Archive | March 19th, 2012

LOL!!! Rabbi Links Ahmadinejad, Rabbis’ Illnesses and Jewish Prayer


What does leading rabbis’ health have to do with Iran’s nuclear program? Rabbi Shteinman explains.

ed note–remember now, it is THESE PEOPLE who have the ear of the US President 24/7, THESE PEOPLE who are for all intents and purposes mentally ill, deciding what will be done at what time and where, resulting in far reaching implications for every human being on earth.
Renowned rabbi Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman spoke this Saturday night regarding recent developments in Israel, where many great rabbis have fallen ill. Among those known to be seriously ill are Rabbi Yosef Shalom ElyashivRabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef.

Rabbi Shteinman linked the spate of illnesses among Jewish leaders to foreign affairs – specifically, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s nuclear program.

“We must realize there is a wicked man in Iran who is preparing a large bomb for us. He wishes to annihilate all the Jews, from the babies to the elders,” Rabbi Shteinman said.

“Because this has been talked about so much, people are already used to hearing it, and nobody prays about it,” he continued. “Everyone thinks, ‘Nu, G-d will help us, nothing will happen.’ They don’t understand that there is a heavenly decree against us.”

The illnesses that appear to deal a blow to the Jewish people are actually a sign of Divine mercy, he continued. “The Holy One, Blessed is He, wants our prayers, so He tries to shake us up however he can, so that people will finally start to pray… Our prayer is the only thing that can help.”

The rabbi later said, “People don’t understand – or don’t want to understand – how dangerous our situation is here in the land of Israel. Every moment here there are threats, and if G-d did not protect us from them there would be complete chaos.”

Every prayer is important, even if it does not appear to bring about the desired result, Rabbi Shteinman told his audience. “Even if it seems like it did not help, even if the leader we prayed for dies and it seems nobody paid attention to our prayer, we must know that with the Holy One nothing is wasted. What did not help here, will help elsewhere.”

He noted that some have questioned the need to pray for those who have reached an advanced age. “A Jew must know that every moment of life is a blessing, and it is good for the righteous in particular to remain alive,” he said.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on LOL!!! Rabbi Links Ahmadinejad, Rabbis’ Illnesses and Jewish Prayer



Hewlett Packard: Stop printing oppression.

Please send your message to the HP Board of Directors: “Don’t allow your products to be used in the oppression of the Palestinians.”

It has come to my attention that Hewlett-Packard products are being used at checkpoints where Palestinians wait, sometimes for hours in order to go to and from work. These checkpoints do nothing to protect the security of Israelis, but divide Palestinians from their homes, families, lands, and livelihoods.Imagine this: You get ready to go to work in the morning, stand in line at a checkpoint for a brief time, or for hours at a time, submit yourself to a Hewlett-Packard hand scan, and if everything goes smoothly, you are allowed to go to work. And then you repeat the same process all over again in the evening.

If the machine rejects your hand print, tough luck.

The Israeli women of Machsom Watch have seen this process again and again. They refer to the Palestinians in the checkpoints as “invisible prisoners.”

And Hewlett-Packard holds the lock. It’s time for HP pull out of its biometric ID projects which facilitate ethnic segregation and discrimination. Stop profiting from the Israeli occupation.



Gun in French School Shooting Linked to Prior Attacks


ed note–needless to say, our condolences to the family members who lost loved ones.

Having said that however, HOW LONG before some ‘Iranian’ angle is tied to this? The fact that the perp drove a motorcycle exactly as the assassins in Tehran did when killing the Iranian nuclear scientist is troubling. Absent that, how long before breaking news reveals it was a ‘neo-Nazi’, since the paratroupers he killed were North African?

The French government has confirmed that the gun used to kill three French paratroopers last week is the same gun that a shooter used to fire on a Jewish school in Toulouse this morning, killing four, including a 30-year-old rabbi and his two children.

The shooter, who arrived and fled from the Ozar Hatorah school on a scooter or a motorcycle, “shot at everything he could see,” according to local prosecutor Michel Valet.

The dead included Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, who taught at the school, his 3- and 6-year-old sons Gabriel and Arieh, and the school headmaster’s 8-year-old daughter, according to the Israeli newspaper Ynet. Sandler, a French-Israeli national, had left Israel last September to begin a two year teaching stint at the school, according to the Le Parisien newspaper.

A 17-year-old and two other students were seriously wounded.

French interior ministry spokesman French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet confirmed to ABC News that the same gun was used in two other incidents where a shooter targeted his victims while driving a motorcycle in the same area. Last Sunday, a paratrooper out of uniform was killed by a gunman on a motorbike outside of a gym in a suburb of Toulouse.

On Thursday, two soldiers were killed and a third wounded by a shooter on a scooter as they used an ATM in Montauban, about 30 miles away.

The same .45 caliber handgun was used in the shootings last week and this morning. All the paratroopers targeted were of North African descent. French media is also reporting that the same stolen Yamaha scooter was used in the school shooting and in last week’s attack.

Witnesses of today’s shooting described a horrific scene at the drop-off point for nursery- and primary-age students. The killer arrived with two weapons, and one jammed, according to AFP.

“I saw two people dead in front of the school, an adult and a child … It was a vision of horror, the bodies of two small children,” a father whose child attends the school told RTL radio. “I did not find my son. Apparently he fled when he saw what happened. How can they attack something as sacred as a school?”

“Just because we are different doesn’t mean we should be killed,” one student’s father, in tears, told the local newspaper Sud Quest from outside the school.

One student described how the shooting began just as she arrived for her morning prayers. “We were really afraid,” she told Sud Quest. She said after police arrived, the children sat down, were given water, and prayed together.

Police say they have locked Toulouse down as they hunt for the killer, and the government tightened security at all religious sites in France, particularly Jewish schools. Sixty police officers, including anti-terrorist police, are helping with this investigation after they had already begun examining the attacks on the troops.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is running for re-election, immediately flew to Toulouse, which is about 425 miles south of Paris.

