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Sun

04

Jul

2010

U.S. Doctors Approved Torture And Denied Medicine To Captives
by Sherwood Ross

American doctors in the Middle East routinely approved the torture of captured suspects and denied them critical medications such as insulin, sometimes with lethal consequences, according to a documented report published in the “Utne Reader.”

In Dec., 2002, Defense Secy. Donald Rumsfeld issued a directive allowing interrogators to withhold medical care in nonemergency situations so that “men with injuries including gunshot wounds were denied treatment as a way to make them talk,” writes author Justine Sharrock. Although the directive was soon revoked, “the practice continued,” she said.

Interrogations conducted at the infamous Abu Ghraib correctional facility in Baghdad had to be preapproved by a physician and psychiatrist, and the CIA got like orders for the punishments it inflicted at its sites.

Sharrock quotes medic Andrew Duffy of the 134th medical company of the Iowa National Guard who told her the attitude of Abu Ghraib’s medical officers toward prisoners was “screw these guys” and who said he was ridiculed for trying to save one man’s life using CPR.

Long after the world-shaking Abu Ghraib photos were published in 2004 and the Pentagon vowed to stop abusing prisoners, “men were still being strapped into restraint chairs and left in the sun for hours or locked in cells too small to lie down in,” Sharrock writes. “The medics regularly found prisoners dehydrated, wrists bloody from overtight handcuffs, ankles swollen from forced standing, joints dislocated from stress positions.” (Abu Ghraib’s former commandant Gen. Janis Karpinski once estimated 90% of the prisoners were innocent.)

In one instance involving detainee No. 173379 who appeared to need an insulin injection, medics were told to inject the man instead with saline solution using a 14-gauge needle more than two millimeters in diameter of the sort that was used as punishment or to discourage prisoners from seeking care, MP’s doused him with pepper spray and stuck him in a tiny cell in the scorching heat, Sharrock writes, and he died the next day. Duffy’s written complaint to his supervising captain disappeared.

Pentagon top health official doctor William Winkenwerder Jr. in 2005 allowed military physicians to participate in torture and share medical records with interrogators so long as a detainee wasn’t officially their patient, Sharrock writes. Winkenwerder, she adds, got an award from the American Medical Assn.(AMA) that year for outstanding contributions “to the betterment of the public health.” The AMA has refused to condemn Pentagon and CIA torture practices and made no response when in Feb., 2006, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights condemned U.S. doctors for having “systematically” participated in detainee abuse. Bioethicist Steven Miles of the University of Minnesota Medical School said the U.N. condemnation should have been “a call to arms” yet “the AMA said nothing.”

Sharrock said none of the AMA’s top officials she contacted would comment on her story. Nor has any State licensing board, which have the authority to suspend licenses, “ever disciplined a doctor for assisting in military torture.

As for the American Psychiatric Assn., in May, 2006, its President Steven Sharfstein noted that psychiatrists “wouldn’t get into trouble” if they heeded military orders over the APA’s advice that members should not directly assist in interrogations, which he added should not be considered “an ethical rule,” Sharrock writes. Her Utne Reader article was first published in Mother Jones magazine.

Award-winning journalist Sherwood Ross formerly reported for wire services and major dailies, including the Miami Herald and New York Herald-Tribune. Reach him at sherwoodross10@gmail.com
 
 

Tue

06

Jul

2010

Atzmon And Siegel In Rochester And Geneva By Dan Mcgowan
by Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון‎, born June 9, 1963) is a jazz musician, author and anti-Zionist activist who was born in Israel and currently lives in London.
"Anti-Semite is an empty signifier, no one actually can be an Anti-Semite and this includes me of course. In short, you are either a racist - which I am not - or have an ideological disagreement with Zionism... which I have."
He was born a secular Israeli Jew in Tel Aviv, and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. His service in the Israeli military convinced him Israel had become a militarized state controlled by religious extremists. In 1994, Atzmon emigrated from Israel to London, where he studied philosophy. Atzmon is an anti-Zionist who critiques Jewish identity issues and supports the Palestinian Right of Return as well as the establishment of a single state in Israel/Palestine. He is a signatory to the "Palestinians are the Priority Petition" which states “full and unconditional support of the Palestinian people is a condition sine qua non for activists to adopt.
Within the borders controlled today by Israel (that is, all the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River) there already exists a single state.  It has one electrical grid, one road system, one monetary authority, one postal authority, one water system, etc.”
- Dan McGowan
Following is Dan McGowan’s report of  my first two public engagements  in the  USA (Rochester and Geneva). In these two meetings I shared platform with Rich Siegel, an incredible musician, a genuine humanist and a friend.  In recent years Rich made an unusual journey. He drifted away from Zionism. He is now engaged in the deepest level of  Palestinian solidarity activism. His voice is invaluable.

