Archive | February 16th, 2011

Nazi Slaughter of Innocents


Recalling the Slaughter of Innocents

by crescentandcross  



By Ray McGovern 

February 15, 2011 — Twenty years ago, as Americans were celebrating Valentine’s Day, Iraqi husbands and fathers in the Amiriyah section of Baghdad were peeling the remains of their wives and children off the walls and floor of a large neighborhood bomb shelter.

The men had left the shelter the evening before, so their wives would have some measure of privacy as they sought refuge from the U.S.-led coalition bombing campaign, which was at its most intense pre-ground war stage.

All of the more than 400 women and children were incinerated or boiled to death at 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 13, 1991, when two F-117 stealth fighter-bombers each dropped a 2,000-pound laser-guided “smart bomb” on the civilian shelter at Amiriyah.

It was one of those highly accurate “surgical strikes.” The first bomb sliced through 10 feet of reinforced concrete before a time-delayed fuse exploded, destroying propane and water tanks for heating water and food.

Minutes later the second bomb flew precisely through the opening that had been cut by the first and exploded deeper in the shelter creating an inferno.
Fire rose from the lower level to the area where the women and children were seeking shelter – and so did the boiling water. Those who did not burn to death immediately or die from the bombs’ impact were boiled or steamed to death in the intense heat.

The bombs hit toward the end of the month-long bombing campaign to “soften up” Iraq before the U.S.-led ground invasion to drive Iraqi troops from Kuwait.
The aerial bombing had begun on Jan. 17, 1991; the coalition flew over 100,000 sorties, dropping 88,500 tons of bombs. U.S. government documents show that the bombs were targeted on civilian as well as military infrastructure. They were very accurate.

This is not to suggest that the targeters knew that some 400 women and children would be killed at Amiriyah. No, it was just one of those unfortunate mistakes to which many Americans have become accustomed, even inured – whether the unintended-but-nevertheless-dead victims be in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, wherever.

Indeed, the stealth aircraft and the ordnance were a proud paragon of precision performing their mission. How was the Air Force to know that the targeting information was based on spurious “intelligence” reports that the shelter had become a military command site?

Actually, Brigadier General Buster Glosson, who had overall responsibility for targeting, later commented that the “intelligence” pointing to military use was not “worth a sh_t.”

Human Rights Watch noted later in 1991:

“It is now well established, through interviews with neighborhood residents, that the Amiriyah structure was plainly marked as a public shelter and was used throughout the air war by large numbers of civilians.”

A BBC correspondent, Jeremy Bowen, was among the first TV reporters to arrive on the scene. He was given access to the site and found no evidence of military use. The Pentagon later admitted that it had known that “the Amiriyah facility had been used as a civil-defense shelter during the Iraq-Iran war” from 1980 to 1988.

So who was held responsible for this horrible “mistake”? Are you kidding? What planet did you say you were from?

A Time to Witness

In “Death of a Salesman,” Arthur Miller puts these words into the mouth of Willy Loman’s wife, Linda, words that I believe also apply to the “small” people huddled that night in the shelter in Amiriyah:

“I don’t say he’s a great man. … But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person.”

This imperative was brought home to me when my friend Art Laffin of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, DC, called me on Feb. 12, 2003, as a fresh wave of “coalition” attacks on Iraq loomed. Art had visited the huge underground coffin at Amiriyah. He said: “I was there, Ray; I saw it; I talked to the men.”

Art told me of a memorial liturgy to be held in front of the White House the next day, marking the 12th anniversary of the precision bombing at Amiriyah, lest the massacre be forgotten.

“You should come with us,” said Art in his soft-spoken but prophetically challenging way.

“But I am planning to write the kind of op-ed that might inform enough people about the lies upon which a new war on Iraq would be launched, that the juggernaut might be stopped,” thought I to myself. “If people only knew the truth. …”

Then Linda Loman’s words started ringing in my ears — or perhaps they were coming from somewhere else — maybe a voice emerging out of my deep respect for the likes of Dorothy Day and Art Laffin. “Attention, attention must be finally paid.”

So there we stood marking the day, and praying that somehow future days like it could be avoided. The wind-chill factor was well below zero, so there was some solace to being put in the paddy wagon. It was my first arrest and (brief) imprisonment.

And it was exhilarating. I may be biased, given the experience of this first arrest, but if you are going to risk arrest via non-violent civil disobedience, you can’t have steadier, more prophetic companions than those of the Catholic Worker.

When we went to court for trial the new war had already begun. To our surprise, the judge announced that the arresting officer had not appeared and, thus, we were free to go. I rushed to get out the door, thinking the officer might still get there.

But Art blocked my way, turned to the judge, and asked if she would allow him to explain what we were doing on Feb. 13, 2003, and why. The crowded courtroom listened intently as Art held forth for about five minutes.

“Let’s have some coffee,” said Art as he caught up to me running down the street away from the courthouse. “Have you been able to reflect on what just happened? Do you remember how that African-American woman police officer was listening to us as we shared our hopes in the paddy wagon?

“Do you think, Ray, that non-violent civil disobedience could be contagious?”

A day or two later, a short passage in Luke’s gospel leaped out at me. Jesus of Nazareth is warning fledgling “Catholic workers” about what to expect if they remain faithful:

“Countries will fight each other … there will be terrifying things coming from the sky. Before all these things take place, however, you will be arrested and persecuted; you will be handed over to be tried … you will be brought before kings and rulers for my sake … Stand firm …

“This will be your chance to tell the Good News.”

Duh! My big chance to tell the Good News, and I was running for the door. I was even more grateful that Art did not blow the chance to witness — and to remind me what it is all about.

I’ve matured to the point where witnessing and risking arrest comes more naturally … and even more exhilarating. On the very snowy day of Dec. 16, 2010, when 131 witnesses against war were arrested at the White House gates at a rally arranged by Veterans for Peace, 42 of us insisted on standing trial.

The authorities, though, quickly lost their appetite for trying the likes of us, most of whom have defended our country and its constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly, for “failure to obey a lawful order,” i.e. not moving, after being ordered not to remain standing on the sidewalk in front of the White House.

The “paperwork” on us 42 had been misplaced, we were told.

As we celebrate this year’s Valentine’s Day and other holidays that stress love and peace, let’s keep in mind that the most painful anniversaries must also be marked; they must be witnessed to; attention must be paid the plight of “small” people still further diminished by the euphemism “collateral damage.”

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as a CIA analyst and Army infantry/intelligence officer for almost 30 years, and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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Influencing each other: Arab Democracy And America


e SalhJadab*

While the risings in Tunisia and Egypt unequivocally showed the universal appeal of democracy, they also showed the fragility of the ‘democratic grasp’ among many Americans and Arabs. By ‘democratic grasp’ I mean the profound understanding that any group of people – popular or elitist, spontaneous or organized – can harbor a genuine diversity of views on any given issue. Despite the generalized belief in the merits of democratic governance, ‘democratic grasp’ was often forgotten when analyzing the latest social and political events. We can do better, if we’re really aiming for true democratic practice in both worlds. We can do better, if we’re really hoping to inaugurate a new era of respectful relations between both worlds.
As protesters poured into Tahrir Square, pundits and amateurs alike were pouring their thoughts into the public sphere expressing sincere admiration for the ‘Egyptian people’ and the ‘spirit of democracy’ they embodied.
But as we look back – now that we‘re trying to learn from these events– one thought comes to mind: throughout the turbulent process, Arabs and Americans analyzed each others’ moves using incredibly counterproductive and misleading simplifications.
Let’s start with some common misreadings in the United States.
The better known one is the Conservatives’ fear that Mubarak’s autocratic regime would be replaced by a Muslim Brotherhood theocratic regime. But the more interesting one is found among Liberals who, understating any influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, admire the ‘revolution of Wael-Ghonim’s young and inspired Internet generation’. The protests, they assert, were led by this emerging, free-minded youth that has awoken and is about to sweep the Arab world out of the yoke of darkness.
In fact, not only were both of these groups equally active actors in the Egyptian rising, but they were also two among many. Heaps of protesters were simple workers, yearning for a better life, better salaries, and lower prices. Many were also from a previous generation, alienated by the excessive submissiveness of Mubarak to the American-Israeli geopolitical interests. Any Arab individual would be able to describe how diverse the crowd was and how this ‘Egyptian people’ was, in fact, composed of Muslim conservatives, young liberals, workers and union-organizers, leftist intellectuals, nationalist Nasserites and many more. In contrast, few in the US lent themselves to such a nuanced reading of the movement, and fewer even are ready to put-up with the diverse -and possibly inconsistent – perspectives and aspirations that will very shortly start emerging from it.
Here’s why this is important: if Americans are unable to truly think democratically and accept this diversity, they will also be unable to effectively support democracy in Egypt, consequently deepening the rift between America and the Arab world.
But let’s also take a moment to look at how much democratic grasp we, the Arabs, have shown in our interpretation of ‘America’ and its response to the protests.
Many Arabs started criticizing ‘America’ from the moment the protests broke out. For some, Obama was not doing what he could to support the rise of democracy in Egypt; for others he was acting hypocritically: supporting the crowds and abandoning the 30-years-long loyal dictator only because he had no other choice. For Hassan Nasrallah it was even doing both things at the same time – go figure.
Ironically, one argument was recurrently used by all critics alike: the contradictory messaging of the Obama administration throughout these 18 days. The argument goes like this: “Americans say one thing and then its opposite: They are either trying to bet on both horses, or trying to hide their true agenda”.
Here’s my question: how can we Arabs be nuanced enough to understand the complexities of the Egyptian dynamics – or ultra-complex Lebanese dynamics for that matter- and yet fail to understand that ‘America’ is not one single block?
An article on Sunday in the New York Times plainly exposes how divided the American administration really was: rather than being the monolithic, all-conspiring, all-powerful, synchronized, hegemonic and satanic machine that your average Arab taxi driver is always eager to blame for the world’s misfortune, ‘America’, it turns out, was truly debating its way to a new era of relations with the Arab world.
The article shows how the White House staff – composed of a younger and more progressive team – was genuinely inclined to back the protests and honor Obama’s Cairo speech, while the State Department – composed of overly prudent, institutional realpolitik bureaucrats that are as nimble and dynamic in their minds as a tanker ship – where trying to save the furniture of the Titanic.
One tempting conclusion from the article is that the mixed messaging was simply a failure on behalf of the White House to tame the State Department and keep its diplomats on message (the message being: “the orderly transition to democracy needs to start now, and now means yesterday”). But a deeper conclusion would be that between those who want change and those who fear it, those focused on principles and those on interests, a genuine internal debate is raging in America, and this White House is struggling to strike a reasonable balance.
The general point I’m trying to make is that peoples, organizations, and even administrations in free societies – as well as not so free ones – are diverse, incoherent, inconsistent, and dynamic. Acknowledging this fact is of the essence, if we are to build a democratic society – or pretend to be one, in the case of the USA. Acknowledging this fact is of the essence as well, if we are to find common grounds that will encourage ‘America’ to develop a more nuanced and reasonable foreign policy towards our region.
It is time for Arabs to understand that the American Administration is not a cohesive hegemonic imperialist machine, as much as it is time for Americans to understand that Arabs are not a lump of sheep-minded followers of retrograde imams. Only then can we start ‘influencing each other’ as Bashar el Assad – of all people – has eloquently put it in his recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. Only then can we consolidate truly democratic behavior within and between our respective worlds.

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We Love Spanish Justice


Americans Spent Valentine’s Day Thanking Spain for Prosecuting Bush Lawyers

By David Swanson

On Valentine’s Day 2011, yet another U.S. judge agreed with yet another claim that President Obama has the right to protect members of the Bush-Cheney administration from prosecution for torture.

But a coalition of human rights groups spent the day visiting the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Spanish colsulates around the United States to share some love for a country that is working to prosecute former top Bush officials for torture.

The coalition thanking and encouraging Spain to enforce laws when the United States will not has gathered 8,400 signatures on a letter, a love letter of sorts, to the people of Spain, and has raised $6,000 so far for purchasing newspaper and street advertisements in Madrid.

The delegations that presented the letter on Monday to Spain’s representatives in the United States reported that their visits seemed to be accepted in the spirit of friendship and gratitude in which they were made.  Visits to Spanish diplomatic offices were made in Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Dallas, and Phoenix.

Spanish media outlets, and Spanish-language U.S. outlets, are reporting widely on this effort, while the rest of the U.S. media, and even the blogosphere, could hardly be less interested.

