Archive | June 25th, 2011

Did MCB Support the West war in Libya ?


…NEWS RELEASE…NEWS RELEASE…NEWS RELEASE…

 

31 Mar 2011

 

 

Actions must be in the interests of the people of the Middle East

 

The Muslim Council of Britain today issues the following statement on the situation in the

Middle East:

 

The Muslim Council of Britain articulates the majority opinion that supports aspirations for

freedom,

rights to representative and transparent governance, dignity and peace. That feeling is felt

most by Britain’s Arab communities whose loved ones are affected by the events in the Middle

East and North Africa.

Whilst there is universal acknowledgement of the murderous nature of the Gaddafi regime,

there is also a confident but cautious support for the implementation of a No Fly Zone to stop

the Libyan regime from attacking its own people.

We urge the British government that the intervention keeps to the letter and spirit of the UN

Resolution 1973.

Above all, we must ensure that this action is conducted in accordance with the wishes of the

Libyan people.

We sincerely hope that this campaign ends soon and that our serving men and women are returned

from harm’s way.

Further afield, the Muslim Council of Britain urges our government to be consistent elsewhere in the

region and ensure that we speak out against governments perpetrating violence against their own

citizens who demand their rights through peaceful protests. In other countries in the region where

our government has good diplomatic relations,

we must insist that these regimes should not harm civilians and should not remain above international

law.

Many Britons have relatives and ties to these countries, we would do well to take heed of their anxieties

and act in accordance with the long delayed democratic aspirations of the Arab and Muslim world.

We appeal to the mosques and our affiliates to mobilise support for the charities offering relief to the victims

of violence and conflict in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Video of Libyan Rebel Beheading Gadhaffi Soldier

WARNING! Disturbing Graphic Video. Do NOT watch if you are offended by graphic real violence.

 

View More Disturbing Videos from Libya >>>

By Susan Lindauer, former CIA Asset covering Libya

 

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors

The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national,
regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.

 

 

 

 

write to MCB:
The Muslim Council of Britain,
PO Box 57330,
London,
E1 2WJ
Tel: 0845 26 26 786
Fax: 0207 247 7079
media@mcb.org.uk

 

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don’t tell Jeremy Ben Ami

NOVANEWS

Bibi Netanyahu announces another bout of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem, Barack Obama announces that American and Israeli values are unified and inseparable, and Jeremy Ben Ami, eminence grise of capitalist retrenchment and toned-down Israeli neo-colonization, and head of the J Street colonialism-lite lobby, steps up to the plate to offer some tribal kibitzing and kvetching over the “success or failure of the State of Israel,” and alongside it the “the heart and the soul of the Jewish people.” I wonder if Ben Ami has been reading Hegel.

It is bad enough that Ben Ami insists on creating, re-creating and re-inscribing that bastard child of Romantic nationalism, the “Jewish people.” I recognize no such entity. Worse still that he wants to endow them/us with a “heart and soul,” and yet worse that he wants to weave that soul tightly together with the “success or failure” of Israel which is heading pell-mell towards genocide or shoah redux or both.

But Ben Ami goes from worse to worse to worst. He asks us to “reject out of hand” the notion that criticizing the “government of Israel” exhibits “disloyalty to the State of Israel or to the Jewish people.” There’s a safe space for dissent: loyalty to the “Jewish people,” alongside loyalty to “the State of Israel,” the sovereign state of the Jewish people, according to Israeli juridical practice.

This leaves us in a muddle. According to that state’s own practice, loyalty to it means one must have loyalty to – and thereby believe in – that misbegotten chimera, the Jewish people. Names don’t mean much to me, and if Israel can re-constitute itself as the state of its citizens as well as those of the occupied territories and the refugees, or the state of two national groups, each with collective rights within it, that’s fine, but I do not appreciate Ben Ami tasking me with loyalty to the antisemitic invention of European racists and their epigones and accommodators.

Ben Ami rambles about “the tradition of open debate that is a hallmark of Jewish history and Israeli democracy,” which I must have missed sometime between the outlawing of anti-Zionist parties, the hounding of Matzpen into exile, the repression of the Israeli Mizrahi Black Panthers, and the effective expulsion of Azmi Bishara from the country, never mind the near-lynching of Haneen Zoabi in the Knesset for daring to think, and to act on the conviction inherent in that thought, that the inhabitants of Gaza shouldn’t be treated like zoo animals barred from the usage of their own sea lanes.

Nor do I appreciate Ben Ami alchemizing Jewish history into some unequivocal source of pride, like there’s something to be “proud” of in the words and actions of Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion, or Henry Kissinger. Ben Ami does not mean that. He means the “free debate” that were he alive at the time he would have spurned as heresy, and which he implicitly spurns in the damnation-by-ignorance of the real debate going on elsewhere that if an Israeli state for the Jewish people means dispossession, ethnic cleansing, torture, and occupation, maybe that state was a mistake, not to say a crime.

And what is the cause of concern? Ben Ami quotes Shimon Peres: “We’re galloping at full speed toward a situation where Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state.” Heaven forefend. Ben Ami then comments on the “many of us who fear the demise of the Zionist dream that we and our families have worked for over a century to realize” – the dream of European and American Jewish capitalists seeking to export the European Jewish rabble to the Levant, the dream of the Ashkenazi “new class” incubated in the Histadrut which took over the heights of an Israeli society and economy built on piles of Palestinian bones and the forced exile of Arab Jewry, and then the dream of American Zionists with complexes about effeminacy and intellectualism, and a fucked-up relationship to a marauding murderer state in the Middle East, who could trade in their working class histories, their suffering, their shtetl mentalities, the memory of theshoah, to join white people: the colonizers, the elite, the powerful, the rich, the racist, the murderers. Aime Cesaire wrote,

No one colonizes innocently, that no one colonizes with impunity either; that a nation which colonizes, that a civilization which justifies colonization and therefore force-is already a sick civilization, a civilization which is morally diseased, which irresistibly, progressing from one consequence to another, one denial to another, calls for its Hitler, I mean its punishment.

Don’t tell Ben Ami.

 

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Alice Walker: Why I’m joining the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

NOVANEWS

Pulitzer prize-winning American writer Alice Walker is on board an international flotilla of boats sailing to Gaza to challenge the Israeli blockade. Here she tells why.

 

US writer Alice Walker in Gaza City in 2009.

US writer Alice Walker in Gaza City in 2009. Photograph: AP

Why am I going on the Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza? I ask myself this, even though the answer is: what else would I do? I am in my 67th year, having lived already a long and fruitful life, one with which I am content. It seems to me that during this period of eldering it is good to reap the harvest of one’s understanding of what is important, and to share this, especially with the young. How are they to learn, otherwise?

Our boat, The Audacity of Hope, will be carrying letters to the people of Gaza. Letters expressing solidarity and love. That is all its cargo will consist of. If the Israeli military attacks us, it will be as if they attacked the mailman. This should go down hilariously in the annals of history. But if they insist on attacking us, wounding us, even murdering us, as they did some of the activists in the last flotilla, Freedom Flotilla I, what is to be done?

There is a scene in the movie Gandhi that is very moving to me: it is when the unarmed Indian protesters line up to confront the armed forces of the British Empire. The soldiers beat them unmercifully, but the Indians, their broken and dead lifted tenderly out of the fray, keep coming.

Alongside this image of brave followers of Gandhi there is, for me, an awareness of paying off a debt to the Jewish civil rights activists who faced death to come to the side of black people in the American south in our time of need. I am especially indebted to Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman who heard our calls for help – our government then as now glacially slow in providing protection to non-violent protesters – and came to stand with us.

They got as far as the truncheons and bullets of a few “good ol’ boys'” of Neshoba County, Mississippi and were beaten and shot to death along with James Chaney, a young black man of formidable courage who died with them. So, even though our boat will be called The Audacity of Hope, it will fly the Goodman, Chaney, Schwerner flag in my own heart.

And what of the children of Palestine, who were ignored in our president’s latest speech on Israel and Palestine, and whose impoverished, terrorised, segregated existence was mocked by the standing ovations recently given in the US Congress to the prime minister of Israel?

I see children, all children, as humanity’s most precious resource, because it will be to them that the care of the planet will always be left. One child must never be set above another, even in casual conversation, not to mention in speeches that circle the globe.

As adults, we must affirm, constantly, that the Arab child, the Muslim child, the Palestinian child, the African child, the Jewish child, the Christian child, the American child, the Chinese child, the Israeli child, the Native American child, etc, is equal to all others on the planet. We must do everything in our power to cease the behaviour that makes children everywhere feel afraid.

I once asked my best friend and husband during the era of segregation, who was as staunch a defender of black people’s human rights as anyone I’d ever met: how did you find your way to us, to black people, who so needed you? What force shaped your response to the great injustice facing people of colour of that time?

