Archive | June 19th, 2011

Pakistan: NATO Warplanes Crossed Border, Attacked Military Post

NOVANEWS
At Least Six Bombs Dropped on Outpost in Mohmand Agency

antiwar.com

Pakistan’s government filed an official protest with the United States today following a cross-border attack by NATO warplanes from Afghanistan against a military post in Mohmand Agency.

Pakistan said two jets had crossed the border into Pakistani airspace and that they had dropped six bombs on the military post, which lies just a mile and a half from the border with Afghanistan. No deaths were reported.

The Foreign Ministry termed the attack a “serious concern” and called for the US to assist in a “joint inquiry” of how the attack happened. NATO has yet to comment on the attack.

The attack comes just a day after Afghan militants crossed the border against the nearby Bajaur Agency, attacking three villages. Though NATO had often complained about Pakistan’s lack of control over the tribal area, increasingly it is cross-border attacks from both NATO and the militants coming into Pakistan, not the other way around.

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Introduction: 2011 Summer False Flag Forecast

NOVANEWS

Holy Horde: International Interfaith


The OBL bogeyman was manufactured in the USA to justify the Global War of Terror (GWOT).

by Abu Salem sofyan,

Islamic Intelligence and Captain Eric H. May, Iconoclast Intelligence


6/17/11 — We two editors could not be more different at first glance, but appearances can be deceiving. A Muslim Arab European and a Christian Anglo American, we began with mutual suspicion. Since then we have corresponded, found common ground and become both coauthors and friends. Surely this is an example of what will make a better world.

In the next week we shall examine the false flag top targets and timetables for six countries that we consider most endangered:

  1. United States

  2. United Kingdom

  3. France

  4. Germany

  5. Spain

  6. Italy

We know of no similar US/EU joint analysis, and hope that our example, endorsed by our colleagues and readers, will encourage similar efforts by others.

False Flag: “Existential Essential

The ongoing US/EU campaign against Libya is increasingly unpopular, and U.S. public support for the war is nosediving:

Just 26% Favor Continued Military Action in Libya

Monday, June 13, 2011 — A plurality of voters now opposes further U.S. military action in Libya, and most say President Obama needs congressional approval to continue those operations. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 26% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the United States should continue its military actions in Libya. Forty-two percent (42%) are opposed  and 32% are undecided. But 59% agree the president should get the approval of Congress if he wants to continue U.S. military action in Libya.

Meanwhile, Congressional opposition to the war is skyrocketing:

Lawmakers mock Obama claim on Libya hostilities

Republicans and Democrats on Thursday derided President Barack Obama’s claim that U.S. air attacks against Libya do not constitute hostilities and demanded that the commander in chief seek congressional approval for the 3-month-old military operation. In an escalating constitutional fight, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, threatened to withhold money for the mission, pitting a Congress eager to exercise its power of the purse against a dug-in White House.

The political basis for the Libya War is flimsy in Europe, too, and it seems incredible that the Zionist US/EU media is agitating for yet another war, this time against Syria (leading to war with Iran). There isn’t a snowball’s chance in Haiti that the various publics will commit more blood and treasure for oil and Israel — unless of course there’s another 9/11 to stimulate war fever in the war-weary West.

Our US/EU summer false flag forecast is based on four premises:

  1. 9/11 and the post-9/11 crusade against Islamic nations were crimes plotted and perpetrated by what Colonel Larry Wilkerson, chief of staff to former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, famously called “a secretive Cabal running American foreign policy, which is undermining American democracy.”

  2. The West, led by a diminishing United States, is engaged in a struggle against the East, led by an emerging China, to control Mideast oil, according to former NATO commander General Wesley Clark in a CNN interview three months after the invasion of Iraq.

  3. The 9/11 Cabal war plan, demanding public acceptance of imperial invasions and domestic despotism, is increasingly challenged by the internet, which circumvents and contradicts the Zionist mainstream media.

  4. Time is running out for the 9/11 Cabal because of the possible recognition of an independent Palestinian state in the September United Nations General Assembly, making a summer false flag an “existentialist essential” for Zionist Zealots.

Holy Qaran, Chapter 43, Verse 61

“And Jesus shall be a Sign for the coming of the Hour of Judgment, therefore have no doubt about the Hour, but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.”

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Of Cabbages Kings Mice Men and Wiener

NOVANEWS

by Mike Farrell

Unlike Lynard Skynard, the departure of Anthony Wiener from the national stage is well overdue, although I’m not surprised he waited until he talked in person to his wife, who undoubtedly told him to get his ass out of the limelight for the foreseeable future. Hey, if you can get off the runaway train, get off the damn thing now, or be prepared for it to go very badly indeed…

He can still have an interesting career as a Democratic strategist, and may even find a place to return to office in New York. But, his absolute tonedeafness and ultimate reluctance to leave the stage is amazing. What part of “I’m an asshole, I’ve embarrassed myself, my family, my friends, my party and my supporters. I need to go away, get some help and get my head out of my ass…” required a press conference?

This is not a Jimmy Swaggart moment. I hate to compare apples and hand grenades, but sin and repentance were part and parcel to Swaggart’s attraction to his audience, congregation, followers or whatever they are. The majority of folks in Baton Rouge weren’t really all that excited by Swaggart; and when he fell, the fall was pretty much applauded. I was spending a lot of time in that area during the brouhahahahahaha surrounding Jerry Lee’s sacred cousin, and there were some great jokes about the crying Pentecostal Bible College president and Tammy Faye’s husband told in bars, bristos and offices around the capital. Of course, Louisiana is pretty much immune to scandal – they have enough of it.


YouTube – Veterans Today –

Shut Your Mouth and Get Your Ass On The Plane

Well your wishes and your feelings
Your bad dreams and intuitions
Are about as much good to me right now as a brand new set of golf clubs
We’ve been this close to death before, we were just too drunk to know it
Guess the price of being sober’s being scared out of your mind

(chorus)
When it comes your time to go, ain’t no good way to go about it
Ain’t no use in thinking bout it
You’ll just drive yourself insane
There comes a time for everything
And the time has come for you to shut your mouth and get your ass on the plane

Ain’t nothing I’d rather do right now than just go on home and lay around
But that ain’t never an option for a working man like me
How much is enough you ask
I’ll ask the man when I get a chance
All I know right now, there’s somewhere else I’m suppose to be

Screaming engines, shooting flames
Dirty needles and cheap cocaine
Some gal’s old man with a gun
To me it’s all the same
Dead is dead and it ain’t no different than walking around if you ain’t living
Living in fear’s just another way of dying before your time
When it comes your time to go, ain’t no good way to go about it
Ain’t no use in thinking bout it
You’ll just drive yourself insane
There comes a time for everything
And the time has come for you to shut your mouth and get your ass on the plane
–Southern Rock Opera, The Drive By Truckers

As is New York in some regards – Swaggart’s enjoyment of watching hookers knit and pearl and Vitter’s diapers and dominatrix for pay would bother New Yorkers if they acted them out while on the political stage in Manhattan because they’re creepy, not because they’re sinful.  Quite frankly, Mrs. Vitter’s leopard print dress when she did the spouse’s stand by your man routine would have probably caused more cattiness in a lot of the Manhattan salons.

Ultimately the titillation and scandal surround Anthony Wiener have the same root. It’s just creepy – go out, get drunk, pick up a broad, have sex; not necessarily classy, particularly if you’re a married man, but basically something most people can at least understand.

Take a picture of you stuff and send out to various cyber-friends, and you’re vaguely creepy. Send it out to various people who think they are going to be talking about politics, and you’ve achieved the full sliminess that resides in Lenny Bruce comedy routines about guys combing their hair in the men’s room with soap and seeking transvestite dwarf partners or in Jerry Falwell’s dreams of what goes on in Larry Flint’s mind.

Wiener wasn’t surprised or phased during his press conference by the animals baying for his testicles. In so far as it’s possible to say “I’m a twit” with dignity he did so. I’m reminded of a bit from Black Adder Goes Forth, where Captain Blackadder has been condemned to be shot, and acts confident and cracks jokes; the head jailer says, “Cap, I have to admire your balls,” to which Rowan Atkinson replies, “Well, maybe later.” I just don’t get why he felt compelled to do a press conference.

Why not use Twitter? Or You Tube? Send a letter?

“No, let me take this one last bow in the limelight, even if they’re going to throw used condoms at me.” You know, Anthony Wiener ultimately leaves the stage in the same way he managed to create enemies and mockers to drive him from it — “Hey, EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME!” I bet he was an annoying kid.

Now, I agree with Wiener on most policy issues. He constituents seem to have thought he was a good representative. He might have made a good liberal mayor of New York. This isn’t tragedy, but does rise to tragi-comic farce.  But, seriously, if there ever was a time to shut your mouth and get your ass on the plane, this was

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Freedom Flotilla II sets sail for Gaza

NOVANEWS

 

Illustration: Carlos Latuff

Freedom Flotilla aid ship is setting sail for Gaza again.


The Palestinian message on the ground is clear, but no one’s listening. They won’t accept surrender for peace. They want nothing less than freedom and justice in their own unoccupied land.


by Debbie Menon


The aid flotilla is being organized by a coalition of pro-Palestinian groups, most of them based in Europe, the Associated Press reported.

The mission is named after the first Freedom Flotilla, which Israeli naval commandos  attacked on May 31, 2010, in international waters,  killing nine Turkish activists and injuring around 50 others.

Huwaida Arraf,  was on board The Challenger, a U.S.-flagged ship that was part of this international effort tobreak Israel’s cruel illegal blockade of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Huwaida Arraf ISM Co-Founder

Huwaida recounts : “Israeli commandos grabbed me by my hair and rammed my head into the deck. They then stepped on my head in order to cuff my hands behind my back and then put a sack over my head. Worse yet, the commandoes killed nine of my fellow passengers, including 19-year old U.S. citizen Furkan Dogan, on theMavi Marmara.

An international fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council concluded that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip is “collective punishment”–a war crime–and that its May 31, 2010, attack on the flotilla in order to enforce its blockade was “illegal.” The mission found that six passengers, including Furkan, were killed “in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution,” and that survivors were subjected to “torture.”

Rather than put pressure on Israel to end its illegal blockade of Gaza, investigate Israel’s killing of a U.S. citizen and attack against a U.S. ship, and sanction Israel for misusing U.S. weapons to attack the flotilla, the Obama Administration shamefully has tried to shield Israel from accountability for its actions.

On Saturday, Egypt permanently reopened its border crossing with Rafah. This is an important step toward ending Gaza’s isolation. But because Israel is still illegally blockading Gaza by land, sea and air, and because my country–the United States–is still enabling Israel to get away with it (in April, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice even publicly pressured governments to block future flotillas), in June I plan to sail for Gaza again with “Freedom Flotilla II–Stay Human.”

Four women Nobel Peace Laureates have sent an open letter calling on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to support the safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II. The flotilla will be bringing much-needed humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza in late June.

Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, and Rigoberta Menchú Tum have asked the Secretary General to “support the people of Gaza with two key actions:

First, by appointing a representative to inspect and seal the cargo of the boats of the Freedom Flotilla II—thus assuring the Israeli government that the boats are carrying humanitarian supplies…”

and to “call on all governments to support the safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II.”

  • Download the open letter here or read the full text below.

Nobel Women’s Initiative An Open Letter to Ban Ki Moon

10 June 2011 | Nobel Women’s Initiative

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

United Nations

New York, NY 10017 USA

RE: Inspection and sealing of Freedom Flotilla II cargo

Dear Mr. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,

We are writing to urge you to use your good offices in support of the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza.

In our view, you can support the people of Gaza with two key actions. First, by appointing a representative to inspect and seal the cargo of the boats of the Freedom Flotilla II—thus assuring the Israeli government that the boats are carrying humanitarian supplies such as toys, medical supplies, cement and educational materials. Equally important, we strongly urge you to use your authority to call on all governments to support the safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II. We are disappointed to learn of your recent efforts to persuade member governments from stopping the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza on the Freedom Flotilla II. We urge you to reconsider and instead encourage member states to lend support and ask Israel not to use force against legitimate humanitarian initiatives undertaken by civil society to help ease the suffering of the people of Gaza who are facing a humanitarian crisis of devastating scale.

The Freedom Flotilla II, organized by 14 national groups and international coalitions and carrying approximately 1500 ‘freedom riders,’ is set to sail to Gaza this month. Sailing in the spirit of promoting human rights, prosperity, and social responsibility, the aim of the Flotilla is to alleviate the  humanitarian crisis faced by the citizens of Gaza. The blockade in Gaza is clearly having a harmful impact on the people of Gaza, and indeed UNDP and other agencies report high levels of malnutrition and other disturbing health problems.

According to a report by the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization, the level of “abject poverty” among the Palestinians of Gaza has tripled since the imposition of the blockade, with 61 % of households not having enough food.

The blockade has crippled the Gaza economy and destroyed Palestinians’ livelihoods and homes.

We believe our requests to you are in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 1860 of January 2009 as well as the 2010 UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on the attack on Freedom Flotilla I, which are calling for a lift of the blockade to allow humanitarian assistance. We urge you to do all you can to support this nonviolent international humanitarian effort, to provide UN representatives to inspect and seal the cargo, and to appeal to all governments to allow safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your positive response.