At the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C., Ray McGovern and Ann Wright led a meeting with a Spanish diplomat, thanking and encouraging Spain to prosecute former Bush officials for torture on behalf of a large coalition. Ron Fisher reports that they gave the embassy personnel Valentine’s Day balloons and cookies.

In New York City, a delegation of a dozen New Yorkers gathered outside the Consulate General of Spain. They went upstairs together to the Consulate and delivered the letter, roses and a box of chocolate. They were interviewed by Univision and EFE.

Terry Rockefeller of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows made this additional remark to me on the importance of what Spain is doing:

“I would add that in my communications with Iraqis who are working on the Justice for Fallujah campaign, these developments in Spain have been a tremendous inspiration to belief that international law can be a force for positive and nonviolent change.”

In Chicago the delegation to the Spanish consulate included two Veterans for Peace, representatives from Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Catholic peace and justice activists, and representatives of Amnesty International and World Can’t Wait.

Jay Becker reports:

“The vice consul at the Spanish consulate in Chicago met with us. We presented the 120-page petition with the picture of the billboard in Spanish on the cover and the letter to the Spanish people, signed by all of us.

“Ray Parrish from Vets for Peace read a short letter pointing out that Bradley Manning is being held in conditions amounting to torture (with no charges or conviction), while Wikileaks cables reveal real crimes committed by our government.

“Michael from PsySR conveyed the seriousness of the material CCR has compiled and urged the Spanish judiciary to take the lead the way they had in pursuing Pinochet of Chile. I read from the letter and underscored that President Obama and Eric Holder had acknowledged that torture has been committed by the US government but failed to prosecute and in fact pressured other countries not to pursue charges, which is a crime under international law.

“The vice consul accepted the petition and letter, and flowers and chocolates presented by Chris and Mary Fogarty, Irish-American anti-war and justice activists. He assured us that he will convey them all to the Consul General as soon as he returned to the consulate, and we urged him to convey our appeal to the people of Spain. The vice consul said we were brave to take this action, but we replied that we are asking Spain to be brave and uphold international law and justice in the face of pressure from this government.

“We all felt afterward that we had conveyed the seriousness of the action that needs to be taken now, and this was another important step in developing the political movement that can make these long-overdue prosecutions a reality. I hope we’ll have photos shortly, and perhaps more impressions from other participants.”

Susan Harman reports from San Francisco:

“Just home from ours in San Francisco. Eleven of us, in the rain. They said they’d heard about the rest of our actions around the country. They weren’t allowed to accept the beautiful white roses (peace), and wouldn’t let us take pictures of them or inside the lobby, so we made do out in front. Notice (in photo at top of article) Tom, an 80-year-old Korean War vet, and Juanita (with dog), who lives across the street from John Yoo in the Berkeley hills. Felt good to be able to say something nice, for a change!”

Leslie Harris reports from Dallas:

“We visited the Spanish Consulate in Dallas today. We were greeted by Jennifer Zimmer, assistant to the Spanish Consul, Janet Kafka, who welcomed us into the consulate. Holding a banner that read, “Gracias, Espana,” we explained that we were there to express our heartfelt thanks for Spain’s efforts in upholding the rule of law.

“We took turns reading the letter of thanks, support, and encouragement to the citizens of Spain for their interest in investigating U.S. officials’ roles in authorizing torture. We expressed our sincere hopes that they and their judiciary will dispel the notion that any country is above the law.

“We wished everyone a Happy Valentines Day and presented a bouquet of flowers, some heart-shaped balloons, and a hefty stack of papers – a photocopy of a billboard planned to go up in Spain which read, “Por favor, hagan lo que los EEUU no hara – procesar a los torturadores,” and a petition, signed by over 8,400 people, asking Spain to do what the U.S. won’t: prosecute torture! Ms. Zimmer smiled, thanked us, and agreed to pass on our message.

“Even as we remembered those whose hearts and bodies have been broken by torture and violence, our hearts were warmed at the thought of people around the world working together to uphold justice and restore the rule of law. New friends. Smiles all around. The perfect day for a heartfelt expression of love for humanity.”

Sandy Davies of PDA-Miami and the author of “Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq,” reports from Miami:

“We delivered the letter, plus chocolates, roses and a vase of flowers from Chip’s garden (including “Bleeding Hearts”) to Cristina Barrios Almazor, the Spanish Consul General in Miami. I felt that the message was received very much in the spirit in which it was delivered, as a heartfelt thank you from the people of the United States to the people of Spain on an important matter.

“I explained to the Consul General that we represented hundreds of thousands of Americans who belong to the 29 organizations listed as signatories on the letter. I told her that we are embarrassed and ashamed by our country’s failure to prosecute these crimes, and that we are grateful that, of all the countries in the world that could prosecute these crimes under universal jurisdiction, Spain has stood up to actually pursue these cases.

“Our delegation included Jim Goodenow, Diane and Ellie (South Florida Impeachment Coalition), Catherine De Leon (PDA), Chip Sullivan (PDA & VFP), Orlando Collado (President, VFP Chapter 032 – not in picture) and me.

In all the work we do, it’s rare that I feel I’ve been part of something as important as this, that what we did today may make a real difference to the prospects for accountability and justice, and thus to deterring such crimes in the future. Peace!”

Sharon Tipton reports from Los Angeles:

“A representative from the Spanish Consulate wrote to me that this issue was not under their jurisdiction but that they would forward the letters to the Spanish Embassy. This did not stop our expression of love for the Spanish people and their wonderful pursuit of international justice! A number of grateful citizens, including Karen and Sharon from the Orange County Peace Coalition; Michael Haas, 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, and author of “George W. Bush, War Criminal?”, and John, Jennifer, and Adela from World Can’t Wait visited the Consulate this morning bearing gifts!

“We told the Consulate representative who greeted us behind a pane of glass why we were there and that we had a gift for the Spanish people! She graciously came out to us and accepted our flowers and letters, but seemed a little uncomfortable being in our video and photos!

“Mike Haas spoke to us afterward and shared a great analysis of the state of U.S. torture accountability (which I have on video). In part he shared that the US won’t prosecute torture – but that when one of these cases against a prominent American wins, it will finally get the attention of the American people. So, Spain’s judges and people give us Hope! Gracias Gente de Espana!”

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All free speech systems are works in progress



Prof. Craig LaMay

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari


Professor Craig LaMay

Craig LaMay is an associate professor of journalism at the Northwestern University. H is a former editorial director of the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center and editor of Media Studies Journal; and a former newspaper reporter. LaMay’s articles and commentaries have appeared on New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Communication and the Law and a number of other media outlets.

LaMay has published several books on journalism and mass media of which we can name Journalism and the Problem of Privacy (2003), Commercial Transformation of the Nonprofit Sector, with Burton Weisbrod (1998) and Abandoned in the Wasteland: Children, Television and the First Amendment with Newton Minow (1995).

Prof. LaMay joined me in an exclusive interview to discuss the constraints of journalism in the United States, freedom of speech in the EU, the performance of local magazines as opposed to the national news outlets and the gradual disappearance of traditional media with the emergence of new internet-based technologies.

What follows is the complete text of my interview with Prof. Craig LaMay of the Northwestern University.



Kourosh Ziabari

Kourosh Ziabari: Dear Craig; there’s a belief with regards to the mass media in the Western countries in general, and the United States in particular, which is undisputedly accepted by the international community: the widely-accepted belief is that the Western media are unrestrictedly free to publish whatever they want, to publish the viewpoints of the opponents of the government, the political dissidents and anti-governmental activists, without being harassed. Is it true that the mass media in the West are absolutely free to publish whatever they want? Isn’t there any implicit pressure on the media to publish the news and analysis in a way which is favorable to the interests of the government?

Craig LaMay: That belief is overstated.  In the United States, for example, it has always been the law that restraints on publication, gag orders, are facially unconstitutional, and where they occur they get an immediate judicial review.  Nonetheless, it is also the law that some materials are subject to what we call prior restraints, or injunctions against publication.  Those materials fall into three broad categories: obscenity (which is subject to community standards, and thus what is ‘obscene’ in Alabama might not be so in New York); incitements to violence, but only when violence is likely and imminent, not when speech is mere advocacy, even advocacy that the government be overthrown by force; and risks to national security.  The last of these is the most contentious for journalists, since even benign governments are apt to see national security threats where there are none.

In Western Europe, there is no rule against prior restraints even if the principle against them is generally accepted.  So information that is libelous or invasive of privacy can be enjoined before publication.  Particularly notable is the high regard that EU law, and many national laws, have for personal privacy, not only for private citizens but also for celebrities and public officials.

As for implicit pressure, there’s another matter. In any media system — ours or yours — it is much more that state control that determines what is published. So do social norms (ie, ethics, or cultural judgments about propriety and personal dignity); markets (ie, the decision about the costs of gathering and publishing some stories that might be hugely expensive to report in terms of personnel and legal costs, of interest to only a few people, the possibility that if a piece offends readers it might lead to loss of subscription, revenue, etc.);  and last of all system architecture (ie, how you actually build your system to support free speech, eg, the Internet as a platform that anyone can use as opposed to a television station, where prerogatives belong to the owners).  As you can imagine, each of these is linked to the other — none works entirely independent of the other.
KZ: In the majority of European countries, there are laws which restrict the publication of materials, articles, news and op-eds about Holocaust. Much of the journalists and academicians who publish materials which dispute the veracity of Holocaust get incarcerated immediately and have their respective media outlets banned or penalized with punitive measures. Isn’t this a violation of freedom of press and information on behalf of those who introduce themselves as the pioneers of freedom of speech?

CL: Interesting question.  From the American point of view, the answer would be yes. But law is never abstract; it is always born of experience.  The natural state of Europe for the last thousand years has been war, under Charlemagne, then Napoleon, then Hitler.  The core purpose of the EU is to prevent future conflict, and in that system, and given the European experience with hate speech, it is hardly surprising that nation states from France to Austria would ban speech directed at certain minority populations.  I get that. BUT, this does not explain the virulent anti-immigrant and racist speech you find all over Europe at any football game, for example, but also in public discourse. Sarkozy’s expulsion of the Roma last fall was the largest mass expulsion in Europe since the Holocaust, and yet it seemed to trouble few Europeans. The rise of anti-immigrant parties all over Europe is also a concern.  So the problem the Europeans have, it seems to me, is that they have chosen to ban some hate speech directed at some minorities, but not all. I would say, however, that ALL free speech systems, including the United States’, are works in progress.  The ideal of Europe regarding speech is contained in Article 10 of the EDHR, but it is far from realized.

I have to say also, as someone who has worked in developing media systems and post-conflict societies for many years — from Guatemala and Indonesia to Serbia and Chile — that it both unrealistic and chauvinistic to assume that every media system should look like, say, ours.  It shouldn’t.  The British system is very different from ours, for instance, and in ways works better than ours. And vice versa.

KZ: What’s in your view, the main difference between the local newspapers and magazines, with the national/international media outlets? Aside from the extent and area of their coverage which varies from the local media to the national and international media, what are the major differences in the mechanisms of performance, distribution of facilities and approaches to the current affairs in these media?

CL: The main difference I think is economic and have to do with audiences.  Local media are often hyper-local, since that’s what people want to know about — their own neighborhoods, not the goings on in Washington or Tehran.  And people consume much more local than national media.  Our national media run the gamut from very good (eg, the NYTimes) to very bad (FOX News), but the difference there is, to me, economic. Each of those two media serve a small but well-paying audience.  That market is only so big, and at the local level it is often too small to sustain anything of quality.
KZ: What are the main features and qualities of being a journalist in the United States? How should one’s performance be so as to keep up with the stream of professional journalism and avoid falling behind in contest with the other journalists? You have the experience of writing for several newspapers which are consider to be belonging to the category of “mainstream media”. What standards does a journalist need in order to secure a berth in such mediums? Do mainstream media investigate the journalists ideologically in order to hire them for cooperation?

The qualities one needs depend, I think, on the work one does.  Many “prominent” journalists in the US, for example, have never spent a day in journalism school. Many also have poor reporting skills and poor ethics, too, though many are also exemplary. If your primary business is entertainment (FOX News), then reporting skills matter much less than personality does.  If your business is highly specialized information with high market value (financial news perhaps), then you need research skills and real knowledge about your field.  Assuming one is serious about news, however, the skills one needs today now include a host of production skills we did not used to worry about. So, for example, if you’re in Cairo right now it’s not enough to send back written copy. You need to be able to shoot and edit your own video, gather and edit audio, write for the Web and the newspaper, and to a TV stand-up from the hotel lobby. You need, in other words, to have at least the skills of the so-called “citizen journalist” with his cell phone and twitter account.

