Archive | August 11th, 2011

Condemn Gruesome Mumbai Bomb Blasts!

NOVANEWS

COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST)

CENTRAL COMMITTEE

Press Release

July 17, 2011

Condemn Gruesome Mumbai Bomb Blasts!

Demand for an impartial and independent probe into
all the incidents of bomb blasts including Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blasts!

Communist Party of India (Maoist) severely condemns the bomb blasts took place in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. These incidents of serial blasts are inhuman in which at least 20 innocent people have lost their lives and nearly 80 people were injured. Our Party also strongly condemns the devious and baseless allegations of exploitative ruling classes and their police/intelligence agencies who are trying to blame our Party without any clue of who might be responsible for these bomb blasts and even before the investigation is started.

The oppressed people of India know very well that our Party which is fighting for the emancipation of people would never commit such attacks aimed at innocent people putting their lives at peril. Murderous ruling classes and their corporate media are deliberately blaming us so as to depict our Party as a terrorist organization and our just people’s movement as terrorist one, and thus to justify their brutal suppression campaign and the Army deployment in the second phase of ongoing Operation Green Hunt — the War On People.

If we retrospect into the earlier incidents of bomb blasts took place till this day in our country, we would never know the real culprits hidden behind those who are being shown as offenders. It’s become a norm now that whenever such incidents of bomb blasts take place, the pro-Hindu fundamentalist Indian state, its intelligence/investigative wings and the corporate media immediately claim that Muslims and so-called Islamic terrorist organizations are responsible. In fact, as part of a conspiracy and collusion of the Indian state which always try to blame Muslim society for every attack of this kind and the top leaders of the ruling class parties like Congress and BJP, the IB itself created an illusionary organization named Indian Mujahiddin which is being held responsible for every incident of bomb blast by the authorities.

Corporate media barons and bankrupt intellectuals servile to the ruling classes are branding all those who ask for proof of these allegations and who demand for comprehensive and impartial probe as outright traitors and attacking them belligerently, irrationally and frantically. Thus people are being kept at bay from knowing the truth. In our so-called biggest democracy on the earth, the big joke is not asking for incisive probe has become the touchstone for patriotism and the person who asks for any probe is branded as traitor!

In earlier instances of bomb blasts in Mecca Masjid, Malegaon, Samjhauta Express etc. hundreds of innocent Muslims, particularly the youths were arrested, tortured inhumanly and sent to jails. Many were killed in fake encounters. Even after the obvious evidences came forth that the Hindu fanatics belonging to the right-wing RSS gang were responsible for those ghastly incidents, no justice was done to the Muslims. No leader of the Hindu terrorist organizations like Abhinav Bharat, Hindu defence force, Rashtriya Jagaran Manch, Bajrang Dal, Viswa Hindu Parishad has been punished until this day.

At the same time, death sentence given to Afzal Guru in the case of attack on Parliament and to 11 Muslims in Godhra train carnage case recently on March 1 are some examples of the anti-Muslim and pro-Hindutva character of the Indian State. While the butchers like Narendra Modi whose hands have stained with the blood of over 2,000 innocent Muslims are freely wandering in the corridors of power, Muslims are being meted out stringent punishments by virtue of bizarre and inadequate evidences. And this has been spreading the feeling of severe frustration and fury among the Muslim masses.

It’s an obvious fact that because of the grisly incidents like the destruction of the Babri Masjid and Gujarat genocide, the Muslim community in general, a large section of Muslim youth in particular, has become furious and outrageous against the Indian ruling classes. Another irrefutable fact is that this situation has given birth to some Islamic organizations. Exploiting this situation and by taking organizations of this sort into their grip or by misleading them in a deceitful manner or by even creating some new organizations of this kind, both India’s and Pakistan’s intelligence agencies like RAW, IB, ISI are engineering bomb blasts and other attacks in both countries as part of serving their vested political interests.

Failing to identify their real enemies many a frustrated Muslim youths are stuck in this lattice and taking part in acts of mindless violence of this kind. Thus they are taking of the lives of innocent people. This is such a vicious cycle where these youths don’t even know in whose hands are they acting and whose vested interests are being fulfilled with such attacks in deed.

On the other hand, after it was clearly exposed that an organization called Abhinav Bharat belonged to the Sangh gang (i.e. RSS) was responsible for bomb blasts of Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and Samjhauta Express, people of India have started seeing Saffron terrorism as a dangerous trend. When it became obvious that the Saffron terrorists are responsible for Ajmer Sherif bomb blast also, the demand for a review of all investigations done into the incidents of bomb blasts in various places of our country has come forth.

The Muslim youths of Malegaon and Hyderabad have demanded that the government should apologize for the police atrocities inflicted on them. Despite of all its rhetoric, the Congress-led UPA government has been instigating Saffron terrorism as a part of promoting its wicked political motives. The corporate media which act hand in glove with Hindu fundamentalism in general, on the one hand, attack Muslims and Islamic organizations aggressively without any clear evidence and on the other hand, report as less as possible even when there is evident proof is available that the Saffron terrorist organizations were responsible for various incidents of bomb blasts.

If we see in this backdrop, we could arrive at the conclusion that Saffron terrorist organizations or so-called Islamic militant organizations sponsored by the very intelligence agencies like IB, RAW might have committed these heinous acts of July 13 Mumbai bomb blasts. It’s also likely that the mafia gangs hand in glove with police top brass and ruling class political leaders could have committed these attacks. Whoever else has done this, only the interests of ruling classes would be served with such acts of mindless violence. Firstly, people’s attention could be diverted from the issues like price rise, corruption, scams, black money, Swiss banks accounts which have become burning issues in the country now. Secondly, by posing terrorism as biggest danger, even more draconian laws could be prepared and the teeth of State’s suppressive machinery could be sharpened by importing arms and technology from imperialist countries on a massive scale misusing trillions of rupees of hard earned people’s money.

