Archive | July 4th, 2011

Fighting ‘hate speech’ smears on Sheikh Salah

NOVANEWS

Palestinian activist Sheikh Raed Salah was barred from the UK due to unfair allegations from neo-conservatives.

Robert Lambert

 

Like other Muslim leaders, Sheikh Raed Salah (C) has been unfairly targeted by British authorities, author says [EPA]

Writing in the Guardian newspaper Hanan Zoabi, a member of the Knesset, where she represents the Balad Party, asks how Sheikh Raed Salah’s “struggle for equality” has become a “form of racism?”

She is no doubt perplexed to find a fellow defender of the Palestinian liberation struggle defined as a ‘hate-preacher’ by the British Government. “Since when” she pleads, “have states that boast of their democratic credentials acquired the right to arrest people for their political views?”

To answer Zoabi’s questions and to explain the extraordinary decisions to ban, arrest and deport the Palestinian leader Sheikh Raed Salah from Britain it is necessary to understand the long standing role of influential pro-Israel, neo-conservative lobby groups in Westminster and Washington.

The best place to start is 9/11. As we approach the tenth anniversary of al-Qaeda’s terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon it has become fashionable to suggest that the worst excesses of the war on terror are behind us.

In truth, the pro-Israel, neo-conservative architects of the war on terror in Washington will be celebrating their ongoing success in falsely conflating a war against Palestinian resistance with what might otherwise have been a legitimate counter-terrorism strategy against al-Qaeda terrorists.

A key ingredient in this success has been to adopt the powerful and pejorative term ‘hate-preacher’ to describe leaders of Palestinian resistance against Israeli oppression and to put them in the same category as al-Qaeda terrorists.

Although taking their cue from sister think-tanks like Middle East Forum in Washington, Westminster based lobby groups and their media acolytes including Policy Exchange, Henry Jackson Society and the Centre for Social Cohesion, have been at the forefront of a decade long campaign to reduce Palestinian resistance leaders to the same status as al-Qaeda terrorists.

When the Washington based cheerleader for the war on terror Daniel Pipes came to Westminster in 2006 to chastise Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London at the time, for inviting Sheikh Yusef al Qaradawi to London, he insisted that politicians in Westminster should adopt a tougher response to ‘hate preachers’ like Qaradawi. Policy Exchange led the Westminster based campaign to endorse and cement Pipes’ recommendation as policy.

Regrettably Westminster politicians like Ken Livingstone and Jeremy Corbyn, who was due to share a platform with Sheikh Raed Salah in London this week, are few and far between. Whether Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat, those politicians with their hands on the levers of power in Westminster have consistently adopted pro-Israeli recommendations to denigrate Palestinian support as anti-Semitic ‘hate speech’.

‘Hate speech’ and ‘hate preacher’ has also been used to conflate Palestinian resistance leaders with leaders of far right organisations like Nick Griffin of the British National Party. This invidious denigration has been aimed at Muslim leaders in Britain as well as those abroad. Dean Godson, the architect of Policy Exchange’s strategy in this arena, was the first to argue that mainstream Muslim leaders in Britain who failed to condemn Palestinian resistance in the same terms as al-Qaeda terrorism were on par with racist leaders like Griffin.

Established visitors to Britain like popular Muslim speaker Zakir Naik have also fallen foul of this same policy to ban ‘hate preachers’. Naik’s case in particular highlights the double standard that is being applied to the detriment of Muslim leaders in and outside Britain. It is inconceivable to think that a charismatic religious speaker of any other faith would have been banned from Britain for saying exactly the same as Naik.

Since British Home Secretary Theresa May unveiled a tough new ‘Prevent’ strategy last month that aims to crackdown on ‘extremists’ it has become inevitable that the pro-Israel, neo-con think-tanks in Westminster would become pro-active in their efforts to highlight candidates for exclusion like Sheikh Raed Salah. They will be delighted with the outcome, notwithstanding an apparent administrative slip up that initially allowed Sheikh Salah to enter Britain without question. 

It is the great success of the pro-Israel, neo conservative lobby in Washington and Westminster that they have achieved an exceptional status for Palestinian and Muslim leaders. The war on terror has provided them with perfect cover.

However, Sheikh Salah and his supporters may have the last laugh. The British judiciary remains a thorn in the side of Westminster politicians who attempt to side step legal process in the name of the war on terror – or now, as part of a strategy to prevent extremism and hate speech as this counter-subversion strategy has been re-branded. If he is allowed to appeal the deportation decision, a British judge may well take the view that Sheikh Salah has far more in common with Nelson Mandela than the late Osama bin Laden or Nick Griffin.

Anger and frustration with Israeli oppression is hardly the same as unwarranted hatred of a minority or majority community of any kind.

Moreover, it is widely understood in Britain that Mandela’s resort to terrorism against the apartheid regime in South Africa is inherently distinguishable from al-Qaeda’s development of the same terrorist tactic. Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband went further and suggested that the terrorist tactics of Mandela’s group, the African National Congress, could be morally justified.

However, unlike Palestinian and Muslim leaders since 9/11, Mandela has never been asked to renounce the political grievances that prompted his resort to terrorism – merely the tactic of terrorism. The same is true of former Sin Fein and IRA leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness who remain staunch Irish republicans to this day.

It is difficult to find anything in Sheikh Salah’s so-called hate speech that would not have occasioned an entirely opposite response from the British Home Secretary had the words been uttered by a non-Muslim visiting Britain.