I personally believe — and here I am at odds with the tradition of US journalism — some real knowledge of history, economics, natural and physical sciences.  It is shameful that so many of our national media in Egypt right now are there to interview not Egyptians, but other Americans and Westerners.  It’s because most reporters there know little or nothing of 20th-century Egyptian history or that of the region, except in the most sketchy ways.  You see the same thing in coverage of, say, global warming, where reporters — in the name of being objective — think it’s okay to know nothing about the actual science of their subject.  This is unprofessional and irresponsible, it seems to me, but it is very, very common.

KZ: What’s in your view the main responsibility of a professional journalist? What qualities and characteristics make a professional, responsible, committed and reliable journalist?

This is a question for the ages, so I’ll give you a short answer.  The responsibility of the professional journalist is much the same as that of the professional scholar:  to give evidence.  It is never to think that because something is possible it is either plausible or probable.  It requires one to investigate, to be self-consciously open to other points of view, to study one’s subject.

And on the ethics side — it is to remember above all that free speech has a cost (as, in economic theory all “free” things do; if something is free that means its cost has been shifted to someone else). In journalism, the cost of free speech can be born by someone else who is publicly humiliated or ruined, a community harmed, a country undone.  To me, ethics means remembering that God does not think I’m special, and I could be completely wrong and should be humble in case I am.

KZ: When we look at the list of the world newspapers by circulation, we find that Japan has occupied the first five ranks. What does this fact signify? What qualities do the Japanese newspapers have that have made them so powerful and influential?
CL: Some cultures are well known as ‘reading’ cultures and others as ‘visual’ ones.  Americans get most of their news from TV, for instance.  The Japanese are a reading people. It is also true that Japanese media post-WWII were developed as mostly national media, designed to serve the entire nation.

KZ: If you were to analyze and investigate the problems of newspapers and media outlets in the developing world, what main points would you have identified? Why don’t the people in these countries have an inclination and appetite for reading the newspapers and magazines?

CL: In the developing world the problems are many.  One is the lack of civil society organizations, particularly in post-conflict or post-authoritarian states, where civil society was largely stamped out.  A second is that these countries often have media laws left over from the old authoritarian or colonial regime, and those laws tend to be oppressive. A third is that these countries often have large and dominant state media sectors — in TV and print — and they essentially take over the market for advertising and other revenues, making it all but impossible for private media to sustain themselves.  A fourth is that many developing countries are poor, and poor people aren’t going to spend money on newspapers that they need for bread.  A fifth is that many developing countries have high illiteracy rates, and so TV and radio are much more important than print. This is the case over much of Latin America and Africa, for example.

There is a well-known economic principle called “rational ignorance.”  It says that rational people in functioning markets do NOT, as much as we might think they should, consume public-affairs news and information.  They would rather be entertained.  And that’s because they know, or think they do, that their participation in electoral politics will make little difference to the outcome of an election.  And so it is more efficient (rational) for them to spend their time and money doing other things than becoming well informed citizens.  Obviously if large numbers of people reach this conclusion, democracy can become hollow and dysfunctional. As it often is.

KZ: Which is more powerful; the written media such as newspapers and magazines or the audiovisual media such as TV channels and radio stations? What’s your estimation of the rivalry between the newspapers and magazines with the audiovisual media outlets? Who will be the winner? Which factors make one more privileged than the other?

I have no particular insights on the future.  I am biased, too, and favor the written word, which is infinitely better at explanation, detail, complexity and nuance than TV or radio.  So I naturally think serious people are print people.  At the same time, radio is the world’s most ubiquitous and popular medium, and I get most of my daily news that way.  It goes places where print cannot or does not (eg, rural and far-flung parts of a country).  TV is the last survivor of the digital revolution — American still spend 5 hours a day watching one, more time than they spend with any other medium, including the Internet. As for “privilege” in media, that is often a matter of system architecture and law.  The West European countries, for example, hold on vigorously to their large public broadcasting systems (eg, the BBC), which are supposed to serve specific public interests, and provide specific public goods, that private media will not.  I think that’s a good thing.  So I don’t imagine that there will be one winner.

KZ: Will the emergence of new media outlets, including blogs, social networking websites and electronic magazines endanger the life of the traditional media? Will the people put the newspapers and magazines aside at some point?

CL: Clearly they already have, mostly by further dividing audiences and, more important, undermining or destroying the financial foundations of old media.  US newspapers, for example, used to get most of their revenues from classified advertisements , but lost all of that advertising long ago to the Web, to which they have also lost readers and other forms of advertising.  It is also the case that for many serious subjects — military affairs, the environment, international law and politics, health care, trade and commerce — I can and do get my best information from blogs, not TV or newspapers.  I imagine you do, too.  That said, my favorite regular media are traditional — a magazine and public radio.

I hope, for your sake and mine, that there will always be a place for honest inquiry and serious discussion, and above all for understanding.  For that, you need journalists who are humanists, not mere technicians, not mere businessmen.  When I work overseas I am always impressed by how little I know, how much I need to understand.  I think, I hope, that makes me a better journalist, a better person.

Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian media correspondent, freelance journalist and interviewer. He is a contributing writer of Finland’s Award-winning Ovi Magazine and the the Foreign Policy Journal. He is a member of Tlaxcala Translators Network for Linguistic Diversity (Spain). He is also a member of World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSC-SD). Kourosh Ziabari’s articles have appeared in a number of Canadian, Belgian, Italian, French and German websites. He can be reached at

Posted in USAComments Off on All free speech systems are works in progress





Two Manhattan projects and two definitions: ground zero and Ground Zero.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right

to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

– George Orwell, Preface to Animal Farm (1946)

Have you ever heard that a site in Manhattan where the former World Trade Center used to stand bears a truly strange name: “Ground Zero”?

If you haven’t heard it yet, here is information for you: starting from about 4 PM, September 11, 2001 (even before the WTC-7 has collapsed) the site where the Twin Towers used to be has been dubbed “ground zero” – both officially and unofficially.

Almost immediately after the Towers’ collapse (precisely at 11.01 AM) the then New York Mayor R. Giuliani has urged all citizens to stay at home if they can and ordered an immediate evacuation of the entire population of Manhattan south of Canal Street. When his order for evacuation was re-transmitted via TV-channels (for example by CNN) it sounded very strange: it resembled nothing else than a typical civil defense alert – used during a real war in which weapons of mass destruction supposed to be used.

About the same time some strange guys dressed in full “lunar-looking” haz-mat suits were first noticed at that ground zero. And it was actually them – these strange “lunar-looking” guys who first began to call that spot by that strange name: “ground zero”.

Usage of this strange term in connection with demolition grounds of the former World Trade Center continued even up this day. However, a certain transformation occurred with this strange term soon, as if someone has realized his mistake and wanted to correct it: the term was elevated to be written with Capital Letters and as such it eventually found its way into many post-9/11 dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Now it is no longer “ground zero”, but “Ground Zero”.

But what about pre-9/11 English language? Do you know what this strange term “ground zero” used to mean before the WTC destruction and how many different meanings it used to have prior to 9/11? I guess you don’t know. So, here is it:

Above: all possible meanings of “ground zero” term as defined by The New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary of the English Language (Deluxe Encyclopedic Edition 1999, ISBN 1-888777796), page 559.

There are few more definitions from various sources. Here are entire, unabridged definitions – “as is” – exactly as provided by respective dictionaries:

“ground zero” n. a point on the surface of land or water at or directly above or below the center of a nuclear explosion. 

Collins English Dictionary, Major New Edition (Third Edition 1991, ISBN 0 00 433286-5 Standard).


“ground zero” n. a point on the ground directly below the center of a nuclear explosion.

Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus, 21 Century Edition (second edition 2000, ISBN 0 00 472502-6).


“ground zero”. The place on the earth’s surface directly at, below, or above the explosion of a nuclear bomb.

The American Heritage Desk Dictionary (Edition 1981, ISBN 0-395-31256-6).


“ground zero” n. The point of detonation of a nuclear weapon. 

The American Heritage Dictionary 4th edition (published July, 2001, ISBN 978-0-440-23701-3, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2003276350).


“ground’ ze’ro” – the point on the surface of the earth or water directly below, directly above, or at which an atomic or hydrogen bomb explodes.

Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (Edition 1989, printed in 1994, ISBN 0-517-11888-2).


“ground zero” – the point on the ground vertically beneath or above the point of detonation of an atomic or thermonuclear bomb.

The New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary of the English Language (Deluxe Encyclopedic Edition 1999, ISBN 1-888777796).


“ground zero” n: the point above, below, or at which a nuclear explosion occurs.

The Merriam-Webster and Garfield Dictionary (Paper back edition 1999, ISBN 0-87779-626-2).


“ground zero” the surface area directly below or above the point where a nuclear bomb is set off

Webster’s New World Dictionary (Student Edition, 1981, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 76-4634, ISBN 0-671-41815-7).


“ground zero” n. the point on the surface of the earth at or directly below or above the centre of a nuclear explosion.

 Penguin Student Dictionary (first published as The New Penguin Compact English Dictionary 2001, reprinted in this edition without supplementary material… ISBN 0-141-02818-1).


“ground zero” = point on the ground directly under the explosion of a nuclear weapon.

Dictionary of Military Terms (Peter Collins Publishing 1999, ISBN 1-901659-24-0).

“ground’ ze’ro” – the point on the surface of the earth or water directly below, directly above, or at which an atomic or hydrogen bomb explodes.

The Random House College Dictionary (Edition 1966, printed in 1973, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 68-19699).


“ground ze-ro” /,.’../ n [U] the place where a NUCLEAR bomb explodes, where the most severe damage happens

Longman Advanced American Dictionary (new, first published 2000, ISBN 0 582 31732 0).


“ground zero” n: the point above, below, or at which a nuclear explosion occurs.

Webster’s New Ideal Dictionary (Second Edition, 1989, ISBN 0-87779-449-9)


“ground zero” The point on the ground vertically beneath or above the point of detonation of an atomic or thermonuclear bomb: also called hypocenter.

Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary (1980, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 79-93030).

“ground zero” noun 1 [C usually singular] the exact place where a nuclear bomb explodes: The blast was felt as far as 30 miles from ground zero. 2 [U] the site of the former World Trade Center in New York City, which was destroyed in an attack on September 11, 2001.

Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2nd Edition. (2nd Edition 2006, ISBN-13 978-0-521-60499-4 – this is a post 9/11 edition, widely available).

Are you surprised? If you don’t believe your eyes and prefer to run to the nearest book store to buy some dictionary, don’t be in a hurry. When you arrive to such shop you will be surprised even more, because it is no longer possible to find any dictionary with pure old definition of this strange term. Those dictionaries printed before 9/11, such as mentioned above, that contained the only true meaning of “ground zero” term have been long time ago removed from book-shelves and replaced with some newer ones.

Unfortunately, the very English language was one of the first victims of the 9/11 perpetration… So, instead of rushing to a book store, try to ask some of your friends if they have any – in case of good luck you might succeed in finding some old big English dictionary that was not victimized by the linguistic part of the 9/11 cover-up.

Now, at last, you know what the “ground zero” is and you might guess about true meaning of the “Ground Zero” term when used with Capital Letters… As well as you might guess about true causes of a strange sickness – leukemia – endemic to that place, that majority of the Ground Zero responders suffer from.

You can download an archive (14 Mb file size) with contains 40 articles describing health problems among the responders:

However, this is not all. Strangely enough, “Ground Zero” was used with capital letters even before the WTC thermo-nuclear demolition. Many people know about it – especially those from the US military.

The very middle of the huge Pentagon building complex used to bear the same strange name: “Ground Zero”. Even before September the 11th. This name survived from the Cold War times. There used to be the so-called “Ground Zero Plaza” and the “Ground Zero Cafe”- right in the middle of the Pentagon. Guess why?

Because the Pentagon was absolutely rightfully expected to be the main target of a Soviet nuclear strike in case of a major nuclear war. That is why the central yard of the Pentagon was mockingly dubbed “Ground Zero” in advance. And it was used with capital letters, of course, because it was proper noun – the name of the cafeteria.

Usage of the “Ground Zero” term in connection with the central yard of the Pentagon is described in a fairly good manner in this Wikipedia article:

Ironically, this mocking name narrowly missed to become the true one on the very same day – September 11, 2001 – when the last greeting from the Cold War era has delivered to that place a half-megaton thermo-nuclear warhead that “luckily” failed to explode.

