel tell it to do, or that Fatah complies because its policy-making component is populated by a group of collaborators who do whatever Israel tells them to do.

Never mind that senior Israeli officials openly admitted that the blockade was a failed policy on its stated terms, and that they kept it in place in the face of the flotilla to assert the inviolable principle that Israel will not give in to resistance, because they are the boss—or, in Alterman’s cutesy rhetoric, precisely because they are “meanies.” Never mind that pace Hamas’s charter it’s not a particularly anti-Semitic political movement in practice, nor is it opposed to “liberalism in all its forms,” since it has repeatedly attempted to sign reconciliation agreements that would have created a legislative council with representation from both Hamas and Fatah, while impossible Fatah demands scuppered them.

Alterman is afflicted with a serious case of White Liberalism. This disease turns the pseudo-intellectual into a very picky consumer of resistance movements. Not that one, they have funky red beards, and those folk aren’t very nice to their brown women, who we do the honor of bombing without gender discrimination. This complex suggests that resistance movements must fit into the box we construct—white, secular, liberal, Western—to receive principled, unqualified support for ending the suffering of the groups on whose behalf they resist.

None do.

Hamas doesn’t have to placate Alterman’s audience at the 92nd Street Y in order to justify ending the suffering of the people who voted for it, any more than those expressing sympathy for American suffering on 9/11 and who were concerned about its causes needed to quibble about the fact that America was a barbaric country that executed children, condones penal rape, and in which half the population believes the Earth is around 6,000 years old before saying so.

Such facts are irrelevant except to those who think that Palestinian suffering must be gingerly framed to be sure not to offend American Zionist sensibilities. This is racist anti-universalist thinking, and it’s intolerable and even “illiberal.”

Reading Eric, you think that perhaps he saw Senator Ribbentrop Schumer speaking in front of the Orthodox Union and decided that so long as he was several picometers to the left of a call for outright “strangulation” of the Palestinians in Gaza he could grandstand about the “complications of the conflict.” Eric, here are the complications: American Zionists have been indoctrinated with a victimization complex from a tragedy that almost none of directly experienced.

We think our people died because we were weak, intellectual, effeminate. We think the solution, more psycho-social than practical, is a fascist Sparta in the Middle East, because none of us go to live there except the haredim from Williamsburg and Borough Park.

That Sparta does good work for the Empire, its intellectual backers in Brooklyn collect money from the Empire, their egos are assuaged, and the merry-round keeps going round and round, while Israel descends into madness and Palestinians are more and more mired in misery and hopelessness, and the Erics of the world prance around podiums in New York, so distant imaginatively, morally, and intellectually from the conflict that it becomes totally clear that the people living there—the Jewish Israelis too, living in a fantastically unequal racist society—aren’t even the point.

The point is positioning within a native community, the point is social status to be gained by transcribing and condensing the consensus of that community rather than challenging it. And who cares that Israel prevented oxygen machines from coming into Gaza this week, or that Gazans can’t leave for medical treatment? Not them, for sure, despite not even remotely convincing parenthetical avowals of concern.


Technorati Tags: Alterman, American Liberal Zionism, American Zionism, Eric Alterman, Gaza, Israel, Jewish, Palestine, Zionism

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[Teaser] Is the whole world against us?

[Headline] European Parliament: “Phenomenon of boycotts against Israel gaining momentum”

[Sub-headline] Members of the European lobby for Israel warn: The deterioration in the political climate is increasing boycotts of Israeli products, companies and businessmen; requested that Peres utilize his stature and appear before the European Parliament

David Lipkin, Maariv, June 28 2010 [page 4 of business section; Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]


The leaders of European Friends of Israel (EFI), the European lobby for Israel and its economy, warned yesterday of a deterioration in the political climate in Europe against Israel, and an increase in the phenomenon of boycotts of Israeli products and businesspeople throughout Europe.  They noted that there was a growing phenomenon of European investment funds that were divesting from Israeli companies, for reasons defined as “business ethics.”