“Whatever happens,” he said, “faced with this kind of toll, we can say that the French Republic as a whole has been hit by this appalling tragedy.”

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Russian Anti-Terror Troops Arrive in Syria


A Russian military unit has arrived in Syria, according to Russian news reports, a development that a United Nations Security Council source told ABC News was “a bomb” certain to have serious repercussions.

Russia, one of President Bashar al-Assad’s strongest allies despite international condemnation of the government’s violent crackdown on the country’s uprising, has repeatedly blocked the United Nations Security Council’s attempts to halt the violence, accusing the U.S. and its allies of trying to start another war.

Now the Russian Black Sea fleet’s Iman tanker has arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean Sea with an anti-terror squad from the Russian Marines aboard according to the Interfax news agency. The Assad government has insisted it is fighting a terrorist insurgency.

The Iman replaced another Russian ship “which had been sent to Syria for demonstrating (sic) the Russian presence in the turbulent region and possible evaluation of Russian citizens,” the Black Sea Fleet told Interfax.

RIA Novosti, a news outlet with strong ties to the Kremlin, trumpeted the news in a banner headline that appeared only on its Arabic language website. The Russian embassy to the US and to the UN had no comment, saying they have “no particular information on” the arrival of a Russian anti-terrorism squad to Syria.

Moscow has long enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Assad regime, to which it sells billions of dollars of weapons. In return Russia has maintained a Navy base at Tartus, which gives it access to the Mediterranean.

Last week Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia had no plans to send troops to Syria.

“As for the question whether I consider it necessary to confront the United States in Syria and ensure our military presence there… in order to take part in military actions — no. I believe this would be against Russia’s national interests,” Lavrov told lawmakers, according to RIA Novosti.

Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov denied reports that Russian special forces were operating inside Syria. He did say, however, that there are Russian military and technical advisors in the country.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the U.S. government had not heard of the reports of Russian troops in Syria and declined to comment.

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Imperialism steps up its moves to recolonise Africa



All power to the resistance.
The deeper imperialism spirals into crisis, the more impetuously does it resort to warfare to maintain and extend its stranglehold on the world’s resources. At some moments this has the consequence of setting rival imperialists at each other’s throat; at other moments we can see an alliance of robbers temporarily banding together in mutual defence of the right to rob.

In Africa right now it seems that, for the moment at least, French and US imperialists are suppressing some of their mutual animosity, the better to combat China’s growing influence in the continent. Cut-throat though the competition is between the rival imperialist powers, no less worrying for all the imperialist players is the threat of socialist China moving in on a region fondly believed to be the sole preserve of international exploitation, narrowing yet further the potential for capital expansion in markets already glutted by overproduction.

This bad news for imperialism is very good news for African countries in search of trading partners prepared to assist their independent development rather than perpetuate their neo-colonial subservience.

Africom and Libya

It is in this context that we must view the criminal assault upon Libya. The forcible recolonisation of Africa has clearly long been planned, and the barbaric destruction of Libya is undoubtedly intended to establish a bridgehead for further colonial interference on the African continent. While the ‘neo-con’ George W Bush invented US Africa Command as the new vehicle for projecting US interests onto Africa from the barrel of a gun, it has fallen to the ‘progressive’ son of a Kenyan, Obama, to show to the world just what purpose Africom is intended to serve.

In an interview with Chinese magazine Life Week in April, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya explained that “It will be through this Libyan military intervention and the future military operations that will bud out of this war against Libya that Africom will manage to further secure its independence from Eucom [the Europe-based US military command].

“But I want to be clear. This does not mean that Africom has no role in North Africa, because it has a role on the ground and I believe that it was actively involved in supporting the fighters now opposed to Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. Africom’s role is currently latent or concealed … As the fighting in Libya proceeds, the role of Africom will become clearer, more important, and more visible.

“Africom has been involved in the intelligence work in regards to Libya. When Admiral Stravridis was asked by the US Senate Armed Services Committee about the role of Al-Qaeda in the Benghazi-based Transitional Council, he automatically answered that the commander of Africom … could answer this question. This indicates that in the intelligence front and possibly rebel training it is Africom that has been responsible and much more involved on the ground in Libya …

“It will be via the military campaign against Libya and the years of instability that will haunt Africa after this war that Africom will solidify itself as a separate operational military command … Africom’s main objective is to secure the African continent for the US and its allies. Its mission is to help secure a new colonial order in Africa that the US and its allies are working to establish. In many ways this is what the military intervention in Libya is all about.”

Demonisation of the resistance

US and European interference in African affairs assuredly did not begin with the assassination of Libya, but that crime marks the onset of a renewed and most desperate effort to turn the clock back to the days of the most brazen colonialist meddling.

For months now the US has been using famine as a weapon against the anti-imperialist forces in Somalia, refusing to allow international assistance to reach any communities where the al-Shabaab resistance movement has influence. In practice this includes most of the country.

Since the temporary stability associated with the rule of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) was destroyed by imperialist meddling and the impotent ‘transitional federal government’ (TFG) was parachuted in, the only effective local administration in many areas is al-Shabaab (a fundamentalist strand of the former ICU). In short, the Somali people, pauperised by IMF ‘assistance’ in the 1980s, are now condemned to starve as punishment for their lack of enthusiasm for the joke ‘transitional government’ imposed by the ‘international community’ of exploiters.

After Libya, however, it appears that death by starvation alone is no longer seen as adequate punishment for African countries daring to shake off the imperialist yoke, with or without the assistance of the Quran. Anyone doubting the applicability of the Libya template to what is now happening in Somalia should hearken to the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is calling for a ‘no-fly zone’ and naval blockade against that long-suffering land.

Indeed, Workers World of 31 October 2011 reported that an “all-out offensive against the al-Shabaab Islamic resistance movement based in Somalia is currently underway in the southern region of this Horn of Africa nation. A combined force of US Predator drones and French naval vessels is targeting four towns in the southern region so that Kenyan military forces on the ground can seize Kismayo, a port city under the control of al-Shabaab. 