I thought he might say it was the speeches, the marches, the example of Martin Luther King Jr, or of others in the movement who exhibited impactful courage and grace. But no. Thinking back, he recounted an episode from his childhood that had led him, inevitably, to our struggle.

He was a little boy on his way home from yeshiva, the Jewish school he attended after regular school let out. His mother, a bookkeeper, was still at work; he was alone. He was frequently harassed by older boys from regular school, and one day two of these boys snatched his yarmulke (skull cap), and, taunting him, ran off with it, eventually throwing it over a fence.

Two black boys appeared, saw his tears, assessed the situation, and took off after the boys who had taken his yarmulke. Chasing the boys down and catching them, they made them climb the fence, retrieve and dust off the yarmulke, and place it respectfully back on his head.

It is justice and respect that I want the world to dust off and put – without delay, and with tenderness – back on the head of the Palestinian child. It will be imperfect justice and respect because the injustice and disrespect have been so severe. But I believe we are right to try.

That is why I sail.

The Chicken Chronicles: A Memoir by Alice Walker is published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson. A longer version of this article appears on Alice Walker’s blog: alicewalkersgarden.com/blog

After the excitement of the Arab Spring, has the Palestine issue slipped out of view, asks Emine Saner

Just over a year ago, in the middle of the night, Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish ship in international waters just off the coast of Israel, opened fire and killed nine activists. The Mavi Marmara was one of six ships in the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and the actions of Israel’s military brought widespread international condemnation.

This time, as Freedom Flotilla II sets sail over the next week, with 10 ships carrying many of the same activists who travelled last year, including Swedish writer Henning Mankell, American human rights campaigner Hedy Epstein, and writer and academic Alice Walker, the Israeli government’s response will be closely watched.

This week Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, wrote a letter saying: “Israel calls on the international community to do everything in their ability in order to prevent the flotilla and warn citizens … of the risks of participating in this type of provocation.” The purpose of the flotilla, he said, is “to provoke and aid a radical political agenda”. He later added: “We are very determined to defend ourselves and to assert our right to a naval blockade on Gaza.”

“The threats of violence won’t deter us,” says Huwaida Arraf, one of the flotilla organisers. “Nobody is going in to this lightly, but we feel it has to be done. Israel has to realise its violence against us is not going to stop our growing civilian effort to challenge its illegal policies. The size of this flotilla, the number of people involved in organising it, even after Israel killed nine of our colleagues last year, is testament to that.”

She says half a million people applied for the few hundred places: depending on how many of the 10 boats are seaworthy in time, there should be around 400 people on the flotilla.

The campaign began in August 2008, when 44 activists on two small fishing boats set off from Cyprus and managed to reach Gaza. Later that year, the Free Gaza Movement, as it became known, organised several other voyages, usually sending single boats containing small but symbolic supplies such as medicine and toys, and volunteers, including doctors, lawyers and politicians. Amid allegations of violence and hostility from Israel’s naval forces at sea, the activists decided they would need to send a flotilla, and after months of fundraising and negotiating with NGOs from other countries, particularly Turkey, several ships met in the Mediterranean sea in May last year with the intention of reaching Gaza.

“We didn’t make it to Gaza and we lost a lot of colleagues,” says Arraf, “but one of the things that was achieved was that people realised what Israel’s policies meant, and the violence Israel was using to maintain them. We think our action will put pressure on Israel to end its blockade on Gaza, and we hope the respective governments of all the people participating will take action and do what they should be doing, instead of having their nationals putting their lives at risk like this.”

There is a danger, says Chris Doyle, director of the council for Arab-British understanding, of the Palestinian issue being overlooked – in the west at least – as focus shifts to countries going through the extraordinary changes in the Arab spring. “There is a danger that people forget how important this issue is, and that it is boiling. It is still an unresolved issue. At a time when international politicians – Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy and others – are concentrating so much on other areas of the region, the issue of Palestine has not gone away.”

“Everyone has been so amazed and shocked at the beauty of the Arab revolutions, seeing these incredibly brave and wonderful citizens, that it quite naturally seizes the attention, but at the heart of the Arab revolutions is Palestine,” says Karma Nabulsi, an academic and expert on the Middle East. “I would say it hasn’t been properly covered in the west, but Palestine is central to what people – the Arab media, the people who are participating in the Arab revolutions – talk about all the time.”

So where does Palestine fit into the Arab spring? Doyle says: “A Palestinian spring is more than possible. Many senior people within Fatah and the Palestinian authorities have been saying this is the way to go because the negotiations are not seen as credible, and they will have to adopt different tactics. I think that, on the one hand, those tactics could be against the Israeli occupation, but also it represents a threat to the Palestinian authority itself, both to Fatah and Hamas.”

The flotilla “gives people heart and encouragement, that the struggle for freedom has friends and supporters”, says Nabulsi. “What the flotilla did last year, these plucky little boats, was bring the entire world to look at what [the Israeli government] were doing. Not just because of the brutality of the response of the military, but it shows how simple gestures get to the heart of the issue – breaking through the silence and the siege, and all the things that seem so big and impossible to do. They did it and they’re going to do it again, and that’s what is so remarkably brave.”

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Graphic Video of Libyan Rebel Beheading Gadhaffi Soldier

NOVANEWS

 

WARNING! Disturbing Graphic Video. Do NOT watch if you are offended by graphic real violence.

View More Disturbing Videos from Libya >>>

By Susan Lindauer,

former CIA Asset covering Libya

NATO has been pumping propaganda out of Libya to justify its “humanitarian war” against the government of Moammar Gadhaffi. Until now, NATO has succeeded in large part because ordinary citizens around the world have no access to direct intelligence on which to base their own opinions. As the former CIA Asset who covered Libya at the United Nations from 1995 to 2003 during negotiations for the Lockerbie Trial, I am compelled to break past that propaganda to examine actual evidence.

Responding to numerous requests, I am sharing primary evidence that I receive daily from sources inside Tripoli.  Video documentation comes from Libyan refugees, collected by a fact finding commission called “Global Civilians for Peace in Libya.” The fact-finding team includes Europeans, Africans, Americans and international human rights attorneys, who are preparing allegations of War Crimes against NATO. Judging from these videos, financial damages that NATO will be required to pay Libya should be stupendous, indeed.

Above all, it’s clear NATO has grossly misrepresented its arguments at the United Nations, in order to justify military action against Gadhaffi. Britain and France trusted bad intelligence from unreliable sources, trying to gain power from the conflict.  A more careful investigation shows that it is the NATO Rebels who are guilty of serious war crimes—not Gadhaffi’s soldiers at all. Sanctions should be thrown out, and NATO should shift its military forces to back Gadhaffi in defending the Libyan people.

Never play truth or dare with a spy.

The videos portray horrific atrocities. There are two important reasons why NATO Rebels would commit these acts. First, in committing war crimes, NATO Rebels have deployed a strategy for provoking panic and confusion at the street level, where they must control the people. They have frightened their opposition into silent submission. Ordinary Libyans can see with their own eyes that Libyan Rebels are all powerful, protected by NATO and CIA enforcers. Pro-Gadhaffi loyalists had better shut their mouths or face terrible consequences.

At the same time, Libyan Rebels have discovered a way to punch NATO’s buttons, and fire up the engines for the “Humanitarian War–” For some reason, the world is supposed to believe that Gadhaffi’s government—which has no history of attacking its own people in 41 years of rule—is suddenly guilty of the most hideous offenses.

Those of us who have studied Libya closely have opposite expectations. Historically, Gadhaffi has been so tenacious and protective of his people that he refused to hand over two Libyan men for the Lockerbie trial, despite years of U.N. sanctions. Gadhaffi knew the men were innocent, and would not get a fair shake in Court. To sum up, Lockerbie was a false flag operation to hide rogue CIA involvement in heroin trafficking out of the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, during the Terry Anderson hostage crisis.

A joint team of CIA, FBI and Defense Intelligence investigators were flying on Pan Am 103 that day, heading for Washington to expose the heroin ring, when the plane exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. Libya got tagged as the fall guy, but like 9/11, the truth refused to die. And Gadhaffi refused to back down. He stood by his people, despite punishing international pressures.

Gadhaffi’s guess proved correct, by the way. In one of the most shameful episodes of corruption ever at the International Courts, the U.S. bribed two witnesses at the Lockerbie Trial with $4 million pay offs. After both witnesses recanted and confessed to the payments, the only Libyan convicted in the Pan Am 103 bombing, Abdelbasset Megrahi, won a “compassionate release” from Scottish prison in August, 2009, ostensibly so he could go home to die of cancer.

Gadhaffi’s actions reveal a great deal about his character. As a leader, does he throw his people to the wolves? Or abandon them for convenience? Notoriously not. He claims the Libyan people as his own. He protects them no matter the cost to himself.

