IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING THE STOLEN DREAMS ON MLK DAY

There were several marches – the one we went on had about 2,000 people.  Then we went to Grand Central Station where about 200 of us held up the names of unarmed Black citizens, mostly young men, who were killed by the police.  People read about them, who they were, how they died.  After each story people said their name, all together, and raised their fist in the air.  People passing through stopped to listen.  Some family members of those killed were there.  After 3 hours someone read King’s last speech and we repeated it, one line at a time (Occupy style) and then everyone sang We Shall Overcome and Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Hold On.  Actually, we did the same thing for 24 hours last week.  It is a very powerful experience.

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We’ve come a long way, but we’re not there yet …

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

Marching through the streets …

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At Grand Central …

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FINALLY A VOICE OF REASON FROM THE POPE

In short, We Muslims cannot and don’t understand why questioning the holocaust or castigating Israeli crimes is anti-Semitism whereas mocking the Prophet of Islam is freedom of speech.

A voice of reason from the Pope

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

On Thursday, 15 January, the Associated Press quoted Pope Francis as saying that there are limits to freedom of expression, especially when it insults or ridicules someone’s faith.

Francis spoke about the Paris terror attacks while en route to the Philippines, defending free speech as not only a fundamental human right but a duty to speak one’s mind for the sake of the common good.

However, the Pope said there were limits to freedom of speech.

By way of example, he referred to Alberto Gasparri, who organizes papal trips and was standing by his side aboard the papal plane. “If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

The Pope’s words show that Muslims are not being unreasonable when they demand respect for their religious symbols, especially the Prophet of Islam, Muhammed (May peace and blessing be upon him).

As an American-educated journalist who is thoroughly versed in western liberal heritage, from Milton’s Areopagitica to the American First Amendment, I really fail to understand why some circles in the West are hell-bent on embracing the misleading notion that insulting Islam (but not Talmudic Judaism for example) is an indispensable aspect of freedom of speech. (I mentioned Talmudic or Orthodox Judaism because it doesn’t even ascribe mere humanity to non-Jews).

In Matthew 5:29, it is related that “if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee.” I know there is a strong metaphorical dimension in this verse. However, we all know that allegories do communicate certain messages that we are called upon to implement or live by in our life.

It is therefore hard to buy the concept that provoking people by offending their religious sensibilities is the right way to achieve peace and human fraternity.

On the contrary, provocation breeds alienation and alienation produces conflict…and conflicts do kill.

Western intellectuals, especially those exercising some rectitude, don’t lack the brain power to understand these timeless truths.

But, unfortunately, many in the West are guided not by moral honesty or even reason in their approach to Islam and Muslims. Their guiding motive is rather malice and ill-will. I also suspect that the freedom-of-speech they invoke is only a mendacious mantra used to mask their real morbid intentions.

No one is demanding to limit freedom of expression anywhere. In fact, no people under the sun are suffering the disastrous effects of the absence of human rights and civil liberties more than Muslims. In some parts of the Muslim world, such as Egypt and Syria, practicing one’s right to freedom of expression could end up with receiving the death penalty by a judge that is always at the tyrant’s beck and call.

Unfortunately, this happens, to a large extent, thanks to a malicious western interference in the Muslim world.

Muslims are not going to apologize for defending their faith and Prophet. Yes, it is wrong to have protests marred with violence and bloodshed. But we will continue to insist on mutual respect. Mutual respect is the simple yet magical tool to achieve peace amongst individuals, nations and cultures.

Finally, I don’t really believe that freedom of speech is the real issue at hand. Indeed, if it were, magazines like Charlie Hebdo wouldn’t have fired cartoonists depicting the holocaust and other “taboos” pertaining to Jews.

In short, We Muslims cannot and don’t understand why questioning the holocaust or castigating Israeli crimes is anti-Semitism whereas mocking the Prophet of Islam is freedom of speech.

We also don’t understand why writers and journalists critical of Israel’s genocidal criminality are hounded and promptly fired from their jobs whereas notorious haters of Islam, such as Steve Emerson, can make disparaging lies about Muslims without being even rebuked.

This is a plain abuse of the very concept of freedom of speech, which should be rectified.

I do believe that offending religious symbols should be regarded as acts of terror. Yes, people don’t get killed in the act itself. However, offending the religious sensibilities of 1.6 billion people can and often does lead to people getting killed.

To conclude, I urge western intellectuals, including media circles, to strike a balance between freedom of speech and expression on the one hand and sensitivity to offending people’s faiths and religious symbols.

This is not asking for the impossible. All you have to do is to exercise a modicum of respect for others. In the final analysis, just as you do have the right to freedom of speech and expression, others do have an equal right not to be offended.

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The zionists don’t see the Pope’s statement the same way as we do …

click on link to see their report.

Did the Pope Justify the Charlie Hebdo Massacre?

 

#NoToVisitingApartheid ~~ IN PHOTOS

 

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A coalition of more than 40 New York City community groups held a press conference outside City Hall on Monday calling for the City Council to cancel a planned delegation to Israel. A diverse group of speakers addressed the city’s progressive politicians, asking how they could reconcile their opposition to racism and state violence at home with support for Israel’s policies against the Palestinians.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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And the Report FROM

Coalition of more than 40 NYC community groups calls on City Council to cancel delegation to Israel

Eamon Murphy

A coalition of more than 40 New York City community groups held a press conference outside City Hall on Monday calling for the City Council to cancel a planned delegation to Israel. A diverse group of speakers addressed the city’s progressive politicians, asking how they could reconcile their opposition to racism and state violence at home with support for Israel’s policies against the Palestinians.

Around 50 people gathered in the near-freezing rain for the event, which was introduced by Brandon Davis of Jewish Voice for Peace. Davis denounced the “flagrant disregard for justice” displayed by the delegation, “in our streets” as well as in Palestine. A recurring theme of the remarks that followed was the link between the current movement to end racist policing in U.S. cities and the struggle against Israel’s apartheid in Palestine. Connections were mentioned between the New York Police Department and the Israeli security establishment, including the opening of an NYPD branch in the Sharon District police headquarters at Kfar Saba.

Organizations that have joined the campaign include the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Direct Action Front for Palestine, and Jews Against Islamophobia. The Council’s nine-day trip, scheduled to begin on February 15, is sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) Federation of New York.

