Archive | November 21st, 2011

How many times have we seen this happen?

Questionable “Hate Crime” in New York, New York

by Jeff Davis

A Reuters article reports: “New York City police were investigating a possible hate crime in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn where cars were set on fire and anti-Semitic symbols spray painted on benches. Police responded to 911 calls reporting cars ablaze early Friday morning. When they arrived, they found three cars, including a BMW and a Lexus, on fire, according Sgt. Carlos Nieves.”

“ ‘Another vehicle, a red van, had ‘KKK’ spray painted on it, representing the racist group Ku Klux Klan. Police also found eight benches with Nazi swastikas spray painted on them. The NYPD’s Hatecrimes Task Force is actively investigating the twisted person or people who attacked cars, benches, and a sidewalk on a block of Ocean Parkway,’ New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in statement released Friday.”

Will the New York authorities look at Zionists? Time and again in recent years, it has been discovered that Zionists create false hate crimes against themselves in order to gain sympathy and some sort of financial advantage.

Back to Reuters: “The attack happened a day after the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, when rioters, encouraged by Nazis, vandalized the Jewish community of Germany, burning and destroying hundreds of synagogues, looting thousands of homes and businesses and killing 91 Jewish people, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Bloomberg said the timing of this attack may or may not be a coincidence.”

Perhaps the Zionists were getting jealous because of all the attention the Occupy Wall Street protesters were getting, and they wanted the spotlight back on themselves. You see, with Zionists, everything has to be about them, all the time. Their angst, their alleged suffering. To the Zionists, everything on the face of the earth revolves around them, and they will not tolerate anyone else hogging the limelight.

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Hands off Libya! Hands off Syria!

 

 

Main speaker: Harpal Brar

Also: Moeen Rooof* recently visited Libya

 

Thursday 24 November 6.30 pm

Carrs Lane Church Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham B4 7SX

[opposite Moor Street station, central Birmingham]

Info from paul@cpgb-ml.org / www.cpgb-ml.org

*AWAA Against Wars in Africa and Asia (Birmingham)

www.aiwaa.net

 

 

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“Only one half of me is free…”

NOVANEWS

by Shahd Abusalama

In a nice restaurant overlooking Gaza’s beach, beneath a full moon with a beautiful halo surrounding it, I sat with my new friends who recently were released from Israeli prisons. Their freedom was restricted by Israel’s inhumane rules, including indefinite deportation from the West Bank, away from their families and friends. However, they all shared one thought: “The problem is not here.  Both the West Bank and Gaza are our homeland. The problem is that our freedom will not be complete until our land and people are totally free.”

I listened carefully to their prison stories and memories of their families in other parts of Palestine. One of the most interesting things for me to hear was the warm, strong, and caring friendships they remembered from inside the painful cells. These unbreakable friendships were their only distractions from the wounds that used to hurt them deeply inside.

One of my new friends is Chris Al-Bandak, the only Christian of the released detainees, who was freed in the first stage of the swap deal. After I was introduced to him, I congratulated him on regaining his freedom. He faked a smile and replied, “Only one half of me is free, but the other half is still there, locked up behind Israeli bars.”

I didn’t know much about Chris, except for his religion, but many things about him made me want to get to know him more closely. I was quite certain that this impressive 32-year-old man had many interesting stories to tell and learn from.

Chris said that he was one of the people besieged by the Israeli Occupation Forces at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002. That alone made me impatient to hear the rest of his story. “The siege lasted for 40 days. It became more unbearable as time passed, with the food and first aid equipments dwindling. The injured people were under the threat of death, and the others’ lives were endangered as well as the IOF’s pressure increased.”

As Chris spoke, his eyes evoked anger and sorrow as they wandered to his right. He sounded like he was replaying a tape of his most difficult memories. Then he suddenly began stuttering as he said, “My best friend, Hafith Sharay’a, was one of the injured people.” I reminded him that he didn’t have to speak about it if it made him feel bad.

He pulled himself together and kept telling his story. “On the 28th day of the siege, we were on the top floor of the Church of the Nativity, responsible for the lives of the people downstairs and guarding the church, when he was shot in the right side of his stomach. With every drop of blood he lost, my soul burned inside. I couldn’t watch him die and do nothing.”

Impatiently, I interrupted, asking, “Was he killed?” He shook his head and continued. “His injury left me only two choices: let him bleed to death, or send him to the Israeli Army for treatment, while I was certain that he would afterwards receive at least a life sentence.”

Each option was worse than the other. Chris thought that if Hafith died, he would never see him again. If he was treated and then imprisoned, he might meet him, even though the chance was very small.

Hafith and Chris were like soul mates. They didn’t share many things in common. Hafith is older and a Muslim, while Chris is a Christian. However, they prioritized their deep passion for Palestine above everything else. This overcame all their differences, and they share a strong friendship that will last forever.

So Chris chose to put his emotions aside and rescue Hafith from death by delivering him to the Israeli army. “On the 29th day, I somehow managed to sneak out of the church and escape.  But ten months later, I was kidnapped by the Israeli entity’s army.”

Chris described in detail the horrible story of his capture. He had gone to visit some of his relatives. Within 20 minutes of his arrival, the Israeli army arrived in great numbers and surrounded the house. He faked a name for himself and answered the police’s questions in a very sarcastic way. He told all his relatives to say his name was Fady if asked, which they did. He refused to admit that he was Chris. After several hours of investigation, pressure, and threats of bombing the house and arresting his mother and brother, one of the children was shedding tears out of fear. Seeing this, a policeman used the child’s innocence and tricked him. After the policeman said that the soldiers would leave if he said the real name of Chris, the child admitted it.