These videos are the reality check. Ironically, by claiming Gadhaffi’s forces have been responsible for rape crimes specifically, NATO has made a glaring admission that War Crimes are in fact occurring inside Libya. Headlines that Gadhaffi issued Viagra to fuel rape binges by his soldiers played very well on CNN. However former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has determined that the only major purchaser of Viagra bound for Libya was the U.S. Government itself, which handed out Little Blue Pills to older Rebel soldiers to energize them for battle.

That strategy has backfired. Ordinary Libyans are fleeing Rebel strongholds, racing to the protection of Gadhaffi’s central authority for safety.

The Bad Guys

These videos look awfully like Al Qaeda to me. But don’t take my word for it. Look at the evidence and decide for yourself. They’re hosted at FederalJack.com on a special site, ObamasLibya.com, because it’s got hefty security and rock solid courage to speak truth to power. FederalJack.com will not back down. More videos will be added in coming weeks.

The first video shows a Libyan rebel beheading a Libyan soldier. If it looks like Iraq, well golly, the highest percentage of foreign fighters in Iraq (and Chechnya and Afghanistan) came from Eastern Libya. Unhappily for NATO, there’s no avoiding that this video was shot in Libya: The men are speaking a Libyan Arab dialect with its own distinct accent.

The second video shows gruesome footage of a Libyan rebel cutting up the rotted flesh of a dead soldier and forcing it into the hands of Libyan Prisoners of War, who are lined up in a row so they must eat it.

Another video shows a group of Rebels sodomizing a civilian with a pistol. Another shows a crowd of Rebels hanging and beheading a Libyan soldier.

Another video shows CIA operatives working side by side Rebel forces, and driving around in trucks— proof that U.S. forces are already in Libya in violation of President Obama’s promise to Congress to keep boots off the ground.

Another video shows several dead Libyan soldiers with their throats cut, lying in the back of a truck. The killings violate the Geneva Conventions of War, which protect enemy soldiers after capture. In the excitement, NATO Rebels encouraged a frightened on-looker to video the butchery and claim that Gadhaffi’s forces were responsible. Afterward, the man with the video grabbed his family and fled the Rebel stronghold. That’s how the video reached the fact-finding group in Tripoli.

It’s all on ObamasLibya.com, hosted by Federal Jack, with our greatest thanks for having the guts to show the truth, which corporate media lacks.  It’s so barbaric that it defies understanding how NATO could have envisioned these Rebels as holding any leadership potential at all.

Rape As a Weapon of War

Worst than you thought, right? Most notoriously up to this point, it has become evident that Rebels are using rape as a war-time punishment of pro-Gadhaffi or “neutral” families. In Islamic culture, the whole family suffers stigmas after rape, a sort of communal punishment.

Right now a team of female human rights attorneys are interviewing rape victims. Two rape testimonials and other eye witness reports are provided here. For the attorney affidavit on the larger problem, go toObamasLibya.com. Understand that new documentation is arriving daily from Tripoli.

However these are not the most graphic stories. The problem in collecting it is traveling hundreds of miles through checkpoints and bombs. By explanation, as of June 22, non-governmental fact finders are traveling 200 miles to video a boy who got castrated and both eyes gouged out by NATO Rebels as punishment for refusing to join their paramilitary unit.

Other video getting collected comes from a father, who describes the kidnapping of his virgin daughter from a pro-Gadhaffi family. After dragging her out of the house at gun-point and taking her to a rape party, NATO rebels cut off her breasts with a knife, and she bled to death.

Human rights investigators are now interviewing a Libyan Woman from Zawia who survived a brutal gang rape that cut off her breasts. Miraculously, horrified on-lookers  saved her from bleeding to death, when excited Rebels ran off, firing their guns in the air. She’s been hospitalized, but she’s too physically and mentally damaged to handle the interview at the moment. International human rights attorney are standing by.

We urgently seek an American sponsor so this Libyan woman can undergo reconstructive surgery in the United States or Europe.

On June 19, Gadhaffi soldiers entering Misurata rescued another rape survivor. The young woman had been kidnapped and held hostage for 20 days. Rebel forces gang raped her every single day, round the clock, until Gadhaffi’s forces broke through their lines and saved her life.

So much for NATO’s humanitarian mission. Clearly NATO has been grossly deceived, and should cease at once from protecting these Rebels who are monstrously abusive to the Libyan people.  U.S. tax dollars are training a New Taliban to intimidate the Libyan people into submission, while the West plunders Libya’s wealth.

But NATO failed to take into account the spirit of the Libyan people. Libya has a powerful history and traditions of resilience in defending its sovereignty from foreign invaders. Libyan families and Tribal Leaders are determined to seek financial damages from every NATO and Arab country that supports the rebels. So long as NATO provides training, uniforms, military assault rifles, jeeps and transportation, ground advisers and air power—-NATO will be forced to take responsibility for these crimes. Financial damages will come out of funding for NATO’s own citizens—out of education, health care, government pensions, universities, roads, bridges, you name it.

Patrick Haseldine, a British expert on Libya’s conflict with NATO, has calculated current British financial damages at $2.8 billion.

All of it begs the question why NATO governments should want to support these Rebels in the first place? Indeed, all of us should ask some important questions.

Should President Obama spend hard-earned U.S. tax dollars from the Middle Class to finance this War?  Should America assume the role of training Al Qaeda forces and function as Al Qaeda enforcers? While our great nation bleeds red ink? While Americans struggle to find jobs and fight off foreclosures? Knowing that our soldiers are exhausted from two other failed Wars—fighting these same Al Qaeda Rebels in Iraq and Afghanistan?

And why exactly should America prop up NATO, so that the British and French can relive their glory days of Empire?  Is it worth risking our Empire and prosperity? Really?

These videos reveal a whole different truth. The CIA will probably get mad that I have released them. But good Intelligence Assets are supposed to deliver brutal honesty. We’re not supposed to hide ugly truths. We’re supposed to get information that leaders—and communities— urgently need to make the most informed choices in policymaking. It happens to be very, very ugly intelligence. But it would be wrong for me to spare you.

In my opinion as a former U.S. Asset, the United States should break ties with the Libyan rebels and cut off financing immediately.

We’re pulling back the intelligence curtain, so you can decide for yourself.

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Nazi’s Attack Palestinans

NOVANEWS

Plowing, attempt to pump water in Bir al-Eid and settler violence

Recently, harassment by the settlers and the army has worsened. The previous Thursday, for example, Nasser Nawaje from Susiya was beaten by a group of soldiers; he had attempted to protect a child from this same group. The beating causing swelling in his face, and he was hospitalized. On Saturday morning some fifteen Ta’ayush activists headed out from Jerusalem to the South Hebron Hills to assist Palestinian farmers in plowing their lands. A group of seven activists joined Hajj Ziad from Bir al-Eid to protect him while he pumped water from …

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Syria: June 21 Demonstrations Set By Assad

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Syrians throughout the country took to the streets on Tuesday, 21 June 2011.

They turned out to express their support for the reform measures announced by President Bashar Al-Assad the previous day in the speech he delivered at the University of Damascus.

Source: Voltairenet.org

Several million Syrians throughout the country took to the streets on Tuesday, 21 June 2011. The crowds were particularly dense and impressive in Damascus Alep, Tartous and Homs.

They turned out to express their support for the reform measures announced by President Bashar Al-Assad the previous day in the speech he delivered at the University of Damascus.

The scale of the demonstrations, unprecedented in the history of Syria, are a token of the huge popular support enjoyed by the «regime», so widely demonized by Western media and political leaders.

For the sake of comparison, at the peak of the anti-government rallies of the past three months, the overall number of protesters in the entire country amounted was between 150 000 and 200 000.

The Syrians living in the country and whose children are serving in the army don’t swallow the disinformation dished out by satellite channels that portray them as being under the yoke of a dictatorship, where the police is torturing children and the army is bombarding villages. Instead, what they do know is that their country is prey to a destabilization plot at the hands of armed groups piloted from abroad, a prelude to a possible NATO aggression.

In your opinion, who is telling the truth: the Syrian people or the Western media?


Damascus

Daraa

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A Berlin A-Bomb on Sunday 6/26/2011?

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http://www.soccercappers.com/images/olympia_stadion_berlin.jpg

By Captain Eric H. May, Iconoclast Intelligence

WEDNESDAY, 6/22/11 — German Attorney Torsten van Geest has submitted a provisional order to force the German government into action in light of what he claims are multiple indicators of an impending nuclear terror attack at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on June 26, 2011, during the opening ceremony of the Women’s World Soccer Championship.

U.S. officials knew about similar indicators before the September 11, 2001 attacks, but did nothing to prevent them, he says, adding that this time such indicators should be publicized to help prevent an attack.