City Council members participating in the delegation to Israel are Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Mark Treyger, Brad Lander, Antonio Reynoso, David Greenfield, Rafael Espinal, Darlene Mealy, Mark Levine, Helen Rosenthal, Corey Johnson, Ritchie Torres, Andrew Cohen, Donovan Richards, Eric Ulrich, and James Van Bramer. The trip would be Mark-Viverito’s second such junket, the speaker having made a JCRC-funded visit to Israel in 2012. “New York City and Israel share many cultural, business, and educational ties and this trip with members of the Council will help strengthen them,” Mark-Viverito told The New York Daily News. “We’re looking forward to a productive and informative trip.”

Fatin Jarara of Al-Awda New York, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, speaks at the rally. (Photo: Eamon Murphy)

Speakers at the press conference wondered how informative such a visit could really be. Would the Council tour the West Bank separation barrier, asked criminal defense attorney Bina Ahmad, or Gaza’s ruined homes and schools? How could those who have taken a stance against domestic discrimination, she demanded to know, go on to contribute to normalizing systematic racism against an entire people — “gross hypocrisy,” in her words. Ahmad, who works with the Legal Aid Society in Staten Island and represented police chokehold victim Eric Garner, analogized Israel’s occupation of Palestine to the NYPD’s presence in communities of color.

Donna Nevel of Jews Against Islamophobia criticized Council members for publicly opposing anti-Muslim discrimination and then visiting Israel under the auspices of the JCRC, which fervently backed Police Comissioner Ray Kelly after the revelation of NYPD spying on Muslim communities. “It is clear that the JCRC has helped undermine the basic civil rights and liberties of our city’s Muslim residents,” according to a letter from the anti-Islamophobia coalition to the Council, “and we hope that you agree with us that it is a most inappropriate organization to lead such a trip.”

Other speakers emphasized the unprogressive nature of a trip that would entail crossing an international picket line. CUNY activist Conor Tomás Reed mentioned labor groups around the world that have heeded Palestinian civil society’s call for a boycott. An official visit to Israel, with its segregated workforce and wage discrimination along ethnoreligious lines, amounts to an anti-labor stand, he suggested.

Last to speak was David Galarza, a Puerto Rican activist who helped create the solidarity group Boricuas for Palestine during last summer’s assault on Gaza. Galarza warmed up the freezing crowd with a chant “to get the blood flowing” — Puerto Rico, Palestine, / occupation is a crime — before delivering a forceful challenge to Mark-Viverito, who before her speakership was a committed activist against the U.S. Navy’s bombing of Vieques: “What has changed?” Galarza likened the four boys killed on the beach in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge to the four girls who died in the bombing of a black church in Birmingham, Alabama; where, he wondered, was Charlie Hebdo-style solidarity in the case of the murdered Baker children? Photographs of the two bombings were held up as Galarza declared his identification with the eight victims, alternating Palestinian and African-American names.

The event concluded with Brandon Davis reading a statement from New York-based participants on a solidarity delegation in Palestine, organized by the national anti-racist organization Dream Defenders (full text at the end of this article). During the q-and-a, a man who identified himself as a freelance photojournalist asked Davis about Hamas’s killing of innocent Israelis, and Mahmoud Abbas’s declaration that no Jews will live in a future Palestinian state (not Abbas’s actual position). “Which is the real apartheid state?” the man demanded. After the event was over, he approached Galarza and declared that, as an experienced and well-sourced reporter who has worked in the Middle East, he knew the deaths of four boys on the beach in Gaza were staged.

The press conference began around noon and lasted until 12:30. As I left City Hall at 12:45, two dozen people were still standing and talking in the cold and the rain.

Statement from New York-based members of the Dream Defenders delegation:

For the last 10 days over a dozen artists, activists, educators, and organizers have been traveling across Palestine witnessing power, heartbreak, apartheid, occupation, state violence and grief. It is a binding grief, due to parallel experiences with state violence, that brought us to Palestine. It is also this binding grief that makes the New Yorkers on this historical delegation concerned about the nature, scope, and intent of some New York City Council member’s planned trip to Israel.

We stand in support of Palestine, in support of the international BDS movement, and against Zionist beliefs. We believe this City Council trip would be a dangerous symbolic gesture of normalizing Israeli’s apartheid state. We were able to witness this first hand at the check points in Ramallah, and in the settlements surrounding Bethlehem. It is not completely unfamiliar to us to live in a country where you can be profiled and denied humanity. We know Israeli training forces have a long mentoring relationship with NYPD, and if you stand with oppressed people and against police brutality here at home, you must stand with oppressed people and against state violence abroad.

Cherrell Brown
Carmen Perez
Aja Monet
Marc Lamont Hill

- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/coalition-community-delegation#sthash.Rb7Anslv.dpuf

ALL OF FRANCE MUST SHARE THE GUILT

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I must view with utter contempt the claim that the Paris incident was an attack against press freedom and freedom of expression. We all know that the attack was actually a revenge for France’s military aggression against Muslims. Calling it an attack on press freedom and western liberalism is therefore childish and stupid.

I am against the Paris incident,

but France

is not innocent

By Khalid Amayreh

To begin with, I unhesitatingly condemn the attack on the Charlie Hebdo Satirical weekly magazine in Paris. I believe it is always wrong and unforgivable to kill innocent people. Moreover, this sort of actions, besides being morally wrong, also harms French and other Western Muslims enormously

True, the act of mocking the Prophet of Islam is not a cause worth defending. It did hurt the feelings of hundreds of millions around the world.

However, murdering people is not exactly the right response to the French magazine’s blasphemy. In the final analysis, one can’t fight a crime by committing a greater crime. It is also never sufficient to have a rightful cause to respond in an uncalculated manner. It is never enough to be right; one has to be wise as well, especially in this complex world.

I realize that many writers are under an immense pressure to go with the flow, namely denounce “the evil terrorists” while expressing empathy and solidarity with France. I do sympathize with the families of the victims, but I admit I have no sympathy with the French government. In the final analysis, one must be faithful to one’s conscience and intellectual honesty and France is never innocent especially in its approach to Muslims, past and present.

In fact, I dare claim that French behavior has made this terrorist act inevitable, however outrageous it may be.

France, after all, has been murdering Muslims in droves since time immemorial.