Here there is a genuine 9/11 news release  now on  YouTube that how the strangest nuclear term “ground zero” has been first indiscreetly introduced to general public.

[YouTube video insert here]

Note, that it happened even before the WTC-7 collapse, since NBC’s Anne Thompson (who appears to become the first reporter to use this nuclear name) referred in this clip to the Twin Towers’ collapse as the “first explosion” and the “second explosion”, while the “third explosion” (the WTC-7 demolition) was yet to occur, according to her.

Here there is yet another revealing video-clip about usage of the term “ground zero” on September 11, 2001, evening.

[YouTube video insert here]

And here you can see one of 9/11 contemporary news articles where seditious words “ground zero” are used “as is” – with low case letters, i.e. still as a definition, and not as a proper noun. Should the abovementioned web page disappear, you can always download this September 12, 2001, CNN article saved in either PDF ( ) or in CHM ( ) formats.

What is ground zero?

Etymology of this term is easily traceable. In a military specific part of English language there was a term “zeroing in” with meant exact aiming of a weapon onto some target. With advent of aviation bombs and especially missiles this term changed a little bit – in regard to missiles, bombs and other projectiles. The exact spot on the earth’s surface that is aimed by such a projectile began to be called “ground zero”. It had nothing to do with either “explosion”, or “devastation”, but exclusively with “aiming of a projectile”.

When first atomic weapons came into the existence they were first made in a form of aviation bombs and missiles. Logically, the term “ground zero” expanded to embrace the exact hypocenter of an atomic (and later also hydrogen) explosion – since it was exactly “ground zero” as an aim of a projectile carrying its atomic load, so that “ground zero” in an old sense of “aim” and “ground zero” in a new sense: “hypocenter of a nuclear explosion” – always coincided.

Once again this term has expanded, because nuclear bombs would more likely explode above the ground, rather than on its surface. “Ground zero” began to mean not just an exact spot on the earth hit by a projectile before a nuclear explosion followed, but rather projection on to the earth’s surface of a hypocenter of such a nuclear explosion – be it above the ground, or even below the ground. Later it was also expanded in the same sense to embrace underwater nuclear explosions.

As you can expect, soon “ground zero” has completely lost its initial meaning (a target of a projectile) and the people ceased to use this term in that particular sense. The second meaning (a spot on the ground of-, or a projection to the ground of an exact hypocenter of a nuclear or a thermo-nuclear explosion) was to be its only meaning for the next 56 years since an atomic bomb was first tested. The “ground zero’s” initial meaning was totally out of use – practically no dictionary (with the rarest exception) did include the former meaning when defining “ground zero”.

However, majority of big dictionaries in the second part of the XX century used to define this term by only its second meaning alone, which became the only meaning of these term: “a hypocenter of a nuclear (or a thermonuclear) explosion or its projection to the earth’s surface”.

Strangely enough, “ground zero” used to be traditionally associated with the so-called “Manhattan Project” of 1942. It was so all the way down starting from 1945 and till about noon time of September 11, 2001. Ironically, since 9/11, this term began to be associated with another “Manhattan Project” – that of 1966, which has proven to be so disastrous only 35 years later…

Do not be surprised that almost all new English dictionaries, printed after 9/11, began to describe “ground zero” as allegedly having more than one sense. Some of them even “remembered” its very first and completely forgotten meaning (“aim of a projectile”), which was completely out of use for 50 years.

In addition, at least 3-5 new meanings have been ascribed to this term, ranging from alleged “great devastation”, “great disorder” and “busy activities” to some alleged “basic level” and “starting point”.

Some preferred another approach: editors of a new Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, for example, defined “ground zero” as a “place where a bomb explodes” without mentioning anything at all that such a “bomb” supposes to be only a nuclear or a thermo-nuclear one:

Above: Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (edition 2003, ISBN 0 582 77649 X).

An example of this term’s usage offered by this dictionary is particularly impressive: have you ever heard that a certain explosion of a “bomb” could flatten buildings within 25 km (15.5 miles) radius? It is hardly possible, unless a “bomb” were something like 45 megaton (45.000 kiloton) in caliber or even mightier. Yet, the word “nuclear” is not there anymore…

In addition to all of it, now almost all dictionaries – either big or small – began to include this (to be exact “these”) definitions.

The term “ground zero”, obviously because of being too specific, prior to the September 11 affair existed only in really big English dictionaries – such as Webster’s Unabridged, full Collins, full American Heritage, and similar (and there it has only a single meaning). It did not exist in smaller dictionaries – such as those intended for students and for advanced learners (the only exception was the Longman Advanced American Dictionary – mentioned above).

For example, “ground zero” was absent in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionaries of 4th, 5th and 6th Editions, published before September 11, 2001. Even Oxford’s 4th special “Encyclopedic” version (that was about 50% larger compared to a normal one) did not include any “ground zero’s” definition. Only Oxford’s Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of 7th Edition first published in 2005 began describing this term at last:

Above: Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 7th Edition, 2005 (ISBN 0-19-431650-5).

This is the first Oxford ALD dictionary that began to include “ground zero” definition whatsoever. The previous OALD’s edition – the 6th, published in 2000, has not featured any “ground zero” definition yet. Here we can see it’s third, misleading definition that looks so “innocent”.

Post-9/11 editions of Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners and Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, all kinds of new Merriam-Webster’s Dictionaries, majority of new American Heritage Dictionaries, new Collins English, Microsoft Encarta Dictionary, and many other new dictionaries and encyclopedias after the September 11 affair all began to include “ground zero” and to define it in a sense that it might allegedly have more than one meaning, trying all their best to divert attention of their readers from the former nuclear (and only nuclear) nature of that term.

Above: Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners. First published in 2002. (ISBN 0-333-75288-0).

Here we can see yet another misleading definition that looks so “innocent”; however it is conspicuously different from the 3rd misleading definition in the above mentioned Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 7th Edition. Apparently, various spin-doctors appointed to deal with different editors of dictionaries in a variety of publishing houses did not have any well-coordinated policy and therefore their individual “creativity” is clearly visible.

By the way, editors of the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary have to be praised for not cheating their readers: they were brave enough to resist all these psudo-linguistic efforts and dared not to include any misleading definition of “ground zero” into their post-9/11 dictionary; it was done so in a sharp contrast to all other dictionaries editors at service of 9/11 cheaters:

Above: Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 2006. (ISBN-13 978-0-521-60499-4). This appears to be the only honest post-9/11 English dictionary that does not feature any additional misleading definitions such as alleged “idiomatic” ones.

It was reported that there were even attempts to prove that “ground zero” was allegedly used to describe that location long before the September 11, 2001.

All these post-9/11 linguistic efforts in regard to “ground zero” are understandable, indeed. That strangely revealing name, rashly awarded by Civil Defense specialists to the demolition grounds of the former New York World Trade Center, was obviously too revealing to leave that term in future editions of dictionaries with only its former sense alone…

But we are not so stupid, hah? And all of us know cause-and-effect relations on which the very concept of logic is based: cause always goes first, while consequence follows and it can not be otherwise.

If “ground zero” was legally re-defined after the 9/11 events, does it mean that the WTC “kerosene-pancake-collapse” grounds were called by this strange “idiom” because of its alleged tertiary sense so conveniently offered to us by the abovementioned dictionaries for “advanced learners”? Of course, not. The designation “ground zero” (then still in low-case letters, by the way) was awarded to the WTC grounds BEFORE the dictionaries were re-printed. Do you agree with this logic?

Thus when we talk about “ground zero” in regard to the former WTC we could only perceive the true sense of this disputed term from pre-9/11 dictionaries, and not from the post-9/11 ones. I hope everyone agrees with this method?

Now let’s review several big pre-9/11 dictionaries (as I have mentioned, due to this term was too specific prior to September the 11th, it was not included in small dictionaries).

Pre-9/11 definitions of “ground zero” in various big English dictionaries (there was not even a single dictionary of English idioms that contained the “ground zero” idiom, so all the dictionaries mentioned below are standard English dictionaries, except only the Dictionary of Military Terms):


Above: Collins English Dictionary 1991 (ISBN 0 00 433286-5 Standard)

Above: The American Heritage Desk Dictionary 1981 (ISBN 0-395-31256-6)

Above: Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (Edition 1989, printed in 1994 – ISBN 0-517-11888-2)

Above: Collins English Dictionary and Thesaurus – 21 Century Edition (second edition 2000, ISBN 0 00 472502-6)

Above: Collins English Dictionary and Thesaurus – Thumb-indexed Edition (first published 1993, ISBN 0 00 470303-0)

Above: Dictionary of Military Terms – Peter Collins Publishing 1999 (ISBN 1-901659-24-0)

Above: Penguin Student Dictionary (first published as The New Penguin Compact English Dictionary 2001, ISBN 0-141-02818-1)

Above: Longman Advanced American Dictionary (new, first published 2000, ISBN 0 582 31732 0)

The Merriam-Webster and Garfield Dictionary (Paper back edition 1999, ISBN 0-87779-626-2)


Above: The Random House College Dictionary (Edition 1966, printed in 1973, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 68-19699).

Above: Webster’s New Ideal Dictionary (Second Edition, 1989, ISBN 0-87779-449-9)

Above: Webster’s New World Dictionary (Student Edition, 1981, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 76-4634, ISBN 0-671-41815-7).

Above: The New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary of the English Language (Deluxe Encyclopedic Edition 1999, ISBN 1-888777796)

Above: The American Heritage Dictionary 4th edition. (Published July, 2001, ISBN 978-0-440-23701-3, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2003276350.)

Above: Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary. (1980, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 79-93030.)

As you can see, none of the available pre-9/11 English dictionaries contained any additional definition of “ground zero” that might allow using this highly tailored term in any idiomatic/metaphorical/figurative sense.

“Ground zero” could only be used in specific situations where nuclear explosions were involved – primarily it was used in nuclear science-, military-, ABC-, or Civil Defense jargons.

Government-appointed spin-doctors and various kinds of shills now try very hard to prove to the gullible public that “ground zero” was allegedly used even before September 11, 2001, in a sense different than that described by the abovementioned English dictionaries. They even tried to concoct various backdated texts and to insert them into public databases and even to libraries.

Thanks to their efforts, you might encounter quite a few “innocent” books where “ground zero” was allegedly used prior to 9/11 in an alleged metaphorical sense or in a sense that was ascribed to this term only after 9/11.

Should you encounter such “innocent” concoctions, don’t allow yourself to be duped. All these concoctions are backdated. “Ground zero” has never had any other sense than described above and has never been used in any English language – whether formal or colloquial – in any figurative sense. It could only be used in its sole direct sense.

Even when “Ground Zero” words were mockingly used to call the central yard of the Pentagon, even in this case they had not been used in any metaphorical sense – it was merely a kind of a black humor, since the middle of the Pentagon was rightly presumed to be the first target of the would be Soviet thermo-nuclear strike during those years of the Cold War.

One of my readers, an American, contacted me and told me that he remembered that in his young age, in the ‘50s, during those first atomic tests, he and other boys used “ground zero” expression colloquially. For example, boys those days could shout a phrase “I will make a ground zero out of you if you don’t give me that toy!” I have no doubt that this is true and those days young boys could indeed use this type of expression. But if you are a logical person, you can see that even when it was used colloquially in this particular sense it had something to do with the nuclear nature of this strange term. Because boys back in the ‘50s were apparently impressed by an unprecedented level of destruction an atomic explosion could create and they knew that a spot of such an atomic explosion was called “ground zero”, so they began to use these words merely as a strong expression.

However, “ground zero” has never been used by adults in any “non-nuclear” metaphorical sense as alleged by today’s linguists who reprinted all dictionaries, produced even back-dated texts, and sincerely hope that we will be duped by their efforts. They will not be able to dupe us despite their verily heroic efforts. The alleged “metaphorical” or “idiomatic” sense of “ground zero” is missing not only in all without any exception standard big unabridged English dictionaries and encyclopedias printed before 9/11, but in all without any exception dictionaries of idioms as well. Do you really believe if “ground zero” were indeed used in idiomatic sense before 2001, such an idiom would not be included in especially dedicated dictionaries of idioms? Please, don’t be so naïve…

But what is the most important, in pre-9/11 standard English language “ground zero” was nothing else than a legaldefinition. If some place was called “ground zero” that only meant that it was a place where a nuclear (or thermonuclear) explosion has taken place.

It was therefore legally admissible in the court of law. If something was called “a place of a nuclear explosion” it only meant that it was indeed “a place of a nuclear explosion”.