The city is a major source of trade and serves as the economic lifeline for the resistance movement, which has been labelled by the US as a terrorist organisation allied with al-Qaeda. Kenyan press reports on 23 October indicated that French warships bombarded areas near Kismayo in efforts to support the land invasion and the ongoing Pentagon drone attacks.

The report goes on to say that at least 4,000 Kenyan troops are on the ground, collaborating with forces under the command of the puppet TFG alongside 9,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi.

This outrage against the Somali people is ‘justified’ on the basis of a number of murky episodes involving the kidnap of tourists variously ascribed to Somali pirates and al-Shabaab. Whether these incidents are genuinely connected to al-Shabaab or are simply a provocation engineered by imperialism, it is clear that the scale and ferocity of the attacks are nothing to do with helping kidnap victims and everything to do with a joint Washington/Paris attempt to recolonise Somalia, assisted by African proxies in the region.

Mobilising black against black

As is the custom in colonial wars, it is African boots that are to hit the ground and African lives that are to be sacrificed on the altar of imperialist greed, whilst French sailors bombard from the sea and CIA computer geeks send in the drones from Foggy Bottom.

The Workers World report continues: “Kenyan military leaders are anticipating heavy fighting in their efforts to take the town of Afmadow. Heavy rains have stalled the Kenyan military advances as hundreds of residents have fled in order to avoid the impending assault. Kenyan military spokesperson Major Emmanuel Chirchir said: ‘Most likely man-to-man battles will occur in Afmadow.’

Obama’s pretended surprise at the Kenyan invasion was not convincing, given that US officials had earlier told the press that Washington was putting pressure on the Kenyan government to take action inside Somalia. This pressure upon West-backed stooge regimes to sacrifice their own people in pursuit of imperialist interests can only intensify as the crisis deepens, in turn exposing those regimes to popular overthrow, bringing to the fore new anti-imperialist giants like Gaddafi and bringing into the fight ever wider forces.

Indeed, the New York Times of 13 October reported that Museveni’s regime was coming under severe pressure from widespread Arab spring-style protests caused by the escalating cost of living. (‘Discontent simmers in a market as Uganda’s economy staggers’ by Josh Kron)

Curiously, the same report claimed that the regime had stamped out the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Yet the very next day the same paper reported the LRA’s miraculous resurrection, just in time to serve as a pretext not only for the imposition of US ‘military advisers’ upon Uganda (hard on the heels of the recent oil discoveries in that country) but also for their intrusion into all the other places the LRA had supposedly sprung up, namely South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo – “subject to the approval of each respective host nation”, of course! (‘Armed US advisers help fight African renegade group’ by Thom Shanker and Rick Gladstone, New York Times, 14 October 2011)

Imperialism cannot but drive deeper into war, the deeper its crisis becomes. With every fresh step it takes in its desperate struggle to turn back the clock and recolonise Africa, it will doubtless find or make up new scapegoats to justify its fascist aggression, whether it is al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, the LRA or some new bugbear not yet invented.

But all these efforts to undo the long years of anti-colonial struggle that shaped the history of Africa, to transform neo-colonial tutelage back into outright colonial slavery at the point of a gun, will fail as dismally as the occupations of Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya surely will. With this latest futile attempt to escape the consequences of its own crisis by forcibly reversing the tide of history, imperialism can only accelerate its own journey to the knackers’ yard.

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Famine in Somalia: imperialism is to blame


The famine gripping Somalia is no “natural disaster”.  Even leaving aside the question of what impact man-made climate change has had on the frequency of drought episodes (now recurring every three years or so, a far cry from the predictable decennial droughts that afflicted the region half a century ago), or the knock-on effects of deforestation (as foreign demand for charcoal accelerates the destruction of trees), the instant translation of that drought into a massive and cruel famine can only be explained by the complete social and economic devastation wreaked upon Somalia over many decades by imperialism.

How did Somalia get here?

In the early years of her independence, Somalia struggled hard against a legacy of clan conflicts bequeathed by colonial rule, rendering the country vulnerable to neo-colonial manipulation.  After Siad Barre came to power in 1969 strenuous efforts were made to overcome clan divisions, unify the nation and achieve economic independence. Most major industries, farms and banks were nationalised, discrimination by clan was outlawed and a number of cooperative farms and factories were established. On the cultural front, a standardised writing system was introduced for the Somali language.  It was taught in all schools and all government employees had to speak and write it. This was designed both to stop those equipped with the old colonial languages (English or Italian) bagging all the best jobs and to promote national identity over tribal identity. Great efforts were also made to deal with environmental problems, including a massive tree-planting scheme to slow the advance of desertification and, in the mid ’70s, a Soviet-assisted airlift of drought-stricken nomadic families to more viable fishing and farming settlements.

Such progressive developments as these began to unravel in 1977 when unresolved border disputes between Somalia and Ethiopia were manipulated by imperialism into a war in the Ogaden. Somalia’s mistaken policy of annexation weakened her armed forces, wrecked her economy and lost her the support of the Soviet Union. With its gaze fixed on Somalia’s strategic importance at the mouth of the Red Sea, the US naturally posed as Somalia’s friend and saviour, over the next decade pumping in about $100 million a year in economic and military aid.  The rest followed a familiar pattern: IMF loans accompanied by “structural adjustment”, other shotgun “agreements” with the Paris Club and the International Development Agency, culminating in an economic collapse in 1990 which set the scene for Barre’s overthrow the following year.

With the central authority gone, Somalia descended into a civil war fought out between rival clans.  When in 1993 Clinton tried to shape the outcome of the feuding in a manner favourable to the US, sending US Army Rangers in to settle accounts with General Aidid, the relatively poorly equipped Somalis took heavy losses but were able to inflict humiliating reverses on the imperialist forces, most famously downing a Black Hawk helicopter gunship. The US withdrew with burned fingers from a conflagration it had helped to stoke up, for the moment restricting its meddling to covert CIA operations backing this or that warlord.