The 400-page provisional order states that many nations have conducted so-called “false-flag” terror attacks, blaming them on unpopular ethnic groups or countries to create conflict and justify wars. They are advancing a world domination agenda, it argues, to concentrate power in the hands of a shadowy power elite who control governments and organizations.

For more refer to: WARNING: Nuclear Terror Attack on June 26, 2011, Berlin Olympia Stadium, FIFA Women`s Soccer World Cup 2011.

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McCain/Kerry Support Imperial War on Libya

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By: Stephen Lendman

 

On November 6, 1971, a remorseful John Kerry told Washington, DC’s WRC-TV that “I gave back, I can’t remember, six, seven, eight, nine medals,” protesting against America’s Vietnam War involvement.

On April 22, 1971, Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), saying in part:

He came to discuss an investigation involving “over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans,” who admitted committing Southeast Asian war crimes, explaining:

“stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, bl(ew) up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages (like) Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravages of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”

Calling it a “Winter Soldier Investigation,” he said “there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America.” Linking America’s involvement “to the preservation of freedom….is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy….”

“We saw firsthand how money from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime….We rationalized destroying villages….to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very cooly a My Lai,” and many others like it. “We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals.”

“We have come here….because we believe this body can be responsive to the will of the people (saying) we should be out of Vietnam now….”

Adding much more, he condemned America’s illegal, immoral war, wanting no further part in it. That was then. This is now. Since 1985, Kerry represented Massachusetts in America’s Senate, chairing the Foreign Relations Committee he testified before in 1971.

In fact, one of many congressional millionaires, he’s the Senate’s richest approaching $300 million in net worth as heir, through his wife, to the HJ Heinz fortune.

Now hawkish, he and five other senators co-sponsored John McCain’s May 23 “S. 194: A Resolution expressing the sense of the Senate of the United States military operations in Libya,” saying:

It “(s)upports the aspirations of the Libyan people for political reform based on democratic and human rights. Commends the service of the men and women of the US Armed Forces and our coalition partners who are engaged in military operations to protect the Libyan people….to achieve the departure from power of (Gaddafi) and his family so that a peaceful transition can begin to a government that ensures freedom, opportunity, and justice for the people of Libya.”

In fact, America abhors these rights and freedoms, pursuing imperial wars of conquest, plunder and exploitation for wealth, power, and unchallenged dominance.

In 2001 and 2003, Kerry supported wars against Afghanistan and Iraq for those purposes, not liberation, human rights or democratic values. He now backs terror bombing Libya for the same reasons, spurning Libyans who want no part of America’s involvement.

In fact, Western media ignored a June 20 one million strong pro-Gaddafi Tripoli rally, raging against NATO terror bombings, killing civilians, targeting schools, hospitals, residential areas, and other non-military sites, what few in the West know about or understand.

On Press TV, independent journalist Lizzie Phelan said “from my sources, I have information that 90% of the tribes in Libya are supportive of the government, including the largest.”

In fact, Libyans are known for being “non-confrontational people (who’ll) go to the ends of the earth to resolve in a non-confrontational way.”

Washington’s led NATO war changed that, pursuing America’s undefined “national security policy interests,” that include mass slaughter, pillaging, colonization, destruction, and exploitation, common themes of Pentagon terror wars.

On June 22, AP reported that Kerry and John McCain with other Senate Democrats and Republicans introduced a resolution giving “Obama limited authority” in Libya retroactively from March 19 when terror bombing began.

Majority Leader Harry Reid calls it a “clear statement to our allies, to the world, to the Libyan people and to Gaddafi that we support the administration’s actions,” no matter how lawless, immoral, and defiant of democratic values.

Kerry said ending funding will be a “moment of infamy.” Supportive media reports concur, including a June 16 New York Times editorial headlined, “Libya and the War Powers Act,” saying:

“It would be hugely cost – for (America’s) credibility, for the future of NATO and for the people of Libya – if Congress were to force (Obama) to abandon military operations over Libya….(It) needs to authorize continued American support for NATO’s air campaign,” no matter how ignoble the cause, mass slaughter, destruction, and human misery inflicted, issues ignored by Times editors, endorsing the rape and plunder of another US imperial target.

The Republican controlled House will likely accede, despite duplicitous posturing for maximum advantage, perhaps concessions for other hard right legislation, harming working Americans most.

As a result, Speaker John Boehner responded to the Senate measure, saying:

“They’re pushing for an authorization in Libya and I don’t think that is where the House is. The fact is the president has not made his case to the members of Congress. He’s not made his case to the American people. We’ve been in this conflict for 90 days and the president hasn’t talked to the American people for four or five weeks about why we’re there, what our national interest is and why we should continue.”

Omitted from his comments were international and constitutional law references, standards all US wars violate, including against Libya, considerations never raised in either House.

House Republicans may vote this week on one of two resolutions – either to continue Libyan operations for one year, bar US ground forces, require Obama to report regularly to Congress, or end involvement entirely. AP says a Thursday vote is likely.

Supportive congressional members from both parties use duplicitous rhetoric for it, including Reid saying it’s “to stop mass murder and chaos” that didn’t begin until America and NATO intervened, and that Gaddafi’s “repressive dictatorship is a threat to the region and to the United States national security,” when, in fact, he threatens no one, especially America, the very notion laughable on its face.

Nonetheless, terror bombing Libya will continue, perhaps ending after turning targeted areas to rubble and inflicting mass casualties in the process, what America means by liberation.

Posted in LibyaComments Off on McCain/Kerry Support Imperial War on Libya

US-Led Terror Bombings Target Civilians

NOVANEWS

by Stephen Lendman

 

 

US air and ground operations strategically target civilians, Pentagon (and NATO) denials notwithstanding. They lie despite clear evidence refuting them. Their latest crime claimed 19 Libyans, all civilians, including women and eight children, apologies not forthcoming and deceitful when they do.

NATO (code for the Pentagon) duplicitously called it a “precision strike on a legitimate military target – a command-and-control node which was directly involved in coordinating systematic attacks on the Libyan people.”

False! It targeted Gaddafi ally Khweildy al-Hamidy’s private estate, murdering civilians inside beneath the rubble, government spokesman Moussa ibrahim saying:

“This is very twisted logic. So you kill children. You kill mothers. You kill fathers, aunts and uncles, and then you try to explain it by twisted political military logic.”

Since NATO terror bombings began March 19, an average of nearly nine daily civilian deaths followed, besides unknown hundreds killed by rebel cutthroats in their controlled areas, murdering any suspected pro-Gaddafi supporters – what Western media reports and governments won’t explain.

Numerous reports confirm it, including TeleSUR on June 3 saying:

“British activists have verified the consequences of NATO attacks against civilians in Libya. A spokesman for British Civilians for Peace (BCP)” there with French, German, Italian and regional activists confirmed noncombatant deaths. They also “found no evidence of the Libyan army shelling civilians,” but observed NATO terror bombing atrocities firsthand.

BCP spokesman Dale Roberts said in two Libyan visits:

“I have seen and witnessed the effects of bombing on civilians. This has included schools, hospitals, infrastructure and civilian areas,” unrelated to military sites.

Roberts added that UK and Western media suppress truths because:

“European public opinion is against a war that was not debated in Parliament, even in my country, Great Britain,” adding:

“One of the main reasons why” UN Resolution 1973 passed was because “Libya was being blamed and made responsible for attacks on unarmed civilians. They are false. We visited the areas in Tripoli (the UN Resolution) cited….and it is clear that these areas were not attacked.”

Like all US-led wars, lies facilitate terror bombing Libya. They include baseless allegations, claiming despots massacre civilians or threaten neighboring states with WMDs to stoke fear and enlist popular support.

In his book “War is a Lie,” David Swanson explains “common themes in the war lying business, lies that keep coming back like zombies that just won’t die.” And no matter how often they’re later exposed, they’re used again effectively because major media managed news repeat them, knowing they’re spurious but do it anyway complicit with state crimes.

Except in self-defense, wars aren’t ever justified, legitimate or legal, especially America’s, the only global superpower facing no external threats, so manufactured ones assure more conflict for imperial expansion and unchallenged dominance, no matter the body count to achieve it.

As a result, the same pattern repeats, segueing from one aggression to another or multiple ones simultaneously, illegally, and disastrously, heading America for tyranny, ruin, and eventual bankruptcy. Morally it’s had that status for generations, notably since WW II.

“In a world with so many uncertainties and unpredictable actors,” says Immanuel Wallerstein, “the most dangerous ‘loose gun’ is….the United States.”

For example, so-called Pentagon “Kill Teams” murder with impunity. Some collect body parts as souvenirs or trophies the way US military personnel did in WW II, mutilating dead Japanese, as well as later in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, exhibiting depravity inculcated in young recruits during training.

