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Archive for February, 2009

We need more food, NOT soldiers

Posted by terres on February 24, 2009

In the north, Afghans fight hunger, not the Taliban

23 Feb 2009

By Jonathon Burch

(Reuters) SANG-I-KHEL, Afghanistan. The United States’ decision to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan will mean little to the people of northern Sang-i-Khel village whose fight is not against Taliban insurgents but against hunger.

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered 17,000 additional U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan to tackle an intensifying insurgency across the south and east of the country.

Yet in the relatively peaceful north, Afghans face a different struggle. Severe drought and soaring food prices have left hundreds of thousands of people facing a daily battle to survive the winter.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says some 280,000 Afghans in the north of the country are suffering from the drought, the worst in a decade, and are unable to meet their basic food needs.

Although not normally part of its mandate, the ICRC has distributed food with the Afghan Red Crescent to some of the worst affected areas, reflecting not only the scale of the crisis but also the lack of aid in this part of the country.

“The ICRC got involved because the need was so great. This is affecting thousands and thousands of people,” said Azim Noorani, an ICRC delegate in northern Afghanistan.

THE “RICH” GET RICHER

While Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, dependent on billions of dollars in foreign aid every year, poverty varies by region. Some areas are much better off than others.

Southern Helmand province, where more than two-thirds of the country’s illicit opium is produced and where the insurgency is strongest, is among the top three richest provinces by most indicators, according to a 2008 report by the United Nations.

Helmand has the highest rate of car ownership in the entire country.

Yet southern provinces such as Helmand get most of the aid despite their relative affluence and their role as the centre of Afghanistan’s estimated $3 billion illicit drugs trade industry.

The U.S. international development agency (USAID) is by far the biggest aid donor in Afghanistan and has pumped millions of dollars into Helmand. If Helmand were a country it would be the fifth largest recipient of USAID funding.

Helmand was pledged $403 per person in aid between 2007-2008 compared to $153 in Balkh, aid agencies said. Neighbouring Sari-i-Pol and Kunduz provinces fared much worse with $53 and $55 per person.

For the people in Sang-i-Khel and surrounding Chemtal district in Balkh province, hundreds of kilometres north of Helmand, life has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. Contact with the outside world is rare and help even rarer.

“We haven’t had any government assistance. They promised us they were going to give us food but they didn’t,” said Mohammad Rafi, 25, at an ICRC food distribution site in Sang-i-Khel.

Although the NATO-led military force has a presence in Balkh, international soldiers are rarely seen in Chemtal, said Rafi, and then only to inquire about security.

Rafi, along with hundreds of other Afghans from the surrounding area, came to Sang-i-Khel last week, some travelling for hours on foot, to collect emergency food rations of rice, beans, oil and tea, donated by the ICRC.

VICIOUS CIRCLE

The ICRC is distributing food to some 30,000 people across three northern provinces where last year’s harvest failed.

“Life is not good. There was nothing last year. No water. No wheat. If there is no water this year, I will have to leave and go to the city. I will become a migrant,” said Habibullah, 45, a farmer in Sang-i-Khel and father of 10.

His face weathered by a lifetime of hardship, Habibullah tells his story while waiting patiently to receive food handouts. Behind him lie fields where the furrows from last year’s ploughing are still visible as nothing grew there.

Afghans have survived drought and famines for centuries. But without long-term development, millions of Afghans are unlikely to break the cycle of poverty and could be susceptible to militant groups that exploit the discontent of poor Afghanis.

The people of Chemtal are locked in a vicious circle. No water means no harvest which means no seeds for planting the following year. Many have left to find work in the city or have either killed or sold what little livestock they had left.

“If we didn’t have this food (handout), I would die,” said Chari, 35, making a cutting gesture across his neck with his finger. (Editing by Megan Goldin). Copyright author or the news agency.

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Posted in Desertification, Food Crisis, opium trade, Severe drought, soaring food prices | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Yes, Israel Is a Terrorist State!

Posted by terres on February 23, 2009

Once Again, Chomsky States the Obvious!

Chomsky On Gaza

By Christiana Voniati  –

16 February, 2009
Source:  Countercurrents.org

Voniati: The international public opinion and especially the Muslim world seem to have great expectations from the historic election of Obama. Can we, in your opinion, expect any real change regarding the US approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Chomsky: Not much. Quite the contrary: it may be harsher than before. In the case of Gaza, Obama maintained silence, he didn’t say a word. He said well there’s only one president so I can’t talk about it. Of course he was talking about a lot of other things but he chose not to talk about this. His campaign did repeat a statement that he had made while visiting Israel six months earlier –he had visited Sderot where the rockets hit- and he said “if this where happening to my daughters, I wouldn’t think of any reaction as legitimate”, but he couldn’t say anything about Palestinian children. Now, the attack on Gaza was at time so that it ended right before the inauguration, which is what I expected. I presume that the point was so that they could make sure that Obama didn’t have to say something, so he didn’t. And then he gave his first foreign policy declaration, it was a couple of days later when he appointed George Mitchell as his emissary, and he said nothing about Gaza except that “our paramount interest is preserving the security of Israel”. Palestine apparently doesn’t have any requirement of security. And then in his declaration he said of course we are not going to deal with Hamas -the elected government the US immediately, as soon as the government was elected in a free election the US and Israel with the help of European Union immediately started severely punishing the Palestinian population for voting in the “wrong way” in a free election and that’s what we mean by democracy. The only substantive comment he made in the declaration was to say that the arab peace plan had constructive elements, because it called for a normalization of relations with Israel and he urged the arab states to proceed with the normalization of relations. Now, he is an intelligent person, he knows that that was not what the arab peace plan said. The arab peace plan called for a two state settlement on the international border that is in accord with the long standing international consensus that the US has blocked for over 30 years and in that context of the two state settlement we should even proceed further and move towards a normalization of relations with Israel. Well, Obama carefully excluded the main content about the two state settlement and just talked about the corollary, for which a two state settlement is a precondition. Now that’s not an oversight, it can’t be. That’s a careful wording, sending the message that we are not going to change their (Israel’s) rejectionist policy. We ‘ll continue to be opposed to the international consensus on this issue, and everything else he said accords with it. We will continue in other words to support Israel’s settlement policies- those policies are undermining any possible opportunity or hope for a viable Palestinian entity of some kind. And it’s a continued reliance on force in both parts of occupied Palestine. That’s the only conclusion you could draw.