France killed at least two million Muslims in North Africa and a third million in Sub-Saharan Africa. France, which is now complaining about beheadings by IS, beheaded thousands of Moroccans between 1920-and WWII.

In recent months, France effectively enabled barbarian Christians to carry out a shocking ethnic cleansing genocide in Central Africa.

About two decades ago, France collaborated with the Algerian military to decapitate the country’s nascent democracy, triggering a protracted reign of terror that claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent Algerians. Unfortunately, this reign of terror is yet to come to an end.

In the mid-1950s, France gave Israel the Dimona atomic reactor which enable the Nazi-like Zionist entity to manufacture numerous nuclear bombs and warheads and therefore hold the entire Middle East hostage as well as pursue a policy based on lebensraum vis-à-vis the Palestinians and other peoples of the Middle East.

Indeed, it was mainly French weapons that enabled Israel to occupy the rest of Palestine as well as the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula in 1967.

Now, as I write these words, French warplanes are raining death on Muslims in Syria and Iraq, while allowing murderous Iran-backed militias to annihilate Muslims villages.

Despite all this evil legacy, the vast majority (99%) of   Muslims are still against terror in the name of Islam or in any other name.

Today, Muslims are more or less the premier victims of terror and mass murder. They are being murdered every hour, every day, every week and all year long because they want to be free.

They are being murdered in Palestine, Myanmar, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. And when some stray Muslims carry out a terrorist act here or there out of desperation, the entire west loses its composure, ignores its own mega terror against Muslims, and starts making its usual hypocritical outcries, very much like Binyamin Netanyahu does, when he calls Palestinian freedom-fighters “terrorists and murderers”, while forgetting what his own shitty country did and is doing to them.

Do not get me wrong. I am against all acts of violence and terror, especially those targeting innocent people.

However, it is an expression of utter hypocrisy and dishonesty for the French and other westerners to claim a higher moral-ground in comparison to al-Qaeda or IS, or indeed mainstream Muslims.

Nay, you have been far more evil and diabolical. You have destroyed nations and killed millions.

The Americans, who murdered 15 million native Americans in north America and called the genocide “Manifest Destiny” didn’t content themselves with murdering two million Iraqis, they saturated the Iraqi environment with depleted uranium that will continue to kill Iraqis, young and old, and even the yet-to-be be born, for 50,000 years to come.

So, please! We have had enough of your hypocrisy and mendacity.

A final word; I must view with utter contempt the claim that the Paris incident was an attack against press freedom and freedom of expression. We all know that the attack was actually a revenge for France’s military aggression against Muslims. Calling it an attack on press freedom and western liberalism is therefore childish and stupid.

Besides, since when did the West really care about human rights and civil liberties, including press freedom.

Doesn’t the West, with all its strength, stand behind states that deny their people even the most elementary human rights and freedoms?

Even in the West itself, we are very familiar with the scandalous double standards related to this false mantra.

Thus, mocking the Prophet of Islam is considered part of the sacred traditions of press freedom.

However, questioning the authenticity of Holocaust narratives or criticizing Israel’s Nazi-like crimes against the helpless Palestinians is an expression of virulent anti-Semitism, the practitioner of which must be hounded like pariahs, imprisoned or forced to resign from his job.

Well, there are always people on the Muslim side who would argue rather convincingly that if the West has the right to be enslaved by the Golem of Anti-Semitism, Muslims worldwide likewise have at least an equal right to defend their religious symbols.

Well, how about mutual respect?

INDIA/PAKISTAN BORDER CROSSING SPOOF

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Fighting intensifies before Obama/Kerry visit

Fighting intensifies before Obama/Kerry visit

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India, Pakistan

border fighting

intensifies before

Obama visit

THE COST OF PALESTINIAN JUSTICE ~~ IN TOONS

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

 

Israel will stop you by hook or by crook!

Israel will stop you by hook or by crook!

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Nobody will touch or war criminals!

Nobody will touch our war criminals!

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Israel freezes Palestine tax funds over ICC bid

UPDATED ~~ 1st AND 2nd DEMOS OF THE YEAR IN NEW YORK ~~ IN PHOTOS

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‘SING IN’ At Grand Central Station

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On New Year’s Day 50+ people gathered in New York City’s Grand Central Station for a “sing” to protest the police  killings of Black citizens  in New York  City and nationally. The song began with “ I can hear my brother crying ‘I can’t breathe’”  it was sung eleven times, the number of times Staten Islander Eric Gardner cried out as he was killed by a police choke hold. The only person   arrested that day  had  made a video of  the event which had gone viral.   The protesters noted that District Attorneys have  not indicted any police officer engaged in the racial shooting of Blacks.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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And on January 2nd ….

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At the Federal Building on Wall Street, people assembled to protest the wanton  racist shooting of Black citizens and send a loud clear message  that “ Black Lives Matter”. This location is very significant. It was here that George Washington took the oath, as the first President (1789) to the new Constitution of the United States. Just a short distance from here there were then active slave auction blocks. New York City did not fully abolish slavery until 1827. Also nearby is the  slave cemetery. One can  imagine  the spirits of these buried slaves raising from their internment listening to the now voices resounding in the cold  night air that “Black Lives Matter”.  Hundreds of  years after them the struggle has not been abandoned.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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SPOOF OF THE FRENCH PARLIAMENT

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

French parliament votes for recognition of Palestinian state…now what?

French parliament votes for recognition of Palestinian state…now what?

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 2014, Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

2014, Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

1st DEMO OF THE YEAR IN NEW YORK ~~ IN PHOTOS

‘SING IN’ At Grand Central Station

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On New Year’s Day 50+ people gathered in New York City’s Grand Central Station for a “sing” to protest the police  killings of Black citizens  in New York  City and nationally. The song began with “ I can hear my brother crying ‘I can’t breathe’”  it was sung eleven times, the number of times Staten Islander Eric Gardner cried out as he was killed by a police choke hold. The only person   arrested that day  had  made a video of  the event which had gone viral.   The protesters noted that District Attorneys have  not indicted any police officer engaged in the racial shooting of Blacks.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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NEW YEAR SPOOFS

All images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Despite all the carnage committed by Israel, Palestine will live to fight again!

Despite all the carnage committed by Israel, Palestine will live to fight again!