Thirdly, by supporting directly or indirectly all invasive wars, attacks and intimidations of US imperialism going on in the name of ‘Global War on Terror’ and thus by acting as its junior partner in south Asia region, the Indian State could go ahead reducing the country more servile to it by signing the treacherous treaties like Homeland security, civil nuclear deal etc. Fourthly, using the pretext of terrorism, public consent could be built for crushing the people’s movements and growing Maoist revolutionary movement militarily which are surging against anti-people and pro-imperialist neo-liberal policies of the governments.

Apart from this, consolidating Hindu vote bank by blaming Muslims and Islamic organizations every time without any proof and diverting the people’s attention from the basic problems of our country like food, clothing, shelter, price rise, unemployment, poverty, starvation, displacement etc. are necessary for both Congress and BJP and for the feudal and comprador bourgeoisie classes whom they represent, so that their exploitative rule can be carried on unchecked.

However, Communist Party of India (Maoist) believes that the real perpetrators of Mumbai blasts could be traced only through an impartial and independent probe. Our Party humbly appeals the masses and democrats of the country to not to sway away with the malicious propaganda, falsehood and prejudices unleashed by the ruling classes, their intelligence agencies and the corporate media in a mad, one-sided and irrational manner. Our Party demands to uncover the culprits responsible for these blasts and punish them severely.

At the same time, our Party calls upon entire people of the country to demand the governments for impartial and independent probes into all incidents of bomb blasts that took place since 1992 and for unconditional release of Muslims and Christians who are languishing in various jails with false cases. Our Party also calls upon the people of the country to demand to punish all those Saffron terrorist leaders who are responsible for all the attacks perpetrated on religious minorities including the Babri Masjid destruction, Gujarat genocide, Kandhamal (Odisha) attacks and to condemn Hindu religious fundamentalism and all other religious chauvinisms.

(Abhay)

Spokesperson,

Central Committee,

CPI (Maoist)

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Gilad Atzmon’s New Book “The Wandering Who?” soon to be released, Jewish groups shrieking

NOVANEWS

Hello everybody,

My new book, “The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics”, is scheduled for release in six weeks time and it seems that the usual suspects — Zionists and their collaborators within the marginal ‘left’ — are already in a state of panic. In the last few days, my publishing house, my editors and I have been subjected to immense and intense pressure that included harassment, intimidation, and even anonymous threats, as the demands mounted on my publisher to pull the book.

Leading the harassment campaign were the openly pro-war Zionist Islamophobes from “Harry’s Place”, who wrote “more now than ever, strong opposition to Atzmon and his politics is needed.” 

Within minutes of the “Harry’s Place” post, Andy Newman joined in with their futile attempt at an intimidation campaign, writing on Socialist Unity “I am  concerned to learn that the anti-Semite, Gilad Atzmon, is writing a book on Jews for the Zero Press.”(Andy Newman is the “Socialist” who for years appeared to spend much of his energy engaged mainly in gate-keeping anti-Israeli discourse within the British ‘left’.)

Predictably enough, staunch Iraq war advocate and Israeli Hasbara author David Aaronovitch was also very quick to join in the campaign on the notorious Jewish Chronicle’s pages.

The question must be asked: why are these people so afraid of Gilad Atzmon? Why are they afraid of Atzmon’s writing and ideas? Why are they so desperate to stop the book, even going so far as to attempt to intimidate the author, the editor and the publishing company?

Be assured that I have collected all the relevant information about the individuals who have attempted to launch an intimidation campaign against me and my publisher, and I will publish it all in due time –  but the most important factor to observe here is — how is it that the openly Islamophobic “Harry’s Place” and pro-war  David Aaronovitch are  caught together with the armchair  ‘progressive’ “Socialist Unity”, united in the same cause of trying to stop my work from being published ?

I believe that my new book provides the answers. I disclose the horrifying continuum between Zionists and  so called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists. I also explore the deep Islamophabia within the left. Without referring to ethnicity or race, I unveil some  fundamental issues at the core of Jewish Identity politics. 

I can assure you that none of my detractors have read my book yet, but they know what to expect. They know what I am capable of. And indeed, I promise to provide. The book is short but I believe it says it all, and it has already been endorsed and supported by some of the most important thinkers and academics within the anti Zionist movement.

Dear friends, I have a big war ahead of me, and I predict that I may need your support from time to time.

Surprisingly perhaps, I would like to end this post by quoting from the racist “Harry’s Place” mission statement — stamped boldly on their webpage is the terse aphorism, “Liberty, if it means anything, is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.”

I actually go along with the “Harry’s place” mantra — and I hope that my detractors will be brave enough to deal with my text. At least for them reflection is long overdue.

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Saudi Paper: Saleh Won’t Return to Yemen Over US Pressure

NOVANEWS
antiwar.com

He may have been released from the hospital yesterday, but Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will not be returning to his country, “US sources” say.

Saudi paper Asharq al-Awsat reports Saleh has backed down under US pressure and could remain in Saudi Arabia, where he has been receiving treatment for wounds received in a missile attack on the presidential palace in Sanaa. He is reportedly staying in a Saudi government residence while he recuperates.

The United States is on record asking its longtime ally to step down as protests and insurgencies rage across the small country. The US continues to fund his government, but wants a new head of state in Maj. Gen. Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi. Saleh has rejected several deals to step down that woule be favorable to him; it’s not clear what sort of extra pressure the US might have exerted to make him finally change his mind.

Saleh’s absence has seen his military lose ground to “al-Qaeda fighters” and protests continue to rage. Even if he returns, there may not be much left for him to rule but the capital city.

 

U.S. “convinces” Saleh not to return to Yemen: report

(Reuters) – U.S. officials have convinced Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, convalescing in Saudi Arabia from an assassination attempt, not to return to his country, the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on Monday.

The report came a day after the veteran Arab leader left hospital in Riyadh and was moved to a government residence for further recuperation, as mass protests against his 33-year rule wore into their seventh month.

Yemeni officials denied the report and said the president would return to Sanaa, where fighting between troops loyal to Saleh and pro-opposition tribesmen has been increasing.

Officials at the U.S. embassy in Sanaa were unavailable for comment.