Impotent to establish a stable proxy regime to serve its interests, Washington understandably took no comfort when Somalis seemed to be on the way to achieving a stable government of their own. A number of groups coalesced to form the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and took Mogadishu, defeating the CIA’s pet warlords and bringing a degree of stability and order to the war-ravaged country. Enraged by this display of independence, in 2006 imperialism again set Somalis and Ethiopians at each other’s throats, prevailing upon its pliant regime in Addis to inflict bloody war on its neighbour and tip Somalia back into the nightmare of civil war. In place of the ICU, the “international community” (imperialism) attempted to impose its own rootless “Transitional Federal Government” (TSG).

Yet all that imperialism has achieved by paying Ethiopia to smash the ICU alliance is to drive into new prominence one strand of it, Al Shabaab, which reportedly now controls all of Mogadishu bar the roughly 30 square miles of territory clung onto by the TSG. Al Shabaab is commonly recognised as the real government  and would rapidly take power were African Union forces (9,000 strong) to be withdrawn. (see interview with investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill posted on 13th July on Democracy Now website, www.

Playing politics with starvation

A country that has been deprived of any civil peace and stable government by the repeated meddling of imperialism over a period of decades, a country whose economy has been destroyed by IMF loan sharks, a country whose fishing industry has been wiped out by giant factory ships deployed by monopoly capitalist poachers, and whose fishermen have been transformed into pirates, is not well-equipped to deal with the consequences of major drought.  Whilst the drought is, in some measure, a natural phenomenon, the famine is entirely man-made: the consequence of the decades of imperialist meddling which have effectively sabotaged any hope of peace and order for the Somalis.

Now to add insult to injury, US imperialism has chosen this time of immense human suffering to play politics with food aid.  Even the United Nations, criminally pliant to imperialist interests though it has become since the demise of the Soviet Union, has offered some mild criticism of US behaviour in face of this humanitarian crisis.  Whilst it is blindingly obvious to everyone in Somalia that the TSG is a legal fiction and Al Shabaab is in many areas the sole governmental authority, Washington has been refusing to send any assistance to any communities where Al Shabaab has influence – i.e. most of the country. According to the Huffington Post on 21st July, Mark Bowden, the head of the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia said that Western nations should set politics aside and concentrate on getting aid to the nigh-on four million at risk of severe malnutrition.  Bowden added, “The risks involved with working with al-Shabaab have been a matter of considerable discussion here.  No operation in Africa, and particularly Somalia, is risk free, but what we’re saying is that donors have to share some of the risk that organizations already working there are dealing with.” Bowden further noted that since the US stopped delivering aid to al-Shabaab areas two years ago, it has slumped from number one donor to about seven or eight in line.  The Somali people, pauperised by IMF “assistance” in the ’80s, are now condemned to starve as punishment for their lack of enthusiasm for the joke “transitional government”.

Under the spotlight, USAID chief Steinberg pretends to be looking for a way to send aid that won’t infringe US law, lamenting that this can only happen if the UN “tell us affirmatively” that aid workers will come to no harm and won’t have to deal with Al Shabaab – in the middle of a civil war and under circumstances where in many areas Al Shabaab will be the sole administrative presence capable of organising aid distribution!  Small wonder that, as the Huffington report notes, “The U.N., and OCHA in particular, have long made little secret of their frustrations with the American approach to foreign humanitarian aid and the country’s self-imposed restrictions on working with groups that have been designated as terrorists. ‘He’s been frustrated for a long time,’ Stephanie Bunker, a spokeswoman for OCHA in New York, said of Bowden… ‘He is the humanitarian coordinator for this country, he’s trying to coordinate the aid and he hasn’t had enough aid to coordinate.’”

Secret war continues

In the Democracy Now interview Jeremy Scahill makes it clear that US imperialism does not rely on the weapon of starvation alone in its struggle for domination in the region.  There have been several US strikes inside Somalia in recent weeks, including one on 23rd June targeting an alleged Shabaab convoy, where Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) forces went in after the butchery to collect the slain. On 6th July there were three more US strikes in Kismayo district, and this time JSOC boots were on the ground, directly conducting operations.

In Mogadishu itself evidence has emerged that the CIA is running both a covert “anti-terror”headquarters and an underground prison to hold Somalis suffering rendition from Kenya and elsewhere. Yet despite the CIA’s efforts to train up mercenary Somali forces to conduct operations against Al Shabaab, this has so far proved a dismal failure. An attempted operation against an Al Shabaab stronghold of Mogadishu late in 2010 ended in disaster, with the Somali agents getting wiped out. Since then the mercenaries have shown a marked reluctance to repeat the experience.

In a pattern that is starting to be sickeningly familiar to imperialism, every effort at brutal suppression of its enemies simply brings new enemies to the fore, as ever more of the world’s masses are brought into the struggle against imperialism.  In Somalia imperialism has never flinched at stirring up internecine wars, sabotaging national economic development or trying to turn Mogadishu into a new Guantanamo.  Washington is now plumbing new depths, using the weapon of famine to force Somalis into neo-colonial submission. Yet at every turn on its brutal and cynical path imperialism encounters new enemies, as ever wider sections of the masses are drawn into battle.  This confirms again the truth of Mao’s dictum, that imperialism behaves like a fool who picks up a rock to crush his enemy, only to drop it upon his own feet.

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International Women’s Day Marks Hana Shalabi’s 22nd Day of Hunger Strike



We, the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organisations (PCHRO), would like to mark International Women’s Day by expressing our solidarity with administrative detainee Hana Shalabi. Hana is today beginning her 22nd successive day of hunger strike in protest at her internment without charge or trial and her ongoing ill-treatment at the hands of the Israeli authorities.

Hana, 29 years old, previously spent more than two years in administrative detention before she was released in October 2011 as part of the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas. Less than four months later she was arrested once more by Israeli authorities at her home near Jenin, when she was beaten with the butt of a rifle by an Israeli soldier. Following her arrest, she was beaten, blindfolded and later forcibly strip-searched and assaulted by an Israeli male soldier. Hana was given a six-month administrative detention order and spent the first three days of her internment in solitary confinement. She was later sentenced to solitary confinement for a further seven days as punishment for her continuing hunger strike.