Chris was persistent, and didn’t admit his identity until they were about to bomb the house in front of his eyes. After his confession, he was asked where he had been sleeping at night. He replied, “You bombed my house, so where did you expect me to go? I spent my nights in the cemetery.” The interrogator was very shocked at his reply and asked him, “Weren’t you afraid among all dead bodies in their graves?” He answered, with an angry, challenging look in the Israeli soldiers’ eyes, “One shouldn’t fear the dead. They are dead. But we should be afraid of the living people whose conscience is dead!”

Then they blindfolded him, pushed him inside one of their Gibbs vehicles, and headed to an interrogation center, where he was psychologically and physically tortured for 43 days.

Chris constantly thought of his friend Hafith, and hoped that his imprisonment would allow him to meet his best friend again. This happened in a very narrow cell in Ramla Prison, as he waited to find out which prison he would be jailed in. The detainees were having <em>foura</em>, an hour-long break that detainees take daily outside their jails in a hall, and a very small window, closed with a revealing cover, separated him from the hall. Suddenly he glimpsed his friend Hafith and found himself screaming his name loudly to get his attention. “Our reunion was so emotional, especially behind a fenced barrier,” he said with a broken smile.

Their happiness didn’t last long, as they had to separate once the <em>foura</em> was done. Chris was transferred to Ashqelon Prison, then to Nafha. “I didn’t see Haifith for over a year, but during that time, I never stopped hoping that God would be kind enough to bring us together again.”

Chris was in Nafha when his friend was transferred there, finally uniting them. Then they went through a series of separations keeping them apart for a total of four years. “A prison offers no sense of stability.” Chris said. “When we were imprisoned, we didn’t stop our struggle, but we started another stage of resistance of a different kind, determination and persistence mixed with hope.”

During the period before Chris was released, he shared a prison cell with Hafith. “Other detainees received the news of their freedom with screams of joy and happiness, but I received it with tears. I didn’t even feel one percent happy, as I realized that only I was included in the swap deal. Even now, I feel like my body is outside but my heart is still inside the prison with Hafith and all the other detainees,” Chris said with sadness on his face.

“I am very grateful for having Hafith as a big brother. But I am broken inside because he didn’t get his freedom back. I am sure that he’s such a steadfast man that nothing can depress his spirit,” he said, attempting to console himself.

Their friendship amazed me. It can’t be described in words. I pray that Haifith, along with all the Palestinian political prisoners, will be freed soon. I hope Hafith maintains his strength which used to inspire and strengthen Chris. Chris said that Hafith made him believe in his principle that “the prison’s door must unlock someday. It’s only an obstacle, and is bound to fade away at some point.” I hope it will be unlocked soon to let all prisoners breathe the sweet fragrance of freedom again.

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Zionist Censorship in action–IsraHell shuts liberal radio station in attempt to silence criticism of right

NOVANEWS

Critics say action against broadcaster is a politically motivated attack on democracy

Israel has closed down a dovish Israeli-Palestinian radio station in what its backers say is a politically-motivated decision to silence criticism of the Jewish state.

The Communications Ministry ordered the Kol Hashalom station, or All for Peace, to shut down earlier this month for broadcasting into Israel illegally. But Danny Danon, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s hawkish Likud party, boasted that he had instigated an investigation into the station for alleged incitement against Israel.

The attack on the radio station, which has broadcast for seven years, raises fresh concerns about press freedoms at a time when many of Israel’s liberals view the country’s democracy as under threat from the right wing.

Israel claims that All for Peace, established by Palestinian and Israeli activists, is a pirate radio station operating without a licence, but the station has countered that it has a licence from the Palestinian Authority, and does not require permission from Israel. The station has offices in East Jerusalem, but broadcasts from Ramallah in the West Bank.

Managers of the station, unique for its willingness to talk to far-right Israelis as much as to militant Palestinians, have been in regular contact with the Communications Ministry over the past seven years, said the Jewish co-director Mossi Raz, who insists that he has never in that time been told to seek an Israeli licence.

“It is a political decision,” said Mr Raz, a former politician with the left-wing party Meretz. “I am very concerned. There is no democracy here. People think that democracy is only the right to vote, but it’s not only that. You cannot have democracy without freedom of the press.” He added that he is preparing to challenge the decision in court.

Mr Danon, an outspoken right-wing politician who complained about the station to the Attorney General two months ago, claimed credit for the station’s demise. “A radical leftist station that becomes an instrument of incitement must not be allowed to broadcast to the public,” Mr Danon said.

He reportedly objected to presenters encouraging Palestinians to demonstrate in support of an independent state. Mr Raz, who was unsure if the station’s presenters had made such a call, challenged the view that there was anything wrong with it. “Is this incitement?” he said.

The decision to close the station comes as Israeli journalists grapple with what they perceive as intensifying efforts by the government to muzzle criticism, both in the media and more widely through proposals to broaden the libel law, limit foreign funding of left-wing NGOs, and move control of Supreme Court appointments from an independent panel to parliament.

On the media front, the focus has centred on independent television station Channel 10, which faces imminent closure. The state reportedly offered to allow the channel to delay payment of debts owed to it if it fired the reporter responsible for an investigation into the funding of private trips made by Benjamin Netanyahu before becoming premier. Critics say such moves are part of a wider trend to skew coverage more favourably towards Mr Netanyahu. The Channel 2 anchor Yair Lapid said, “An incontinent government is silencing dissenting voices.”

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Report: Dozens of U.S. spies captured in Lebanon and Iran

NOVANEWS

Current and former U.S. officials concede that CIA suffered difficult blow; sources say Lebanon informants were compromised by meeting CIA agents at a Beirut Pizza Hut.

Haaretz

Dozens of spies working for the CIA were captured recently in Lebanon and Iran, current and former U.S. officials told The Associated Press and ABC News on Monday.

The CIA’s operations in Lebanon have been badly damaged after Hezbollah identified and captured a number of the U.S. spies, officials told The Associated Press.

Hezbollah’s longtime leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, boasted on television in June that he had rooted out at least two CIA spies who had infiltrated the ranks of Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers a terrorist group closely allied with Iran. Though the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon officially denied the accusation, current and former officials concede that it happened and the damage has spread even further.