Since the June bomb blast at Saleh’s presidential compound, a period of relative calm has been broken by a rise in regional clashes — including a bloody battle with Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda in the south.

Citing U.S. sources, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat said Washington had managed to pressure Saleh, 69, into retreating from his promise to return and lead a dialogue in Yemen.

They told Asharq al-Awsat that Saleh had been greatly influenced by the spectacle of toppled Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, who faced charges from within a black cage in a Cairo court last week.

The sources told the paper the U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, had told the State Department to refrain from publicising pressure on the Yemeni president because he is “a stubborn person and cannot be put in a corner.”

The United States and neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia, both targets of attacks by al Qaeda’s Yemen-based wing, have tried to stave off rising turmoil in the Arabian Peninsula state by pursuing a power transition plan brokered by Gulf countries.

Saleh, a shrewd political survivor, backed out of inking the deal three times despite saying he accepted the plan. Yemeni officials have said the president took issue with the initiative’s time frame, which required him to step down in 30 days and hold an election 60 days later.

“Saleh not returning to Yemen is an American desire but the president is determined to return,” Abdulhafeedh al-Nihari, a member of Saleh’s ruling party at his media office, told Asharq al-Awsat. “The solution however will not be far from the spirit of the Gulf initiative, except without the restrictions to specific time periods.”

But U.S. sources were quoted by Asharq al-Awsat as saying that Saleh had been convinced he should stay in Saudi Arabia, which has told the president he must sign the Gulf deal before he can remain permanently.

The deal would also be modified to give greater guarantees of immunity to Saleh and his family, the pan-Arab paper said.

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Pentagon Bans Coverage of Slain US Soldiers

NOVANEWS

John Glaser
antiwar.com

The Pentagon announced on Monday they will not allow any media coverage of the arrival of the remains of the 30 dead soldiers killed in this Saturday’s helicopter shootdown in Afghanistan.

In 2009, President Barack Obama lifted an 18-year ban on media access to the flag-covered caskets arriving at Dover Air Force Base, but this decision runs directly counter to that promise. Caskets have been subject to cameras with the consent of the families of the dead, but since the bodies are not currently identifiable, permission cannot be individually granted and the Pentagon has taken the opportunity to conceal the single deadliest incident for Americans since the start of the war.

Instituted by George H. W. Bush and kept in place by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the ban was justified on the grounds that it protected the families of fallen soldiers. But many have criticized it as an unconstitutional attack on freedom of the press and as an attempt to disguise the human cost of the war from public opinion.

After the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration added to the media whitewash of the human costs of the war by flying in severely wounded soldiers under the cover of night in order to avoid press coverage.

Limits on the right of journalists to cover the killed and wounded are not permitted under the Constitution and this is only the latest in consistent restrictions attempting to control the public’s view of this costly Afghan war.

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Top US Officials Paid to Endorse Iranian Terror Group

NOVANEWS

 

antiwar.com

The Christian Science Monitor has released an enormous new article today detailing the results of their investigation into the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), the Islamist-Marxist group currently trying to buy its way off of the US State Department’s list of international terrorist organizations.

The article details how a large number of top US officials past and present have been paid tens of thousands of dollars to give public endorsements of the MeK, with high profile national security officials from both parties loudly championing the organization as a force for “democratic change” in Iran.

One US official is quoted by CSM as saying that “top-level national security officials never heard about the MEK; it never rose to their level until now,” and that when they are presented the political platform and a contract for $20,000 for a 20 minute speech, it “looks pretty compelling.”

Yet the group’s history is one of decades of violent attacks not just against the Iranian government, but also against the United States, and the group’s claims of having abandoned violence have not been supported by US intelligence reports.

Long an ally of the Ba’athist regime in Iraq, the MeK was quickly embraced by a number of hawks as a good way of promoting a war against Iran. This put its status as a terrorist organization outside of the world of fact, and into the world of political expediency.

But if there’s one thing top Democrat and Republican political leaders like more than war, its cash, and the millions of dollars in “speech” payments is likely another reason the State Department will be under intense pressure to quietly remove them from the list.

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NATO Attack on Libyan TV Station Condemned

NOVANEWS

US has long history of attacking press sites, despite laws

antiwar.com

The head of the U.N. agency that oversees press freedom sharply criticized NATO on Monday for its criminal July 30 airstrikes against Libyan state television that killed several people and wounded nearly a dozen.

“I deplore the NATO strike on Al-Jamahiriya and its installations,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement.

“Media outlets should not be targeted in military actions,” she said. “U.N. Security Council Resolution 1738 (2006) condemns acts of violence against journalists and media personnel in conflict situations.

At the time of the bombing, NATO spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie said it “was necessary” as TV was being used for “terror broadcasts” by the Gadhafi regime, “designed to systematically oppress and threaten civilians and to incite attacks against them.” But, Bokova countered, international law prohibits attacks against journalists in war zones, even if they are engaged in propaganda.

But U.S.-NATO powers have recognized information as a weapon for a long time. Notably, during the bombing of Serbia in 1999, NATO attacked the government-run studios of Radio Television Serbia (RTS) in Belgrade, killing sixteen employees. The attack occurred with total impunity and to this day has seen no accountability.

After the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, al-Jazeera’s Kabul offices were attacked with U.S. missile strikes. Reportedly, there were no journalists killed, but al-Jazeera’s managing director confirmed U.S. forces knew the site was al-Jazeera’s. Again, in Iraq in 2003, the Qatar-based news organization had its offices bombed in Baghdad, and again had its journalists attacked in a Basra hotel.

The UNESCO Director-General is right to deplore these NATO attacks, but it is unlikely to serve any accountability to the western powers.

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Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Victoria (Australia) threatens further crackdown on boycott activists

Aug 09, 2011

annie

Things are heating up in Australia. The turmoil over boycott arrests previously covered here has escalated. A group called Defend the boycott Israel 19 has issued a press release today announcing Pro-Palestine activists arrested in dawn raids calling this “the most severe crack-down on civil liberties in decades”. Protesters were arrested on the pretense of “breaching bail conditions”, and it is said that they will be held until September 5th.