However, it all suddenly changed after the spot of the WTC nuclear demolition was called using the appropriate words by the Civil Defense specialists on duty (alerted by a sudden surge of radiation levels), and these seditious words were inadvertently leaked to the general public…

Post-9/11 manipulations with “ground zero”.


One of the best and the most illustrative examples of post-9/11 manipulations with “ground zero” definitions is represented by this screenshot below (the original web page was located here: ).

As you can see the first definition of ground zero was posted by user “Quizro” on 15 of February, 2000, and that definition was very straight – perfectly compatible with all contemporary English dictionaries. It contained neither any secondary meanings, nor any implication that these highly tailored words could be used in any metaphorical sense.

However, very soon after September 11 events – i.e. on 07 of October, 2001, this web page was visited by a shill appointed by the US Government nicknamed “mrichich”.

This was undoubtedly a part of the wider operation by the governmental spin-doctors to re-define the seditious words so thoughtlessly leaked to the general public in connection with the WTC nuclear demolition.

To begin with the spin-doctors capitalized “Ground Zero” used in connection with the WTC demolition grounds and attempted to convert it into a proper noun as opposed to the previous Civil Defense’s designation. It was more important than it might appear at the first glance.

The problem was that “ground zero” in low case letters was nothing else than a LEGAL DEFINITION ascribed by Civil Defense specialists to the WTC demolition grounds. The low case letters definition was as clear as “a place of where the former World Trade Center was destroyed by a nuclear explosion”. You could go to the court of law and sue the US Government straight away. All what you would need to have with you as evidence is a couple of contemporary news releases and a couple of big English dictionaries.

Therefore for the spin-doctors to convert the legal Civil Defense’s definition into a Proper Noun was more than a serious task. After that the spin-doctors attempted to re-write where possible most of the earlier articles where “ground zero” was used still in low case letters (meaning articles where “ground zero” was used as a definition rather than a Proper Noun). That is why not too many news articles dated by 12, 13 and 14 of September, 2001, are available today on the Internet where “ground zero” is used in low-case letters (however, a link to one of such seditious CNN articles is available above).

The next step was to remove from circulation all big English dictionaries (since “ground zero” term was too specific to be used in any and every dictionary and before 9/11 it was mostly used only in full, big, unabridged and encyclopedic dictionaries). The spin-doctors succeeded with removal of these old big dictionaries and decreased their circulation at least to a certain extent.

The next logical step was to produce some bogus secondary definitions of “ground zero” and to create an impression that these words were allegedly used in secondary and in metaphorical senses even before the 9/11 events.

For that reason texts of several books were modified to include usage of “ground zero” in an alleged idiomatic sense and these backdated books were placed into the Library of Congress. (The Library of Congress serves as a legal depository for all existing books – the fact that a book dated by such and such date stands on a shelf of this Library is a legal proof that such book indeed existed on that specific date and its text is indeed genuine. If you wish to understand how important it is, perhaps, you need to watch “Wag the Dog” movie – in this highly revealing film it is shown how spin-doctors who just concocted a bogus backdated “folk song” made sure to insert its backdated recording into the Library of Congress – because this is the most important step to “legalize” anything bogus and backdated.)

Understandably, after targeting the Library of Congress the next logical step of the spin-doctors would be to target the Internet – these bogus backdated texts with alleged idiomatic usage of “ground zero” must have been “popularized” on the Internet.

In addition, the newly created secondary definitions and alleged “idiomatic” senses of “ground zero” must have been urgently popularized either.

General public should begin to use the “ground zero” not only in a sense of a place of a nuclear explosion, but in many other senses and it should happen as soon as possible.

However, on the web page of which a screenshot is above the spin-doctors encountered something extremely dangerous – the former sole definition of “ground zero” that must have been urgently dealt with.

Therefore a shill nicknamed “mrichich” was urgently dispatched to deal with the matter.

All you have to do is just to read his post, to compare the second post with the first post and to keep in mind that all of it took place in the immediate aftermath of the WTC nuclear demolition which the US Government was trying to cover up at any cost.

Honestly, I don’t even have much comment, since the second post is self-evident in both – its meaning and in its purpose.

It shall be known, however, that besides those standard big unabridged and encyclopedic dictionaries akin to those described on the first page, all famous publishing houses make so-called “dictionaries of idioms” as well. Actually, if “ground zero” would have any secondary meaning, it would be mentioned as such in all standard dictionaries, because they are big enough to contain all meanings, including idiomatic ones.

In addition, if “ground zero” were known to be used before 9/11 in any idiomatic sense, it should have been included in at least some dictionaries of idioms. Strangely enough, no dictionary of idioms published by any company prior to September 11, 2001, has ever listed “ground zero” as any kind of “idiom”. Neither Longman’s, nor NTC’s, nor Collins’, nor Oxford’s, nor Cambridge’s nor American Heritage’s dictionary of idioms, nor that of any other publishing house, has ever mentioned “ground zero”…

In comparison with the second post in the above screenshot, the third post could be considered innocent. The middle yard of the Pentagon was indeed called “ground zero” even before September 11 attacks, but it was by no means “idiomatic” or “figurative” usage. It was just quite a rude joke – very typical to the “barracks humor” of military men. The center of the Pentagon was definitely the very first target of the possible Soviet nuclear strike – the very first thermo-nuclear warhead falling at hypersonic speed from stratosphere should aim to the middle of the Pentagon precisely. That is exactly it was mockingly called “ground zero” in advance and the eatery located there was called “Ground Zero Cafe” accordingly.

The fact that the exact spot where the so-called “plane” hit the Pentagon is too called “ground zero” is understandable as well – because the Soviet “Granit” missile that hit the Pentagon during 9/11 events was indeed equipped with a 500 kiloton thermo-nuclear warhead (which “luckily” failed to explode), so there is nothing wrong calling that place “Ground Zero” either – because the same kind of the military black humor would apply to the case.

However, it had nothing to do with any humor when the spin-doctors appointed by the desperate US Government attempted to re-print all without exception English dictionaries with a view to re-define “ground zero”…


ground zero – comparing pre- and post- 9/11 dictionaries


You can see from screenshots below how “ground zero” definitions were manipulated with in various post-9/11 English dictionaries.

To begin with, let’s consider Longman dictionaries. As you can see, after 9/11 Longman Publishing decided to forgo any “nuclear” allusion in regard to “ground zero” term and ceased to use word “nuclear” whatsoever in its definition (the only black and white dictionary is the pre-9/11 one). However, Longman Publishing preferred not to ascribe any secondary meanings to “ground zero” – its meaning still strictly limited to “explosions” and to the spot of the former World Trade Center.

Example of mutation of meanings of “ground zero” from 2000 through 2007 in various Longman’s dictionaries:

Above: Longman Advanced American Dictionary (first published 2000, ISBN 0 582 31732 0).

Below: Longman Advanced American Dictionary (second edition 2007, ISBN 978 1 40582 9540).

Note, that the two dictionaries above are the First and the Second editions of the very same dictionary: “Longman Advanced American Dictionary”, printed in 2000 and 2007 respectively.

Here you can see a pure cheating of its reader: either before or after “ground zero” definition other words’ definitions (“ground work”, “ground water”, “group1″) including even samples of their usage are all exactly the same. But not that of “ground zero”.

Above: Longman Dictionary of American English (Third Edition 2004, ISBN 0 582 79448 X).

Below: Longman Dictionary of American English (4th Edition 2008, Third impression 2010, ISBN 9781405884662)

And one more latest Longman’s dictionary:

Above: Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture (3rd edition 2005, 2nd impression 2006; ISBN 0 582 85312 5).

Please note, that before it was the word “NUCLEAR” that was printed in capital letters in “ground zero” definition. Now it is another word, printed in capital letters: “TERRORISTs”. That is how the meaning of the words has mutated in Longmans dictionaries from 2000 through 2006…

Here are a few more examples of mutation of “ground zero” definitions. These changes in definitions are especially interesting in the below examples, because here we have a chance to compare editions of similar dictionaries published before- and after 9/11. And these shameless changes are especially notable, because they seemingly have nothing to do with the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and with its sacred grounds now spelled with Capital Letters. Additional meanings are NOT about the WTC.

Example 1. Post 9/11-changes of “ground zero” definitions in Random House College Dictionaries.

Above: The Random House College Dictionary (published 1973, no ISBN available, but only the Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 68-19699).

Below: The Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (first edition 1991, but this is an updated edition 2005, ISBN 0-375-42600-0).

It is also interesting to compare this post-9/11 “broadened” definition of “ground zero” with that in the biggest of all these dictionaries – the Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language – available above.

Example 2. Post 9/11-changes of “ground zero” definitions in The Merriam-Webster Dictionaries.

 “Broadening” of meanings of “ground zero” in two Merriam-Webster Dictionaries.

Above: The Merriam-Webster and Garfield Dictionary (published 1999, ISBN 0-87779-626-2).

Below: The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (New edition 2004, ISBN 978-0-87779-930-6).

Please, note that other definitions are identical – such as that of “ground swell”, “ground water”, “ground work” and “group 1″ – but not the definition of “ground zero”. Note also that an additional “meaning” here differs from that in the above Random House’s attempt.

Example 3. Post 9/11-changes of “ground zero” definitions in Collins English Dictionaries.

“Expanding” of meanings of “ground zero” in 2 Collins English Dictionaries.

Above: Collins English Dictionary – published in 1991 Major New Edition (ISBN 0 00 433286-5 Standard).

Below: new Collins English Dictionary (Ninth Edition 2007, ISBN 978-0-00-722899-7).



Make sure to note that all definitions of the word “group” below our targeted term are absolutely identical. But “ground zero”, in addition to the justifiable third meaning, has “strangely” acquired the second meaning in the after-9/11 edition of the same dictionary.

It would be understandable, if some extra definitions were added in regard to the demolition grounds of the World Trade Center – like it was in the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2nd Edition – mentioned above, or like it was done in some Longman’s dictionaries.

Strangely enough, it was not the case in the two examples above with the Random House’s and the Merriam-Webster’s concoctions. It was other extra definitions (which moreover, conspicuously differ from each other) added to the original meaning of “ground zero”.

And it seems that neither of these two conspicuously different additional meanings has anything to do with Manhattan’s Ground Zero.

Though, as you could guess, in reality there was a direct relevance between such a strange “broadening” in the former definition of “ground zero”, and a nuclear catastrophe that occurred on 9/11 in Manhattan that earned such a strange nuclear name to that place.

Those so-called “good guys” from the FBI who did all their best to conduct the unprecedented 9/11 cover-up, simply could not afford to leave this most revealing definition with its former sense without “broadening” it at least a little bit.

And we have to understand them, indeed… If they would not do such a “broadening” of the definition of “ground zero” it would not be only the FBI agents alone who would demand full haz-mat suits to be issued to protect their precious selves – like those FBI agents mentioned by poor John Walcott in this article:

Apparently, every ground zero responder and every Manhattan resident would demand his full has-mat suit too. Along with comprehensible explanation on what really happened at “Ground Zero”.

I guess from now on the reader could realize, at last, that “ground zero” designation of the WTC demolition spot had nothing to do with post-9/11 meanings of that strange term, but had to do exclusively with its FORMER meaning.

And from now on when you encounter, for example, the “ground zero” designation of the spot of 1995 Oklahoma bombing, you will be able to realize that back in 1995 “ground zero” did not have any idiomatic meaning and words “ground zero” was merely a Civil Defense’s designation. And when such a place was designated as “ground zero” it only meant that a deep crater in front of the Alfred P Murrah Federal building was indeed a hypocenter of a nuclear explosion that destroyed that building…

Do you still wish to argue? But don’t forget one important point: cause always goes first, while consequence follows and it can not be otherwise. Ground zero definition was expanded only AFTER September 11, 2001. That is why BEFORE that date ground zero had no other meaning than a place of a nuclear explosion…


About author:

Dimitri A. Khalezov, a former Soviet citizen, a former commissioned officer of the so-called “military unit 46179″, otherwise known as “the Special Control Service” of the 12th Chief Directorate of the Defense Ministry of the USSR. The Special Control Service, also known as the Soviet atomic (later “nuclear”) intelligence was a secret military unit responsible for detecting of nuclear explosions (including underground nuclear tests) of various adversaries of the former USSR as well as responsible for controlling of observance of various international treaties related to nuclear testing and to peaceful nuclear explosions. After September the 11th Khalezov undertook some extensive 9/11 research and proved that the Twin Towers of World Trade Center as well as its building 7 were demolished by three underground thermo-nuclear explosions – which earned the very name “ground zero” to the demolition site. Moreover, he testifies that he knew about the in-built so-called “emergency nuclear demolition scheme” of the Twin Towers as long ago as back in the ’80s – while being a serviceman in the Soviet Special Control Service.