Internment, also known as administrative detention, is a procedure under which Palestinian detainees are held without charge or trial for periods of up to six months. Detention orders are usually renewed before they expire, and detainees can be held for indefinite periods of time, with several detainees spending up to eight consecutive years in internment. Administrative detainees are held on the basis of “secret material” that is not made available to them or their lawyers, therefore undermining their ability to effectively challenge the detention order.

Israel’s widespread practice of administrative detention, of which Hana Shalabi is yet another victim, constitutes a serious breach of international humanitarian and human rights law. While administrative detention is allowed under international humanitarian law, it must be used only in exceptional circumstances and must uphold fair trial standards, which Israel does not comply with. Israel is currently detaining some 310 Palestinians without charge in administrative detention.

Although no Palestinian is left untouched by the occupation, it is true that women are, in many cases, doubly affected by Israel’s illegal practices. However, internment also affects a large number of Palestinian women indirectly; those wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of detainees who endeavour to maintain community and family structures while they wait indefinitely for their family members to be freed. For example, the wife and daughter of Ahmad Qatamesh, who has been declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently saw his detention order renewed for the third consecutive time. Administrative detention, characterised by renewable detention orders and abusive conditions of imprisonment, constitutes a merciless cycle that attempts to suppress the spirit of both the detainees and their families.

While Hana Shalabi’s internment by way of an inhumane system is representative of the utter disregard in which Israel holds the lives and rights of Palestinians, administrative detention is only one of a wide range of violations perpetrated against Palestinian women in the OPT. Palestinian women and girls are, along with the rest of the Palestinian population, regularly subjected to harassment, intimidation and ill-treatment by Israeli military authorities and as a consequence they are denied the enjoyment of basic human rights such as education, health and freedom of movement. Such treatment amounts to an assault on their dignity and security of person in violation of international law.

The international community of States cannot continue to avert its gaze while Israel refuses to apply international human rights law, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), in the OPT. Israel is not only in violation of the positive duty to implement its obligations under CEDAW, but also, through the imposition of illegal policies such as restrictions on the freedom of movement, is in breach of its negative duty not to interfere in the enjoyment of the rights under the Convention.

PCHRO urges the international community to stand in solidarity with Hana, today of all days, as a first step towards ending its longstanding inaction in the face of Israel’s disregard for international law. Hana should not be forced to wait 66 days before the world sits up and takes notice. Given that Israel does not grant due process and humane treatment to Palestinians, she must be released immediately. By failing to do so, the international community will only contribute to the perpetuation of such violations and add to the climate of impunity that currently prevails in the OPT.

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Assange: Pentagon Attempts to Stifle Reporting With Espionage Charges

by Sherwood Ross


The Pentagon is attempting to quash coverage of its activities by alleging that any reporter seeking classified information is collaborating with the source and guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says.

In an interview published in “Rolling Stone” magazine, Assange, now under house arrest in England, said the Pentagon demanded “we not only destroy everything we had ever published or were ever going to publish in relation to the U.S. government, but that we also stop ‘soliciting’ information from U.S. government employees.”

Assange asserts the Pentagon is trying to create a new legal precedent that forbids “a journalist simply asking a source to communicate information.”

“Individuals like (investigative reporter) Sy Hersh and Dana Priest (Washington Post)…constantly say to their sources, ‘Hey, what about this, have you heard anything about it? I heard there’s been an airstrike in Afghanistan that’s killed a bunch of civilians—do you have any more details…?” Assange said. Such questions “would be defined as conspiracy to commit espionage under the Pentagon’s interpretation,” he contends.

“If the Pentagon is to have its way, it will be the end of national-security journalism in the United States,” he asserted.

While Assange said the U.S. “has historically been a relatively open society,” within it “there is a shadow state, and that is the U.S. military, which, as of September (2011), held 4.3 million security clearances… That is a closed, totalitarian society that gathers and stores more information than any other society in the world.”

Assange said that for the past 20 years he has been developing systems “to protect people’s rights to communicate privately without government surveillance.” He said surveillance “is another form of censorship” because “When people are frightened that what they are saying may be overheard by a power that has the ability to lock people up, then they adjust what they’re saying. They start to self-censor.”

“I have a lot of sympathy for journalists who are trying to protect their sources,” Assange told reporter Michael Hastings of “Rolling Stone.” “It’s very hard now. Unless you’re an electronic-surveillance expert or you have frequent contact with one, you must stay off the Net and mobile phones.”

He went on to say, “We are now in a situation where countries are recording billions of hours of conversations, and proudly proclaiming that you don’t have to select which telephone call you’re intercepting, because you intercept every telephone call.”

Assange said the U.S. is trying to indict him for “espionage, or conspiracy to commit espionage, and computer hacking. The U.S. grand jury is looking at indicting us for charges which are not, on their face, political. But of course, the reasons are political, and that’s a different matter.”

He said the U.S. intelligence apparatus has subpoenaed the records of most of his friends in the U.S. and asked for their Twitter records, Google accounts and individual ISPs. “The laws which they’re working toward an indictment on are the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986,” he said.

Assange embarrassed the Pentagon with the release of the infamous “Collateral Murder” video that showed a U.S. helicopter in Iraq spraying fire on unarmed civilians, killing several as well as two journalists.

He quickly followed up with the release of hundreds of thousands

of classified files related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that created an international firestorm, reporter Hastings noted.

“But soon after he began releasing the diplomatic cables, which were widely credited with helping to spark the Arab Spring, he was detained and imprisoned after spending a week with two female supporters in Stockholm, entangling him in a yearlong legal battle to win his own freedom,” Hastings wrote.

Assange told Hastings of his respect for the democratic values of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson but said “the U.S. military-industrial complex and the majority of politicians in Congress have betrayed those values.”