This is just days after the Victoria government issued an unprecedented request by calling in the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to investigate citizens who have joined the BDS campaign.

ANTI-Israel activists face investigation for alleged secondary boycotts (ed note: section 45D of the Competition and Consumer Act) under landmark attempts by the Baillieu government to curb the global campaign to target companies and businesses linked to the Jewish nation. Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister Michael O’Brien said the protesters had deliberately pinpointed businesses with Israeli ownership and who they believed traded with the Israeli government.

Clearly the government is pulling out all the stops to end this boycott. Boycott Israel 19 Campaign organiser Omar Hassan:

“This crack-down on the right to protest should be of concern to all Victorians. The lengths to which the Baillieu government is going to eradicate criticism of Israeli Apartheid and criminalise dissent are unprecedented. We need to be clearly saying; demonstrating is not a crime. Taking action in support of Palestine is not a crime.”

“Actions taken against South African businesses by anti-Apartheid protests were important in generating opposition to that racist regime. To outlaw similar actions today can only be motivated by a desire to protect the reputation of Israel, and represent an unacceptable attack on our right to express dissent and show solidarity with oppressed people around the world.”

I predict restricting Australians’ civil liberties so as to protect Israel will backfire against the Australian Government, while escalating attention and support for the BDS campaign leading into Palestinians seeking membership in the United Nations General Assembly next month.

Australian blogger and journalist Antony Loewenstein:

If any establishment figure wants to charge people for speaking up for Palestine and highlighting in a peaceful way that corporations with ties to the Zionist state should be boycotted for profiting on the back of repression, I’m happy to pronounce; I back BDS completely as a moral responsibility to defend the rights of Palestinians.

This is a global movement and growing and has everything to do with damning Western governments too afraid to speak truth to Zionist power

Go Australia!

Answer: Because they’re in Israel

Aug 09, 2011

Philip Weiss

Dana Milbank reports an urgent question at the White House briefing yesterday:

“The president said our problems are imminently solvable, and he talked about a renewed sense of urgency,” CBS’s Norah O’Donnell pointed out. “Why not call Congress back to work?”

Carney chuckled at this suggestion.

“I mean, the Dow dropped below 11,000 — where’s the sense of urgency?” O’Donnell persisted.

The press secretary uttered something about the founders and the separation of powers.

NBC’s Chuck Todd was not swayed. “Why not bring Congress back now?” he repeated, pointing out that “the American public seems to be in a little bit of a panic” while Washington says, “We’re going to stand back and wait until school starts.”

UK theater artists issue petition denouncing ‘brutal attack on cultural icon’ — Jenin Freedom Theatre

Aug 09, 2011

Philip Weiss

Artists are speaking out against Israel’s recent arrests of three members of the Jenin Freedom Theater, including the chairman of its board. I gather a Welsh theater community started the petition, which isavailable here. And I hear that some New York theater groups are also getting ready to issue a statement deploring the arrests. This fearful case ought to be a cause celebre for theater people and artists everywhere. The petition’s statement:

We, members of the UK theatre community, deplore the recent attack on The Freedom Theatre in Jenin by members of the Israeli Defence Forces. The Freedom Theatre works with young people in Jenin Refugee Camp and Jenin City, empowering them to use the arts to promote positive change in their community. It provides a creative outlet for young people in the North West Bank area, many of whom suffer from severe emotional problems as a result of the Occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

The theatre was raided at 3am on July 27 with rocks thrown at the door and numerous windows shattered. The location manager Adnan Naghnaghiye together with Bilal Saadi a member of the board were arrested and taken to prison in Israel. The General Manager of the theatre, Jacob Gough from the UK, and the theatre’s co-founder, Jonaton Stanczak from Sweden, were made to squat next to a family with their four small children, surrounded by some of the 50 heavily armed soldiers, who threatened them with abuse when they tried to reason with them.

We are shocked that a cultural icon such as the Freedom Theatre, the only professional venue for theatre and multi media in the North West Bank could be attacked in such a brutal manner. We call on the Israeli government to launch an independent public enquiry into the events.

We call on our fellow artists in Israel and beyond to support the Freedom Theatre as an inspiring source of cultural understanding and artistic hope.

We, the undersigned, call upon the Government of Israel to launch an independent public enquiry into the events of 27th July 2011 in which the Freedom Theatre of Jenin was attacked by Israel Defence Forces and 2 members of the theatre staff arrested and taken to prison in Israel.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please forward to fellow theatre artists.

Please pencil in September 15 (for Palestinian self-determination)

Aug 09, 2011

Philip Weiss

Yesterday I mentioned a global action on September 15in connection with the push for Palestinian statehood. Well here’s another big event, a march to the U.N. that day, organized by Adalah, WESPAC, ICAHD, Al-Awda, Jews Say No, IJAN, and a bunch of other folks. From the statement:

Palestinians everywhere are mobilizing to remind the world of their right to self-determination. In New York we are marching to the UN because the world’s attention is focused on the vote on Palestine scheduled to take place there.

For over six decades, the UN has approved numerous resolutions promising Palestinians their basic rights, none of which have been implemented. We come to the UN to demand: Sovereignty, Equality, and the Right of Return for Palestinians NOW!

Rally and March to the UN, Thursday, September 15th!
End All US Aid to Israel!
End the Occupation!
Support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions!

4:30 pm: Gather at Times Square
5:30 pm: March to Grand Central and then over to the UN

Does your Congressperson represent you – or Israel?

Aug 09, 2011

Medea Benjamin

In this time of economic austerity, when jobs are being slashed and Americans are fearful about their future, the Congressional recess is the time for our elected representatives to be home in their districts, reaching out to their constituents and servicing the people they are paid to represent. Instead, this August one out of every five representatives will be taking a junket to Israel, compliments of an affiliate of the Israel lobby AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) but still clocked in on the taxpayer’s dime.