Voniati: Let us talk about the timing of the assault on the Gaza Strip. Was it accidental or did it purposefully happen in a vacuum of power? To explain myself, the global financial crisis has challenged the almost absolute US global hegemony. Furthermore, the attack on Gaza was launched during the presidential change of guard. So, did this vacuum of power benefit the Israeli assault on Gaza?

Chomsky: Well, the timing was certainly convenient since attention was focused elsewhere. There was no strong pressure on the president or other high officials of the US to say anything about it. I mean Bush was on his way out, and Obama could hide behind the pretext that he’s not yet in. And pretty much the same was in Europe, so that they could just say, well we can’t talk about it now, it’s too difficult a time. The assault was well chosen in that respect. It was well chosen in other respects too: the bombing began shortly after Hamas had offered a return to the 2005 agreement, which in fact was supported by the US. They said, ok, let’s go back to the 2005 agreement that was before Hamas was elected. That means no violence and open the borders. Closing the borders is a siege, it’s an act of war……… not very harmful but it’s an act of war. Israel of all countries insists on that. I mean Israel went to war twice in 1956 and 1967 on the grounds, it claimed, that its access to the outside world was being hampered. It wasn’t a siege, its access through the Gulf of Aqaba was being hampered. Well if that is an act of war then certainly a siege is, and so it’s understood.

So Khaled Mashaal asked for an end of the state of the war, which would include opening the borders. Well, a couple of days later, when Israel didn’t react to that, Israel attacked. The attack was timed for Saturday morning – the Sabbath day in Israel – at about 11:30, which happens to be the moment when children are leaving school and crowds are miling in the streets of this very heavily crowded city… The explicit target was police cadets… Now, there are civilians, in fact we now know that for several months the legal department of the Israeli army had been arguing against this plan because it said it was a direct attack against civilians. And of course, plenty civilians will be killed if you bomb a crowded city, especially at a time like that. But finally the legal department was sort of bludgeoned into silence by the military so they said alright. So that’s when they opened –on a Sabbath morning. Now two weeks later, Israel – on Saturday as well- blocked the humanitarian aid because they didn’t want to disgrace Sabbath. Well, that’s interesting too. But the main point about the timing was that there was an effort to undercut the efforts for a peaceful settlement and it was terminated just in time to prevent pressure on Obama to say something about it. It’s hard to believe that this isn’t conscious. We know that it was very meticulously planned for many months beforehand.

Voniati: In a recent interview with LBC, you said that the policies of Hamas are more conducive to peace than the US’s or Israel’s.

Chomsky: Oh yes, that’s clear.

Voniati: Also, that the policies of Hamas are closer to international consensus on a political peaceful settlement than those of Israel and the US. Can you explain your stance?

Chomsky: Well for several years Hamas has been very clear and explicit, repeatedly, that they favor a two state settlement on the international border. They said they would not recognize Israel but they would accept a two state settlement and a prolonged truce, maybe decades, maybe 50 years. Now, that’s not exactly the international consensus but it’s pretty close to it. On the other hand, the United States and Israel flatly reject it. They reject it in deeds, that’s why they are building all the construction development activities in the West Bank, not only in violation of international laws, US and Israel know that the illegal constructions are designed explicitly to convert the West Bank into what the architect of the policy, Arial Sharon, called bantustan. Israel takes over what it wants, break up Palestine into unviable fragments. That’s undermining a political settlement. So in deeds, yes of course they are undermining it, but also in words: that goes back to 1976 when the US vetoed the Security Council resolution put forward by the arab states which called for a two state settlement and it goes around until today. In December, last December, at the meetings of the UN’s General Assembly there were many resolutions passed. One of them was a resolution calling for recognition of the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people. It didn’t call for a state, just the right of self-determination. It passed with 173 to 5. The 5 were the US, Israel and a few small pacific islands. Of course that can’t be reported in the US. So they are rejecting it even in words, as well as –more significantly- in acts. On the other hand, Hamas comes pretty close to accepting it. Now, the demand which Obama repeated on Hamas is that they must meet three conditions: they must recognize Israel’s right to exist, they must renounce violence and they must accept past agreements, and in particular the Road Map. Well, what about the US and Israel? I mean, obviously they don’t renounce violence, they reject the Road Map – technically they accepted it but Israel immediately entered 14 reservations (which weren’t reported here) which completely eliminated its content, and the US went along. So the US and Israel completely violate those two conditions, and of course they violate the first, they don’t recognize Palestine. So sure, there’s a lot to criticize about Hamas, but on these matters they seem to be much closer to –not only international opinion- but even to a just settlement than the US and Israel are.

Voniati: On the other hand, Hamas has been accused of using human shields to hide and protect itself. Israel insists that the war was a matter of defense. Is Hamas a terrorist organization, as it is accused to be? Is Israel a terrorist state?