Ronny Bruckner, leader of the lobby, which includes members of Parliament in the European Union and senior European businesspeople, asked President Shimon Peres yesterday to use his unique international standing and appear before the European Parliament.  Bruckner also asked the president to step up his activity vis-à-vis the EU institutions and to invest in smaller European states, which have recently joined the EU.

Bruckner noted that the significantly expanding Arab population in the large European countries might help Muslim bodies join radical coalitions and boycott products from Israel, not only those produced east of the Green Line.  He said that Arab activists have already taken to harassing Israeli businessmen and that recently, companies that engage in business ties with Israeli companies have received threats.

Senior EFI officials told President Shimon Peres that there is an expanding trend whereby European investment funds declare they are pulling out their investments in Israeli companies, citing reasons such as “business ethics.”  There is fear, the officials warned, that the phenomenon will expand further.

EFI CEO Michelle Gorari told Asakim that the economic boycott against Israel is accelerating in Europe in view of the recent political developments.  He believes that in view of the rising pressures, the boycott against Israeli exports might affect some 30% of Israel’s exports to Europe.  There is a dangerous trend that aims at imposing a total ban on the sale of Israeli products on certain European markets.

Gorari pointed out that the pro-Israeli lobby has managed to foil an emerging trend whereby the European Parliament intended not to ratify a new aviation agreement between Israel and the EU.  After EFI made efforts to gain support for Israel, the agreement was approved by a majority of 465 against 65.  They are currently considering whether it is the right time to ask the European Parliament to approve an agreement on the harmonization of standards between Israel and the EU because there is a fear that, given the current anti-Israeli atmosphere, it may be hard to attain a majority that would approve it.

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Ezra Nawi, after a day in the mud
NOVANEWS: June 26, 2010   Bi’r el-’Id

There’s a strange beauty in the viscous black mud that comes up from the depths of the earth, from the bottom, or somewhere near the bottom, of the well we are cleaning in Bi’r al-’Id. Bucket after bucket of it, lifted by pulley from down below, straggles to the surface, where we unload it and pour it out on the rocky escarpment. Its texture changes remarkably over the long morning hours from a watery top layer to heavy, shiny dark loam to a granular, sticky brown.

It has a strong smell, like the sulphurous mud from the Dead Sea (not very far away) that people smear over their bodies for healing. Yehuda says the Palestinians of Bi’r al-’Id should bottle it and sell it at the airport: “Sacred Mud from the Sacred Desert.” There’s no end to it. The buckets go down and up, down and up, heavier each time; the rope attached to the pulley is now caked solid with mud, and the escarpment has turned into a mire. Amiel, Dolev, and Danny are down in the dark recesses, filling the buckets alongside Haj Isma’il. Suddenly Ezra arrives—he was released from jail only a few days ago—and immediately lowers himself, like Spider Man, down the shaft.

You can’t stop him. When they emerge hours later, they are black troglodytes, covered with mud from head to toe; and we, too, working the buckets above ground, are splattered, encrusted, soaked.

When I said goodbye to Amiel almost five months ago, he said, “We will meet in the spring, and when you get back, things will be the same here, just a little worse.” But actually in some ways they’re a lot worse. The continuing struggles against the occupation, on the ground in the territories, take their usual grim course, but inside Israel hardly a day passes without some new and sickening jolt.

The country is in the grip of violent nationalist paranoia spiked with inventive forms of wickedness and active hatred for Palestinians, of an intensity I’ve never seen before. Here, for example, is what Yulia Shalamov Berkovitch, a member of the Knesset (from the Kadima “centrist” party), has to say: “”Israeli academia apparently suffers from ‘Palestinomania,’ a mild psychological illness whose symptoms include self-hatred, an affinity for Israel’s enemies, Jewish anti-Semitism and/or anti-Zionism.