Americans who have lost their jobs and seen their life savings evaporate because Congress can’t seem to get it together deserve an explanation of how this crisis will be solved. Following the recent debt debacle, the public is hungry for information about the mysterious 12-person “super committee” that will slash over one trillion dollars from the federal budget. But instead of opening their doors to their constituents, 81 members of Congress will be getting briefings from Israeli government officials, touring historic religious sites, and perhaps “seeking a salty dip in the Dead Sea.” Representative Steny Hoyer, who is leading the Democratic delegation, said he is pleased members of Congress have this opportunity “to gain a deeper understanding of the issues involved in increasing stability in the region.” One has to wonder whether our elected officials are more concerned about the stability of Israel or the well-being of American families.

Not surprisingly, trip expenses are being paid by an affiliate of the all-powerful AIPAC lobby, the American Israel Educational Foundation. AIPAC lobbies hard to ensure that Israel is kept on the U.S. dole, with $3 billion of US taxpayers’ dollars a year going to the Israeli military. Without AIPAC and the financial contributions to Congressional campaigns made by its affiliate organizations, our representatives would be freer to speak out against funneling precious taxdollars to this already wealthy nation. This junket goes to show that those who claim AIPAC has a stranglehold over our Congress are not far off the mark.

Going on an AIPAC-sponsored trip to Israel is the moral equivalent of using an Anglo-Boer travel company to visit apartheid-era South Africa. Although they claim to be visiting leaders “across the political spectrum”, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, you can bet your bottom dollar that AIPAC will not be giving these 81 Congresspeople a fair and balanced view of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They won’t observe one of the weekly demonstrations in Bi’lin or Nabi Saleh, where Israeli soldiers routinely tear gas and arrest non-violent protesters. They won’t spend time with grieving Palestinians whose homes have been demolished to make way for more Jewish-only housing. They won’t spend a few hours at a checkpoint to witness how Palestinians are detained, abused and humiliated, or how this “thriving democracy” forbids Palestinians from driving on Jewish-only roads. They won’t go to Gaza, where 1.5 million people are suffering under an unbearable siege, unable to travel freely, conduct business transactions across borders or even rebuild their homes destroyed by the Israeli invasion. And they won’t likely be visiting the burgeoning tent cities in Tel Aviv where hundreds of thousands of Israelis are currently camped out protesting the lack of affordable housing, gas and food.

With the disapproval rate for Congress at a record 82%, now is not the time for our representatives to pander to AIPAC. Now is not the time for “free” junkets to Israel—with an implicit promise of $3 billion of our taxdollars in return. Now is the time to stop the freefall of the American economy. If our representatives want to earn more respect from the American public, they better prove that their allegiance is not to a foreign government or a group that lobbies on behalf of a foreign government, but to their constituents back home.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK. She encourages you to contact your congressperson and ask where they will be this August recess. Call  202-224-3121.

Afghanistan helicopter crash fuels antiwar feeling in American military community

Aug 09, 2011

Philip Weiss

After that Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, killing 38 people (yes, 30 of them Americans, but Brian Williams would you please say 38, not 30, those Afghans, including an interpreter, were killed because of us) Daniel Zwerdling of NPR went to the naval museum in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and spoke to Navy enthusiasts (at minute 3:30 or so):

Here’s the astonishing thing. Out of the 10 people I’ve talked to in the last hour, every single one of them said those men in Afghanistan are heroes, and– it is time to bring all the troops home. One person after another, the elderly, young people, men, women, they all said– this is not a war the United States is winning, we have not accomplished our goals, and it’s time to get out. And I just talked to one woman whose husband is in the service, and she said, we are just simply losing too many wonderful young men and women who are wasting their lives over there.

‘Huffpo’ finds guide to Arab public opinion… Vogue magazine

Aug 09, 2011

Philip Weiss

Writes a friend: I just had my sehri, and I’m ready to puke. At Huffpo, Elizabeth Kennedy has a piece on the Syrian uprising.

Until the uprising began, Assad had cultivated an image as a modern leader in a region dominated by aging dictators. He was seen around Damascus with his glamorous wife, Asma, who grew up in London and was the subject of a glowing profile in Vogue just before the protests erupted. The couple’s three small children added to their luster as youthful and energetic.

HUH? Who? What? Where? Modern leader among aging dictators? Who is this lady speaking to? She can’t be serious, she can’t possibly think that Arabs were happy about Assad, that he was some sort of beacon of light in a sea of darkness. Maybe for the West he was. Maybe for Vogue. Certainly, not for Syrians, not for Arabs. In fact, not even for non-Arab Muslims, as his father’s nasty legacy was remembered with curses and a reminder that an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Which Assad is proving to be true.

Israel has good immigrants and bad immigrants (guess the difference)

Aug 09, 2011

Philip Weiss

Truthdig reports on the “other Israelis,” people from other countries brought in as workers, and Israel doesn’t want their children. By Mary Slosson, Albert Sabaté, and Andrew Khouri. Excerpt:

Sheila [Indian migrant worker] found herself at the crux of sensitive issues for the state of Israel, where existential concerns about the Jewishness of the state clash against the invisible hand of globalization, which can provide caregivers from southeast Asia for far cheaper than even Palestinian labor. The result of Israel’s complicated relationship with migrant workers has created a strikingly exploitative system, according to NGOs.

Israel began importing workers beginning in the 1990s to fill jobs in agriculture, nursing and construction after the government choked off the flow of cheap Palestinian labor due to uprisings in the Occupied Territories.

Workers from that new wave of immigration consistently report paying thousands of U.S. dollars for the privilege of working inside the Jewish state, a practice that is illegal under Israeli law…

“Especially as a society that knows exactly how it is to be a foreigner, it’s really shameful,” said Zadok Zemach, 43. “This country, after all we have been through, after all those years. I believe that these [migrant workers] are important to Israel.”

Zemach inadvertently struck at the fundamental difference between the waves of Jewish immigrants to Israel and the others, the ones who clean floors, take care of the elderly and build new homes.