Sincerely,

-Mairead Corrigan Maguire

-Rigoberta Menchu Tum

-Jody Williams

– Shirin Ebadi

A short promo video edited by Adam Shapiro, co-founder of International Solidarity Movement, for Freedom Flotilla 2: Message in a Bottle.mp4

Greta Berlin one of the early pioneers of the flotilla initiative and founder of  Free Gaza Movement wrote: “Instead of pressuring countries to stand in our way, or coming up with ways to bribe governments to stop our ships, the United Nations, the United States and the rest of the international community should recognize the power of this non-violent civilian effort to pressure Israel to change its policy.”

The world community must force Israel to back off and world public opinion and people of conscience must demand that it does so.

The inability of the world community and the United Nations to challenge Israel only frustrates hopes for a stable and peaceful world.

The US government being the primary negotiator for peace and security between Israelis and Palestinians should bear the responsibility for the Zionist regime’s massacre of Palestinian women and children in their homes and territories. Peace and security will be realized only through the establishment of true justice. How can sustainable peace and security be reached by provoking and humiliating others?

Gaza remains under siege, Palestinians in Gaza remain deprived of basic amenities, provoked and angered, the West Bank is also terrorized, Palestinians are being evicted from their homes daily, settlements continue being built, Palestinian land keeps being taken, more innocent lives in the territories are being lost, suffering remains unbearable, and hope for the beleaguered people are dashed.  More Sanctions are being imposed on Israel’s perceived  enemies in the region, crippling their economies further.  Israel does all this without offending anybody!

The Palestinian message on the ground is clear, but no one’s listening. They won’t accept surrender for peace. They want nothing less than freedom and justice in their own unoccupied land. Israel won’t leave them in peace, so the struggle continues.

The United States is not being part of the solution, and appears as a great part of the problem.

I believe the only conclusions to the problem is for Americans to force their Government and Congress to stop supporting Israel diplomatically, militarily and financially.

But, first, and above all, someone is going to have to conduct a spinal implant in the US administration and the Congress!

“America’s inability to resolve the question of Palestine is one of the gravest tragedies of our times. This is primarily because the US administration and the US Congress have succumbed to the demands of the Zionists in America, the Zionist regime in Telaviv and its various Lobbies, AIPAC (American–Israeli Policy Action Committee) and ADL  (Anti-Defamation League). There exists a coordinating agency called “The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations,” Their website (www.conferenceofpresidents.org) is worth exploring (and AIPAC is just one of literally dozens of organizations under its umbrella). This is a lethal ailment that afflicts the United States.  The American politicians have fallen captive to this Zionist network.”

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Ex-CIA Phil Giraldi…The Proper Place for Americans

NOVANEWS

Should Americans Focus More on our Enemies at Home

by Jim W. Dean

Phil Giraldi weighs in for us again with an ‘all you can eat buffet’ of third rail topics. He puts a harsh spotlight on critical issues that most of our minders would prefer a smoke and mirrors presentation. Fortunately he is not alone as Veterans Today is in lockstep on many of these same issues.

 

The disconnect of Washington with the rest of the country is a familiar and bipartisanly accepted issue. But in the last few years there has been a significant shift taking place.

I hear a growing discourse developing among Americans who feel their country has slipped away from them. Some of the military people describe it as living under a scenario where we had been conquered in a war, and the victor imposes a Quisling government to rule in their place.

The purpose of an occupying force has historically been to loot the country. And who better to do this than the elitists who had already been devoting their lives to that task. They are the natural bride for the invading groom. The revelations of the Wall Street Financial corruption that walked up the red carpet rolled out by both the Clinton and Bush administrations is now well understood by legions of Americans. They now know the  intimate details of the dirty dancing that was done between our political elite and the Banksters.

When Bill Clinton came in he was disappointed with the Wall Street campaign contributions. So he asked his new Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin ‘what do we need to do to get them on board’. Secretary Rubin instantly responded, ‘Repeal the Taft Hartley Act.’ Clinton ordered him to get right on it. (Source: Dick Morris)

Go Get That Wall Street Money Robert

There have been some grass roots blowback from this, the TeaParty being the most visible. But the political pros were quick to do what they always do to these emerging groups,  co-opt and control them.

The NeoCons quickly constructed a puppet stage with the likes of the old Newt Gringrich and the Neo-sock puppet Sara Palin. The age old way for pulling this off is you just offer to pay for everything. They rarely say no.

The Ron Paul faction, of course, did say no. They are the True Blues, not for sale, and hated the most by the elites.  This is generally how I decide to vote for, whoever the crooked elites hate the most.

Phil Giraldi has made stellar use of his post government years, continuing to serve on the front lines, but where he is his own boss. He has a long and good list to share with you today.

Please pass this around as we need to get more and more people aware of this challenge of being attacked from 360 degrees by a myriad of issues. This is an age old tactic to eliminate any concentration of push back forces.

Once we have figured out what to do and how best to do it, the harsh reality of arithmetic will still rule the day. If we do not have enough people behind it to push, it will come to naught. Teamwork rules.

So let’s work hard, work smart, avoid the constant dogma arguments, and prioritize what will hopefully be the successful retaking of America. It is going to be a huge job because the Mandarins here are wired into their bunkers with interlocking fire.

But those of us here in the non-DC wilderness, we are not without some resources ourselves. We will try to keep the good stuff coming. Let us know what you think in the comments. We need the feed back as we learn from you.     Jim W. Dean, Editor…for Veterans Today


La Nation Building du Jour by Phil Giraldi

 

Phil Giraldi – Still Working

Critics of Washington politics have often noted that there is a huge disconnect between the thinking on Capitol Hill and what is clear to most Americans who live in the rest of the country.

 

 

 

Many Americans, most particularly those who do not work for the federal government and who therefore do not benefit from inflated salaries, solid-gold benefit packages and the option to return as contractors earning even more, are in serious financial trouble.

Official unemployment approaches ten percent, with at least as many more no longer looking for jobs and even more having taken jobs at reduced salaries and without benefits. One quarter of American homes are worth less than their mortgages.

So what does President Obama do? He bails out the banks and forgives them their debts before going on television and telling young Americans to go to college so they can become teachers, seemingly unaware that most local school districts are not hiring because they, unlike the banks, have run out of money. And what do the Republicans do? Nothing, beyond pretending to be paragons of fiscal responsibility.

 

Robert Rubin and Greenspan

They arrived in the White House in 2000 with a budget surplus and then wrecked the economy courtesy of Mr. Greenspan and ballooning deficits. George W. Bush vowed not to take any steps that would reduce the US standard of living, but he has destroyed the futures for our children and grandchildren through his fiscal recklessness and his ridiculous war on terror.

And then there is global warming. No reasonable debate on what can or should be done is possible because some wing nuts in the Republican Party have decided that even if the polar ice caps are melting there must never be any suggestion that the cause of the change is human activity.

As it is a Republican mantra, one has to presume that the argument derives from something written in the Old Testament, probably a few pages over from the bit that confirms that Israel must be exalted among all nations.

So when Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman suggest that climate change just might be manmade, at least in part, they suddenly find themselves in the GOP wilderness, mostly because they were speaking the truth.

And don’t look for the Democrats to do any better on the issue because it might actually cause some pain to limit emissions. Both Democrats and Republicans would have done well to look out the window over the past few weeks. The weather is getting a little bit strange, isn’t it? What is it going to be like in about ten years if this keeps up?

Who Ultimately Pays for the Mistakes?

But the real kicker is how the two major parties close ranks on foreign and defense policies. Foreign policy and the associated Pentagon bill are largely non-issues in American elections apart from bromides about remaining strong and free.

The ability of the average American to absorb anything beyond a bumper sticker slogan or an episode of Glee or Dancing With the Stars is decidedly limited.

Only enthusiasm for America’s “warriors” is welcome in most circles. On Memorial Day  a contributor to one local paper in Virginia praised America’s soldiers overseas, writing that they are “fighting for freedom,” an assertion that fails the who what when and where test.

But foreign policy and Washington’s prodigious Pentagon budget are important even if ignored because they actually are the drivers of many of the domestic ills that Americans are experiencing. Tea Partiers who are resistant to government overspending are right to do so, but they fail to come to grips with the underlying cause of the sorry state of the US economy, which is the constant wars that have been fought since 2001.

The wars have sucked trillions of dollars out of the US economy and, as they are unending, they are fated to claim trillions more in the decade to come, a legacy that derives from both Bush and Obama.

Better Used Here or Over There?

Even though runaway defense spending is the largest discretionary item in the federal budget it is virtually untouchable and actually increases annually in spite of the fact that it includes weapons systems that are far in excess of what is needed for actually protecting the homeland. It also ignores serious needs in the domestic economy at a time of deep economic malaise.

Among the Republicans only Walter Jones and Ron Paul have dared to question the perpetual state of war and the costs that it entails.

The Democrats, meanwhile, are content to line up behind their president, politely tut-tutting over Afghanistan because it has gone on so long and has cost so much, but not challenging the principle of US interventionism. And there is virtually no dissent from the mainstream media, both from the left and the right, so the public is blissfully unaware that there might be an alternative to America the Imperial.

Without a phony threat of terrorism and a constant series of wars there would be no Patriot Act and no military commissions, no Guantánamo or secret CIA prisons, no Abu Ghraib, no invocation of state secrets privilege, no extraordinary renditions, no targeted assassinations, and no waterboarding. No one would have had the opportunity to invent the word “Islamofascism” or worry about Sharia law in Oklahoma.

Even with much-reduced defense outlays one doubts if the federal budget would be in balance but it is at least likely that the federal government’s debt would be much reduced.

A stable economy and a peaceful America might not have forestalled the tech bubble on Wall Street that wiped out millions of 401Ks followed by the real estate bubble that swept away the rest, but it is at least possible to speculate that the last decade’s economic catastrophe could have been either mitigated or averted.

Sec of Defense – Robert Gates

Those who support a return to something approaching normalcy must challenge the groupthink that prevails. Last week outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates castigated NATO because the member nations are not spending enough on their respective militaries.

As there is no military threat in Europe to counter, the reason NATO exists, it was a clear signal that the Obama administration foresees many more Libyas with Europe and the US united to police the world.

But almost certainly the Europeans have it right and Obama and Gates are themselves unwilling to read the tea leaves: wasting hundreds of billions on defense spending when there is no real threat is an anachronism, born of the cold war.

And the real irony is that the war party has little to point to in the way of success beyond killing Osama bin Laden after ten years of trying.

If American soldiers overseas are truly endangering their lives delivering freedom, the proponents of a huge military to enable constant war should be able to demonstrate exactly how that has occurred, when and where, and what gain has come from it.

To Leave or Stay – For What?

Iraq? A dictatorship that was stable has been replaced by a corrupt one-party rule. A state that was the Arab bulwark against Iranian expansion is now one of Tehran’s best friends.

Afghanistan? Nearly everyone agrees that it is insoluble and it is time to leave, but ten years have gone by and a trillion dollars wasted on a nation-building catastrophe that even the US government concedes has failed. When the US finally does leave the Taliban will return and the only unity in Afghanistan will be that everyone hates the Americans.

Libya, the latest cakewalk candidate, is already a money pit and is showing every sign of a failed policy. Yemen? Somalia? Are they better off due to US predator drone attacks?

Are we Americans better off because we have the technology and will to carry them out? Are we safer or has stirring up the hornet’s nest in so many places actually placed us at risk?

If Washington cannot appreciate that we Americans are far worse off and even less safe now than we were ten years ago, there is definitely something wrong with the cognitive process that prevails in the White House and in Congress. And it all starts with the false narrative that combines global threats with American exceptionalism to support an expanding imperial role.

George W. Bush was not imaginative enough to conceive anything different but the much more clever Barack Obama has also bought into the same suffocating fiction about the United States’ appropriate place in the world.

It is time to replace that story with a gentler tale that the proper place for Americans is in America, not in Afghanistan or Iraq or any other country that displeases Washington’s Mandarins and the beltway punditry.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA Officer, is the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest. His “Deep Background” column appears every month exclusively in The American Conservative. Phil also did a wide variety of media interviews: Russia Today, Croatian Television, NPR Los Angeles, and Antiwar radio. In September, he will be a featured speaker at Congressman Ron Paul’s Political Action Conference in Reno.

Phil Giraldi : Spying on Americans — Press TV

 

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Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

Why Obama is wrong to ignore the War Powers Act

Jun 18, 2011

Lizzy Ratner

The New York Times published a disturbing story this morning about Obama’s unusual decision to ignore the advice of two top administration lawyers in deciding that he was not required to obey the War Powers Act and seek Congressional approval to continue military attacks on Libya.  By now we should be used to this — the Constitutional scholar and one-time Iraq War critic flagrantly flouting the law to pursue a hawkish foreign policy in far-flung places.  But the audacity of his position — that the US is not involved in “hostilities” in Libya and therefore the War Powers Act does not apply — is still stunning.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, which litigated the first case under the War Powers Resolution among many others, released a statement today by its vice president Jules Lobel explaining the numerous errors in the Administration’s position. Lobel is a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School and a contributor to our book, The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.

Obama Administration in Violation of War Powers Resolution

1. The United States is clearly engaged in warfare against the Libyan government. Both the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution require Congressional authorization for the Libyan conflict, which the Obama Administration has not obtained. Since 60 days have passed since the U.S. first initiated these military operations, the War Powers Resolution requires that the President terminate the operations unless he obtains explicit Congressional authorization.