Chomsky: Well, Hamas is accused of using human shields, rightly or wrongly. But we know that Israel does it all the time. Is Israel a terrorist state? Well yes according to official definitions. I mean, one of the main things holding up cease fire right now is that Israel insists that it will not allow a cease fire until Hamas returns a captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit – he’s very famous in the West everybody knows he was captured. Well, one day before Gilad Shalit was captured, Israeli forces went into Gaza City and kidnapped two Palestinian civilians (the Muamar Brothers) and brought them across the border to Israel in violation of international law and hid them somewhere in the huge Israeli prisons. Nobody knows what happened to them since. I mean, kidnapping civilians is a much worse crime than capturing a soldier of an attacking army. And furthermore this has been regular Israeli practice for decades. They’ve been kidnapping civilians in Lebanon or on the high seas…They take them to Israel, put them into prisons, sometimes keeping them as hostages for long periods. So you know, if the capturing of Gilad Shalit is a terrorist act, well, then israel’s regular practice supported by the US is incomparably worse. And that’s quite apart from repeated aggression and other crimes. I don’t like Hamas by any means, there is plenty to criticize about them, but if you compare their actions with US and Israel, they are minor criminals.

Voniati: Though of Jewish decent, you have been repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism. How do you respond?

Chomsky: The most important comment about that was made by the distinguished statesman Abba Eban, maybe 35 years ago, in an address to the American people. He said that there are two kinds of criticism of Zionism (by Zionism I mean the policies of the state of Israel). One is criticism by anti-Semites and the other is criticism by neurotic self-hating Jews. That eliminates 100% of possible criticism. The neurotic self-hating Jews, he actually mentioned two, I was one and I.F. Stone, a well-known writer was another). I mean that’s the kind of thing that would come out of a communist party in its worst days. But you see, I can’t really be called anti-semite because I’m jewish so I must be a neurotic self-hating Jew, by definition. The assumption is that the policies of the state of Israel are perfect, so therefore any kind of criticism must be illegitimate. And that’s from Abba Eban, one of the most distinguished figures in Israel, the most westernised … praised, considered a dove.

Voniati: How do you comment on the Davos incident concerning Erdogan’s verbal attack against Peres?

Chomsky: It was impolite. You are not supposed to behave like that at Davos. But the idea that Peres was given 25 minutes to justify major atrocities and aggression, that’s what’s shocking. Why have that at Davos? I mean, do you allow Saddam Husein in such a gathering to justify the invasion of Kuwait? So Erdogan reacted, in my view, not in accord with the gentile atmosphere of the collection of the people who but basically appropriate under the circumstances.

Voniati: Have you, by any chance, been informed about the Cypriot-flagged vessel “Monchegorsk” that is docked in Limassol and seems to have been carrying weapons to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip? Israel and the United States requested that the vessel be stopped…

Chomsky: I don’t know about the Iranian vessel but I do know that right in the middle of the Gaza attack, Dignity was blocked in international waters and attacked by the Israeli navy and almost sunk. Now, that’s a major crime. That’s much worse than piracy off the coast of Somalia for example. If the Iranian vessel was stopped in international waters, that’s completely illegitimate. Israel has no authority to do anything in international waters. And the talk about not sending arms to Gaza …I mean, do they stop sending arms to Israel? I mean right in the middle of the Gaza war, the pentagon announced that it was sending a huge shipman of armaments to Israel. Did anybody stop that? They should say that those armaments are not intended for use by the Israeli army. The pentagon also announced that they are being prepositioned, that is, that they re being placed in Israel for the use of the US army In other words what they re saying is –and it’s been true for a long time- is that the US regards Israel as an offshore military base of its own, which they can use for their aggressive acts throughout the region.

Christiana Voniati is head of International News Department POLITIS Newspaper, Nicosia, Cyprus.
E-mail: christiana.voniati@politis-news.com
Blogspot: http://www.voniati.blogspot.com

Also mirrored at:  Information Clearing House

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Posted in Davos, Erdogan, License to Kill, Obama, palestine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Army Medic Turned Murderer

Posted by terres on February 21, 2009

US soldier guilty of Iraq murder

BBC UK –  Friday, 20 February 2009

A US soldier has been convicted of murder for his involvement in the killing of four Iraqis who were shot and dumped in a Baghdad canal in 2007.

Sgt Michael Leahy Jr had confessed to investigators that he shot an Iraqi in the back of the head from close range.

His lawyers argued that the stress of being in a conflict zone for so long meant he was unable to reason properly.

But a panel at a court martial in Vilseck, Germany, dismissed the claims and will decide Leahy’s sentence later.

The 28-year-old army medic, from Lockport, Illinois, faces a maximum life term in jail and a dishonourable discharge from the army.

us-army-nat-srvc

BAGHDAD, Iraq (July 5, 2007) – Commander of Multi-National Force – Iraq Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. Army, re-enlists more than 500 U.S. service members during a reenlistment, naturalization and Independence Day ceremony at the Al Faw palace in Baghdad, Iraq, on July 4, 2007. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy, U.S. Army. [Photo not included in the BBC report.]

‘Fear and madness’

The victims were a group of Iraqis who were detained briefly and questioned over an attack on a Baghdad military base.

Leahy was one of a group of soldiers who took detainees away after it was decided there was not enough evidence to charge them.

Blindfolded and gagged, the four were then shot and dumped in a canal.

During interrogation in January 2008, Leahy told military investigators he had shot an Iraqi in the back of the head with a pistol.

The Associated Press reported that a video of the questioning was played at his court-martial hearing in the US army’s Rose Barracks earlier this week.

“The detainee I shot fell back on me,” he was heard to say in the videotape.

His lawyer, Frank Spinner, argued that Leahy went along with the killings because he was dazed from a lack of sleep.

“The tragedy resulted not so much by design but rather the working of fear, danger and madness attendant on many combat operations,” Mr Spinner said in his closing arguments.

But prosecuting lawyer Cpt Derrick Grace said the soldiers could not be allowed to claim that they were protecting themselves “from future harm”.

Leahy was found guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder by the nine-person panel.

Several other soldiers also face charges for involvement in the same incident. Copyright BBC.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7902599.stm

“In October, another US soldier, Specialist Steven Ribordy, was sentenced to eight months in prison for his role in the killings as part of a plea deal.” AFP said.