“They’re not Jewish. That’s it,” said [Idit] Lebovitch. “If they live here, they might even marry a Jew, and their children will not be Jewish which is like the worst thing that can happen in Israel.”

Late one Monday night in March, the lights in Kav LaOved were on late into the evening as migrant caregivers came to seek assistance for work visa, wage and workplace abuse issues.

Squeezing in interviews between counseling appointments with caregivers, the staff was working frantically to weave a makeshift safety net for these embattled workers.

“We are in a war,” said [Dana] Shaked as a group of Chinese construction workers shuffled into her small office. “There is such a huge gap between the religious people and the secular people in Israel. The religious people are becoming more and more strong and opinionated.”

The implications of the US economic bust go much further than political dysfunction

Aug 09, 2011

Ahmed Moor

Lately, some of my friends have been posting triumphant messages across social media. The focus of their attentions is the ongoing global financial collapse – and their messages are steeped in a misguided Schadenfreude.

You can celebrate America’s credit-rating downgrade – but know that no matter who you are, no matter where you live – the adverse consequences belong to you too. And like so much else in our present-day economic racket, if you are poor, the consequences of this collapse belong to you more than anyone else.

I think that all reasonable economists (empiricists, not ideologues) agree that Larry Summers and Stanley Fischer’s neoliberal brand of “development” has failed. Today, The Lexus and the Olive Tree stands more for Thomas Friedman’s fatuous grandiosity than it does for the greedy, slavering model of global economic development he sought to describe and promote. Globalization exists – but more as a nexus for communicating the credit-default virus than anything else. We’re beginning to learn, to our profound alarm, that quarantine is technically beyond our grasp.

The United States is at the center of self-propelled zeppelin puttering over a black, jagged, and barren abyss. The United States is at the center of the global economy and credit – the ability to borrow and lend money – is what fuels it.

Like gasoline or coal, credit costs money. Countries, companies, state and local governments, school districts, universities, and football teams all borrow money. And so do most of you.

The cost of the money you borrow is the interest rate assigned to the loan. The interest rate you pay is proportional to the repayment risk you pose to the lender: Are you solvent? Do you have a job? Can you pay me back when you say you will? Will you refuse to pay me?

America is solvent. America has a job. America can pay for the money it borrows. But – this is where politics counts – America may refuse to pay. That’s what the Standard and Poor’s credit-rating downgrade means; American politicians are so dysfunctional that they may choose to allow the country to default on its debt obligations. As the Guardian recently pointed out, this is the singular achievement of the Tea Party – and basically, a broken political system.

In effect, the downgrade is a signal to China and America’s other creditors (likely, your pension fund among them) that they should demand more for the money they lend to the US. “It is your fiduciary responsibility to account for the risk that American politicians may refuse to pay you back; hike the interest rate you demand.”

So what?

America funds its wars by borrowing money. Isn’t it better if the country pays more to war against other people? Might that not make the Americans think twice about borrowing a trillion greasy dollars for a global fireworks campaign? Or about securing the cost of Israel’s access to the global financial markets (debt guarantees)?

Well. Yes. But the problem here is that so much else is linked to America’s borrowing costs. The US has been the world’s most stable and productive (economically) political/institutional unit for so long that many other entities (countries, companies, banks) have adopted the interest rates carried by American bonds (America’s borrowing costs) as a benchmark for what the objectivecost of money actually is. The fact today is – for better or worse – that there is no lending mechanism or convention that isn’t pegged to US Treasury yields through a first, second, or third-order relationship.

But why does this matter to you? You don’t borrow money ever. You own your home and car and you don’t live beyond your means.

Rising credit costs impact you in the same way (more or less) that rising oil prices do. The price of everything will go up because the true dollar-cost of producing everything will go up (remember, manufacturers have to pay more to borrow money). That’s saying nothing about the impact of the credit downgrade on currency fluctuations (aside from increased volatility, I have no idea what will happen to the currency exchange markets in the short, medium or long term. This situation is unprecedented).

I avoided big criticisms here to avoid ideological debates about the merits of capitalism versus other economic models (although credit is a feature of all of them – including Islamic). I get shy about using labels when it comes to economics; I think empirical description and piecemeal prescription towards an end (social justice) is far better than trying to conform the world to the variousisms that are bandied about.

What is clear, however, is that the current global economic system is failing. I don’t think it’s about operational mechanisms; I believe that the system has been gamed (yes, by fat cats). But, that’s another essay.

My point is just that unless you’re in the habit of spiting in your face, the ongoing collapse of the global economy is nothing to celebrate. One economic lesson worth learning is that we inhabit a mostly incomprehensible and hopelessly complex global system of inter-reliance and co-dependency. We don’t have to like what America does to know that when it falters, normal people everywhere (particularly in the Global South) will struggle harder to survive. That’s something that no liberal should be cheering about.

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Libya claims 85 villagers killed in NATO bombing; alliance says no evidence

NOVANEWS

State television shows footage of women and children killed east of the capital; NATO admits bombing but says targets were Gadhafi troops.

The Libyan government said Tuesday that a NATO airstrike near the western city of Zlitan had killed 85 villagers, including children, state television reported – a claim swiftly called into question by the military alliance.

Footage showed what the broadcaster said were the burned bodies of at least three children under the age of 9 in a hospital. It also showed women and children being treated for injuries. The country is to hold a three-day mourning for the deaths, the channel reported.

The report said the victims were from the village of Majar, which is near Zlitan, to the east of the capital Tripoli, where NATO forces have been intensifying their strikes on government troops.

A spokesman for the military alliance confirmed that its jets had struck three times overnight a former farm complex in Zlitan that had been turned into “a military staging area” for the troops of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi.

“We do not have evidence of civilian casualties at this stage, although casualties among military personnel – including mercenaries – are very likely due to the nature of the target,” Colonel Roland Lavoie told reporters from operational headquarters in Naples, Italy. He, however, also said that a final “battle assessment” of the airstrike is still pending.

Lavoie said NATO was aware of the television footage showing women and children and does “take seriously these allegations,” but also noted that “they are very frequently organized in a very timely fashion to coincide with” the alliance’s regular press briefings.