2. The Obama Administration’s June 15 letter to Speaker of the House Boehner nonetheless argues that Congressional authorization is not necessary under the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution because of the limited nature, scope and duration of the U.S. military operations in Libya. It claims that the U.S. military operations against Libya “are distinct from the kind of ‘hostilities’ contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision”. “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors”.

This argument simply ignores the language of the War Powers Resolution and would permit the U.S. to engage in wars against other nation through the use of predator drones or long range bombing without Congressional authorization, so long as there are no troops on the ground.

3. The War Powers Resolution covers the introduction of U.S. troops into hostilities or into situations where the imminent involvement in hostilities is likely. Thus, the contemplation was that the Resolution would cover U.S. “involvement” in hostilities, and not simply situations where U.S. soldiers are engaged in “sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces”, or are suffering casualties. The Obama Administration’s letter would permit the U.S. to engage in high altitude bombing of a foreign nation, or predator drone attacks (and the Administration admits that such drone attacks are occurring against Libya) so long as there was no active exchange of fire or substantial risk of U.S. casualties.

4. The War Powers Resolution’s language definitively rejects the Administration’s contorted definition of hostilities. Section 8 of the Resolution, entitled Interpretation of Joint Resolution, states that,

“For purposes of this joint resolution, the term ‘introduction of United States Armed Forces’ includes the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country of government when such military forces are engaged. . . in hostilities.”

Certainly, United States military actions in support of the NATO forces directly engaged in hostilities fall within this provision. Indeed, here the United States was not and is not simply a passive participant or accompanier of foreign forces, but was one of the key instigators of this military action and played a key role in the early military strikes against Libya.

5. It is particularly unfortunate that President Obama’s high level legal advisors have chosen to take such an inappropriate and narrow view of hostilities, which would allow the President to bypass the Constitution’s and War Powers Resolution’s restrictions on unilateral Executive war making by either coordinating efforts with NATO or the United Nations, or engaging in high tech warfare to overthrow another government. Where, as here, the United States has directly engaged in warfare against another government (for whatever purposes, either purportedly noble and high-minded or not), is currently engaged in what the Administration terms are “surgical strikes” against the military forces of another nation (perhaps killing civilians as a “collateral” consequence), is actively involved in the command, coordination and participation of NATO forces attacking Libya, and has expended one billion dollars in this ongoing military operation, it is pure legal sophistry to claim that we are not involved in hostilities.

CCR calls on the Administration to comply with the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution and make its case before Congress regarding the continued need for military action in Libya. Failing that, Congress should refuse to relinquish its authority for oversight and authorization.

Israel’s war against Palestinian children continues

Jun 18, 2011

Kate

Silwan children abducted from their bedrooms / Mel Frykberg
SILWAN, occupied East Jerusalem (IPS) 16 June — “Father please help me! Don’t let them take me away,” screamed 12-year-old Ahmed Siyam as approximately fifty heavily armed Israeli soldiers and police dragged the handcuffed and blindfolded boy away. Last month Ahmed was pulled out of his bed at 4am by Israeli security forces led by Shin Bet agents from Israel’s domestic intelligence agency. He was taken to the Russian Compound police station in West Jerusalem where he was accused of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and police during clashes with Palestinian youth in the volatile neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem … Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI) reports that Israeli police opened 1,267 criminal cases against Palestinian children between November 2009 and October 2010 for stone throwing in East Jerusalem. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselemreports 31 of those children were from Silwan.

Teenage boy targeted as part of Israeli campaign against local family
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 18 June — A 14-year old boy was abducted by Israeli undercover forces from Bir Ayyub this morning. Ahmed Siyam was taken by an undercover unit from outside his uncle’s shop in Bir Ayyub and transferred to Salah al-Din police station. Police claimed that the boy “constitutes a danger to society.” Siyam was targeted for arrest by Israeli forces only yesterday, after attending the weekly prayer in the Al-Bustan protest tent. A relative of Siyam told Silwanic that it is likely he was targeted as part of a campaign against the Siyam family, after his father made statements to the press recently regarding the murder of local resident Milad Ayyash several weeks previously.

Beaten child transferred to hospital
[photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 18 June — A child attacked by Israeli forces in Issawiya, north Jerusalem has been transferred to Hadassah Hospital. Ahmed Dahoud Siyam was beaten severely by Israeli security and undercover forces and was found by doctors to have broken his right hand. Dahoud told Silwanic that “they beat me all over… I felt nauseous. They punched me in the back every time the police car stopped. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, as though I was about to die. Once in the police station an officer threatened and cursed me.” Dahoud’s father stated that a police officer informed him he would not see his son again. His son was accused of stone-throwing next to Silwan spring, a claim his father suspects is untrue due to the spring’s distant location from their home. There were also no clashes in the village at the time.

Israel displaces 67 Palestinian children from their homes in May 2011
AIC 16 June — …From the beginning of 2011 Israel has demolished 215 structures in East Jerusalem and Area C. As a result of these demolitions, 437 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes, including 213 children. An additional 751 Palestinians were harmed from the destruction of essential facilities, of whom 449 are children. The United Nations estimates that 28-46% of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and Area C are under threat of demolition.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

State moves to expand settlement on Palestinian land confiscated by Jordan
Haaretz 17 June — Israel is pushing ahead with a plan that would legitimize construction on land near the settlement of Ofra in the West Bank. The Supreme Court ruled as early as 1979 that settlements may not be built on confiscated private Palestinian land. The move’s legal foundation appears to hinge on the fact that it was the Jordanians, not the Israelis, who confiscated the land – before Israel took over the West Bank during the Six-Day War in 1967. Jordan had confiscated land from the villages of Ein Yabrud and Silwad to build a military camp.
link to www.haaretz.com

Cabinet expected to curtail Barak’s power to veto West Bank settlement construction
Haaretz 17 June — Anticipated decision would move control of World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division from Agriculture Ministry to Prime Minister’s Office — The cabinet is expected to vote on Sunday to curtail Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s authority to supervise construction in West Bank settlements. The proposal would revoke Barak’s right to veto West Bank construction by the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division. The division budgets NIS 25 million a year for this purpose.
link to www.haaretz.com

Barak: Palestinians shouldn’t mind WB construction
Ynet 18 June — Defense minister says settlement construction cannot fully stop due to ‘reality, natural population growth,’ but states ‘Palestinians shouldn’t care – they’ll get any house built on lands they get in talks’
link to www.ynetnews.com

Israeli occupation Judaizes Islamic Umayyad palaces
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 17 June — The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH) warned that the Israeli occupation is racing with time to Judaize Umayyad palaces to the south of the Aqsa Mosque, as part of a plan to turn the surroundings of the Mosque into a biblical garden … The organisation added that one of its teams made a field visit to the site over the past couple of days and saw that work is being carried out from early morning till late at night and that steel platforms have been set up to the south of the Mosque and behind the Marwani Mosque … The organisation also said that it has learnt that the area will be announce part of a biblical route that extends from Eisaweyyah to the north of Jerusalem, through Jabal al-Masharef, to Wadi al-Jouz to Bab al-Rahma cemetery to the Umayyad palaces and the Buraq wall to the south western corner of the Aqsa Mosque to Wadi Helwa in Silwan and ending in the Bustan neighbourhood of Silwan. Meanwhile, there were reports that the occupation municipality of Jerusalem has closed two weeks ago the area between Bab al-Amoud and Sulaiman’s cave, and has been doing fundamental changes to the features of the area including changing the Arabic names to Hebrew names.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2b

Occupation bulldozers demolish Palestinian homes in Negev
NEGEV (PIC) 17 June — Israeli occupation bulldozers demolished three residential structures in the villages of Karnab and Faraa, two unrecognised villages of Negev in southern occupied Palestine, as part of the occupation efforts to cleanse the Negev of Palestinian Bedouins. Head of the regional council of unrecognised villages, Ibrahim al-Waqili, said … “For the Zionist Ministry of Interior to choose this this time for the demolition is an indication that they aim to destroy man not walls,”… pointing out that the occupation authorities chose the time of final secondary exams to carry out such demolitions to demolish the hopes of affected students of passing their final exams.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bc

Settlers set fire to Palestinian crops; IOF troops burn olive groves
NABLUS (PIC) 17 June — Extremist Jewish settlers on Thursday torched Palestinian crops in agricultural land belonging to the villagers of Awarta to the south east of the Northern West Bank city of Nablus. Qais Awwad, head of the village council of Awarta, told the PIC correspondent that settlers from Itamar and Yitzhar  settlements were behind the fires in the villagers fields. Awwad added that seven dunums (1 dunum= 1000 square meters or 1/4 acre) planted with wheat were affected by the fire before the Palestinian fire brigades managed to control the fire.
Meanwhile, IOF troops combing areas close to the village of Ya’bad west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin set fire to olive groves on Thursday afternoon  resulting in a fire which went out of control. Local sources said that the IOF troops started the fire and local residents as well as the Palestinian fire brigades fought the fire and managed to put it off, but only after the fire destroyed 30 dunums of olive groves.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcO

1,000 settlers visit Salfit village tombs
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 17 June — A thousand Israeli settlers accompanied by Israeli military patrols entered northern West Bank village Kifl Haris overnight Thursday, villagers said. Checkpoints were installed at all village entrances and soldiers manned the roads, as the settler group came to pray at sites revered by both Muslims and Jews, a local center said in a statement. Settler news site Arutz Sheva reported that the settlers and army spent five hours in the Salfit-area village, which houses tombs believed to contain Joshua and Caleb, historical Jewish figures, and is surrounded by illegal settlements of Ariel, Revava and Immanue’l.
link to www.maannews.net

Medics: Settlers assault Palestinian in central Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 18 June — A group of Israeli settlers harshly beat a young Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank, medics said. Anas Hashem Abu Al-Halawa, 21, came under attack while walking in central Hebron, Red Crescent official Naser Qabaja said. The incident, on Shuhada street, left Abu Al-Halawa with extensive bruising. He was admitted to the government hospital.
link to www.maannews.net

Witnesses: Settlers torch farmland near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 June — Dozens of settlers on Friday set fire to farmland in Al-Mughayyir village near Ramallah, witnesses said. Villagers said settlers torched around 35 dunums of wheat. Israeli forces and Palestinian and Israeli liaison officials visited the area to investigate the incident.
link to www.maannews.net

Gaza’s gas wealth kept from Palestine
[MAP] PalMon 15 June — Estimated to be worth at least $4 billion, gas deposits off Palestine’s territorial waters are being targeted by international corporations and the Israeli government. Currently the 1.5 trillion cubic feet of estimated reserves are split between British Gas (60 percent), the Lebanese Consolidated Contractors (30 percent) and the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). Following Egypt’s withdrawal of their gas suppliesfollowing the end of Hosni Mubarak’s military rule and his previous cheap price for Israel, President Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet began a concerted effort to keep the gas flowing to Israel rather than sold at fair market price to generate corporate profits and revenue for the now unified Palestinian government … Sixty percent of the known gas reserves off the Gazan/Israeli coast lies in Palestinian territorial waters.
link to www.palestinemonitor.org

New excavation site in West Bank village has Palestinians on edge / Sean O’Neill
972blog 17 June — In a country guided by ethno-nationalism, an excavation site is rarely ever just about archaeology — The village of At-Tuwani, in the West Bank’s south Hebron hills, rises above Israeli route 60 as you come down from the city of Yatta with unmistakable roundness.   Its smooth shape is a telltale sign of centuries, if not millennia, of human habitation.  The village wraps around Tel Tuwani, a hill that has slowly grown as one layer of life has replaced the next.  Some are readily visible.  Old cave homes now serve as animal stables, several feet below the current road level, with homes made of large stones above them.  The concrete homes of a new generation are being built yet another layer up.  Old Roman-era tombs and wine presses are often visible on this hill and the hills nearby where villagers graze their sheep and goats. Now some of these layers are being stripped away, inspected, and studied … “They’re looking for ancient Israeli things,” says a woman on whose land the dig is taking place. “People are worried that if they find something Jewish, what happened in Susiya could happen here.” Susiya, the name of both a nearby Palestinian village and an adjacent Israeli settlement, is a good example of the politics that often accompany archaeology in Israel/Palestine.  The settlement was started in 1983, near the Palestinian village of the same name.  Three years later, the Palestinian village was demolished and its residents evicted to make way for an archaeological park because excavations had uncovered the ruins of a synagogue that dated from between the 4th and 7th centuries AD … The excavation [in At-Tuwani] began when the village tried to get permission from the Civil Administration to put in running water and to approve new construction of houses.
link to 972mag.com

Incursions (most not reported)

Army raids West Bank village
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 June — Israel’s army raided Bil‘in, west of Ramallah, and fired tear gas, said Rateb Abu Rahmah, spokesman of the popular committee against the wall in the village. Abu Rahmah said troops intensively fired gas canisters and many of the residents were hurt after inhaling gas while wide areas of farmlands near the houses were set on fire.
link to www.maannews.net

Activism / Solidarity

Troops attack West Bank anti-wall protests; ten injured
Ramallah (PNN) 17 June — Ten civilians were injured as Israeli troops attacked the weekly nonviolent protests organized at a number of West Bank communities … a group of officials from a number of EU consulates visited al-Nabi Salleh and watched the protest from a distance. Local sources told PNN that the EU officials were shocked by the military way of dealing with the protesters … A group of young men decided to take a “shower” with the military chemical water to show refusal to the army attack. One man was injured when a tear gas [canister] hit him in his back.
link to english.pnn.ps