Following the impact of our recent collaboration, Rich and myself plan to tour around the world together and spread the necessary message.

A lot of videos and interviews will be posted on this page in the coming days. For the time being I will just mention that the change of mood in the USA is very encouraging . I am  optimistic!!!

Peace
Gilad

Atzmon and Siegel in Rochester and Geneva

by Dan McGowan

The dialogue and jazz performances by Gilad Atzmon and Rich Siegel in Rochester and in Geneva were a great success in spite of Zionist attempts to silence them and our organization, Deir Yassin Remembered. Both events drew “a full house” with audiences saying how much they enjoyed meeting Rich and Gilad. Typical was one gentleman who wrote,” To hear your individual stories and your political analyses, combined with world-class music, doesn't get much better.”
 

Tue

06

Jul

2010

The Glory of White Wing Politics
by Sheila Samples
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress...but then, I repeat myself."
- Mark Twain
Much has been written — argued heatedly by ideological TV pundits — over the past several years about the inability of members of Congress to agree on anything. Republicans stomp around like elephants in a china closet, shouting "No! No! Hell No!" no matter what legislation comes before them. Democrats, in a timid effort to reach across the aisle, stumble and fall down, where they just sit, plaintively begging, "Please don't hurt me..."

Both parties are adrift; cut loose from their moorings — in total disarray. Much of the chaos is a result of the previous administration lighting a myriad of fuses before slinking into the shadows, setting off a string of political and financial explosions designed to blow this republic all to hell. What they failed to consider — and what the bumbling members of Congress have yet to realize is — when the ship of state sinks, everybody on board is going down with it.

Which appears to be what the race-baiting Rush Limbaugh, the self-appointed "leader" of the Republican Party, is feverishly attempting to provoke. Anybody who doubts that Limbaugh hasn't been in racist meltdown since 2007 when it became obvious that Barack Obama was a threat to White-Wing Limbaughesque "values" just hasn't been paying attention. Throughout the campaign — from constantly airing the insulting Barack, the Magic Negro jingle to calling Obama and actress Halle Berry "Halfrican-Americans," to accusing Obama of "disowning his white half and deciding to go all in on the black side" — Limbaugh led the pack.

And he still does. Republicans are united in support of the"I Hope He Fails" Limbaugh Doctrine which El Rushbo announced as millions of relieved — even giddy — Americans gathered at the nation's capitol for Obama's inauguration. Just a day later, Limbaugh hit the racist trail, telling Fox's Sean Hannity...
"[r]acism in this country is the exclusive province of the left. We're witnessing racism all this week that led up to the inauguration. We're being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles. Bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president. We've got to accept this. The racism that everybody thinks exists on our side of the aisle has been on full display throughout their primary campaign. So I think they've done a great job, the media has, of covering up his deficiencies."
 

Tue

06

Jul

2010

Ahmad Sa'adat: A Palestinian Prisoner of Conscience
by Stephen Lendman

Detailed information about him can be accessed through the following link.

He's the 1967-founded Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's (PFLP) General Secretary, one of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, sentenced in 2002 to 30 years in prison "for a range of 'security-related' political offenses,' " including his prominence in a prohibited organization, a 1993 document stating that:

"The strategic aim of the PFLP's struggle alongside the other forces of the Palestinian revolution is to liberate Palestine from Zionist colonial occupation. The PFLP aims for the establishment of a democratic state on the entire Palestinian land, with its capital in Jerusalem. This state would guarantee legal rights and equality of opportunity to all citizens, without discrimination on the grounds of religion, sex, belief or color. It would oppose Zionism and imperialism and be oriented towards democratic unity with other Arab countries."

"Achieving this aim presupposes a radical solution for the Palestinian national cause and readiness to wage a prolonged, complicated and difficult struggle (against Zionism), a racist, aggressive, expansionist, settler-colonial entity which aims at elimination of our people." Great sacrifices are needed to prevent it.

Sa'adat's Background

Born in 1953 in Deir Tarif village near Ramallah in the West Bank, the son of dispossessed refugees, he became activist after the 1967 Six Day War. In 2001, he was elected PFLP General Secretary, replacing Abu Ali Mustafa, assassinated by Israel on August 27 that year.
 

Sun

04

Jul

2010

Israel: A Failing Colonial Project
by M. Shahid Alam Ph.D.
M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University, Boston. He is author of Israeli Exceptionalism (Palgrave, 2009) and Challenging the New Orientalism (IPI, 2006). Visit his website at http://qreason.com.
Increasingly, despite its early military and political successes, Israel cannot for long endure as a colonial project. It must choose between wars – and destruction – or transition to a state for all its peoples.

