Archive | January 5th, 2011

THE NEED TO ENLARGE PROTESTS

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The need to enlarge protests around Binayak Sen to all cases of sedition – PUDR Statement

 
Rajeesh | January 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/pglpM-1Xj

Jan 4, 2010

Dear friends and comrades,

The recent countrywide demonstrations against the unfair verdict in the Binayak Sen case have been really heartwarming. The demonstrations have brought many of us together, who feel enraged and upset over the judgment. Clearly, if our numbers continue to grow, we will soon be in a position of strength and will ensure the release of Binayak and many others.

The case against Binayak Sen has become a focal point to oppose the attempts by the state to criminalise civil rights activities. Yet, we strongly feel that in order to make the entire campaign into a success we have to enlarge the present focus from the individual, Binayak Sen, to include the co-accused, Piyush Guha and Narayan Sanyal, and also take into consideration the plight of others who are similarly imprisoned in unfair cases of sedition.

Consider the following : Piyush Guha, the supposed courier in this case, has never been granted bail. He lost his parents in the course of these three years but was not given the right to even attend to the last rites of his parents. Piyush was kept in illegal custody and tortured for five days and he was only produced when the Chhattisgarh PUCL issued a statement demanding his whereabouts. His family lost its breadwinner and his wife, Rupa Guha, has been carrying out a lone fight for three and half years. Our efforts in demanding the release of Binayak must include the release of Piyush Guha.

Narayan Sanyal, the other co-accused has been in jail for five years already. He is old and ailing and is suffering from a chronic and painful ailment, fibromatosis. Despite directives from the court, he has not received any serious medical treatment in prison.The argument that his being a Maoist ideologue is sufficient to keep him in prison for the rest of his life is unfair, cruel and undemocratic particularly since the other cases in which he has been arrested have nearly collapsed.

As has been pointed out by many, the decision to charge him with sedition happened only after the police arrested Binayak Sen. Narayan Sanyal’s case (even his supposed role in the present one) is a fit case for us to ask not only for his release but also to demand a repeal of the ban against CPI(Maoist).

Our campaign must focus on demanding the repeal of undemocratic ‘security’ legislations like UAPA, CSPSA etc or under unfair provisions of the IPC like ‘sedition’ (S 124 A) and ‘waging war’ (S 121 of IPC) . The most recent conviction of Asit Sengupta, editor ofthe well known journal, World to Win is most worrying. Sengupta was arrested by Chhattisgarh police (and illegally detained, of course!) in January 2008 and never granted bail.

On the same day when Binayak, Piyush and Sanyal were given life imprisonment, the same day Asit Sengupta was convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment for his work as an editor and publisher by another Raipur court. Kopa Kunjam, activist of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (Dantewada) who was working to re-settle displaced Adivasis in Netra villa, has been implicated in a murder case.

Nine activists, including Kartam Joga of Adivasi Mahasbha, campaigning against landgrab in Lohanmdiguda, (Bastar) have been accused of involvement in the attack on CRPF personnel. There are innumerable incidents of this nature which are taking place in Chattisgarh and elsewhere where joint operations are going on.

Friends, we need to fight together to ensure that :

1. The entire miscarriage of justice begun in 2007 should be rectified and all the victims should be unconditionally released and compensated for their unfair stay in jail.
2. Withdrawal of undemocratic ‘security’legislations like UAPA, CSPSA etc
3. Repeal of archaic and colonial provisions like sedition and waging war from the IPC
4. Improvement of facilities in jails, particularly medical treatment of prisoners

Harish Dhawan and Paramjeet Singh
(Secretaries PUDR)

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INDIA: DALIT ACTIVIST SUDHIR DHAWALE ARRESTED

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India: Dalit Activist Sudhir Dhawale arrested on “sedition” charge in Maharashtra

 
Rajeesh | January 5, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/pglpM-1Xk

Sudhir Dhawale protesting the arrest of Binayak Sen

Mumbai Mirror,

January 3 2010

Dalit activist and editor of Marathi magazine Vidrohi, Sudhir Dhawale, was arrested on Monday morning at Gondia and charged with sedition (sec 124) and under Secs 17, 20 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

These sections relate to: raising funds for terrorist acts; being a member of a terrorist organisation and providing support to a terrorist organisation.

Gondia Sub-Divisional Police Officer Borate told Mumbai Mirror that Sudhir had been named by one Bhimrao, alias Bhanu Bhovate, whom he described as a “State Committee Naxalite leader”, arrested last week in Gondia.Bhovate had reportedly told police that he had given his computer, which had Naxalite literature in it, to Sudhir. Thus it was necessary to seize Sudhir’s computer, said Borate. The police searched Sudhir’s home in Byculla for over three hours in the evening.

Sudhir has been remanded in police custody till January 12. He had addressed a Ambedkar-Phule Sahitya Sammelan near Wardha on Sunday, and was on a train when he was arrested. Borate said they had been trailing him for the last few days, emphasising that his arrest had nothing to do with the Sammelan.

Expressing shock at his arrest, award-winning documentary maker Anand Patwardhan compared it to that of Binayak Sen.

“I know Sudhir well. He is a gentle person. His arrest is an outrage. It’s like what happened with Dr Binayak Sen – hounding those who have sympathy for the oppressed.” Interestingly, Sudhir is an active member of the Mumbai-based Committee for the Release of Binayak Sen.

A well-known name in Dalit and Left circles, Sudhir was one of the founders of the Republican Panther Jaatiya Antachi Chalwal (movement for annihilation of caste), formed on December 6, 2007, Dr Ambedkar’s Mahaparinirvan Day, at Shivaji Park.

This group grew out of the anger of Dalit youth against the Ramabai Nagar firing (1997) and the Khairlanji killings (2006).

According to Shyam Sonar, a member of the Republican Panthers, their group was created seeing the failure of the Dalit Panthers to live up to their original aim of working among people to wipe out caste. “We believe in raising awareness about atrocities on Dalits and the government’s destructive pattern of development in a democratic way,” said Sonar.

A full-time activist, Sudhir edited the bi-monthly Marathi magazine Vidrohi, which has among its editorial advisers Nikhil Wagle, Anand Patwardhan, and Anand Teltumbde.

His wife, a nurse, ran their home, while his friends paid his mobile bills and for his railway pass, said Sonar. Sudhir has two school going children.

A year ago, Sudhir had performed Hindi film director Sagar Sarhadi’s play Raj Durbar in Nagpur. Describing him as a “decent man and an enthusiastic and curious student of theatre”, Sarhadi said his arrest was a form of “witch hunting”.

Folk artiste shahir Sambhaji Bhagat recalled having first met Sudhir as a college student in Nagpur, where he had attended Bhagat’s theatre workshops. “Sudhir was very active in organising the parallel Vidrohi Marathi Sahitya Sammelans,” said Sambhaji. “He is also a good singer. His arrest bodes ill for those who believe in open democratic work.”

Last week, Home Minister Chidambaram had asked Maharashtra’s police to go on the offensive against Naxalites in the state. “When the government puts pressure on the police, they catch Leftists who work in an open manner because these are easy targets,” said Anand Patwardhan. “Dr Binayak Sen and now Sudhir, are being tarred as Naxalites for doing human rights work. It is a continuation of the dangerous pattern of blurring the lines in order to shut people up.”

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PIYUSH GUHA

NOVANEWS

     

Rajeesh | January 5, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/pglpM-1Xl

Till arrest, not an inkling of Maoist or political links

Of the three men convicted of sedition by a Chhattisgarh court this week, the least well known is perhaps Piyush Guha, 40, a trader in tendu leaves whom even the Bengal police and Naxal sympathisers claim not to have heard of till his arrest in 2007.

In three years of courtship and then three more of marriage, Rupa Guha found no evidence of any links to politics, let alone Naxalism, she says. “He loves books and used to read a lot of Rabindranath Tagore. I never once saw him reading Maoist literature,” says Rupa, now 34, fighting what she calls a lone battle from her home in a North Kolkata lane, near Manicktala.

She said they would challenge the verdict in the Chattisgarh High Court and the Supreme Court if necessary. She is upset at the absence of support from any quarter, human rights groups or Naxals, when there is such an outcry for “others in the case”.

Guha grew up in Sagarpara in Murshidabad district, graduated in science from Gurudas College in Kolkata, got a diploma in hardware engineering and worked for two years in a private company. He then went into business, buying tendu leaves from Chhattisgarh for beedi makers in Murshidabad.

Rupa says he disappeared on May 1, 2007, their third wedding anniversary. “He called from Raipur and told me he had a reservation for May 2 and would reach home early on May 3. He had no cellphone but used to call twice a day. The calls stopped; I went to Raipur on May 5. On May 6, I was told he had been arrested,” says Rupa.