 

 

I can’t make any prediction for 2015…EXCEPT that the struggle in Palestine will continue!

I can’t make any prediction for 2015…EXCEPT that the struggle in Palestine will continue!

 

Happy New WHAT?! #Syria #Iraq #Ukraine #Gaza #Afghanistan

Happy New WHAT?! #Syria #Iraq #Ukraine #Gaza #Afghanistan

 

ANOTHER LETTER THE NEW YORK TIMES WOULD SURELY DEEM UNFIT TO PRINT

Be sure to read Sam’s unpublished letter to the NYT which I posted yesterday

I started writing this as a Letter to the Editor, but my anger could not be conveyed in only 150 words, so I am posting this open letter instead

Open Letter to the Editors of the New York Times 

By Sam Bahour

A view of Gaza City

Re “Gaza Is Nowhere” (By Roger Cohen, Dec. 30, 2014):

I started writing this as a Letter to the Editor, but my anger could not be conveyed in only 150 words, so I am posting this open letter instead:

Readers expect greater accuracy from New York Times columnists.

How dare Mr. Roger Cohen suggest that Gaza, a part of my homeland, is “nowhere!”

If Mr. Cohen is at a loss to know where Gaza lies, allow me to guide him. The Gaza Strip, as well as Gaza City, were both part and parcel of Historic Palestine, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Following the colossal injustice that resulted in the displacement of more than half of the Palestinian people, and then the creation of what we know today as the state of Israel, and the subsequent military occupation of the remaining Palestinian lands of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Gaza Strip become part and parcel of an Israeli-militarily-occupied territory. It is this military occupation under which many of my friends and colleagues were born and live to this day.

Despite the bitter life Gazan Palestinians face, they know exactly where they are and who they are. To Mr. Cohen’s possible disappointment, I will not sugar-coat reality with euphemisms or attempt to bury the international community’s disgraceful failures by dwelling on internal Palestinian political dynamics.

What Mr. Cohen terms a “high-tech Israeli facility,” is, in reality, an Israeli military garrison and checkpoint that is equipped with U.S. technology aimed to keep Palestinians locked into the world’s largest open-air prison called Gaza.

The Palestinian road worker who impressed Mr. Cohen is not “among the more productively employed of Gaza’s 1.8 million citizens.” The Gaza community is alive, albeit not well. If he had taken the time to look again without his biased lens, he would have seen an entire society struggling to be productive in a reality where electricity is a luxury, clean water is a distant thought, and having the ability to travel freely is a foreign concept to yet another generation of Palestinians.

Mr. Cohen claims that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is “the only dust-free environment” in Gaza. Spare me, please. Has he forgotten that Gaza has been on the receiving end of three major Israeli military operations within the past six years, which left scores dead and wounded and the rest traumatized for life. If he had only taken the time to visit Palestinian homes he would have found other “dust-free environments,” if dust was of such major concern to him. He would have experienced the generosity of a people battered for decades yet miraculously finding a way to go on educating their war-affected children, sustaining themselves economically, continuing to love, and stubbornly maintaining hope for a better tomorrow, even as they are forced to live in imposed darkness. Indeed, as retired Palestinian diplomat Afif Safieh has famously said, Palestinians have been “unreasonably reasonable” given what has fallen upon them.

To add insult to injury, Mr. Cohen assumes the role of spokesperson for Palestinians, claiming the utmost urgent matter in Palestinian lives is the need “to end the lockdown of Gaza.” Lockdown, Mr. Cohen, is a move used to keep prisoners in their cells. Ending the lockdown is allowing the prisoners to interact among themselves and visit the prison yard. Thank you Mr. Cohen, but no thank you. We have the right to be free from the prison imposed on us by Israel and bankrolled by your country. Our utmost urgent matter is that Israel end its nearly five-decade-long military occupation and allow Palestinians to return to their homes, after which we will take care of ourselves.

I can go on, but you are not interested in Palestine or Palestinians. Your career requires you to feed the stereotypes about my home, me, and my people, and for that, you are part of the problem, not the solution. That, Mr. Cohen, is what is truly “shameful.”

Sincerely,
Sam Bahour
Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine
www.ePalestine.com

DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH WAITING FOR THE UN TO GIVE PALESTINE STATEHOOD

The UN, after all, has had more than 60 years to give the Palestinians any semblance of justice, but to no avail. The reason behind this monumental moral failure is simple. The world order is not based on justice and morality. It is rather based on military might and political power.

Let’s not kid ourselves: The UNSC will not give us a state

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem

It is really lamentable that the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to manage the Palestinian Question disastrously.

The latest failed effort to get the UN Security Council (UNSC) to designate a time-ceiling for ending the decades-old Israeli occupation is an expression of the disastrous mismanagement of our just cause by the PA.

It simply shows that the PA neither learns from others’ mistakes nor from its own.

The UN, after all, has had more than 60 years to give the Palestinians any semblance of justice, but to no avail. The reason behind this monumental moral failure is simple. The world order is not based on justice and morality. It is rather based on military might and political power.

This fact has not changed ever since the creation of the UN following the Second World War. It is not expected to change in the foreseeable future, at least in our lifetime.

I know the Palestinian establishment in Ramallah is too fully aware of this fact. Yet, it continues to walk in the same path.

A few weeks ago, this writer wrote that it was futile for the Palestinians to count on the United States to restore Palestinian rights from Israel. I argued that the US lacked the will and inclination as well as the moral power to challenge Israel due to the Zionist domination of American political life.

In this article,  I want to pen down my conviction that it is equally pointless to rely on the UNSC to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

We all know that the UNSC is firmly dominated by the US, whose government and Congress are at Israel’s beck and call.

Hence, it is absolutely futile to rely on this entity (UNSC), to do justice or even a semblance of justice for the Palestinians. Thinking otherwise would be like seeking safety in a snake’s hole or searching for justice at a thieves’ den.

I realize the Palestinian leadership of Chairman Abbas is facing a very frustrating situation, having been repeatedly deceived and betrayed by successive American administrations ever since the 1960s.

But the Palestinians should have a sound plan to follow lest they continue to run around in a circle.

I am not necessarily against diplomatic efforts at the UN. But I am decidedly against employing the same failed tactics that have proven their utter failure ad nauseam.

In short, the Palestinians must have a “de fault strategy” that would maximize their “national assets” while minimizing their national liabilities.