According to a report by ABC News, there were two distinct espionage rings targeting Iran and Hezbollah in which spies were recruited by the CIA.

Current and former U.S. officials said the two different spy rings were discovered separately but both caused a significant setback in U.S. efforts to track Iran’s nuclear activities and Hezbollah actions against Israel.

ABC reported that according to U.S. officials, the CIA used the codeword “Pizza” when discussing where to meet with the informants.

Other former officials said CIA case officers met several Lebanese informants at a local Beirut Pizza Hut branch, which helped Hezbollah identify the spies helping the CIA.

U.S. officials, however, deny any allegations that their agents were compromised at Pizza Hut, ABC reported.

In recent months, CIA officials have secretly been scrambling to protect their remaining spies — foreign assets or agents working for the agency — before Hezbollah can find them.

To be sure, some deaths are to be expected in shadowy spy wars. It’s an extremely risky business and people get killed. But the damage to the agency’s spy network in Lebanon has been greater than usual, several former and current U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about security matters.

The Lebanon crisis is the latest mishap involving CIA counterintelligence, the undermining or manipulating of the enemy’s ability to gather information. Former CIA officials have said that once-essential skill has been eroded as the agency shifted from outmaneuvering rival spy agencies to fighting terrorists. In the rush for immediate results, former officers say, tradecraft has suffered.

The most recent high-profile example was the suicide bomber who posed as an informant and killed seven CIA employees and wounded six others in Khost, Afghanistan in December 2009.

Last year, then-CIA director Leon Panetta said the agency had to maintain “a greater awareness of counterintelligence.” But eight months later, Nasrallah let the world know he had bested the CIA, demonstrating that the agency still struggles with this critical aspect of spying and sending a message to those who would betray Hezbollah.

The CIA was well aware the spies were vulnerable in Lebanon. CIA officials were warned, including the chief of the unit that supervises Hezbollah operations from CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., and the head of counterintelligence. It remains unclear whether anyone has been or will be held accountable in the wake of this counterintelligence disaster or whether the incident will affect the CIA’s ability to recruit assets in Lebanon.

In response to AP’s questions about what happened in Lebanon, a U.S. official said Hezbollah is recognized as a complicated enemy responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist group before September 2001. The agency does not underestimate the organization, the official said.

The CIA’s toughest adversaries, like Hezbollah and Iran, have for years been improving their ability to hunt spies, relying on patience and guile to exploit counterintelligence holes.

In 2007, for instance, when Ali-Reza Asgari, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran, disappeared in Turkey, it was assumed that he was either killed or defected. In response, the Iranian government began a painstaking review of foreign travel by its citizens, particularly to places like Turkey where Iranians don’t need a visa and could meet with foreign intelligence services.

It didn’t take long, a Western intelligence official told the AP, before the U.S., Britain and Israel began losing contact with some of their Iranian spies.

The State Department last year described Hezbollah as “the most technically capable terrorist group in the world,” and the Defense Department estimates it receives between $100 million and $200 million per year in funding from Iran.

Backed by Iran, Hezbollah has built a professional counterintelligence apparatus that Nasrallah — whom the U.S. government designated an international terrorist a decade ago — proudly describes as the “spy combat unit.” U.S. intelligence officials believe the unit, which is considered formidable and ruthless, went operational in about 2004.

Using the latest commercial software, Nasrallah’s spy-hunters unit began methodically searching for spies in Hezbollah’s midst. To find them, U.S. officials said, Hezbollah examined cellphone data looking for anomalies. The analysis identified cellphones that, for instance, were used rarely or always from specific locations and only for a short period of time. Then it came down to old-fashioned, shoe-leather detective work: Who in that area had information that might be worth selling to the enemy?

The effort took years but eventually Hezbollah, and later the Lebanese government, began making arrests. By one estimate, 100 Israeli assets were apprehended as the news made headlines across the region in 2009. Some of those suspected Israeli spies worked for telecommunications companies and served in the military.

Back at CIA headquarters, the arrests alarmed senior officials. The agency prepared a study on its own vulnerabilities, U.S. officials said, and the results proved to be prescient.

The analysis concluded that the CIA was susceptible to the same analysis that had compromised the Israelis, the officials said.

CIA managers were instructed to be extra careful about handling sources in Lebanon. A U.S. official said recommendations were issued to counter the potential problem.

But it’s unclear what preventive measures were taken by the Hezbollah unit chief or the officer in charge of the Beirut station. Former officials say the Hezbollah unit chief is no stranger to the necessity of counterintelligence and knew the risks. The unit chief has worked overseas in hostile environments like Afghanistan and played an important role in the capture of a top terrorist while stationed in the Persian Gulf region after the attacks of 9/11.

“We’ve lost a lot of people in Beirut over the years, so everyone should know the drill,” said a former Middle East case officer familiar with the situation.

But whatever actions the CIA took, they were not enough. Like the Israelis, bad tradecraft doomed these CIA assets and the agency ultimately failed to protect them, an official said. In some instances, CIA officers fell into predictable patterns when meeting their sources, the official said.

This allowed Hezbollah to identify assets and case officers and unravel at least part of the CIA’s spy network in Lebanon. There was also a reluctance to share cases and some files were put in “restricted handling.” The designation severely limits the number of people who know the identity of the source but also reduces the number of experts who could spot problems that might lead to their discovery, officials said.

Nasrallah’s televised announcement in June was followed by finger-pointing among departments inside the CIA as the spy agency tried figure out what went wrong and contain the damage.

The fate of these CIA assets is unknown. Hezbollah treats spies differently, said Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism and intelligence expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies who’s writing a book about the terrorist organization

“It all depends on who these guys were and what they have to say,” Levitt said. “Hezbollah has disappeared people before. Others they have kept around.”

