Archive | June 24th, 2010



There’s already been one positive outcome of the Budget, which is the pleasure of watching Liberal Democrats squirm as they try to justify the stuff that a few weeks ago they screamed would be a disaster. Tomorrow Clegg will mutter, “Look, when we said the Tories were planning a VAT bombshell, the point we were making was this country needed a VAT bombshell and only the Tories were planning it, but they were too modest in hiding their marvellous bombshell plans, so we were trying to help them. You see.”

 Then they’ll tell us they’ve ensured the Budget was vicious in a fair way, because now VAT will be at a Liberal Democrat 20 per cent to ensure fairness, rather than the much harsher Tory 20 per cent proposed by George Osborne, a compromise that wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous efforts of Vince Cable.

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To their own supporters they’ll say, “If we weren’t part of the Government it would be even worse”, the line always put by liberals in an illiberal government. I bet there were Liberal Democrats in the Spanish Inquisition who said, “Because we’re in government, the Queen has included in her bill a pledge to gouge out fingernails first rather than go straight in with the toenails, demonstrating the fairness we are bringing to the new politics.”

The Budget has been presented as a necessity, with every measure “unavoidable”, backed up by piles of figures that sound apocalyptic but mean nothing by themselves, like “We now owe £800 for every insect in Britain”, or “The debt burden is equivalent to 300 years on a premium rate girl-on-girl action chatline” or “The deficit is more than the value of the moon.”

But the cuts announced are measures the Tories support anyway, regardless of the state of the economy. For example, Osborne said in his TV speech he would no longer tolerate people who don’t work, “Sitting indoors with the blinds pulled down, living on benefits.” That’s not economic necessity, it’s an editorial from the Daily Express. It’s an attempt to sound like someone down the pub, and maybe the first draft of his Budget went, “We’re in a right mess missus and no mistake, and one knows who’s to blame; them layabouts with their blinds down, gawd blimey.” Or maybe he just thinks, “My word these unemployed are lazy – they can’t even be bothered to get their au pair to open the blinds.”

Blaming unemployment on the unemployed for “Choosing not to work” is an ideology that assumes unemployment rises and falls in line with how many people fancy being unemployed. They must think in 1931 the North suddenly decided to close their blinds and stay at home all day, which was probably lucky as by the time the war started they were all jammed shut, which was handy for the blackout.

But it’s a doctrine, not a “necessity”. Chris Grayling might as well say, “It’s now a necessity that bed and breakfast owners must be allowed to turn gay men away, as homosexuality simply can’t continue in the Cotswolds while we owe £50 trillion.” There’s another clue as to the nature of the Budget, which is the celebrations in the City of London. The Financial Times reported investors “greeted enthusiastically” the reduction in corporation tax, and a promise of a capital gains tax rate, “Lower than ever.”

But as this was a Budget based on “Fairness” I’m sure the poorer sections of society felt the same. “Our housing benefit’s being cut”, they’ll have chimed enthusiastically, “But we’ll save a fortune on capital gains tax so we can have a day out in Southend after all.”

So we’ve got a Labour Party that declared it wanted cuts that went “Further than those of Margaret Thatcher”, and the other parties proudly making cuts much deeper than that. Which means somehow the Government would be less harsh to the poor and less grovelling to the rich if the whole lot resigned and we brought Thatcher back. You can’t help wondering if somewhere or other we took a wrong turn.

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Settlers target ‘shared cities’

 By Mya Guarnieri

Jaffa, now called Yafo by the Israelis, was once the cultural and economic hub of Palestine [GETTY]

Jewish settlers storming the garden of an elderly Palestinian woman may seem like something you would expect to happen in Hebron, not cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. But that is exactly what happened to Zeinab Rachayel, an Arab resident of Tel Aviv’s mixed suburb, Yafo.

Rachayel was in her courtyard on a Sunday afternoon when several buses full of settlers from the West Bank arrived, parking nearby. Armed with Israeli flags, young men lined the sidewalk outside her home chanting “this is our land”. One by one, they entered her garden, until Rachayel was confronted by dozens of settlers in their late teens and early twenties.

“Another one entered and he said, ‘Listen, you’re not staying here. Yafo is just for Jews. Get out of Yafo,'” Rachayel says. The men continued to threaten and intimidate her, repeatedly saying that the Arab presence in Yafo is only temporary.

A cultural hub

Yafo was once Jaffa – the cultural and economic hub of Palestine. Battered during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the conflict that surrounded the creation of the Jewish state, Jaffa’s population plummeted as residents fled or were expelled from their homes.

Jewish immigrants quickly took their places and in 1950, the Tel Aviv municipality swallowed Jaffa, renaming it Yafo.

Today, some 60 years later, the twin forces of settlers and gentrification means the area’s Palestinian community are again facing an existential threat.

On that Sunday afternoon, one of Rachayel’s sons arrived. He used his belt, waving the buckle, to chase the settlers out of the garden. Eventually, the police arrived, but no arrests were made.

Rachayel asks: “If this had happened the other way around, to a Jewish family, what would they have done?”

She stresses that, as is the case in other mixed areas of Israel, Jews and Arabs have long enjoyed close relationships in Yafo. Rachayel grew up next to a Jewish family and recalls how the children were like brothers and sisters to her.