The spread of ‘Palestinomania’ demands the immediate and painful treatment for all of our sake, and the sooner the better” (Haaretz, June 21).  I wonder what treatment she has in mind:  Lobotomies? Re-education camps? Firing squads? In the same report, we learned that the Minister of Education, Gideon Sa’ar, thinks that it is “important to examine the issues” raised by a rabidly right-wing group called Im Tirtzu in a report on “anti-Zionist trends” in Israeli universities. According to Im Tirtzu, 80% of the reading materials assigned in the departments of Political Science in Israel are anti-Zionist and anti-nationalist and should, one must assume, be banned.

They seem to have a black list, which no doubt includes the works of Rousseau, Plato, and John Rawls. The minister, whom some once saw as relatively enlightened, apparently goes along with this. The next step, I suppose, is censorship in the classroom, followed by book burnings in the public square.

Milder signs of the times are everywhere; the mayor of Ramat Hasharon in the coastal plain has decreed that in all schools that require a uniform, the pupils, from next year on, will have to tie Israeli flags to their wrists. He must feel, perversely, that  a lack of patriotism is eating away at the foundations of our national existence.

Add to this the decision by Jerusalem’s mayor Barkat to demolish 22 Palestinian houses in Silwan—the same homes we saved by an international campaign in 2005—and the ongoing, indeed escalating evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. Barkat seems intent on setting the city on fire.

But here we are in Bi’r el-’Id, where our Palestinian hosts are, miraculously, rebuilding the homes from which they were cruelly evicted over a decade ago. The sun is dancing, the wind fierce for a summer day, the sky endlessly open like the human heart at its best, like the desert stretching toward the horizon just below us. I ask my friend Muhammad how things have been during my absence.

 “Fine,” he says; “no problems.” Afterwards I hear that his father was recently assaulted by Yaakov Talya, the notorious settler-owner of the ranch aptly named Lucifer’s Farm, hardly half a mile away; when the soldiers turned up, they of course arrested Muhammad’s father. He is now awaiting trial. (Perhaps the military judges will send him to jail for the crime of having been attacked, as they have so many others we know.) And the road to Jinba, which we can see from our perch on the high ridge, has again been closed by the army after we punched it open with a water convoy last fall.

Not long ago a boy from Jinba was seriously injured and had to be carried all the way up the mountain to the road near Bi’r el-’Id. Two weeks ago settlers from Chavat Maon entered Palestinian Twaneh, threw rocks at the villagers, and tried to set a Palestinian house on fire. In short:  Plus ça change….

Yet mud-stained, back aching, thirsty, I surprise myself today. I am borne along on a wave of irrational, happy hope. I have missed these weekends in South Hebron—missed the people, the Arabic, the desert landscapes, maybe even the danger. Each moment we spend here has its own irreducible value. Each act of defiant friendship is self-fulfilling, self-delighting.

There it is again, that odd, unpredictable happiness, the heady wine of inner freedom. Yesterday we marched in protest in Silwan—some 500 ordinary Israelis doing the simple, the decent thing—and at first I was wondering where the Palestinians were (most were standing at their windows and doors and watching us), and my colleague Yossi Zeira said to me: “This is our task. No one will do it for us.

Every good action counts and adds to the pressure. Slowly they will add up and bring change.” Alan, walking beside me, said he had felt tired after a day at work and almost didn’t come, and then he remembered a phrase from the end of Stephen Poliakoff’s film “1939″: “It is when the good people, or even those who are only half-good, remain silent that evil flourishes.”  And there are moments of still deeper insight.

When Eileen heard the rhymed slogan we’ve been chanting—”Ein kedusha be’ir kvushah, There is No Sanctity in an Occupied City”—she said: “Maybe there is sanctity only in an occupied city.” I think she’s right. Nothing in my experience comes as close to the meaning of a word like “holy” as the act of protest against what the municipality and the police are doing in Palestinian East Jerusalem.