Posted in Army Medic, Cpt Derrick Grace, murder of Iraqis, Rose Barracks, U.S. Army | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Power of the Holocaust Industry

Posted by terres on February 20, 2009

sent by a reader

The Moderators have no love lost with genocidal presidents, war criminals or mass murderers who invade other people’s country, rape and murder them and destroy their homes and livelihoods. No one in their right mind would condone or excuse the crimes committed by the Nazis some 70 years ago. But Israel is committing genocide against Arabs TODAY!

Stop the Palestinian Holocaust!

The state of Israel, its Jewish supporters, the Zionist mafia and the Holocaust industry, once again, have gone too far!

‘Argentina expels Holocaust bishop’

BBC UK – Thursday, 19 February 2009

The interior ministry said Richard Williamson had been given 10 days to leave Argentina.

Earlier this month the bishop was removed from his post as the head of a Roman Catholic seminary in Argentina.

A row erupted in January after the Pope decided to lift Bishop Williamson’s excommunication on an unrelated matter.

The Vatican said the Pope had been unaware of Bishop Williamson’s views and had since ordered him to recant.

Outrage

Argentina’s interior ministry said on Thursday that Bishop Williamson “has concealed the true motive for his stay in the country”.

He had said he was an employee of a non-governmental group rather than declaring “his true activity” as the director of a seminary, the ministry stated.

Bishop Williamson’s views on the Holocaust have provoked outrage.

“I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against, six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler,” he said in a recent interview for Swedish TV.

The controversy made headlines worldwide after the Pope lifted an excommunication order on the bishop and three of his colleagues who were appointed by a breakaway archbishop more than 20 years ago.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who died in 1991, had rebelled against liberal reforms in the [infamous] Church [of disrepute], such as the ending of the Latin Mass.

[The duplicitous] Pope Benedict later met American Jewish leaders at the Vatican in a display of solidarity with victims of the Nazi genocide.  Copyright BBC.

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Posted in argentina, Pope Benedict, Richard Williamson, Vatican, Zionist mafia | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Israel Awards Tony Blair Million-Dollar Prize

Posted by terres on February 19, 2009

Israelis pay Tony Blair ¢50 for each Iraqi and Afghani citizen as well as every US and UK soldier that he has helped to murder or maim to date

For his services to the state of Israel, including his participation in the invasion of Iraq, and for committing war crimes and the crime of genocide against Iraqis, Blair will receive the Dan David prize.


War Criminal Friar Tony Blair disguised as a peace envoy.
Original caption: Tony Blair at at the headquarters of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP. Image may be subject to copyright

Tony Blair’s service to the illegitimate state of Israel, while acting as the British prime minister, was diametrically opposite to the interest of British people.

Blair who has been appointed as a Middle East peace envoy, will receive the Dan David prize for “his exceptional leadership and steadfast determination in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict” in a ceremony at Tel Aviv University on May17, 2009.

Blair is an envoy of the international Quartet on the Middle East peace process, which comprises the US, EU, UN and Russia. But it remains a mystery as to who actually appointed the war criminal to the position.

The million-dollar  prize is a far cry from the traditional 30 pieces of silver, but you have to allow for inflation and the total numbers killed, of course.

According to the UK’s Guardian, “his entry as a Dan David laureate on the prize’s website hails him as ‘one of the most outstanding statesmen of our era.'”

“It praises his role in the Northern Ireland peace process and his ‘steadfast determination and morally courageous leadership [sic]’ over Kosovo.” Guardian wrote.

“But there is no mention of the divisive decision to support the US-led invasion of Iraq.”

Adding from his citation: “Early in his prime ministership, he came to two beliefs that guide him to today: first, that it is a mistake for the world to wait for America to solve all of the tough questions [the nickname ‘Bush’s poodle’ was coincidental,] and second, that there are some things a state may do within its borders that justify intervention even if the actions do not directly threaten another nation’s interests.” [He made the Iraqis an offer they couldn’t refuse!]

In December 2007, this Moderator asked: Would the War Criminal Tony Blair Be Beatified or Canonized Next? Whatever the case, the cabal is first transforming him into a multimillionaire.

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425 words

Posted in Dan David Prize, international Quartet, Israel, peace envoy, Tel Aviv University | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Israeli Landgrab in Gaza: A Definite Possibility

Posted by terres on February 19, 2009

Image of the Day: Preparing for Israeli land grab


Palestinians warm themselves by a fire, as others take cover from the rain, under the ruins of their destroyed house in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip February 17, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem. Image may be subject to copyright.

Posted in gaza holocaust, Gaza massacre, GENOCIDE, Israeli Occupation Forces, mass murder | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Defending Torture?

Posted by terres on February 15, 2009

Americans Want Torture Inquiry, Obama Doesn’t

By Thomas R. Eddlem

(New American Magazine ). A Gallup Poll released February 12 revealed that 62 percent of Americans want to investigate or criminally prosecute Bush administration officials who authorized torture in the so-called “war on terror.” But even though President Obama has said numerous times that “nobody’s above the law,” on February 10 he used the Bush administration’s “state secrets” gambit to quash a lawsuit attempting to penalize some of those involved in renditioning torture subjects.

That lawsuit sought damages against a private airline used by the CIA to rendition low-value suspects for torture by dictatorial regimes abroad. One of the five plaintiffs, Benyam Muhammed (a British and Ethiopian citizen), alleged he was renditioned to Morocco where torturers made razor cuts on his penis. The lawsuit alleges that San Jose-based Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. should have known that its planes were being used to ferry suspects for torture and is therefore liable for damages.

But because the Obama administration invoked the “state secrets” policy at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the lawsuit’s likelihood of revealing felony torture on the part of Bush officials is now remote.

“This is not change,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero correctly told the Associated Press. “Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama’s Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue.”

The Obama policy in San Francisco also drew a rare condemnation of a Democrat from the New York Times editorial page.