But, she says, ties grew tense during the first Intifada. And now, with settlers trickling into Yafo, Rachayel feels the mood darkening again. “It’s sad,” she tells me.

Going mainstream

Sami Abu Shehadeh, the head of Yafo’s Popular Committee Against Home Demolitions, estimates that approximately 50 settler families are scattered throughout Yafo.

They began moving to mixed cities in the wake of Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in a bid to make themselves more familiar to Jewish Israelis and to garner mainstream support.

It is also an attempt to stay on the political radar, Abu Shehadeh says.

“If any of the Israeli prime ministers will have the guts to take a settler out of the West Bank, they will set Israel on fire from the inside. It’s not that they’re going to demonstrate in the settlements. Now they’re here, in the heart.”

Writing for Haaretz, right-wing journalist Nadav Shragai has aligned the settlements inside mixed cities as a battlefront in the so-called demographic war between Arabs and Jews.

“Israel, as the state of the Jewish people, is losing its grip on these cities,” he wrote, adding “settlers in Judea and Samaria have dispatched their best people and rabbis to [Yafo], Acre, Lod and Ramle”.

Forcing Arabs out

The area was battered during the Arab-Israeli war in 1948 [GETTY]

Bemuna, a construction company whose name means “in faith”, aims to bring another 20 such families to Ajami, a predominantly Palestinian area considered the heart of Yafo’s fragile Arab community. Bemuna is planning an apartment complex that will be exclusive to national-religious Jews.

“They started in East Jerusalem,” Abu Shehadeh says. “Then they had a big project in Lod. Then they went to Akko. Now, they are coming to Yafo.”

The move, Bemuna claims, is intended to strengthen the Jewish community. But critics point out that rather than building in one of Yafo’s underprivileged Jewish areas, Bemuna purchased land where very few Jews live. The plans to build in Ajami, critics say, are a provocation at best; at worst, it is an attempt to push Arabs from the area. 

Abu Shehadeh and other members of the local leadership are concerned with the closed nature of the development. “We felt it is racism, so we went to court.” 

Tel Aviv District Judge Yehuda Zaft ruled against the petition, which contested the project’s discriminatory selection of residents and was filed by over a dozen organisations, including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). The group is appealing the decision and on June 21, the Israeli supreme court will hear the case.

Creating new realities

But no matter what the supreme court rules, Yafo will remain embroiled in problems.

Residents are deeply troubled by a recently opened yeshiva, or Jewish institution for religious studies. Like many found in the West Bank, Yafo’s yeshiva is an ideological training ground for national-religious men who intend to join the army. And it is led by Rabbi Eliyahi Mali, who hails from the settlement Bet El.

Speaking to Israeli Channel Seven, Rabbi Mali called his work in Yafo “an important mission like no other,” adding that if West Bank settlements “would send one tenth of their residents to large cities … this one tenth of people imbued with faith will establish a community, a yeshiva, and a centre amidst the Jewish populace, which will create a different reality than we know today”.

Abu Shehadeh says: “In their vision, this [Palestinian] neighbourhood does not exist in the next 10 years.”

It is a common sentiment amongst Arab residents – the yeshiva is a sign of a takeover, an attempt to turn Yafo into a West Bank settlement.

Palestinian residents report that they have been verbally harassed by yeshiva students. Now, they avoid both the building and the street it is on, out of fear of further altercations.

Ihlas Yateen, a Palestinian resident of Yafo, calls the yeshiva and settlers “dangerous”.

“What are they doing here?” she asks.

“I don’t know why the state lets them do it. They can’t forbid them from entering here? What, they’d let [Arabs] enter Bnei Brak?” she adds, referring to the Orthodox Jewish city near Tel Aviv.

Highest bidders

The suburb is prime real estate that can be sold to the highest bidder [Mya Guarnieri]

Her comment points towards gentrification’s role in Yafo’s problems.

The government-controlled Israel land authority sells to the highest bidder. In the case of the lot slated for the 20-unit settlement that was Bemuna. Money dictates who can buy where.

Yafo’s Palestinian residents point out that, for the most part, their community is poor. And Ajami is the weakest link. Perched on a hill close to the sea, Ajami is also prime real estate.

Yehudit Ilani, a Jewish Israeli resident of Ajami and an advocate for Palestinian home and land allocation rights, explains that the Israeli government has strict codes regarding houses in Yafo.

If a growing family adds a room to their home or fails to maintain a building’s appearance in accordance with the state’s standards, they face astronomical fines, eviction or demolition.

Once a home has been emptied or destroyed, the land authority can sell the plot.

“There are 498 court cases to kick people out of their homes,” Ilani explains. Of these, all but one are against Arab families. The only Jewish family facing eviction are an impoverished Mizrahi (Arab Jewish) family.

Ilani says there are other residents facing eviction as the land authority seeks to cash in on a hot market. These families receive some compensation, she explains, “but it’s not enough money to get back in the market”.

Ilani points out that, as the Palestinian community is “being torn apart,” the state can make the choice not to sell the property. “They’re hiding behind the market, denying that a nationalist principle is involved,” she says.

“Gentrification is being used as a method of ethnic cleansing, in effect.”

From sharing to segregation

Ilani says the Jewish Israelis who decide to live in Yafo are not the problem. Rather it is the state policies that are “part of a much larger picture” threatening the area.