The Raipur police say they seized some letters for Maoists, allegedly routed from jailed Naxal Narayan Sanyal through Binayak Sen, and money allegedly meant to fund Naxal operations. Rupa says, “He was carrying Rs 50,000 as payment for tendu leaves.”

Shortly after the arrest, Piyush’s father Sunil Guha, a retired headmaster from Sagarpara village, died, allegedly of shock. Rupa was then living in Santoshpur but moved out after police raided the house and questioned her several times.

Three months ago, Piyush’s mother Usha Rani Guha died, hoping he could visit her once. “I appealed to the Supreme Court but he was not granted bail. The police and the court did not even grant him parole so that he could attend the last rites of his parents,” says Rupa.

Since the arrest, Guha has been to his home state once, brought on transit remand in connection with a 2005 terror case in Purulia. Ashok Prasad, SP of Purulia in 2007, said Guha had not been named in the original FIR. Police officers and people following the Naxal cause said they had never heard of him before. Guha was eventually granted bail in the 2005 case.

Today, Rupa supports herself with a small DTP unit in Sealdah. With her meagre earnings, she has been to Raipur 40 times over the past three years, attending every hearing, optimistic that the case against her husband was weak.

“I had full faith in the law and democracy and that is why I did not miss a single date of the proceedings. I believed there must have been some mistake somewhere in booking my husband under charges of sedition,” says Rupa, stunned by the verdict. IE

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NOVANEWS**NOVANEWS

NOVANEWS
Jan 5, 2011 

Mondo Inferno: The Endless Echoes of America’s WMD Atrocity

Rep. King Blasts Critics, Defends Hearing on Muslims

Protesters Call Barak ‘Child Murderer’

Knesset votes to probe Zio=Nazi groups accused of ‘delegitimizing’ IDF

WikiLeaks: Zio-Nazi aimed to keep Gaza economy on brink of collapse

Medvedev to visit Palestinian territories, despite canceling Zio=Nazi leg

Lebanon to UN: Protect gas from Zio=Nazi’s

US use of DU: A war crime

No Mideast peace for ‘at least a decade:’ Lieberman

Substantial evidence contradicts Nazi’s version of events surrounding the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah

US Killed 2,043 People, Mostly Civilians, in Pakistan: Report

A Short Anthology of Racism in the Zio=Nazi regime

 

nomorewarsforisrael@gmail.com
http://theuglytruth.podbean.com
http://www.poweroftruthradio.com

  

Please check out the brand new book detailing Israel’s deliberate attack on the USS LIBERTY here

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‘RUSSIAN’ OLIGARCH KHODORKOVSKY JAILD UNTIL 2017

NOVANEWS

3.01.2011

Unbelievable, at a time when many of Russia’s children were forced go without food due to poverty this ‘Russian Mafia’ don Mikhail Khodorkovsky was busy looting their country out of its natural resources as Zionist agents in media and politics from around the world have been shamelessly apologizing for him to this day.

Justice Has Prevailed.

Khodorkovsky’s trip to the slammer: “Booyah, Putin” 

By Mike Whitney

Vladimir Putin summed it up best when he said, “A thief should sit in jail.” Right on. It doesn’t matter if he is the richest man in the country or not. If he’s done the crime, he’s got to do the time. It’s that simple.

On Wednesday, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos Oil was sentenced to 14 years in prison for embezzling and money laundering. Heads of state, human rights organisations, business leaders, and the entire western media have all protested on Khodorkovsky’s behalf, but to no avail. Khodorkovsky will stay in prison where he belongs. Justice has prevailed.

Khodorkovsky’s problems began when he challenged an informal agreement with the Kremlin not to intervene in Russian politics. But the oil oligarch thought Putin was weak, so he strengthened his contacts in Washington and dumped money into parliamentary elections. He unwisely assumed that he could defy Putin and extend his tentacles into politics following the model of corporate control he saw in the United States, where the courts, the congress, the White House and the media are all in the pocket of big business. Only he misjudged Putin and ended up in the hoosegow.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

“Mr. Khodorkovsky was arrested on a rented jet in Siberia Oct. 23, 2003, flown to Moscow and jailed on charges of fraud and tax evasion. Just over a year later, Yukos’s main subsidiary had been sold at auction to a little-known Russian company that later sold it to the state oil company, OAO Rosneft.

Investors, who watched the market value of Yukos plunge from $40 billion to next to nothing in a matter of months, proved to have short memories. By the summer of 2006, they were lining up to buy stock in Rosneft’s initial public offering. The company’s main asset had belonged to Yukos.”

And, according to Wikipedia:

“Khodorkovsky was charged with acting illegally in the privatisation process of the former state-owned mining and fertiliser company Apatit……In addition, prosecutors conducted an extensive investigation into Yukos for offences that went beyond the financial and tax-related charges. Reportedly there were three cases of murder and one of attempted murder linked to Yukos, if not Khodorkovsky himself…..”

When a deep-pocket Robber Barron is charged with a crime, everyone comes to their aid, including “the Italian Parliament, the German Bundestag, and the U.S. House of Representatives”. But Khodorkovsky is guilty. The Russian court got it right. The rest is just propaganda.

The portrayal of Khodorkovsky as an “innocent victim of a justice system run amok” borders on the ridiculous. Take a look at this comical article in the Economist ominously titled “The Trial, Part Two”. Here’s an excerpt:

“The transformation of Mr Khodorkovsky from a ruthless oligarch, operating in a virtually lawless climate, into a political prisoner and freedom fighter is one of the more intriguing tales in post-communist Russia….In this narrow sense, indeed, the imprisoned Mr Khodorkovsky might be compared to the exiled Andrei Sakharov in the 1980s.

Both Mr Khodorkovsky and Sakharov, an eminent nuclear physicist, chose a thorny path. And both of these one-time political prisoners then, in effect, took their persecutors and jailers hostage. Just as Mikhail Gorbachev’s talk of perestroika, opening up and new thinking, rang hollow until the moment when he allowed Sakharov to come home, so any talk by the Kremlin of the rule of law or about modernisation will be puffery so long as Mr Khodorkovsky remains in jail.” (The Economist)

So now the cutthroat scamster Khodorkovsky is Andrei Sakharov? One might think that the Economist would worry that such claptrap would damage its credibility, but apparently not. Apparently, nothing matters quite as much as springing their felonious friends from prison.

The Obama administration has also interceded on Khodorkovsky’s behalf even before the verdict was delivered. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the US was troubled by “what appears to be an abusive use of the legal system for improper ends”.

“The apparent selective application of the law to these individuals undermines Russia’s reputation as a country committed to deepening the rule of law.”

Gibbs failed to note how many crooked CEOs or CFOs of major Wall Street firms have been investigated, indicted, prosecuted, arrested, tried, or convicted?

So far, that number is zero. So much for the Obama administration’s commitment to the rule of law.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also put in her two-cents saying that a conviction would have a “negative impact on Russia’s reputation.”

Right. This is the same Hillary Clinton who has thrown her support behind the Patriot Act, the intrusive/illegal TSA “pat downs”, the limitless detention of terror suspects, increased surveillance of US citizens, and the de facto repeal of habeas corpus.

Clinton’s credibility on civil liberties is zilch.

Imagine what it would be like to live in a country where the rich had to play by the same rules as everyone else? Presumably, one would have to move to Russia. There is no expectation of justice in the US today. None.

Khodorkovsky was convicted because he’s a crook and because the Russian justice system is less corrupt than the one in the US. His incarceration is a victory for the people who want to see the law applied fairly regardless of how rich someone is.

 
Article Source: Information Clearinghouse 

 

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A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS

 

US: $10k for killed Iraqi civilians

Posted: 04 Jan 2011 04:56 AM PST

Victor’s justice and an insight into the occupier’s attitude towards “inconveniences” (aka murdered Iraqi civilians courtesy of Blackwater):

Just how much is an Iraqi life worth? I don’t know but, in the aftermath of the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater employees at Nisoor Square in September 2007, apparently Iraq and the United States, had very different ideas, according to one of the recently released Wikileaks cables. (Note: One can find all the Wikileaks cable concerning Blackwater here.

The cable shows, not surprisingly, that the Iraqi and U.S. governments were magnitudes of order apart on what an Iraqi life was worth.

According to the cable the U.S. Embassy in Iraq obtained a copy of the Government of Iraq’s investigation report of the September 16 incident at Nisoor Square. The report recommended payments of $8 million and $4 million for each death and injury respectively, and called for the USG to replace Blackwater within six months of the incident.

At that time the Embassy had begun accepting claims from victims of the incident and approved payments of $10,000 for each death, $5,000 for each injury, (800 times less than the Iraqi figure for both death and injury) and $2,500 for property damage.

The cable said the Iraqi government report stated “the conduct of the PSD violated Iraqi law and a number of CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] orders and that therefore the incident is a pre-meditated murder for which the Blackwater personnel must be held accountable. It also claims that the Ministry of Interior has information on seven other instances in which Blackwater personnel killed 10 Iraqis and wounded 15 others.”