Who’s responsible for the mess in Lebanon? It’s not clear. The chief of Hezbollah operations at CIA headquarters continues to run the unit that also focuses on Iranians and Palestinians. The CIA’s top counterintelligence officer, who was one of the most senior women in the clandestine service, recently retired after approximately five years in the job. She is credited with some important cases, including the recent arrests of Russian spies who had been living in the U.S. for years.

Officials said the woman was succeeded by a more experienced operations officer. That officer has held important posts in Moscow, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Balkans, important frontlines of the agency’s spy wars with foreign intelligence services and terrorist organizations.

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BOO HOO HOOO HOO HOO–Jonathan Pollard won’t survive another year of U.S. jail, wife says

NOVANEWS

In statement released by campaign for convicted Zionist spy’s freedom 26 years into his sentence, Esther Pollard claims medical complications were preventing her husband from accepting visits, making phone calls.

Haaretz

Jonathan Pollard’s medical condition won’t enable him to survive through another year of jail, his wife was quoted as saying in a statement on Monday, 26 years into the convicted Israeli spy’s prison sentence.

Pollard, who was convicted of espionage for Israel and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1986, has been suffering from many medical complications in his gallbladder and kidneys, undergoing an emergency operation in August of this year.

In a statement released by the campaign for Pollard’s release, Esther Pollard expressed fears that her husband could die as a result of his medical complications, saying: “I’m afraid he won’t be able to survive another year of this.”

“In the last few months it has happened often that he could not garner enough strength to get to the phone and use the few minutes he has to contact the outside world. He has terrible kidney complications that are causing him excruciating pain,” Pollard said, adding after “26 years all his systems are feeble and we both know that the next emergency hospitalization or operation are just a matter a time, and that no one is promising us he’ll make it through.”

The convicted Israeli spy’s wife also commented on her husband’s inability to accept visitors in prison, saying that in “the past we would arrange a visit for anyone who could possibly do something to advance his release, as soon as we settled things as far as prison protocol goes.”

“In the last year, as Jonathan’s [medical] condition became worse he was too weak to even sit through a one-hour visit. I feel he’s withering away in front of my very eyes,” Pollard said.

The statement released by the campaign to release Pollard for the twenty-sixth anniversary of his incarceration, also quoted an unnamed U.S. official who had allegedly opposed Pollard’s release in the past, as saying that he felt obligated to act now, adding that as an American it was important to prevent the convicted Israeli spy from dying in jail.

Pollard’s lengthy prison sentence made headlines last month, when U.S. President Joe Biden denied he said Pollard would be released “over his dead body,” telling U.S. Jewish leaders, however, that the sentiment expressed in his rejection was his own.

Referring to the convicted Israeli spy, Biden was quoted by the New York Times as telling Florida rabbis that U.S. President Obama “was considering clemency, but I told him, ‘Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time’’”

However, U.S. Jewish leaders speaking with Haaretz on Monday said the U.S. vice president claimed that while the general thrust of the statement was correct, his exact phrasing was taken out of context.

Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents, said he, along with other Jewish leaders, approached Biden on the issue during the U.S. vice president’s Rosh Hashanah reception in Washington, saying: “He did say that things were taken out of context, but he was ready to discuss it further.”

“We said it was an important issue for the community, and he agreed to have a meeting on it,” Hoenlein said.

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Your Electricity Bills are Going Up

NOVANEWS

Dear All,

Gas and electricity bills are going up and up. Further big rises are likely. [1] The energy companies are making big profits, while the rest of us are being hit hard.

38 Degrees members have voted to work together to tackle rip-off bills. [2] We’ve had enough and together we can do something about it. So now we need to decide what we should do.

The Prime Minister is offering us warm words and saying he understands there’s a problem. [3] But meanwhile, the big energy companies have just hiked their prices up by an average of 21%. [4] Something needs to change or it could be a very cold winter.

Please take a three-minute survey to help plan the campaign against rip-off gas and electricity bills:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/energy-bills-poll

The 38 Degrees office team has been consulting experts from organisations like Consumer Focus and Which? to draw up a list of campaign ideas.

We’ve got some choices to make – here are some of the options:

– Force energy companies to make their tariffs simpler so we can tell which is cheapest
– Ask the government to use the extra cash from VAT on higher energy bills to help those struggling to heat their homes
– Demand a public inquiry into the power of the big 6 energy companies

What do you think? See the full list, and vote on your favourites, here:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/energy-bills-poll

38 Degrees is fuelled by people power. 38 Degrees members vote together to choose campaigns and campaign tactics.Tackling rip-off gas and electricity bills was voted near the top in the last 38 Degrees member vote.

We know that when we work together we can make change happen. All our other people powered campaigns – like stopping our forests being sold off, standing up to Rupert Murdoch, and protecting our NHS – were chosen by thousands of 38 Degrees members voting together.

So now please help plan the campaign against rip-off gas and electricity bills by taking the three-minute survey:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/energy-bills-poll

Thanks for being involved,

Becky, David, Marie, Hannah, Cian, Johnny and the 38 Degrees team

P.S. If you call an energy company and ask for the cheapest deal, shouldn’t they be legally required to offer you the cheapest deal? Help choose the campaign here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/energy-bills-poll

NOTES
[1] BBC: More people with energy bill debts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15747851
[2] 38 Degrees: August member poll results now in: http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2011/09/16/august-member-poll-results-now-in/
[3] MoneySavingExpert.com’s Martin Lewis in The Sun: Empower yourself. As energy summit fails to cut bills: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/3878101/Empower-yourself.html
More in The Guardian: Government sets out plans to tackle rising energy costs:http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/oct/17/government-plans-tackle-energy-costs
[4] The Telegraph: Energy price to hit six million households:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/household-bills/8881051/Energy-price-to-hit-six-million-households.html

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IN DEFENSE OF GILAD ATZMON BY SARAH GILLESPIE

NOVANEWS

 GILAD ATZMON

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: It is fascinating to watch the level of hysteria performed by both Zionists, AZZ and some elements within the Left  ahead our concert at  Raise Your Banner music festival. Now,  when it becomes clear that they didn’t manage to stop The Wandering Who, they clearly try to stop the jazz man. I guess that revenge is the name of their game.