This has dangerous implications for the state, Ilani says. “It’s a completely segregated society. Only in the shared cities is there some sort of a discourse, a dialogue, knowing each other. The shared cities could be the basis of a way of living together.”

But gentrification and settlers are chipping away at this hope, little by little.

Esther Saba is a Palestinian resident of Yafo who faced demolition due to an unauthorised addition to her family home. She points out that when the bulldozers arrived, Jewish Israeli activists paid a pivotal role in saving her home, standing in the front yard and on the roof to guard it.

“There is no problem with regular Jews,” Saba says. “We have a very good connection.”

But the growing presence of settlers is worrisome, Saba says. “They don’t want [Arabs] here in Yafo.”

Neither Bemuna nor Yeshivat Yafo responded to multiple requests for comment.

 Source: Al Jazeera 


By Yvonne Ridley

 AMERICA is still embarrassed by the infamous McCarthy Hearings which ruined the lives of thousands of innocents during the Fifties.Anyone then, suspected of being linked to communism was arrested, interrogated and either imprisoned or forced to give names of others suspected of communist tendencies.

And so the fear and intimidation spread like a great plague across the USA.

Names were blacklisted, careers and lives ruined as the authorities ruthlessly traded on peoples’ fears, paranoia and weaknesses.With little or no evidence people were found guilty and anyone daring to question any of the actions and the wild accusations also had suspicion cast upon them.

But hey folks, that was back in the Fifties and various administrations resolved the same insane hysteria, hatred and fears would never again cast a dark shadow across the Land of the Free.

Sadly, the Salem-style witch hunts have returned, but

the new villains are no longer communists. The Red Scare has been replaced by those who shout Viva Palestina!

From the very highest law-makers right down to ordinary John Doe there is an irrational fear so great that it holds many of them hostage in their homes, workplaces and schools. Their vision has become so skewed they are unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not.

And so when they’re told that heavily armed Israeli soldiers shoot peace activists at near point blank range because they are defending themselves, few dare to question.

When they see babies dying on the Gaza Strip because of lack of medical equipment because of the Israeli-enforced blockade, they remain silent.

And even fewer dare to criticize Israel.

Millions upon millions of Americans wake up frightened, go to sleep frightened while others feed on the hatred and bile spewed out by politicians, preachers, academics and the media who tell them Israel is good and Palestine is bad.

There are some politicians who want to see the heroic Americans who boarded the Free Gaza Movement boats, joined the Viva Palestina convoys and the recent Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla prosecuted as terrorists.

Today I trolled through some of the pages in the American media and there, among the column inches, are stories that perfectly illustrate the Zionist Fear Factory in operation.

The Los Angeles Times reveals that UC Irvine has told its university students that the Muslim Student Union will be suspended for one year because it dared to criticize Israel and protested during a speech given by the Israeli Ambassador. So there you have it – freedom of speech is now banned.

The unprecedented action also sends out a chilling message to students across the USA who might consider demonstrating, rallying or protesting against the Zionist state and its supporters. Free speech, it seems, is a thing of the past in Barack Obama’s America.                                                                     

And should you be in any doubt, read a story about the latest decision to emerge from the US Supreme Court. In a majority 6-3 ruling it becomes virtually impossible for anyone to put food into the mouths of malnourished babies in Gaza or to give money to a charity to do the humanitarian act for you.                             

Insane as it sounds, it is now a crime in America to work for peace and human rights in Gaza because the day-to-day running of The Strip is carried out by the democratically-elected Hamas government. Therefore it would be virtually impossibly to bypass Hamas to operate in Gaza.                                           

 In an astonishing McCarthy-like ruling any American who even offers advice to banned organizations like Hamas, including legal assistance and information on conflict resolution, will be prosecuted as terrorists. Be afraid, be very afraid … this is happening in the USA, here and now.                                                        

Barack Obama’s barmy administration reckons that even giving advice intended for peaceful purposes will amount to “material support” for terrorism.                                                                

 “The supreme court has ruled that human rights advocates, providing training and assistance in the nonviolent resolution of disputes, can be prosecuted as terrorists,” said David Cole, a Georgetown university law professor who argued the case before the court. In the name of fighting terrorism, the court has said that the first amendment [on free speech] permits congress to make it a crime to work for peace and human rights. That is wrong.”                           

 The ruling is designed to intimidate Palestinian supporters and their fundraising activity. Some have already been prosecuted and jailed for raising cash for social groups dealing with issues such as housing and welfare in Gaza.                                               

The government’s case was enthusiastically argued in February by Elena Kagan, who is now the Obama administration’s nominee to the supreme court. She said: “Hizb’Allah builds bombs. Hizb’Allah also builds homes. What Congress decided was when you help Hizb’Allah build homes, you are also helping Hizb’Allah build bombs. That’s the entire theory behind the statute.”                                                     

Well if that’s the case an interesting legal situation looms on the horizon – unless all of this legislation is purely designed for Palestinian supporters.                            

A Congressional subcommittee, led by Representative John F. Tierney, Democrat of Massachusetts, has uncovered evidence showing US tax dollars are funding the Taliban.                          

The source is a Pentagon-issued $2.1 billion dollar contract called Host Nation Trucking, which pays for the movement of food and supplies to some 200 American bases. It appears Afghan security firms have been extorting as much as $4 million a week and then funneling the spoils to warlords and the Taliban in return for a safe passage. In short, the US is financing the enemy and undermining international efforts to stabilize the country.                                 