What should be done?

Without making a short story unnecessarily long, I believe the PA should do the following today, not tomorrow.

1-      The PA should immediately or as soon as possible dismantle itself. The very creation of the PA nearly 20 years ago was meant to expedite the establishment of a viable Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Now, it has been made amply clear that the PA has become one of the biggest obstacles impeding Palestinian statehood. Israel continues to patrol and control every street and neighborhood of the West Bank. So let the occupation return to what it was before the scandalous Oslo Accords, which gave the Palestinians a police state without a state.

2-      Since Israel has effectively killed any remaining chances for establishing a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, it is futile to cling to the two-state solution strategy. Such a strategy is simply dead, thanks to the ubiquitous proliferation of Jewish settlements. Moreover, awaiting the rise of a peace-minded Israeli government is an exercise in futility and stupidity, as the Israeli Jewish society continues to drift toward xenophobia, racism and even Jewish Nazism. Indeed, a fleeting glance at what is published In Israeli newspapers and posted on Jewish sites would leave no doubt in this regard.

3-      The PA and all Palestinian factions should mobilize all their efforts toward enabling the Palestinian people to be steadfast and withstand Israeli oppression and repression. Palestinian steadfastness has been the most effective Palestinian weapon against the Zionist enterprise. A few decades ago, we were viewed as a small minority with a precarious future. Today, we are more or less a demographic majority between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean.  Needless to say, this has always been the prospect the Zionist dreaded most. It has now become a reality.

4-      Hence, the Palestinian leadership must abandon, once and for all, the strategy of demanding a small Palestinian state or state-let beside Israel and adopt instead a new strategy based on the one-state solution whereby Palestinians and Jews live in peace and equality as citizens in a unitary state encompassing mandatory Palestine. True, Israel would reject this scenario outright since it would make Israel lose its Jewish identity. However, Israel and Israel alone would be blamed for destroying the possibility of creating a viable Palestinian state.

5-      Finally, the PA should immediately stop playing the role of the Judenrate by repressing Palestinians on Israel’s behalf. The PA had thought that coordinating with Israel would earn it a certificate of good conduct from the insolent Israeli leadership. But, far from making Israel moderate its Nazi-like repression of the Palestinians, the PA subservience to Israel actually emboldened the Jewish state even further as evident from the genocidal Israeli blitz on Gaza last summer.

Khalid Amayreh is a Palestinian journalist living in Occupied Palestine.

 

SPOOF AND VIDEO ON SONY’S CYBER HACK

Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

ZION SUFFERS FROM VERITASPHOBIA

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Fear is an emotional state produced in human beings and other animals to watch for real or anticipated dangers.

Veritasphobia (fear of truth)

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Fear is an emotional state produced in human beings and other animals to watch for real or anticipated dangers. An animal that reacts to danger or even potential danger and escapes lives and reproduces. Selection favored such mechanisms to be hightened in situations of danger of predation, of starvation of accidental death and so on. But an animal that is exceptionally fearful is also disadvantaged because it can avoid going out to find food or a better shelter or a mate. Fear is a double edged sword; useful in moderation especially when accompanied by logical thinking based on real phenomena and harmful in certain situations. Psychologists call the latter phenomenon of excessive fear as phobia. Phobia can lead to extreme behaviors or to hiding in ourselves and not taking any risks (risk taking is needed for progress). There are actually hundreds of named phobias ranging from Ablutophobia (irrational fear of washing or bathing) to Zoophobia (fear of animals). All humans are afraid of something or another but perhaps a significant proportion of humans are suffering from pathological phobias that impair or result in self damage or damage to others.I wrote in my 2004 book “Sharing the Land of Canaan” about role of fear in political discourse:

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Fear is the most powerful tool ever used by governments.  Fear caused good Germans to support the Nazis in 1934 and surrender their liberties for supposed protection from “terrorism” and domination by the communists who some capitalists believed at the time to be dominated by “Jewish elements.”   It causes many good Jews to support Israeli atrocities and it caused good Americans, Canadians and British today to support limiting civil liberties, engaging in profiling and other acts that are of undemocratic nature.  Fear is the most potent political propaganda because it destroys all rational capacity for logical thought.

While invading other countries, the Nazi government always argued they were defending Germany from others and not fighting a war of aggression.  They often claimed that they were “invited” by allies or fighting “defensive” wars.  The Blitzkrieg by Israel on Arab countries in 1967 was also thought of as a “defensive war” and “preemptive” in nature.  Many Americans also were duped to think that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was not an aggression but rather an action taken in self-defense.  Even though American troops have bombed over 30 countries since 1946 and American troops and “advisers” are now stationed in over 140 countries, many still believe that we are defending “our freedom.” Yet, not one Iraqi, Korean, Nicaraguan, Vietnamese, Dominican, Grenadan, Panamanian, or Lebanese troops has ever set foot on United States soil.  In each case, fear spread by those in power led the population of the aggressor nations to accept the absurd propaganda of their governments and to acquiesce in the victimization of other people.

The esteemed psychologist Dr. William Sargant argued that governments use fear to create temporary impaired judgment and heightened individual and mass suggestibility creating a “herd instinct” most noticeable during times of conflict (William Sargant, Battle of the Mind: a Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing, Cambridge: Malor Books, 1957, 255 pp.).  A good example of this psychological effect is the public sentiments in the crisis atmosphere following the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.  It is now well documented how the administration in Washington used this atmosphere of fear to promote its own agenda of hegemony and control ranging from the so-called PATRIOT act to the invasion of Iraq.
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But upon further reflections in the past 11 years since I wrote TAT, I now think fear is not only a tool of the politicians but that politicians are the worst victims of a particular kind of phobia. Most of them know the truth but are deathly afraid of it and so choose the path of lies. I believe the main reason is that they worry that acknowledging truth can be a first step to working to correct things and this could jeopardize the status quo which includes their position, their wealth, their popularity or some other thing that they cherish (other than their conscience which is suppressed). Zionist politicians are paranoid when it comes to the truth of Zionist history of racism of ethnic cleansing and of massive violation of Palestinian human rights. They are afraid of the truth that Zionism based on lies is unsustainable and that coexist ace and equality are possible.  Many Palestinian politicians are paranoid when it comes to the truth of their own corruption, nepotism, collusion with Zionism (see Oslo accords) and hidden racist thoughts about the other. Hamas politicians are deathly afraid of Fatah politicians and vice versa.