Hundreds join weekly anti-wall protests across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 June — Palestinians and international activists protested Friday against Israel’s separation wall in villages across the West Bank. Israeli forces fired-tear canisters at the demonstrators in Ni‘lin, Bil‘in, Nabi Saleh and Al-Ma‘sara, villages near Ramallah and Bethlehem. In Al-Ma‘sara, near Bethlehem, activists protested Israel’s decision to demolish a mosque in the village. Israeli troops used force to quash the rally, injuring three Palestinian protesters, the local popular committee said. The committee called for a demonstration Wednesday to stop Israeli forces from demolishing the mosque.
link to www.maannews.net

Palestinians film West Bank protests with Israel-supplied cameras / Robert Mackey
NYTimes Lede blog 17 June — While journalists have found themselves scouring the Internet in search of video from protests across the Middle East recently, one protest movement, by small groups of villagers opposed to Israel’s security barrier in the West Bank, has gotten far less attention. Even so, there is no lack of footage of the weekly protests that my colleague Isabel Kershner described last year as a sort of slow-motion, “part-time intifada.” That’s true in part because an Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, has distributed video cameras to Palestinians to make sure the demonstrations do not go undocumented.
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/17/palestinians-film-west-bank-protests-with-israeli-supplied-cameras/

Nabi Saleh
18 June — …We made our way back to the beginning of the street, near the two houses that I was in before. We chanted and chanted. I looked at each soldier’s eyes. They betrayed no emotion. How do you explain that cool dispassionate stare? The tear gas was fired. Everyone ran. I ran. I forgot to hold my breath though. How do I explain tear gas? The nasty, acrimonious taste at the back of your throat, the sudden sharp stinging of the eyes, all coupled with unbridled fury. There are CHILDREN protesting, there are HUMAN BEINGS unarmed harmless using only the weapons of their voice-boxes, WHERE ARE THE EYES OF THE WORLD TO WITNESS THIS! The soldiers are decked out from head to toe looking like an infantry troop about to embark on another Operation Cast Lead, and here we are, no more than 40, all dressed in jeans and shirts and holding up posters, flags, two fingers in the victory sign. Before at breakfast the family recognized a new face and asked me why I came. I told them to see it firsthand. To know what it feels like to resist the occupation, as opposed to Ramallah’s suaveness. I wasn’t prepared for this fury though.
link to lifeonbirzeitcampus.blogspot.com

Gaza

Egyptian authorities refuse entry of 6 busloads out of 8 at Rafah
Gaza (PIC) 17 June …Palestinian security sources told PIC correspondent that the Egyptian authorities, in an unexplained step, returned six buses out of eight at the Rafah crossing denying dozens of passengers to travel on Thursday. The sources added that a state of discontent prevailed amongst the affected passengers and expressed surprise at the deterioration of the Egyptian declared policy of facilitating the travel of Palestinians through the Rafah crossing. Many passengers who were denied travel on Thursday have visas to third countries and air tickets which could mean they miss their flights or their visas run out before they could reach their destination. Dozens of Palestinians held a sit in on Thursday outside the Rafah border crossing calling for the permanent opening of the crossing which is the only gateway for Gaza residents to the outside world.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%

Rafah crossing opens for limited numbers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 June — Egypt will allow limited numbers of Palestinians to cross the Rafah border on Saturday, crossings officials in Gaza said. On Thursday, Egyptian authorities turned back six buses of Palestinians at the terminal. They will be the first to cross on Saturday, Hamas officials said. Around 12,000 people in Gaza have registered to cross the border into Egypt. Cairo is allowing 300 – 400 Palestinians to cross each day.
link to www.maannews.net

Rezqa: Gazans can no longer bear humiliation at Rafah Crossing
GAZA, (PIC) 18 June — The Palestinians can no longer bear the humiliation received at the Rafah border crossing, said Yousef Rezqa, advisor to Gaza prime minister Ismail Haneyya. On Thursday, Egyptian authorities turned back six buses on a fleet of eight buses seeking to cross the border to Egypt. “This was aimed at disciplining Gaza over the peaceful protests against humiliation at the Rafah crossing,” Rezqa said in a statement to the local daily Palestine on Saturday. “Not one Egyptian would accept this unjustified policy,” he said. “It is inconceivable that Arab Egypt’s doors and skies are open to Jews and Americans and Indians and Africans, and anyone who wishes to travel there, while it deprives Gaza, which defends the honor of the [Arabs and Muslims], of the human and legal right to travel.”
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2

Palestinians urge Egypt to ease restrictions at Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 June — Palestinian authorities in Gaza are urging Cairo to increase the number of travelers allowed to cross the Rafah border each day, crossings official Hatem Oweida said Friday. Oweida said 12,000 Gaza residents had registered to travel to Egypt by August, and that at least 300 – 400 must be allowed to cross each day to meet the demand. He urged Egyptian authorities to allow more travelers to cross each day and to speed up maintenance work at the terminal, which he said was slowing passengers’ transit.
link to www.maannews.net

Delivery for Gaza medical shortages
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 June — The Turkish Red Crescent donated a truckload of medical supplies to the Palestinian Ministry of Health to meet ongoing shortages, the ministry’s PR head said Thursday. Omer An-Naser told Ma‘an that the truck contained medication which has run out in Gaza, to be added to a delivery of 20 truckloads of medical supplies to Gaza by the ministry on Saturday and Sunday.
Also Thursday, international humanitarian group Oxfam said the Gaza health ministry was forced into “emergency measures” by the “disastrous” state of the health service in the coastal enclave.
Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights called for President Mahmoud Abbas and Ramallah Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to “investigate thoroughly the reasons for the obstructed supply of medications … and to hold those responsible accountable,” the report said.
link to www.maannews.net

PA sends 20 trucks of medicine to Gaza
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 June — The Palestinian Authority health ministry on Saturday sent 20 truckloads of medicine to the Gaza Strip to ease critical hospital shortages. Another 20 trucks will be transferred by Monday from warehouses in the West Bank city of Nablus to Gaza via the Erez crossing on Israel’s border, the ministry said in a statement. Ramallah Health Minister Fathi Abu Moghli said that the critical shortage of medicine in the Gaza Strip was caused by suppliers’ delays. But he accused the Hamas health ministry in Gaza of trying “to politicize the health sector” by blaming the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority for the shortages … The PA distributed medicines to hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank as soon as they were received from suppliers, he added. Abu Moghli said 300 types of medicine worth 10 million shekels ($2.91 million) as well as laboratory equipment and surgical items would be delivered to Gaza on Saturday … PCHR said the Gaza Strip had not received any medical supplies since February, and that shortages had led to a “devastating crisis” since early June.
link to www.maannews.net

Australian surgeons operate in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 June — Two Australian surgeons are performing specialist operations in hospitals in the Gaza Strip, the union of health care committees said … The surgeons’ work will include complicated operations that are not usually available in the besieged coastal enclave on children who don’t have Israel’s permission to leave the territory, the union said in a statement … The delegation is funded by the Australian foundation Kind Cuts for Kids.
link to www.maannews.net

from Dec 2009:
Gaza’s shrinking borders: 16 years of the Oslo process / Sharat G. Lin
[MAP of ever-tightening fishing limits] Forty-two years of military occupation and sixteen years of the Oslo Process have made Gaza a smaller place. Already one of the most densely-populated strips of land in the world, its population has grown during this period from less than 360,000 in 1967 to 1.5 million today. Meanwhile, its borders have not only become more impermeable, but they have been progressively closing in on what some have called “the world’s largest open air prison.”
link to www.countercurrents.org

Short video: UNRWA summer camps kick off in Gaza
PalNote 17 June – from Ma’an- Children in Gaza attending UNRWA summer camps this year will attempt to break four world records in July, in an effort to top the two records smashed the year before. An Olympic-style torch relay through the Gaza Strip kicked off the summer camps, known as the UNRWA Summer Games, which according to organizers is the largest recreational program for an estimated quarter of a million children in Gaza.
link to palestinenote.com

Gaza families shut down UNRWA summer camps
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 June — Homeless families in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday shut down UNRWA summer camps in protest over the agency’s failure to reconstruct homes destroyed during the Second Intifada. Gaza residents also closed UNRWA’s emergency department, social services office and ration stores, said Atiyya Radwan, who heads a committee of families whose homes have been destroyed. Over 40,000 families in Gaza have lost their homes since 2000, Radwan said, adding that they blamed the UN for failing to reconstruct the buildings. He said the UN gave priority to families whose homes were destroyed during Israel’s 3-week Operation Cast Lead offensive on Gaza, launched in December 2008. But the international body neglected families who lost their homes during the Second Intifada, or uprising, Radwan said.
link to www.maannews.net

Egyptian businessmen postpone visit to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 June — A delegation of Egyptian businessmen and entrepreneurs has postponed a visit to the Gaza Strip scheduled for Saturday. The visit was postponed for technical reasons, said deputy chair of the Palestinian association of businessmen in Gaza Nabil Abu Mualiq. The Egyptian delegation said they would visit Gaza as soon as possible, Abu Mualiq said in a statement. The group was scheduled to spend two days in the coastal enclave to hold meetings with businessmen in the Strip and discuss possible cooperation.
link to www.maannews.net

‘UNRWA report on Gaza education false, biased’
JPost 17 June — The Foreign Ministry is hitting back at what it is calling a series of biased and false United Nations reports issued recently about the Gaza Strip, with plans to submit an official report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in the coming days. The Israeli report, prepared by the Civil Affairs Department in the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), is aimed at UNRWA, the UN body that assists Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
link to www.jpost.com

Israel closes Gaza crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 June — Israel on Friday closed the sole operating goods crossing into the Gaza Strip [for the Israeli weekend], Palestinian officials said. Liaison official Raed Fattouh said Israel would reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing on Sunday.
link to www.maannews.net

Palestinian desire for food security drives farming innovation / Rebecca Collard
Guardian 17 June — Gaza goes organic in bid for safer and more reliable supply of vegetables and fruit — In a rural area of the central Gaza Strip, Eyad Najjar plucks organic carrots from the sandy soil of his tiny farm. Najjar no longer uses fertilisers or pesticides for his plot, which also grows tomatoes, parsley, rocket, lettuce and spinach. Instead, a fishpond on the field’s far edge delivers water rich in nutrients via drip irrigation … But Najjar is not part of a hip, green revolution. In Gaza, organic agriculture has grown out of a concern for safe supplies of food. When Hamas took control in 2007, Israel imposed a crippling blockade. Not only were a number of foods blocked from entering, but stocks of pesticides and fertilisers also dried up. Israeli officials have said militants can use agricultural chemicals to make rockets. Food insecurity among Gaza’s 1.6 million people rose, and 80% became reliant on food aid, according to the Word Food Programme. Najjar was one of them.
link to www.guardian.co.uk

Young mechanics in Gaza dream of joining world’s Formula race
Xinhua 17 June — Happiness appeared on the face of the 20-year old Gaza young man Osama Othmani as he switched on the engine of a racing car he made with his colleague with humble materials and recycled parts, where he dreams to join the world’s Formula racing in United Kingdom on July. Othmani and his colleagues are students at a mechanic institute run by the United Nations in Gaza. They cheered up amid heavy applause as the engine of his new car started. It is the first time in Gaza Strip, which has been under a tight Israeli blockade for four years, that such a racing car has been made with recycled spare parts.
link to english.peopledaily.com.cn

Flotillas

PJTV: Civil lawsuit filed today against flotilla ships by terror victim
EL SEGUNDO, Calif., June 16, 2011 — A civil lawsuit has been filed today against 14 ships, including at least one American-registered vessel named The Audacity of Hope, which are set to participate in a reprise international flotilla against Israel.  Dr. Alan Bauer, a Harvard-educated biologist and terror victim injured in a 2002 Jerusalem bombing, is the plaintiff in the suit that was filed in Federal Court in New York City.
link to www.sacbee.com

IHH: Mavi Marmara will not sail with Gaza flotilla
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 June — The Turkish Mavi Marmara ship, which was raided by Israeli troops en route to Gaza in May 2010, will not join a flotilla to the coastal strip in the coming weeks organizers said Friday, amid conflicting reports as to what prevented its launch. “After the damage caused to the Mavi Marmara [during the raid], we are not in a position to go to sea,” said Bulent Yildirim, the president of the Islamic charity IHH which owns the ship and is spearheading the mission. Meanwhile the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that IHH members said port authorities in Turkey did not provide them with the necessary approval for the ship … The Turkish daily Hurriyet said Thursday that the government had been using “indirect channels” to pressure IHH not to sail with the Gaza flotilla … In its statement, IHH said pulling the Mavi Marmara from the flotilla, in which around 10 ships are currently preparing to sail from European and US ports, could strengthen the public diplomacy case. “The misinformation put forward by the Israeli government and its supporters that the flotilla is a ‘Turkish’ and ‘Islamist’ effort will be completely exposed.”
link to www.maannews.net

Gaza flotilla organizers disappointed by Turkish group’s decision to cancel ship
Haaretz 18 June — Flotilla organizers hold urgent consultations following IHH announcement that Mavi Marmara won’t sail to Gaza; five to eight ships expected to take part in flotilla later this month … Speaking to Haaretz, a member of the coalition seeking the end of Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza called the Turkish group’s decision puzzling. “It is hard to understand the motives behind the cancellation or postponement of the Mavi Marmara setting sail, even if it is political pressure,” he said.
link to www.haaretz.com