Hmm, isn’t this material support for terrorism? I think we need to have the Commander in Chief charged with immediate affect.

* Journalist Yvonne Ridley is one of the founders of Viva Palestina and European President of the international Muslim Women’s Union. She presents the current affairs weekly show The Agenda and co-presents Rattansi & Ridley both for Press TV.
Greta Berlin, Co-Founder

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 Stop the Undeclared Emergency and Witch-hunt of Social activists & Human Rights Defenders

Rajeesh | June 24, 2010  | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Statement by Civil Society groups and concerned citizens

Source – SACW

Under the garb of anti-Maoist operations and close on the heels of the Home Ministry directive, the Central and State Governments are now unleashing a witch-hunt on rights’ activists and civil society groups in India. Added to this, the fishing expedition of Gujarat police has now reached Delhi. After having arrested 13 trade unionists, forest rights activists and ordinary workers of Gujarat against the omnibus FIR number 1-37/2010 Police station Kamrej, Surat range, dated 26th of February, u/s 120 (B), 121(A), 124(A), 153 A& B of the IPC, and sec 38, 39 and 40 of the UAPA, 2004, Shakeel is the new catch, the 14th person arrested in this FIR on 17th April, 2010.

Abdul Shakeel Basha, for the last six years had been working with homeless and street children with organisations like Aman Biradari (2004 to 2008) and since 2009 with Haq (World Faith) & Shahari Adhikar Abhiyan.

His work with Aman Biradari also took him to Gujarat several times as the work related to justice to the victims of the 2002 Gujarat genocide was carried out through the ‘Nyaya Grah’ project of Aman Biradari.

Other than him, the Gujarat government has recently incarcerated 13 trade unionists, forest rights activists, and ordinary workers – all demanding that the Constitutional rights of the people be restored – and all under a single omnibus FIR (number 1-37/2010) filed in the Kamrej Police station, Surat range, dated 26th of February, under serious charges of sedition, waging war against State, conspiracy, being members of and supporting a banned organisation.

The West Bengal government has similarly prosecuted members of a Fact Finding Team; trade union leaders and human rights activists have been quietly arrested in Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and many other States.

The charges are such that all those arrested can be imprisoned for up to 3 years without bail. On the 35th anniversary of the notorious proclamation by the Indira Gandhi government, it is appropriate to ask, “Is a new, but unannounced, Emergency creeping silently across the nation?”

Is the judiciary also complicit in this assault on democracy? The trend is such that courts are not questioning these framed up cases and trials that go on endlessly. Not only are charge sheets bulky with a large number of witnesses, but when the prosecution’s case appears to be weak, the police file even more charge sheets.

In this it is evident that the Gujarat police is following the precedents set by their Andhra brethren in uniform. Thus the only remand paper available in the case of Avinash Kulkarni, a pioneer in implementing the Forests Rights Act in the Dangs area of Gujarat, and who was arrested through a long chain of suspects in Orissa, is one in which he stands accused of “instigating tribals to start violent agitation through CPI (ML) Janshakti Party”.

It should be noted that not only is CPI (ML) Janshakti an overground party which has been fighting elections for the last seventeen years, but that every Indian has the Constitutional right to follow the politics of his or her choice. But even when applications have been filed with the National Human Rights Commission in such cases, the police have pre-empted the Commission by filing charge sheets in court.

What is even more revealing (and distressing) is the behaviour of the media. The story of Basha’s arrest was published by most of the newspapers on June 19 based on information provided by the police.

The PTI story and several others seemed to just gobble up the police version, without any independent enquiries about the person, his involvements or activities. These not just reflect badly on the independence of the media, but also talk a lot about the lack of basic journalistic integrity & ethics.

Earlier, during the month of April, 2010 Delhi police arrested four persons on charges of being associated with CPI Maoists – Sunil Mandiwal, Ajay Singh, Gopal Mishra, and his wife Anu Mishra. Sunil Mandiwal was an Assistant Lecturer in the Hindi Department of Delhi University, while Gopal Mishra was working for a trade union in Shahdara but was alleged to be a “commander” of the CPI Maoist.

All the newspapers, which published the news of the arrests of these persons, provided detailed accounts of the charges against them and the police versions of the “criminal” activities they were allegedly involved in as members of the CPI Maoist.

But none cared to follow the basic tenets of journalism in carrying the version of the accused or the arrested persons. When Mandiwal was subsequently released as the police could not find any evidence against him, the newspapers did not bother to talk to him and report what he had to say about his arrest and the “investigation” that the police carried out.

On April 11, media analyst Partho Ray read in The Sunday Times of India, a special article by its investigative reporter which carried details of how the Maoists raised huge amounts of money, nearly Rs 1,500 crore, through extortion, selling drugs, ransom, and robbery. On the same day he read the same article in a Bengali newspaper Ekdin that also claimed that it was written by its staff correspondent.

The article also appeared on April 11 in Asian Age under the name of a well known correspondent. And it further appeared in “Central Chronicle”, an internet news portal from Madhya Pradesh, but this time it was attributed to agencies.

Such a rare instance of cooperation between newspapers raised the interesting question of who did the “investigation”. The cat was let out of the bag by the Mumbai Mirror when it published the same news report on the same day but attributed it to Intelligence Agencies.