In order to firmly secure its existence – as firmly as that is possible for any state – a settler state has to overcome three challenges. It has to solve the native problem; break away from its mother country; and gain the recognition of neighboring states and peoples. It can be shown that Israel has not met any of these conditions.

Consider Israel’s native problem. In 1948, in the months before and after its creation, Israel appeared to have solved its native problem in one fell swoop. It had expelled 80 percent of the Palestinians from the territories it had conquered. In addition, with the rapid influx of Arab Jews, Palestinians were soon reduced to less than ten percent of Israel’s population.

So, had Israel licked its native problem for good? Not really.

The Palestinians inside Israel pushed back with a high natural rate of growth in their numbers. As a result, despite the continuing influx of Jewish immigrants, the Palestinian share in Israel’s population has grown to above 20 percent. Increasingly, Jews in Israel see Israeli Arabs as a threat to their Jewish state. Some are advocating a fresh round of ethnic cleansing. Others are calling for a new partition to exclude areas with Arab majorities.

The Palestinians expelled from Israel in 1948 did not go away either. Most of them set up camp in areas around Israel - the West Bank, Gaza, southern Lebanon and Jordan. In 1967, when Israel conquered Gaza and the West Bank, it could expel a much smaller fraction of the Palestinians from these territories. In consequence, with more than a million additional Palestinians under its control, Israeli had recreated its native problem.

Israel’s native problem has grown worse since 1967. Already, the Palestinians equal or outnumber Israeli Jews between the Sea and the Jordan River. In the years ahead, moreover, the Palestinian share will continue to rise.

Having run out of solutions – such as rising net immigration of Jews and ethnic cleansing – Israel has been implementing draconian measures to handle its native problem. With Egyptian collaboration, it maintains a medieval siege over Gaza; it neutralizes the Palestinians in the West Bank with the apartheid wall, expansion of settlements, settler-only roads, intimidation and humiliation of Palestinians, and military control over the Jordan Valley.
 

Sun

04

Jul

2010

Four of the West's Boldest Dissidents Gather in London for July 14th "Debunking the War on Terror" Symposium
by Gilad Atzmon
Four of the West's Boldest Dissidents Gather in London for July 14th "Debunking the War on Terror" Symposium

The forthcoming "Debunking the War on Terror" symposium in London brings together four of the most outspoken and eloquent challengers to the Zio-American imperial order that has emerged post-September 11th. While most of the left and antiwar movements have chosen to remain "loyal opposition," each of these four individuals has gone one step further, by challenging the very roots of the mainstream Western consensus and accepting the physical, professional or intellectual exile that ensues. If the consensus is starting to shift, it is due in large part to such bold challenges as these.

Kenneth O'Keefe, the symposium's Master of Ceremonies, renounced his US citizenship and left the USA after the events of September 11th and the ensuing US wars of aggression. He organized the human shield project, an attempt to prevent Bush's attack on Iraq by placing US and European volunteers beside likely bombing targets. More recently, he has gained broad media exposure for his defense of the humanitarian aid ship the Mavi Marmara--he was "directly involved in disarming two Israeli commandos" on that ship--and subsequent brutalization by Israeli authorities.

Gilad Atzmon, who will be speaking on "From Promised Land to Promised Planet: Zionism and Neoconservatism," is an outspoken opponent of Zionism and highly critical voice of Jewish identity politics. An Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist, his album "Exile" was the BBC's "jazz album of the year" in 2003. He is also an acclaimed novelist and political essayist whose views on Zionism, empire and resistance provocatively challenge the boundaries of what passes for polite Western discourse.

Dr. Kevin Barrett, one of America's best-known critics of the "war on terror," has been blacklisted by the University of Wisconsin since 2007 due to his political views. A Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, he is the author of Truth Jihad: My Epic Struggle Against the 9/11 Big Lie (2007) and of Questioning the War on Terror (2009/2010) as well as the lead editor (with theologian John Cobb and Jewish Studies professor Sandra Lubarsky) of 9/11 & American Empire Vol. II: Christians, Jews, and Muslims Speak Out (2007; Arabic version 2009). He will address, "Islam, Neoconservatism, and the Unwarranted 'War on Terror'".

Dr. James Fetzer, Distinguished McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth, is the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a non-partisan association of faculty, students, and scholars, in fields as diverse as history, science, military affairs, psychology, and philosophy, dedicated to exposing falsehoods and to revealing truths behind 9/11. Scholars was the first 9/11 research society to make an impact on public discussion about the events of 9/11. The Scholars' first book, The 9/11 Conspiracy (2007) and DVD, The Science and Politics of 9/11 (2007), provide evidence of a conspiracy and cover-up, which was designed and executed to manipulate the American people into supporting illegal wars and unconstitutional measures out of the fear those atrocities induced. He will address, "Are wars in Iraq and Afghanistan justified by 9/11?"
 