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The Egyptian Blockade of Gaza


by Ken O’Keefe  


There is much talk about who and what is behind the popular revolts in the Arab world and I find such talk as interesting as anyone.  But more than talk I am interested in action.  Indeed that is why tears of joy streamed down my face as I watched the Egyptian people cleansing themselves of the shame brought upon them by Mubarak and his fellow thieves and traitors.  Clearly however, the job is far from complete.

Tahrir Square Cairo Feb. 11, 2011

The Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions are not actually Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions as much as they are part of a Global Revolution.  For no matter how much effort is exerted by the powers that be to divide the masses, we are all connected.  And within the Western nations lie the very same justifications for revolution.  The truth is we are hard pressed to find a government that honours its people; the real question is to what degree does a government disrespect and violate it’s people?  And does it confine it’s crimes to it’s own population?  Or does it export these crimes as well?  I am obliged to mention that in this latter category the world champion of global oppression is of course, my birth nation, the United States of America.

And they have junior partners in the global tyranny business, and Egypt has been, and remains at this moment, one of them. Ever since the so-called peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, Egypt has become a key partner in America’s greatest export, terror.  For more than 30 years Mubarak was little more than a pimp and a prostitute, ordering the people of Egypt to bend over while the American imperialist machine penetrated the Egyptian people as a rapist does his victim.

Meanwhile Mubarak mocked the people of Egypt, his henchmen (Omar Suleiman) tortured and terrorized them while he and his family plundered the nation and swallowed American bribe money by the billions; all the while the comatose American taxpayer paid this pimp and his family those billions.

For a little comic relief, listen to what you, the American taxpayer are being told about how you’re hard earned tax dollars go to work in Egypt;

“For over three decades, the United States has worked to improve the quality of life of all Egyptians through programs supporting economic development and regional stability. USAID assistance has totaled $28.6 billion since 1975. Current programs focus on economic growth; education; healthier, planned families; and democracy and governance.” – USAID website

And so, for the bargain basement price of $28.6 billion the American people managed to buy Egyptians a lifestyle of deep poverty in which 40% of the 80 million plus of them live on less than $2 a day.  Way to go America!

I am curious to know how many reading this are like me; tell me, when you see Obama or Hillary Clinton dare to talk of Egyptian “democracy” and solidarity with “the people”, do you wish as well that someone would walk up, stare them square in their eyes and slap them with a thundering clap right in the face?  I sure do.  And I damn sure wish that famous and heroic Iraqi shoe thrower hit George Bush right in his mouth.  One can dream.

Ah but we can do better than wish for things that will likely never happen, we can act, we can create our own reality; just as the Egyptians and Tunisians and many others are showing us right now.  We can do anything we set our minds to, ANYTHING!

And that leads me to the people of Palestine.  As I sit here in Gaza I can tell you that these people are as deserving of real support as any people on Earth.  For decades our actions (or lack thereof) have translated to a brutal existence with perpetual trauma and violence.  Despite this the people of Palestine have not become the monsters that imprison and slaughter them.  They remain Palestinian; among the most generous and hospitable people you will ever meet.  And so I say to the world, now is the time to begin acting as brothers and sisters and commence to the liberation of the people of Palestine.

To everybody who knows injustice, everybody who knows tyranny, we are all brothers and sisters with the people of Palestine.  Let us act like it and let us march on Gaza on February 26th, 2011.  Let us amass in the greatest numbers possible, and let us march week after week if necessary, to make Rafah Crossing and open border.  To achieve this would be to render the Israeli/American lead blockade useless.  That would signal another mortal blow to American Imperialism and Israeli Zionism.  If that isn’t worth fighting for then I have no idea what is.

I realize this was not the primary objective of the peoples revolt in Egypt, but it can become a primary result of it.  Why not?  Is it not possible?  Of course it is.  Egyptians have just shed their puppet dictator; they rendered his weapons and henchmen impotent.  We can now remove one of the most shameful policies of this dictator; I say again, we can do whatever we desire, if we are serious that is.

I am serious, and I know many more who are serious as well.

Let us take note, lower ranking Egyptian commanders disobeyed direct orders by Mubarak and his generals to murder the people in Tahrir Square.  So the Army did not slaughter the people as ordered, so clearly there is honour within the Egyptian military.  But it cannot be ignored, there are still higher-ranking officials who followed Mubarak’s orders and themselves ordered the lower ranks to commit mass-murder.

Let us remember that it is such people that were punished by death as a result of the Nuremberg Trials.  And let us realize that for the moment such people still hold positions of power and influence in Egypt.  And let us not be fools, they remain of course the servile minions of their Zionist and American imperialist masters.  Let us not ignore the fact that the American bribe money is still flowing.

To rest, to allow them to corrupt the will of the people into a new dictatorship is to abandon our role in the Global Revolution.

As I have said, this is not an Egyptian/Tunisian Revolution, their battle is ours and vice versa, and it intertwines with Palestine directly.

I know this for sure; there is not one Egyptian in their right mind that would endorse a continuation of the Egypt under Mubarak blockade of Gaza.  To the contrary, it has shamed the people of Egypt for far too long.  Why not end it now?

Is there any sane, right-minded person who supports the blatant and brutal collective punishment of the people of Gaza?  So why would it carry on?  There is only one reason, because we allow it. I say we carry on with what the people of Egypt started, they got rid of the dictator, let us, people of conscience, once and for all smash to pieces the abominable Egyptian blockade of Gaza.

Why not?

Let us commence to exposing anyone intent on subjecting the 800,000 plus children of Gaza to this cruel and inhuman blockade.

I say shame on us all if we do not march on Gaza with significant numbers and soon.  I see no reason why sufficient numbers cannot be mobilized for February 26th.  If our lives or the lives of our loved ones depended on it, we would mobilize by the thousands.

As I write this there are people in Gaza who will likely die soon if they cannot access medical treatment outside of Gaza.  Among them is a 14 year-old boy who needs a kidney transplant, which his father is ready to provide.  Shall this boy be left to die?

Needing Kidney Transplant

There are students being denied access to education abroad.  There are building materials needed yet denied, and thus the rebuilding of Gaza remains impossible.  All of this preventable suffering and death continues, day-by-day, a human caused catastrophe, due to the Egypt under Mubarak blockade of Gaza.  But there is no Mubarak, so there is no excuse.

Having met children all over Gaza I can tell you that virtually every one of them has been and continues to be traumatized by the ongoing blockade and terrorism of Israel.  All of this is compounded massively by the blockade.  If this were your child you would not rest until there was justice.  But if you see them as I do, you would see them as your children, and with that comes a duty.  Let us not fail.  We cannot do too much for the children of Gaza; to do less then everything within our power is the continuation of collectively dishonouring ourselves and degrading our humanity.


It seems at this stage in human development the only way to make sure that governments serve the people, is to ensure that they fear the people.  If indeed that be the case, let them fear us.  Let them feel the wrath of our will and let them know that the Egyptian blockade of Gaza is in its dying days.  If this inevitability requires bloodshed then it will be because those entrusted to serve the people have instead chosen to serve the Israeli/American tyranny under which Mubarak ruled.  If that be the case then there shall be an absolute need for Nuremberg Trials of today.

But I think none of that is necessary.  I think the Egyptian Military can honour the people rather than the paymaster.  We shall see.

Here is what I propose: People of conscience, supporters of Palestine and Egypt, wherever you come from, come to Egypt in the days leading up to February 26th.    Travel to the port city of Al Arish and prepare to march on “The Day of Liberation” for the people of Palestine in Gaza.  From the Egyptian side we shall march from Al Arish to Rafah Crossing (about 35 km/22 miles).  On the Gazan side we shall demonstrate in support of this peoples liberation and we shall greet the marchers when they arrive.

Transportation via taxis can easily be arranged for those unable to walk such a distance.  The goal will be to enter Gaza with the full cooperation of the Egyptian Military/officials.  We seek no confrontation, but we demand the end of the Egypt under Mubarak blockade of Gaza.

If the marchers are blocked, attacked or arrested, we will do as the people of Egypt have done, a Tahrir style camp will be created as close to Rafah Crossing as possible.  We will maximize exposure of the march via social media such as Twitter and Facebook and the world will surely be watching if we do what we are clearly capable of doing.  People will camp out and more marchers will come, if we do as we are capable of doing our numbers will swell and our power increase.  Each and every day will bring us closer to the end of the Egypt under Mubarak blockade of Gaza.

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A decade after 9/11, there is still a debate about how the towers were brought down, even though most aspects of the 9/11 Commission report have been discarded.  3000 murders are simply being ignored.  For certain, no aircraft did significant damage to the WTC.  Building 7 proved that beyond a doubt, even to the point where those selling the fantasy of box cutters and buildings melting from jet fuel are hiding behind shills, disinformationists and paid media blusterers.

They are, in fact, hiding behind criminals, each and every person who actively supports the tale of hijackers and falling buildings today may well be a co-conspirator in the largest crime in history.

One thing has changed, there are now witnesses to the conspiracy, testimony to those who planned and executed 9/11.

It isn’t just government “junk science” against the laws of physics and nature.  The conspirators blabbed about it and we know who they are and can prove it.

However, just to put a nail in the government’s phony science, Jonathan Cole as done this excellent video:

YouTube – Veterans Today –







“Enclaves of Americans, CIA, Blackwater, “diplomats,” are said to be all over Pakistan.  Webster Tarpley (video below) claims they are recruiting and training terrorists.”

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Americans have been told one of their diplomats is being held illegally in Pakistan after killing two terrorists.  The American government has made every imaginable effort to secure his release.  Why would America’s most powerful ally, a nation dependent on American aid to survive, a nation who has lost more troops supporting America’s wars than America herself, suffered more terror attacks and more economic disruption simply, as the news reports, hold someone repeatedly called an “innocent diplomat” hostage?

(Initial police interrogation of Raymond Davis)


YouTube – Veterans Today –

Why are the people of Pakistan ready to topple their own government if American Raymond Davis is released?

This week, the young wife of one of those Davis killed, shot in the back, committed suicide.  This isn’t Egypt.  Pakistan is an American ally in the field, with a million man army, nuclear weapons and one of the best trained military forces in the world.

Enclaves of Americans, CIA, Blackwater, “diplomats,” are said to be all over Pakistan.  Webster Tarpley (video below) claims they are recruiting and training terrorists.  There is no evidence of Davis and those like him be they dozens, hundreds or thousands, are actually performing any mission in either the best interests of either the United States or Pakistan.  Why are they there, who do they really work for and what are they doing?

The story of Raymond Davis is more than a single incident whose facts may never be known.  Davis, now an icon representing both the deteriorating relationship between America and Pakistan and the anger and mistrust Pakistani’s direct toward their own government, may well be innocent of any crime.  It no longer matters.  He is, in any form, in any guise, a symptom of a disease.


Governments are expected to lie and America is more the “rule” than the “exception” in that category.  America’s credibility around the world was destroyed the day Colin Powell went before the United Nations with his imaginary “slam dunk” proof of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs.


It wasn’t his personal reputation he destroyed that day, it was America’s.  Nations always lie, sometimes with good reason.  That day, lying became a national policy for the United States, lying to the world and, especially lying to the American people.  Powell hit a 10.0 on the Richter Scale of lies that day.  That day, while the molten granite and steel beneath the World Trade Center continued to cool, Powell got away with it.

Nations lie out of national interest.  Too often that interest has been economic and predatory.  Today, a powerful nation such as the United States, economically bankrupt, politically crippled and hopelessly divided, can fall victim to the influence of a globalist agenda that transcends anything previously imagined.  When this happens, and it has happened, no conspiracy theory can approach reality.

No conspiracy theory would ever go far enough.

Powell was simply following orders, told to put his personal credibility “out there,” spending that and the world’s sympathy for the 3000 dead of 9/11.  As much as elected officials and mainstream media around the world choose to ignore it, the people of the world. everywhere in the world, no longer trust America, in fact the only broad based poll ever taken showed that Australians, nearly 4 out of 5, believe the American government is fully complicit in the planning and execution of the attacks on 9/11 and, perhaps, other terror attacks as well.

YouTube – Veterans Today –

Powell, in seconds, transformed what had been a reputation as the most respected and trusted man in the world to that of a liar and buffoon.  All America was soon to join him.