That’s also what Istvan tells me as we work the buckets by the well. He’s a religious man, and to him these Ta’ayush hours in South Hebron are what religion is all about:  truth, for example, and loving-kindness. “The settlers think that they represent the true Judaism,” I say to him, “and sometimes I’m afraid they may be right.” “No,” he says, “they are certainly wrong.”

At moments a great simplicity emerges in the mind, like cleaning a muddy well, and you taste a giddy seriousness, a sudden lightening of the heart. Sitting beside us is Ziad Muhamra, shot point-blank in the face by a soldier some years ago when Ziad refused to take his goats off his ancestral grazing grounds. He told me his story last time I was here. Ziad survived, thanks to a devoted Israeli surgeon. He was in hospital for a year, fed by tubes. Today he remembers happily the moment he ate solid food again for the first time—a banana.

It took him half an hour to eat it, and the whole ward, the nurses and the doctors and the other patients, all gathered round to watch this astonishing event. Now he has come back to Bi’r el-’Id. When he mentions his doctor, searching for the foreign Hebrew name, it seems to me, for a second, as if this tough shepherd from the desert, a true survivor, is close to tears.

But some things are simpler than others. ‘Id has joined us today; we embrace like brothers when I see him. But his life in the village is perhaps no longer viable. People envy him—he is educated, articulate, self-possessed—and some don’t like the fact that he has Israeli friends. A few days ago Palestinians came to Umm al-Khair and tried to kill him; he managed to get away. He has a wife and a baby daughter, and it’s not clear where he can go; he’d like to study somewhere in Europe.

He’s good with his hands, artistic by nature. Maybe we’ll be able to help him. Then there is Haj Isma’il, with his 33 children from four wives. How will he manage to support this huge tribe from his tent in the tiny, precarious khirbeh of Bi’r el-’Id? He wanted to take a fifth wife, but the Qadi wouldn’t allow it, not even when Haj Isma’il tried to persuade him he’d already divorced the first wife. “I still have my strength,” he says, “and I don’t want to waste it or take it with me to the grave.”

“So how was jail?” I ask Ezra when he emerges from the well. “Akhla—great,” he says; “highly recommended.” He was imprisoned for a month after Judge Eilata Ziskind found him guilty of attacking a police officer during house demolitions at Umm al-Khair, where ‘Id lives. 

I have no doubt that the charge was cooked up by the police in order to punish a central figure in the non-violent resistance to the occupation. The first week in jail, in Jerusalem, was hard; they refused to allow him to receive books, so he went on hunger strike—for four days he ate nothing, until the prison authorities relented. Afterwards he was transferred to Dekel Prison in Beer-Sheva, where things improved.

The cell was filthy, he says, and infested with cockroaches who paid no heed to human attempts to drive them away; they slept with him in his bed, emerged from his towel when he showered. One day he asked the commanding officer: “Are these part of the menu or part of the punishment?” He found a 50-meter stretch of corridor where he was allowed to walk, and every day he would pace it up and down, for hours.

He lost a lot of weight. But there’s no trace of bitterness in him—quite the contrary, today he seems to me at peace, and full of hope. At lunch I say to him, “I hear you’re feeling optimistic.” He laughs. “Yes. Just look around. Two years ago we didn’t even know the name of this place. These people had been driven off their land, the houses and terraces were destroyed, the wells stopped up.

Now we’ve brought them back and stood by them, and we’ve helped them to stand up to the settlers and the soldiers and not to be afraid. They are here to stay. They are home.

You can train people so they become able to resist. Even a few people like that make a huge difference. In the end we will win. So of course I’m optimistic. You must be optimistic, too, otherwise why would you be here?”

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Event: Home, Identity and Citizenship – The Films of Philip Donnellan.