Sarah Gillespie, my musical partner,  was also harrased in the last few weeks. Here she writes about it all  This woman is an incredible musician. But she is also an astonishing writer and a real friend.

In Defense of Gilad Atzmon by Sarah Gillespie

Herodotos is an historian who trains you as you read. It is a process of asking, searching, collecting, doubting, striving, testing, blaming, and above all standing amazed at the strange things humans do’ Poet and translator of ancient Greek, Anne Carson, Nox (2011)

Gilad Atzmon’s intellectual expedition into the daunting terrain of Jewish identity politics has always evoked a storm of controversy. Still, when I first met Gilad, it was hard not to suspect he was exaggerating the extent of abuse he received from various UK pressure groups. Primarily, it’s not easy to wrap your head around the notion that a person can plausibly be branded as ‘a racist’ when they tour the world with a gypsy violinist, a black drummer, a Jewish bass player and a token English white boy on piano. However, as I began to understand the full complexities of Gilad’s arguments – a process, which, for me, required as much unlearning as it did learning – I reluctantly grasped the problem. And, to my utter horror, I also fathomed the full measure of pathological bile wielded against him. Indeed, some of it hemorrhaged in my direction.

After the 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza I organized a concert for ‘Medical Aid for Palestinians’ featuring iconic violinist Nigel Kennedy. Campaigners launched an onslaught from all sides – the right, the left, the Zionists and the anti-Zionists – individually and collectively, lobbied the owner of the venue, the director of MAP and myself, demanding that we cancel the event.  Some even accused us of mobalising art to fund rocket attacks on Jews. I was shocked, upset and embarrassed that I had inadvertently dragged my friend, who owns the club, into such a shameful debacle.

After the concert (a huge success) I was labeled a Holocaust denier.  Not only was this accusation ludicrous and totally unfounded it was potentially damaging to me. It is clear that in this culture, you could query the extent of the Holodomor, the Nakba or the annihilation of American Indians without raising much of an eyebrow in the public domain, but to do the same with the deaths of Jews in the Second World War is tantamount to career suicide. My lawyer advised me to get the accusation removed from the Internet but I think it best serves as a small, cyber monument to the preposterous and baseless sewage in which some people are content to swim.

More recently the cacophony of hysteria we are subjected to since Gilad’s polemic The Wondering Who crowned him a cause célèbre, has shot off the richter scale. Gilad puts up with it almost daily. Yesterday the Jewish Chronicle demanded that the Arts Counsel of Britain withdraw funding from the Raise Your Banner Festival that we are playing at together on 25th November. They failed of course, but have now resorted, in a separate piece, to simply comparing Gilad to a pedophile. I too have been inundated with hostile youtube comments, messages and emails insisting I either drop my gigs with Gilad, or issue a statement denouncing his views.

This inspired me to do the exact opposite, to state here categorically how much I support and admire Gilad Atzmon’s work, both as an artist and as a humanist, how much I cherish freedom of thought and speech and to declare that the day I withdraw from a festival because a few campaigners threaten to wreck my reputation, will be a cold day in hell. We are artists. We are entitled to express ourselves as we wish, we are entitled to sing, ask, dance, write and reflect.

It would be advantageous for Gilad’s opponents if he were, as they claim, a banal biological determinist who simply dislikes people according to the lottery of their DNA. If this were the case, I’m sure they would be slightly more successful in dismantling our concerts and banning Gilad’s talks. Unfortunately for them, too many people understand that Gilad is on an intellectual quest for truth. According to the Greek historian Herodotos, quoted above, this is most humane thing you can ever hope to do. We can not be banned from playing, from writing or form ‘wondering who’ we are. Lest we forget, the word ‘history’ comes from an ancient Greek verb meaning ‘to ask’.

So, alas dear agitators, even if we dropped dead tomorrow someone somewhere would still listening to our albums and reading Gilad’s book. I’m afraid the battle might continue but the war is already won.

Sarah Gillespie is a singer songwriter based in London. She will be discussing the role of politics in music on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Start the Week on Monday 21st November. Hear How The Might Fall herewww.sarahgillespie.com


 

 

 

 

 

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Cry for Freedom by a Nude Egyptian Blogger

NOVANEWS 

“In a culture that believes the devil’s lure and the route to hell lie in the naked face and eyes of a woman, stark nudity could very well be a revolutionary cry and a suicidal choice.”

by  Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

Egyptian activist and blogger, Aliaa Maghda El-Mahdy

For me the news is what we see on the streets and not what we read in the morning papers or watch on the TV news.

I believe that the street is the honest reflection to our economy, behavioral sociology, politics, faith, and sexuality, to our education, our sense of beauty and our respect for freedoms and human rights, or our lack of respect for them, for that matter.

If you want to figure out what the community you’re living in looks like, the street will be the mirror for you.

It is all there in the street, obvious as day light, staring us in the face, but perceived only by those who have the right eye, the eye that could behold what lies beneath the surface.

If you asked me what to look for, or specifically focus on while you’re on your street discovery, I would say (Cherchez la femme -look for the woman) .. but not in the criminal sense.

The status of women-their socially accepted code of dress, their participation in civil life and their ability to freely express themselves- is a decisive criterion in evaluating the modernity of any community or society.

Of all that I’ve read about the Egyptian revolution, I particularly found the speculative question “where is the role of the Egyptian woman in the revolution?” by Prof. Youssef Zidan, one of Egypt’s top scholars of history and comparative religion, profoundly significant.