The “Davis incident,” two carloads of special operations mercenaries, Davis in custody, charged with two counts of murder, the second car fled the scene running down and killing a civilian in its haste, and the careless lies that America’s State Department put out, puts America on that path again.


How does all this apply to Raymond Davis, the American currently facing two charges of murder in Pakistan? How indeed!

Why don’t people in Pakistan and around the world believe America simply “forgot” to file paperwork listing him as a diplomat?  Why would Pakistanis by the millions believe Davis, not just a killer but a terrorist as well?

What Americans aren’t being told is that Davis and his friends in the second car, the one not reported in the American press, are among hundreds infiltrated into Pakistan, not as diplomats but under the highly suspect Joint Special Operations Command tasked “quasi-publicly” with assassinating terrorist leaders.

Sold to congress in secret committee conclaves as a “vital capability” in what was then called the “Global War on Terror,” the plan was to use private contractors funded “off the books,” State Department, USAID, CIA, Defense, to do what the military, CIA and FBI could not, including funding terror groups.  Under the leadership of Vice President Dick Cheney, this secretive organization would create parallel terrorist networks around the world to undermine the credibility of what they told congress was the massive and highly organized Al Qaeda network that threatened America’s security.

YouTube – Veterans Today –

What they didn’t tell congress is that Al Qaeda was, in itself, created by the United States under a similar program and had never existed.  The dozens of “web based” groups blustering about being Al Qaeda are in fact part of a non-existent front group created to provide cover for America’s bloated military industrial complex to find a replacement “enemy” now that the Soviet bloc could no longer be kept glued together.  Billions on defense could now be channeled into the private sector with intelligence gathering and special operations “outsourced” to groups with closer ties to Israel than America, new groups springing up daily, mercenaries from Peru, Chile, Ethiopia, Indonesia, unaccountable, unsupervised, “no-bid contracts,” creating a self perpetuating cycle of “false flag” terror, destabilizing drone attacks, disinformation and propaganda.

Many, not just millions of everyday citizens but military and intelligence leaders of Pakistan as well, believe the shadowy group to be involved in, not only spying but in coordinating a terror war against Pakistan.  Americans like Davis, armed, some in native garb, some carrying explosives, have been, not only observed but arrested in Pakistan.

One of the best known American assets used to fund terrorist groups, behind the front of Islamic charities was a CIA agent whose cover identity was “Tim Osman.”  We now know him to have been Osama bin Laden, killed in Afghanistan in 2001, not killed as a terrorist leader but murdered to keep him silent.  The bin Laden family had long been, not only business partners with the Bush clan but involved in intelligence and defense projects with them for decades.  There is no family on earth closer to the Bush family than the bin Ladens.

Immediately after 9/11, only two planes left the United States.  One held Israelis who needed to escape FBI questioning in case the one of the infamous “Dancing Israeli’s” were to crack under interrogation and implicate other Mossad cells.

Authorizing this flight was an act of treason.

The other plane carried the bin Ladens to safety in Saudi Arabia.  This was an act of friendship and loyalty on the part of President George W. Bush.


When Davis was arrested, two young locals reported to have been shot numerous times in the back, part of a two car convoy heading to an area known for terror bombings, in a part of Pakistan remote from any possible American interest, hundreds of miles from Karachi and America’s supply lines, hundreds of miles from the capital of Islamabad and hundreds of miles from the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) region, the people of Pakistan believed their suspicions confirmed.

They believe an American terrorist had been arrested, one complicit in the bombings that go on every day in Pakistan, bombings that the military leadership of Pakistan believes serve a globalist agenda, America, Israel, India and Britain.  Military leaders in Pakistan believe their nation, as with Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, has been selected for destruction and dismemberment as part of a plan to dominate the Eurasian continent in light of the power vacuum that has existed since the collapse of the Soviet Union.  History has confirmed their greatest fears and has done so with a clarity they now dread.

Will we be finding, in the coming months, that the struggles for freedom in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Albania, Jordan, Somalia and elsewhere have been orchestrated inside a similar framework?


YouTube – Veterans Today –


Few Americans are aware that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT trained microbiologist, mother of two (children kidnapped and believed dead), wife of a Boston physician, was convicted and sentenced to 87 years in prison last year.  Her crime?  She is accused, after 5 years of torture and sexual abuse which left her wheelchair bound, of trying to murder 5 Americans during an interrogation session after no other charge could be brought.  Five years of torture and there were no confessions despite attempts to show her to be a key player in Iraq’s nuclear program, long proven a Bush fairy tale.


87 pound Aafia was shot twice by her “translator” who was decorated for this heroic act.

No one at her trail asked why a Boston resident with a doctorate from MIT who has spoken English all her life needed a translator?


Millions of Pakistanis have demonstrated for her release.  Now, those millions are saying that the only way Raymond Davis will return to the United States is if Dr. Aafia is returned in a “swap,” much as those between America and the Soviet Union during the cold war.

This is what we know about this case.  While on a visit to Karachi with two of her children, Dr. Aafia and her children were kidnapped by a Pakistani crime organization who passed her along until she eventually ended up in the secret CIA detention facility at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.  News stories had tied her to the infamous “yellow cake” uranium story.

Valerie Plame had a movie made about her role in debunking this story.  Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is still is in prison for 87 years based on the same lies.  Her children are dead, murdered by her captors, quite probably, murdered by American agents working in Pakistan for the same company that hired Raymond Davis.

YouTube – Veterans Today –

When it turned out that there was no “yellow cake” uranium in the first place, after 2 children were murdered, it was impossible to release Dr. Aafia.


Every aspect of Dr. Aafia’s arrest and detention violated the United Nations Convention on Torture.  Admissions to these criminal acts are part of the record of her trial.  Any and all involved, not only in her torture but her trial as well face criminal prosecution under international law and may be detained at any time.


As Americans learned last week, former President George W. Bush is facing and other Americans are under international travel restriction, facing criminal prosecution.  President Bush cancelled a speaking engagement in Switzerland with an Israeli nationalist organization because he faced arrest for kidnapping and torture, acts he openly admits authorizing in his recent autobiography. Spain is similarly seeking to indict Bush and others.

Article 1

For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

One of the crimes President Bush is facing prosecution for is the kidnapping, torture and rape of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and the murder of her children, all done directly under the authority and perhaps even personal direction of the President of the United States.

Article 15

Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.

The people of Pakistan have told their government, in no uncertain terms, that if Raymond Davis is returned without an agreement to repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, they will go the same way as Egypt.

There isn’t the remotest chance that Pakistan’s military would interfere in even the slightest way with such an endeavor.


A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter



What New Delhi can learn from Cairo

Posted: 15 Feb 2011 03:29 PM PST

My following article is published by leading Indian magazine Tehelka:

The Middle East is the region where global empires lavishly exercise their chequebook. Since the Second World War, America has bribed, cajoled and backed autocratic regimes in the name of stability.

Israel, self-described as the only democracy in the area, has been insulated from the vagaries of democratic politics bysimply colluding with dictatorships across its various borders.

Zionism has thrived due to Arab leader corruption and silence in the face of occupation against Palestinian lands.

But the mass uprisings across Egypt are threatening these cosy arrangements.

The Israeli mainstream is fearful of what Arab democracy may mean, but for the majority in Egypt decades of repression may be coming to an end.

The resignation of President Hosni Mubarak is the first necessary step in restoring dignity to the Egyptian political process, though it is only the beginning.

The millions of demonstrators won’t tolerate a military coup simply replacing one tyrant with another.

We can marvel at the success of a peaceful protest movement and wonder which other western-backed thugs may be next.

Today, the Muslim world sees what is possible with weeks of determined protest; America and Israel no longer control the agenda of who rules the Arab street.

Tel Aviv is already fearful of what true democracy may mean for its position.

While there is no unified message of the protesters for the future, a few key demands are clear; free and fair elections, an orderly transition, an end to torture, better employment opportunities and an end to being manipulated by foreign powers.

Sadly and predictably, many neo-conservative and Jewish commentators in America are whipping up fear of an Islamist take-over of Egypt while the situation remains incredibly fluid.

Besides, the western world has consistently refused to accept to its own detriment the legitimate positions of many Muslims since 11 September 2001 who wants their religion integrated into a democratic system.

Turkey is a model here, an imperfect example of an Islamic democracy.

Former Egyptian President Mubarak, wholly supported by Washington and Tel Aviv for three decades and much of the US corporate press, has shaped a state that routinely tortured its own citizens as well as suspects in the American-led “war on terror.”

New Vice-President Omar Suleiman is implicated in a range of crimes committed since 9/11, including overseeing torturehimself against alleged terror suspects.

The New Yorker’s Jane Meyer wrote last week:

“Technically, U.S. law required the C.I.A. to seek “assurances” from Egypt that rendered suspects wouldn’t face torture. But under Suleiman’s reign at the intelligence service, such assurances were considered close to worthless.

As Michael Scheuer, a former C.I.A. officer who helped set up the practice of rendition, later testified before Congress, even if such “assurances” were written in indelible ink, “they weren’t worth a bucket of warm spit.””

In the last weeks, Egyptians authorities blocked Internet access and mobile phone services in an attempt to stop information getting out to the world.

It failed spectacularly but far too many western commentators were quick to jump to conclusions and claim this was a Facebook revolution or Twitter revolution.

But, despite Facebook playing a key role in initially organising outrage, the vast majority of Egyptians didn’t need a website to register their anger.

It was pleasing to read Google and Twitter joining forces to launch SpeaktoTweet, a service allowing Egyptians to call an international number and record a voice message that would then be tweeted from a Twitter account.

It is increasingly difficult to silence the masses in a globalised age, though we shouldn’t be seduced by the false belief that free Internet access automatically brings western-style democracy.

The western reaction to the Egyptian protests has been a mixture of awe and confusion.

The internal logic of many westerners is contradictory and hypocritical.

Backing the US-led invasion of Iraq, currently run as a Tehran-friendly police state, was seen as a noble gesture to liberate the oppressed masses but when the citizens agitate themselves without our help they’re lectured about remaining ‘moderate’.

Famed Slavoj Zizek wrote last week in the UK Guardian that the West so rarely sees a revolutionary spirit in its own countries that there is automatic suspicion when it occurs somewhere else, such as Egypt.

Ironically, post 9/11 paranoia about Islamic fundamentalism is due to its presence in nations the West has supposedly ‘liberated’, namely Iraq and Afghanistan.

Neither nation has a long history of religious extremism; foreign meddling has allowed these forces to incubate.

Dictatorships in the Arab world don’t just materialise, they are created and sustained over decades.

Washington funds Cairo to the tunes of billions annually (second only to Israel) and yet the results are clear to see;stagnation and political corruption on a vast scale.

This arrangement suits America, Israel and the West just fine; client states aren’t independent thinkers and that’s how their funders like it.

Take former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who told CNN that Mubarak had been ‘immensely courageous and a force for good’ in the Middle East over the Israel-Palestine ‘peace process’.

Blair was merely echoing the standard post 9/11 view of the region; political Islam must never be engaged, even if parties win legitimate elections (witness Hamas after its victory in Palestine in 2006).

But what comes after Mubarak? His infrastructure of terror must be dismantled but this can’t happen unless Western policy fundamentally reviews its attitude toward the Middle East.

Why should only Israeli Jews be allowed freedom in the region? Must Arabs be suppressed for the pleasure of the Zionist state?

Sixty years is more than enough of this paradigm. And Arab people-power has loudly announced that it won’t tolerate decades more living under autocracy.

Egypt provides salutary lessons for other nations, including India.

Mubarak created a highly centralised state of control allowing him to crush potential rivals. But the voice of the people has been bubbling beneath the surface for years – I witnessed it during various visits there, from bloggers, union members and dissidents.

Cairo, however, refused to listen, believing brute force would allow the status-quo to survive.

Responsive, democratic governments work best when the interests of the people, especially minorities, aren’t ignored but acted upon.

Blocking the Internet in a large country is almost impossible in the 21st century due to the economy’s reliance on it but Egypt joins an increasingly long list of nations attempting to shut out modernity (including Myanmar and North Korea).

Although the central government in New Delhi is unlikely to administer such a draconian plan, leaders should be open to robust debate on the most controversial subjects, including Kashmir and the Naxalites.

Mature democracies are ones that welcome disagreement and don’t threaten prosecution for those who dare challenge the mainstream view.

There are disturbing signs in many western nations of overzealous officials wanting to regulate the openness of the Internet in the fight against ‘terrorism’.