It is to be hoped that common sense will prevail in this case. If Sheikh Salah is able to share future platforms with the London MP Jeremy Corbyn they will form a strong alliance against political injustice which is the only sound basis for public safety in the age of al-Qaeda inspired terrorism. Corbyn has demonstrated how effective Palestinians such as Mohammed Sawlaha have been against al-Qaeda propagandists in London. Together Corbyn and Salah offer justice and hope against the real purveyors of hate speech in Westminster and Washington.

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Sen.Zionist Joe Lieberman Predicts ‘Day Of Reckoning’ For Iran

NOVANEWS

www.thinkprogress.org

On Fox News Sunday, two of the Senate’s leading Iran hawks pressed the administration to do more on Iran and issued thinly-veiled threats to the Islamic Republic.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who has advocated for “retir(ing) our ambiguous mantra about all options remaining on the table” for Iran and made sure then-Defense Secretary nominee Leon Panetta has a plan for attacking, warned the Islamic Republic that a “day of reckoning” was ahead:

I would say that a day of reckoning is coming for this extremist regime in Iran, when a majority of Iranians who really yearn for freedom can see this dream come true. And I hope we do everything we can to make this happen as soon as possible.

The platitudes about helping freedom-seeking Iranians would mean a lot more if actual Iranian human rights and democracy advocates agreed with Lieberman. Instead, they say that an attack would be disastrous for them and that, indeed, the U.S.’s shifting away from belligerent rhetoric helped open up a political space in Iran.

Lieberman’s close ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also didn’t seem to get some regional dynamics in the Iran-Iraq relationship. When asked about Iran’s alleged support for the Taliban, Graham said:

I think people need to understand why Iran is doing this. The biggest nightmare for the Ayaltollahs in Iran is democracies on their borders in Iraq and Afghanistan. …Their biggest nightmare is that the Arab spring is successful. I hope the president will condemn this and put Iran on warning that you’re not going to get away with this.

Watch the video of Graham and Lieberman on Fox News Sunday:

Graham’s characterization of Iran’s involvement in Iraq only captures a small bit of the picture: There may be involvement with Shia militas, but most of Iran’s political clout in Iraq comes from its contacts with the Shia majority that was empowered with the fall of Saddam Hussein. Take, for example, Ahmad Chalabi, the exiled politician who, after cozying up to Washington hawks like Lieberman and Graham, was paid millions of dollars by the State Department and the C.I.A. to provide the faulty intelligence that was used to sell the war in America. Chalabi was later accused by U.S. forces of spying for Iran.

Again in Graham’s case, turning to actual Iranian human rights advocates is instructive. Late last year, Iranian human rights lawyer and now-exiled dissident Shirin Ebadi told CAP’s Matt Duss that the Iraq War was a great example of why not to attack Iran. Noting that Iran’s “Green movement is the Iranian peoples’ movement” and that change “must come from inside Iran,” Ebadi added:

You paid money, Iraqis died, and Iran has benefited. Saddam was Iran’s enemy that was removed by the U.S., (and Iran’s power and influence has been increased as a result).

Are Chalabi-backers like Lieberman and people with shaky understandings of regional dynamics like Graham really the ones whose advice the president ought to take on what to do about Iran?

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Iran to prosecute 26 American officials, MP says

NOVANEWS

CNN

 

Iran plans to prosecute 26 current and former American officials, an Iranian lawmaker said Sunday, potentially escalating a tit-for-tat dispute between the two countries.

“The American officials will be tried in Iranian courts in absentia before they are referred to the relevant international tribunals” if Iran’s parliament approves the plan, Tehran member of parliament Esmaeel Kowsari said, according to Mashregh News.

He did not name them, but Iran’s government-backed Press TV said in May that parliament planned sanctions on Americans including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the current and former commanders of the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator of Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and Gen. Tommy Franks, who was head of U.S. Central Command during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, are also on the list.

Kowsari said the American officials will be charged with violations of human rights.

“The true criminals are the same people who pretend to support human rights. The Islamic Republic of Iran will diligently pursue the trials of these American officials and will defend the rights of the downtrodden people of the world,” said Kowsari, the deputy chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.

The United States imposed a new round of sanctions on Iranian companies and officials in late June, prompting an Iranian complaint to the United Nations.

The United States and many of its allies are trying to slow or stop about Iran’s nuclear program, which they fear is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies that, saying it’s for civilian energy and medical use.

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Britain to deport Palestinian Islamic leader Sheikh Raed Salah

NOVANEWS

‘Anti-Salah Zionist British Media’

Shoah

Jonathan Cook:

http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2011-07-04/jonathan-cook-britain-to-deport-israeli-islamic-leader-sheikh-raed-salah/

The real preachers of hate

He is an Islamic “preacher of hate” whose views reflect “virulent anti-Semitism” and who has funded Hamas terror operations, according to much of the British media.

The furore last week over Sheikh Raed Salah, described by the Daily Mail newspaper as a “vile militant extremist”, goaded the British government into ordering his late-night arrest, pending a fast-track deportation. The raid on his hotel, from which he was taken handcuffed to a police cell, came shortly before he was due to address a meeting in the British parliament attended by several MPs.

The outcry in Britain against Sheikh Salah has shocked Israel’s 1.3-million Palestinian citizens. For them, he is a spiritual leader and head of a respected party, the Islamic Movement. He is also admired by the wider Palestinian public. The secular Fatah movement, including Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister, were among those condemning his arrest.

Many Palestinians, like millions of Muslims in the Middle East, revere Sheikh Salah for his campaign to protect Muslim and Christian holy places from Israel’s neglectful, and more often abusive, policies. They struggle to recognise the British media’s characterisation of him as an Osama Bin Laden-like figure.