One of the fears most political analysts, especially in the west, expressed when asked about the most likely scenario to be implemented in post-Mubarak Egypt was that the prospects for a secular and a true democratic governing system would be undermined if the Islamists were to be the ruling majority.

It took no Genius to come up with such a prophecy, as a matter of fact, the Islamist tide- and when I say Islamist I specifically mean fundamentalism and obscurantism- have been building up over the last 50 years or so in Egypt.

Historically speaking Egypt emerged from the Nineteenth century as a nation eager to embrace pluralism and liberalism while struggling to free itself from the long colonial era – the lyrics of the Egyptian national anthem in 1919 celebrated the Muslim, Christian and Jewish tributaries for Egypt citizenship.

Egypt feminist movement

Hoda Shaarawi & Safia Zaghlul, Egypt pioneer feminists.

The feminist movement emerged in Egypt as early as 1919 when the Egyptian women took to the streets and joined the anti-British protests. Leading the women’s rally was Hoda Shaarawi, a pioneer feminist and a political activist who advocated the rights of the Egyptian woman to education and free speech.

In 1919, Shaarawi and Safia Zaghlul helped organize the largest women’s anti-British demonstration. In defiance of British orders to disperse, the women remained still for three hours in the hot sun.

In 1922 Shaarawi made a decision to stop wearing her veil in public, this was the first public defiance of the restrictive tradition. In 1923 Shaarawi founded and became the first president of the Egyptian Feminist Union, after returning from the International Woman Suffrage Alliance Congress in Rome.

It is common knowledge now that the women’s liberation, worldwide that is, is intrinsically related to their socially accepted code of dress, and I don’t certainly mean that the more liberal a woman becomes the less clothes she needs to wear.

I’m simply referring to the paradox whereas modern men or rather men living in modern times, of all ethnicity and religious backgrounds, especially Muslims, have the right to wear the modern western outfits and even indulge in the latest fashions while women are denied that right simply because they are women.

Following the 1930s, women in Egypt began to leave the harem, take off their veils and participate in the society movement as equal to men in most of the civil rights and responsibilities without sacrificing the cultural and religious legacy of modesty and high virtues.

Doria Shafik

Doria Shafiq was one of the ladies who led the women’s liberation movement in Egypt in the early 1950s. As a result of her activities, Egyptian women now have the right to elect and nominate in the Egyptian constitution.

In February 1951, she led a demonstration, accompanied by 1500 Egyptian women, during which she broke into the Egyptian parliament and spoke to the council to consider the issues and demands of Egyptian women. After a week, the Council granted Egyptian women the right to vote and stand for parliament.

From the mid 1980s the Egyptian street began to witness women and more importantly the young girls starting to wear Hijab– the Saudi style of veil once again.

At the beginning it was not so popular, not all women and definitely a lot of the youngsters rejected the idea of covering up after decades of liberation and struggle to get where they were then.

Obscurantism sneaks in

But thanks to long years of exposure to the fundamentalist doctrine of Islam of the Arabian Peninsula, deluge of well financed hard-line wahhabi preachers reaching out to wider audience of simpletons through mass media and persuading them that wearing hijab is god’s favorite route to paradise and also due to years of political dictatorship the fundamentalist ideas began to appeal to the minds and hearts of Egyptians.

The temptation lies in the woman’s eyes.

While the majority of Muslim women currently wear Hijab in Egypt, the Salafists– ultraconservative Muslims- are now calling for the devout Muslim woman to wear Niqab.

All of her body should be covered up in some long and dark grab- for that would ensure that the woman would not cause any “ Fitna-temptation.

This is a naïve assumption that simultaneously gives the impression that Muslim males are some freak sex maniacs who are apt to get sexually excited and turn into wild rapists, on the mere looking at any naked part of the woman’s body be it her heels or hands.

Succumbing to this all-together radically ignorant doctrine, one of the Saudi sheikhs has lately come up with a fatwa- binding religious decree- that the temptation lies in the woman’s eyes and hence he called upon the Muslim women to even cover up their- Bette Davis- eyes.

Tables turning

Egypt revolution hijacked by Islamists

After the revolution of 25 January, which has been launched by a group of courageous secular youths the tables are being turned in the favor of Islamists.

And no matter how hard the liberal front try to hold back this fundamentalist tide they will not succeed, not under the current situation anyway. And no, I’m not being defeatist here, I’m only being realistic

This is not only about some well organized and resourceful group as in the case of the Muslim brothers and their newly-formed political party ironically dubbed “freedom and justice”.

Nor is it about the inherently violent and obscenely funded- by the wahhabis in Saudi Arabia- Salafist groups and their new party ludicrously called “The light”.

Rather it is about the disturbed collective mindset of the Egyptian common people who after decades of dictatorship cloaked in secularism are now ready to support an Islamist government cunningly cloaked in democracy in the hope that it would be less brutal and corrupt.

Invisible Candidate and herded sheep

The female candidate’s photo in the Salafist electoral banner replaced by the party’s logo.

To know how those Brothers and Salafists stand on the hot issues of the freedom of expression and women’s equality, we only have to take a look at one of their electoral banners which displayed photos of 10 candidates, 9 bearded men and one woman.

The one woman candidate was an inevitable prop in this travesty of democracy, but since they believed that the face of the Muslim woman shouldn’t be exposed naked for everyone to watch they replaced their female candidate’s photo with the logo of the party (as if she didn’t exist)

In one of their latest rallies where they protested the alleged detention by the Egyptian Orthodox church of a Christian woman who, as the rumors went, had converted to Islam a group of women draped in back niqab joined the Salafist rally.

But since they were not allowed to mingle with men, the sexual stimulation and temptation thing you know, they were encircled by a rope like a flock of sheep and herded by a man who held the leash/rope and dragged them all the way through the protest.