2 French ships to join Gaza flotilla
Ynet 18 June — Two French ships will join the Gaza-bound flotilla that aims to break Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip, the organizers of the initiative announced Saturday. One of the ships is to leave from Greece and the other from France. French organizer Claude Leostic said in a press conference in Marseille that the ship leaving from the Greek port will carry 25 passengers, including radical left-wing French politicians, as well entertainment and sports personalities.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Israel to stop Gaza flotilla regardless of cargo
TEL AVIV (Reuters) 16 June – Israel will do everything necessary to prevent a planned international flotilla from reaching Gaza, despite the fact the ships will probably not be carrying weapons, a senior military source said. The source, who declined to be named, said Israel’s maritime blockade would only be deemed legal if it imposed a total exclusion zone around the small Palestinian enclave and urged the flotilla organizers not to challenge the navy.
link to news.yahoo.com

Canadian Boat to Gaza announces the delegates who will be aboard the Tahrir
MONTREAL, QUEBEC (Marketwire – 06/16/11) — Before the end of June, the Canadian ship Tahrir will join the Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human, carrying civil society delegates from coast to coast, international partners, and journalists from a range of media organizations.  The delegates on board the Tahrir include politicians; Jewish, Muslim and Christian Canadians; artists, peace and human rights activists; small business owners; some of whom have taken part in previous flotillas …Also on board the Tahrir will be Former Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and professor of Indigenous Studies at Queen’s University Robert Lovelace
link to finance.yahoo.com

Don’t look away — the siege of Gaza must end / Kathy Kelly
Voices for Creative Nonviolence 16 June — In late June 2011, I’m going to be a passenger on “The Audacity of Hope,” the USA boat in this summer’s international flotilla to break the illegal and deadly Israeli siege of Gaza. Organizers, supporters and passengers aim to nonviolently end the brutal collective punishment imposed on Gazan residents since 2006 when the Israeli government began a stringent air, naval and land blockade of the Gaza Strip explicitly to punish Gaza’s residents for choosing the Hamas government in a democratic election.
link to vcnv.org

International abduction

Israel: Engineer to be held for duration of trial
JERUSALEM (AP) 16 June — An Israeli court has ruled that a Palestinian engineer abducted from a train in Ukraine will remain in custody until his trial ends. Israel accuses Dirar Abu Sisi, 42, of masterminding Hamas’ rocket program and training fighters in Gaza. He is charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and weapons production. He denies the charges. Abu Sisi disappeared from a sleeper train in Ukraine on Feb. 19 and resurfaced days later in an Israeli prison. The details of his capture and transfer remain unclear.
http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/israel-engineer-to-be-978711.html

Detention

Overnight detentions bring town total to 10 in June
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 16 June — Israeli forces detained two from the town of Azzun, east of Qalqiliya, during raids overnight, local sources told Ma‘an. Locals say the detentions are just the latest in a string of night raids targeting residents, and have seen ten of Azzun’s men and teenagers detained since the start of the month. The invading troops used stun grenades as they surrounded two homes in the village, taking 20-year-old Makram Abu Haniyeh, and 17-year-old Mustafa Hussein, to an unknown destination.
link to www.maannews.net

Prisoners brutally beaten by Israeli guards
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 June — Two detainees in Israel’s Etzion prison near Bethlehem were brutally beaten during an interrogation, a lawyer representing political prisoners told Ma‘an. Mahomoud Al-Amour told the lawyer that he was beaten, handcuffed and blindfolded upon entering the interrogation room, before being thrown to the ground. He said he passed out for two hours after being repeatedly jumped on by guards. He had clear bruises on his face and body, according to the lawyer. Mahmoud testified that he was forced into falsely answering the investigator’s questions as a result of the beating, which was filmed by video camera. The lawyer mentioned that the man has been urinating blood as a result of his treatment. The other prisoner, Haitham Al-Amour, was also beaten, suffering head injuries, according to the lawyer.
link to www.maannews.net

Qaraqe: Prisoners’ health conditions reach catastrophic levels
Ramallah (PNN) 17 June — Minister of Prisoner Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, stated on Friday that the health conditions of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli military detention facilities have reached a critical level. When visiting one of the prisoners from the village of Tamun in northern West Bank, Qaraqe said, “There is no place for silence and waiting in the face of the serious conditions of political prisoners, especially those who are disabled and those with chronic diseases.” Minister Qaraqe urged Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the UN, to interfere promptly to save the lives of sick Palestinian political detainees, and spoke of the medical negligence and refusal of care in Israel detention facilities.
link to english.pnn.ps

Report: Palestinian prisoners in Israel use Facebook
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June – Trying to show that Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s custody enjoy VIP treatment, the Israeli daily Ma’ariv published Wednesday a report by Amit Cohen who monitored the Facebook accounts of some prisoners.
link to www.maannews.net

International campaign demands firm measures to halt Israeli abduction of MPs
GAZA (PIC) 18 June — The international campaign to release detained Palestinian lawmakers has addressed urgent messages on Saturday to speakers of world parliaments asking for their immediate intervention to stop Israel from re-arresting MPs. It charged that the systematic Israeli policy aimed at paralyzing the Palestinian legislative council and foiling the Palestinian reconciliation process.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2b

Abu al-Suabah calls for enabling captives to sit GCSC exams
GAZA (PIC) 17 June — Minister of Prisoners and Ex-prisoners Affairs, Dr. Attallah Abu al-Subah, called on human rights organisations to intervene to enable Palestinian captives in Israeli occupation jails to sit the exams for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), which captives have been denied over the past three years. He added that the prison authorities did promise to allow captives to take the exams this year, but so far have not started implementing the measures for those exams to take place. Hundreds of prisoners are waiting to be allowed to take the exams as the number of captives waiting for the exams grew up to reach about 1800.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2

Merkel, Sarkozy call for Gilad Shalit’s release amid new efforts to secure deal
Haaretz 17 June — In an usual move, the two European leaders issue joint statement calling for release of abducted IDF soldier; according to foreign media, there have been renewed attempts at advancing prisoner swap deal with Hamas.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/merkel-sarkozy-call-for-gilad-shalit-s-release-amid-new-efforts-to-secure-deal-1.368307

Political / Diplomatic / International news

Negotiator: UN bid with or without negotiations
RAMALLAH (AFP) 17 June — Palestinians will seek UN recognition and membership regardless of whether there is a resumption of peace talks, negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh said on Thursday. His comments were made as the international community pushes a raft of new peace initiatives in a bid to head off the Palestinian push for UN membership.
link to www.maannews.net

Abbas calls on EU to recognize Palestine
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 17 June – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas urged European Union nations on Friday to separately or collectively recognise the state of Palestine.
link to news.yahoo.com

Palestinians stick to call for settlement freeze
JERUSALEM (AP) 17 June — The Palestinians are sticking to their demand for an Israeli settlement construction freeze in the West Bank, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Thursday, complicating President Barack Obama’s latest peace drive. Obama recently outlined his vision of two states based on the pre-1967 war lines, with mutually agreed land swaps. The president’s call for talks did not mention a new settlement freeze, and U.S. officials have indicated it is not essential to the restarting of talks.
link to www.khaleejtimes.com

EU, Israel spar over peace prospects
JERUSALEM (AFP) 17 June — The EU’s top diplomat had a terse exchange with Israel’s Avigdor Lieberman on Friday … Lieberman told her there was “zero chance” of resuming peace talks given the Palestinians’ determination to seek UN support for their state, and that if it happened, it would render null and void the 1993 Oslo Accords and all the other agreements reached since.
link to www.maannews.net

Lieberman: Palestinian UN bid undoes Oslo accords
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 June — The Israeli foreign minister said Friday there was zero chance of talks resuming and all past agreements could be broken if Palestinians go to the UN, Israeli press reported. Avigdor Lieberman made the comments at a breakfast with European foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, as she began a day of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials in a bid to revive peace talks between the two sides.
link to www.maannews.net

Barghouti arrives in Gaza to meet factions
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 June — Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti arrived in Gaza late Thursday to meet with factions on ways to overcome obstacles to a Palestinian reconciliation agreement … The former presidential candidate declined to discuss reports he is being considered for the post of prime minister in the unity government, saying only that “what is needed now is implementation of the agreement.”
link to www.maannews.net

Haniyeh courts Turkish PM as Israel sends wishes
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 June — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh invited his Turkish counterpart to visit Gaza in a phone call Thursday evening, a statement from the Haniyeh’s office said. The Gaza premier congratulated Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the re-election of his Justice and Development Party [AKP] in the country’s Sunday vote, and welcomed his victory speech. On Sunday, Erdogan said the AKP’s win would benefit Palestinians, as well as Bosnians, Lebanese and Syrians, alluding to the party’s regional ambitions.
link to www.maannews.net

Egypt’s foreign ministry denies meeting with Israeli official
MEMO 17 June — An Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson, Menha Bakhoum, stated on the ministry’s website that “what was circulated in the media and cited by an Israeli newspaper about a meeting between foreign minister Dr Nabil El Arabi and Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, is totally untrue.” The ministry’s website further clarified, “this alleged meeting did not take place, and even if it is true, the Egyptian foreign ministry would not find anything wrong to declare.”
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

Palestinian Authority fears Israeli tax transfer freeze
Gaza (Ria Novosti) 18 June — The Palestinian National Authority will be unable to meet its budgetary obligations if Israel again stops the transfer or tax payments from Palestinians, which make up two thirds of the monthly earnings of the Authority, the PNA said on Saturday. On Friday, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel was ready to stop transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian authority from the beginning of next week, if there was a declaration of formation of a “national unity” government as part of an agreement between the Palestinian HAMAS and Fatah movements. PNA representative Hassan Al-Khatib said the PNA had requested financial help from the Arab League if Israel carried out its threat, but it had received no reply.
http://en.rian.ru/world/20110618/164701051.html

Thabit warns: Relinquishing right of return might be price for Palestinian state
BEIRUT (PIC)- 18 June — The Beirut-based Thabit organization for the Palestinian refugees’ right of return warned Friday that the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to seek statehood with the UN risks relinquishing the Palestinian refugees’ right of return for good. The statement came Friday after PA president Mahmoud Abbas called on European nations to recognize Palestine as a state, and ahead of the World Refugee Day on June 20 … According to the Thabit, some 11 million Palestinians have spread across 132 states, with a large majority in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, in the largest and oldest diaspora in the world. “The declaration of an alleged Palestinian state this year — whether or not it happens — only means two things: one is an end to the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization; and the second: a write-off of the refugees issue and right of return. The aspired state has no value without the Palestinian refugees’ return to their homes and property they lost after the 1948 Nakba.”
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2b

Racism / Discrimination

Man to have Jewishness revoked after newspaper interview / Dimi Raider
972blog 16 June — The Israeli-born son of a Holocaust survivor told a newspaper he wasn’t Jewish by religious law – and had access to state services temporarily frozen, and his nationality put under review. But this is no isolated incident: Religion plays an increasingly dominant role in the mechanisms of the state.
link to 972mag.com

Yellow Pages scrambles to defend ‘No Arabs’ ads / Dimi Reider
972blog 15 June — Yellow Pages have responded to demands to take down ads advertising “Jews Only” businesses by claiming they can’t refuse ads carrying business names approved by the company registrar. This doesn’t stand up to even the most rudimentary fact-checking.
link to 972mag.com

AG to Netanyahu: Stop bill giving preference to IDF veterans
Haaretz 16 June — Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein tells Prime Minister that the bill, which gives preference to applicants for government jobs who are veterans of Israel Defense Forces, is discriminatory.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/ag-to-netanyahu-stop-bill-giving-preference-to-idf-veterans-1.368118

WAFA monitors incitement and racism in Israeli media
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 18 June — Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) monitored incitement and racism against the Palestinians and Arabs published by the Israeli media between June 3 and 6. ‘Today’ program on  the Israeli ‘Reshet Bet’ radio station hosted Avichai Rontzki, former military chief Rabbi of the Israeli army and a resident of Itamar settlement, who considered the murder of five settlers in Itamar months ago an “ordinary event by Palestinians.” … NRG website published an article by Shmulik Rifman, chairman of Ramat Negev regional council, in which he urged the Israeli government to respond to Goldberg Report’s recommendations to organize Bedouin communities in Negev. He considered these communities as ‘ticking social bombs’ and called to address this issue immediately. He said that Bedouins are an unorganized expansion in the consumed large pieces of Negev lands. They occupied and diminished several hills and open areas as well as obstructed the possible economic potentials that are unreachable now … NRG website also published a piece of news by Eric Bender, in which he referred to Knesset Member for Yisrael Beiteinu, Lia Shemtov’s suggestion to the Israeli army; use “diarrhea gas” to deal with intruders who cross the Israeli borders.  “The Arabs are adjusted to tear gas now, therefore, the Israeli army should use additional substances. If these terrorists realized they will have diarrhea in the end, they won’t cross the borders. In case this doesn’t help and the terrorists became a threat to our soldiers, live bullets will be necessary,” said Bender … NFC website also published a racist article by Hen Ben-Eliyahu, calling the Arabs and the Palestinians “Nazis” and calling President Mahmoud Abbas “a Nazi peace partner.” He claimed that the Nazi Palestinian narration corresponds exactly with the ethnic theory that was adopted by the Third Reich.
link to english.wafa.ps

Israelis try to set new mass wedding record
AFP 18 June — Some 160 newlyweds attend mass civil marriage ceremony in Cyprus, try to break world record of largest matrimonial event … It is estimated that 1,000 civil marriages involving Israelis take place in Cyprus each year, with many couples coming to the island because they are unable to have a religious ceremony back home … Russian-born partners Vladimir Levchin, 30, and Natalie, 34, said they participated because they couldn’t get married in Israel, as they are a mixed-faith couple.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Other news