Perhaps the most interesting part of the cable is at the end:

 

Numerous editorial cartoons have been published depicting Blackwater as bloodthirsty mercenaries. While the escalation of the Turkish border issue has been dominating the media, the Blackwater incident will likely remain a prominent issue for editorials and political cartoons as the unpopularity of private security firms makes it an easy target.

 

This seems to indicate that the embassy regarded criticism of private security contractors as just an image problem, and not a serious oversight and accountability concern.

 

Earth to DC; world doesn’t want your piece of web imperialism

Posted: 04 Jan 2011 03:33 AM PST

In my book The Blogging Revolution I explain with examples how the internet isn’t simply a tool that brings democracy and freedom in the Western style.

Shock, horror, the US government isn’t listening to advice that aims to show how America remains viewed as a coloniser across the world (that’s a bad thing, by the way). Here’s Evgeny Morozov:

…The [Obama administration’s] Internet Freedom Agenda’s woes extend far beyond a few botched projects. The State Department’s online democratizing efforts have fallen prey to the same problems that plagued Bush’s Freedom Agenda. By aligning themselves with Internet companies and organizations, Clinton’s digital diplomats have convinced their enemies abroad that Internet freedom is another Trojan horse for American imperialism.

 

Chomsky on the need for effective BDS

Posted: 04 Jan 2011 03:24 AM PST

Noam Chomsky wonders when the US will ditch its Zionist ally. Only when US businesses think a true anti-apartheid struggle catches on.

It’s coming:

While intensively engaged in illegal settlement expansion, the government of Israel is also seeking to deal with two problems: a global campaign of what it perceives as “delegitimation” – that is, objections to its crimes and withdrawal of participation in them – and a parallel campaign of legitimation of Palestine.

The “delegitimation,” which is progressing rapidly, was carried forward in December by a Human Rights Watch call on the U.S. “to suspend financing to Israel in an amount equivalent to the costs of Israel’s spending in support of settlements,” and to monitor contributions to Israel from tax-exempt U.S. organizations that violate international law, “including prohibitions against discrimination” – which would cast a wide net. Amnesty International had already called for an arms embargo on Israel. The legitimation process also took a long step forward in December, when Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil recognized the State of Palestine (Gaza and the West Bank), bringing the number of supporting nations to more than 100.

International lawyer John Whitbeck estimates that 80-90 percent of the world’s population live in states that recognize Palestine, while 10-20 percent recognize the Republic of Kosovo. The U.S. recognizes Kosovo but not Palestine. Accordingly, as Whitbeck writes in Counterpunch, media “act as though Kosovo’s independence were an accomplished fact while Palestine’s independence is only an aspiration which can never be realized without Israeli-American consent,” reflecting the normal workings of power in the international arena.

Given the scale of Israeli settlement of the West Bank, it has been argued for more a decade that the international consensus on a two-state settlement is dead, or mistaken (though evidently most of the world does not agree). Therefore those concerned with Palestinian rights should call for Israeli takeover of the entire West Bank, followed by an anti-apartheid struggle of the South African variety that would lead to full citizenship for the Arab population there.

The argument assumes that Israel would agree to the takeover. It is far more likely that Israel will instead continue the programs leading to annexation of the parts of the West Bank that it is developing, roughly half the area, and take no responsibility for the rest, thus defending itself from the “demographic problem” – too many non-Jews in a Jewish state – and meanwhile severing besieged Gaza from the rest of Palestine.

When President Reagan took office in 1981, he lent full support to South Africa’s domestic crimes and its murderous depredations in neighboring countries. The policies were justified in the framework of the war on terror that Reagan had declared on coming into office. In 1988, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress was designated one of the world’s “more notorious terrorist groups” (Mandela himself was only removed from Washington’s “terrorist list” in 2008). South Africa was defiant, and even triumphant, with its internal enemies crushed, and enjoying solid support from the one state that mattered in the global system.

Shortly after, U.S. policy shifted. U.S. and South African business interests very likely realized they would be better off by ending the apartheid burden. And apartheid soon collapsed. South Africa is not the only recent case where ending U.S. support for crimes has led to significant progress. Can such a transformative shift happen in Israel’s case, clearing the way to a diplomatic settlement? Among the barriers firmly in place are the very close military and intelligence ties between the U.S. and Israel.

 

Fight GM crops and face US payback

Posted: 04 Jan 2011 01:35 AM PST

There is a price to be paid for challenging the US. Moreover, working for American multinationals making mutant products is seemingly in the job description at the State Department:

The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.

In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.

“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.

“The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices,” said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the St Louis-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s.

In other newly released cables, US diplomats around the world are found to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative.

Because many Catholic bishops in developing countries have been vehemently opposed to the controversial crops, the US applied particular pressure to the pope’s advisers.

Cables from the US embassy in the Vatican show that the US believes the pope is broadly supportive of the crops after sustained lobbying of senior Holy See advisers, but regrets that he has not yet stated his support. The US state department special adviser on biotechnology as well as government biotech advisers based in Kenya lobbied Vatican insiders to persuade the pope to declare his backing. “… met with [US monsignor] Fr Michael Osborn of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, offering a chance to push the Vatican on biotech issues, and an opportunity for post to analyse the current state of play on biotech in the Vatican generally,” says one cable in 2008.

“Opportunities exist to press the issue with the Vatican, and in turn to influence a wide segment of the population in Europe and the developing world,” says another.

But in a setback, the US embassy found that its closest ally on GM, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the powerful Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the man who mostly represents the pope at the United Nations, had withdrawn his support for the US.

“A Martino deputy told us recently that the cardinal had co-operated with embassy Vatican on biotech over the past two years in part to compensate for his vocal disapproval of the Iraq war and its aftermath – to keep relations with the USG [US government] smooth. According to our source, Martino no longer feels the need to take this approach,” says the cable.

In addition, the cables show US diplomats working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto. “In response to recent urgent requests by [Spanish rural affairs ministry] state secretary Josep Puxeu and Monsanto, post requests renewed US government support of Spain‘s science-based agricultural biotechnology position through high-level US government intervention.”

It also emerges that Spain and the US have worked closely together to persuade the EU not to strengthen biotechnology laws. In one cable, the embassy in Madrid writes: “If Spain falls, the rest of Europe will follow.”

The cables show that not only did the Spanish government ask the US to keep pressure on Brussels but that the US knew in advance how Spain would vote, even before the Spanish biotech commission had reported.

 
Not trusting Sweden

Posted: 03 Jan 2011 10:50 PM PST

No wonder Wikileaks doesn’t trust Sweden:

The secret cables, seen by The Daily Telegraph, disclose how Swedish officials wanted discussions about anti-terrorism operations kept from public scrutiny.

They describe how officials from the Swedish Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a “strong degree of satisfaction with current informal information sharing arrangements” with the American government.

Making the arrangement formal would result in the need for it to be disclosed to Parliament, they said.

They disclose officials’ fear that intense Swedish Parliamentary scrutiny could place “a wide range of law enforcement and anti-terrorism” operations in jeopardy.

Under the heading “teams visits to discuss terrorist screening information exchange with Sweden”, they show Dr Anna-Karin Svensson, Director of the Division for Police Issues, saying the Swedish government would strike controversy if its intelligence methods were disclosed.
The cable claimed that the “current Swedish political climate makes any formal terrorist screening information agreement highly difficult”. Swedish citizens are said to place high value on the country’s neutrality.

“The MOJ team expressed their appreciation for the flexibility of the U.S. side in regards to memorialising any agreement,” said the cable.

“They expressed a strong degree of satisfaction with current informal information sharing arrangements with the U.S., and wondered whether the putative advantages of an HSPD-6 agreement for Sweden would be offset by the risk that these existing informal channels, which cover a wide range of law enforcement and anti-terrorism co-operation, would be scrutinised more intensely by Parliament and perhaps jeopardised.

“Dr. Svensson reiterated MFA concerns about the current political atmosphere in Sweden.”

It continued: “She believed that, given Swedish constitutional requirements to present matters of national concern to Parliament and in light of the ongoing controversy over Sweden’s recently passed surveillance law, it would be politically impossible for the Minister of Justice to avoid presenting any formal data sharing agreement with the United States to Parliament for review.

“In her opinion, the effect of this public spotlight could also place other existing informal information sharing arrangements at jeopardy.”

The publication of the new cables, sent to Washington from the American embassy in Stockholm in 2008, came after Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, was granted bail on Tuesday over sexual assault claims in Sweden.

 

The Tzvangirai, Mugabe, MSM and Wikileaks dance

Posted: 03 Jan 2011 09:49 PM PST

The deluge of Wikileaks cables bring moral considerations. What is released? Is anybody at risk? Who takes responsibility?