We all know that Operation “Green Hunt” is on. According to the Home Ministry a 70,000 strong force is being raised to smash the Maoists. The United “Progressive” Alliance government has sanctioned Rs 14,000 crore for buying arms for this new counter insurgency force.

The votaries of Neo-conservatism who are in power have clearly declared that they believe in “economic growth” at the cost of all those people who oppose the massive plans of industrialisation in the central Indian forests, or the acquisition of immense tracts in the plains for Special Economic Zones, or the conversion of middling Indian towns into “world class” cities, or the channelling of snow-fed rivers of the north into tunnels to meet the hunger for “power”.

It is within this context where capitalist development considers the working people to be redundant, and the defenders of human rights as impediments to progress, that we need to view the arrest and prosecution of activists like Shakeel Basha.

It is also within this context that we stand by such individuals to reclaim the democratic space, to restore the Republic to the People, and to challenge the neo-Goebbelsian trend in which the media has become the embedded hand-maiden of those who ruthlessly use power against the people. We declare that we shall not let this neo-Emergency pass.

And finally, we need to ask ourselves especially when we are on the eve of emergency day, 26th June, thirty five years later, whether we are going to surrender our Constitutional rights of dissenting and holding and expressing views, to the police state that India is becoming.

Endorsed by : Haq, ANHAD, Aman Biradari, Peace, Insaf, Delhi Solidarity Group, National Alliance of People’s Movements – NAPM Delhi, National Forum of Forest People & Forest Workers, (NFFPFW) Hazard Centre, South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR), Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), Shahri Adhikar Manch, The Other Media, Saheli, IGSSS, Update Collective, Campaign for Judicial Accountability & Reforms, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and other concerned groups and individuals.

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Rajeesh | June 24, 2010 | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:


185/3, Fourth Floor, Zakir Nagar, New Delhi—25


As per the information that is available from the civil rights activists and concerned citizens the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners demands the immediate production of Mr. Varanasi Subramanyam, a Central Committee member of the CPI (Maoist) party, before a court of law. Since the evening of 16.06.2010 it is reported that he has remained without any trace of his whereabouts.

 Further there is information as per the statement of revolutionary poet Vara Vara Rao that he missed an appointment at Badayun Western UP on the 17 June 2010 evening. And every effort to get in touch with Mr. Varanasi Subramnayam on the 18, 19 and 20 of June 2010 has failed.

Given the track record of the Central Intelligence and AP Special Intelligence agencies we at the CRPP are concerned for the life of Mr. Varanasi Subramanyam as there is a real threat that he may be eliminated. We strongly demand that he be produced before a court of law and allowed access to a lawyer of his choice. Only this can guarantee his right to be immune to mental and physical torture.

We also attach the statement issued by Vara Vara Rao on 20.06.10.

In Solidarity,

Gurusharan Singh


Amit Bhattacharyya

Secretary General

SAR Geelani

Working President

Rona Wilson

Secretary Public Relations

Statement from Varavara Rao

The Central and State governments are responsible for his life!

With great concern let me bring to the notice of the media the news that I received from the CPI (Maoist) party about the disappearance of Varanasi Subramanyam one of their Central Committee members since the evening of 16.06.2010 after 7 pm.

Since then Varanasi Subramanyam has remained incommunicado with the rest of the party. He was supposed to be there in Badayun in Western UP on the 17.06.2010 in the evening.

There also he missed the appointment. The CPI (Maoist) party is concerned that there is threat to his life as he might have been arrested by the police. While sharing the concern of the CPI (Maoist) party I strongly demand that State with Home Minister Chidambaram should act responsibly like a country that respects its laws and produce him before a court of law as he has gone missing since the evening of 16 June 2010.

I was informed that he was not traceable on 17, 18 and 19 June despite many efforts by his comrades.

The arrest of Varanasi Subramanyam has been a joint operation of the Central Intelligence Bureau and the AP SIB. Varanasi Subramanyam aged 55 years who is popular among the oppressed masses as , Srikant, Aman, Saroj, Vikas hails from Malkapuram in Prakasham District.

As a student he read law in the University of Andhra. During his student days, inspired by the revolutionary peasant struggles of Shrikakulam and Telangana he joined the Radical Students’ Union (RSU). Later he rose to become the president of RSU.

After reading his law he also practiced as an advocate in the Visakhapatnam bar under Rachakonda Viswanatha Shastri, the popular Telugu writer known as Raavi Shastri.


he was not someone who would be content with a life as a lawyer. His unflinching commitment for the cause of the poor made him reach out to the coal miners of Singareni. Little wonder he soon became a popular leader of the working class.

The trade union that he organized under the banner Singareni Karmika Samakhya attracted hundreds of thousands of coal miners that it soon earned the wrath of the state. Soon a ban was imposed on this organization along with the then CPI (ML) (People’s War). He then shifted to North India.

The inordinate delay in producing Varanasi Subramanyam before the court is a blatant violation of his right to a lawyer of his choice, immunity against torture and worse a real threat to his life as the Andhra Pradesh police has been with impunity killing all the leaders of the CPI (Maoist) party hailing from the state.

I further call upon the central and state governments especially the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to act like statesmen when they are talking about a possible dialogue with the CPI (Maoist) party.