Where freelance means abandoned / Mohammed Omer
GAZA CITY, Jun 17, 2011 (IPS) – Sitting by the hospital bed of freelance photographer Mohammed Othman, Ashraf Abu Amrah knows that nobody owns a freelance journalist from Gaza who gets injured, or dies. “When a news agency crew is injured, the world reacts with anger, and human rights groups send letters of protests,” Abu Amrah, 29, himself a freelance photographer, tells IPS. A Palestinian free-lance journalist in Gaza is on his own, he says … An international group recently donated bulletproof vests, helmets and safety equipment to journalists in the region. “Freelance photojournalists were not given any,” says Shtawi. Most of the new equipment, he says, was given to the wealthier news agencies, which can afford such equipment anyway … Eyad Al Baba has worked six years as a freelance photographer selling images to foreign news agencies. “Freelance media should be recognised in hot spots like Palestine by an organisation that protects them,” he tells IPS.
link to ipsnews.net

Palestinian soccer seeks points for statehood
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 17 June — For years, Palestinian soccer was disorganized, underfunded and hindered so much by Israeli travel restrictions that games were often forfeited because players couldn’t arrive for kickoff. But the sport is growing, with new stadiums rising across the West Bank, the local soccer federation hosting international competitions, and the Palestinians set to host their first-ever World Cup qualifying match next month. On July 3 the Palestinian team will welcome Afghanistan in an early-round World Cup qualifier. Players say boosting the game is about more than sports: It’s a mission to build an independent nation. “When teams come play on our land, it’s a way of recognizing the Palestinian state,” said 26-year-old player Murad Ismael. “That benefits the Palestinian cause, not just Palestinian sports.”
link to sports.yahoo.com

Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation starts ‘Know your heritage’ campaign for diaspora youth
Bethlehem (PNN) 15 June — The Holy Land Ecumenical Christian Foundation and its partners started the Know Thy Heritage Project, aimed at Palestinian youth in diaspora by organizing yearly visits for youth groups to reconnect them with their Palestinian roots … Anthony Habash, director of the project, said that the campaign is a Palestinian campaign that will stretch from July 14 to August 2 that aims to bring Palestinians together from home and abroad in addition to helping the efforts to construct the Palestinian state in the hearts and minds of Palestinian youth everywhere. [Next question: will Israel let them in?]
link to english.pnn.ps

Hot topics transformed into games
SMH 19 June — THE object of online game Raid Gaza! is simple: ”You get 5 minutes. Eliminate as many Palestinians as possible.” Players are instructed to spend 10,000 shekels on missiles, tanks and helicopters, which then fire on a clutter of buildings meant to represent the Gaza Strip. A scoreboard counts the number of Palestinian casualties, which climbs at a faster rate than Israeli casualties, and graphics arise congratulating the player with ”Bonus Hospital Hit!” or ”Bonus UN School Hit”. The game, which features in the documentary Gaza Shield that screens at the Arab Film Festival, enraged three Lebanese artists who decided to create Gaza Shield for players ”against the killing of innocent women and children”. These are just two examples of what Professor Ian Bogost of the Georgia Institute of Technology calls newsgames, which transform current issues into games in order to inform or persuade players.
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/hot-topics-transformed-into-games-20110618-1g8ts.html

Analysis / Opinion / Statements

A response to accusations made against Shaikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in Palestine
MEMO 16 June — This statement was issued by the Office of Shaikh Raed Salah, Um al Faham … Specific recent allegations: With reference to the question of Al Aqsa Mosque and the Buraq/Western/ Wall, Sh. Raed stresses that he has no personal opinion about this; what he stands by is rooted in Islamic doctrine as well as international law which regards this as part of occupied Palestinian land. He cannot compromise on this to satisfy the occupiers or their supporters.
It has been claimed that he repeated a “blood libel” by saying, “among those whose blood was mixed with the sacred (Jewish) bread”; this is an absolute lie and a malicious fabrication. Sh. Raed was questioned by the Israeli authorities over allegations that he made such a remark, which he refuted categorically challenging them to provide any shred of evidence and they could not.
With regard to the statement that “the Creator made from you [the Jews] monkeys and losers”, this is again a lie and fabrication. We challenge anyone to provide any true evidence that such words were ever uttered by Sh. Raed Salah.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

Palestinian statehood and bypassing Israel / Lamis Andoni
AL 16 June — Israel breaks international law and UN agreements under the guise of “protecting state legitimacy” — Israel, backed by the US, has started a campaign to preempt a Palestinian drive to win United Nations recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israeli in the 1967 war. If such a recognition is secured, it will neither lead to an establishment of a Palestinian state nor would it stop the continued Israeli colonisation of Palestinian lands. Nevertheless, Israel is mainly concerned that the Palestinian move would restore the United Nations resolution – and international resolutions – as the main reference for solving the conflict.
link to english.aljazeera.net

Look, “who started…” is not what 1948 is all about / Dimi Reider
978blog 18 June — “The Arabs started the war” has been a long-standing Israeli argument against the commemoration and amendment of the wrongs of the Nakba. But the truth is that the Nakba is what happened during and after the war — not how it began … But what caused the war isn’t and has never been the true challenge of the Nakba. The true challenge is what happened after the war was caused. Even if we accept Avineri’s argument that “they started,” it’s still unclear why Israel had to expel neighborhoods, towns and villages; and if, somehow, we accepted that, it’s very unclear why this had to be accompanied by massacres; and even if we accept (heaven forbids) that massacres and expulsions happen in wars, no amount of “they started” can excuse the still-standing ban on the refugees and survivors to return. In other words, if someone picks a fight with my on my street, and I proceed to not only soundly beat him but to burn his house, kill and expel his family, and then his banish all his neighbors neighborhood, taking over their properties and violently preventing them from coming back, “who started” will need to be reported in the newspapers, but will form a very weak defense in any court.
link to 972mag.com

Deny! Deny! / Uri Avnery
18 June — I am fed up with all this nonsense about recognizing Israel as the “Jewish State.”  It is based on a collection of hollow phrases and vague definitions, devoid of any real content. It serves many different purposes, almost all of them malign. Binyamin Netanyahu uses it as a trick to obstruct the establishment of the Palestinian state. This week he declared that the conflict just has no solution. Why? Because the Palestinians do not agree to recognize etc. etc. … The courts favor the words “Jewish and democratic state.” But that is far from being the only definition around.The most widely used is just “Jewish State.” But that is not enough for Netanyahu and Co., who speak about “the nation-state of the Jewish people,” which has a nice 19th-century ring. The “state of the Jewish people” is also quite popular. The one thing that all these brand-names have in common is that they are perfectly imprecise. What does “Jewish” mean? A nationality, a religion, a tribe? Who are the “Jewish people”? Or, even more vague, the “Jewish nation”? Does this include the Congressmen who enact the laws of the United States? Or the cohorts of Jews who are in charge of US Middle East policy? Which country does the Jewish ambassador of the UK in Tel Aviv represent?
link to zope.gush-shalom.org

Experts fear Israeli design to balkanize Arab states / Adam Morrow & Khaled Moussa al-Omrani
CAIRO (IPS) 18 June — Developments in Libya have raised fears among Egyptian analysts and political figures of the possible break-up of the North African nation into two warring halves. To support the assertion, they point to longstanding Israeli designs – supported by the western powers – to balkanise the Arab states of the region … the fact that NATO – despite its overwhelming air superiority – has so far failed to dislodge the Gaddafi regime has led many local observers to question the western alliance’s intentions. “The western campaign against Libya wasn’t undertaken to protect human rights or foster democracy,” said al-Sakhawi. “It was launched with the aim of breaking Libya up politically so as to prevent the unification of three revolutionary Arab states – Egypt, Libya and Tunisia – which together might pose a threat to Israeli regional dominance.”
link to ipsnews.net

U.S., U.K., France as collaborators

US Zionist hypocrisy and the punishment of a young Palestinian cartoonist / David Baldinger
15 June — Today, I received a letter containing bad news from Majed Badra, a young Palestinian cartoonist. He was very excited to be coming to the USA to learn about political cartooning and the culture of the USA. This program includes stops in New York City, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Maryland,  Portland, Oregon and finally St. Petersburg, Florida. Many events are planned that include meeting with professional US political cartoonists and seminars about press freedom, journalism, Human rights and ethics. Majed encountered a slight problem, however. He had the audacity to criticize the state of Israel for its occupation of the Palestinian territories and the inhuman treatment of the Palestinian people in his cartoons … Dear David, I was nominated to participate in the (International Visitor Leadership Program) “Political Cartoonist Program” on June 20, 2011 to July 9, 2011. After I got the VISA, and have the tickets for flying, I took a holiday from my work, and I canceled all my obligations, even I leave more than 2 works chances and I prepared myself for traveling in few days. I received a call from the General Consulate in Jerusalem and they told me that they refused my participation due to the anti-Semitic nature of some of my cartoons … In the fact, I’m not (anti Semitic and anti Jewish), I respect all religions, I just wanted express that I’m against the Israeli occupation, settlements, killing, siege and injustice, and how much we want democracy, human rights, freedom and two states solution.
link to desertpeace.wordpress.com

Video: France prosecutes Palestinian activist
PressTV 18 June — One of the leaders of a pro-Palestinian group in Paris has been sued for racial hatred after she called for a boycott of Israeli products from the occupied Arab land. On Friday, Olivia Zemor of the CAPJPO-EuroPalestine group was taken to court by pro-Israeli groups after she appeared in a video made back in 2009 at a supermarket in the French capital that called for the boycott of products made on the land occupied by Israel since 1967 … Around 80 people are facing trial in France for calling for a boycott of Israeli products.
link to www.presstv.ir

London is turning into Israel’s laboratory in preparation for 2012 Summer Olympics
PNN 17 June — By David Cronin  – The current issue of muckraking journal Private Eye reports that Heathrow Airport will have shiny new equipment for screening passengers installed with the help of several Israeli firms as part of preparations for next year’s Olympic Games. The sporting event affords an opportunity to run a ‘live test’ on the Total Airport Security System (TASS), a 14.5 million euro ($21 million) project mainly financed by the European Union … The project is being coordinated by Verint, an Israeli supplier of surveillance equipment (or “actionable intelligence solutions,” according to its own bumph). Another participant in the consortium is Elbit, which made many of the pilotless drones that Israel used to devastate Gaza during 2008 and 2009 … This is by no means the first indication that Israel’s shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach to security has caught on in London.
link to english.pnn.ps

groups.yahoo.com/group/f_shadi (listserv)
www.theheadlines.org (archive)

At Netroots, Rep. Keith Ellison supports Palestinian statehood initiative at UN

Jun 18, 2011

Philip Weiss

Last night at Netroots Nation, I had a conversation with Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison, one of two Muslims in the Congress, and after I congratulated him for his outspokenness on Gaza, he told me of his support for the Palestinian statehood initiative in the United Nations.

“We all say we’re for two states. Everyone is for two states. Well for me this is the rubber meeting the road. Why do we oppose it if we are for the two state solution?

“Because,” he said, answering his own question, “we are captured by the Likud and to the right of the Likud. We are not captured by Israel or even by the lobby.” Israel, he said, has a more diverse political discourse than the United States, and as for the lobby in the U.S., it’s more progressive than people give it credit, it’s the Republican right that is making trouble.

“We are captured by the dispensationalists and the dominionists. It’s a myth that the Jewish lobby is doing it. Every single Jewish congressman in the Democratic Party is for two states and for peace. But the Republican party is drivng the debate, and it’s dominionists and dispensationalists who need the Jews of Israel for the end times.”

I disagreed with him. His is the conventional dodge of any Democratic or by extension communal Jewish responsibility for Palestinian rightslessness, when support for Israeli maximalism is imbedded in his own party. I told Ellison about the debate between his good friend Brian Baird, a former congressman, and then-congressman Anthony Weiner in New York in March. “Weiner has said racist and intolerant things, including that there’s no occupation.”

Ellison said, “I don’t think that Anthony necessarily represents where the Democratic Party would be given its druthers.” He said that Jews vote 80 percent for Obama and their concerns are far more diverse than Israel, they have a progressive agenda. Again we differed. I said that opinion polls show that Jews are conservative on the Israel issue, against dividing Jerusalem for instance, and that this is not a trivial area for us, and we’re an empowered community.

“A lot of communities have had you know people who are not tolerant, Every community has its own us versus them going on,” Ellison said, and he included the black community. “But you got to remember 80 percent of Jews voted for Obama.”

He went on to say, “I’ve been to Sderot, I understand the Israeli security need.” He said he has heard some insensitivity toward Israeli concerns from the Palestinian solidarity community.

The fault in Ellison’s thinking is, Rightwingers can’t be driving this debate if they did not have adherents inside the Democratic Party; and they do. Anthony Weiner is hardly alone. The Democratic Party is also extreme. And Obama is, according to the Wall Street Journal and Commentary and the Jewish press, afraid of losing Jewish money, which is likely a majority of Democratic giving, if he say, comes out against settlements in the Security Council or supports a Palestinian state in the General Assembly.