This discussion at WLCentral examines the issues in Zimbabwe and Morgan Tzvangirai’s meetings with US embassy officials. He is potentially facing treason charges. Where does Wikileaks fit into all this?

If this is actually the method by which the cables are published, then it will be important to find which media partner first published 09HARARE1004. A glance at the datestamp for 09HARARE1004 reveals it was published on the 8th of December, 2010. The only publication making reference to 09HARARE1004 as early as this, is a publication of the full cable in The Guardian. The Guardian’s title for the cable is “US embassy cables: Tsvangirai tells US Mugabe is increasingly ‘old, tired and poorly briefed’“. It identifies gossip about Mugabe at the salient content of the cable, and entirely fails to identify the importance of the material on international sanctions against Zimbabwe, which is the material which allegedly incriminates Tsvangirai.

7. (C) On the subject of Mugabe himself, Tsvangirai said that in his recent meetings, though Mugabe seems mentally acute, he appears old and very tired. He comes to many meetings unbriefed and unaware of the content. It appears that he is being managed by hardliners. Tsvangirai said his goal now is to find a way to ‘manage’ Mugabe himself. One way, perhaps, would be to give him something to give his hardliners. Precisely what that something is, he said, is something he is still wrestling with.

If the procedure for publication outline above is accurate, and the dates seem to suggest it is, the cable was published in full on the Guardian website before it was ever published by Wikileaks. It was released as part of a group of cables in support ofan article in the Guardian by Xan Rice, which treats the Harare cables merely as a quote mine for salacious opinions voiced in diplomatic confidence about Mugabe. The article is called “WikiLeaks cables reveal differing views of ‘crazy’, ‘charming’ Robert Mugabe“. This batch of cables, and the Guardian’s choice of emphasis in their release, actually helped contribute to the pernicious article of common wisdom that “the cables disclose only gossip about world leaders.”

  

 

Wikileaks is dead?

Posted: 03 Jan 2011 09:29 PM PST

A Wikileaks backlash was almost inevitable, even from those who generally share the belief of a transparent world.

Cryptome unloads and makes some valid points (but seemingly ignores the speed with which Wikileaks has become a cultural phenomenon; this requires constant tending on multiple fronts):

The original Wikileaks initiative is dead, replaced by a bloated apparatus promising 260,000 cables at slower than a snail’s pace. At the rate of 20 cables a day it will take 13,000 days to finish — some 35 years.

The original merits of Wikileaks have been lost in its transformation into a publicity and fund-raising vehicle for Julian Assange as indicated in the redesign website which billboards him.

Its once invaluable, steady stream of documents, packaged in its own, no-frills format, is now a tiny dribble of documents apparently regulated by a compact with a few main stream media which amplify the material well beyond its significance. Days go by when nothing new is offered except outpouring of manufactured news about Assange and a slew of trivial news and bombastic commentaries for and against the initiative.

Will Wikileaks once again deliver its original promise or stay imprisoned in bombshells so beloved by the main stream media?

What happened to the back-log of submissions to Wikileaks? Thousands a week coming in, Assange claimed, for which he said there is no staff to process. What staff is needed to process a 3-20 cables a day?

OpenLeaks is said to be preparing release of the backlog, but it too is moving very slowly, its opening first scheduled in December 2010, now April 2011. Perhaps it too is short of staff and financial resources but it has not publicly stated that.

A lasting benefit of the death of Wikileaks is that other initiatives have learned from its experience to do better and not settle for the comfortable entombment of Wikileaks disembodied by Julian Assange on a country estate perfect for mourning in luxurious high style.

 

 

Global silence over 7000 Palestinian prisoners

Posted: 03 Jan 2011 09:19 PM PST

More here.

 

 

Who will teach Israeli Jewish kids that the world hates them?

Posted: 03 Jan 2011 09:10 PM PST

This is a witty skit from the Israeli comedy show “Eretz Nehederet” (“Wonderful Country”) on Channel 2. It depicts a joint education program devised by the right-wing (yet mainstream) organization Im Tirtzu with the Ministry of Education that helps kindergarten children be prepared for the “complicated” life in Israel:

 

 

Some positive feelings for the New Year

Posted: 03 Jan 2011 08:07 PM PST

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER

U.K: ARTFUL TAX DODGER

NOVANEWS 

 

Dear All,

It’s working – thanks to our “Artful Dodger” adverts, people are talking about tax dodging on the day VAT goes up.

Our adverts are in the Guardian, the i and the Independent – the Telegraph and the Metro refused to run them at the last minute. [1]

We’ve had news coverage all over the place, including the BBC and Sky News. [2] On Sky breakfast news, our adverts were held up to camera at the start of a 5 minute discussion about tax dodging. Ten minutes later a government minister came on – the presenter showed the minister our ad and asked: “why are you fiddling about with VAT when tax dodging costs us £120 billion?”

On top of that, thousands of us have been spreading the word by forwarding the advert to friends, posting it up on our Facebook profiles, or sharing it on Twitter.

Bit by bit, we’re making it harder for George Osborne to keep quiet about tax dodging. A few months ago hardly anyone knew about the scandal of how much tax dodging costs us all each year. Today, thanks to us, millions of people are reading about it.

Today’s success proves that our plan to force tax dodging onto the agenda with hard-hitting ads is working. So we need to make sure we keep up the pressure. We’ve already got another £10,000 to spend, because we smashed our original fundraising target, and some newspapers wouldn’t run our ads. If we can raise another £10,000, we can start putting these adverts up on bus stops and billboards.

Imagine the stir when we put our ads up in the constituencies of senior Cabinet ministers. Or in places where the government is desperate to win in the local, Welsh and Scottish elections this May.

Click here to join the thousands of us who have already donated and get these adverts up where the politicians don’t want to see them:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/artful-dodger-ads

Hitting us all with the VAT increase is expected to raise £13 billion. Meanwhile, tax dodging costs us all up to £120 billion. Yet the government is laying off thousands of tax inspectors who could be collecting some of this missing money, and closing local tax offices. The Inland Revenue has even been told to give tax dodgers an easier ride! [3] Our adverts are helping to expose this scandal.

These adverts are people power in action. Thousands of us voted to make tax dodging a priority campaign for 38 Degrees. Hundreds of us helped come up with the “Artful Dodger” idea. Thousands of us have donated to get the ad in the papers. Now let’s raise more money to up the pressure and prove we’re not going to let the government off the hook on tax dodging.

Click here to make a secure donation:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/artful-dodger-ads
 
Thanks for being involved,

David, Hannah, Johnny, and the 38 Degrees team
 

PS On Friday, we handed in our emergency petition of over 70,000 signatures demanding a full and impartial review of Murdoch’s plan to take control of the rest of BSkyB. There’ll be more to do soon, but for now please make sure the government tackles tax dodging by chipping in for our ads:https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/artful-dodger-ads

NOTES

[1] None of the newspapers that are part of the Daily Mail group have printed our ads. The Daily Mail increased their prices very late in the day, which meant we couldn’t afford to put our ads there, and the Metro promised they’d run the ads and then didn’t print them at the last minute, without any warning. We’re going to spend the money put aside for those papers on ads for bus stops and billboards. You can e-mail the editors at the papers that didn’t run the ads here:managingeditor@dailymail.co.uk (Daily Mail); telegraphenquiries@telegraph.co.uk(Daily Telegraph); news.london@ukmetro.co.uk (Metro).  We’ll post up any replies from those newspapers on the blog, here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/didnt-print-the-tax-ads

[2] We will post a round-up of all the media coverage on the 38 Degrees blog later:http://blog.38degrees.org.uk

[3]  The VAT increase is expected to raise approx £13bn per year: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/vat-rise-puts-250000-jobs-at-risk-2175047.html

Tax dodging costs the UK up to £120bn a year: http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/campaigns/tax-justice/index.cfm 

The Inland Revenue is expected make 13,000 officials redundant  by 2015: http://www.taxjournal.com/tj/articles/tax-experts-oppose-hmrc-cuts-package

“Revenue & Customs will adopt a less combative approach to resolving tax disputes with businesses in a move designed to cut a mounting legal logjam”: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cd1f1618-abcb-11df-9f02-00144feabdc0.html
 

Posted in UKComments Off on U.K: ARTFUL TAX DODGER

DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC

 

Dear Friends,

The 7 items below run the gamut from Holocaust survivors to the U.S. congress.

Item 1, “Seven levels of hell” accuses Israeli governments of using reparations intended for Holocaust survivors for other purposes.  This is a known fact.  The government continues not to worry about locating survivors and seeing to it that they receive the properties belonging to them, but there is now a company that does.  Ever hear of the Holocaust industry? While Israel’s leaders use the Holocaust to squeeze tears and money from all, it leaves the victims who survived to live out their lives in poverty.  Nice, no? No, not nice.  But this is Israel.

Item 2 reveals the “real reason” for racism in south Tel Aviv: fear that if Arabs and people whose skins are not white are allowed to live on the block, it will lower property value.