Sun

04

Jul

2010

Intifada – Exclusive Interview – With Iara Lee - Outrageous Brutality by Israeli Commandos
by Elias Harb in Mexico

In the pre-dawn hours of Monday, May 31, showing a terrifying disregard for human life, Israeli naval forces surrounded and boarded ships sailing to bring humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. On the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, Israeli commandos opened fire on civilian passengers, killing at least 9 passengers and wounding dozens more. Others are still missing. The final death toll is yet to be determined. Cultures of Resistance (Culturesofresistanc.org) director Iara Lee was aboard the besieged ship and has since returned home safely. Despite the Israeli government’s thorough efforts to confiscate all footage taken during the attack, Iara Lee and Director of Photography Srdjan Stojiljkovic were able to retain some of the video they captured. Below is the unedited footage from the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos’ assault on the Mavi Marmara.

Iara Lee recently gave this exclusive phone interview to Intifada Palestine’s Elias F. Harb.

EH: Were people aboard the Mavi Marmara who had been shot by the gunboats alreadybeing medically treated as the helicopter assault began?

IL: It’s hard to say exactly when these things happened, everything just happened so fast, that is why an international inquiry needs to investigate the events of the Flotilla Raid. Shots were fired, maybe it was mixed rubber bullets and live ammunition. I saw people who had been shot, and were bleeding to death. We never expected they were going to attack and kill. We weren’t prepared and didn’t have the necessary medical equipment to treat so many passengers who were shot, and some died by bleeding to death.

EH: The Israeli attack on May 31 in the dead heat of the night must have been a terrible experience for those in the free Gaza flotilla. Please tell us what happened that day

IL: The Flotilla was on a humanitarian mission. These were war commandos, they came to kill. We were unprepared for this attack. We knew that the Israelis would deter us, but never expected the Israeli commandos to open fire on civilian passengers. And what we witnessed was outrageous brutal force. Few of the Israeli Commandos were subdued and one of our doctors treated the Commandos. We showed restraint and gave medical aid to Israeli soldiers. Autopsy reports indicated that the activists killed were shot in the back of the head at close range. This was a criminal act by the Israel Defense forces.

EH: Israel declared that there were terrorists among the activists, how do you respond to that? Can you give us a makeup of the passengers?

IL: In their defense of the indefensible, the Israeli government has attempted to slander the character of the victims and other flotilla participants by drawing false links to terrorism, and portraying us as a lynch mob of anti-Semitic Muslim fanatics.

The passengers were people from all walks of life, secular and religious, Muslim, Christian, atheist, male and female, young and old. Prior to the raid they were talking, sleeping, praying or working on their computers. We were human rights activists from all over the world, ranging from 1 year old to an 88-year-old Catholic Bishop. None of the passengers was dangerous; they were committed human rights activists, bringing hope to the people of Gaza. The media acts irresponsible and with impunity, when it reports the lies that Israel says, and when it is proved it’s untrue, the media never reports it. The Israelis twist around everything.
 

Sun

04

Jul

2010

US Economy Stuck in Misery
by Joel S. Hirschhorn

The middle class is dead.  The US has produced a self-sustaining two-class society.  Most Lower Class Americans are in bad or uncertain economic shape but the rich and powerful Upper Class crowd keeps making and spending money as if there has been no recession.

Talk about a possible double-dip recession misses the larger reality: For many millions of Americans the first recession is still here; there has been no recovery for them.  Too bad President Obama cannot comprehend that.  Nice that only 23 percent of people believe that his policies have made economic conditions better.  Maybe they got the change they were waiting for.

A new survey by the Pew Research Center provides disturbing data that no amount of lies from politicians can refute.  Without a lot more consumer spending, remember, the US economy will not regain lasting health.  The scope of the economic shock is shown by the 60 percent of Americans that have cut down on borrowing and spending.  And nearly 50 percent are in worse financial shape because of the economic downturn.  Forty percent of adults have tapped savings and retirement accounts to make ends meet.  Nearly 25 percent have had to borrow money from someone.  Ten percent have moved back with their parents to survive the economic tsunami, and that rises to 24 percent for workers between 18 and 29 years old.

More and more Americans now recognize that retirement will have to wait.  For those 62 and older and still working, 35 percent have postponed retirement.  That jumps to 60 percent as a likely action for working adults between ages 50 and 61.  Replace the golden years with the disappointment years, especially when inevitable reduced Social Security and Medicare benefits hit hard.