But this is also true of us common lay people. Phobias suppress our strong desire to shout out the truth, to challenge injustice, to speak our minds fully, to be rebellious, to not worry about being ridiculed. Ironically in our heart of hearts, mind of minds we know that all excellence emerges from defeating this phobia of the truth. The list of >530 phobias compiled and listed at phobialist.com misses that one so shall we call it veritasphobia or VP for short (Veritas is latin for truth)! Acknowledging the truth that it is possible to let go of our egos, try new things, and love others seems a Utopian dream. But those who suffer from VP also ignore history. After all, it was those who conquered their VP who shaped all positive events in human history from ending slavery to women rights, to civil rights, to human rights. History of progressive humanity is a history of conquering VP by few dedicated individuals.

20th century “heroes” like Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Nelson Mandela, Ghassan Kanafani, Rosa Parks, and thousands of others others follow those who in earlier centuries were called “prophets”. They are common people who shed their VP and thus achieved remarkable things. I actually think those who do not do that, are also afraid of proving themselves wrong: i.e. that if they shed their VP, they could accomplish more in their lives than they ever dreamed possible.  They are afraid that embarking on a risky road more afraid of potential success than of potential failure! But that is why most people (including most politicians) live mediocre lives risking little and achieving little. [note: I do not consider getting wealth as achieving much unless it is totally dedicated to serving people].

Where are the 21st century heroes and prophets who overcame their Veritasphobia? I did cite some of those from Palestine in my 2012 book “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment”. But looking for those is only inspiring and they are a minority and we need more of them. Each of us (our politicians included) can and should look in the mirror and say “what about me?”

DEMOS IN NEW YORK ‘KEEP ON GOING’ ~~ IN PHOTOS

They just keep going!

Like the bunny, they just ‘keep on going’

Thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets yesterday demanding an end to racist police violence and seeking justice for those who died at the hands of officers who are never held accountable for their illegal actions. 

The crowds of tens of thousands, diverse and overwhelmingly young, were a wonderful representation of New York and they were exuberant and militant in their demands: “No justice, no peace!” rang throughout Washington Square Park which is where they assembled at 2:00 pm on a blustery winter Saturday. The weather proved no deterrent as marchers left the park and headed up Fifth Avenue. “I can’t breathe!” “Hands up, don’t shoot!” were shouted out, echoing the dying words of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, whose deaths ignited the unending protests that have created, what seems to be, a new civil rights movement in our country – or at least a growing awareness by millions that something is terribly wrong with the so-called justice system in these United States and a determination to demand change to right that wrong.

Above commentary by Matt Weinstein.  Click HERE for his photos of the demo.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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EUROPE’S RECOGNITION OF PALESTINE AND THE ISRAELI ELECTIONS

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Israel is now in a race against time to change the map of Palestine. It will annex large parts of areas in the West Bank classified as “C”. This is the unilateral Israeli solution of the Palestinian question, a euphemism for the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.
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Palestinians need more steadfastness,
vigilance
By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine
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The recent voting by several European parliaments to recognize Palestine is undoubtedly a notable diplomatic achievement for the enduring Palestinian cause. It represents a laudable moral awakening on the part of many European nations. The voting has clearly embarrassed and upset Israel as it reminded the world community that the Zionist occupation of Palestine is inherently illegal and illegitimate and must come to an end sooner rather than later.

In light, I must salute the European peoples for this positive measure which we all hope won’t be thwarted by international political haggling led by the United States, Israel’s guardian ally.

None the less, we Palestinians must guard against excessive optimism and euphoria. In the final analysis, European recognition alone won’t end the Israeli occupation or make Israel revert to its senses. Israel is too arrogant and too insolent to think prudently, thanks to unlimited and unrestricted support from the US. Israeli leaders, rightly or wrongly, are convinced that Zionist Jews dominate American governments by controlling Congress. This week, Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennet threatened to “bring America to a standstill” in case the Obama administration exerted pressure on Israel to end the decades-old occupation.

Predictably, the Obama administration resorted to silence in the face of this brazen insolence. Indeed, it is hard to think that any other world leader or political figure would have been able to indulge in this diplomatic vulgarity and get away unscathed.

Utilizing the diplomatic success

The U.S. is now furiously trying to bully or cajole the weak Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership to reconsider a nascent diplomatic campaign at the UN, aimed at securing further recognition of Palestinian rights. Needless to say, Palestinian cowardice in the face of American “carrots –or- sticks- tactics” would really seriously undermine Palestinian national interests and dissuade many nations around the world from giving further support for Palestinian statehood and independence.

The peoples of the world would like to see a Palestinian leadership that is brave not cowardly, resistant not submissive, independent not subservient to the White House, which itself at Israel’s beck and call.

Above all, our leadership must be patriotic and only answerable to the Palestinian people from whom it receives its legitimacy and dignity.

No one is demanding that the PA launch an all-out war against Israel. However, the PA must leave no stone unturned in order to besiege Israel on the international arena. We must urge nations around the world in the strongest terms to boycott Israel and terminate any relations, commercial or otherwise, with the Zionist entity, especially the settlements, as long as Israel continues to torment our people, steal our land and narrow our horizons.

We must also be aware of Israel’s insidious designs. Israel is now in a race against time to change the map of Palestine. It will annex large parts of areas in the West Bank classified as “C”. This is the unilateral Israeli solution of the Palestinian question, a euphemism for the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.

According to this plan, announced recently by Bennet, Israel would retain its control over the bulk of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. And the Palestinians would have to forget about the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees uprooted from their homes and villages when Israel was created in 1948. In any case, we must be vigilant and watch for Israeli exploits and maneuvers.

Palestinian assets

Despite its pugnacity, aggressiveness and arrogance of power, Israel is facing a real dilemma. Today, there are more Arabs than Jews within mandatory Palestine (the area between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean) a reality the Zionist leadership considers a calamitous nightmare.

These people are going nowhere and they are here to stay. Israelis are making all sorts of supplications for a miracle that would make this growing Arab majority disappear. They are imploring Yahweh to smite the Arabs with all strength, so that they would either perish or leave.