Al Jazeera in item 3 relates ways in which Israel restricts the Arab minority.

Item 4 is a story about a Jerusalem boxing club in which Arabs (or at least a few Arabs) and Jews participate.  On the one side, this touching piece shows that we can all live together and would very likely do well in a single democratic state with a separation of religion from state.  On the other side, the story makes things sound as though normalcy reigns in Israel.  It does not, not even for Israeli Jews, but much less so for Palestinians in the West Bank. East Jerusalem, and Gaza!

In item 5 a Haaretz editorial insists that “Israel must let Palestinians to protest in peace.”  The editorial is too little too late. But, as the saying goes, better late than never.

In item 6 Shlomo Shamir warns Israel’s right wing government and politicians not to be overly optimistic about Republican support in Congress for Israel.  Interesting idea.  We shall see whether or not he is correct soon enough.

In a sense item 6 is a possible answer to item 7 which asks if there is “Any Respect for International Law Left in The US Congress?” and summarizes

The support that Israel enjoys from Congress, notwithstanding Israel’s attack on Gaza, notwithstanding Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara, for instance.

Quite a bit of reading, but worth your effort.

All the best,

Dorothy

———————————————–

1. Haaretz,

January 04, 2011

Seven levels of hell

Let’s admit the truth: For almost 60 years, it was the State of Israel that refused to restore Holocaust victims’ assets to their heirs.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/seven-levels-of-hell-1.335055

By Orly Vilnai

When the Foreign Ministry is talking about appointing a special ambassador for the restitution of Holocaust assets even as we are tut-tutting about the state comptroller’s findings on the company for restituting Holocaust assets here, some soul-searching is in order. For while one can complain about the company and criticize its actions, it is equally possible to view what is going on there as an inheritance from the state’s decision-makers throughout its history.

Let’s admit the truth: For almost 60 years, it was the State of Israel that refused to restore Holocaust victims’ assets to their heirs. For some reason, all its leaders reared up on their hind legs and refused to follow in the footsteps of European countries. They refused to pull out the lists and free assets that clearly belonged to those who perished in the Holocaust from the crushing embrace of giants like the Jewish National Fund, the Israel Land Development Corporation, the custodian general, and above all, the banks.

Just look at what a tortuous path former MK Colette Avital had to pursue to get the ball rolling with the parliamentary committee on asset restitution that she chaired. For five overly long years, she and her colleagues battled all the interested parties that refused to see the survivors, the murdered and their heirs as people with rights. Only at the end of this process was an agreement reached to create the restitution company – initially as a government company, but later as an independent entity.

So now we’re surprised that something isn’t working there? How can it work when company employees are forced to invest the bulk of their time and energy in long, exhausting struggles with, for instance, Bank Leumi, whose executives still refuse even today to agree on the amount they have to return to the heirs? The parliamentary committee strove for five years, another two years were wasted on the work of the committee that calculated how much Holocaust-era deposits would be worth today, and Bank Leumi still hasn’t budged.

Moreover, how is it possible to function when the Justice Ministry is considering a plan to “renationalize” the company by shuffling its board of directors so that Holocaust survivors will no longer have a majority?

A preoccupation with bookkeeping and battles against powerful economic forces may not be an excuse for the company’s sluggishness in locating the heirs, but it certainly explains its conduct from a psychological standpoint.

There are plenty of problems with the Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets, but it is also virtually the only body that has lived up to the decision to transfer a significant chunk of the proceeds from unclaimed assets to the needy survivors who dwell among us. It is also virtually the only body that hasn’t made them pass through all seven levels of hell to obtain the money: It just gave it.

When one hand is fighting the banks and the other is giving money to the needy, it seems we ought to be able to try to forgive the rest.

===================================

2.  Haaretz,

January 04, 2011

The real reason for racism in south Tel Aviv

If the residents of south Tel Aviv had wanted to fight to improve the looks of their neighborhoods, they would have joined forces with the refugees for real social change.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-real-reason-for-racism-in-south-tel-aviv-1.335092

By Vered Lee

“In the corners of the living quarters of the Africans … you will find the filth, card games played for money, residents getting drunk, and prostitution. … The Africans bring this way of life with them when they migrate, and it is no wonder that crime in the country is on the upswing. Young women and even young men are again not safe going out on the streets alone after dark.”

These harsh statements were not written about African refugees who recently arrived in Israel. They were written by Haaretz journalist Aryeh Gelblum on April 22, 1949, and referred to the Jews who had immigrated from North Africa, many of the same immigrants who either themselves or whose descendents now populate south Tel Aviv and who are now spouting similar rhetoric against newly arrived refugees from Africa.

Residents of south Tel Aviv who have suffered for years from poverty, crime and prostitution have been working for some time to get the refugees expelled from their neighborhoods. The rhetoric they employ has succeeded in misleading and blinding many people who in more clearheaded times would label such talk as pure racism.

It is precisely during these dark times, however, during which the level of hate is rising, that the duty exists to state clearly that the hostility in south Tel Aviv neighborhoods towards the refugees is pure and simple racism. The residents of these neighborhoods are hiding behind a rhetorical artifice based in part on the argument that their neighborhoods are teetering on the edge and the refugees impose additional difficulties on them.

The residents also argue that the refugees pose a threat to their personal safety, try to pick up their young women and sow crime in the streets. A third contention relates to the refugees’ way of life: They crowd into small apartments and degrade the cleanliness of the neighborhood. Finally, it is argued, that their growing numbers pose a demographic threat.

Any attempt to point out the racist rhetoric that they are creating is rebuffed with pretentions of total innocence, which quickly turns into anger, rejecting the right of those who don’t live in the neighborhood to judge.

Nonetheless, the negative labeling, the stereotypes and the fear of those who are different, who, they say, will change the social fabric are clear hallmarks of racism.

Anyone who tries to whitewash the hate-drenched efforts of the residents of south Tel Aviv on the contention that things are more complicated is falling into the trap laid by the racist rhetoric and is giving support to these efforts.

Surprisingly, in recent years, residents of south Tel Aviv have not come out against the real reason for the collapse of their neighborhoods, the real threat to themselves and their children, which is the drug trade that brings with it crime and feeds prostitution in the area.

The residents, however, have learned to react apathetically to the decline posed by drug addicts, to the crime around them, to the trafficking in women which seeps unhindered onto their streets. They are apathetic to the prostitutes loitering in their apartment stairwells, to the thriving escort services and to the dirty needles scattered in public parks and in the yards of the neighborhood.

If the residents of south Tel Aviv had wanted to fight to improve the looks of their neighborhoods, they would have joined forces with the refugees for real social change. They would have been able to engage in productive discussion with residents of the various communities and bridge the cultural divide. Together they could demand the intervention of municipal and national government officials for the benefit of the entire population of the area.

The attempt to denigrate the refugees and accuse them of crime and to scorn the overcrowding in their small apartments while ignoring their suffering and poverty reveals the real motive for the racism of south Tel Aviv’s residents: fear of living in proximity to a Muslim population. And the biggest concern of all: That the value of the residents’ homes will go down.

===================================

3.  Al Jazeera

02 Jan 2011

Restricting Israel’s Arab minority

Legitimacy of Israeli democracy threatened as racism increases under discriminatory laws against Palestinian minority.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/2011129344413792.html

Mel Frykberg

Israelis who have continued to rent homes to Palestinians, despite a religious ruling by rabbis forbidding it, have received threats and have been publicly shamed by right-wing organisations [EPA]

A number of recent incidents discriminating against Israel’s Palestinian minority has prompted Israeli Knesset (parliament) members to debate whether Israel is becoming increasingly racist.

Ronit Sela from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (Acri) has no doubts. “Israel’s democracy is under threat as an increasingly large racist element raises its collective head. A number of racist occurrences have taken place in a climate conducive to racism. This wouldn’t have happened prior to the current right-wing Israeli government,” Sela said.

Recently an organisation called Jews for a Jewish Bat Yam (a suburb near Tel Aviv) held a protest against “assimilation of young Jewish women with Arabs living in the city or in nearby Jaffa.”

“It’s a local organisation of Bat Yam residents, because the public is tired of so many Arabs going out with Jewish girls,” explained one of the organisers, Bentzi Gufstein. “In addition to the protest, we will hand out pamphlets explaining the situation.”

For all the fear of “being swamped by the Arabs”, the amount of social, political and public interaction between Israel’s Jewish majority and its Palestinian minority remains restricted.

Prof. Shlomo Hasson from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem argues that relations between the two communities are largely influenced by social and economic interaction.

“There is very limited integration between Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens. Unemployment amongst Israeli-Arabs is much higher than amongst Jewish citizens,” said Orna Cohen from Adalah, The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

“In the public sector Arab employment is basically limited to the health and educational sector where they work with fellow Arabs. There is some integration in the private sector where Arabs are employed and they are also hired for private services,” Cohen said.