What? You are invited to attend a screening of ‘Philip Donnellan’s The Colony’ (1964), and a discussion of an ongoing project to explore and promote the resources of the Philip Donnellan Archive.

The Colony: This innovative TV documentary explores the experience of members of the Caribbean migrant community in Birmingham and the Midlands. The film allows its subjects space to candidly evaluate their reception in the UK and their relationships with home and other migrant workers. Controversial at the time of its original broadcast the film is an enduring and powerful document of a key moment in post-war British history.

When? 6-8pm 30th June 2010

Where? Birmingham Library Theatre (

Who is this event for? Everyone is welcome but the event is particularly aimed at those with an interest in the social history of the region, post-war migration and community, documentary film and the BBC. We want to contact educators, heritage and community groups and researchers who will find Donnellan’s archive useful and who might aid in finding ways of preserving it and promoting its use as a resource for the social and cultural history of the region.

Biography: Philip Donnellan (1924-99) worked for the BBC from 1948-84. Much of his professional life was spent in the Midlands where he worked first in radio and then in television. His work expressed his belief in the value of ordinary life and culture and the need to give working people and underrepresented social minorities a space in which to articulate their concerns in their own voices. Many of this films

The project: Philip Donnellan’s un-catalogued archive is held in the Birmingham Archives and contains an extensive range of film, audio and print material pertaining to his career with the BBC and the works he made in and about the region. An award from Screen West Midlands has allowed the employment of an archive worker to assess these deposits. As a result, we are already finding rich materials such as unbroadcast films, oral histories and programme research materials.

More information: Details of Donnellan’s life and work can be found at the

‘Friends of Philip Donnellan’ website:

Subscribe to the posterous site:

Join the Facebook group:

Help? Please pass this invitation on to your networks and to those who may find the project to be of interest. If you are interested but cannot make the event, let us know and we’ll keep you informed of developments and available resources. If you can get an audience together and find a venue, we’ll be glad to come and show some of the films to you and talk about the project.

RSVP: If you wish to attend, please forward your details to:

Postal address:

          Dr Paul Long

Reader in Media and Cultural History

Birmingham School of Media


B42 2SU

Who is involved? The project is funded by Screen West Midlands and managed by a partnership of Birmingham Archives and Heritage, Media Archive Central England (MACE) and Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, Birmingham City University.

Ian M Parr
Hon Secretary and Trustee of the Charles Parker Archive
10 Oakfield Close,  Bronington,  Whitchurch
SY13 3GZ
tel:  01948 780167, mobile:  0796 617 0746  or

The Charles Parker Archive is deposited in the Birmingham City Archives on the 6th Floor of the Central Library.
Charles Parker Archive Trust, registered charity no. 326082

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Max Dunbar writes lucidly and in this particular piece takes on localism and the issue of immigration in a very persuasive fashion:

“During the late 1990s and early 2000s there was a lot of buzz about an economics writer called Thomas Friedman. Friedman was the Pangloss of globalisation. His books and journalism constituted one breathless paean to global free markets – an endless parade of twenty-year-old dotcom millionaires interviewed in Singapore coffee houses.

There’s one passage where he has his shoes shined by an elderly beggar woman, and then speculates on her pride at being able to contribute to the global economy – written in prose so self-satisfied that Francis Wheen wondered how the woman restrained herself from punching him in the face.

Post-crash, Friedman’s work seems strikingly naive. In the protectionist backlash people are increasingly suspicious of globalism. The average UK citizen wants more immigration control, troops pulled out of Afghanistan, withdrawal from the EU and locally sourced food.

Read the comment threads on any national or regional newspaper website and you’ll find our collective dream is of a silo nation: nothing gets in, nothing gets out.

For localism has a dark side. As well as Prince Charles’s babble about British cheese subsidies and supermarket regulation it has produced a fierce hostility to migrants. People think of economics as zero sum.