Secular Egyptian women rallying to demand their right to elect for parliament in 1950s (right) vs Salafists women protesting in niqab over the alleged kidnapping of converted Christians while being herded like cattle by a man holding the leash in 2011. (left)

In the midst of all that surrealistic situation where most of the secular and educated youths who set this whole uprising in motion are now being hunted down and put behind bars by the military council and as the liberals are watching the revolution, they have been dreaming about for ages, being hijacked by the Islamists.

And some of the hidden hawks of the old regime one could imagine the frustration, the broken dreams, the tears and the hidden cries of all those once starry-eyed revolutionaries who occupied the Tahrir square for glorious and unforgettable 18 days.

Revolutionary nudity

Aliaa el-Mahdy in her full nude photo posted in her blog

But not everybody can live with a muted cry. There is always an exception to every rule.

As the precipitating forces on the socio-political scene have been so violent, unpredictable and flagrantly extreme, so was the reaction of Aliaa Magda el- Mahdi, a 20-years-old Egyptian college student who dared to post a photo of herself in full nude on her blog last week.

In a culture that believes that the devil’s lure and the route to hell lie in the naked face and eyes of a woman, stark nudity could very well be a revolutionary cry and a suicidal choice.

On her Facebook page Aliaa explained that she posted this nude picture to defend her freedom that is being hijacked by ultra-conservatism. She wrote that she was “echoing screams against a society of violence, racism, sexual obsession, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.”

In her self-portrait she posted on her blog, A Rebel’s Diary (warning: X-rated), which has received almost 2 million page views till now, she faces the camera with absolutely defiant eyes wearing only a red ribbon in her hair, thigh-high tights, and red ballet shoes.

The same photo appears on her blog a second time, now with a yellow rectangle covering her crotch. “The yellow rectangles on my eyes, mouth and sex organ resemble the censoring of our knowledge, expression and sexuality,” she writes.

Aliaa’s unprecedented act shocked the moral vanity of the Egyptian society and somehow helped stoke conservative Islamist sentiments that many liberals fear will undermine their prospects in the country’s parliamentary election next week.

Her action not only raised eyebrows, but also questioned her sanity and morality. But the young rebel defended herself and her freedom of expression.

“I have the right to live freely in any place,” She wrote on her blog. “I feel happy and self-satisfied when I feel that I’m really free.” Under the picture she wrote one word … “Revolution”

With Egypt now on the threshold of a new era, that could turn out to be a real democracy or a disguised theocracy,or even a military fascism one could not, or actually should not judge Aliaa’s nudity. But I wonder if her daring statement, that leaps past the fringes of the society values into the taboo, is another step in Egypt’s feminist (R)evolution or is it the last chapter of the movement?

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Cry for Freedom by a Nude Egyptian Blogger

My Dad Helped the CIA Kill JFK !

NOVANEWS 

Don’t miss James Fetzer’s talk Who Killed JFK? this Tuesday, November 22nd at the University of Wisconsin-Madison! Details here.

Of all the big lies told about the JFK assassination, perhaps the biggest is: “I guess we’ll never really know what happened.”

Bullshit! We do know!

by  Kevin Barrett

Some of us know because we have studied the issue. Others, like Saint John Hunt, son of CIA executive and covert action agent E. Howard Hunt, know because they got it straight from the horse’s mouth.

In 1979, as a 20-year-old undergraduate, I wrote an article for the Madison, WI Daily Cardinal compiling evidence that the CIA killed JFK.

Shortly after the article was submitted to a dozen or so publications, but before it was published,  a woman appeared at my house and very politely announced she was a CIA-operated mind-control slave, brain wired with electrodes, whose job was to target enemies of the CIA for elimination.

The next day, I asked my politically-savvy journalism professor, John T. McNelly, what was THAT about. He said, “They’re just f**ing with you, kid. They’re trying to intimidate you.”

Saint John Hunt, recipient and custodian of father E. Howard Hunt’s confession to participating in the LBJ-approved, CIA-orchestrated murder of JFK

Saint John Hunt knows how badly “they” can f** with you.

He helped his CIA-agent father Howard conceal money and documents during the Watergate scandal, and suffered the pain of having his mother, Dorothy Hunt, blown out of the sky under circumstances that are far beyond suspicious.

So Saint John Hunt gets my vote as one America’s greatest living heroes, for having the guts to stand up and tell the truth about his father’s confession to participating in the LBJ-approved, CIA-orchestrated assassination of John F. Kennedy.

His family didn’t want him to do it, the lawyers didn’t want him to do it, and of course neither did the CIA.

E. Howard Hunt

But Saint John Hunt chose to live up to his arrangement with his dying father, who apparently felt some ambivalent remorse about his participation in “The Big Event” and, at the end of his life, asked his son to help expose the truth.

By doing so, Saint John Hunt is not only keeping faith with his father, but also keeping faith with his country and its tortured, slowly dying Constitution.

And if you believe, as I do, that one of God’s highest names is al-Haqq (truth/reality), Saint John Hunt is keeping faith on that level as well.

11/18/2011 Interview with Saint John Hunt, lightly edited, Part 1

Listen to the full interview.  Scroll halfway through to the second hour of the show

Saint John Hunt

Dwight D. Eisenhower – In His Prime

(The JFK assassination) happened 49 years ago this November 22nd. That’s basically a generation. And the old generation has published, I don’t know, 500 books on the subject, noting all manner of conspiracies from every conceivable source – everything from the CIA to space aliens.

We were well warned by Eisenhower, when he passed the torch to JFK, that we’ve got a very dangerous situation here with the miltary-industrial-congressional complex – that’s what was left out of his speech, the word “congressional.”

Those were (Eisenhower’s) words, and he was correct in that appraisal.

Kevin Barrett
You’ve laid it on the line in a way that few have. I mean, this is your father that we’re talking about!

It must be really, really tough, (dealing with) the feeling of betrayal that we all have when we look into issues like this, when (we find) our own government has betrayed us, our own government has slaughtered 3000 people in the World Trade Center and blamed it on their enemies.