The Gallup Poll came just two weeks after it was revealed that the Obama administration’s Justice Department has dispatched several government lawyers to defend Bush-era Justice Department official John Yoo from a lawsuit by torture victim Jose Padilla.

Jordan Paust of the University of Houston Law Center calls giving Justice Department lawyers to alleged international war criminals “an outrage and constitute an embarrassing embrace of international criminal conduct that the international community has demanded must result in absolutely no form of impunity.” Paust says that alleged criminals should bear the costs of their own defense, and notes there is a long historical case for this. At “a 1781 Resolution of the Continental Congress, the Founders expected that ‘the author of … injuries [that are “offenses against the law of nations”] should compensate the damage out of his private fortune.’”

President Obama’s actions are fast diverging from his public rhetoric.

Posted in CIA, Jeppesen DataPlan Inc., John Yoo, Jose Padilla, Justice Department | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Another routine day for British injustice

Posted by terres on February 13, 2009

As predicted, the Crown Prosecution Service will NOT prosecute any police officer over the cold-blood murder of of Jean Charles de Menezes.

“Stephen O’Doherty, the lawyer who led the CPS review, said: ‘I have now concluded that there is insufficient evidence that any offence was committed by any individual officers in relation to the tragic death of Mr de Menezes.'” BBC reported.

Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot dead assassination style by Britain’s secret police at Stockwell Tube station in south London in

Yasmin Khan, a lawyer and spokeswomanfor the Justice 4 Jean campaign described the CPS decision as “morally reprehensible and legally wrong.”

It’s hard to see how the Cowardly Lion could have possibly found sufficient evidence about the murder.

RIP Jean Charles de Menezes, you were born in the ‘wrong’  country!

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Posted in Brazil, Justice 4 Jean campaign, London, Stockwell Tube | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Image of the Day: Back to school in Gaza

Posted by terres on February 9, 2009

Schools reopen in Gaza


Palestinian students study outside  a tent used as makeshift classroom,  in Rafah, south Gaza on January 25, 2009. Their school, destroyed by Israel’s devastating three-week attack on Gaza, reopened in on Saturday. (UPI Photo/Ismael Mohamad). Image may be subject to copyright.

Posted in crimes against humanity, human rights, Israel war crimes, Israeli attack on Gaza | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Time to Abolish the War Racket

Posted by terres on February 6, 2009

More soldiers Committed Suicide than Killed in Combat

The Army has released figures showing as many as 24 soldiers may have committed suicide in January 2009. [Only five soldiers committed suicide in January 2008.]

The suicide count for last month, if confirmed, would exceed the number US soldiers killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same period.

“In January, we lost more soldiers to suicide than to Al Qaeda,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “If we lost this many soldiers to an enemy weapon, the entire country would know about it and we would demand defensive measures.”

The Suicide rate among soldiers rose for the fourth consecutive year in 2008, with at least 128 soldiers killing  themselves last year (compared to a previous record of 115 in 2007). With an additional 15 deaths suspected as suicides, the toll for 2008 could reach 143.

“The Army said the figures equal a rate of 20.2 suicides for every 100,000 soldiers. That is higher than the last available civilian rate of 19.5 suicides per 100,000 people with similar age and demographic backgrounds, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported for 2005.” Reuters reported.

The U.S. Marine Corps reported a 24 percent increase in suicides among the Marines, a total of 41 cases in 2008, up from 33 in 2007.

Please Support the Human Rights and Anti-Militarism Campaigns: Endorse the Petitions and Forward Widely!

1. Stop the War Racket; Demilitarize the World!

4. Demand International Criminal Tribunal for Israel!.

Posted in news, soldier suicide, U.S. Marine Corps, US war of Aggression, Victory In Iraq | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Plight of Gazans amid Israel’s Scorched Earth Policy

Posted by terres on February 6, 2009

Thousands of Gazans survivors are forced to live in tents after Israel’s three-week murderous campaign of bombing and shelling obliterated their homes. Refugees in their own country, they subsist on what little food Israel allows to reach them, less than a tenth of what they need!

Homeless Palestinians squeeze into tents in Gaza

By Andrew Hammond

HAY AL-SALAM, Gaza Strip, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Thousands of Palestinians are living in tented camps after Israel’s three-week assault on the Gaza Strip, hoping for a swift end to Israel’s blockade so they can rebuild their homes.

Palestinian women sit in front of tents near their destroyed house in Jabalya, in the northern Gaza Strip, February 4, 2009. Picture taken February 4, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA). Image may be subject to copyright.

Aid workers said on Thursday at least 16,000 people have found temporary accommodation in 10 camps set up in districts laid to waste in a war that local medical officials said left around 1,300 Palestinians dead and more than 5,000 wounded.

But conditions are cramped, with several thousands of tents held up at border crossings from Israel into the Gaza Strip.

Israel has limited supplies into the coastal enclave since Hamas Islamists took control in fighting with the Fatah group of U.S.-backed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“I worked for 28 years as a teacher in the United Arab Emirates and I put it all into this house,” said Yousef Abu Eida, pointing to a collapsed concrete mass behind the tents in the Hay al-Salam district of Jabalya refugee camp.

“I lost everything.”

Aid agencies have handed out blankets for the cold nights, when the camp residents gather around log fires. So far, latrines have only been installed in some of them.

But with no formal ceasefire in place between Israel and Hamas, they say they don’t feel safe. The Israeli border is visible only a short distance away.

“We can’t sleep at night. We’re afraid the tanks will come back. They (Israelis) say they want this area as a ‘safe zone’. People are frightened,” said Bashir Khidr, who shares a tent with 20 other people.

COLLAPSED HOMES

As he talks, children navigate the concrete slabs and twisted iron and steel of collapsed homes.

Building materials are banned because Israel says they could be used for making rockets fired into its south.

“We ask European and Arab countries to open the crossings to allow building materials in and humanitarian needs to give shelter to thousands,” said Diab Dhumeida, a charity volunteer.

