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.
End quote

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


 

IN PHOTOS ~~ BIG DOINGS IN THE BIG APPLE ~~ THOUSANDS GATHER AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY

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 Under the NYC night sky at 6:30 pm, 10,000 (police report) people gathered at Foley Square to protest the failure of the Grand Jury to indict the killer policeman of Eric Gardner, a Black resident from Staten Island . The demonstration was called  by the NYC Civil Liberties Union and The Center For Constitutional Rights. The meeting was peaceful, but participants were angry. The meeting represented the wide range of ethnic and racial population in NYC, from the young to oldsters. “BLACK LIFE MATTERS” and “I CAN’T BREATHE” were the refrains which filled Foley Square as well as “NO PEACE WITH OUT JUSTICE” and “HANDS UP DON’T SHOOT” (referring to Ferguson  Mo). Within  hours people spontaneously began to leave the Square to circulate through the city.  Local street protests continued to the wee hours of the morning.  The Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges were closed down.  The Holland Tunnel was closed for forty  minutes.  In some streets traffic was blocked and “die-ins” on the streets helped block the traffic. There were masses of police with their patrol cars  and scooters and their  buses to hold arrested demonstrators (200 were arrested).

The tactics used by the demonstrators were very familiar to those who participated in the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s.

It is unfortunate that people are still marching for what should have been achieved more  than a half a century ago.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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Two reports from the New York Times (click on photo to see slideshow)

THANKSGIVING IN FERGUSON (SPOOF)

Thanksgiving dinner ... 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Thanksgiving dinner …
‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Support demos continue ... 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Support demos continue …
‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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RELATED

MORE SPOOFS ON FERGUSON/PALESTINE

Both ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Ferguson is Palestine Palestine is Ferguson

Ferguson is Palestine
Palestine is Ferguson

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Just another Black man in Ferguson

Just another Black man in Ferguson

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Foxman upset with the Ferguson/Palestine comparison ….

American football player compares Ferguson to Palestine

ADL criticizes Reggie Bush for social media post that asked ‘What happened to humanity?’

 

See Ynet Report HERE

The post that offended the ADL
The post that offended the ADL

LATUFF’S FERGUSON SPOOFS

All images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Jay Nixon

Jay Nixon

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DO NOT HUG A KOALA! ~~ SERIES OF NEW TOONS

EMBRACE A PALESTINIAN CHILD INSTEAD

Images inspired by…. FROM

Republicans took the Senate but Barack Obama got to hold a koala

The G20 Summit is being held in Brisbane, Australia this year. The result? President Obama got to hold a koala:

pbama koala

 Pete Souza/Instagram

I think by any measure 2014 has been a bad year for Obama but this has to make it at least a wash.

No word yet on whether this was the koala specially trained to deliver hugs. (In case you find yourself in position to hug a koala sometime soon, remember that the “most important rule [in koala hugging] is pretending to be a tree”).

All images created by Gianluca Costantini

Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – Barack Obama

Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – Barack Obama

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Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – Stephen Harper

Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – Stephen Harper

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Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – Vladimir Putin -

Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – Vladimir Putin -

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Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – Angela Merkel

Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – Angela Merkel

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Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – Matteo Renzi

Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – Matteo Renzi

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Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – U Thein Sein

Do not hug a koala. Embraces a Palestinian child. – U Thein Sein

IN PHOTOS ~~ HAS MOSSAD INFILTRATED THE US LEGAL SYSTEM?

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Some background info on the case …

A conspiracy to convict …. and it’s not a theory!

The Mossad Connection …

After her conviction this week, Shurat HaDin, an Israeli legal group that The Electronic Intifada revealed works closely with the Israeli spy and assassination agency Mossad,claimed responsibility for helping US prosecutors unearth Odeh’s 45-year-old record with the Israeli military court. The Jerusalem Report said on Thursday:

“In trying to defang her defense, the NGO [Shurat HaDin] said that the US attorney’s office ran into heavy red tape trying to get the IDF [Israeli army] Archives Division to supply it, in timely fashion, with documents proving Odeh’s identity and conviction, in Israel’s Judea and Samaria [occupied West Bank] courts, for her hand in the bombing. Using its own connections, Shurat HaDin was able to get the relevant documents.”

Read the full report on the Electronic Intifada HERE

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Photos from the demonstration outside the Manhattan Federal Building in New York

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ SILENCING THE SONGS AND DANCE OF APARTHEID

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Anti-Apartheid Dance and Songs Meet Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company in Protest at Brooklyn Academy of Music

On busy Lafayette Avenue outside Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), 80 New Yorkers gathered last night to dance and sing in protest of Batsheva Dance Company’s performances in BAM’s 2014 Next Wave Festival (photos). Batsheva’s appearance is part of the “Brand Israel” initiativedesigned to distract from the facts of Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, and its denial of rights to Palestinians the world over. The demonstration was organized by Adalah-NY and endorsed by 15 other local human rights organizations including the BDS Arts Coalition, Brooklyn For Peace, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the Ya-Ya Network.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs touts Batsheva as “perhaps the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture.” Batsheva is funded in part by that government office as well as by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. While Batsheva artistic director Ohad Naharin has criticized Israeli abuses of Palestinians, Batsheva Dance Company continues in its role as a prominent cultural ambassador of the Israeli state.

The demonstration began with a dabke (traditional Palestinian dance) lesson led by Adalah-NY member Riham Barghouti, with musical accompaniment by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra followed by songs from Dave Lippman. Chants highlighted the disconnect between the Batsheva dancers’ virtuosity and their company’s political role, including, “Their range of motion cannot hide / Their support for apartheid” and “Batsheva gets no ovation / Ambassador for occupation!”