Most in Israel’s Jewish majority would not have been aware of Sheikh Salah’s supposed reputation as a Jew hater either, despite their hyper-vigilance for anything resembling anti-Semitism. True, he is generally loathed by Israeli Jews, but chiefly because they regard his brand of Islamic dogma as incompatible with the state ideology of Jewish supremacism. They fear him as the leader of a local Islam that refuses to be tamed. Those Israelis who conclude that this qualifies him as an anti-Semite do so only because they class all pious Muslims in the same category.

Israeli officials detest Sheikh Salah as well, but again not for any alleged racism. His long-running campaign to prevent what he regards as an attempted Israeli takeover of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound – part of a wider “Judaisation” programme in the occupied areas of the city – has made him a thorn in their side.

In other words, Israeli Jews view Sheikh Salah as an inveterate trouble-maker and provocateur, while the country’s Palestinian minority accuse Israel of persecuting him for his political and religious beliefs.

The British media and government, meanwhile, have stumbled cluelessly into this domestic Israeli feud and, in the name of Enlightenment values, revealed their own deep prejudices. The humiliation of Sheikh Salah at the hands of the British legal system – supposedly in the interests of promoting “decency and respect” – will serve only to remind Muslims of the hypocrisy so often evident in Western policy.

The double standards are especially glaring given the British government’s recent pledge to Israel to change its universal jurisdiction laws. That move will ensure Israel’s growing constituency of suspected war criminals avoid any future threat of prosecution in the UK, receiving a far warmer welcome than Sheikh Salah.

Perhaps not surprisingly, opposition in the UK to the sheikh’s presence stems from a campaign of character assassination led by pro-Israel groups.

They have accused him of a “blood libel” against Jews, based on information from dubious sources. When these claims were aired in Israel several years ago, Sheikh Salah was investigated and charged. However, the prosecution was dropped a short time later for lack of credible evidence.

The other allegation – that he funded Hamas terror operations – relies on claims orginally made by the Israeli government in 2003 during one of his many arrests. Although the state had reportedly accumulated 200,000 recordings of Islamic Movement phone calls, they never located in the conversations the smoking gun they expected to find.

Instead Sheikh Salah languished in jail for two years while his trial dragged on, the charges repeatedly reduced because promised evidence could not be produced. Eventually he agreed to a plea bargain in return for his release. He was convicted of funding Islamic charities for widows and orphans – loosely declared “support for terror” under Israel’s punitive crackdown on all Islamic networks, including welfare groups, in the occupied territories.

Israel’s legal system, despite its reputation for presuming that Palestinian citizens are habitual security offenders, has found Sheikh Salah guilty neither of anti-Semitism nor of directly helping terrorists.

So why is Britain being even “more Israeli rather than the Israelis”, as two Arab members of the Israeli parliament caustically observed?

One reason is that Britain appears to be increasingly vulnerable to the influence of the pro-Israel lobby. Unfounded claims against Sheikh Salah were first made by the Jewish media in Britain, which has become an uncritical cheerleader for Israel, and by the Board of Deputies, Britain’s representative body for Jews.

Another reason is that the pro-Israel lobby finds it all too easy to exploit Islamophobic tropes that have come to dominate the public discourse in many Western countries, including Britain. Fears of a clash of civilisations and of Muslim immigration mean every Islamic scholar and authority is automatically assumed to be another “mad mullah”.

This approach threatens the very values it claims to be protecting. It silences those who are best placed to critique Western policies – the victims of them; and it refuses to allow the West’s most cherished assumptions to be questioned, rightfully fearing that in some cases they will be exposed as nothing more than bigotry.

It is worth highlighting a point British commentators overlooked in their coverage of Sheikh Salah. He was coming to the parliament, the cradle of British democracy, to talk not about jihad or infidels but about “building peace and justice in Jerusalem”.

His message is one Western publics desperately need to hear but one that Israel and its supporters keenly want silenced. Thanks to the British media and government, for a while longer Britons will be shielded from a real discussion.

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US BOAT TO GAZA – July 4th Update

July 4th Update

 

We want to give you all a quick round up of several items related to the U.S. Boat to Gaza and the flotilla. But first….

Given the tremendous obstacles placed in the way of the flotilla we should not for a moment think this work has been in vain. Just the opposite. We have called greater attention to the urgent need to end the Israeli blockade and siege of Gaza, as well as the overall occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The lengths to which the Israeli government has gone to stop the boats only expose the real story: they are determined to hold on to their repressive, inhuman and illegal policies at any cost. Israel has outsourced its naval blockade of Gaza to Greece.

We cannot for one moment forget that the flotilla project is about our solidarity with the people of Gaza. Changing the Israeli policies and stopping the support they get from the U.S. government requires the strongest movement we can possibly build!

Here’s the latest news we have:

1) U.S. passengers harassed and arrested by Athens police

Nine of the passengers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza  began a fast last night (7/3). They are Ken Mayers, Carol Murry, Medea Benjamin, Paki Wieland, Ray McGovern, Brad Taylor, Kit Kitteridge, Kathy Kelly and Linda Durham. After a rousing gathering in front of the U.S. Embassy (see photos and video on our website), they were all “cited” by the Athens police with occupying the sidewalk across the embassy and they were let go right away.

Today, 6 members of the U.S. Boat to Gaza were held at an Athens police station after Greek police arrested them for sitting on a park bench across from the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Greece.  Ray McGovern, Linda Durham, Debra Ellis, Ridgeley Fuller, Ken Mayers and Carol Murry were put into squad cars and taken to the police station.  We are not sure of the status of these 6 people at the moment.