 Let too many migrants into the UK, they reason, and soon there won’t be enough food or money for the rest of us. If a migrant gets a job, someone else must lose theirs. If a migrant applies for housing benefit, it goes straight out of your paycheque. It is fair to say that loathing of immigrants has become a national pathology.”

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Setting the Truth Free

To our supporters everywhere

On 30th January 1972, a dark cloud descended upon this beautiful city. It stayed until last Tuesday, 15th June 2010 – over 38 years of a journey. It has now been lifted.

It has been a long journey from the beginning of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign to where we are today. Although we have always known the truth – now we can now rest easy – safe in the knowledge that our loved ones have been officially declared innocent by Lord Saville.

From the early days of the campaign, it became apparent that we would need moral, political and financial support. With this in mind, we called upon you, the people of Derry, to help. We couldn’t have done this without you.

Not only have we had strong community support and political support, we have also been fortunate enough to have friends throughout the world eager to help us ‘Set the Truth Free’. Thanks to all those who campaigned, marched and encouraged us over the years. Special thanks must also be conveyed to our legal teams, who faced their daunting task with professionalism and courtesy.

Our gratitude must also be expressed to Bloody Sunday Trust members, past and present, who have been a constant support and guiding light throughout the campaign, and to Cunamh for their assistance throughout the Inquiry.

It would be impossible to name all those who have helped us over the years, but please be assured we appreciate everything you have done. Without your encouragement and support, we would not have been able to stand before you on the steps of the Guildhall last week. Without your perseverance, the story of what happened here on Bloody Sunday would have long since been forgotten.

Last Tuesday was an historic event for the people of Derry and beyond and we gladly share our achievement with all of you. From within the Guildhall we could hear the cheers of the expectant Derry crowds, and this, accompanied by Lord Saville’s verdict and David Cameron’s apology, meant the world to us. The subsequent meeting between families and Protestant church leaders further highlighted the need for healing for all those affected by conflict.

For decades, we, the families and the wounded, had longed for the truth to be set free and we are very grateful that so many were present to share in our sense of relief and achievement. Thank you.

Le buíochas as ucht agus le grá mór

(With heartfelt thanks and great love)

The Bloody Sunday families and wounded

‘Set the Truth Free’ Campaign,
Bloody Sunday Family Support Centre,
Unit B5 Ráth Mór Centre,
Bligh’s Lane,

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The Troops Out Movement has taken time to consider the findings of the Saville Report of the Bloody Sunday killings by British Soldiers on 30th January 1972. Here are our comments.

Bad Apples?
TOM News 28/06/10

The Troops Out Movement comments on the publication of the Saville Report into Bloody Sunday

The Troops Out Movement welcomes the pronouncement by British Prime Minister David Cameron that all those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday were innocent.

We are concerned however, that following the publication of the Saville Report one senior officer and a handful of soldiers from the British army’s Parachute Regiment are to carry the blame for the day’s atrocities. The blame for Bloody Sunday does not lie solely with Lt Col Derek Wilford and ‘a few bad apples’ on the ground that day.

This is far too simplistic and absolves other senior figures of their share of responsibility and their involvement in mass murder and its subsequent cover up.

  • Why had a planned civil rights march in Derry been discussed at cabinet level at Stormont the week previously and at cabinet level in London?

  • Why had a memo been sent to the British embassy in Washington warning of possible adverse reactions if there was trouble in Derry on that Sunday?

  • Why would a simple civil rights march warrant such high levels of attention unless there was an idea that something controversial might happen?

The Saville Report says soldiers on the ground lost control. But why deploy the Parachute Regiment to Derry? Their brutal reputation was already well known.

Five months before Bloody Sunday, they shot dead eleven people – ten men, including a priest, and a mother of eight – in Ballymurphy. Nine days before Bloody Sunday, they fired rubber bullets and CS gas at close range at civil rights marchers on Magilligan Strand just outside Derry (John Hume also witnessed them beating the defenceless demonstrators).