I’m having some great conversations at Netroots, meaning kindred spirits, like Ellison. But in spite of Ellison’s great efforts, this issue continues to be special, even in the progressive community. Yesterday at Netroots, a heavyweight panel including two congressmen (John Garamendi, Jim McGovern) and Darcy Burner and Steve Clemons said that Democratic Party antiwar folks have to make common cause with the Republican libertarians on Afghanistan, so as to get us out of there, by putting pressure on the president. The thrust of the panel was that Obama has become a war president, and we must take him on by talking, from an American national interest, along with Republicans, about how much money we are wasting that we could be spending on education and infrastructure.

There is no panel here to talk about a creative coalition to take on the Republican right on settlements/Palestine. Because support for Israel no matter what is actually embedded in the Democratic Party’s left-prog base.

Though again, I’m having good conversations here, there are a lot of us here. Netroots is like J Street that way. The base is to the left of the leadership. More to come soon.

Update: This post initially said that Ellison is the only Muslim in the Congress. He was the first. Andre Carson of Indiana is the other.

John Greyson’s latest brilliant BDS video

Jun 18, 2011

annie

Canadian filmmaker John Greyson will be traveling on the Canadian Boat to Gaza, the Tahrir,  joining the global effort of Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human.

On the heels of taking off tomorrow he just finished another fantastic witty, fresh, must-see BDS video.

Sure I’m nervous — we all remember what happened with the Mavi Marmara last year, when nine Turkish activists were killed by Israeli commandos — but I feel very honoured (and safe), travelling with an incredible, diverse group of longtime peace activists from across the country — some of whom are featured in the video.

Gaza Island from Albino Squirrel Channel on Vimeo.

Thanks John, travel safely in peace but most importantly…Stay Human.

As a personal aside I don’t know if it’s just me..the videos seems to get progressively better and better. Who wrote those ‘Dylan’ lyrics? and Paul Simon? Who woulda thunk we’d be on opposite sides decades down the road, my personal fallen heroes.

hello darkness my old friend.

 

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

Egypt negotiates for release of Zionist soldier captured five years ago

NOVANEWS
by Saed Bannoura
IMEMC News

 

An Egyptian official told Israeli reporters Saturday that there are active negotiations taking place with Palestinian resistance groups for the potential release of the Palestinians’ only Israeli prisoner, a soldier captured five years ago in Gaza – but added that Israel’s continued obstinance in the negotiation process could lead to the soldier’s disappearance.

Gilad Shalit (image from RT.com)

Zionist Gilad Shalit (image from RT.com)

The unnamed Egyptian official blamed David Meidan, the new Israeli negotiator, for the impasse, saying that the Israeli decision to blame Hamas has been counterproductive. After Meidan arrived in Cairo for negotiations last week, he pushed a ‘hardline’ position containing an implicit threat against Hamas – a negotiating tactic that the Egyptian official said would never work with Hamas.

On Thursday, the Israeli and French government released a joint statement blaming Hamas for the failure of the negotiations, although Hamas has said they have acted in good faith at the negotiating table. Hamas has never claimed to be holding the prisoner, but have acted as a negotiator with other, more militant Palestinian resistance groups.

The French government got involved in the case because the captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, holds dual Israeli-French citizenship.

The soldier, captured from an Israeli military base in southern Gaza in 2006, has become a cause célèbre for Israelis, as the sole prisoner held by Palestinian resistance forces. In contrast, the Israeli military is currently holding over 8,000 Palestinians, most of whom were captured in late-night raids of their homes, and over 1,000 of which are being held without charges.

Hamas negotiators have called for the release of around 10% of the Palestinians being held in Israeli prison camps, including all imprisoned women and children, and a number of high-profile detainees like Marwan Barghouthi, the alleged founder of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (the armed wing of Fateh), and Ahmed Saadat, the Secretary-General of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who was seized by Israeli troops in an invasion of a Palestinian prison in Jericho where he was being held in 2007.

While the Hamas negotiators have requested the release of 550 low-security and 450 more high-profile detainees, Israeli officials have not budged on their number of sending 230 detainees into exile abroad, unable to ever return to their homes in Palestine. Israel has also refused to release any of the high-profile prisoners on the list presented to them by Hamas negotiators.

Next week will mark the fifth anniversary of Shalit’s capture by Palestinian resistance fighters, who dug their way into an Israeli military base and disabled a tank and other vehicles, killed two soldiers and captured one on June 26th, 2006.

 

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Extremely arrogant and obnoxious liberal Congressman sunk by sex scandal

NOVANEWS

 

 

Congressman Weiner Finally Resigns; “Buh-bye, pervert!”

by James Buchanan

Three weeks ago the Weinergate scandal began when Anthony Weiner sent a picture of his crotch to everyone on his twitter list, instead of just a 21 year old college student in Washington state. Congressman Anthony Weiner started off angrily denying all the charges, claiming he was the victim of a hacker. Most people (with any brains) were highly skeptical. Weiner would not deny that the picture of the shorts with a bulge was him. Shouldn’t most people have a clue if pictures of themselves in their underwear are floating around? (And if they don’t know; they’re drinking way too much.)

The scandal grew and grew. Suddenly six floozies were involved. Hundreds of lurid text messages had been sent out, and a porn star, named Ginger Lee was among the floozies. More pictures of Weiner half-dressed were revealed.

Then the bombshell dropped! Andrew Breitbart, who had earlier been (falsely) accused of hacking Weiner’s twitter account, announced that he had a naked picture of Weiner’s genitalia. A single mom in Texas, Meagan Broussard had contacted Breitbart about Anthony Weiner and had supplied him with the picture. This pretty much crossed the line for most Americans.

Breitbart said he didn’t want to release the picture, but a security camera captured the image when Breitbart showed it to Opie and Anthony while being interviewed on their radio show. Opie and Anthony then posted the slightly blurry picture of the picture on the Internet.

It was bad enough Weiner was -at the least- cheating on his wife on the Internet. This made him out to be a disgusting slimeball. The nude pictures clearly crossed a line from creepy to crazy. The vast majority of teenagers have enough sense not to send out nude pictures of themselves –not even to people they think they can trust.

Additional details came out that one of Weiner’s floosies, Lisa Weiss was a card dealer in Las Vegas. Weiner sent some explicit tweets to her indicating that he wanted to meet up with her to have sex. Weiner’s defenders had claimed that this was nothing but “cyber-sex” and flirtation, but Weiner made it more than obvious that he wanted to meet Miss Weiss for a very real encounter (and most Americans are no doubt wondering if Weiner had actually met up with other women for sexual encounters in previous months).

To cap all this off, two underage girls, one sixteen and one seventeen had been texting Weiner. Weiner added the sixteen year old as a friend. Then he unfriended her when someone pointed out she was only sixteen. Later Wiener added her back as a friend. Weiner used the expression “tights and a cape” with the seventeen year old. He had used the same expression with another woman in a conversation that was sexually charged, suggesting he was just a couple text messages away from trying to seduce a minor. Police were sufficiently alarmed that they talked with the 17 year old and her mother.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid and even President Obama urged Anthony Weiner to resign. The growing embarrassment to the Democrat Party caused by Anthony Weiner was threatening to make the 2012 election even more disastrous for the Democrats, than the train wreck it is likely to be.

To make matters worse, photos of Anthony Weiner in college wearing a bra and panty hose turned up within the last couple days, further disgusting the American public and opening up a whole new range of perversity that Weiner had likely engaged in.

The straw that broke the camel’s back appears to have been the return of Anthony Weiner’s pregnant wife, Huma after an extended trip to Africa with Hillary Clinton. Just hours after her return, Weiner went from stubborn defiance to complete capitulation. It’s clear who wears the pants in that family (and who doesn’t wear pants).

Weiner’s resignation speech was not without incident. One news article reports “(It) Turns out Anthony Weiner’s worst nightmare wasn’t having to face the cameras and resign from public office today. It’s that Howard Stern show writer (turned professional heckler) Benjy Bronk was in the audience. Let’s just say the press conference quickly went from PG to R, and forced many a network censor to have a hand on the bleep button…. today, just as Weiner faced his most humiliating moment yet, Bronk took it even further… Weiner was just a few minutes into his speech when the microphones began picking up the shouts from Bronk, who was standing in the center of the throng of reporters covering the event. (Congressman Weiner announced his resignation, saying) ‘I’d hoped to be able to continue the work that the citizens of my district elected me to do, to fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it… Unfortunately the distraction I have created has made that impossible so today I am announcing my resignation from congress.’ (Weiner’s statement was immediately followed with:) ‘Yaaaaaaay! Buh-bye, pervert!’ Bronk screamed to gasps in the room from reporters.”

I’m glad that Mr. Bronk was in that room. His response to Anthony Weiner’s resignation was a lot closer to what most Americans were thinking in contrast to the gutless liberal reporters, who wouldn’t dare roast a Weiner, who so richly deserved it.

 

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Jews & Their Self Interest-An Interview with Philip Weiss

NOVANEWS

by Gilad Atzmon

Over a week ago I emailed to the well- known  blogger  Philip Weiss,  an interesting post written by Nahida (AKA The Exiled Palestinian).

In her article, Jewish Voice For Peace? Really?? , Nahida expresses some sharp criticism of Jewish anti-Zionist groups, forcefully arguing that “Anti-Zionist Jewish organisations are trying to silence Palestine’s supporters, to frame the debate” and to “steer the course of the liberation” of her homeland.

Since Weiss runs the most popular Jewish progressive blog, offering an invaluable source of information regarding Israeli crimes, I thought he might be willing to address Nahida’s criticism, and to discuss it with his many progressive Jewish followers.

Weiss did not post Nahida’s article on his blog, but his discussion with me was brave and honest*, and to a certain extent he affirmed Nahida’s criticism, admitting that it was indeed ‘Jewish self-interest’ that he himself was ‘concerned with’.

Weiss had the following to say on the matter: “I believe all people act out of self-interest. And Jews who define themselves at some level as Jews — like myself for instance — are concerned with a Jewish self-interest. Which in my case is: an end to Zionism.  A theory of political life based on altruism or concern for victims purely is doomed to fail.”

Openly and bluntly, Weiss confirmed what many of us have been saying for a very long time: it is not solely ‘altruism’ or concern for Palestinians victims that motivates some of the most prominent Jewish campaigners and organisations, but it is also, as Weiss freely admits, ‘Jewish self-interest.’

I confessed to Weiss that I was overwhelmed by his frankness. I think that Weiss may well be the first Jewish activist to admit , or even to define the Judeo-centric impetus behind the Jewish- progressive political discourse.

I decided to press it further, asking Weiss whether he considered himself to be ‘tribal’?

And once again, Weiss’ answer was brave and honest, though he did start to express some frustration. He answered, “Yes I do at some level. And what bugs me about stuff you send me (I guess that Weiss was referring to Nahida’s article) is that I end up in the end inevitably and predictably at some site trashing Jewish religion, to which I have very little connection, though yes I feel some core ‘Id’** and this makes me think in the end, that dialogue with you will not help ME because I am interested in frying different fish. While you seem out rather reductively to prove the degeneracy of a religion which I’m sure is deeply problematic, as Islam is and the Church of Pedophilia…( sic)”

However, I still do not grasp why Weiss thinks that I am interested to reductively ‘prove the degeneracy of a religion’ — I am not really interested in criticising the religion of Judaism, or any other religion for that matter: in fact, I am far more concerned with Jewish secularism and Jewish secular ideology.

However, it was at that stage that I realised that Weiss was a perfect candidate for an interview.  He certainly embodies the Jewish-progressive school of thought: a unique mixture of righteousness, charming self-love, mixed together with some deep intolerance towards other people’s belief systems.

I went on to ask Weiss: “What does the word ‘Jewish’ mean for you?”

Weiss was short and precise in his response : “My mother, my father, my grandparents, a family feeling, us-ness, in distinction to the Them.”

I pressed Weiss further , asking him, “this ‘us-ness’ does it really extend beyond family and friends? Do you, for instance, feel ‘us-ness’ with an Iraqi Jew?”, I wondered.

‘I think identity is multi-factorial,’ Weiss replied,   ‘I feel American before I feel Jewish. I think that’s the achievement of my life, to have flipped those identities, and Jewish is second. I see Jewish as this great civilization that I am part of. That transcends borders, and it’s not Zionist. Zionism is likeShabbetai Tzvi,  It’s a big chapter in a long story. Jews will survive this one too. Jews is: a sense of difference, yes, inevitably of elite identity, that’s part of Jewish history and one I struggle with.  Jewish is a Story, a myth…’

I liked the imaginative  and poetic manner in which Weiss referred to his own identity. I appreciated his honesty, and I also accepted what seems to be a possible discrepancy between the universal consciousness and the tribal affiliation.

And yet, I really wanted to grasp how Weiss translated his sense of tribalism into a political, or ideological, awareness. I enquired further, to which he responded, ‘I’m against compartmentalized identity but I do think that people are tribal, it’s the nature of the species right now, and the deal is do we call on that or do we try and reduce it? I’m for reducing it but not denying its existence till everyone puts down their shield and that doesn’t seem bloody likely.

I had some “us-ness” from my family, a lot of it, but bridled at it. “Is it good for the Jews?” question bugged the hell out of me. But if Herzl, a Christmas tree Jew like me, was made Jewish by anti Semites, as he was, I was made Jewish by the Neocons. I thought, I’m Jewish too so f**k them with their tribalism.’