2) The captain of The Audacity of Hope – John Klusmire – is set to be at a hearing at 12 noon (Athens time) on Tuesday. There are 2 Greek lawyers serving as his defense council. It is important to keep the pressure on the U.S. State Department to make sure they in turn pressure the Greek government to release our captain. Below are numbers and email addresses you can use to contact them. Please keep the pressure on!

3) Status of some of the other boats in the flotilla

Shortly before 6 pm (Greek time) today the Canadian boat, named Tahrir, left its dock in Crete to set sail for Gaza. They got to within 4 miles of international waters when Greek Special Forces stopped them from going any further. The Greek military boarded the Canadian boat and there are reports that when they asked for the captain of the boat all 30 people on board answered, “I am the captain.” The Greeks took command of the boat and at least report where headed back to be docked. We have heard reports that all of the people on the boat will be arrested, but we do not have confirmation of that. 

Two boats from France – a cargo ship and a smaller passenger boat – are in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea. (They did not set sail from Greece.) We are not sure what they are planning on doing.

The Irish boat was sabotaged beyond repair last week and the Greek boat was also sabotaged but we do not have an update on their status.

Be sure to check our website regularly for update, as well as photos and video footage of much of the activity in Greece.

Leslie Cagan

Coordinator, U.S. Boat to Gaza

Keeping the pressure on the U.S. State Department


Let them know you want them to help secure the release of John Klusmire, as well as the release of the U.S. Boat to Gaza. Tell them you expect the U.S. government to support the right if its citizens to sail freely to Gaza.

  • State Department general number:  202-647-4000 – ask for the Overseas U.S. Citizen Services Duty Officer and you’ll get a live State Dept. official who has to hear you out.
  • The voicemail for Kim Richter – also at the State Dept. –  says she’s out of the office for several days, and that callers with urgent issues should contact a colleague at 202-647-4578. Hopefully, you will be able to reach Kim Richter’s office directly tomorrow by calling 202-647-8303. (She is in the office of Consular Affairs, Overseas American Citizen Services at the State Dept.
  • If you can place an international phone call, the number for the U.S. Embassy in Athens is 011-30-210-721-2951. There are several other “after hour” numbers that you can call for emergency situations:  011-30-210-729-4301,  011-30- 210-729-4444. And you might also be able to get through on these “after hour” numbers: 011-30-210-720-2490,  011-30-210-720-2491.

Please also try to call, fax or email your members of Congress as well.

More information is on our website: ustogaza.org

Help us keep the pressure up!!

GET ON BOARD THE U.S. TO GAZA CAMPAIGN

VISIT WWW.USTOGAZA.ORG

TO ENDORSE AND CONTRIBUTE

Thank you for your support

Please distribute widely

 

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Muammar Gaddafi and Cynthia Mckinney: Bff’s 4eva!

NOVANEWS

by Tasbeeh Herwees

With a white scarf around her shoulders, and the familiar green banner scrolling across the screen, Cynthia Mckinney appeared on Libyan State TV on Saturday. What a triumph for the sinking ship that is the Gaddafi regime—as NATO and the international community continue their efforts to force Gaddafi from power. Here is their shiny white knight: an American ex-Congresswoman who’s willing to defend them against the Western-Imperialist-Al Qaeda-rats.

She’s the worst sort of person to be involved in the Libyan conflict: not only incredibly uninformed but deluded as well, having fully swallowed the lies of the Gaddafi regime as unalienable truths. Mckinney continues to defend Gaddafi as a ‘hero’ of African rights (we’ll talk about this more below) and refuses to acknowledge the crimes of his regime. Her justification for doing so indicates a stunning ignorance on her part. Even as damning evidence of the Gaddafi regime’s unspeakable cruelty mounts against it—countless videos, photos and eyewitness accounts of citizens, journalists and others—Cynthia Mckinney stands by Gaddafi, recently making an appearance on Libyan State TV from Tripoli as part of an NGO “fact-finding” mission.

There are many like her, among them, Louis Farrakhan, whose support of Gaddafi hinges on the fact that Gaddafi has funneled millions of dollars into the Nation of Islam and consequently into Farrakhan’s pocket. Farrakhan too has chosen to turn a blind eye towards the undeniable atrocities that the Gaddafi regime has perpetrated upon it’s own people (not just since February 15th but for 42 years) and instead has parroted government propaganda, painting the regime as some kind of perverted harbinger of peace to the African continent.

It was bad enough when Mckinney extolled the nonexistent virtues of Gaddafi’s ‘Jamahiriya’ as an idealized form of ‘direct democracy.’ Then, McKinney lauded The Green Book as some kind of paragon of democratic philosophy. Even Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, his own son and former heir apparent, admits that the jamahiriya is no democracy.

Her appearance on Libyan State TV is a slap in the face to the Libyan people. Here, a former Congresswomen standing by the man who is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Libyans and on the same channel that has repeatedly aired footage of Gaddafi promising to “cleanse” Benghazi of dissidents, house by house and closet by closet.

Libyan State TV is a ‘a psychological weapon,’ a relentless propaganda machine. This is the same outlet that called rape survivor Iman Al Obeidy a ‘prostitute’ and accused her of lying about being captured and repeatedly raped and tortured by Gaddafi forces. Not to mention, the now infamous lies about Nescafe pills and al Qaeda terrorists and the denial of the deaths of what some reports suggest may be more than 30,000 Libyans.