“There is also some mixing in mixed residential cities such as Haifa. But there are many Jewish communities where Arabs are refused the right to live and not allowed to buy land,” added Cohen.

“I don’t know the extent to which Arabs and Israelis are inter-dating, but that really is irrelevant.”

Several weeks ago Knesset members hotly debated an earlier development when a number of leading Israeli rabbis signed a religious ruling forbidding renting homes to gentiles, specifically aimed at Palestinians living in the Israel town Safed, while studying at a local college.

“We don’t need to help Arabs set down roots in Israel,” said Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of the Beit El settlement. He stated that Jews looking for apartments should be given preference over gentiles and that the growing number of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship were becoming a nuisance.

Israelis who have continued to rent to Palestinians have received threats and been publicly shamed by right-wing organisations who have drawn up lists.

According to Israeli daily ‘Y Net’, a recent survey shows 41 percent of secular Israelis support municipal religious leaders’ call not to rent apartments to non-Jews, as do 64 percent and 88 percent of Israel’s traditional and Haredi Jews, respectively.

Haneen Zoabi, an Israeli-Arab member of the Knesset who participated in the ill-fated Mavi Marmara attempt to break the siege of Gaza in May, expressed outrage that some Israeli parliamentarians were feigning shock at recent developments.

“Three months ago the Knesset approved a law that villages with populations smaller than 500 residents could remain Jewish to ‘maintain their cultural identity’. Furthermore, there have been approximately ten laws passed during the last year aimed against the Arab minority,” Zoabi said.

“Israel has double standards. Some Knesset members accused the rabbis of being racist despite the loyalty oath they supported and passed several months earlier. This calls for the Israeli citizenship of the Palestinian minority to be dependent on swearing allegiance to Zionism and Israel’s Jewish character despite this conflicting with their rights as an ethnic minority,” she said.

“These rabbis authored the letter despite the fact they are Israeli public servants and on the government payroll. We wrote to the justice minister and got a legal injunction asking the minister to look into the matter. We have received no reply and nothing has been done about it,” added Sela.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not rebuked the rabbis. The fact that public servants are able to incite to this degree, despite there being no major changes in Israel’s judiciary in the country’s 62-year history, speaks volumes about the current political climate in Israel,” Sela said.

Adalah, has meticulously documented the discrimination against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.

This includes over 30 laws ranging from the law of return applying only to Jews; the ease with which Palestinians can be stripped of their citizenship; under-representation in the judiciary and politics; under-funding of Arab education and social services; higher rates of unemployment; and inadequate access to land and planning rights.

A version of this article first appeared on the Inter Press Service News Agency.

===========================

4.  Washington Post,

January 04, 2011

Jerusalem boxing club unites Jews and Arabs in and out of the ring

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/04/AR2011010402256_pf.html

By Joel Greenberg

Washington Post Staff Writer

January 4, 2011

JERUSALEM – In a converted bomb shelter in a low-income Jewish neighborhood, Ismail Jaafari, a Palestinian boxer from across town, bobbed and weaved in the ring, trading punches with an Israeli opponent.

They were sparring at a local boxing club that is something of an anomaly in this ethnically divided city: a place where both Jews and Arabs pursue a shared passion. Palestinians from East Jerusalem have earned their boxing credentials at the club, training with Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants, bearded yeshiva students and settlers from the West Bank.

Presiding over it all is Gershon Luxemburg, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union who learned boxing as a boy to repel anti-Semitic assaults and later became a champion boxer in Uzbekistan and several times Israel’s light heavyweight champion.

An unabashed nationalist who was jailed more than 20 years ago on charges of stockpiling arms, allegedly for attacks on Arabs, Luxemburg, 66, now preaches tolerance. He accepts all comers to his club, which he says is meant to provide a healthy outlet for youths in troubled neighborhoods.

On a recent evening, Jaafari led a warm-up session, jogging around the gym, trailed by aspiring boxers who ranged in age from young boys to a man in his 60s, and also included two young women. Luxemburg, who shares coaching duties with his brother Eli, a former Soviet champion, barked orders as the boxers went through their paces.

“Before I started coaching, I thought the Arabs were an obstacle for us in this country and that we couldn’t live together,” Luxemburg said. “But it’s hard to believe what sports has done, how it has brought people here together; they’ve become friends, helping each other out, inviting each other over.”

Jaafari, a 36-year-old truck driver, said he had trained at the club for 13 years under Luxemburg’s tutelage. “We’re more than friends,” Jaafari said. “He’s like my father.”

After Palestinian bombing attacks in Jerusalem, Jaafari recalled, he would stay away from the club to avoid awkward encounters with Israeli club members. Luxemburg would call him, insisting that he show up. “He would tell me: ‘Who cares about the political situation outside! We’re here, and you’re like family.’ “

Ramzi Srour, an 18-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem who has trained at the club for eight years, said that the conflict on the streets never disrupted the atmosphere in the boxing gym. “Down in the club, we don’t pay attention to the problems upstairs,” he said. “This is sports, and we’re like brothers.”

Luxemburg, who in his day job works as a building superintendent, has taken his Jewish and Arab club members on road trips together to boxing matches, cooking them food and taking them on sightseeing trips. “There were people here who had never even met an Arab, and only saw them on TV throwing stones,” Luxemburg said. “Suddenly they’re sitting together, talking to one another as human beings.”

Urged by Luxemburg to create an alternative to street life for youngsters in his own community, Jaafari opened a boxing and karate club in his East Jerusalem neighborhood, and its members regularly travel to the Jewish side of town for sparring matches in Luxemburg’s gym. Boxers trained by Jaafari have taken top places in Palestinian championships in the West Bank, and one traveled to Jordan as a member of a national squad.

Jaafari, who has competed in Israeli championships, said that “sports crosses borders.” “Politics is a dirty business that should be put aside,” he added. “We get along fine.”

For the Israeli boxers in Luxemburg’s club, the presence of the Palestinians is completely unremarkable.

“They’re my friends,” said Yotam Mirzai, who lives in the Israeli settlement town of Maaleh Adumim in the West Bank, near Jerusalem. “In the ring we’re all just people, and in competitions it doesn’t matter where you’re from.”

The distinction between the political and the personal, Luxemburg says, is the key. He recalled how, at the height of Israeli-Palestinian violence several years ago, he would regularly bring clothes, food and money to a Palestinian from the West Bank who had worked for him but could not reach his job because of Israeli border closures.

“There are enemies, and there are friends,” he said. “Whoever comes at you with a weapon should get what he deserves, but a friend is a friend. There’s war, and then there’s life, and we can manage.”

Greenberg is a special correspondent.

=================================================

5. Haaaretz Editorial,

January 04, 2011

Israel must allow Palestinians to protest in peace

The IDF should allow the demonstrations at Bil’in to take place. It should act only when there is danger to life and property.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israel-must-allow-palestinians-to-protest-in-peace-1.335091

Haaretz Editorial

Jawaher Abu Rahmah, a 36-year-old kindergarten teacher, was killed over the weekend after she choked on tear gas while watching the weekly demonstration at her village. Residents and human rights activists from at home and abroad demonstrate against the separation fence that was built on village land. Abu Rahmah died less than two years after her brother Bassem was killed by a tear-gas canister fired directly at his chest at a similar protest. A third brother, Ashraf, was caught on camera as he was shot by Israeli soldiers while he was handcuffed.

The demonstrations at Bil’in, which have been going on since work to build the fence on village land began in February 2005, are entirely legitimate. The residents have the right to protest the theft of their land for the giant settlements set up around their village. More than three years ago, following such demonstrations, the Supreme Court ordered that the fence’s route be moved to give the village back some of its land – about 700 dunams. The defense establishment has yet to carry out this ruling.

Since the demonstrations against the fence began in the West Bank, 21 protesters have been killed, according to Palestinian sources. This is a chilling statistic that should greatly trouble every Israeli. So should the death of Abu Rahmah. According to the demonstrators, the Israel Defense Forces used particularly large quantities of gas on Friday. An Israeli doctor who takes part in the protests, Daniel Argo, told Haaretz that some tear gas is less dangerous than the kind used by the IDF. So it’s not clear why the army chooses to use the more dangerous type.

The IDF should allow the demonstrations at Bil’in to take place. It should act only when there is danger to life and property. And even then it should act as security forces do in democratic countries when there are demonstrations. Just as the settlers’ protests against the Gaza disengagement passed without deaths, so should the Palestinian protests against the fence pass. There are enough ways to break up demonstrations, if this is at all necessary, without risking the lives of the participants.

Abu Rahmah died in vain. She didn’t endanger anyone. There’s no need to mention the countries where the regimes kill people who demonstrate against them. Israel must not become one of them.