It would end like yet another exercise of duplicity and hypocrisy if P. Chidambaram goes ahead with his brutal repression campaign against the CPI (Maoist) party and at the same time claim that he is serious about talks. He should use his office to ensure that Varanasi Subramanyam is produced before a court of law immediately.

Varavara Rao

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Rajeesh | June 24, 2010| Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Naxalites have decided to train their guns against Multinational Companies (MNCs) operating in India.

In a statement sent to select media houses today, the CPI-Maoists have declared that they would “rise up as a collective fist to drive out MNCs” from the country. The statement also reiterates that their mission is to wipe away the “treacherous rotten regimes” at the Centre and the states.

The Naxalites have said because mining activities by corporates have not benefitted the tribals it is justified to launch an armed struggle. However, government reports claim local leaders of the insurgent groups regularly extort hefty sums from miners to allow them to do business.

The tirade against the MNCs has come in the backdrop of the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict. Launching a scathing attack against the government and corporate India, Naxalite spokesperson Azad said, “We appeal to all democratic forces to unite, oppose and militantly resist the continuous sell-out of the country’s interests to imperialistsharks. Time is running out. Unless we act collectively against the disastrous policies of the traitorous UPA government and various state governments we cannot prevent the whole of India from becoming a Bhopal.”

The radical insurgents have also demanded that the assets of Dow Chemicals be confiscated and the “criminal” be forced to clean up toxic material from the Bhopal site. The banned outfit also took up another popular demand that the Dow be made to pay compensation to the 500,000 victims.

The outfit, blamed for the recent Jnaneshwari Express accident that took more than 180 lives, has expressed its “deepest anguish” at the plight faced by lakhs of people in Bhopal.

It claimed that the common man can never get justice from the “so-called courts of law or from the ruling-class parties whether it is the Congress, the BJP or the so-called Left.”

Blaming the Congress as well as the BJP for the crimes committed by “MNC sharks like the Union Carbide”, Azad targeted the government for rolling out the “red carpet, signing up MoUs, granting extraordinary concessions like free land, water, power, tax holidays and ban legitimate trade union activities.” Sify

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Jewish Voice for Peace



“This is it, this is the campaign for me. How can I help?
That’s what a good friend of ours said when I told him Jewish Voice for Peace’s plan to go after the money with our TIAA-CREF divestment campaign.

Actually, “help” is an understatement. This donor is matching every dollar–up to $25,000–donated by people like you until July 14.

Amazing right? Truth is, we are getting used to amazing.

To those of you who have supported us through donations, activism, and the courage to simply speak the truth, we say “thank you.”

We know you don’t support Jewish Voice for Peace because you want us to be safe or to sugar-coat.

You support us because you want us to tell the truth.

You support us because you are fierce and uncompromising about your belief in equality and human rights for all people, and you expect the same of us.


·      Jewish Voice for Peace was the first group to bring the issue of Israel’s occupation into a U.S corporation boardroom.

·      JVP was the only national US Jewish group that supported the Goldstone Report, mobilized in the streets to protest Israel’s attack on Gaza, and called for an end to the siege, the whole siege of Gaza, the moment it began.

·      JVP’s TIAA-CREF campaign has already made history by gathering the broadest range of US campus-based divestment endorsers ever – we’ve barely begun, and we already have the support not just of rabbis but of academics from literally dozens of colleges including the University of Central Florida, Harvard, Princeton, University of Louisville, UCLA, MIT, Brandeis, University of Chicago, University of North Texas, University of North Carolina and the University of Pennsylvania. 

JVP’s fearless politics mean we don’t get government or large foundation funding. We exist almost entirely thanks to individual gifts from thousands like you. This makes us accountable, and it makes us honest.

Please double your contribution by July 14 with a generous gift now.


One way you can help even more is by making a monthly pledge. Even an amount as small as $12 a month makes an enormous difference. For the thousands of people who are a part of JVP, saying what we say, doing what we do, takes guts. And for those of us on the organizational side of this work, training activists, hiring staff, and creating campaign materials also takes money. In the wake of the flotilla attack, when Israeli and Palestinian human rights defenders are being harrassed and jailed like never before, when the world’s attention is finally on the immoral blockade of Gaza, I hope we can count on you for both. 

In gratitude,  

Rebecca Vilkomerson
Executive Director
Jewish Voice for Peace



P.S. Should you choose a monthly pledge, the annual total will go towards the match.

If you make a gift by July 14, the value will be doubled

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Dear Friends,

So Sorry, but could find nothing particularly happy to send  you today.  Just 3 items—all from Haaretz.  The tidings are not encouraging.  The initial item, an editorial, reports on the “silent expulsion.” 

In the 2nd item, Akiva Eldar asks a question that I often posit to audiences, when speaking abroad, in response to those who query “Do the Arabs really want peace?”

“After 8 years, why hasn’t Israel responded to the Arab peace initiative?”—an initiative which would have given Israel full recognition by all the Arab states, and more: total normalization in relations (including diplomatic relations).  Israel, in return, would have had to recognize the “Green Line” –the 1949 Armistice line, which was the ‘border’ until 1967 when Israel conquered Egypt and Jordan and took over Gaza and the West Bank.  Since then, there has been no border recognized by Israel between Israel and the West Bank.  The Arab peace proposal does not even demand the return of the refugees.  Yet Israel refused in when first offered in 2002 and again the 2nd time in 2007.  Why?  Apparently colonialism and expansion are more important to Israeli leadership than peace, prosperity, and saving lives.