For those still lucky enough to have jobs, the Commerce Department reports that the personal savings rate in May -- the part of wage income that goes unspent -- rose to 4 percent, the highest amount in nearly a year, as anxious consumers faced continued economic woes, such as fears about losing jobs or homes, affording food and health care, and a tumbling stock market.

And always remember that the official jobless rate of just under 10 percent is pure bunk; it really is close to 20 percent nationally, and a lot worse in many places and for African-Americans and Hispanics.  The average time for being without a job is now six months, with many more people jobless for a whole lot more, often several years.  All this means suppressed consumer spending and continued high home foreclosure rates.  No big surprise that consumer confidence crashed almost 10 points between May and June.  Welcome to high anxiety.
 

Sun

04

Jul

2010

War in Afghanistan: Illegal, Untenable and Unwinnable
by Stephen Lendman
 
A May 30 Delaware County Times editorial headlined, "Is US fighting unwinnable war in Afghanistan" asking:

"Why should America (believe) it can (accomplish what the) Soviet Union (and) Britain couldn't....? Public sentiment against it is growing, and "Many pundits say the war....can never be won militarily...." How many more "US service member" deaths are tolerable?

On January 21, 2010, Britain's New Stateman sounded the same theme calling the Afghan war "unwinnable," recent events showing intensified fighting, rising casualties, and a popular resistance determined to prevail. "Britain should be making plans to withdraw," the publication concluded. So should America with no right to be there ethically, morally or legally, the war clearly in violation of US and international law like all others US forces waged since WW II.

On June 26, the UK Spectator, published since July 1828, was just as unequivocal, calling US and Kabul leadership "fractious, confused and contradictory, a sure sign that the war is being lost....Yes, the war in unwinnable. History and time are on the Afghans side."

Other publications voice the same sentiment, but not American ones, misreporting and backing lawless, losing bet despite souring public sentiment. A new Rasmussen poll shows nearly 60% of US voters believe American forces can't win or they're not sure, and 53% said the war isn't worth the cost. In Britain, nearly two-thirds of the public call the war unwinnable, saying UK forces shouldn't be there. 

A recent Canadian poll showed about two-thirds of the population feel the war can't be won, 59% of them opposing their country's involvement. Nearly two-thirds  of Australians want their nation's forces out, and a June 2009 Pew Global Attitudes survey showed public sentiment in three-fourths of the 25 countries surveyed against the war, wanting US and NATO troops withdrawn.

Only in America do major media pundits and editorial writers still back an illegal, unwinnable war, (and the Iraq one), The New York Times, in the lead, calling it "central to American security," hoping a Petraeus strategy will "genuinely blood(y)" the Taliban, after nearly nine futile years of trying under a dozen Iraq and Afghanistan commanders.

On June 27, Washington Post writer Greg Jaffe headlined the frustration saying, "Military disturbed by rapid turnover at top in Afghan, Iraq wars," commanders falling like tenpins, including Tommy Franks, William Fallon, Ricardo Sanchez, George Casey, David McKiernan, and Stanley McChrystal, sacked not for deriding his superiors, but for losing an unwinnable war, and, in fact, suggesting it like other generals and lower-ranking officers. So do professionals outside the military not reported in the mainstream. More on them below.

 

Sun

04

Jul

2010

Lebanon wins economically if Palestinians are granted the right to work “What’s in it for my Confession - and how about me?”
by Franklin Lamb, Ph.D., Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp

“These are humanitarian, social and ethical duties, and the Lebanese state must assume the responsibility of providing them to our Palestinian brothers and sisters. Lebanon will not dodge these duties, which must be crystal-clear, and not be subject to any misinterpretation. The international community has to bear also the responsibility that our Palestinian guests will have the right to go back to their homeland: Palestine, with Jerusalem as their capital.”
- Prime Minister Saad Hariri during the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) meeting at the Grand Serail, June 29, 2010

Handicapping the Parliamentary Vote to grant Civil Rights to Palestinian Refugees

Votes needed to Pass: 65 MP votes in favor out of 128
As of July 2, 2010:
Firmly in favor: 13
Firmly opposed: 16
Leaning towards voting in favor: 41
Leaning towards voting against: 58

Ed: Currently the vote to grant the right to work for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is too close to call as the most serious debate ever in Lebanon on this subject builds momentum. If last week’s refugee camps hero was the Druze MP Walid Jumblatt (please see Part V of this series) this week’s much admired za’im is the Sunni Muslim Prime Minister, Saad Hariri. The political sands in Parliament and the Cabinet continue to shift as regional powers weigh in and current vote pledges may not be reliable.

