I’m posting Michael Heart‘s new video with a special dedication today, just from this mother in Kansas, for all the mothers (and others) in Gaza …
Why? Because yesterday “our” Senate unanimously affirmed, by cowardly “voice vote” (meaning there is no written record and we can’t know who represented humanity vs. who represented Israel), “Recognizing the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks from Gaza and reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”
Reuters reports, in “US Senate supports Israel’s Gaza incursion”: “The Senate resolution encourages President George W. Bush ‘to work actively to support a durable, enforceable and sustainable ceasefire in Gaza as soon as possible that prevents Hamas from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets or mortars against Israel,’ Reid said. (emphasis added) The article goes on to report the current death toll (without mentioning numbers of injured, or the overwhelming number of women and children) as 700 Palestinians : 11 Israelis (4 by friendly fire).
Therefore, this Special Dedication From Janice goes out to all you Senators (especially “AIPAC bill” S.Res.10 sponsors Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, and you 31 cosponsors); to H.Res.34 sponsor Nancy Pelosi (and your 11 cosponsors); to Bush & Cheney who have perpetuated this for eight long years and truly re-defined “war crime”; to Obama, who believes that blowing up children cowering in a UN school warrants no response beyond vague support for this crime against humanity; and perhaps especially to Condoleeza Rice, who has the gaul to shamefully “represent” US to the world as not wanting to stop the MASSACRE until she’s convinced it will ensure a “lasting peace” — even while thousands of children and other innocent citizens of Gaza starve, bleed, and die … This one’s for you.…Continue reading
by Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories
For eighteen months the entire 1.5 million people of Gaza experienced a punishing blockade imposed by Israel, and a variety of traumatizing challenges to the normalcy of daily life. A flicker of hope emerged some six months ago when an Egyptian arranged truce produced an effective ceasefire that cut Israeli casualties to zero despite the cross-border periodic firing of homemade rockets that fell harmlessly on nearby Israeli territory, and undoubtedly caused anxiety in the border town of Sderot. During the ceasefire the Hamas leadership in Gaza repeatedly offered to extend the truce, even proposing a ten-year period and claimed a receptivity to a political solution based on acceptance of Israel’s 1967 borders. Israel ignored these diplomatic initiatives, and failed to carry out its side of the ceasefire agreement that involved some easing of the blockade that had been restricting the entry to Gaza of food, medicine, and fuel to a trickle.
Israel also refused exit permits to students with foreign fellowship awards and to Gazan journalists and respected NGO representatives. At the same time, it made it increasingly difficult for journalists to enter, and I was myself expelled from Israel a couple of weeks ago when I tried to enter to carry out my UN job of monitoring respect for human rights in occupied Palestine, that is, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Gaza. Clearly, prior to the current crisis, Israel… Continue reading
In a companion essay (reprinted below), I discussed the response of some articles in the mainstream press to the claim, made by some defenders of Israel, that Professor Richard Falk should be removed from his current position of UN rapporteur on human rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories — a claim that was reflected in the refusal of Israel on December 14, 2008, to allow him to enter the country. I included in this essay a discussion of an article by reporter Joel Brinkley because, although it was published before Israel’s action against Falk 1 , it could be read as a defense of that action. Brinkley, who had previously worked for the New York Times , argued that Falk did not have the right “frame of mind” for his UN position. In the present essay, I will focus on Brinkley’s argument for this charge, suggesting that it shows that he does not have the right frame of mind for his own current position as visiting professor of journalism at Stanford University.
Brinkley’s Discussion of 9/11
Brinkley’s charge that Falk is unfit for his UN role is quite remarkable, given Falk’s stature. He is Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University and currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has had published (as author or editor) over 60 books by academic and other mainstream presses. He is also widely respected and sought after as a speaker and conference participant.… Continue reading
The United States gave Israel free reign Friday on whether to send troops into the Gaza Strip, insisting that the key to a ceasefire is an Israeli demand for Hamas to permanently halt rocket fire.
But the White House said it has asked Israel to try hard to avoid civilian casualties as reserves were called up for an expected ground incursion on top of a week of air strikes that has killed more than 400 Palestinians.