He said 450 families lost homes in the Salam district and another 340 tents are needed to give each a space of their own.

Aid pledged by countries around the world has only trickled in pending a deal between Israel, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, which borders Gaza on the south.

Khalil Abufoul, head of disaster management unit at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, said that 800 to 1,000 trucks used to enter the territory daily before the 2007 Israeli blockade.

“During the war it fell to 50 to 60 trucks a day — now it’s about 100 to 120 for different organisations and companies,” Abufoul said. “For me this is not humanitarian access, you need more flow than before but the flow is very little.” (Editing by Samia Nakhoul). Copyright Reuters.

Posted in humanitarian needs, Israeli blockade, Jabalya refugee camp, Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Salam district | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Windmills; NOT Toxic Spills

Posted by terres on February 6, 2009

Submitted by: [MJ info] Power Past Coal Weekly Update! Save Coal River Mountain:

There were 26 actions on coal issues during the first 14 days of Power Past Coal! We are well on track to having one or more actions in all 50 states! As the New York Times said, it was A Tough Week for Coal.

Please get involved and register your events working for clean energy and against the injustices of the coal industry on www.powerpastcoal.org.


Protesters chained themselves to an excavator at a coal operation in West Virginia on Tuesday. (Photo: West Virginia Blue/Flickr). Image may be subject to copyright.

Friends,

Yesterday, fourteen Appalachian citizens were arrested on CoalRiverMountain in Whitesville, West Virginia while defending their community from a blast that would destroy the area’s wind potential and risk another sludge spill. For two years, residents of CoalRiverValley have advocated a clean alternative to mountaintop removal: a wind farm that would provide nearly two-thousand new jobs and keep energy tax dollars invested in the local community.

But West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin has ignored these pleas, and Massey Energy Company is prepared to blast CoalRiverMountain any day.

You can help CoalRiver citizens take their fight to Washington. Emails are helpful, but calls are even better. Think of CoalRiverMountain as a symbol of our nation’s challenge – in the heart of coal country, this mountain is where a true transition from old, dirty coal to clean, just energy begins.

But stories like this one are surfacing in all corners of the country. In the first fourteen days of Power Past Coal, we’ve seen twenty-six actions in fifteen different states. In Odem, Texas, Fernando Rocha has taken up the fight for a cleaner alternative to a power plant planned thirty miles south of his neighborhood. In Great Falls, Montana, regulatory concerns and lawsuits have convinced energy developers to scrap plans for a coal plant – they’ll build a wind farm and natural gas facility instead. And in a flurry of activity across Appalachia, communities have gathered to lobby their local leaders on issues from sludge safety to energy efficiency.

There are countless ways you can be part of the Power Past Coal movement. Start or join an action as part of these first 100 Days. Come to Powershift. Tell your friends and neighbors about Power Past Coal. Write a letter to the editor. Spread this letter far and wide.

This project works when it’s powered by people like you.

Sierra, and the Power Past Coal team

Posted in Arch Coal, Great Falls, Jennifer Granholm, Massey Energy, Rising Tide Boston | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Israeli Tank Fire Kills Three Sisters and a Cousin

Posted by terres on February 5, 2009

Israel: Murder of four teenage girls was “reasonable”

Israeli tanks fired two shells into a Palestinian doctor’s house in Gaza killing three of his daughters—aged 13 to 19—and his niece, 17, wounding another daughter.


Israel continues to exercise its right to murder Palestinian children as the ‘Pirates of Davos’ applaud.

“Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Gazan and a doctor who has devoted his life to medicine and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.” A report said.

The devastated Palestinian father said: “I hope that my children will be the last price.”

The Israeli military called the coldblooded murder “reasonable.”

Related Links:

Posted in Gaza, illegal occupation, Israeli Occupation Forces, palestine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thailand Human Rights Breaches Confirmed

Posted by msrb on February 4, 2009

Myanmar migrants say cast adrift by Thais

Agence France-Presse (AFP) 03 Feb 2009

IDI RAYEUK, Indonesia, Feb 3, 2009 (AFP) – Myanmar boat people found off Indonesia said Tuesday they had been towed out to sea and set adrift by Thai forces, fuelling allegations which have severely embarrassed Bangkok.

About 200 men from Myanmar’s minority Muslim Rohingya community were found huddled in a boat off the northern tip of Sumatra island on Monday, Indonesian navy officer Tedi Sutardi told AFP.

They said they had spent three weeks adrift after the Thais beat them and dumped as many as 10 wooden boats far out to sea with no motors and hardly any provisions after seeking refuge in Thailand.

Human rights groups have said nearly 1,000 Rohingya landed on Thai shores late last year, before being towed out to sea in separate batches with few supplies. Thailand denies any wrongdoing.

One of the survivors told AFP about 20 people on the boat he was in had died during the journey.

“We were caught by the Thai military along with 1,000 other Rohingya people. We were brought to an island and stayed there for two months before being thrown out to sea on wooden boats without engines,” Rahmat, 43, told AFP in a hospital in East Aceh less than a day after being rescued.

“During the journey about 20 people among us died because there was no food and water. We performed prayers in the boat for them before we threw the bodies into the sea… Almost every day someone would die.”

Fishermen found their boat, which was held together with ropes, and handed the migrants over to the Indonesian navy.

About 650 Rohingya migrants were found drifting in Indonesian and Indian waters in January. Scores may still be at sea or dead.

Thailand has vehemently denied the allegations but the latest batch of migrants to have washed up on Sumatra tell identical stories to the 174 who arrived on January 7.

“They said Thai authorities towed them out to sea and set them adrift,” Sutardi said of the people rescued this week.

They also showed scars from beatings they said they had received at the hands of the Thais, he said.

Migrants found off Sumatra on January 7 also bore scars which they said had been inflicted with wooden sticks and rifle butts.

A doctor at the hospital in East Aceh said 56 migrants were being treated for “severe dehydration and trauma.”