Cynthia Mckinney says she’s in Tripoli because she wants to “understand the truth.” And yet professional journalists who’ve been stationed there for months say that the truth, in Tripoli, is impossible to find. “If there is a hell for journalists,” wrote Sky News’ Emma Hurd, “It will probably be a lot like the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli.” Journalists in Tripoli have been denied their freedom to report, restricted to the gilded prison walls of the Rixos Hotels, and forced, at times, to report the propaganda they are they fed by Musa Ibrahim, the Libyan regime’s snakelike spokesperson.

What  does Mckinney expect to find? Here’s what she won’t find:

Mckinney says Gaddafi is a champion of African rights, but Gaddafi’s actions on the African continent suggest otherwise. His plans for a United Africa seem to coincidentally insist that he be Africa’s figurehead. Gaddafi condescendingly calls himself the King of Kings of Africa, manipulating pan-African sentiments and handing out millions through Libyan development funds to fuel his delusions of grandeur. His record in Africa is mixed at best, dishing out much needed capital to poverty-stricken and indebted African nations to support his self-interests and feed his megalomania, while fostering rifts and fomenting war between rival groups and nations. Despite the regime’s heralding of the construction of a hospital here or a hotel there, not a single one of Libya’s (African) neighbors has been spared his destructive touch, constant meddling and absurd arrogance.

He has denied citizenship to Libya’s marginalized Tabou tribes, and exploited disenfranchised peoples, handing them weapons and money to go to war during Libya’s aggression on its southern neighbor, Chad. During that time he created and financed the Janjaweed, the brutal Sudanese militia who perpetrated the massacres in Darfur. The Janjaweed militia not only killed thousands, but also used rape as a “systematic weapon of ethnic cleansing.”

African immigrants in Libya are treated with hostility by the Libyan government and exploited for cheap labor. A Human Rights Watch report from 2006 found: “Foreigners in Libya reported police violence and due process violations, including torture and unfair trials.” The report also describes the dismal conditions under which Africans are held in detention camps for migrants. During the current crisis in Libya, the Gaddafi regime has been accused of using African migrants as weapons in the face of European hostility, cramming thousands of African migrants into boats by force. Hundreds have died in over-loaded boats that capsized en route to Italy.

Not to mention, the war crimes committed against Libyans, who are in fact Africans.

Gaddafi has openly and brazenly financed known war criminals in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Liberia’s ex-president and warlord Charles Taylor has a rap-sheet that rivals Gaddafi’s. He now stands trial on “11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.” Taylor and Sierra Leone’s rebel leader, Fonday Sankoh, were both trained in Libya and financed by Gaddafi— the two are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, not to mention the rape of hundreds of women and their indiscriminate use of child soldiers.

None of this is secret. It’s not hidden in a vault somewhere in Gaddafi’s super-secure compound of Bab Azizia. It’s not in any confidential CIA reports. These are facts: well-known, long-established, cold-hard facts—and yet Cynthia Mckinney seems to have no knowledge of them, instead giving preference to romantic notions of pan-Africanism perpetuated by the regime.

She makes other erroneous claims—she likes to tout Gaddafi’s system of “subsidized healthcare, education, housing, etc” as proof of his goodwill and legitimacy. She says Libyans enjoy the profits of Libya’s large oil reserves. She conveniently skirts the fact of Libya’s 30% poverty rate: 2/3 of Libyans live on less than $2 a day—unless you’re a close personal friend of Muammar you don’t see anything of that oil money.

Libya’s healthcare system is a disaster. The World Health Organization ranks Libya’s health care system at 87. In 2009, there was approximately 1 health care profession for every 1,000 Libyans. Many Libyans don’t find sufficient medical care inside the country and must make expensive trips abroad to Tunisia, Algeria, and surrounding countries for better treatment.

“Boarding an aeroplane to visit your doctor is common practice among Libyans,” reported a 2010 article in Middle East Economic Digest, “As a result of sanctions imposed during the 1980s and early 1990s, the country’s healthcare system has been starved of the investment and medical training needed to build a modern infrastructure of clinics and hospitals. Those in need of specialist care now drive to Tunis or fly to Malta, Germany or the UK to avoid the staff shortages and overcrowding that have become a feature of Libya’s public hospitals, of which there are now little more than 100.”

Mckinney’s claims of subsidized housing in Libya are also absurd. Libya suffers from a crippling housing crisis. In Tripoli, the government attempted to “tackle” a shortage of 500,000 housing units by building a series of luxury high-rises—but with a 33% unemployment rate, who could afford to live in such places?

Mckinney idealizes Gaddafi’s The Green Book—the same book that decreed that whoever lived in a house owned it—meaning a family could return from a weekend trip to visit family and find that squatters now own their home.

Again, these are not state secrets. A cursory Google search would’ve led Mckinney to the truth. Instead, Mckinney stews in conspiracy and panders to the Libyan government, disseminating their lies and perpetuating a Gaddafi-approved narrative. Mckinney freely lambasts Obama and NATO— who are in no way above criticism—but refuses to acknowledge the irrefutable war crimes of the Gaddafi regime. She would rather not acquaint herself with the truth, it seems—instead, she’d prefer to rub elbows with known war criminals and mass murderers on Libyan State TV.

Posted in Libya1 Comment

Cynthia McKinney: Gaddafi’s Useful Idiot

NOVANEWS

Brendon Peck

While Muammar Gaddafi grows ever more desperate as he loses key military support, former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is shamelessly serving as a propagandist for the Libyan tyrant’s regime.
Venomous remarks recently made by the former six-term congresswoman on Libyan state television were deeply disturbing, to say the least. Among her many outbursts, she charged that America is spending “money on death, destruction and war.” The fact that these comments were broadcast on Libyan state television, which serves as Gaddafi’s mouthpiece, makes matters all the more reprehensible.