“We’ve been in regular contact with the Israelis,” White House deputy press secretary Gordon Johndroe told reporters when asked if US officials were trying to prevent a possible ground offensive.
US officials have urged the Israelis “to be mindful that any of the actions that they’re taking in Gaza avoid unnecessary civilian casualties and also to help continue with the flow of humanitarian goods,” he said.
“So I think any steps they are taking, whether it’s from the air or on the ground or anything of that nature, are part and parcel of the same operation,” Johndroe said.
“Those will be decisions made by the Israelis,” he said.
“Israel has a right to defend itself from these rocket attacks, and so we’ll see,” Johndroe said when asked about progress toward a ceasefire.
After briefing Bush about events in Gaza, just 18 days before he hands the White House to his successor Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington was pursuing diplomacy with its partners in the Middle East.…Continue reading
by Ann Wright
26 December 2008
On the news today of the death of Harold Pinter, the winner of the 2005 Nobel
Prize for Literature, I remembered hearing his Nobel Laureate lecture/acceptance
speech. I was in London in December 2005, speaking at the annual Stop the War
conference when Pinter delivered his speech – not in Oslo, as Pinter was very
sick and could not travel, but in London via TV link.
I was amazed and thrilled that he chose to use the Nobel Prize platform and
devote a huge portion of his speech to shining an international spotlight on
the tragic effects of the past decades of US foreign policy and particularly,
on George Bush and Tony Blair’s decisions to invade and occupy Iraq, on Guantánamo
and on torture.
Pinter’s Laureate speech question, “Is Our Conscience Dead?” is
most relevant today when three years after his acceptance speech, “Art,
Truth and Politics,” Bush, Cheney, Rice and other administration officials
are either trying to rewrite history or, as in Cheney’s case – purposefully
revealing his role in specific criminal acts of torture and daring the American
legal system and people to hold him accountable.
Following is the part of Pinter’s lecture that speaks to the invasion of Iraq,
torture and Guantánamo – and our collective and individual conscience:
“Art, Truth and Politics“
Noble Lecture by Harold Pinter
December 7, 2005
“… The United States no longer … sees any point in being reticent
or even devious. It puts… Continue reading
December 14, 2008
The Sunday Times
As a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on.
“We had one meal today – khobbeizeh,” said Abu Amra, 43, showing the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. “Every day, I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg. When I find nothing, we eat this grass.”
Abu Amra and her unemployed husband have seven daughters and a son. Their tiny breeze-block house has had no furniture since they burnt the last cupboard for heat.
“I can’t remember seeing a fruit,” said Rabab, 12, who goes with her mother most mornings to scavenge. She is dressed in a tracksuit top and holed jeans, and her feet are bare.
Conditions for most of the 1.5m Gazans have deteriorated dramatically in the past month, since a truce between Israel and Hamas, the ruling Islamist party, broke down.
Israel says it will open the borders again when Hamas stops launching rockets at southern Israel. Hamas says it will crack down on the rocket launchers when Israel opens the borders.
The fragile truce technically ends this Thursday, and there have been few signs it will be renewed. Nobody knows how to resolve the stalemate. Secret talks are under way through Egyptian intermediaries, although both… Continue reading
We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching “India’s 9/11″. Like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we’re expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it’s all been said and done before.
As tension in the region builds, US Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that if it didn’t act fast to arrest the “Bad Guys” he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on “terrorist camps” in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.
But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001, Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan and India isn’t America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.
It’s odd how in the last week of November thousands of people in Kashmir supervised by thousands of Indian troops lined up to cast their vote, while the richest quarters of India’s richest city ended up looking like war-torn Kupwara — one of Kashmir’s most ravaged districts.
The Mumbai attacks are only the most recent of a spate of terrorist attacks on Indian towns and cities this year. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Guwahati, Jaipur and Malegaon have all seen serial bomb blasts in which hundreds of ordinary… Continue reading
By Dave Lindorff
December 2, 2008
Before the odor of burned gunpowder has left the air of the Taj Mahal Hotel
in Mumbai, the US is lecturing India not to go off half-cocked and attack Pakistan,
simply because all of the attackers in the terrorist assaults in that city arrived
by boat, apparently from neighboring Pakistan. US officials, including Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, are calling on India to engage in a “transparent”
and “thorough” investigation into the attacks to establish who was
How different this is from the American government’s response to the
9-11 attacks in the US!