You can call it anything you like. you can reduce it to JVP is Jewish, or JVP has multiple dimension. I’m in the multidimensional human camp.  My wife is not a Jew. She uses Ayurvedic typology, Jungian typology and Freudian (psychoanalysis)   to understand people.  She uses Astrology too sometimes. I dip around in all that too and I’m also Jewish and feel a real bond with Jews. Is it Ashkenazi and racist? I’m sure it is at some level. They’re the ones I grew up with. Do I transcend? I hope so.’

That is fairly impressive, I thought to myself : up to that point, Weiss had seemed to be coherent, a healthy amalgam of a self-reflective person who acknowledges his tribalism and roots, yet tries to transcend those aspects.

And yet, I was still slightly confused — I reminded Weiss that only two days earlier he had mentioned in our discussions that Jews like himself  were “ concerned with a Jewish self-interest”. I then asked him whether he approved that Jewish anti-Zionist activism may as well be primarily concerned with Jewish interests?

I guess that at that stage, Weiss started to feel irritated or even trapped, for he somehow turned sour, saying :“Primarily concerned with Jewish interests seems a stupid trap to me.”

But, I reminded Weiss that “self-interest”  and “Jewish self-interest” had been his own words, quoting to him his initial reaction to Nahida’s post  — indeed, Weiss had actually said, “I believe all people act out of self-interest. and Jews ..like myself — are concerned with a Jewish self-interest.”

I suggested to Weiss that I can live with inconsistency — I also offered him the opportunity to feel free to change his words, or amend his narrative to suit his ‘new line’ ( in which he had stated that “primarily concerned with Jewish interests  seems a stupid trap”).

I did feel , however, that Weiss should at least be made aware of the contradictions in his own words: after all, one can either argue that “Jews act out of Jewish self-interest” or, one can contend that to be “primarily concerned with Jewish interests is a stupid trap.”

Yet, one cannot have it both ways, and one cannot hold these two views simultaneously, unless an explanation is offered.

But I guess that I asked for too much :  Weiss didn’t want to address the contradiction, saying, “( I ) Disown none of them,” explaining to me his opinion that “foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a little mind.”

At that point, I felt that it would be the right time to disengage, and to leave Weiss alone, just before things got further out of control.

It seems to me that once again, I have failed to converse with a ‘progressive Jew.’  I guess that in spite of the openness Weiss showed initially, he, like mny others,  cannot resolve the tension beyond the universal and the tribal.

And by now, I am increasingly certain that this gap cannot be bridged easily, if at all, for the tribal and universal are like water and oil.

I guess that the difficulties involved in resolving the tension between the universal and the tribal explains why so many progressive Jews prefer to operate in intellectual, ideological and political exclusive ‘Jews only’ cells where these questions are never raised, never asked, and never answered.

*Philip Weiss’ words are published here with his full agreement and concession

** Id- a slang name for a Jew, I guess that it comes from Yiddish. A Id-Yid is a Yiddish speaker.

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Hello, Bastar — The Untold Story of India’s Maoist Movement By Rahul Pandita

NOVANEWS

Tranquebar Press

Rs 250 pp 200

(Tranquebar Press) at heavy discount from Dial-a-Book (09650-457-457). Cash on delivery facility in 27 cities. Delivery in Delhi NCR within 24 hours and other places in 2-3 days. Or online at www.flipkart.com

The following is an edited extract from the chapter, The Return of the Spring Thunder. Situated on the southern edge of the Adilabad district, Tappalpur appeared to be a quiet village. But a group of about a dozen men, who lay low outside a mansion on the evening of 25 September 1976, knew that it was not quite so. The village was ruled by the 65-year-old landlord GV Pithambar Rao, one-time MLA, who now devoted all his time to managing the affairs of his lands.

The Velama caste to which Rao belonged was known for its aversion to engaging in any form of productive work. In fact, there is a saying about the Velamas that even if burning coals land on their thighs, they would expect their bonded labourers to remove them instead of saving themselves.

Around that time, 14 per cent of Adilabad’s population was tribal, with Gonds constituting three-quarters of it. The district was also home to the Sringareni collieries, the biggest in south India. But only about six to seven per cent of their employees were tribals. Big industrial houses had business interests here in products such as coal and bamboo.

There was a lot of unrest among the landless poor, who were at one time landowners but had lost their land to money-lenders, who had come from Maharashtra and other parts of Andhra Pradesh. In many cases, the poor tribals had cleared large tracts of forest land for agriculture, after paying bribes to the revenue and forest officials.

Later, the same forest department officials began evacuating the tribals from the forest area, denying them even the little sustenance that came through cultivation.

It was in such circumstances, Naxalites allege, that rich landlords like Pithambar Rao made life even more difficult for the poor. Rao had been on the hit list of the Naxalites for some time — according to a rebel who was a part of the hit team — because of his alleged cruel ways of dealing with the poor peasants of Tappalpur.

The Naxalites accuse him of being drunk on money and political power, and of committing a number of atrocities including the raping of womenfolk. The Naxalites even go to the extent of saying that in those days no family would agree to a marriage alliance for their daughter from anyone in Tappalpur because of Rao’s reputation.

Apart from this, the Naxalites had another major axe to grind with Pithambar Rao. In 1972, two peasants, Bhumaiah and Kishta Goud were arrested for murdering a landlord in Adilabad, and were later sentenced to death. Civil rights groups had tried their best to save them from the gallows (even Sartre had demanded their release) but in the middle of the Emergency, on 1 December 1975, the two were hanged in the Mushirabad jail-becoming the first to be hanged in free India (after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse).

The Maoists believe that Pithambar Rao had played a key role in the arrest of Kishta Goud. That evening a group of them gathered by the walls of his mansion, waiting for the darkness. Later, another rebel group was to join them and then they would attack. The men were armed with axes, knives and a crude bomb.

One of those who waited outside that evening was bespectacled man, a science graduate, working as a teacher in the neighbouring Karimnagar district. He had recently been made a Central Organiser of the party. Accompanying him was another young comrade known for his physical strength and knowledge of guerilla warfare.

But things went a little haywire. The group that was supposed to join them didn’t turn up. As they waited, one of Rao’s workers happened to spot them. Another senior Maoist leader who was a part of that group remembers how the young comrade frog-jumped at the worker and prevented him from raising an alarm.

But by then the other workers had seen them as well. In haste, the men exploded the bomb they were carrying at the entrance and fled from there.

Though the bomb did not kill anyone on the spot, Pithambar Rao died a few days later. Of a heart attack.

But the group was not yet done. It returned a few months later, this time well prepared. The group had acquired a muzzle-loading gun as well. On the evening of 7 November, the group, disguised as shepherds, pretended to be drunk and initiated a fake brawl among themselves. As the onlookers gathered, one of them shouted: ‘Let us go to the Zamindar!’

At the main gate of Rao’s mansion they spotted Rao’s two sons. Both of them were killed at once along with a police constable. Besides them, a couple of workers and the son of the village head were also killed. The group then left and went to a nearby village where one of Rao’s clerks known for his inhuman attitude towards the poor lived.

He was found at his house and his throat was slit. The group then raided the house of another landlord and burnt down all the land deal agreements he had with the villagers. Then they went looking for another of Rao’s workers who had also played a role in Kishta Goud’s arrest. He was fired at but he managed to flee.

Later, he surrendered in front of the party leaders and apologised.

This incident is known in the history of the Maoist movement as the Tappalpur raid and it led to the exodus of scores of landlords from Adilabad, Karimnagar and other neighbouring districts. The poor had risen and the Maoists were now leading them.

The young comrade who frog-jumped at Rao’s worker that September night in Tappalpur was Nalla Adi Reddy, more popularly known as Comrade Shyam. He was later killed on 2 December 1999 in Bangalore with two other senior Maoist leaders, Santosh Reddy alias Mahesh and Seelam Naresh alias Murali.

Their local guide in Bangalore who had offered them shelter had connived with the police to drug them, after which they were killed. The bespectacled comrade who accompanied the group in Tappalpur was also a Velama, Mupalla Laxman Rao, the man we know now as Ganapathi — the supreme commander of the CPI (Maoist).

The situation in the neighbouring Karimnagar district was no different. There was rampant exploitation of the landless poor and in the feudal set-up formed by the landlords, they suffered a lot. But after the student rebels under the ‘Go to the Village’ campaign began visiting these areas, they brought with them political awareness.

People who were not even allowed to wear slippers in front of the landlords were getting organised under the Maoist leadership.

The first shock to the feudal landlords was administered by a Dalit labourer, Lakshmi Rajam. In Andhra, around the time of Dussehra, it was a ritual that a play called Dakamma be performed in the area where the landlords lived.

In the village the segregation was complete. Wealthy Velama landlords stayed in the village while the Dalits stayed around the periphery so that they would have no contact with the landlords most of the time. Buoyed by the stories of revolution, Rajam organised this play in the Dalit area in 1977.

It was around this time that the Dalits and other landless people began to assert themselves and took over tracts of government land either illegally occupied by the landlords or just left unexploited. The first Dalit to occupy such land was a man called Poshetty. Both Lakshmi Rajam and Poshetty were killed by the angry landlords.

By June 1978, the heat had become unbearable for the landlords. The student rebels had sowed a seed of rebellion among the peasants. The Maoist leadership decided to concentrate on the wage issues of agricultural labourers, the abolition of free labour which the landlords forced the Dalits to do, and taking possession of land…

…Due to the Jagtial march, a rare phenomenon took place, perhaps the only one of its kind till now in the history of India. The poor working class decided to socially boycott those landlords who would not surrender the land they illegally occupied. So for such landlords, washermen, barbers, cattle feeders and domestic servants refused to lend their services.

This was the social boycott of the poor in reverse. The same boycott was later extended to the policemen who camped in the area to aid the rich landlords. The boycott was a huge success. Excepting six landlords, everyone else fell in line.

Some of the landlords later retaliated with the help of the police. Village after village was raided by a joint force of police and goons of the landlords. Mass beating and torture took place. In Jagtial taluka alone, 4,000 villagers are said to have been implicated in false cases. Some of them were jailed and many brutally tortured.

By end October 1978, Jagtial was declared a disturbed area.

But the men who led and supervised the Jagtial march were a contented lot. The shackles had been broken. That evening in Jagtial, as the poor masses took to the streets, two men would look into each other’s eyes and then hug each other.

One of them was Ganapathi and the other his friend who would later become his trusted lieutenant: Mallojula Koteshwara Rao alias Kishenji.

Afterword

On 5 February this year, in a village in Uttar Pradesh, a 16-year-old Dalit girl was attacked by three uppercaste youth. While she was returning from the fields, they dragged her away in an attempt to rape her. When she resisted and shouted for help, they fled. But before running away they chopped off her ears and part of her hand with an axe and badly injured her face. The inhumanity of this action would be unthinkable in any civilised society.

But here, in India, it is hardly noticed. This is routine. In our highly patriarchal system, a girl’s life is cheap; a poor Dalit girl is less than a chattel in the prevailing upper-caste/upper-class social thinking.

This single incident brings out three factors.

First: the intolerance to any form of Dalit assertion, even if it is an assertion to resist rape.

Second: the impunity with which Dalits can be attacked even in a state ruled by a Dalit leader that comes from the knowledge that the establishment will not touch the culprits.

Third: it brings out the arrogance of the upper-caste youth, a superiority complex instilled since birth.

Rahul Pandita’s Hello, Bastar coincides with the third death anniversary of Anuradha Ghandy. It is an occasion to remember her monumental contribution to the understanding of the caste/Dalit question in India and the significance of its resolution for the democratisation of the individuals, and with it, the society.

In a society where a small percentage of people consider themselves superior to all others merely due to birth, there can be no democratic consciousness.

There have been other books on this subject, but they have primarily been based on secondary sources. But Rahul has personally investigated the issue, traversing difficult and often risky terrain. Such investigative journalism is a refreshing breeze in the stagnant air of superficiality that dominates reporting today.

Having personally studied the developments in Chhattisgarh and having interacted with many revolutionaries and their sympathisers, the author has no doubt added to the reliability of the information. One may agree or disagree with the views presented, but the facts of the Maoist movement seem well elucidated. So, this book becomes an important source material for anyone seeking to study the particular model of development.

Generally, to the ordinary reader of the mainstream media, the issue is just that of violence. This book brings out that the question of violence is secondary; the key question is how to develop the country and its people. The Maoists have one method as reflected in their policies as elaborated in this book while the established government has another, seen in their economic and political policies over the past years.

Let us now address the larger question of India’s real growth. In the Global Hunger Index 2010, India ranks 67th among 88 countries — it was 65 in 2009. And if we turn to the recently-developed UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which more accurately measures income on the basis of income, health, education etc., we find the situation even worse.

India, it says, has 65 crore people who are poor on this index. It amounts to 55 percent population.

The Right to Food Campaign says that two-thirds of our women are anaemic. India is also at the very bottom of the recently-compiled ‘Quality of Death’ index.

The water in our country is so badly polluted that it has turned into one of the major killers. According to the United Nations (UN), one lakh people die each year of waterborne diseases in India.

If one looks at the issue of food, the situation appears equally grim. Per capita food grain consumption has fallen from 177 kilos per year in 1991 to 151 kilos in 1998 (it has dropped even further now). Compare this to 182 kilos recorded by the LDCs (Least Developed Countries) and 196 kilos in Africa.

Besides general reading, this book could be useful for any future dialogue between the government and the Maoists which is an urgent necessity.

Rahul has put in enormous effort to produce a work based on an important phenomena in today’s India. This will only help any discourse to evolve a better future.

Kobad Ghandy

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