US death squads have also been used in US wars since WW II. During the Korean War, tens of thousands were murdered, and in Vietnam, Counterspy magazine called Operation Phoenix “the most indiscriminate and massive program of political murder since the Nazi death camps,” perhaps exceeded post-9/11 in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and numerous proxy wars, taking a horrendous human toll from combat operations alone.

Moreover, since WW II, US terror bombings killed millions of noncombatants to cow enemies into submission, what’s now commonplace in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya, as well as earlier in Iraq and could be resumed if ordered.

Sociologist Emile Durkheim once said, “The immorality of war depends entirely on the leaders who willed it.” In America, of course, it’s top administration and Pentagon officials. In his opening Nuremberg address, Justice Robert Jackson denounced the:

“men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberative and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched.”

He called them “men of station and rank (who don’t) soil (their) hands with blood,” but use “lesser folk” to do it, committing crimes of war and against humanity to enhance their status and privilege.

As a result, in Iraq and Afghanistan, US forces still order troops to kill every military-aged man on sight. Moreover, during training, enemies are dehumanized to make it easy, programming recruits to feel guiltless about horrific crimes.

Yet international and US laws are clear and unequivocal, including US Army Field Manual (FM) 27-10 standards that incorporate Nuremberg Principles, Judgment and the Charter and The Law of Land Warfare (1956):

  • – FM’s paragraph 498 states that any person, military or civilian, who commits a crime under international law is responsible for it and may be punished;

  • – paragraph 499 defines a war crime;

  • – paragraph 500 refers to a conspiracy, attempts to commit it and complicity with respect to international crimes;

  • – paragraph 509 denies the defense of superior orders in the commission of a crime; and

  • – paragraph 510 denies the defense of an “act of state” to absolve them.

Two points are key:

– these provisions apply to all US military and civilian personnel, including top commanders, the Secretary of Defense, his subordinates, and the President and Vice President of the United States; and

– under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, paragraph 2), all international laws and treaties are the “supreme Law of the Land.”

Nonetheless, US forces commit regular atrocities, in Afghanistan for nearly a decade, Pentagon commanders dismissively saying operations will continue to achieve goals that include killing civilians, no matter how many alienated Afghans become willing Taliban recruits against a hated occupier.

Why not when terror bombings kill entire families, including young children. When thuggish troops conduct middle-of-the-night home intrusions, intimidating, arresting, and at times killing gratuitously. When remote control droning kills like sport. When people are homeless, hungry, unemployed and deprived because America came, occupied and doesn’t give a damn about human need.

After terrorizing Iraqis, in June 2009, Stanley McChrystal took charge of US/NATO Afghanistan forces to do it there. Earlier, he headed the Pentagon’s infamous Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), de facto death squad operations to kill with impunity.

After his sacking a year later, David Petraeus (CIA director designate) doubled NATO air strikes and increased Special Forces terror raids to inflict more death and destruction against people who won’t stop resisting until America’s occupation ends.

Of course, mostly civilians suffer, what major media reports won’t explain, regurgitating Pentagon lies about successful militant strikes, suppressing truths to let imperial wars rage, bogusly called liberating ones.

In fact, when Washington wants war, nothing deters officials from waging it or several simultaneously, inventing reasons to justify what only naive masses and co-conspirators believe.

So when Obama says “we” have moral authority to liberate Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Libyans or other nations he attacks, Nobel laureate Harold Pinter once reflected in January 2000 on then lawless 1999 Serbia/Kosovo operations, saying:

“When they said ‘(w)e had to do something,’ I said: Who is this ‘we’ exactly that you’re talking about?….Under what heading do ‘we’ act, under what law? And also, the notion that this ‘we’ has the right to act,’ I said, presupposes a moral authority of which this ‘we’ possesses not a jot! It doesn’t exist!”

In fact, it’s as immoral, unethical and illegal as for serial killers, motivated by whatever drives them, including a passion for violence, real or delusional rewards.

When they’re nations, not sociopaths, Orwellian doublespeak disguises real motives deceptively. For example, Obama calls Libyan attacks a “time-limited, scope-limited military action,” not war, no matter how much death and destruction is inflicted.

So claiming constitutional Article 2, Section 2 authority as armed forces commander in chief, in fact, violates Article 51 of the UN Charter, prohibiting attacks against other nations except in self-defense, and only until the Security Council acts.

Moreover, the Constitution’s Article 1, Section 8 is violated, granting Congress sole power to declare war, never the executive unilaterally, for any reason or with doublespeak mumbo jumbo disguising it.

War is war. It’s also hell on the receiving end, harmful to combatants, and detrimental domestically when popular needs go unmet.

As chief executive, Obama is responsible for mass murder and destruction. If rule of law standards mattered, he’d be impeached, convicted and jailed for high crimes – in fact, the supreme international one against peace and others related to it.

Instead, he’ll finish his current term, likely be reelected, and leave office rewarded with multi-million dollar book deals and six-figure lecture offers to extol a record demanding condemnation in a court of law, holding him fully accountable for high crimes, demanding harsh punishment. In fact, only victims face that fate.

Posted in USAComments Off on US-Led Terror Bombings Target Civilians

Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Dear Friends,

8 items tonight—too many, I know.  But I omitted as many as I have included.  Sorry. But there are times as these, and we do our best—I by trying to furnish the more important information of the day, and you by trying to absorb as much of it as possible.

The first 3 items all deal with the upcoming flotilla, which plans to sail notwithstanding opposition from the US government, Ban ki-Moon, and others.  The initial item is a letter from members of the Audacity of Hope, the American boat, to the State Department reminding it that it has the duty to protect its citizens against Israeli violence.  The 2nd item shows the positive side of the flotilla—that the very threat of a flotilla makes Israel improve the conditions for Gaza, and reminds us of the flotilla’s to Gaza true function—namely to break the blockade.  The 3 item is a young Jewish college student explaining why he is joining the flotilla.  His narrative also includes remarks on the thinking of young Jewish Americans towards Israel.

Item 4 is on an entirely different note: it informs us that demolition of Palestinian homes has picked up speed at an enormous rate.

Item 5 argues that it is Netanyahu who is “delegitimising Israel.”  I would add, that it is he and the rest of his motley government.

Item 6 shows like father like son.  It is about Yair Netanyahu’s racism.  It’s not a terribly important item, except that it shows the type of home that Yair was brought up in.  The data on Yair Netanyahu was called to my attention by my beloved spouse, but in the Hebrew edition of Haaretz.  Was unable to find it in the English on-line edition.  Never mind. The piece that I found is equally revealing.

Item 7 is from the US Friends of Sabeel, and addresses comments made by the Archbishop of Canterbury that Sabeel feels need correcting, and does a magnificent job.

Item 8 closes tonight’s message with a personal depiction of the daily unloveliness of occupation in ‘Collective apathy about collective punishment.”

Good night, all.  May tomorrow bring more positive news.

Dorothy

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1.

State Department Officials Have an Obligation to Speak Out Against Israeli Threats to Attack U.S. Boat to Gaza

Athens, June 24, 2011 – U.S. peace activists preparing to set sail on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, expressed profound disappointment over a statement issued by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Instead of calling on the Israeli government to let a flotilla of unarmed civilians sail to Gaza, the United States government is pressuring its own citizens to refrain from legal acts.

On Wednesday, the State Department sent out a “travel advisory” urging Americans not to participate in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. According to the statement, U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea, noting that previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea “have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens.”

“Apparently, the State Department subscribes to the view that Israel’s anticipated violence against unarmed protesters is an immutable act of nature,” said Hagit Borer, a professor of Linguistics at the University of Southern California and a passenger on the U.S. boat. “This is a remarkable attitude, coming from a government that provides the Israeli government with billions of dollars in military aid and routinely uses its veto to protect the Israeli government from censure of its occupation policies by the UN Security Council.”

Passengers on the boat noted that the U.S. State Department has a legal obligation to act to protect U.S. citizens when they are traveling abroad. “So far, U.S. government officials have failed to use their influence to discourage Israeli authorities from ordering a physical assault on us,” said Just Foreign Policy policy director Robert Naiman, another passenger on the U.S. boat. “Of course, State Department officials have an obligation to speak out against threats to attack us. It is deeply disappointing that they have so far failed to do so.”

Below is a copy of a letter the passengers of The Audacity of Hope sent of June 14, 2011 to President Obama, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and other high-ranking government officials. There has yet to be a response to the letter.

###

14 June 2011

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. Obama:

We are writing to inform you that 50 unarmed Americans will soon be sailing in a U.S. flagged ship called The Audacity of Hope as part of an international flotilla to Gaza.

Our peaceful demonstration will challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which has effectively imprisoned 1.6 million civilians, almost half of whom are under the age of 16. The blockade has impoverished the people of Gaza, deprived them of needed materials and supplies to rebuild their lives after the Israeli attack of late 2008 – early 2009, impeded those who are ill or infirm from seeking outside medical aid, and prevented students from seeking education outside of Gaza. 45% of the working age population is unemployed.