Assange founded WikiLeaks, dubbed the first “stateless news organization,” in 2006.  The Assange interview appeared in the February 2nd issue of “Rolling Stone.”

Posted in USAComments Off on Assange: Pentagon Attempts to Stifle Reporting With Espionage Charges

IsraHell; Blackmailing America to War.


by  Sami Jamil Jadallah


Forget the annual $4 billion US Congress gives to Israel, allowing it to kill, destroy, steal rob and kidnap. Our citizens simply should consider these numbers. 50-cent increase per gallon multiplied by 180 million cars and trucks with an average of 70 gallons per month per car/truck and voila, $6.3 billion extra to Israel each month. Israel’s war game has been on now for more than 5 months. Simply put, it’s time to tell Bibi and his cronies in Washington to go to hell.

With money like this, every American driver and every American citizen should think twice about Israel and the price we have to pay every day, every month and every year. Every American should wonder, why do we keep electing Israel Firsters to the White House and to Congress? Bibi Netanyahu did not come to Washington with a carrot and a stick; he came to Washington with a whip and a stick. And all American leadership and politicians fell in line.

The question is how long, we, citizens of the greatest democracy and one of the most powerful countries in the world, will allow Israel and its agents in Washington to blackmail us and take us to the cleaners…as if Wall Street is not enough!

Perhaps it is time to put Israel and its cronies in Washington out of business and reclaim our rights and freedoms from fear and blackmail. This coming election, let us all tell Obama, Romney, Gingrich and Santorum that America belongs to Americans, and not to Zionists. We should be voting for an American agenda, not an Israeli agenda.

The story of blackmail is the same all over Europe with European drivers also paying the extra price. Merkel, Sarkozy and Cameron are no different from Obama, Gingrich, Romney and Santorum; they all toe the line like elephants in a circus. With figures like these, the world is paying tens of billions in extra money every month so that Israel, a physiologically misfit country can get its way. So that the Israel lobby, more dangerous to America than the over 400 nuclear weapons in Israel’s stockpile, can get its way. Israel is not only blackmailing America, it is blackmailing the world as well.

It seems that every time AIPAC holds its annual conference, Americans are blackmailed to give Israel more money, more weapons, and more political support. One only needs to witness how sheepish American politicians become, from the President to the Speaker of the House to members of Senate and Congress, as they prostrate before King Bibi, the King of Israel and the King of Zionism.

I guess this game will continue until after the US presidential election, and so American car owners and drivers have to cough up tens of billions in extra gasoline prices until November elections or until such a time that Israel decides to attack Iran and the world goes up in smoke. Then there will be no more oil or cars on the road for a while.


Of course election time in the US is the time Bibi and AIPAC are put to greatest use, with political suicide awaiting anyone and everyone who dares to challenge the Israeli message that Iran, and not Israel is the most dangerous nation on earth. More than 60% of the Americans are already convinced Iran is danger to America. The Zionists are in control of our media, which took us to war already, and is now paving the road to Tehran with more American blood and money.

The sad story is that the mainstream media and members of Congress bought the Zionist message, despite the fact that Iran, unlike Israel, did not engage in any wars outside its borders for centuries, and did not attack American targets. Remember, Saddam Hussein initiated the Iraq-Iran war for an on behalf of the Reagan administration.

One has to wonder how a country perhaps with the most powerful and best equipped army in the Middle East and in Europe with over 400 nuclear weapons with capabilities to strike even the United States, is worried about a country that simply may possibly have the intention or potential to develop ONE nuclear bomb. Israel wants to make sure it has a monopoly on nuclear weapons.

Personally, I do not think it is the Iranian bomb that worries Israel, instead, it is what Israel can milk from the US and Europe that matters. With the Holocaust narrative running its course as an instrument of blackmail, it is now Iran and its supposed potential to develop nuclear capability that serves as new fuel for the Zionist cash machine.

Again, the same question remains, and must be decided by Americans: For how long will we as Americans have to accept this blackmail from Israel? Are the 10 years of wars and trillions of dollars down the drain not enough? Will we allow Israel and our politicians to lead us to self-destruction?

Our fellow Americans should think of Israel and its costs to us every time we dish out that extra 50-cent per gallon at the gas station. Enjoy the drive and think again, when voting in the November election.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on IsraHell; Blackmailing America to War.

Murder Is Not an Anomaly in War


“Military attacks like these in civilian areas make discussions of human rights an absurdity. Robert Bales, a U.S. Army staff sergeant who allegedly killed 16 civilians in two Afghan villages, including nine children, is not an anomaly. To decry the butchery of this case and to defend the wars of occupation we wage is to know nothing about combat. We kill children nearly every day in Afghanistan. We do not usually kill them outside the structure of a military unit. If an American soldier had killed or wounded scores of civilians after the ignition of an improvised explosive device against his convoy, it would not have made the news. Units do not stick around to count their “collateral damage.” But the Afghans know. They hate us for the murderous rampages.

Mary Shepard


Illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

The war in Afghanistan—where the enemy is elusive and rarely seen, where the cultural and linguistic disconnect makes every trip outside the wire a visit to hostile territory, where it is clear that you are losing despite the vast industrial killing machine at your disposal—feeds the culture of atrocity. The fear and stress, the anger and hatred, reduce all Afghans to the enemy, and this includes women, children and the elderly. Civilians and combatants merge into one detested nameless, faceless mass. The psychological leap to murder is short. And murder happens every day in Afghanistan. It happens in drone strikes, artillery bombardments, airstrikes, missile attacks and the withering suppressing fire unleashed in villages from belt-fed machine guns.

Military attacks like these in civilian areas make discussions of human rights an absurdity.Robert Bales , a U.S. Army staff sergeant who allegedly killed 16 civilians in two Afghan villages, including nine children, is not an anomaly. To decry the butchery of this case and to defend the wars of occupation we wage is to know nothing about combat. We kill children nearly every day in Afghanistan. We do not usually kill them outside the structure of a military unit. If an American soldier had killed or wounded scores of civilians after the ignition of an improvised explosive device against his convoy, it would not have made the news. Units do not stick around to count their “collateral damage.” But the Afghans know. They hate us for the murderous rampages. They hate us for our hypocrisy.