“I can tell you that the target was indeed military based on solid intelligence,” he added. “By striking it, NATO has reduced the pro- Gadhafi forces’ capability to attack and threaten civilians.

Like this:

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Soldier allegedly cut fingers off dead Taliban

NOVANEWS

 

 

The Ministry of Defence is investigating claims that a soldier sliced fingers off dead Taliban fighters to keep as souvenirs.

It is understood the allegations relate to a soldier from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who was serving in Afghanistan.

The claims centre on the battalion’s last tour of duty in the country.

It was deployed in Helmand from September 2010 until April this year, tasked with training Afghan police.

Soldiers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, are recruited in Scotland but based in Canterbury, in Kent.

Douglas Young, executive chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, said he was “shocked” to learn of the investigation.

He added: “While the facts still need to be established, if there turns out to be anything in these claims, clearly the MoD are correct to treat the matter very seriously.

“The alleged behaviour is totally out of kilter with the ethos of the armed forces.”

The MoD would not be drawn on whether the soldier in question had been suspended pending the investigation’s findings.

A defence spokesman said: “This is a very serious allegation and it would be wrong for us to comment. An investigation is ongoing.”

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The IsraHell Project and US Congressmen

NOVANEWS

 

http://mantiqaltayr.wordpress.com

1. By now lots of you have read articles like this one about how abut 1/5 of the entire US congress is visiting Israel this month to get their marching orders. As our economy tanks completely and we remained mired is at least 6 stupid wars all of them illegal, 1/5 of our so-called representatives have the time and money to go to racist little Israel to suck up to the Jewish State.  No doubt they will all make private pledges to increase aid to Israel to help settle the housing situation that Israeli Jews have been bitching about lately. F*** them, but I digress.

But I want to look at these Congressional pilgrimages to Israel from a slightly different angle.  The situation is much worse than you think. Much worse.

Here is what Congressman Steny Hoyer (Likud, Maryland), the leader of the Democratic trip to Israel, was up to today in Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem, Aug 9 – Rep. Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged a delegation of visiting ambassadors to vote at the United Nations according to their democratic values instead of voting reflexively against Israel.”

WTF? He’s talking to UN Ambassadors? And he is in Jerusalem leading an AIPAC-funded (actually US taxpayer funded as you will see below) trip to give Netanyahu a political blow job – and he has time to also work for the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Isn’t that Hillary Clinton’s job?

Oh yes, Represenative Hoyer on this very day is working for the Israeli government at your expense. Here’s a little more from the article so you can see what he is doing. The red highlights are mine and they should piss you off.

““The issue (at the UN) is not siding with the United States of America. The issue is reflecting values that you adhere to within your own countries,” Hoyer said.

“He said that a push by Palestinian leaders to win unilateral recognition on statehood from the United Nations General Assembly next month could destabilize the entire region and set back hopes of a negotiated peace.

“It would be a negative action and we believe it will undermine the opportunity for a peaceful positive agreement,” Hoyer told the ambassadors who are on the third day of a five-day mission organized by The Israel Project. He added that he was speaking on behalf of at least 400 or the 435 members of the House of Representatives.”

The Israel Project. You see it is not just the AIPAC “charity” called the American Israel Education Foundation that is involved in the Democrats’ (soon to be followed by Republicans)  whoring for Israel, there is a second outfit involved. Don’t worry goys and girls both outfits are tax-deductable charities in the United States.

The Israel Project has brought 19 UN ambassadors to Israel and has Steny Hoyer lecturing to them about how they need to vote against Palestinian statehood in the fall at the UN. Steny Hoyer is doing Israel’s work for them and he claims, and I’m sure this is true, that he is speaking for a good 400 US congressmen.

I’ve written about the Israel Project before, but I think it is high time this outfit got a little more exposure.

Here is their website.  Give it a good read since you pay for it.  The site claims that it is just about getting out facts and is “not affiliated with any government. “

Really? Sounds like Zionist Bullshit to me.

Here’s a link to their “Key” staff page. You’ll note that it has key staff in exactly two cities, Washington and Jerusalem.

Let’s take a look at one or two of their main staff in Jerusalem. Hell, let’s start with the Executive Director for TIP in Jerusalem, a charming fellow named Marcus Sheff. Here’s a sample from the on-line bio for this guy:

“As a reserve officer in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Sheff was a prominent spokesperson for the IDF during the second Intifada and the Lebanon War. Today, he trains senior IDF officers in media skills.

“Sheff has advocated for Israel many times on global TV networks, including CNN, NBC, ABC, NBC, as well as dozens of other US and European TV and radio outlets. He serves on the Knesset Forum on International Relations and on the editorial board of “Engage,” an organization that challenges contemporary anti-Semitism. Sheff studied at the University of Leeds, where he was elected General Secretary of the Leeds University Union and was active as an elected officer in national student politics.”

So you have an IDF hasbara agent heading this outifit’s Jerusalem office and does so as parf of a 501C3 charity.

Lennert J. Leader is the Chair of TIP’s board of directors.  Here’s a couple of excerpts from his bio on their site.

“After spending 25 years successfully building industry-leading information technology and Internet companies, Len Leader is now pursuing his philanthropic interests which are focused on working with organizations that promote Jewish education, inform the world about the growing threat of radical Islam and help ensure a strong and secure State of Israel.”

That’s right  goys and girls, the leader  of TIP states openly that he is a funder of Islamophobes. Look at what other wonderful organizations this guy works with:

“Mr. Leader is currently on the Boards of Directors of The Israel Project, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, is an advisor to Aish HaTorah, and is on the Board of Trustees of the Flint Hill School.”

So let’s see, the head of the whole outfit that has just brought 19 UN ambassadors to Israel to be lectured on how to vote in September on the issue of Palestinian statehood proclaims he is dedicated to “a strong and secure State of Israel”, funds Islamophobia, and works with more than one right-wing nut-case pro-Israel organization, but no, there’s no affiliation with any government now is there?