A main argument that continues to be made by Members of Parliament who oppose granting civil rights to Lebanon’s Palestinians is that allowing them “privileges” (Ed: quotes mine) would lead to their naturalization and settlement (Tawtin). By this is meant that the refugees might get too comfortable in Lebanon and not want to return to Palestine. It’s a false but potent shibboleth as many academic and NGO studies and surveys have shown. Unfortunately it continues to resonate given Lebanon’s current political atmosphere, particularly in the more right wing Christian villages allied with the Lebanese Forces, the Kataab (Lebanese Social Democratic Party), Phalange movement and the National Liberal Party and their political allies including the Maronite Patriarchy and the American Embassy.

Discussing the claimed fear of Naturalization and its connection with employment of Palestinians, American University of Beirut Professor Sari Hanafi, a key organizer of the June 27, 2010 historic civil rights march here in Lebanon commented during an interview with Now Lebanon on 6/28/10:

“Poverty rates inside refugee camps (due to not being allowed to work) are estimated at about 40 percent of the population, in comparison with the 7 percent or 8 percent observed in the poorest Lebanese areas such as Akkar (Ed: North Lebanon near Tripoli). According to the Palestinian Najdeh Foundation, unemployment rates are at about 60 percent of the total population and only 7 percent of working Palestinians have fixed contracts, 90 percent of which are with UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency). The rest are essentially employed on the black market. These figures account for the exploitation of Palestinians across the board. I do not think that this has anything to do with the fear of naturalization of Palestinians in Lebanon. Palestinians had originally two sources of employment: the PLO and UNRWA, and today only the latter remains. Unfortunately, even UNRWA is now increasingly using Palestinians on a temporary contract basis.” (Ed: UNRWA recently announced that it has a 113 million dollar deficit. It is being forced to further curtail the shrinking health and education services in the camps).
 

Sun

04

Jul

2010

A Day In A Dying Empire: An intimate fable on current events
by Phil Rockstroh
"Now, from America, empty indifferent things are pouring across, sham things, dummy life. . . . A house, in the American sense, an American apple or a grapevine over there, has nothing in common with the house, the fruit, the grape into which went the hopes and reflections of our forefathers ... Live things, things that lived -- that are conscious of us -- are running out and can no longer be replaced. We are perhaps the last to have known such things."
- Rainer Maria Rilke
This morning, as with so many mornings, as of late, I had to undertake an agonizing, intricate procedure to pull myself together, simply to extract myself from bed to face another day.

Television, cell phone, computer glowed before me: The media nimbus boiled: its hypnagogia-like flux of imagery, its counterfeit immediacy and proffered flummery insistent to drowned out auras of extinction rising from veritable nature; the earth's warnings rising like musical notes ...  swelling, reverberating, enveloping us. In the Gulf of Mexico ... literally falling to earth as chemical rain.   

I stood dazzled before the scintillating doomscape of the Anthropocene Epoch. It has entered me ... It has made me and undone me. It tells me who I am; it holds me near, enclosing me in the thrall of the false intimacy of its endless spectacle.  

Some mornings, I don't think I can compose myself to face it.

But, most days, I make a start: Gathering up and patching together this tattered flesh-garment of DNA. Then: I call to order my swarming termite-cathedral mind ... take a head count of this aggregate of disparate personage deemed me ... attempt to quiet this nattering self nettled by formless dread ... console this besieged I who awakens in redemptive bed ... torn from reverie with dreaming-ocean cosmos to shuffle to toilet for Newtonian piss, to sink for anti-entropic teeth brushing, then commit to wave-particle duality decision of dressing ... in order to meet the manifold machinery of the empire's manifest death-urge revelry.
 

Fri

02

Jul

2010

Chris Cook: Canada: Billion Dollar Cops Take on the Nerf Army
by Chris Cook
It's Canada Day and raining; fitting for funerals always look better that way. I'm neither naive nor a romantic; I've written too many obituaries for Canadian soldiers needlessly killed fighting the 21st Century version of the Great Game in Afghanistan to harbour still the myths of Canada's good and peaceful intentions abroad.
 
I've witnessed enough too of the brutality and criminality now common among police forces across the nation to still believe they are a force designed to serve and protect the interests of any but Canada's slim elite, themselves seconded to rule in the interests of trans-national corporations.

We recently saw what amounts to a kind of coronation for the court of the faceless Corpocracy at the G20 summit in Toronto. There the police went to ridiculous lengths to convince the powers behind the thrones Canadian democracy would not prove a hindrance to the global dominion of the few, as represented by turnstile bureaucrats and the courtiers assembled.
 
The protection of these worthies was merited an expenditure that would, in days past, been sufficient for a NASA  shuttle launch, (perhaps an idea for the next planned meetings?).