Parachute Regiment ‘Soldier 027’ admitted to the tribunal that, on the night before the Bloody Sunday massacre, his platoon had been told to ‘‘get some kills’’ the next day. He has had to be placed in a witness protection programme under a new identity since he gave evidence behind screens at the tribunal and he still fears that his former comrades will kill him. There has already been one attempt on his life, when his landlord was attacked in a case of mistaken identity.

Pile up the case against the deceased

General Robert Ford, who had commissioned the British army’s tactical plan for Bloody Sunday, ‘Operation Forecast’, shouted “Go on the Paras!” as his regiment began their murderous onslaught on the civil rights marchers. This is the man who had earlier written on the subject of ‘rioting’ that he was coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to restore law and order in Derry was to “shoot selected ringleaders”.

General Sir Michael Jackson, who went on to hold the top post in the British army, was involved in writing the ‘shot list’ – the army’s original, and scandalous, account of Bloody Sunday. None of the shots described in the list conformed to any of the shots which evidence indicated had actually been fired. Some trajectories took bullets through buildings to hit their targets!

British Home Secretary Reginald Maudling lied to the British House of Commons and said the paratroopers had acted in self-defence.

As British Prime Minister Edward Heath appointed Lord Widgery to cover up the murders he advised him that Britain was ‘fighting not only a military war but a propaganda war’. The secretary to the Widgery Tribunal said it would “pile up the case against the deceased”, according to declassified documents. Widgery’s report cannot be easily explained away. It was not compiled by someone of inexperience or weak disposition. There was no lack of resources and, importantly, all the necessary evidence was available.

The British authorities spewed out negative propaganda about the innocent men and boys who were murdered and media outlets enthusiastically regurgitated those lies.

The Queen of England publicly displayed her appreciation of Derek Wilford’s service when she decorated him with an OBE shortly after Bloody Sunday.

As Danny Morrison wrote in a letter to The Irish Times (24/06/10):

“Had the British government on February 1st, 1972 admitted what Saville in 2010 declared had really happened on Bloody Sunday then Ted Heath’s government would have fallen, there would have been a crisis in Britain, paratroopers would have faced life imprisonment and, in all likelihood, Britain would have been propelled much more quickly down the road of negotiation instead of fighting a dirty war. Thousands of lives might well have been saved.”

Cover up

The British establishment was responsible for Bloody Sunday and for the subsequent cover-up – and David Cameron admitted this when he said:

“The conclusions of this report are absolutely clear. There is no doubt. There is nothing equivocal. There are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.

“What happened should never, ever have happened. The families of those who died should not have had to live with the pain and hurt of that day – and a lifetime of loss.

“Some members of our armed forces acted wrongly. The government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces. And for that, on behalf of the government – and indeed our country – I am deeply sorry.”

The Bloody Sunday murder victims were shot dead trying to escape to safety from the Paras’ bullets. One victim was shot dead crawling away from the soldiers. One while lying mortally wounded on the ground. Another was shot dead through the back of his head as he waved a white handkerchief while going to the aid of another mortally wounded man. Many were shot dead from behind.

No warnings were given before the Paras opened fire. None of the victims posed “any threat of causing death or serious injury”. The Saville Report states that none of the Paras fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers. The bullets fired that day by the British army were well-aimed and were fired deliberately and callously at civilians fleeing for their lives.

The publication of the Saville Report and David Cameron’s apology were wonderful developments for the Bloody Sunday families who have, after 38 years, finally cleared the names of their loved-ones.

They were very handy developments also for the British establishment in its continued concealment of the actions and involvement of senior figures leading up to, during, and subsequent to Bloody Sunday.

Very savvy Saville!

Troops Out Movement

Campaigning for British Withdrawal from Ireland

PO Box 1032 Birmingham B12 8BZ  Tel: 0121 773 8683 Mob: 0797 017 4167


Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on THE SAVILLE REPORT

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