Protester Carlos Pareja, an independent media maker, said, “I support drawing attention to the abuses against the Palestinian people. We can’t have only the ‘nice’ face of Israel, which is what we often see here.” Barghouti echoed that point, telling the crowd, “Today, only a few months after the most brutal of all Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip—which killed over 2100 Palestinians including 500 children and leveled whole neighborhoods, leading Amnesty International and others to accuse Israel of war crimes—yet again BAM has invited the Israeli dance company Batsheva to whitewash Israel’s crimes.”

Interactions with Brooklynites were mostly positive, as curious people tookflyers and asked questions about the activities. Passersby and BAM ticket holders alike stood and watched the high-energy Freedom Debka Group and the Columbia Palestinian Dabke Brigade, two Palestinian dance troupes. The protest ended with two moving dances by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl, a Mexica danza group, who offered “dance and prayers for dignity and solidarity” with Palestinians during their performance. Dancer Karen Lopez explained afterward, “We are indigenous people who have been displaced and seen our traditions threatened with destruction. We are always there in solidarity and resistance with other displaced peoples, including Palestinians.”

Wednesday night’s protest is part of the global movement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. The Palestinian civil society call for BDS includes boycotting Israeli academic and cultural institutions complicit in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights. Adalah-NY is also organizing a protest next Tuesday, November 18, at the concert of the Touré-Raichel Collective, which features another premiere Israeli “cultural ambassador,” musician Idan Raichel.

More photos from the protest can be found here.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Adalah-NY

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TODAY’S SPOOF ~~THIS WALL WILL ALSO FALL!

The Berlin Wall officially fell on Nov. 9, 1989, after having divided the German capital for nearly 30 years.

“No matter how high walls are built, they will fall. Just as the Berlin Wall fell, the wall in Palestine will fall, along with the occupation.”

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Image created by Gianluca Costantini

Image created by Gianluca Costantini

FINALLY A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE RECIPIENT WHO WORKS FOR PEACE!

Unlike the others, finally a recipient that knows the true meaning of Peace

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai has announced that she will be donating the money she received as a World’s Children’s Prize laureate to UNRWA schools in Gaza, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees announced on Wednesday. Continue 

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Image created by  Gianluca Costantini

Image created by
Gianluca Costantini

SPOOF ON SWEDEN’S RECOGNITION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE

Image created by our new Associate Artist, Gianluca Costantini. Other examples of his latest works can be seen if you click on THIS link.

We are proud to welcome Gianluca to our ranks.

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Related report FROM

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Sweden recognizes state of Palestine

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Foreign Minister Margot Wallström made the announcement in a debate article in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
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“It’s an important step. Some will say that the decision came too early. I’m afraid that it came too late,” she wrote, adding that she “hopes that this will show the way for others.”
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“The aim of Sweden’s recognition is to help reach the goal of Israel and Palestine co-existing side by side in peace.”
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Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas hailed the decision, his spokesman said.
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“President Abbas welcomes Sweden’s decision,” Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP, adding that the Palestinian leader described the move as “brave and historic”.
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Abu Rudeina claimed the move was linked to months of soaring tensions in occupied east Jerusalem, where Palestinians have clashed almost daily with Israeli police and where Israel has recently pushed ahead with plans to build another 3,600 settler homes, drawing international condemnation.
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“This decision comes as a response to Israeli measures in Jerusalem,” he said.
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Abbas called for other countries to follow Sweden’s lead.
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“All countries of the world that are still hesitant to recognize our right to an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital, (should) follow Sweden’s lead,” his spokesman quoted him as saying.
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The UN General Assembly approved the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state in 2012, but the European Union and most western countries do not refer to Palestine as a separate state.
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Sweden’s decision, initially announced by new Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven as he revealed his new centre-left cabinet in early October, has been met with strong criticism.
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Israel’s foreign minister said it was made “in a hurry” and the US warned that it was a “premature move“. Israel has long insisted that the Palestinians can only receive their promised state through direct negotiations and not through other diplomatic channels.
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Phil Carmel from the European Jewish Congress which represents Jews in 40 countries including Sweden told The Local:
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“This is a token move by Sweden’s new government and it is ironic that Sweden recognizes a Palestinian state at a time when even Palestinians can’t agree on what its borders will be.”
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He added: “A key principle of the European Union is to recognize future states based on negotiations and it is very sad that Sweden appears to have cast these negotiations aside and wants to label Palestine as a state before any formal agreement on its borders.”
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There has been intense fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip in recent months, with some of the deadliest violence in years. But there is currently a ceasefire between the two sides.
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Seven EU members have already recognized a Palestinian state — Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania. Non-EU member Iceland is the only other western European nation to have done so.
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In Thursday’s announcement, Sweden’s foreign minister said that “the government considers that international law criteria for the recognition of a Palestinian state have been fulfilled.”
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Palestinian groups in Sweden have welcomed the decision. Earlier this month, Nael Touqan, Chairman of Palestinian Association of Stockholm told The Local:
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“Sweden has great respect in Europe so we hope this means that other nations will follow its lead,” he added. “This is the only way to pressure Israel”.

#BDS ~~ SPOOF ON GOODS THAT KILL

Israeli Goods Kill!

Boycott Now!!

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

#bdsmovement

#bdsmovement

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