This must be resisted.

Likewise in India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be well advised to listen to dissent due to the decentralised nature of his country; ignoring such difficult questions is not the sign of a leader who consults but a man who relies on harsh counter-terrorism techniques to quash dissent.

Hosni Mubarak could inform him of the dangers of this path.

Australian journalist and author Antony Loewenstein, 36, has published a best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question, and has spent time working and travelling across the Middle East and beyond. His book, The Blogging Revolution, examines the role of the internet in repressive regimes, including Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and China. He has written for publications such as the Guardian, Haaretz and the BBC World and regularly appears in the local and global media discussing human rights and politics.


US definition of web freedom; content that we like

Posted: 15 Feb 2011 05:17 AM PST

How noble is the Obama administration, pledging to support citizens in repressive regimes (many of which are run by US-backed thugs but why quibble with such details?):

Days after Facebook and Twitter added fuel to a revolt in Egypt, the Obama administration plans to announce a new policy on Internet freedom, designed to help people get around barriers in cyberspace while making it harder for autocratic governments to use the same technology to repress dissent.

The State Department’s policy, a year in the making, has been bogged down by fierce debates over which projects it should support, and even more basically, whether to view the Internet primarily as a weapon to topple repressive regimes or as a tool that autocrats can use to root out and crush dissent.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will lay out the policy in a speech on Tuesday, acknowledged the Internet’s dual role in an address a year ago, and administration officials said she would touch on that theme again, noting how social networks were used by both protesters and governments in the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries.

The State Department plans to finance programs like circumvention services, which enable users to evade Internet firewalls, and training for human rights workers on how to secure their e-mail from surveillance or wipe incriminating data from cellphones if they are detained by the police.

Though the policy has been on the drawing board for months, it has new urgency in light of the turmoil in the Arab world, because it will be part of a larger debate over how the United States weighs its alliances with entrenched leaders against the young people inspired by the events in Tunisia and Egypt.

Administration officials say that the emphasis on a broad array of projects — hotly disputed by some technology experts and human rights activists — reflects their view that technology can be a force that leads to democratic change, but is not a “magic bullet” that brings down repressive regimes.

“People are so enamored of the technology,” said Michael H. Posner, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor. “People have a view that technology will make us free. No, people will make us free.”

Of course in reality Washington is highly selective in backing real transparency, as its continued attack on Wikileaks shows:

The Obama administration is stepping up its drive to promote Internet freedom, hoping that countries like Iran could be swept up by the same kind of Web-driven public demonstrations and political tumult that brought the regime in Egypt to its knees in a matter of weeks.

However, critics say that as the United States calls for unfettered and uncensored access to the Internet around the globe, the Obama administration is stepping on its own message by aggressively pursuing a criminal investigation into the activities of online publisher WikiLeaks and how it obtained hundreds of thousands of classified American government reports.

In an awkward bit of timing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to deliver a major speech on Internet freedom in Washington on Tuesday just hours after Justice Department lawyers are scheduled to be in federal court a few miles away in the first public courtroom showdown over the probe into WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Prosecutors are expected to urge a federal magistrate in Alexandria, Va., to uphold a court order requiring Twitter to turn over confidential information about the use of its services by three WikiLeaks supporters.

“This is an outrageous attack by the Obama administration on the privacy and free speech rights of Twitter’s customers – many of them American citizens,” Assange complained in a statement Monday. “More shocking, at this time, is that it amounts to an attack on the right to freedom of association, a freedom that the people of Tunisia and Egypt, for example, spurred on by the information released by Wikileaks, have found so valuable.”

“It’s a typical example of it’s right for thee but not for me,” said Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who recently signed on to advise Assange’s legal team.

“They’re perfectly happy to see all of Iran’s secrets disclosed, but they draw the line at their own. They’re perfectly happy to see open media in every other part of the world, but here they’re trying to close down media that has challenged them. It’s a clear double standard at work, and we’re going to expose that double standard.”

Obama administration officials insist there’s no conflict between promoting Web freedom abroad and enforcing U.S. laws regarding handling of confidential government data, like diplomatic cables and military reports.

“WikiLeaks is not about Internet freedom,” a senior State Department official told POLITICO Monday. “It’s not even an Internet issue. It’s about U.S. government property being stolen which is under investigation by the Justice Department. … The fact that the Internet was used to conduct the crime does not make it about Internet freedom.”

“WikiLeaks is about the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. It is not an exercise in Internet freedom,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said last month in a speech to students at the Washington Center . “It is about the legitimate investigation of a crime. It is about the need to continue to protect sensitive information while enabling the free flow of public information.”

Crowley, who has publicly blasted Assange as an “anarchist,” said those claiming hypocrisy are misunderstanding the kind of openness the United States is advocating.

“Transparency does not mean there are no secrets. Whether you are a government or a business, there is proprietary information that is vital to your day-to-day function. Coca-Cola has its secret formula. Google has its search algorithm. Their success is based on these secrets. As a government, we are no different,” Crowley said.

Washington Middle East and democracy experts have generally welcomed the U.S. call for uninterrupted access to Facebook, Twitter and the Internet. But they’ve also noted that talking about Web freedom is a lot simpler than untangling conflicted U.S. interests toward the current instability in the Middle East, that threatens both adversaries such as Iran, as well as strong allies as Yemen’s President Saleh, who has backed the fight against Al Qaeda.

“It’s a little bit easier to make democracy-promotion about letting everyone have access to Facebook than it is to confront directly the core elements of an allied police state,” Human Rights Watch’s Tom Malinowski said. “It’s a good thing to be promoting access to Facebook – but it’s also a little easier to do than the other thing.”

Fall of Mubarak should be very good for Jews (but not Zionists)

Posted: 15 Feb 2011 05:00 AM PST

Ilan Pappe:

The gist of the Israeli narrative is simple: this is an Iranian-like revolution helped by Al Jazeera and stupidly allowed by US President Barack Obama, who is a new Jimmy Carter, and a stupefied world. Spearheading the Israeli interpretation are the former Israeli ambassadors to Egypt. All their frustration from being locked in an apartment in a Cairean high-rise is now erupting like an unstoppable volcano. Their tirade can be summarized in the words of one of them, Zvi Mazael who told Israeli television’s Channel One on 28 January, “this is bad for the Jews; very bad.”

In Israel of course when you say “bad for the Jews,” you mean the Israelis — but you also mean that whatever is bad for Israel is bad for the Jews all around the world (despite the evidence to the contrary since the foundation of the state). 

But what is really bad for Israel is the comparison. Regardless of how all this would end, it exposes the fallacies and pretense of Israel like never before. Egypt is experiencing a peaceful Intifada with the deadly violence coming from the side of the regime. The army did not shoot at the demonstrators; and even before the departure of Mubarak, already seven days into the protests, the minister of interior who directed his thugs to violently crash the demonstrations had been sacked and will probably be brought to justice. 

Yes, this was done in order to win time and try to persuade the demonstrators to go home. But even this scene, by now forgotten, can never happen in Israel. Israel is a place where all the generals who ordered the shootings of Palestinian and Jewish anti-occupation demonstrators now compete for the highest post of Chief of the General Staff.



Dispatch from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah protest

Posted: 14 Feb 2011 11:29 PM PST

David Shulman documents the daily ethnic cleansing:

It took the Planning Committee of the Jerusalem City Council less than fifteen minutes to approve plans for the next wave of evictions in Sheikh Jarrah. We knew it was coming. Six large Palestinian families—some fifty souls– are to be expelled from their homes, the houses will be demolished, and thirteen apartment units will then be built for Israeli settlers. We know the families, we know the neighborhood, and we know the meaning and intention of this move, a further step in the ethnic cleansing the government is intent on carrying through in Sheikh Jarrah. They probably feel that this moment, with all eyes focused on Egypt, is a good time to act. Some 90,000 housing units for Jews have been built in Jerusalem on private Palestinian land, taken over for this purpose. More are coming.

A small group of activists stood in protest outside the City Council office during the meeting on Monday. The police arrested four of them and, as is their wont, asked the court to prohibit them from participating in demonstrations for 180 days. In the eyes of the Jerusalem police, non-violent civil protest is a disease to be extirpated. The judge threw out the request and scolded the police for the illegal arrests. Here is a small vignette that tells you all you really need to know about the state of civil liberties in Israel today. We are slipping rapidly into a form of “light” Fascism, entirely palatable to the bulk of the Jewish population; democratic institutions such as the courts are still functioning and sometimes act to protect basic rights, but they have little or no power in the face of the anti-democratic laws the Knesset is enacting or of the administrative decisions, of a racist and fanatically nationalist character, that government bodies, such as the Jerusalem municipality, routinely put into effect. “Light” Fascism has a way of turning into its heavier counterpart. We are losing ground day by day.

So here we are at the 65th Friday demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah, and Mahmud Sau, whose home is slated for demolition, is addressing the two or three hundred Israeli protesters who have come today, braving the cold rain. “We have been here for over sixty years,” he says. “We are refugees from 1948, and now they will make us refugees a second time. When we moved here, my mother used to bring water, in pots she carried on her head, from a well near where the gas station is today [on Nablus Road]. We built these homes. All we want is to live in peace with everyone. When they destroy my house, they will at the same time cut off access from the street to our neighbors’ homes; how are they supposed to live there? Where will we go?” He thanks us for coming to stand with him. A Palestinian grandmother or great-grandmother, small and bent, ten thousand wrinkles on her face, stands at the gate of her home, scrutinizing the crowd. She must be wondering if we’re capable of doing anything substantial to help. So am I.



Dershowitz joins Assange team

Posted: 14 Feb 2011 09:03 PM PST

Loathing Palestinians is clearly no barrier to assisting the US case of Julian Assange:

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has joined the legal defense team for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

The announcement–which came via a Tweeted press release Monday afternoon–took place a day ahead of the first showdown over Wikileaks in a U.S. courtroom: a hearing set for Tuesday in Alexandria, Va. on a request the Justice Department made for information about Twitter accounts maintained by three Wikileaks supporters.

“I’m serving as the legal consultant to them on American aspects of the issue, which at the moment is limited to the efforts to get this material,” Dershowitz told me.

Asked why he got involved in the matter, Dershowitz said he sees important freedoms at stake in the battle and he rejects claims by government official that Assange shouldn’t be considered a journalist.

“Assange is a journalist. He’s a new kind of journalist. He represents the newest wave of journalism,” Dershowitz said. “I’m currently in this case because I believe that to protect the First Amendment we need to protect new electronic media vigorously.”

Records about acounts maintained by Assange and Wikileaks itself were requested in the same court order directed to Twitter, but Assange is not fighting those requests, according to the Wikileaks press statement.

“Mr Assange will not himself be intervening in the action against Twitter because as an Australian who has committed no criminal act on US territory, he claims that the American courts have no jurisdiction over him,” the release said. “The head of his UK legal team, Geoffrey Robertson QC, has brought in Alan Dershowitz, the distinguished Harvard Law Professor, as part of the team to advise on the US Attorney General’s actions.”

Legal analysts said that the decision by Assange not to join in the legal challenge to the Twitter order was likely to preserve Assange’s claims to a lack of jurisdiction, if the U.S. does bring criminal charges in the future.

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Zio-Nazi Four Consecutive days of demolitions


From the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF)

Last week brought four consecutive days of demolitions in Al Arakib. For the first time on February 9 we witnessed bulldozers clearly marked as belonging to the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL), destroying tents that had been erected overnight by the residents. The JNF can no longer claim to have no involvement in the repeated destruction of Al Arakib.

On the fourth day there were violent clashes between the residents and the police who responded with a heavy hand and resorted to the use of tear gas, pepper spray and sponge tipped bullets despite the fact that there were women and children in the crowd. Several residents were hurt with many refusing to go to the hospital. Three residents (including a youth) and three activists, including Gadi Algazi, were also arrested in the scuffle. The minor and three activists were released soon after, however, the two residents were detained and their hearing is set for today. All three activists were ordered not to enter the village for two weeks.

Many of the women and children continue to live in the cemetery which is still untouched and some returned to where the village formerly stood to rebuild temporary structures after each demolition.

The JNF is continuing to prepare the ground in the village for planting through building mounds of earth for the young trees, levelling areas and digging dams.

Following this week of conflict, the Negev Coexistence Forum in collaboration with the Recognition Forum and others held a solidarity visit in Al Arakib on Saturday, February 12. We enjoyed a strong turn out with approximately 150 people attending to show their support for the residents who continue to show their resilience.

Here are some interesting links from the past week:


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