Oh, and TIP’s number one man in Israel is a former IDF hasbara agent who constantly advocates for Israel all over the globe.

How about the founder of TIP? That would be Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi.

“Mizrahi meets regularly with top Israeli leaders such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Ambassador Michael Oren, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon and many others. She also works frequently with pro-Israel organizations including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Jewish federations, Jewish community relations councils and Hillel organizations.”

This is also somewhat interesting.

“Mizrahi previously served as a foreign affairs legislative assistant to the U.S. Congress. She studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has degrees in International Relations and Judaic Studies from Emory University. Her work earned her recognition as a “Point of Light” by President H. W. Bush. Mizrahi also has been honored with the Louis D. Brandeis Award by the Baltimore Zionist District. The Forward newspaper has twice listed Mizrahi in its “Forward 50″ most influential Jews in America. “

So many TIP staff and board members have such interesting bios. Please take some time out to read them and enjoy how unaffiliated all of them are with any government  in anyway whatsoever even though they endlessly lobby for the Israeli government, often served in its military, and seem to have only one interest in the world, Israel.

But it gets even worse. Much worse. You see, TIP doesn’t just have its board members and key staff members, it also has an advisory board. That board also is completely unaffiliated with any government whatsoever. That’s right, no affiliation at all. None.  Goys and girls, I present  to you the names and faces of all of the members of TIP’s advisory board taken from  TIP’s website.

Let’s see if you can recognize any of these people who have no government affiliation whatsoever.

These should be FBI wanted posters

There’s more. Here’s the next set:

Any of these assholes look familiar?

Oh, but there’s more. There’s always room for Zionism.

Note to Shas Party members, there is more to come, you can see we are only on the D’s right now.

Next group of people serving on TIP’s advisory board who have no government affiliation.

Why are they smiling?

And last but not least in love of Zionism:

I really like how the insane Allen West is now the advisory board. In fact, the advisory board has grown quite a lot in the past two years. When I wrote about TIP back in 2009 it only had 22 congressman and senators and now it has a total of 37. The Zionist Lobby is indeed a growth industry, but of course is unaffiliated with any government. I like how 15% of the US Senate is on TIP’s advisory board.

It’s bad enough that the Zionist Lobby controls the government, but it is even worse when members of the government are themselves actually part of that lobby.

Here is part of their donation page, so donate now, donate often, and donate a lot. It’s all tax-deductable.

Do you like the wording in the appeal above? Hope so, cause you are paying for it.

Oh, and if you ever need any information about why it is important that your sons and daughters die for Israel, go to their expert sources page. In fact, on behalf of all the tuyuur here at Mantiq al-Tayr, here is part of that page and if you click it you can go to that page and get real factual information that is not affiliated with any government.  I mean, even the link that says “Israeli government spokespeople” only goes to sources that are not affiliated with any government. Seriously.

2. Here is the list of UN ambassadors that Knesset Member Steny Hoyer addressed today. It almost makes me feel sorry for the guy. Almost.

Albania: Ambassador Gilbert Galanxhi and Etleva Galanxhi

Barbados: Ambassador John E. Beale and Leila Mol Beale

Belize: Ambassador Nestor Enrique Mendez and Elvira Rosela Mendez

Benin: Ambassador Sagbe Cyrille Oguin and Hortense Dossa Oguin

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Miroslav Vujicic, Chief of the Cabinet of the BiH Presidency

Burkina Faso: Ambassador Paramanga Ernest Yonli

Dominica: Ambassador Hubert John Charles

Dominican Republic: Ambassador Anibal De Castro

Grenada: Ambassador Gillian Margaret Susan Bristol

Haiti: Ambassador Louis Harold Joseph

Liberia: Ambassador William Bull and Cecelia Zina Freeman Bull

Macedonia: Ambassador Zoran Jolevski and Suzana Jolevska

Mongolia: Ambassador Bekhbat Khasbazar

Montenegro: Ambassador Srdjan Darmanovic and Aneta Spaic

Slovakia: Ambassador Peter Burian and Nina Burianova

St. Lucia: Ambassador Michael Louis

Timor-Leste: Ambassador Constancio C. Pinto

Trinidad & Tobago: Ambassador Neil Parsan

Uganda: Ambassador Perezi Kamunanwire and Carolyn Hubbard-Kamunanwire

3. The American Israel Education Foundation (Tax ID 52-1623781) is the 501C3 wing of AIPAC and constantly sponsors trips by US senators and congressman to Israel with an annual budget of about 20 million dollars. Possibly even more important, though less in the news, it even more frequently sponsors trips to Israel by Congressional staffers. For a look at some of their recent activity go here and see if one of your reps  has had staffers go recently. My count shows that at least 45 staffers have been flown out to Israel so far this year.  It is the outfit sponsoring the Hoyer-led Democratic homage to Israel taking place this week and the larger Cantor-led Republican one that follows it.

The AIEF is also up to something else you should know about. Read this:

“Through AIEF, CLSFF funds the Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit, bringing outstanding high school student leaders to Washington, D.C., for sophisticated Israel advocacy and political activism training. The High School Summit enables AIPAC to identify and mentor high school students from across the country who are considering academic, internship and career tracks in the arenas of politics, public policy, media and Israel advocacy.”

So they are taking American Jewish high school kids and teaching them to work for Israel. Yet another Zionist radicalization program taking place in the US done at taxpayers’ expense. The summit is actually run by AIPAC itself. This is from AIPAC’s own website advertising this year’s summit in Washington D.C. In fact, you should the whole page to which I’ve linked to see all of the radicalization programs AIPAC is running.

Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit
November 6-9, 2011

Each year, AIPAC partners with select Jewish Day Schools, synagogues, national youth groups and teen leadership organizations to bring 400 student leaders from across the country to Washington, D.C. for Israel advocacy and political activism training. Through AIPAC’s Schusterman Advocacy Institute, AIPAC identifies and mentors high school students committed to strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship through the American political process.

4.  No Haifa Wehbe this time.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4vKtxnVUiM?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1]

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