The three day confab price tag is said to be an amount that, as well as being the rough equivalent of the cost of running the state broadcast organ CBC for year, would also be sufficient to house, at market prices, the Greater Toronto Region's estimated 80,000 under and unhoused citizens for a year.
 
The majority of that public lucre doled out to as yet unidentified beneficiaries is said to be for "security costs." More than a billion dollars for a weekend's worth of safe conduct for a social soiree that could likely have accomplished better its stated goals using Skype and a laptop.    
 

Fri

02

Jul

2010

Future U.S.-Canada Joint Arctic Security and Control
by Dana Gabriel

The Arctic has been the subject of dispute between Canada, Denmark, the U.S., Russia and Norway with each country taking steps to expand their scientific research and military presence. Its vast untapped oil, natural gas and mineral resources represent a tremendous economic potential, but control of the region is also important from a strategic standpoint. Increased cooperation and military integration could be used to further secure interests in the area. Canada and Denmark recently signed an agreement which will promote defence and security collaboration in the Arctic. In August, Canadian Forces operations in the far North will include Danish and American participation. There are also calls for U.S.-Canada joint security of North America’s Arctic waters and skies.

Canada continues to assert its military presence in its northernmost boundaries. Operation Nunalivut which ran in the Arctic from April 6-26, is one of three sovereignty exercises conducted each year by Canadian Forces (CF). This year’s joint maneuvers included, “the first landing and takeoff of an Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft at CFS Alert, from a gravel and ice covered airfield and the first CF dive in the high Arctic, which was the longest sustained ice dive operation in CF history. In addition, the Arctic Response Company Group conducted concurrent training with the Canadian Rangers for the first time in the Arctic, while a team of nine Regular and Reserve Force Signallers tested a new series of Iridium, high frequency and satellite communication systems.” As part of ongoing efforts by Canada-Denmark to strengthen diplomatic and security relations in the Arctic, the operation featured, “combined training with the Danish military’s SIRIUS Dog Sledge patrol.” An agreement reached between Russia and Norway over the long-disputed area in the Barents Sea has also prompted Canada to take steps to resolve conflicting Arctic offshore boundary claims with Denmark and the United States.

In May, Canada and Denmark signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will deepen defence and security cooperation in the Arctic, “through enhanced consultation, information exchange, visits, and exercises.” The annual joint Canadian Forces Operation Nanook will take place in the high Arctic from August 6-28. It is significant as it will include ships from the Danish and American navies, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard. Canada also recently announced measures designed to further protect and defend its northern sovereignty. “Beginning July 1, the Government of Canada is requiring that foreign and domestic vessels of a certain size report to the Canadian Coast Guard if travelling through Canada’s Arctic waters. This new mandatory requirement will ensure vessels report information such as identity, position and destination to the Canadian Coast Guard.” There has been much contention over the Northwest Passage. Canada maintains that it is an internal waterway and thus falls under its control, but the U.S. argues that it is an international strait. There are calls for the U.S and Canada to essentially suspend their disagreement over the northern sea route and assume joint continental management and security of the Arctic.
 

Fri

02

Jul

2010

Unanimous Conformity in the Senate
by Normon Solomon

For the warfare state, it doesn’t get any better than 99 to 0.

Every living senator voted Wednesday to approve Gen. David Petraeus as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Call it the unanimity of lemmings — except the senators and their families aren’t the ones who’ll keep plunging into the sea.

No, the killing and suffering and dying will be left to others: American soldiers who, for the most part, had scant economic opportunities in civilian life. And Afghans trapped between terrible poverty and escalating violence.

The senatorial conformity, of course, won’t lack for rationales. It rarely does.

Every few months, I take another look at footage of Sen. Morse, directly challenging the war president, a man of his own party. It’s inspiring — yet painful to watch, because of the sharp contrast with today’s mealy-mouthed senators.



An easy default position is that the president has the right to select his top military officers. (Then why is Senate confirmation required?) Or: This is a pivotal time for the war in Afghanistan. (All the more reason for senators to take responsibility instead of serving as a rubber stamp for the White House.)

In today’s Senate, the conformity is so thick that it’s almost enough to make you nostalgic for the Senate of four and a half decades ago. At least there were a couple of clear dissenters from the outset — first and foremost, Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska, who in August 1964 voted against the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that “authorized” the horrors of the U.S. war on Vietnam.

Within a couple of years, appreciable dissent was coming from William Fulbright, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Frank Church and George McGovern. Then Eugene McCarthy, Robert Kennedy and other senators.

The process of getting off the war train was pitifully slow, in view of the wholesale deadly ferocity of the Vietnam War — and in view of the fact that Congress, like the U.S. news media, lagged so far behind the clarity of opposition emerging from many millions of Americans. Whatever good happened on Capitol Hill was a direct result of the anti-war movement and more generalized public sentiment against continuing the war.
 