The scale of our state-sponsored murder is masked from public view. Reporters who travel with military units and become psychologically part of the team spin out what the public and their military handlers want, mythic tales of heroism and valor. War is seen only through the lens of the occupiers. It is defended as a national virtue. This myth allows us to make sense of mayhem and death. It justifies what is usually nothing more than gross human cruelty, brutality and stupidity. It allows us to believe we have achieved our place in human society because of a long chain of heroic endeavors, rather than accept the sad reality that we stumble along a dimly lit corridor of disasters. It disguises our powerlessness. It hides from view the impotence and ordinariness of our leaders. But in turning history into myth we transform random events into a sequence of events directed by a will greater than our own, one that is determined and preordained. We are elevated above the multitude. We march to nobility. But it is a lie. And it is a lie that combat veterans carry within them. It is why so many commit suicide.

“I, too, belong to this species,” J. Glenn Gray  wrote of his experience in World War II. “I am ashamed not only of my own deeds, not only of my nation’s deeds, but of human deeds as well. I am ashamed to be a man.”

When Ernie Pyle, the famous World War II correspondent, was killed on the Pacific island of Ie Shima in 1945, a rough draft of a column was found on his body. He was preparing it for release upon the end of the war in Europe. He had done much to promote the myth of the warrior and the nobility of soldiering, but by the end he seemed to have tired of it all:

But there are many of the living who have burned into their brains forever the unnatural sight of cold dead men scattered over the hillsides and in the ditches along the high rows of hedge throughout the world.


Dead men by mass production—in one country after another—month after month and year after year. Dead men in winter and dead men in summer.

Dead men in such familiar promiscuity that they become monotonous.

Dead men in such monstrous infinity that you come almost to hate them.

These are the things that you at home need not even try to understand. To you at home they are columns of figures, or he is a near one who went away and just didn’t come back. You didn’t see him lying so grotesque and pasty beside the gravel road in France.

We saw him, saw him by the multiple thousands. That’s the difference.

There is a constant search in all wars to find new perversities, new forms of death when the initial flush fades, a rear-guard and finally futile effort to ward off the boredom of routine death. This is why during the war in El Salvador the death squads and soldiers would cut off the genitals of those they killed and stuff them in the mouths of the corpses. This is why we reporters in Bosnia would find bodies crucified on the sides of barns or decapitated. This is why U.S. Marines have urinated  on dead Taliban fighters. Those slain in combat are treated as trophies by their killers, turned into grotesque pieces of performance art. It happened in every war I covered.

“Force,” Simone Weil  wrote, “is as pitiless to the man who possesses it, or thinks he does, as it is to its victims; the second it crushes, the first it intoxicates.”

. They hate us for our hypocrisy.”

War perverts and destroys you. It pushes you closer and closer to your own annihilation—spiritual, emotional and finally physical. It destroys the continuity of life, tearing apart all systems—economic, social, environmental and political—that sustain us as human beings. In war, we deform ourselves, our essence. We give up individual conscience—maybe even consciousness—for contagion of the crowd, the rush of patriotism, the belief that we must stand together as a nation in moments of extremity. To make a moral choice, to defy war’s enticement, can in the culture of war be self-destructive. The essence of war is death. Taste enough of war and you come to believe that the stoics were right: We will, in the end, all consume ourselves in a vast conflagration.

A World War II study determined that, after 60 days of continuous combat, 98 percent of all surviving soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties. A common trait among the remaining 2 percent was a predisposition toward having “aggressive psychopathic personalities.” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his book “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society,” notes: “It is not too far from the mark to observe that there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98 percent of all men insane, and the other 2 percent were crazy when they go there.”

During the war in El Salvador, many soldiers served for three or four years or longer, as in the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, until they psychologically or physically collapsed. In garrison towns, commanders banned the sale of sedatives because those drugs were abused by the troops. In that war, as in the wars in the Middle East, the emotionally and psychologically maimed were common. I once interviewed a 19-year-old Salvadoran army sergeant who had spent five years fighting and then suddenly lost his vision after his unit walked into a rebel ambush. The rebels killed 11 of his fellow soldiers in the firefight, including his closest friend. He was unable to see again until he was placed in an army hospital. “I have these horrible headaches,” he told me as he sat on the edge of his bed. “There is shrapnel in my head. I keep telling the doctors to take it out.” But the doctors told me that he had no head wounds.

I saw other soldiers in other conflicts go deaf or mute or shake without being able to stop.

War is necrophilia. This necrophilia is central to soldiering just as it is central to the makeup of suicide bombers and terrorists. The necrophilia is hidden under platitudes about duty or comradeship. It is unleashed especially in moments when we seem to have little to live for and no hope, or in moments when the intoxication of war is at its highest pitch. When we spend long enough in war, it comes to us as a kind of release, a fatal and seductive embrace that can consummate the long flirtation with our own destruction.


In his memoir “Wartime,” about the partisan war in Yugoslavia, Milovan Djilas wrote of the enticement that death held for the combatants. He stood over the body of his comrade, the commander Sava Kovacevic, and found:

“… dying did not seem terrible or unjust. This was the most extraordinary, the most exalted moment of my life. Death did not seem strange or undesirable. That I restrained myself from charging blindly into the fray and death was perhaps due to my sense of obligation to the troops or to some comrade’s reminder concerning the tasks at hand. In my memory, I returned to those moments many times with the same feeling of intimacy with death and desire for it while I was in prison, especially during my first incarceration.”

War ascendant wipes out Eros. It wipes out delicacy and tenderness. Its communal power seeks to render the individual obsolete, to hand all passions, all choice, all voice to the crowd.