People in our own government, the people really in charge, kill the President, kill his brother, and so on. We all feel a horrible sense of betrayal. But having it in the family must be worse. It must be like betrayal squared.

Hunt

Mark Lane

Yeah, it was a pretty big shock when he called me down to his, we’ll say his death bed side in Florida. And of course I had heard and seen…I had even attended a lecture in the mid-1970s by a comedian-turned-activist named Dick Gregory at San Francisco State.

He was one of the first, along with Mark Lane and Silvia Meagher.

And of course they accused my father of being one of the agents involved. So I was well aware that there were a lot of accusations flying around, and I just wanted to sort of figure things out for myself.

But I kind of dropped the issue for ten or twenty years, until I got this phone call from my father. And lo and behold, there was some truth to the accusations and the alleged evil deeds. So that was quite a shock.

And the arrangement that I had with him…originally we were going to bring it out together, before he passed away.

But there was so much pressure from the inner family circle, and from various lawyers, and of course the CIA itself, that he backed down.

Barrett
What year was this happening?

Hunt

Sylvia Meagher

This was in 2005. And so he decided that he couldn’t really come out with this information himself, while he was alive, because there would be too many repercussions.

First of all, he was extremely worried that any up-and-coming hotshot lawyer would have him arrested for complicity in the death of the President, which there is no statute of limitations on. So he backed down.

And of course his family was deeply distressed over the overwhelming repercussions this would have in their lives. His second family, which we’re talking about, were relatively untainted by the things he had done when I, and my sisters and brothers and his first wife, were his main family.

So he was a gentle man, toward the end there. But his wish for me was for me to bring this out after he had passed away. And of course that weighed very heavily on my shoulders. He passed away in 2007. After two years I just said “I’ll do this.” Against all pleas from my family, I decided to go ahead.

Barrett
Wow. That must be tough.
I know there’s a tape and a handwritten letter (confession to participation in CIA execution of JFK). Did he give you those in 2005?

Hunt

The Many Faces of Howard Hunt

He gave me the handwritten notes in 2005, I believe. That’s when we were both working on how to bring this out to the mainstream media.

He sent me the tape after I left. I just found it in the mail one day. I opened up the mail, and it was in an envelope.

I put the cassette in and it was my father saying, on this audio cassette, how he was part of this “Big Event” (CIA code for its JFK assassination plot), naming the key players that he spoke with, that were arranging this.

He ended the tape by saying that this information was for me and me alone.

We had had a very dynamic relationship. He was a staunch conservative Republican, while by that age, I was 17 in 1969 and very much part of the antiwar movement.

So we had our differences, but we had always been very truthful with each other.

And we had a bond of secrecy that really developed on the night of June 17th (1972) when he came home from Watergate. I was part of those crazy shennanigans, and I helped him dispose and disseminate lots of information, cash, money, you know.

He trusted me with those. I never came forward and told anybody about it.

Barrett
Was he set up on Watergate? What’s your take on that?

Hunt

Chuck Colson – In His Preaching Days

Yeah, I believe Watergate was a set-up job. I think my father – I know my father was part of that set-up.

The interesting thing is that although my father claimed to have retired from the CIA in 1970.

And then in early 1971 he was asked by Charles Colson, one of Nixon’s advisors, to work under Mr. Colson in the White House in a special projects team that later became known as the Plumbers.

But the truth of the matter is, and my father told me this years later, was that he never resigned from the CIA. Now he had had left the CIA twice before, and they were both false exits.

They were so that he could have a new cover, yet still tapped into all the necessary CIA drop sources and do his job as an agent. So even in 1970, when he officially retired from the CIA, that was a third false exit from the CIA.

Arthur Bremer – Doing His Historical Bit

He was still with the CIA, still on their books, still having meetings with Dick Helms and other top people at the CIA about Watergate and what Nixon was doing. So the CIA had my father there (in Nixon’s Plumbers) as what they call a “mole,” a deep agent, a double agent.

So whatever was going on, the CIA was very well aware of it, because my father was reporting back to them on everything that was going down, all these crazy plots: kidnapping people, renting houseboats with prostitutes in them during the Democratic Convention in Miami, Florida.

Ant then breaking into the George Wallace shooter, Arthur Bremer’s apartment – Colson sent (Hunt) up to Milwaukee to break into Bremer’s apartment and plant pro-McGovern literature so that Bremer would look like a leftist.

Barrett
That’s pretty weird, isn’t it?

Hunt
That’s just so crazy to me.

Barrett
I don’t know if you’ve seen Gore Vidal’s essay on (Howard Hunt’s connection to Bremer and the Wallace shooting, etc.). He’s kind of hard on your father. And he points out that Bremer, who had something like a 65 IQ and was marginally literate, left an “assassin’s diary” that reminds one of the prose style of the spy novels of Howard Hunt.

Hunt

Senator John Kennedy with Allen Dulles

Yeah, that was alleged to have been written by my father, and it really wouldn’t surprise me, because my father was a ghost writer for, let me give you an example, Allan Dulles, one of the Dulles brothers.

The two Dulles brothers, Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles…Allen Dulles was head of the CIA before Dick Helms, I believe, and his brother John Foster Dulles was head of United Fruit Company, as well as many other corporations that had interests in Latin American businesses.

And when Allen Dulles was planning his retirement from the CIA, he wanted to publish a novel, you know, his autobiography, which was actually written by my father, along with Allan Dulles.

That’s a little-known fact.

Barrett
I remember reading that, back in the day, and noticing that the passages about JFK just dripped with venom.

Hunt
Well, JFK was one of the most hated presidents, politically speaking, of all of our presidents, with possibly the exception of Abraham Lincoln. He was much-loved by almost all of the public. But…

Barrett
But not in the intelligence community.
(music) We’ll be back in a moment. I’m talking with Saint John Hunt.

(To be continued tomorrow)

Posted in USA1 Comment

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