Amira Hass in the 3rd item explains why the so-called ‘easing’ of Israel’s siege on Gaza might not in any way improve conditions there.  But, of course, easing the siege makes good publicity and improves Israel’s image without it costing Israel a penny.  Besides, Israel’s traders and industrialists and farmers will profit from the one-way traffic, while the Gazan receivers of goods will not.



Haaretz Editorial Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The silent expulsion

Citizens of Israel can leave the country for any length of time, and their citizenship and all their rights are theirs in perpetuity. But when it comes to Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, Israel applies draconian regulations whose covert intent is to bring about the expulsion of as many Palestinians as possible from their home city.

Haaretz Editorial Dr. Immad Hammada and Dr. Murad Abu-Khalaf are both lecturers in electrical engineering born in East Jerusalem. Their families have lived in the city for generations. They both left years ago, each one separately, to study in the United States, and after graduating and consolidating their careers they want to return to live in their home town.

But their right to be reunified with their families is being denied by the Interior Ministry, as Amira Hass reported in Sunday’s Haaretz. Hammada has been living in his city for some three years illegally, without any rights and under constant danger of being arrested and deported, while Abu-Khalaf is finding it difficult to return, even for a visit.

Judge Noam Sohlberg of Jerusalem District Court is hearing their cases against the ministry this week.

Interior Ministry regulations provide for the abrogation of the rights of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who leave the city for a period of over seven years. Citizens of Israel can leave the country for any length of time, and their citizenship and all their rights are theirs in perpetuity. But when it comes to Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, Israel applies draconian regulations whose covert intent is to bring about the expulsion of as many Palestinians as possible from their home city.

This situation is intolerable: At a time when the prime minister speaks grandiloquently of the reunification of Jerusalem, Israel practices inequality and discriminates against the city’s Arab residents. At a time when Benjamin Netanyahu speaks of the economic advancement of the territories, Israel prevents the Arab residents of East Jerusalem from advancing their careers abroad and returning afterward to their home city to contribute toward the development of its economy. The screws have been tightened in recent years: In 2008 the residents’ rights of 4,557 Palestinian inhabitants of the city were abrogated, the highest number ever.

Waiting on Judge Sohlberg now is not only the fate of two electrical engineering lecturers, but a far weightier question: Will Israel continue treating the Palestinian inhabitants of its capital as if they were foreign migrants whose rights are conditional?

The rights of the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem must be equal to those of Jews. All Jerusalemites have the right to live in their city, to go abroad and return as they will, without any danger posed by the authorities lying in wait for them.

This story is by:

 Haaretz Editorial


Haaretz Tuesday, June 22, 2010

After 8 years, why hasn’t Israel responded to the Arab peace initiative?

Few Israelis know what is written in the first pan-Arabic and pan-Islamic document that proposes recognizing Israel and exchanging hostile relations for normalization.

By Akiva Eldar

Tags: Middle East peace Palestinians Arab peace initiative Israel news What would we say if the Arabs were to ignore an Israeli peace initiative for more than eight years? What would we write if, during all this time, the Palestinian leadership were not to have even one discussion about our initiative? How many Israelis, including learned members of the academic world, know what is written in the first pan-Arabic and pan-Islamic document that proposes recognizing Israel and exchanging hostile relations for normalization?

Prof. Yoram Meital, the head of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, who this week opened a comprehensive conference at the university on the initiative and its political and environmental implications, said that this was the only international conference that Israeli academia had held so far about the Arab peace plan.

For the first time, representatives from the West Bank, Egypt, and Jordan sat at a round table along with their Israeli colleagues and spoke about the nature of the peace initiative. It was obvious that the guests from Bethlehem University, from the Egyptian media and the University of Amman had come to Be’er Sheva to try and figure out why the Jews, who are considered clever people, (no one bothered to deny this ) are missing a rare opportunity to put an end to their exhausting conflict and at the same time to annoy Hezbollah and isolate Iran.

The Madrid Coalition for promoting the Arab plan recently held a meeting in Antalya (before the flotilla incident ) which included representatives from Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. Prof. Elie Podeh of Hebrew University in Jerusalem was there together with MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima ).

Podeh said Sheetrit, who has supported the initiative almost from day one, has not been able to convince his colleagues in the party to adopt it as the basis for negotiations with our neighbors. Cabinet Minister Avishay Braverman (Labor ) last week called on the his faction in the Knesset to demand of the prime minister that Israel be prepared to begin direct negotiations with the Arabs on the basis of the initiative.

Journalist Samir Ratas, a Palestinian who now lives in Egypt, brought a message to Israel at the conference: “The peace initiative is not an Arab plot to destroy Israel nor is it an ambush. Many years ago, the Arabs recognized your existence.” Ratas departed with two questions in mind: “How many more years will we have to wait until you understand that this initiative is a strategic choice?” And “How many years do you think that it will wait for you?”

The item that was quarantined

The item was broadcast once only. That was on Sunday, May 30, at one in the afternoon, a few hours before the raid on the Turkish ship “Mavi Marmara.” The news broadcast on Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet stated that a number of hospitals reported they had been instructed not to give any information to the media in the event that wounded were brought to them after the flotilla was blocked from entering Israel’s territorial waters. It is not clear why the news item was not mentioned in subsequent broadcasts nor why it did not appear in any other media.