“The most important part of the individual life, which cannot be subsumed in communal life, is love,” Sebastian Haffner wrote in “Defying Hitler.” “So comradeship has its special weapons against love: smut. Every evening in bed, after the last patrol round, there was the ritual reciting of lewd songs and jokes. That is the hard and fast rule of male comradeship, and nothing is more mistaken than the widely held opinion that this is a safety valve for frustrated erotic or sexual feelings. These songs and jokes do not have an erotic, arousing effect. On the contrary, they make the act of love appear as unappetizing as possible. They treat it like digestion and defecation, and make it an object of ridicule. The men who recited rude songs and used coarse words for female body parts were in effect denying that they ever had tender feelings or had been in love, that they had ever made themselves attractive, behaved gently. …”

When we see this, when we see our addiction for what it is, when we understand ourselves and how war has perverted us, life becomes hard to bear. Jon Steele, a cameraman who spent years in war zones, had a nervous breakdown in a crowded Heathrow Airport after returning from Sarajevo.

Steele had come to understand the reality of his work, a reality that stripped away the self-righteous, high-octane gloss. When he was in Sarajevo he was “in a place called Sniper’s Alley, and I filmed a girl there who had been hit in the neck by a sniper’s bullet,” he wrote. “I filmed her in the ambulance, and only after she was dead, I suddenly understood that the last thing she had seen was the reflection of the lens of the camera I was holding in front of her. This wiped me out. I grabbed the camera, and started running down Sniper’s Alley, filming at knee level the Bosnians running from place to place.”

A year after the end of the war in Sarajevo, I sat with Bosnian friends who had suffered horribly. A young woman, Ljiljana, had lost her father, a Serb, who refused to join the besieging Serb forces around the city. A few days earlier she had to identify his corpse. The body was lifted, water running out of the sides of a rotting coffin, from a small park for reburial in the central cemetery. Soon she would emigrate to Australia—where, she told me, “I will marry a man who has never heard of this war and raise children that will be told nothing about it, nothing about the country I am from.”

Ljiljana was young. But the war had exacted a toll. Her cheeks were hollow, her hair dry and brittle. Her teeth were decayed and some had broken into jagged bits. She had no money for a dentist; she hoped to have them fixed in Australia. Yet all she and her friends did that afternoon was lament the days when they lived in fear and hunger, emaciated, targeted by Serb gunners on the heights above. They did not wish back the suffering. And yet, they admitted, those may have been the fullest days of their lives. They looked at me in despair. I had known them when hundreds of shells a day fell nearby, when they had no water to bathe in or wash their clothes, when they huddled in unheated flats as sniper bullets hit the walls outside.

What they expressed was disillusionment with a sterile, futile and empty present. Peace had again exposed the void that the rush of war, of battle, had filled. Once again they were—as perhaps we all are—alone, no longer bound by a common struggle, no longer given the opportunity to be noble, heroic, no longer sure of what life was about or what it meant. The old comradeship, however false, had vanished with the last shot.

Moreover, they had seen that all the sacrifice had been for naught. They had been, as we all are in war, betrayed. The corrupt old Communist Party bosses, who became nationalists overnight and got them into the mess in the first place, had grown rich off their suffering and were still in power. Ljiljana and the others faced a 70 percent unemployment rate. They depended on handouts from the international community. They understood that their cause, once as fashionable in certain intellectual circles as they were themselves, lay forgotten. No longer did actors, politicians and artists scramble to visit during the cease-fires—acts that were almost always ones of gross self-promotion. They knew the lie of war, the mockery of their idealism, and struggled with their shattered illusions. And yet, they wished it all back, and I did, too.


Later, I received a Christmas card. It was signed “Ljiljana from Australia.” It had no return address. I never heard from her again. But many of those I worked with as war correspondents did not escape. They could not break free from the dance with death. They wandered from conflict to conflict, seeking always one more hit.

By then, I was back in Gaza and at one point found myself pinned down in still another ambush. A young Palestinian 15 feet away was fatally shot through the chest. I had been lured back but now felt none of the old rush, just fear. It was time to break free, to let go. I knew it was over for me. I was lucky to get alive.

Kurt Schork—brilliant, courageous and driven—could not let go. He died in an ambush in Sierra Leone along with another friend of mine, Miguel Gil Moreno. His entrapment—his embrace of Thanatos, of the death instinct—was never mentioned in the sterile and antiseptic memorial service held for him in Washington, D.C. Everyone tiptoed around the issue. But those of us who had known him understood he had been consumed.

I had worked with Kurt for 10 years, starting in northern Iraq. Literate, funny—it seems the brave are often funny. He and I passed books back and forth in our struggle to make sense of the madness around us. His loss is a hole that will never be filled. His ashes were placed in Sarajevo’s Lion Cemetery, for the victims of the war. I flew to Sarajevo and met the British filmmaker Dan Reed. It was an overcast November day. We stood over the grave and downed a pint of whiskey. Dan lit a candle. I recited a poem the Roman lyric poet Catullus had written to honor his dead brother.

By strangers’ costs and waters, many days at sea,
I come here for the rites of your unworlding,
Bringing for you, the dead, these last gifts of the living
And my words—vain sounds for the man of dust.
Alas, my brother,
You have been taken from me. You have been taken from me,
By cold chance turned a shadow, and my pain.
Here are the foods of the old ceremony, appointed
Long ago for the starvelings under the earth:
Take them: your brother’s tears have made them wet: and take
Into eternity my hail and my farewell.

It was there, among 4,000 war dead, that Kurt belonged. He died because he could not free himself from war. He had been trying to replicate what he had found in Sarajevo, but he could not. War could never be new again. Kurt had been in East Timor and Chechnya. Sierra Leone, I was sure, meant nothing to him.

Kurt and Miguel could not let go. They would have been the first to admit it. Spend long enough at war, and you cannot fit in anywhere else. It finally kills you. It is not a new story. It starts out like love, but it is death.

War is the beautiful young nymph in the fairy tale that, when kissed, exhales the vapors of the underworld.

The ancient Greeks had a word for such a fate: ekpyrosis.

It means to be consumed by a ball of fire. They used it to describe heroes.



Posted in AfghanistanComments Off on Murder Is Not an Anomaly in War

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