Yet such behavior by Cynthia McKinney should come as no surprise. It is, in fact, demonstrative of a definable historical pattern. McKinney is part of a long Western leftist tradition of progressive sycophants traveling to adversarial lands in an effort to undermine America.

In 2009, for example, McKinney traveled to Libya and praised Gaddafi, calling him a “global leader” and thanking him for “reaching out from Africa to the entire world.” As she fell over herself to laud this mass murderer, a man who is widely believed to have ordered the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103, she equated America’s economic system with “bondage.”

After her most recent Libyan rendezvous, McKinney traveled to Iran for what was billed as an “anti-terrorism” conference. There, she claimed to have been “politically assaulted” by American advocates of Israel during her time in Congress.

McKinney also propagated the anti-Semitic myth, widely believed in the Muslim world, that it is mandatory for U.S. Congress members to “pledge allegiance” to Israel. Much like her longstanding assertion that the September 11th terrorist attacks were part of a U.S government conspiracy, such cancerous falsehoods are readily used by jihadists to garner support for their cause.

Historically, Communist regimes — like Islamofascists today — positioned useful idiots like McKinney to their advantage. Take, for example, the Soviet Union’s rapport with its Western sympathizers, who came searching for Utopia. Naïve, often willfully ignorant, even deceptive and self-deceptive, the West’s apologists for Soviet Russia were despised by the Communist regime, but nonetheless, were found ever so valuable.

As Joseph Stalin turned the prow of the totalitarian state deeper into the maelstrom of centralization, his purges and pecuniary polices laid the country to waste. Conveniently for the dictator, notable Soviet apologists, like New York Times journalist Walter Duranty and ACLU founder Roger Baldwin, thought this suffering was tolerable, even needed. And they used their considerable influence to propagate this view – or to make excuses for Stalin’s terror (when they actually admitted it existed).

Duranty is famous for his oft-repeated assertion that Stalin “could not make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” This “omelet,” as we know, meant misery, famine and death for millions of innocent people.

Similarly, for Roger Baldwin, the Soviet Union was “a great laboratory of social experimentation of incalculable value to the development of the world.” Stalin utilized Baldwin and other sympathetic leftists like him to spread Communist propaganda in the West and to strengthen his position at home.

With his two “fact-finding” trips to the U.S.S.R., Baldwin sought to uncover a “common core of truth” about the totalitarian state. In his 1928 work, Liberty Under the Soviets, he asserted that the American people were “uninformed” about the “great nation,” misled by a narrative of “prejudice, misinformation, and propaganda.” Naturally, in stark contrast to his portrait of the U.S., Baldwin offered demonstrative praise for Soviet methods.

In the tradition of Baldwin and like fellow travelers before her, Cynthia McKinney has also proclaimed that the purpose of her Libyan visit was to “understand the truth” of the reality in Libya. But even as she spoke those words, it became clear that the Gaddafi regime had a clear design for her visit. Indeed, as McKinney railed against American “policies of war” and “propaganda,” Libyan state TV ran her tripe – while showing split screen footage of pro-government supporters rallying.

During this “coverage” of McKinney, the Libyan station also claimed it was airing “live” footage of air-strikes by NATO warplanes against Gaddafi’s compound. The congresswoman, not surprisingly, played right along, peppering her disapproval with words like “shocked” and “appalled” in reference to her disposition toward U.S. actions.

McKinney went on to disparage our governmental system, slander our military men and women as “killers” and claimed that President Obama’s Libyan policy caused Americans to be “ashamed” of him. She also went out of her way to — once again — criticize Israel.

If that was not enough, McKinney praised the promises about Libyan “direct democracy” that are found in the infamous “Green Book” — a deranged manifesto written decades ago by Gaddafi himself. She made known (and not for the first time) that she favors Gaddafi’s democratic philosophy. Worse still, McKinney suggested that other Americans ought to do the same.

Yet, the people of Libya have never enjoyed any semblance of democracy supposedly afforded them by the “Green Book.”

Instead, they have been subject to the sadistic and vicious whim of one man for 42 years, who remains in power by the butt of a gun — now aided readily by mercenary thugs and the willfully malicious words of Cynthia McKinney.

Did I mention she intends to run for Congress again?

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Independence Day for Whom?

NOVANEWS
by Sartre Batr

BATR Publisher’s Note: The tenth anniversary of this editorial about July 4th Independence Day rings even louder today. SARTRE Commentary maintains a consistent and vocal message that is timeless. When you read the essay – Independence Day for Whom? – You celebrate the uniqueness of the American Revolution. Written before the September 11, 2001 transmutation of the country into a despotic police state, the excuse of a fake homeland security threat is used to destroy the foundation of individual civil liberties. The indisputable fact of the last decade is that America is no longer a nation of free citizens and a Republic government of public servants, accountable to the people. The injustice of the British Crown has only been substituted for the iniquities of the Amerika Empire. Reflect upon this editorial and pass it on.

The celebration of the Nation’s birthday sometimes gets people confused. This day is much more than another holiday from work. It is a recognition of who we are as a People. What it is not is a saint’s day for a Government. When the Nation and the Government are spoken in the same breath, most believe they are interchangeable. How mistaken and easily mislead, the public can become.

Yes, a revolution was fought to establish a Free Republic, but that was well over two centuries ago. Articles of Confederation were formed to establish a working relationship among sovereign States. Later a Constitution was ratified that placed specific, distinct and enumerated limitations on the authority to rule of a central government. Functions not named, were left to the individual States. And finally, Bill of Rights Amendments were added and approved that codified guarantees for the protection of the citizen from abuses of that newly created central government.