Instead of a “transparent” investigation, we got secret sessions
of the Congressional intelligence committees, closed-door interviews of key
officials, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney by the 9-11 Commission,
and of course the secret round [up] of thousands of mostly Islamic people living
in the US, many of whom were held for months incommunicado and without charge,
some of whom were subjected to torture, and many other of whom were deported
to likely arrest, torture and even death.
Instead of a calm assessment of what had happened and who was responsible,
the Bush Administration rounded up Saudi members of the Bin Laden family, and
others connected to the regime in Saudi Arabia, whence came most of the people
reportedly involved in the hijacking of the four planes used in the attacks,
and, with no attempt at interrogation, flew them home to Saudi Arabia.
Then, again with only minimal evidence, the US launched an all-out war within
days upon Afghanistan, with the goal of ousting and destroying the Taliban government
of that country.…
November 29, 2008
by Sherwood Ross
In violation of its pledge to the United Nations not to recruit children into the military, the Pentagon “regularly target(s) children under 17,” the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) says.
The Pentagon “heavily recruits on high school campuses, targeting students for recruitment as early as possible and generally without limits on the age of students they contact,” the ACLU states in a 46-page report titled “Soldiers of Misfortune.”
This is in violation of the U.S. Senate’s 2002 ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Pentagon recruiters are enrolling children as young as 14 in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps(JROTC) in 3,000 middle-, junior-, and high schools nationwide, causing about 45 percent of the quarter of million students so enrolled to enlist, a rate much higher than in the general student population. Clearly, this is the outcome of underage exposure.
In some cities, such as Los Angeles, high school administrators have been enrolling reluctant students involuntarily in JROTC as an alternative to overcrowded gym classes! In Lincoln high school, enrollees were not told JROTC was involuntary. In Buffalo, N.Y., the entire incoming freshman class at Hutchinson Central Technical High School, (average age 14), was involuntarily enrolled in JROTC. In Chicago, graduating eighth graders (average age 13) are allowed to join any of 45 JROTC programs.
“Wartime enlistment quotas (for Iraq and Afghanistan) have placed increased pressure on military recruiters to fill the ranks of the… Continue reading
By Jeremy Scahill
November 20, 2008
Click here to view this guide as a single page.
U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises. But the best immediate indicator of what an Obama administration might look like can be found in the people he surrounds himself with and who he appoints to his Cabinet. And, frankly, when it comes to foreign policy, it is not looking good.
Obama has a momentous opportunity to do what he repeatedly promised over the course of his campaign: bring actual change. But the more we learn about who Obama is considering for top positions in his administration, the more his inner circle resembles a staff reunion of President Bill Clinton’s White House. Although Obama brought some progressives on board early in his campaign, his foreign policy team is now dominated by the hawkish, old-guard Democrats of the 1990s. This has been particularly true since Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the Democratic primary, freeing many of her top advisors to join Obama’s team.
“What happened to all this talk about change?” a member of the Clinton foreign policy team recently asked the Washington Post. “This isn’t lightly flavored with Clintons. This is all Clintons, all the time.”
Amid the… Continue reading
Discussion of the very real doubts over the World Trade Center attacks was
conspicuously absent from the US presidential race. But America’s international
image will always be tainted as long as the uncertainty remains
by Richard Falk
Sunday 09 November 2008
Journal Issue 13
Every so often attention is called anew to the doubts surrounding the true
character of the events surrounding the 9/11 attacks. Recently, the report of
the collapse of Building 7 represented such an occasion. Any close student of
9/11 is aware of the many serious discrepancies between the official version
of what took place and the actual happenings on that fateful day in 2001. David
Ray Griffin and others have analyzed and assessed these discrepancies in such
an objective and compelling fashion that only wilful ignorance can maintain
that the 9/11 narrative should be treated as a closed book, and that the public
should move on to address the problems of the day.