In addition to 36 passengers, 4 crew, and 10 members of the press, our boat will carry thousands of letters of support and friendship from people throughout the U.S. to the women, children and men of Gaza. There will be no weapons of any sort on board. We will carry no goods of any kind for delivery in Gaza. Our mission is from American civil society to the civil society of Gaza. We do not serve the agenda of any political leadership, government or group. We are engaged solely in non-violent action in support of the Palestinian people and their human rights.

In our country’s great tradition of citizen activists taking nonviolent action to stand up to injustice, we sail in the hope that our voyage will show the people in Gaza that they are not alone, and that it will call attention to the morally and legally indefensible collective punishment of a population of civilians.

Mr. President, you have noted the unsustainability of the Gaza blockade. And your administration has spoken boldly in support of peaceful demonstrations throughout this “Arab Spring.”

As U.S. citizens we expect our country and its leaders to help ensure the Flotilla’s safe passage to Gaza – as our country should support our humanitarian demand that the Gaza blockade be lifted. This should begin by notifying the Israeli government in clear and certain terms that it may not physically interfere with the upcoming Flotilla of which the U.S. boat-The Audacity of Hope — is part. We-authors, builders, firefighters, lawyers, social workers, retirees, Holocaust survivors, former government employees and more-expect no less from our President and your administration.

Our boat will sail from the eastern Mediterranean in the last week of June. We shall be grateful to you for acting promptly and decisively to uphold the rights of civilians to safe passage on the seas.

Sincerely,
The passengers of The Audacity of Hope

Nic Abramson, Johnny Barber, Medea Benjamin, Greta Berlin, Hagit Borer, Regina Carey, Gale Courey Toensing, Erin DeRamus, Linda Durham, Debra Ellis, Hedy Epstein, Steve Fake, Ridgely Fuller, Megan Horan,Kathy Kelly, Kit Kittredge, Libor Koznar, Melissa Lane, G. Kaleo Larson, Richard Levy, Richard Lopez, Ken Mayers, Ray McGovern, Gail Miller, Carol Murry, Robert Naiman, Henry Norr, Ann Petter, Gabe Schivone, Kathy Sheetz, Max Suchan, Brad Taylor, Len Tsou, Alice Walker, Paki Wieland, Ann Wright

cc:

The Honorable Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary General
The Honorable Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
The Honorable Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State
The Honorable Susan E. Rice, Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations
The Honorable James B. Cunningham, U.S. Ambassador to Israel
The Honorable John F. Kerry, Chairman U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
The Honorable Richard G. Lugar, Ranking Member U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
The Honorable Robert P. Casey, Chairman Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs
The Honorable James E. Rish, Ranking Member Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Honorable Howard L. Berman, Ranking Member U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Honorable Steve Chabot, Chairman Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia
The Honorable Gary L. Ackerman, Ranking Member Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia

For regular updates follow the US Boat to Gaza on Twitter: http://twitter.com/usboattogaza and visit the US Boat to Gaza website.

 

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

2.  For Immediate Release

June 24, 2011

Israel Proves that Flotillas Work

Israel’s announcement of authorization for construction materials for 1,200 homes and 18 schools in Gaza is the latest achievement by the Freedom Flotilla, scheduled to sail next week.

In the weeks leading up to the flotilla, Israel has taken a number of steps to try to address the concerns raised in the public eye by the Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human initiative. However organizers say that these steps are symbolic at best, fall far short of Israel’s obligations under international law, are insufficient to meet the needs of Palestinians in Gaza, and are fundamentally designed to maintain the occupation and system of control that Israel exerts over Palestinian lives.  Ultimately, these measures fall short of the greatest test – that of freedom for Palestinians.

In addition to the authorization of a limited amount of construction materials, Israel has also recently permitted 19 trucks of medicine to be delivered by Palestinian sources from the West Bank to Gaza.  This was in response to an emergency announcement from health authorities in Gaza that crucial medicines had run out due to Israel’s illegal blockade.  Prior to that, Israel increased the number of aid trucks entering Gaza to between 210 and 220 per day.  However, this still falls 35% short of what is required by Gaza Strip residents.

The pattern developing shows that as the sailing date of the Flotilla nears, Israel is increasing efforts to allow humanitarian goods into Gaza, including previously banned reconstruction materials.  This proves three important things: (1) the Flotilla is effective in generating changes, even if they are insufficient, on the ground; (2) the ‘normal channels’ for delivering aid exist, but are useless without pressure on Israel to allow them to function; and (3) Israel’s standard excuse for preventing reconstruction material into Gaza is rendered baseless, given the approval to allow 1,200 homes and 18 schools to be constructed.

Even as the Freedom Flotilla welcomes this latest achievement and proof of the necessity and effectiveness of the Flotilla tactic, we also reiterate that our effort is not simply about delivering humanitarian aid.  The goal of the Flotilla is not aid; it is freedom for Palestinians in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories.  As such, there are no ‘established channels’ for freedom – there is only one – an end to the Israeli occupation.

Flotilla preparations continue apace, buoyed by the support of people around the world.  Next week Freedom Flotilla 2: Stay Human sails for Gaza; our destination is freedom.

###

Our message of peace is a call to action, for other ordinary people like ourselves, not to hand over your lives to whatever puppeteer is in charge this time round, but to take responsibility for the revolution. First, the inner revolution — to give love, to give empathy; It is this that will change the world. — Vittorio Arrigoni

The real heart deep down doesn’t only stand up for what’s right but also helps others to learn to stand up for what’s right. — Mary Alfar (age 11)

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

3.  Haaretz,

June 24, 2011


A moment before boarding the next flotilla

I’d rather use my influence and power, in concert with other members of American civil society, to actively and nonviolently resist policies I consider abominable.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/a-moment-before-boarding-the-next-flotilla-1.369336

By Gabriel Matthew Schivone

You might wonder what would motivate a Jewish American college student to participate in what may be the most celebrated – and controversial – sea voyage of the 21st century, one that aims to nonviolently challenge U.S.-supported Israeli military power in the occupied territories. I simply cannot sit idle while my country aids and abets Israel’s siege, occupation and repression of the Palestinians. I would rather use my personal influence and power, in concert with other members of American civil society, to actively and nonviolently resist policies that I consider abominable. So, next week, I and more than 30 other American civilians will be sailing on the U.S. ship the Audacity of Hope, to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

I am one of a growing number of young American Jews who are determined to shake off an assumed – and largely imposed – association with Israel. Prominent advocacy organizations, such as the American Jewish Committee, which proudly proclaim their unconditional support of Israel, for several years have been declaring their “serious concern” over the increasing “distancing” of young American Jews from the state.

But what Israel apologists like the AJC view as a crisis, I see as a positive development for American Jews, who, like other parts of U.S. society, are shifting from blind support for Israel to a more critical position that reflects opposition to our country’s backing for Israel’s policies.

If Israel’s apologists in the U.S. are alarmed by a falling off in unconditional support for Israel, they should be even more concerned that such a diverse range of youth – especially young Jews – are joining up with constituencies that actively organize against America’s role in the occupation. Today, the so-called crisis has expanded from the coasts to such places as Arizona. It probably was just a matter of time before a Jewish anti-occupation group emerged in my home state, given that a fairly substantial portion of the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on the University of Arizona campus (in Tucson ) were Jewish. For our part, we Jews launched an initial chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace at the UA campus in spring 2010 – one of nearly 30 JVP chapters throughout the country, which has a mailing list of 100,000 – and thereafter branches in the general Tucson and Northern Arizona communities, and at Arizona State University, in Phoenix.

Through JVP, I discovered there were a great many others like me, who were experiencing profound internal conflicts regarding Israel. They included people who had been intimidated from expressing public criticism of Israel, and others who were afraid to speak out in defense of Palestinian rights for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic.

It was clear that a campus JVP opened up a powerful, organic outlet through which Jewish students could safely exchange and process – without fear, intimidation or a need for self-censorship – their critiques, concerns, ideas, knowledge, questions, discoveries and plans to promote achievement of a genuinely mutual peace in Palestine/Israel. Before JVP came along, it wasn’t possible to have an open discussion, or feel that we as Jews had an alternative to either unquestioning support of Israel (the status quo ) or staying silent and thus supporting it by default. I myself was silent and timid for much too long.

We are committed to acting out of Jewish ethical traditions, while holding Israel to the same standard as any other state in the international system – no more, no less. Before JVP, there was nothing on my campus that was critical of Israel from an American Jewish perspective. Zero. The group’s success demonstrated that young Jews – moved by their cultural or religious values, which include a belief in universal human rights – have been on campus all the while, ready and willing to join a human rights-based cause for justice in Palestine/Israel. All it took to gain support on campus and elsewhere in the state was a potent sprinkling of opportunity, initiative and political will.