=============================

6.  Haaretz,

January 04, 2011

Israel’s right should be wary of U.S. conservatives

Those who ought to be worried about the impending situation in the United States – a sweeping Republican majority in the 112th House of Representatives, which begins its term this month – are first and foremost people on the Israeli right.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israel-s-right-should-be-wary-of-u-s-conservatives-1.335093

By Shlomo Shamir

Those who ought to be worried about the impending situation in the United States – a sweeping Republican majority in the 112th House of Representatives, which begins its term this month – are first and foremost people on the Israeli right. Those who should be especially worried are the prime minister and anyone else convinced that the strong Republican presence on Capitol Hill ensures enthusiastic support for Israel over the next two years that will serve as a brake and counterweight to the chill emanating from the White House.

For the current Republican majority is characterized by a large and demonstrative contingent of the vocal, activist, demanding right. This fact gives today’s Republican majority special significance that was absent during previous terms when the Republicans controlled Congress.

The impressive achievements of President Barack Obama, who managed to pass revolutionary legislation during the two weeks of the last Congress’ lame-duck session, refutes the assessment that has gladdened Israeli rightists’ heart: that the rout the Democrats suffered in the November elections punished and weakened the president. Now, the Israeli right should expect a less pleasant surprise.

Israel’s rightist coalition will discover that the presence of a large right-wing faction within the Republican majority, a faction with no parallel in the houses of the last several years, not only does not guarantee support for its policies but even carries the potential for aggressive opposition to its conduct of the peace process.

The new Republican right is in large part unfriendly. This is a new kind of right, which was hastily formed, developed outside the establishment and grew on the margins of local politics in response to the feelings of anger and depression that swept large portions of the public due to the economic recession and ongoing unemployment. Most of the new Republican members of Congress are angry local activists who view Washington as the source of many of the problems currently weighing down America.

The Tea Party representatives who were elected are aggressive radicals on social issues. To the degree that foreign policy and relations with countries across the ocean interest them at all, they tend toward isolationism. So far, this tendency has been hesitant and constrained. But with time, as they grow accustomed to the feeling of power conferred by being in the majority, their isolationism will presumably strengthen and erupt in full force. As one analyst for National Public Radio noted recently, this is a right that will show no mercy toward countries that challenge the United States.

What these new representatives of the Republican Party’s right wing deem far more critical is the lethal economic situation of many American states, some of which are on the brink of bankruptcy. Ensuring funding for schools and fire departments in peripheral areas of the country, or bolstering welfare services and community projects in large cities, top the list of priorities they will seek to advance in the new Congress.

Washington pundits predict that Tea Party representatives will try to cut foreign aid to other countries, including America’s closest allies. A major newspaper in Dallas, viewed as representative of the Republican Party’s right wing, recently published an editorial urging a cut-off of economic aid to Israel due to its refusal to accede to the administration’s demands in its efforts to advance the Middle East peace process.

For the first time in years, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives will not all be cut from the same cloth and will not act as a disciplined, unified bloc. Thus far, it has been the Democrats on Capitol Hill who suffered from internal strife and disagreements among the party’s various factions and interest groups; its leadership was forced to navigate the activity of its congressional representatives rather like an internal coalition. But the results of November’s election for the first time made the Republican Party’s representatives in Congress ideologically diverse, turning the faction into an arena for various forces and interests that will not always fall in line behind the leadership’s views.

“The majority leader in the House of Representatives will have a very hard time imposing discipline on his colleagues,” one Washington pundit said. This assessment, too, does not bode well for Israel’s right.

==============================

7.

[The piece below has been forwarded by Paula Clariste, who asks “What can the American people, and the rest of us,  do about it?”  What Americans and others can do is to find and distribute arguments to show that Israel is a liability not an asset to the United States, and to argue loudly and clearly that the present economic situation makes it is shameful for the US to support Israel with $3 billion annually in military aid while neglecting her own at home.  Any argument is acceptable that will help make the American people realize that the United States in supporting Israel is behaving criminally .  So long as Congress fears to run counter to AIPAC’s and Christian Zionist’s principles, we have to work at the grass roots level to bring Congress and the President around to our view of things.  Additionally, we should all whole-heartedly support BDS.]

Tuesday 04 Jan 2011

Any Respect for International Law Left in The US Congress?

Readers Number : 3388

http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=168238&language=en

Exclusive to Al-Manar

Franklin Lamb

Beirut

This week marks the second anniversary of among the most savage criminal slaughters of human life in long memory. The 522 hour indiscriminate carnage, “Cast Lead”  that killed 1,417 Palestinians, mostly civilians, 352 of them children, injuring for life more than 5,300 , indicts  Israel as well as those countries that continue to supply it weapons, diplomatic cover and to enforce Israel’s  illegal siege on sealed Gaza.

The US administration, as revealed in a State Department cable posted by Wikileaks, has been working overtime with Israel to parry further condemnation of  Israeli crimes documented in the Richard Goldstone and Richard Falk Reports, among others. These investigations established massive violations of human rights and international law, war crimes, and possible crimes against humanity while refuting claims by Israel that it acted according to the limited international right of self-defense. Goldstone, Falk and others have demonstrated that it was both the victims of Cast Lead and the Mavi Marmara who alone possessed the right of self-defense in light of Israel’s agressions, not Israel.

As Professor Falk instructs us, Israeli actions in both cases:

“Are certainly  acts of aggression under the UN Charter, and an act of war by reference to customary international law. Whenever force is used in situations other than in situation where a proper claim of self-defense is made, the undertaking is unlawful, and if as here, it is an instance of flagrant non-defensive force, the attacker is engaged in criminal conduct and both the offending state and the perpetrators acting on behalf of the should be held responsible, and to the extent international crimes took place, held accountable.”.

Rather than hold Israel to the “single universal human rights standard that applies to every country”, as Hilary Clinton crowed on Human Rights Day during an appearance before the Brookings Institute, the Obama administration claims others have ‘rushed to judgment’ and it has refused to condemn Israel’s  May 31, 2010 murder of an American citizen on the Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid boat, 19 year old Furkan Dogan.

Rushing to judgment and ignoring International law in Congress

Maybe it requires the moral clarity of 19 year old Layal, and her teen aged friends huddled in a damp, candle lighted, cold subterranean hovel in Shatila Palestinian Refugees camp this New Years in Beirut, to speak the naked truth.  In their make shift ‘classroom’ the teenagers tutor  camp kids  on the three R’s  after  the youngsters double shift ‘short day’ and too early daily dismissal  at  Shatila’s overcrowded and undersupplied and understaffed, UNRWA Ramallah and Hemeh schools.

Wrapped in a woollen shawl for warmth, and discussing a planned commemoration of the second anniversary of the 22 day Gaza Massacre, Layal suddenly blurted out, “you know what?  The Star of David  and Israel’s flag has replaced the Nazi Swastika as today’s symbol of  ethnic cleansing, racism and oppression.” She explained to her colleagues, “ Israel will remain a pariah state as long as its laws and its policies continue to violate the basic human  rights of  Palestinians. Israel has no right to exist as an exclusively Jewish State, any more than Hitler’s Reich had a “right to exist for Aryans only.  We Palestinians will return. Liberty and justice will be achieved. Jews and Arabs can again live together in peace.”

As never before. the international community, increasingly appalled and angered by Israeli crimes is pulling back from supporting or trying to justify Israel’s actions and are shifting attention to the rights of Palestinians to live in their own country, to return from their Nakba  caused refugee “sanctuaries”  in more than 60 countries and to recognize the State of Palestine.  This as some in the international community prepare to  escort Israel before the bar of international justice.

But not in the US Congress which is some ways has become a grotesque  caricature  of what James Madison and the founding fathers wanted and,  perhaps naively, as it has turned out, believed they had created.

As the Israel lobby and the Jerusalem Post have been claiming recently, and even as Israel’s most ardent apologists struggle to justify its actions and Israel’s position becomes increasingly untenable, nearly five dozen senators and over 180 members of the House of Representatives have by now issued statements since Cast Lead and the attack on the humanitarian aid boat the Mavi Marmara. Almost all of them overwhelmingly supportive of Israel while ignoring well established international law.

·    In the Senate, former presidential candidate and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (DMA), who repeatedly claims he wants to reach out to Iran and other Middle East countries said that “Israel has every right in the world to make certain that weapons are not being smuggled into Gaza after the thousands of rockets that have been fired on it. It is not just Israel conducting this blockade; it is Israel and Egypt. So you begin that Israel has this right to protect itself and its claim to a right of self-defense is rock solid.”

·    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) noted that “Israel has an obligation to protect its citizens and therefore has a clear right under international law to prevent weapons from getting in the hands of terrorists determined to target them. Israel indicated it was willing to put in place a process to ensure that legitimate humanitarian relief reached Gaza. Unfortunately this offer was rejected”

·     Israel has pledged to carry out a transparent and thorough investigation of this incident, and I look forward to its findings.”