Up to this point, who would not want to attend the party? Well, the theory is fine; but the acting out of the play, has caused the show to be canceled. Why was the American Revolution fought? The reason was not originally accepted by the public that a new country was the purpose for the conflict. Many sought to negotiate a settlement with the Crown and remain loyal Englishmen. Only a small band raised the banner for self determination. Tories and neutrals were in the majority. Uncertainty prevailed with the gallows the reward for failure. The motivation to dare all was for an idea, not a lust for power. Most of the rebellious vanguard were established leaders and held authority within their circles. But they risked their sacred honor, more precious than their lives for the sake of LIBERTY.

Out of this caldron of fire, the world witnessed the first attempt to create a society that could be governed by principles of constitutional law, as opposed to EQUITY at the discretion of the magistrate. That was the ‘shot heard round the world’. Those first slugs at Concord Bridge were the aftermath. This is the singular significance of the American Revolution. It was born out of the eruption and the explosion that caused the demise of the old order.

So what went wrong? For those who doubt that it has gone amiss, go off to your picnic or watch the tube. But for those who know in their heart that the tyrant that was King George III, was a mild despot, compared to the federal apparatus in foggy bottom; let us celebrate another anniversary. Our festivity will not recognize the central government as its legitimate steward, nor will we invite agents within their employ. Honored guests will be restricted to those who understand the nature of the American Experience and are willing to pledge their allegiance to that cause. Their Nation will profess the principles of universal sovereignty of the individual and will require strict limitations and comprehensive accountability upon those who administrate the public trust. Our gathering will bear the resemblance of our Founding Fathers home, for we are their posterity.

So when your neighbor invites you over to have a cup of English Gray, remember your ability to smell its aroma and sip its flavor, is built upon the debris of tea casks from that Boston Harbor soiree. America is unequaled because its king is the individual citizen. The sheriff serves the former serf, who is now a freeman. And the crown is worn on the head of every man.

This ideal deserves a true celebration, even if the reality has fallen so short. Our task is to restore the goal, and institute the means to make it genuine. If our Nation was created by men of honor, it can be reinstated with brothers and sisters of similar courage and integrity. Are you one of this new breed that seeks LIBERTY? Or are you content on bowing to a dictator of a depraved empire? We all must choose! Who’s birthday will you celebrate . . . Your own as a ‘son of liberty’, or a master who you continue to pay homage.

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Put Away The Flags / There Is Nothing Natural About War

NOVANEWS

by Allen L Roland

This 4th of July, 2011, put away the flags and reflect on the billions of dollars we are spending and wasting in Afghanistan in order to sustain a military-industrial complex that is running on lies, empty promises, arrogance and relentless greed

President Obama cited the $1 trillion cost of the war in Afghanistan as a reason to bring some of the Afghanistan troop’s home, but that figure grossly underestimates the actual costs of this ongoing occupation masquerading as a war ~ which eventually will be as high as 4 trillion dollars. See article

The continuing unanswered question in Afghanistan is, Why?

Jim Hightower, Truthout writes “So why have two presidents and a decade of Congress dumped so many lives and so much money into a country that poses no threat to us? Afghanistan is an impoverished, anarchic, largely illiterate land that’s split into ancient tribal factions and innumerable fiefdoms controlled by rival warlords. They have no desire or ability to attack us, some 8,000 miles away. The only reason we’re given for being in Afghanistan is that we must keep the al-Qaeda terrorists network from establishing bases there” ~ but the obvious answer is that we are the terrorists and that our national leaders and the military-industrial complex want war because it’s profitable to them regardless of the financial, moral or human cost to others as well as our Republic.

As such, the so called “War on Terror” is rationalized economic rape with Iraq and Afghanistan as the prime examples.

There’s nothing natural about war and the late Howard Zinn clearly knew that ~ “We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history.
We need to assert our allegiance to the human race and not to any one nation”.

This 4th of July take the time to listen to Howard Zinn explain how there is nothing natural about war. Zinn’s words are profound and worth a listen and sharing before you sit back and watch the fireworks.

“No power but Congress can declare war, but what is the value of this constitutional provision, if the President of his own authority may make such military movements as must bring on war?” ~ Daniel Webster (1782-1852), US Senator 1846

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It’s Always About The Money So On With This REVOLUTION!

NOVANEWS
by Eileen Fleming


 

As the August 2nd deadline fast approaches to raise the government-borrowing limit, President Obama called on Congress two days before this Independence Day to make a deal and announced, “Nothing can be off-limits…We’ve got to cut the deficit.” [1]

Republican Senator Dan Coats responded, “It’s time for bold action and a new plan to address our current crisis” and that it was time for the government to “stop spending money we don’t have and to enact policies that will grow our economy and get Americans back to work.” [Ibid]

Two hundred and thirty five years ago to this 4th of July, America’s Founding Fathers established the following principals and truths to be self-evident: that all PEOPLE are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable RIGHTS; that, among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these RIGHTS, governments are instituted among PEOPLE, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the RIGHT of the people to alter or to abolish it.

The Declaration of Independence of 4 July 1776,  indicted a government that engaged in barbaric conduct contrary to the laws of Humanity that included “works of death, destruction and tyranny unparalleled in the most barbaric ages” that is until the Age of Now!

Where ever we lay our money down reflects our heart and mind and citizens of conscience comprehend that budgets are moral documents.

Obama’s 2012 budget request to Congress not just adds to our current debt of $14.3 trillion but Obama’s $3.7 Trillion Budget Calls for Military Spending Increases and Deep Cuts to Social Service Programs!