In Athens, as I write, waiting to board the Audacity of Hope, I am wearing a Star of David amulet around my neck, which was given to me the night before I left Arizona by a dear friend and fellow JVP organizer. She got it from a silversmith in Haifa while on a “Birthright” trip as an adolescent. For her, it had always been the reminder of the crude brainwashing she felt she had encountered on that trip. But when she came across the star recently, she decided it might be put to good use if I were to wear it on my journey. And so that’s what I’m doing.

I wear it as a symbol of the basic values of Judaism that I feel are not emphasized sufficiently today: the imperative to welcome the stranger as you would want to be welcomed; and of helping to free the slave from a bondage that you would not wish to suffer.

As a consequence of various nonviolent actions undertaken all over the world, led crucially by Palestinians on the ground, the Israeli occupation will one day end. Those of us who face up to the unavoidable choice of either tolerating or resisting these crimes will determine how long the death and suffering of mainly Palestinian noncombatants continues, and how long a lasting peace in Palestine/Israel remains out of reach.

Gabriel Matthew Schivone is a Chicano-Jewish American from Tucson, and coordinator of Jewish Voice for Peace at the University of Arizona.

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

4.  Independent.co.uk,

23 June 2011

Razing of Palestinian homes picking up speed

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/razing-of-palestinian-homes-picking-up-speed-2301367.html

By Catrina Stewart in Jerusalem

Israel has stepped up demolitions of Palestinian homes in the Jordan Valley, the eastern part of the occupied West Bank, leaving more than 700 homeless since the beginning of the year, a rights body said yesterday.

Israeli bulldozers have razed 103 homes so far this year, said B’Tselem, a respected Israeli human rights organisation, marking a sharp increase from the 83 homes it said were demolished last year. The policy has drawn sharp condemnation from NGOs, which accuse Israel of deliberately displacing thousands of Palestinian rural communities in a strategic border area that the Jewish state considers critical to its security.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians, many of them nomadic Bedouin, live in the parched area that runs alongside the border with Jordan. A much smaller number of Jewish settlers also live in the valley illegally, under international law.

Israel has defended its demolitions policy on the grounds that homes were erected without building permits or within military firing zones, a reasoning derided by rights bodies, who say it is almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain permits in Area C, the Israeli-controlled parts of the West Bank that include the Jordan Valley.

“Israeli policy is intended as… a de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley,” said Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem’s spokeswoman. “The Jordan Valley is an occupied area… [that is] perceived by the government and the vast majority of Israelis as part of Israel.”

The Civil Administration in the West Bank called B’Tselem’s figures “completely wrong”. A spokesman said the government was drawing up zoning plans for Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley that would ameliorate the situation. Many of the Bedouin lack land-ownership deeds.

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

5.  Al Jazeera,

June 24, 2011

It’s Netanyahu who is delegitimising Israel

Israel’s way of “changing the subject” from its illegal occupation of Palestine is to label any criticism as an attack.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/06/201162481149481660.html

MJ Rosenberg

Israel’s reaction to any protest against the occupation is often violent and overly defensive [GALLO/GETTY]

The “pro-Israel” lobby’s latest hobbyhorse is “delegitimisation”. Those who criticise Israeli policies are accused of trying to “delegitimise” Israel, which supposedly means denying Israel’s right to exist.

Even President Obama has gotten into the act, stating in his May 19 speech that “for the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimise Israel will end in failure”.

Obama seemed to be referring to the Palestinians’ plan to seek recognition of their state at the United Nations this autumn, although it’s hard to imagine just how that would delegitimise Israel.

After all, the Palestinians are not seeking statehood in Israeli territory, but in territory that the whole world (including Israel) recognises as having been occupied by Israel only after the 1967 war. Rather than seeking Israel’s elimination, the Palestinians who intend to go to the United Nations are seeking establishment of a state alongside Israel. That state would encompass 22 per cent of Mandate Palestine, with Israel possessing 78 per cent.

The whole concept of “delegitimisation” seems archaic.

Israel achieved its “legitimacy” when the United Nations recognised it 63 years ago. It has one of the strongest economies in the world. Its military is the most powerful in the region. It has a nuclear arsenal of some 200 bombs, with the ability to launch them from land, sea, and air.

In that context, the whole idea of “delegitimising” Israel sounds silly. Israel can’t be delegitimised.

So what is the lobby talking about?

The answer is simple: It is talking about the intensifying opposition to the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza which, by almost any standard, is illegitimate. It is talking about opposition to the settlements, which are not only illegitimate but illegal under international law. It is talking about calls for Israel to grant Palestinians equal rights.

The lobby’s determination to change the subject from the existence of the occupation to the existence of Israel makes sense strategically. Israel has no case when it comes to the occupation, which the entire world (except Israel) agrees must end. But Israel certainly has the upper hand in any argument over its right to exist and to defend itself.

That is why Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu routinely invokes Israel’s “right to self-defence” every time he tries to explain away some Israeli attack on Palestinians, no matter whether they are armed fighters or innocent civilians.

If the whole Israeli-Palestinian discussion is about Israel’s right to defend itself, Israel wins the argument. But if it is about the occupation – which is, in fact, what the conflict has been about since 1993 when the PLO recognised Israel – it loses.

It wasn’t that long ago that neither the Israeli government nor the lobby worried about the “forces of delegitimisation.”

On the contrary, in 1993, following Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s recognition of the Palestinians’ right to a state in the West Bank and Gaza, nine non-Arab Muslim states and 32 of the 43 sub-Saharan African states established relations with Israel. India and China, the two largest markets in the world, opened trade relations. Jordan signed a peace treaty and several of the Arab emirates began quiet dealings with Israel.

The Arab boycott of Israel ended. Foreign investment soared. No one discussed “delegitimisation” while much of the world, including the Muslim world, was knocking on Israel’s door to establish or deepen ties.

That trend continued so long as the Israeli government seemed to be genuinely engaged in the peace process.

The most graphic demonstration of Israel’s high international standing back then occurred at Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral in 1995, which rivalled President Kennedy’s in terms of international representation.

Leaders from virtually every nation on Earth came to pay homage to Rabin: President Clinton, Prince Charles, the leaders of Egypt and Jordan, every European president or prime minister, top officials from most of Africa and Asia (including India and China), Latin America, Turkey, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, and Tunisia. Yasser Arafat himself went to Mrs Rabin’s Tel Aviv apartment to express his grief.

The world mourned Rabin because under him, Israel had embraced the cause of peace with the Palestinians. The homage to Rabin was a clear demonstration – as was the opening of trade and diplomatic relations with formerly hostile states – that Israel was not being isolated because it was a Jewish state, and hence illegitimate, but because of how it treated the Palestinians.

And that is the case today. It’s not the Palestinians who are delegitimising Israel, but the Israeli government which maintains the occupation. And the leading delegitimiser is Binyamin Netanyahu, whose contemptuous rejection of peace is turning Israel into an international pariah.

Sure, Netanyahu received an embarrassing number of standing ovations when he spoke before the United States Congress. But that demonstrates nothing except the power of Israel’s lobbyists.

It is doubtful that Netanyahu would get even one standing ovation in any other parliament in the world – and that includes Israel’s. The only thing we learned (yet again) from Netanyahu’s reception by Congress is that money talks. What else is new?

So let’s ignore the talk about “delegitimisation,” even though Madison Avenue message-makers certainly deserve credit for coming up with that clever distraction. Israel’s problem is the occupation, the Israeli government that defends it, and the lobby that enforces support for it in Congress and the White House.

Once again, Israel’s “best friends” are among its worst enemies.

MJ Rosenberg is a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters Action Network.

A version of this article previously appeared on Foreign Policy Matters, a part of the Media Matters Action network.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

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

6.  JTA  Friday,

June 24, 2011

Netanyahu’s son posted anti-Arab Facebook comments

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/06/24/3088289/report-netanyahus-son-posted-anti-arab-facebook-comments

(JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s teenage son has made remarks hostile to Arabs and Islam on Facebook, an Israeli newspaper reported.

According to the report in Haaretz, Netanyahu’s son, Yair, called for a boycott of Arab businesses following s 2008 outbreak of violence riots between Arabs and Jews on Yom Kippur in the northern Israeli city of Akko.

And after five members of a family in a West Bank settlement were stabbed to death in their home by Palestinians, he wrote that “terror has a religion and it is Islam.”

Yair Netanyahu, who is now 19, also expressed hope that there would “never be” a Palestinian state.

Some of the comments were posted on the Facebook page of Ashton Kutcher, the Hollywood actor. John Galliano, a designer, had just been fired by Dior after an anti-Semitic rant. Kutcher had asked his followers: “Do you think Galliano would have been fired if he had demeaned Muslims?”

Netanyahu, writing under a profile named “Jessie Netan,” said that he was “disappointed” at such a pronouncement a day or so after terrorists killed five members of a family in an Israeli settlement.

Other commenters engaged Netanyahu. He responded “Terror has a religion and it is Islam. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.”

“Jessie Netan’s” comments have been removed from Kutcher’s page, although responses to him from other commenters remain.

An attorney for the Netanyahu family accused Haaretz of the “cynical use of the words of a teenager, said in anger, when he could not imagine that someone would someday make use of them.”

The remarks were “taken out of context in an attempt to defame the prime minister and his family,” the attorney, David Shimron, said in a statement provided to the Associated Press. “Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife believe in moderation and tolerance, and they respect all people without regard for their religion, origin or nationality and that is how they raise their children,” the statement said.

The comments in question were removed after it made inquiries to the prime minister about them, according to Haaretz.

Haaretz also reported that Yair Netanyahu administered a Facebook group with 23 members that called for a boycott of Arab businesses.

Yair Netanyahu currently serves in the Israeli army’s media liaison unit.

The military noted that some of the comments in question were made before his military service. But a military spokesman said that commanders had spoken with him “to clarify to the soldier the military commands, outlining his mistakes, as would be done with any soldier in a similar situation,” according to the A.P.

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

7. Friends of Sabeel–North America

Voice of the Palestinian Christians

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!

http://www.fosna.org/content/naim-ateek-letter-archbishop-rowan-williams

Following are responses to erroneous statements made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, citing anti-Christian Muslim extremism as the primary cause of the Palestinian Christian exodus from the Holy Land.  The first response is from Sabeel founder/director Naim Ateek in Jerusalem.  Below his letter is a link to a letter from Kairos Palestine coordinator, Rifat Odeh Kassis. Also linked below is the BBC News page with part of the interview with Archbishop Williams, including an audio file.

His Grace Rowan Williams

Archbishop of Canterbury

Lambeth Palace

London

23 June 2011

Dear Archbishop Williams,

Greetings from Jerusalem!

Last week at Sabeel, we had the privilege of having the Anglican Consultative Council delegation headed by Archbishop Michael Jackson. We seized the opportunity to convey to them our response to your interview on the BBC regarding your concern about the dwindling presence of Arab Christians of the Middle East. The concern is genuine and sincere, unfortunately, your words were negatively received by our people; and we have been asked by our friends – locally and internationally – to make a public response.

1. As Palestinian Christians, we perceive ourselves as an integral part of the Palestinian people. We might be a very small religious community nowadays but due to our long rootedness in our land, we do not refer to ourselves as a minority. Moreover, as Palestinians, whether Christian or Muslim, we equally live under the oppression of the illegal Israeli occupation of our country. As Palestinians – Christians and Muslims – we share the same hopes and aspirations and we struggle for freedom and human dignity together.

2. Although as Palestinian Christians, we appreciate the fact that you raised the issue of the vulnerability of the Christian presence in the Middle East — a subject that is dear to our hearts and of great concern to us – you singled out the extremist Islamists as a threat to Christian presence, but neglected to mention two other extremists groups, namely, Jewish extremists represented by the religious and racist settlers on the West Bank that are encouraged directly by the present extreme rightwing Israeli government, and Christian extremists represented by the Western Christian Zionists that support Israel blindly and unconditionally. With candor the last two groups of extremists, i.e. Jewish and Western Christian Zionists are a greater threat to us than the extremist Islamists. In fact, these extremists have more military power and clout to uproot all Palestinian presence both Christian and Muslim from our homeland.

3. In 2006, Sabeel conducted a survey of the Christians in Israel and Palestine with the help of Bethlehem University. The survey clearly indicated that the primary causes for the emigration of Christians from the West Bank are both political and economic conditions. “Those who are leaving…because of the bad economic and political situation represent 87.3% of the total respondents” (p.34). Only 8% of the respondents attributed emigration to religious extremism.

4. As you are well aware, if Muslims are leaving Hebron, it is largely due to the violence of the Jewish religious settlers that has made the life of Palestinian Hebronites miserable and intolerable.

5. The area of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour has sufficient space for Palestinians to live in; but most of their land (largely Christian) has been confiscated by Israeli settlement expansion including the settlements of Gilo and Har Homa.

6. The separation Wall has broken up families and closed businesses. It has devoured land and torn communities apart. And with the checkpoints and permit system it has greatly restricted people’s movement especially to Jerusalem their Holy City. The Wall is a big “push factor” for Palestinians out of Palestine.

We are saddened that a great opportunity was missed by not revealing the oppressive consequences of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian people, both Muslim, and Christian.

If the church – local and international – does not raise the prophetic voice, who will stand for justice and truth?

In the absence of the prophetic, and as the rightwing Israeli government continues to spurn all international efforts for a just peace, we implore you to champion the cause of the oppressed Palestinians. The desperate situation needs the courage and clarity of an Amos, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Respectfully yours,

Naim Ateek

Director, Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center

Jerusalem

CC. Anne Clayton

Coordinator, Friends of Sabeel – UK

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

 

Occupation magazine – Siege, Wall, Checkpoints

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Collective Apathy About Collective Punishment

Meg Walsh
MIFTAH
June 22, 2011

It feels like my surroundings are rapidly closing in on me. The metal bars in which I am enclosed are ugly and the ground is littered with trash. Desperate children are trying to sell me gum and candy. Candy is the last thing I want right now; I want to escape. Bodies are pressing up against me as people struggle to make it through the revolving gate that only lets a few through at a time. If I am not aggressive, I will never get through. A teenage boy is getting yelled at by a soldier for some unknown reason, and a father is denied although his wife and children are granted passage. An old man in the car lane is taking out his groceries one by one from his trunk as a young soldier stands inspecting, finger on the trigger. Cars are backed up and people are getting impatient. I am angry.

I must pass through the checkpoint every time I wish to enter Jerusalem from Ramallah, even though east Jerusalem is Palestinian territory. I have to answer the familiar questions such as “What were you doing in the West Bank?” or “Do you have any Palestinian friends?” I hate being forced to lie. Having Palestinian friends should not be looked at as criminal. And I hate that they almost – almost make me feel that I am truly doing something wrong. Most of all, I hate the way the Palestinians are treated, and although I am uncomfortable, chances are I will get through without much problem. Their reality is much different. Any random checkpoint encounter could mean harassment, detainment, or worse. It seems to mostly depend on the mood of the soldier.

I had underestimated the anger and anxiety that I would feel in these scenarios. Some people around me appear visibly upset while others just look bored. Because of the freedom that I have enjoyed my entire life, I refuse to accept this dehumanizing process. As I stand there, I vow to never adjust, to never become desensitized to this. For me, that would signal complicity in the face of the injustice that is occurring: a complete domination of one group of people over another—a betrayal of humanity. Threat levels are determined by the color of your ID card and the language that you speak. I will not thank the soldiers when they return my passport. I will not grant legitimacy to their role by acting like they are doing me a favor. I will not be forced to equate human rights with privilege.

When they ask, I tell the interrogators that I have been in the city of Nablus, visiting Jacob’s Well, which is the biblical site where Jesus is believed to have had encountered a Samaritan woman. This falls in line with my Christian tourism story that most visitors have to use if they are planning on having any contact with Palestinians. Although with suspicious looks, I am allowed to pass through the gates with the others like herded animals.

When you witness the policies that are in place and the apartheid system that is occurring, it is hard to stay outside the cycle of hatred. It is hard to see the ‘other’, the one who is enforcing the rules, as human—they become robots, trapped inside a system that teaches you to follow orders, not to ask questions. It denies all natural laws of humanity, so the challenge then becomes to stay human in an inhuman situation. People are not meant to be kept in cages, both figuratively and literally, and race and religion should not be prioritized. The ironies are many in this ‘Holy Land’.

But how do I communicate to others what I have seen and felt when most people choose the comfort of ignorance over awareness in our unjust world? If words could accurately describe this oppression, I do not believe it would be allowed to continue unchecked. The gap between words and lived experience is vast, and those who may actually have the power to change things may never understand the reality—the reality of the nightmare that is occupation. It was only through my experience in this region that I was ultimately changed. It was from looking it in the eye, from feeling powerless, from experiencing a fear that the unexpected could happen at any given moment.

In Palestine, where most days I feel useless rather than useful, I still somehow feel that I have to be here no matter how outside of my comfort zone it lies. I cannot continue to be complicit or neutral, because I have seen what that means in this conflict and how collective apathy has embarrassingly allowed the occupation of Palestine to continue for 44 years. I am standing on a bridge between two worlds—one in which the powerful are silent, and the other in which the powerless are screaming, yet ignored. It is through this paradox that I am seeking answers. And some degree of hope.

Meg Walsh is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at mid@miftah.org.
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