Sutardi said the Bengali-speaking migrants claimed they had left their homes in Myanmar’s western Arakan state because they were being forced to embrace Buddhism.

They said the military authorities in the mainly Buddhist country chopped their fingers off if they tried to pray, according to the navy officer.

Father-of-three Rahmat said that while he feared persecution by the Myanmar authorities, he had left his family to seek work in Thailand.

“I’m not going back to Myanmar… we’ll surely be imprisoned for 10 to 20 years. I want to stay here and work. Indonesia can’t force me to go back,” he said.

“Myanmar is a Buddhist country. We Muslims don’t want to follow the infidels there.”

Myanmar’s military rulers effectively deny citizenship rights to the Rohingya, leading to discrimination and abuse and contributing to a regional humanitarian crisis as hundreds try to flee the country by boat every year.

Thailand and Indonesia treat the Rohingya as economic migrants despite pressure from the United Nations refugee agency and independent rights groups to grant them fair and transparent asylum hearings.

Jakarta has said the migrants found on January 7 probably will be repatriated to Myanmar despite their fears of persecution. A foreign ministry spokesman would not comment on the allegations of the latest arrivals.

Indonesia has denied the UN refugee agency access to those who arrived on January 7 and has tried to prevent journalists from interviewing them. It has also refused to comment on their claims of abuse by Thai security forces.

Amnesty International has demanded that Thailand “stop forcibly expelling Rohingyas” and urged regional governments to grant them fair hearings.

Copyright (c) 2009 Agence France-Presse

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Posted in Amnesty International, Buddhism, human rights, Sumatra island, western Arakan state | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A biblical ban on surrendering the world to gentiles

Posted by terres on February 2, 2009

“Zionist founders of Israel drew much of their ‘inspiration’ from Nazi ideology”

The Final Solution is a No-State Solution

By William Bowles

January 31, 2009 “Creative -I URL: http://www.creative-i.info/ ” — It was either in 1941 or maybe 1942 that the Nazis implemented the ‘Final Solution’, the extermination of all ‘non-Aryan’ peoples that included not only the Jews but also the Roma and the Serbs. So the term Holocaust is not copyright © the Jewish ‘race’ in spite of their appropriation of the Upper case.

The numbers are not important, let the historians and researchers argue over whether it was five or six million Jews or whether it was half-a-million or two million Roma who ‘went up the chimney’ [1] (I don’t have a number for the Serbs, but perhaps a million died at the hands of the Croatian Ustase, the local Nazis in the then Yugoslavia, as well as at the hands of German Nazi occupiers).

What is important about the ‘Final Solution’ is that it was a state-sponsored project to not only entirely eradicate ‘non-Aryans’ but to erase all traces of their existence; their history, their cultures and languages, what today we call genocide. An apt lesson for the creation of the state of Israel, that for its creation, also required the total removal of all things non-Jewish.

The parallels with the Nazi state are so obvious yet not alluded to at all in the current tragedy of the Palestinian people, but Eretz (Greater) Israel flows from the same source, the imperial urge to expand and subdue, to exterminate all that is non ‘Jewish’ in the land that is Palestine.

And it doesn’t require much digging around in the history books to find that the Zionist founders of Israel drew much of their ‘inspiration’ from Nazi ideology in the 1930s.

“Zionism convicts itself. On June 21, 1933, the German Zionist Federation sent a secret memorandum to the Nazis:

“Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an abnormal occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not rooted in one’s own tradition. Zionism recognized decades ago that as a result of the assimilationist trend, symptoms of deterioration were bound to appear, which it seeks to overcome by carrying out its challenge to transform Jewish life completely.

“It is our opinion that an answer to the Jewish question truly satisfying to the national state can be brought about only with the collaboration of the Jewish movement that aims at a social, cultural and moral renewal of Jewry–indeed, that such a national renewal must first create the decisive social and spiritual premises for all solutions.

“Zionism believes that a rebirth of national life, such as is occurring in German life through adhesion to Christian and national values, must also take place in the Jewish national group. For the Jew, too, origin, religion, community of fate and group consciousness must be of decisive significance in the shaping of his life. This means that the egotistic individualism which arose in the liberal era must be overcome by public spiritedness and by willingness to accept responsibility.”

Thus from the getgo we see the idea of ‘racial purity’ embedded in the Zionist project. Avraham Stern of the infamous Stern Gang and his followers announced that

“The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:

1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.

2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed folkish-national Hebraium would be possible and,

3. The establishment of the historic Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.

Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany’s side.”

Brenner concludes this section by saying,

“They hanged people all over Europe after WW II for notes to the Nazis like these. But these treasons against the Jews were virtually unknown in the run up to the creation of the Zionist state in May 1948.” — ‘51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis’ by LENNI BRENNER, Counterpunch 22 December, 2002 – http://www.counterpunch.org/brenner1223.html

That such collaboration took place should not come as a surprise given the history of Zionism and the concept of ‘racial purity’ that Zionism and Nazism held in common (this not to say that Zionism and Nazism were the only exponents of the doctrine of ‘racial purity’).

In any case, is there such a thing as the Jewish race? After all, both Jews and Arabs from the Middle East and North Africa are all Semites. My mother used to quote a Jewish joke, ‘A Jew is just an Arab on horseback’. The same cannot be said for most of the European Jews who constitute the majority in Occupied Palestine.

The twists and turns of Zionism are a wonder to behold. Am I Jewish by ‘race’, religion or culture, for Zionism conflates the three to the point where it is impossible to disentangle them.

Defenders of Israel argue that Stern and co. do not represent the views of the majority of Jews who settled in Palestine a view which may or may not be true but frankly it’s neither here nor there as those who led the occupation were adherents to Stern’s view of Palestine as “the Jewish Nation Lawful Owner of the Land of Israel, and the Palestinian Arabs, its Unlawful Occupiers”, as a letter I received today, put it.