To accept such a view is to acquiesce in what can be described at best as governmental
evasiveness and irresponsibility, a resolve to leave the discrepancies unexplained.
It is not paranoid under such circumstances to assume that the established elites
of the American governmental structure have something to hide, and much to explain.
What has not been established by the “9/11 Truth Movement” is a
convincing counter-narrative — that is, an alternate version of the events
that clears up to what degree, if at all, the attacks resulted from incompetence,
deliberate inaction,… Continue reading
By Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
Each year around the anniversary of 9/11, I summarize what we ordinary citizens have learned since that awful day in 2001. This is the seventh annual look backwards, a 2008 update that contains new information and surmisings about those horrific events and what followed.
1. One 9/11 Size Fits All. What we now more fully understand is how the CheneyBush Administration utilized the murderous terrorism of 9/11 as the linchpin justification for their unfolding domestic and foreign agenda, much of it illegal, immoral and impeachable.
By and large, one can sum up that overall agenda as: Amass and control power in the U.S. and much of the world (“full-spectrum dominance”), and, in cahoots with their corporate supporters such as Halliburton and Blackwater, loot the federal treasury. All this was to be carried out secretly, with no accountability.
2. Iraq War Planning Began Before 9/11. We also know more about the nature of the lies (including forged documents) used by the Administration to sell the Iraq War, which attack already was in the planning stages well before 9/11.
The first faked document, by CIA forgers at the behest of White House officials, was a 2005 letter (back-dated 2001) supposedly coming from the then-Iraqi intelligence chief to his boss Saddam Hussein mentioning alleged “facts” that established a tie-in between 9/11, Al-Qaida and Iraq and about Saddam’s supposed purchase of uranium. The official, Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, who had been an informant for the U.S. during… Continue reading
by Jason Leopold
August 21, 2008
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has asked current and former White House aides and ex-CIA officials to respond to questions about an alleged scheme to create a bogus letter in late 2003 linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda.
In sending the interview requests Wednesday, Conyers is following up on a disputed story in journalist Ron Suskind’s new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, which includes an account of how the mysterious letter originated.
The book cites statements from former CIA associate deputy director of operations Rob Richer and John Maguire, the former chief of the CIA’s Iraq Operations Group/Near East Division, as indicating that the White House ordered the CIA to produce the bogus letter to retroactively justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Richer and Maguire gave Suskind on-the-record interviews, which the author recorded, discussing the reasons the letter was created and saying that it likely emanated from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. Both men have since recanted their statements.
Conyers, who has held periodic hearings on abuses of power by George W. Bush’s administration, sent letters to former CIA Director George Tenet; the CIA’s former executive director A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard; Cheney’s former chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby; and John Hannah, another Cheney assistant — as well as to Richer and Maguire.
“I am writing to follow up on recent serious allegations regarding the creation… Continue reading
Mon Aug 18, 2008
Last week, Scott Horton interviewed (audio) investigative journalist Joe Lauria. Lauria was one of the co-authors of the three-part (1, 2, 3) series on the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds for the UK’s Sunday Times.
Scott Horton Interviews Joe Lauria
In the interview Lauria discusses the Sibel Edmonds case, the state of the US media, and the Military Industrial Complex in the context of his new book with presidential candidate Mike Gravel: “A Political Odyssey: The Rise of American Militarism and One Mans Fight to Stop It”
In the interview, Lauria says that he spoke at length to the three FBI agents who were Sibel’s… Continue reading
Speaking at the Campus Progress journalism conference earlier this month, Seymour Hersh — a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for The New Yorker — revealed that Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President’s office to discuss ways to provoke war with Iran.
In Hersh’s most recent article, he reports that this meeting occurred in the wake of the overblown incident in the Strait of Hormuz, when a U.S. carrier almost shot at a few small Iranian speedboats. The “meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office. ‘The subject was how to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington,'” according to one of Hersh’s sources.
During the journalism conference event, I asked Hersh specifically about this meeting and if he could elaborate on what occurred. Hersh explained that, during the meeting in Cheney’s office, an idea was considered to dress up Navy Seals as Iranians, put them on fake Iranian speedboats, and shoot at them. This idea, intended to provoke an Iran war, was ultimately rejected:
… Continue reading
HERSH: There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.