Fri

02

Jul

2010

The Obama Presidency: An Unfolding Disaster
by Larry Pinkney
“You must be the historians who keep this lesson alive because this story isn’t about one day, one event, one person, or even one lifetime… Pass this knowledge. Don’t forget. Not ever.”
- Leonard Peltier

A vast amount of this nation’s populace is as addicted to media hype as they are to oil. In this instance however, it is the government and the corporate media who are the kingpin pushers and the U.S. populace who are their hooked junkies.

Corporate government media spin, subterfuge, diversion, and outright lies are the continuing hallmarks of this nation’s institutions and of this present dishonest and insidiously pathetic Barack Obama presidency of unmitigated disaster. The Government and corporate media would not tell the truth even if their lives depended on it. Unfortunately, it is not their lives but those of everyday Black, Red, Brown, White, and Yellow peoples in this nation and throughout the world, who daily are being sacrificed on the bloody alter of chicanery and political expediency, on behalf of the wealthy elite.

Pertaining to the election and installment of Barack Obama as U.S. president almost a year and a half ago, a recent article disingenuously lamented that “we voted for a [hybrid Toyota] Prius but instead got a tank.” However, the fact is that the instant that virtually the entire U.S. corporate media and corporate / military establishment began throwing their support behind the then U.S. presidential candidacy of Barack Obama, even a dead man could have smelled a rat. In yet another recent article, a so-called ‘progressive’ bemoaned the lack of serious coverage of the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan, by the “mainstream” media, totally disregarding the obvious reality that this nation does not have a “mainstream” media. It has an embedded corporate-stream one.

As this Nobel “Peace” Prize holding conjurer, Barack Obama, has intensified the corporate empire’s war in Afghanistan, heightened the war in Pakistan [complete with unmanned killer drone missiles], and continued the war in and occupation of Iraq; corporate media pundits endlessly spin their webs of deceit. Even as Obama’s smug arrogance, his lack of governmental regulation and oversight of avaricious corporations, and his de facto servitude to the corporate elite has spawned the largest environmental, ecological, and concomitant economic oil-volcano (Gulf of Mexico) disaster in the history of this nation, corporate media pundits continue spinning their webs of diversion, omission, and deceit.

It was not enough that as president, Obama fully supported the criminal bail-out of the Wall Street elite, but he then went on to torpedo much needed single payer universal health care for the everyday populace of this nation - at the behest of the massive corporate insurance industry’s elite. If the Bush / Cheney regime was the inarticulate ‘Ivan the Terrible,’ then the Obama / Biden regime is assuredly a very articulate ‘Attila the Hun’ dipped in noxious perfume, which translates into more pain and blood of everyday people in this nation and around the world.
 

Fri

02

Jul

2010

Millennium Goals Revisited: Noble Ideas, and Feel-Good Moments
by Ramzy Baroud

When the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were first declared, they were met with a sense of promise. A decade later, despite all the official insistence that all is on track, it is increasingly clear that this approach to development was flawed from the onset.

For ten years, numerous committees, international and local organizations and independent researchers have tirelessly mulled over all sorts of indicators, numbers, charts and statistical data relating to extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education, gender equality, child mortality, and so on.

The conclusions derived from all the data weren’t necessarily grim. And the sincerity of the many men and women who have indefatigably worked to ensure that the eight international development goals – agreed to by all 192 UN member states and over 20 international organizations – were fully implemented, cannot in any way be discounted. They were the ones who brought the issue to the fore, and they continue to push forward with resolve and determination.

The problem lies with the concept itself, and with the naive trust that governments and politicians – whether rich or poor, democratic or authoritarian, leading global wars or trying to steer clear from the abyss of famine - could possibly share one common, selfless and unconditional love for humanity, including the poor, the disadvantaged, hungry and the ill. The utopian scenario might be attainable one day, but it certainly won’t be happening anytime soon.

So why commit to such goals, with specific deadlines and regular reports, if a genuine global consensus is not achievable?

Since its inception, the United Nations has been a source of two conflicting agendas. One is undemocratic, and championed by those who wield the veto power at the Security Council. The other is egalitarian, and it’s embodied in the General Assembly. The latter reflects the global mood and international opinion much more accurately than the former, which is largely dictatorial and caters only to power.

As a result, two conflicting sets of ideas and behaviors have emerged in the last six decades. One imposes sanctions, leads wars and destroys nations, and the other offers a helping hand, builds a school, shelters a refugee. The latter offers assistance, albeit on a relatively small scale. The former spreads devastation and destruction on a grand scale.
 
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