But wishful thinking is wishful thinking, and Zionism,  which arrogantly killed whatever chances there were for the creation of a viable Palestinian state,  has only itself to blame.

Hence, Palestinians must not deal with this matter lightly. This is why, our leaders, irrespective of their political and ideological orientations must make every possible effort to consolidate our steadfastness on our ancestral land.

Beware of Arab betrayal

We must also guard against Arab betrayal. We do know that whenever the U.S. fails to get the Palestinians to do Israel’s bidding, e.g. compromising Palestinian national constants, especially those pertaining to Jerusalem and the paramount right of return for the refugees, Washington will dispatch high-ranking envoys to certain Arab capitals to urge Arab tyrants to bully the Palestinians, financially or otherwise, to give in and succumb to Israeli dictates.

We must reject, even with utmost contempt, any Arab pressure on us. We all know that Arab tyrants have no legitimacy or national dignity that would qualify them to pressure the Palestinian people.

These leaders are almost totally bankrupt. What else can be said of tyrants who systematically murder and torment their own people in order to please and appease Israel and the United States and stay in power.

We all know for sure that most- if not all- Arab tyrants from Bahrain to Marrakesh would unhesitatingly sacrifice Palestine in order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from Washington.

With all due respects to our Arab brethren, we Palestinians are different as to the way we relate to our leaders.

We are greater than our leaders. And if our leaders say or do something we don’t like, we simply chase them out of office.

Hence, any Palestinian leader who might be bullied or cajoled by Arab tyrants to pressure us to compromise on our fundamental rights, will not live to regret his fatal miscalculation.

2014 - The year of solidarity with Palestine  Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

2014 – The year of solidarity with Palestine
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

 

#BlackLivesMatter ~~ IN PHOTOS

MORE BIG DOINGS IN THE BIG APPLE

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“Hands up.  Don’t shoot!”

“I can’t breathe!”

“How do we spell murder?  NYPD!” 

These were the sounds heard in the Times Sq. area last night as over 100 people gathered to protest the killings of unarmed Black people that have been going on for much too long in this country.  A multi-racial, multi-ethnic group of people stood in the cold for 2 hours holding signs, reading the names of victims, and telling their stories to all who would listen.  To further decry the long history of American racism, the names of people lynched, like Emmett Till, were included in the signs and recitation. 

Every night since the New York Grand Jury refused to indict the officer who choked unarmed Staten Island citizen Eric Garner to death there have been marches, die-ins, and occupations in parts of the city by thousands of angry and pained people.  The groups have included everyone from youthful students to seniors, some veterans of the civil rights movement of the 60’s.  But this is not like the civil rights movement – the demonstrators are not asking for laws to be changed.  They are demanding that the government, the police departments, and their fellow citizens conduct themselves in a way to show that BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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REMEMBERING ZIAD ABU EIN

Image by Gianluca Costantini

Image by Gianluca Costantini

Speaking shortly before his death, the minister told reporters why he was at the protest. “This is the army of the occupation and they are stopping Palestinians from acting on their rights. We came to our Palestinian land to plant trees and olive trees. They attacked us immediately without anyone throwing a stone or attacking them. This is a terrorist occupying army that stops Palestinians from enacting on their rights,” Abu Ein said.

Continue 

Ziad Abu Ein reportedly inhaled large amounts of tear gas and was assaulted by Israeli forces [AFP/Getty Images]

Ziad Abu Ein reportedly inhaled large amounts of tear gas and was assaulted by Israeli forces [AFP/Getty Images]

And from Carlos Latuff …

Israel celebrates International Human Rights Day killing Ziad Abu Ein

Both images 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Both images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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latuff 1

Mazin Qumsiyeh PhD added the following …

I was scheduled to meet with PA Minister Ziyad Abu Ein a few days later but he was killed yesterday by the Israeli colonization forces while he and over 100 Palestinians were trying to plant trees on private Palestinian land threatened by illegal Jewish colonies. One of his subordinates, another decent man who also belongs to Fatah told me I should meet with him because he is “different from other Palestinian Authority men”. He explained that Abu Ein is one of actions not speeches. My sister remembers him as a friend of her husband Hazem who was also a member of Fatah revolutionary council. I am ashamed to say that while I agreed to the meeting, privately I remained skeptical. Now that meeting will not happen unless it is in the afterlife. My Fatah friend and my sister were proven right about the decency of the man and Minister Ziyad joins tens of thousands who lost their lives while ACTING in the resistance to the colonial settler state of Israel. Others sitting comfortably in fancy PA offices will claim he is “the comrade” and will make speeches. I am certain Mr. Abu Ein would not want that, he would want to be honored by actions not words.

One can only hope that this tragic loss will not go in vain, that it would help awaken the decent people within Fatah so that they now remove the main block to our liberation: the Oslo accords and the security coordination that springs from it. My late friend Edward Said labeled these agreements as “the second Nakba”.  If change does not happen then the words of “leadership” that does not participate in demonstrations will remain as hollow as their words after the massacres in Gaza or after the assassination of Yasser Arafat. I have a dream that Mr. Mahmoud Abbas will wake up one morning and gather 500 of his staff and assistants (easy to do) and go to remove the illegal apartheid wall between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. I am sure he will be joined by thousands (me included) and that Israeli occupation forces will not be able to stop us.

It is not true to say that the PA is under different constraints or that they know things we don’t (including potential retaliation by the US/Israel). There must be freedom to discuss and reshape our future by ourselves without the attempts to silence the truth. At an environmental education conference, only one speaker tried to explain (correctly) that the Oslo accords gave a Palestinian cover to the Israeli theft of our natural resources like water and for the Israeli freedom to “develop” area C including industrial polluting settlements etc. This speaker was attacked mercilessly by some PA figures and by many subsequent speaker who had to distance themselves from him to carry favor with the PA. Privately though, many PA figures (including loyal Fatah members) are disturbed by the direction we are traveling. One even told me privately at the same meeting that we do not want to become known as the Vichy government of Palestine.

Some of those are clearly speaking out in private to Mr. Abbas because he occasionally complains of dissension within Fatah. There is clearly a struggle within the PA and we hope that the murder of minister Ziyad Abu Ein will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, that it will tip things towards those decent Fatah people who realize that salaries and cars are not a substitute for a free Palestine (let alone for a conscience). That way the blood of martyrs like Abu Ein will not go in vain. After all, freedom is not freely given and there must be sacrifices.