Might cost some lives. And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans.
Israel Planning a September/October Surprise?
By Ray McGovern
International Clearing House — You say you expected more rhetoric than reality from Senators Obama and McCain yesterday in their speeches on Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, that’s certainly what you got.
What I find nonetheless amazing is how they, and the pundits, have taken such little notice of the dramatic change in the political landscape occasioned by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s bombshell on July 7 — his insistence on a “timetable” for withdrawal of US troops before any accord is reached on their staying past the turn of the year.
Responding to a question at his press conference yesterday, President George W. Bush showed that he was vaguely aware that the timetable is, as Robert Dreyfuss says (in Truthout, July 7), a “big deal.” Bush even alluded haltingly to the possibility of extending the UN mandate still further.
But it is far from clear that Maliki, who is under great domestic pressure, would be able to sell that to the various factions upon which he depends for support, much less to those which he must keep at bay. As Dreyfuss points out, Maliki and his Shiite allies are also under considerable pressure from Iran, which remains the chief ally of the ruling alliance of Shiites. Most important, Maliki is by no means in control of what happens next.
Here’s where it gets sticky. No one who knows about third rails in US politics would expect the candidates or the fawning corporate media (FCM) to address how those now running Israel are likely to be looking at the implications of a large US troop withdrawal from Iraq next year.…Continue reading
July 13, 2008
By FRANK RICH
We know what a criminal White House looks like from “The Final Days” Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s classic account of Richard Nixon’s unraveling. The cauldron of lies, paranoia and illegal surveillance boiled over, until it was finally every man for himself as desperate courtiers scrambled to save their reputations and, in a few patriotic instances, their country.
“The Final Days” was published in 1976, two years after Nixon abdicated in disgrace. With the Bush presidency, no journalist (or turncoat White House memoirist) is waiting for the corpse to be carted away. The latest and perhaps most chilling example arrives this week from Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, long a relentless journalist on the war-on-terror torture beat. Her book “The Dark Side” connects the dots of her own past reporting and that of her top-tier colleagues (including James Risen and Scott Shane of The New York Times) to portray a White House that, like its prototype, savaged its enemies within almost as ferociously as it did the Constitution.
Some of “The Dark Side” seems right out of “The Final Days” minus Nixon’s operatic boozing and weeping. We learn, for instance, that in 2004 two conservative Republican Justice Department officials had become “so paranoid” that “they actually thought they might be in physical danger.” The fear of being wiretapped by their own peers drove them to speak in code.
The men were John Ashcroft’s deputy attorney general, James Comey, and an assistant… Continue reading
While the US media obsesses on delegates, superdelegates and whether or not Hillary Clinton is using math formulae hallowed by MSNBC, we learn that US interrogators used snakes to torture prisoners (that’s right, PentaPost –torture, not ‘interrogate’ and prisoners, not ‘detainees’) at Guantánamo Bay – while the FBI watched.
By Lori Price
21 May 2008
Today, we learned form NEWS.com.au, an Australian news and information site, that US interrogators – at least on one occasion – used a snake (in addition to military dogs and pornography) on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. We also discovered that “[Australian detainee Mamdouh] Habib alleged that ‘Mike’ a private-contract interrogator with Lockheed Martin, had hit him during an interrogation.” Further, we discovered that, ”of the more than 450 FBI agents who served at Guantánamo… almost half ‘observed or heard about various rough or aggressive treatment of detainees, primarily by military interrogators’.”
Snakes used in interrogation sessions?! This is Nazi tactics territory, folks – using our dollars and under our name! I don’t care about Democratic superdelegate totals or nomination math formulae. The US media is using the election itself as a distraction for war crimes that are being carried out in our name, every day!
Lest we forget: U.S. Has Detained 2,500 Juveniles as Enemy Combatants 16 May 2008 The United States has imprisoned approximately 2,500 people younger than 18 as illegal enemy combatants in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay since 2002, according to a report filed by the Bush regime with the… Continue reading