·    Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said, “We should be very clear about who is responsible for the unfortunate loss of life in the attempt to break the blockade in Gaza. Hamas and its allies are the responsible parties for the recent violence and the continued difficulties for the people of Gaza. Israel exercised her legitimate right of self-defense.” Lieberman added that  he appreciates “the way in which the Obama administration has refused to join the international herd that has rushed to convict Israel before the facts were known and has apparently forgotten that Israel is a democratic nation and Hamas is a terrorist group.”

·    Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) added that “Israel is at war. Each and every day thousands of its innocent men, women and children face the threat of lethal rocket attack from the terrorists.” “ Israel is not a liability to the United States,” Brown said. “There is no greater US ally in the critical area of the Middle East and perhaps no better strategic partnership in the world.”

·    Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) stated, “Israel – rightfully so – invoked its right to self-defense in Gaza and on the Mavi Marmara.”

·    Said Rep. Gary Ackerman (DNY): “I strongly condemn the action of those who assaulted the Israeli troops and made the use of violence by Israeli troops absolutely necessary and justified in self-defense”.

·    Republican whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) noted, “ I commend the administration for its steadfast support of Israel in resisting another Goldstone-style UN investigation. These types of kangaroo courts have one goal, and that is to strip democratic nations of their rights to defend their citizens from terrorism. The United States must not lend its authority to any UN action to discredit our democratic ally and set back prospects for peace in the region, and I hope the Obama administration remains committed to that principle.”

·    New Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner (R-OH) said, “Israel has every right to defend itself against terrorists which threaten its very survival.”

And the list goes on…and on……..

Of course our American problem is  not just our  Congress.

The Israel lobby picked and packed Executive Branch is not much more supportive of American values and international norms. To the shame of the US State Department, its spokesman, Robert Wood sullied and humiliated America when the hapless fellow refused to answer even a simple media question whether the United States considered pasta i.e. macaroni, spaghetti, fettuccini noodles items denied to Palestinians under Israel’s illegal blockade of  Gaza–a “dual-use item.”  The American people are better than this and must demand better from our officials.

Currently, there is only a faint hint that Members of Congress, 83% of whom rely on  Israeli lobby or arms industry political action committee money to keep their seats and sinecures, have the gumption to advocate a U.S. policy, consistent with American notions of substantial justice or which upholds Palestinian rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Franklin Lamb is doing research Lebanon and can be reached c/o fplamb@gmail.com

Posted in Nova Newsletter2 Comments

NOVANEWS**NOVANEWS

NOVANEWS

 

Jan 4, 2010

Mossad Bombs Alexandria Church

Obama Should Read WikiLeaks

German Paper: Israel Gears Up for Iran Attack

Iran Invites Officials for Nuclear Tour Before Talks

Leaks to AIPAC Said to Be ‘Common’

Zio=Nazi Spying on New Irish Gaza Blockade Ship

Netanyahu sends letter to Obama calling for release

of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard

Saudi Arabia ‘nabbed Zionist-tagged vulture for being Mossad spy’

UK: Number of Muslim converts doubled in 10 years

Report: During 2010, Zio=Nazi significantly stepped up its Judaisation policies

Official report: 90% of Gaza water polluted

Witness: Palestinian shot, left for 30 minutes

 

nomorewarsforisrael@gmail.com
http://theuglytruth.podbean.com
http://www.poweroftruthradio.com

  

Please check out the brand new book detailing Israel’s deliberate attack on the USS LIBERTY here

Posted in UKComments Off on NOVANEWS**NOVANEWS

PALESTINE: DEATH OF JAWAHER ABU RAHMAH

NOVANEWS

Press Release

Tuesday, 04 Januray 2010

Substantial evidence contradicts the army’s version of the events surrounding the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah

The evidence surrounding the events leading to the death of Bil’in resident Jawaher Abu Rahmah disproves completely the army spokesperson’s version, to the point of putting the army in a ridiculous light. The army’s version is based on claims made anonymously, without any supporting evidence – unlike the version of the Abu Rahmah family and the Popular Coordinating Committee of Bil’in, which is detailed below.

For additional information: Jonathan Pollak 00972- 0-54-632-7736

Since yesterday, the army has been promoting in the Israeli media a mendacious version regarding the events that led to the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah of Bil’in on Friday, 31 December 2010. According to the army’s version, Jawaher was not injured by tear gas and was possibly not even present at the demonstration. The army spokesperson did not see fit to publish an official statement on the matter, instead passing the information to the media in the name of anonymous “army sources.”

The facts of the matter, which are supported by the testimony of eyewitness who were present at the demonstration, as well as by the ambulance driver who evacuated her to the hospital, contradict completely the army’s version:

Soubhiya Abu Rahmah, mother of Jawaher: “I was standing beside Jawaher on the hill that is near the place where the demonstration took place, when we were injured by a cloud of tear gas. Jawaher began to feel unwell from inhaling the gas and started to move back from the place; soon after that she vomited and collapsed. We took her to the nearest road, and from there she was evacuated by ambulance to the hospital, where she remained until her death. She was not sick with cancer, nor did she have any other illness; and she was not asthmatic.”

Ilham Fathi: I was on the roof of my house, which is located a few meters from where Jawaher stood. When the cloud of tear gas moved in our direction, I went downstairs in order to close the windows. While I was closing one of the windows, I saw her lose consciousness from the gas and ran over to her, together with Islam Abu Rahmah, in order to pull her away. We picked her up together and carried her to my garden. We called for help and she began to vomit and foam at the mouth.

Phone: 00972-0-59-5127887

Islam Abu Rahmah: “I was standing with Jawaher, her mother and my grandmother in order to watch the confrontation that was going on just in front of us, in the area of the fence. The wind moved the gas in our direction, making our eyes itch and tear up. After that she (Jawaher) began to cough and foam at the mouth. Soon after that she became weak and lay down on the ground.

I succeeded in carrying her as far as the Abu Khamis home, about 40 meters in the direction of her house, but then she became terribly weak, vomited violently and foamed at the mouth. She was having difficult breathing and lost her sense of direction. We got a few women to help her by waving a paper fan over her face in order to provide some oxygen. After that she was taken to the hospital.”

Saher Bisharat, the ambulance who evacuated Jawaher: “We received Jawaher near the entrance that is parallel to the fence, which is where the demonstration was taking place. She was still partially conscious, answered questions, and said that she had choked on gas. I took her straight to the hospital.” (Click here to view the Red Crescent report).

Phone: 00972- 0-59-9374348

The army has also claimed that the reports about Abu Rahmeh’s injuries started to arrive only several hours after the incident, in the evening. That claim is contradicted by a tweet sent by the NGO Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), which reports the injury of Jawaher, including her name, in real time (click here to view). The tweet was sent at 2:36 pm (4:36 am on the West Coast of the United States). Wafa, the Palestinian news service, published a report that includes the injury of Jawaher Abu Rahmah shortly after the event (click here to view).

Also according to “army sources,” which remain anonymous, Jawaher Abu Rahmah suffered from a serious illness, possibly leukemia; the “sources” postulate that she died from a pre-existing condition rather than tear gas inhalation. Several sources reject that claim.

Dr. Uday Abu Nahlah: “Jawaher Abu Rahmah was employed in my home on a regular basis. On Thursday she was at work as usual, healthy, only one day before her death.”

Phone: 00972- 0-59-9796827 (English and Arabic).

Jawaher had an inner ear infection, which affected her balance, for which she was recently given a CT scan. The radiologist who performed the CT scan, Dr. Hamis Al Sahfi’i, confirmed that the brain scan was normal (for the CT scan results click here). Jawaher had a minor health issue involving fluids in her inner ear. Her physicians insist that she did not suffer from any illness or from any symptoms that might, if combined with tear gas, lead to her death.

There is not, nor could there be, any indication that Abu Rahmah had cancer; in fact, she was in good health. The director of the hospital refutes the claim that she died from a pre-existing condition:

Mohammed Aida, director of the Ramallah health center where Abu Rahmah received her care: “Jawaher Abu Rahmah died from lung failure that was caused by tear gas inhalation, leading to a heart attack. She arrived at the hospital only partly conscious, and then lost consciousness completely.” Click here for the hospital’s official medical report.

Mohammed Khatib, a member of Bil’in’s Popular Coordinating Committee: “The army is trying to evade its responsibility for Jawaher’s death with lies and invented narratives that have no basis. They are spreading these lies and invented narratives via the media, which is not bothering to do basic fact checking. Our version is supported by named sources and with medical documents. In a properly functioning society, the army’s version, which has been spread by anonymous sources, would not be considered worthy of publication.”

Bil’in Popular  committee
Iyad Burnat
00972-0-598403676
Ibel3in@yahoo.com
www.bilin-ffj.org

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on PALESTINE: DEATH OF JAWAHER ABU RAHMAH


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