And for the rest of us mere mortals and not in any official positions: we must guard ourselves not to fall into the traps of enabling corruption or enabling lies to persist or (God forbid) following the subservient opportunists. The road we choose is important. Here are relevant quotes I like:

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” Dante

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”Margaret Mead

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” Arundhati Roy 

TIMELY SPOOFS ~~ SENATE REPORT CONDEMNS CIA TORTURE

Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Image by Steve Bell in The Guardian

Image by Steve Bell in The Guardian

Related Report FROM

But first a comment from one of our Associates…

On CIA torture horrors – note that the report does not include torture by groups other then by the CIA!  It doesn’t include rendition to black sites where torture took place by others.  It doesn’t include what goes on at Guantanomo (still).  Who are these psychopaths that do this?  And who orders it done?  I once asked what the profile of a torturer is and the answer was, your next door neighbor if he is convinced you are a threat.  That is probably true but the answer is incomplete.  I think there are sadists out there who do wind up in the military.  And, it is a tool of terror which makes many very hesitant to join the opposition.  Today many aren’t opposing anything – they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And the scum in power that ordered all this are free to lead lives in luxury, no legal action against them, while innocent Black men in America die in the hands of police at the rate of about 2 a week.

US Senate report condemns CIA brutality

CIA employed interrogation techniques “far worse and brutal” than it admitted, investigation reveals.

A US Senate report on harsh techniques employed to interrogate “terror” suspects post-9/11 attacks has condemned the CIA for brutality and deception.

The heavily redacted 480-page report - published on Tuesday – covered the treatment of around 100 suspects rounded up by US operatives between 2001 and 2009 on terrorism charges.

The full 6,200-page report remains classified. Ahead of the publication of the report, the US had tightened security at its embassies across the globe.

Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein said the techniques used by the CIA were “far more brutal than people were led to believe” and that “coercive techniques regularly resulted in fabricated information” from detainees.

“There are those who will seize upon the report and say see what the Americans did? And they will try to use it to justify evil actions or incite more violence,” said Feinstein. “We can’t prevent that, but history will judge us by our commitment to a just society governed by law and the willingness to face an ugly truth and say never again.”

Summary: Key findings in CIA torture probe

The report said harsh CIA interrogations produced much bad information, including a fake story about al-Qaeda recruiting African-Americans. It said the interrogations were ineffective and never produced information that led to foiling of “imminent terror threat”.

The report followed a five-year investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee into the programme. The CIA maintained the harsh techniques were effective and foiled terrorist plots.

The report said the CIA misled the public and policymakers about the programme, much of which was developed, operated and assessed by two outside contractors.

Threats and sleep deprivation

The tactics discussed in the document include threats that Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a suspect in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, would have his mother “brought before him and sexually abused.” He was also threatened with a power drill.

The report said some detainees were forced to stay awake for over a week at a time, and that several detainees suffered from “hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation.”

Reacting to the report, US President Barack Obama said the CIA actions “were contrary to our values”.

“I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong – in the past. Today is also a reminder that upholding the values we profess doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us stronger and that the United States of America will remain the greatest force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known,” he said in a statement.

The enhanced interrogation programme was dismantled by Obama in 2009.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, reporting from outside the White House in Washington DC, said the aim of the report was to guarantee that torture was never used again in any sort of covert programme.

“But it is not exactly clear why the Senate has that confidence. Remember, no one was prosecuted for the programme,” said Culhane.

Another Al Jazeera correspondent, Kimberly Halkett, reporting from Capitol Hill in Washington DC, said it was unclear what Congress would do next.

“It is hard to say what Congress will do, because Congress had plenty of opportunities to do something and yet did not,” said Halkett.

Amnesty International said the report makes clear that the CIA was acting unlawfully “from day one” and its brutal interrogations were not a rogue operation.

Steven Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty’s US branch, said the programme “gave the green light to commit the crimes under international law of torture and enforced disappearance — with impunity. It’s time for accountability, including a full investigation, prosecutions and remedy for victims.”

Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said the report “shows the repeated claims that harsh measures were needed to protect Americans are fiction.”

He noted that the Obama administration had ended many of the practices described in graphic detail in the report.

But Roth added: “Unless this important truth-telling process leads to prosecution of the officials responsible, torture will remain a ‘policy option’ for future presidents.”

BETHLEHEM LIGHTS UP FOR CHRISTMAS

Bethlehem; The tree on the wall

Bethlehem; The tree on the wall

Prepared by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

We just had the Christmas tree lighting in the Manger Square, Bethlehem and
it was beautiful. It was appropriate to reflect on challenges and
opportunities in the ongoing struggle. If we believe that Jesus brought the
message of peace, the tumult in his era seems remarkably similar  yo this
era of occupation, repression, religious zealotry, corrupt leaders etc.
Yet, 2014 could be summed up as the year in which the parameters of the
struggle where made much clearer. It is a struggle between the elite rich
who have increasingly pushed for more police and military to protect their
gains and suppress the 99.9% of the world that is suffering.  From Ferguson
to Gaza to Kobani, the struggle continues.
If Mary and Joseph arrived at Bethlehem today

If Mary and Joseph arrived at Bethlehem today

In this year , we need to remember the tragedy that is Gaza, the tragedy
that is Jerusalem, the tragedy that is Palestine but we also reflect on
that hope that is like the story of resurrection seems to capture hearts
and minds of millions of people. Yes, we did suffer the incalculable loss
of thousands of Palestinians butchered this summer in Gaza. We remember
that despite the promises given by politicians, Gaza even became more
isolated and the noose tightened on the lives of 1.6 million human beings.
Egyptian and Israeli governments seems hell-bent on strangling any
remaining potential for normal life. The situation is dire and getting
worse daily. Thousands of common people did help and we sent some money and
some supplies but the situation demands more. The same is also true for
Jerusalem where Judaization efforts are accelerating (which includes ethnic
cleansing of native Palestinians and removing/threatening our religious,
cultural and historical infrastructure). Trigger happy soldiers and
settlers still kill Palestinians almost every other day with impunity.

Latuff's spoof on Christmas in Bethlehem

Latuff’s spoof on Christmas in Bethlehem


 

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