“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.”-Rev. MLK

Obama’s budget adds another $3.075 billion in military aid to Israel although Israel has consistently misused U.S. Made weapons in violation of America’s Arms Export and Control and Foreign Assistance Acts and in spite of the fact that everywhere except in this republic the 44 years of military occupation of Palestine is viewed as a US-Israeli collaboration!

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad involvement in the terror upon America, “By his own account…stemmed from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.” [2]

Abdulmutallab’s attempt to blow up a plane on Christmas Day in 2009, was fueled by “his sympathies toward the Palestinians and anger over Israel’s actions in Gaza.” [Ibid]

President ‘Nuclear Free World’ Obama’s FY 2012 for the National Nuclear Security Administration includes 7.6 billion for nuclear weapons research and production, which is 8.4% above his FY 2011 request and 19% above his FY 2010 request.

Funding for a new “Uranium Processing Facility” for production of thermonuclear secondaries at the Y-12 production plant near Oak Park Ridge, TN, is proposed to increase to $160.2 million from $115 million in FY 2011.

Obama’s FY 2012 budget request also creates a new Life Extension Program for the B61 warhead funded at $223.6 million, even though that gravity bomb’s original mission of forward deployment in Europe against a Soviet threat vanished at the end of the Cold War.

Life Extension Programs extend the service lives of existing nuclear weapons for three decades or more, in contradiction to our declared national security goal of a future world free of nuclear weapons, and it also endows them with new military capabilities. [3]

Life Extension Programs also undermine sound national security by introducing major changes to America’s existing nuclear weapons stockpile that had been extensively tested and known to be most reliable weapons of mass destruction.

“The dominant mission of Y-12 today is the production of new and or/refurbished thermonuclear secondaries for existing US nuclear warheads as part of the Stockpile Life Extension Program [LEP]. These include life extension upgrades to the W-76 that will result in the W-76 Modification 1, a warhead with new military capabilities.”-[4]
“All W-76 and W-76-1 thermonuclear secondaries produced at Y-12 are designed and produced to unleash 100 KT of uncontrollable and indiscriminate heat, blast and radiation, six times more than the Hiroshima Bomb.” [5]

On 8 July 1996, the International Court of Justice issued the statement:

“The destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either space or time. They have the potential to destroy all civilization and the entire ecosystem of the planet.”

The ICJ also affirmed the “fundamental, cardinal and intransgressible” rule that “States must never make civilians the object of attack and must consequently never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilians and military targets.”

States have obligations. People have rights.

“If it is a basic human right to be free of threat or violence, if the right to life is a basic human right, if the protection of children and future generations is a basic human duty, international law must unhesitatingly recognize that the right to non violent resistance activities for the prevention of such an international crime is basic to human dignity.” [6]

On 1 July 2011, Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote:

“Eliminating nuclear weapons is the democratic wish of the world’s people…squandering billions of dollars on modernization of nuclear [weapons, makes] a mockery of United Nations disarmament pledges. If we allow this madness to continue, the eventual use of these instruments of terror seems all but inevitable.

“The nuclear power crisis at Japan’s Fukushima power plant has served as a dreadful reminder that events thought unlikely can and do happen…it must not take another Hiroshima or Nagasaki – or an even greater disaster – before [we] finally wake up and recognize the urgent necessity of nuclear disarmament.

“One standard must apply to all countries: zero.

“Nuclear arms are wicked, regardless of who possesses them. The unspeakable human suffering that they inflict is the same whatever flag they may bear. So long as these weapons exist, the threat of their use – either by accident or through an act of sheer madness – will remain.

“We must not tolerate a system of nuclear apartheid, in which it is considered legitimate for some states to possess nuclear arms but patently unacceptable for others to seek to acquire them. Such a double standard is no basis for peace and security in the world.

“Every dollar invested in bolstering a country’s nuclear arsenal is a diversion of resources from its schools, hospitals, and other social services, and a theft from the millions around the globe who go hungry or are denied access to basic medicines.” [7]

In 1987, Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower, Mordechai Vanunu wrote from Ashkelon Prison:

“No government, not even the most democratic, can force us to live under this threat. No state in the world can offer any kind of security against this menace of a nuclear holocaust, or guarantee to prevent it.

“Any country, which manufactures and stocks nuclear weapons, is first of all endangering its own citizens. This is why the citizens must confront their government and warn it that it has no right to expose them to this danger. Because, in effect, the citizens are being held hostage by their own government, just as if they have been hijacked and deprived of their freedom and threatened.

“When governments develop nuclear weapons they are violating the basic rights of their citizens, the basic right not to live under constant threat of annihilation.” [8]

Common Sense comprehends that getting America out of its immoral debt will require more than what Obama admitted in eliminating “tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or for hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners, or for oil and gas companies pulling in huge profits without our help…we’ll have to make even deeper cuts somewhere else.” [9]

The deep cuts that must be made require the revolutionary political will that Thomas Paine, America’s most forward thinking Founding Father comprehended:

“Soon after I had published the pamphlet “Common Sense” [on Feb. 14, 1776] in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion…The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”

We the people are suppose to be the government and thus it is up to US to bring in the Intifada [Arabic for rise up and cast off] against nuclear insanity so that future generations will have their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  1. Obama: ” Nothing can be off- limits in budget

  2. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March 2010, page 35

  3. BudgetRequest.pdf

  4. Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance [OREPA], November 2009.

  5. Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, March/April 2009.

  6. Judge Weeramantry, “The Trident and International Law, Scotland’s Obligations” Feb. 3, 2009.

  7. www.WagingPeace.org

  8. BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010

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