It is clear that among those who were involved in planning the campaign, there were people who were not surprised by the welcome the Israeli soldiers received on board the vessel. For the Turkel committee’s information.

Gossip about Taglit

Last week I took a night train from Ben-Gurion International Airport and I unintentionally became party to a secret about the Taglit-Birthright Israel campaign, that large project that brings tens of thousands of Jewish students from across the globe to Israel. A group of men and women soldiers who had just bade farewell to the students from the Diaspora were discussing excitedly (and at the top of their voices ) how they had spent the last few days in their company.

One of them spoke about a weird Jewish girl who wakes up in the morning and takes an energy pill and later goes to sleep with another pill, this one against depression. Another spoke of a student who one happy night managed to down a dozen bottles of beer

A cheerful girl soldier reported that she had managed to knock the hell out of an American student who said that if an Israeli soldier had been killed on the Turkish ship, “this would have helped Israel’s PR.”

Her colleague added another bit of information about a student “whose mother isn’t Jewish at all and whose father is also not really attached to Judaism and who said he had come here just for the trip.”

On the other hand, another student had said that she had already decided (after 10 days in Israel ) that she would immigrate here. The soldiers all agreed that the meeting with the young Americans had been interesting.

It is obvious that this is not a representative sample of the profile of the 230,000 youngsters from 52 countries (the project was the initiative of Yossi Beilin ) that Taglit-Birthright Israel has brought here over the years.

Thousands of them now live in Israel. The project’s Internet site states that Taglit-Birthright Israel sets up the infrastructure for ambassadors for Israel in the world; that it brings tens of thousands of Jewish students who are cut off from Judaism and Israel for a first educational tour of the land, strengthens their Jewish identity and sends young blood to the Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

Birthright Israel has increased the number of students who come here by 2,000 percent in a short period.

A research team from Brandeis University in Massachusetts found that 64 percent of the graduates of the program feel very attached to their Judaism in the wake of the tour (as compared with 38 percent who felt that way before the tour ) and 55 percent feel very attached to Israel in the wake of the visit (as compared with 22 percent who felt that way before they came). It would be interesting to examine the extent of their connection with Israel and Judaism in another 10 years.

This story is by:

 Akiva Eldar


Haaretz Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Amira Hass / Easing of siege may have negligible effect on Gaza

‘During the past three years I lost all that my father managed to build in 50 years, this is the story of all Gazans.’

By Amira Hass

Tags: Gaza Palestinians Israel news ‘Ketchup won’t bring about the change we want’

The decisions of the Israeli government regarding the easing of the siege on the Gaza Strip were not felt on the ground the day after the decision. The economist Muhammed Skaik, trade officer at the Gaza branch of the Palestinian trade center Paltrade, told Haaretz that improvement and change depend on a number of factors and cannot be measured only by the increase in the number of items permitted to be brought into the Strip.

“Since January this year,” he said, “Israel has added every month or two about 10 items to the list of permitted items. But ketchup, snacks and mayonnaise, for example, which are now permitted, are not essential items that will genuinely change the situation.”

Even if Israel announces tomorrow that it is adding 500 items to the list of what is allowed into the Strip, Skaik said, “we need time in order to assess the change – perhaps a month or two. The market is still full of items brought through the tunnels and it is possible that merchants will not immediately order ‘permitted’ items from Israel – because there are similar items from Egypt.”

From the government’s announcement it is still unclear what kinds and amounts of raw materials for production and construction will be allowed, Skaik says. “If construction materials are allowed in, change will be felt quickly. But if the change focuses only on secondary consumer goods, it will have no effect.”

Attorney Sari Bashi, director of the NGO Gisha that closely follows the restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons and goods, says that as far as is known, the “easing” has not included construction materials or raw materials.

“Continuing the restrictions on the ability to produce will also limit the [Palestinians] buying power,” she said.

Another unanswered question is whether Israel intends to allow the export of goods produced by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, Skaik said. “Even if it allows into the Strip certain raw materials [for example for the textile industry that was always very developed in the Strip, until it was shut down three years ago], there is no point in ordering them if they will not be able to market their products like they did in the past [to Israel and the West Bank].”

In other words, it is possible that the producers will fear investing in the purchase of raw materials if selling outside the Strip is not guaranteed. This is true for the furniture industry and the food and agriculture industries.

Bashi says that if there is no promise of marketing outside the Strip, profitability will be low, which will affect the willingness and ability of producers to hire workers. Without employment the workers will not be able to acquire purchasing power. “Without an increase in buying power in the Strip there is no point in increasing the number of items on the list, because the merchants will not order more goods if they know that the people are unable to buy them.”

There is also the question of whether it will be permitted to import spare parts for machines that broke down because they have been left derelict for so long.

A third unclear variable is the border crossings. “Without the opening of all the crossings, without expanding their hours of operation, there will be little impact on the decision to expand the list [of permissible items],” Skaik said.

“During the past three years I lost all that my father had managed to build in 50 years,” said Fuad Juda, who owns a textile factory his father established in 1960. “This is the story of everyone, not only my story,” he told Haaretz.

This story is by:

 Amira Hass

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