Thus the important point here is that from the day Israel was founded in 1948 its driving force has been the creation of a ‘racially pure’ state for the ‘Chosen People’ and as such, the removal by one means or another of the original inhabitants inevitably led to the slaughter we have witnessed in the Gaza Strip.

One can only come to the conclusion that the destruction of the physical infrastructure of the Gaza Strip, let alone the thousands of dead and injured, is intended to make the place uninhabitable leaving only the West Bank as the putative Palestinian state.

So Israel too, has its ‘Final Solution’ for the Palestinians of which the assault on Gaza was the coda, following sixty years of ‘softening up’, leaving only a ‘mopping up’ operation for the West Bank, of which around 66% is already in the hands of Israel’s frontline Fascist shock troops, the settlers, armed to the teeth and mostly immigrants from the US.

Two-state solution? How about a no-state Final Solution? The obscene destruction of Gaza, witnessed by the entire world (in spite of the BBC and other corporate/state media’s attempt to blank it out), was as brazen as anything undertaken by the Nazis, perhaps more so given that it was done in the name of all Jews, everywhere. Never again? Gimme a break!

But how did such a situation come to pass?

The dominant view in the West is that Israel, because of the history of the persecution of the Jews is entitled to ‘defend’ itself by whatever means it has at its disposal. The Jews (or Israel or the Zionists, take your pick) therefore, constitute a ‘special case’, whereas the Palestinians do not.

But how can there be one law for Israel and none for the Palestinians, best illustrated by the current furore surrounding the BBC’s refusal to air the aid appeal, for buried in the refusal is the idea that the Palestinians are less than human thus not entitled to humanitarian assistance.

And why are they less than human? Because they resist and thus must be bombed into submission. For proof we need only look at the language used by media outlets like the BBC which regularly describes Palestinians who resist as “terrorists” or “militants” and by implication all the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip are therefore not deserving of aid for they too are “terrorists” or “militants”. What other conclusion can be arrived at when the BBC decides that showing an appeal video would compromise their ‘impartiality’?

Is the Israeli ‘Defence’ Force ever described as an army of occupation or its actions as terroristic when it showers phosphorus or ‘flechette’ bombs on schools, hospitals and homes?

It appears then that the Palestinians got what they deserved for not submitting, for not surrendering and by implication, there are no innocent Palestinians.

Chris Hedges in a piece for Truth Dig [http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090126_with_gaza_journalists_fail_again/] talking about US media coverage of the destruction of Gaza but it could equally well apply to the BBC, wrote,

“We retreated, as usual, into the moral void of American journalism, the void of balance and objectivity. The ridiculous notion of being unbiased, outside of the flow of human existence, impervious to grief or pain or anger or injustice, allows reporters to coolly give truth and lies equal space and airtime. Balance and objectivity are the antidote to facing unpleasant truths, a way of avoidance, a way to placate the powerful. We record the fury of a Palestinian who has lost his child in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza but make sure to mention Israel’s “security needs,” include statements by Israeli officials who insist there was firing from the home or the mosque or the school and of course note Israel’s right to defend itself. We do this throughout the Middle East.” — ‘With Gaza, Journalists Fail Again’.

This is the ‘balanced’ and ‘impartial’ journalism that the BBC speaks of when it tries to justify why it refuses to show the video.[2]

Notes

1. The term ‘up the chimney’ was used by people who lived near Nazi death camps, in some instances as a threat to frighten children who misbehaved and is often cited as proof that ordinary Germans knew exactly what was going on in the concentration camps.

2. See Sarah Gillepsie: ‘The BBC and the transformation of suffering into propaganda’  –   http://www.creative-i.info/?p=4304

Postscript:

A report in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz (26 January, 2009) – [ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1058758.html ] illustrates the corrosive nature of the Zionist ideology masquerading it seems to me as being a message directly from God. Titled ‘IDF rabbinate publication during Gaza war: We will show no mercy on the cruel’, it contains the following quotes circulated to IDF troops involved in the destruction of Gaza, the first by Rabbi Aviner,

“Is it possible to compare today’s Palestinians to the Philistines of the past? And if so, is it possible to apply lessons today from the military tactics of Samson and David? … A comparison is possible because the Philistines of the past were not natives and had invaded from a foreign land … They invaded the Land of Israel, a land that did not belong to them and claimed political ownership over our country … Today the problem is the same. The Palestinians claim they deserve a state here, when in reality there was never a Palestinian or Arab state within the borders of our country. Moreover, most of them are new and came here close to the time of the War of Independence.” [my emph. Ed.]

Another is an excerpt from a publication entitled “Daily Torah studies for the soldier and the commander in Operation Cast Lead,” issued by the IDF rabbinate.

“[There is] a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter of it [the Land of Israel] to gentiles, though all sorts of impure distortions and foolishness of autonomy, enclaves and other national weaknesses. We will not abandon it to the hands of another nation, not a finger, not a nail of it.”

In another, circulated amongst IDF troops but not an ‘official’ publication of the IDF’ rabbinate,

“In addition to the official publications, extreme right-wing groups managed to bring pamphlets with racist messages into IDF bases. One such flyer is attributed to “the pupils of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg” – the former rabbi at Joseph’s Tomb and author of the article “Baruch the Man,” which praises Baruch Goldstein, who massacred unarmed Palestinians in Hebron. It calls on “soldiers of Israel to spare your lives and the lives of your friends and not to show concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us. We call on you … to function according to the law ‘kill the one who comes to kill you.’ As for the population, it is not innocent … We call on you to ignore any strange doctrines and orders that confuse the logical way of fighting the enemy.” [my emph. Ed.]

Copyright William Bowles. Visit Bowles’s website http://www.creative-i.info/ for Gaza Images and details of some of Israeli war criminals involved in the so-called “Operation Cast Lead.

Posted in Israeli war criminals, Nazi ideology, racial purity, Yitzhak Ginsburg, Zionism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »