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FP 50 Inadvertently Reveals Israel’s Dominance of GOP

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | August 31, 2012

Foreign Policy magazine has compiled a list of the 50 Republicans who have the greatest influence on the GOP’s foreign policy. “Politics is mostly about people — and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to foreign policy,” explains Foreign Policy in its introduction. With the U.S. presidential election looming, the magazine offers “to peel back the curtain on this rarefied part of the Establishment” to better inform American voters about “the advisers who will determine the country’s course in the world” in the event that they elect Mitt Romney. The FP 50, it says, are “all GOP partisans” from the different “ideological traditions” — namely, realism, neoconservatism, and “even” isolationism — that are “currently fighting for the soul of their party’s foreign policy.” A cursory look at the list, however, shows that a far more influential ideological tradition — Zionism — holds sway over the Republican Party.

Although only about 20% of American Jews supported the GOP in 2008, the FP 50 features as many as 20 Jewish partisans of Israel, including Weekly Standard editor William Kristol (#2), Brookings Institution senior fellow Robert Kagan (#4), and casino mogul and mega-donor Sheldon Adelson (#9) who make its top 10 most powerful Republicans on foreign policy. Also at number 8 is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the stridently pro-Israel chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, whose maternal grandfather was a “pillar” of Cuba’s Jewish community who helped found several synagogues there. More importantly, several of the most passionate Israel partisans are close advisors to the Romney team, including Kagan, Dan Senor (#13), Dov Zakheim (#27), Eliot Cohen (#29), and Elliott Abrams (#35).

Moreover, the careers of many of the non-Jewish individuals on Foreign Policy’s list have been inextricably linked to their staunch support of the Jewish state. Topping the FP 50 is Senator John McCain who not only continues the family tradition of covering up Israel’s deliberate June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty but invariably leads the call — in unison with Senator Joe Lieberman — for U.S. intervention in countries surrounding the Jewish state. At number 26 is Senator Mark Kirk, “the Israel lobby’s favorite senator” whose office this year served as a conduit for an Israeli initiative to redefine Palestinian refugees out of existence. And coming in in 46th place is John Hagee, the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, which, as FP points out, “has done more than just about any other organization to make Israel a defining foreign-policy issue for evangelical Christians in the United States.”

Indeed, out of the 50 Republicans who have the greatest influence on the GOP’s foreign policy, Congressman Ron Paul — who, along with his son, Senator Rand Paul, is ranked #25 — appears to be one of the very few who could be relied upon to put U.S. interests ahead of Israel’s. Yet Foreign Policy, a division of the pro-Israel Washington Post, never explicitly refers to the decisive — and potentially catastrophic — influence Tel Aviv would have over a Romney administration. However, those familiar with the operations of the Israel lobby know that, as the magazine puts it, “the relentless lobbying and insider machinations of surprisingly few people can often end up defining the foreign policy of entire administrations.”

August 31, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on FP 50 Inadvertently Reveals Israel’s Dominance of GOP

University of Montreal cancels classes for fear of protest

Press TV – August 30, 2012

Administrators at the University of Montreal (UdeM), the most prestigious French-speaking University in North America, have been forced to cancel dozens of classes for the rest of the week for fear of fresh protests.

The university issued a notice in Tuesday evening, saying that it had suspended classes in the departments that have been targeted by striking students since Monday, the CBC reported.

“They were the classes that we saw in the last two days [in which] the students were giving us trouble,” said Mathieu Filion, a spokesman for the university administration.

The classes were supposed to resume this week after the winter semester was suspended following massive months-long protests across Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec against proposed tuition fee hikes.

Over Monday and Tuesday, the police stormed the university and arrested more than 30 protesters. The protest erupted following the passage of a new controversial bill, which outlawed obstructing classes and all non-pre-approved gatherings of more than 50.

Students in Quebec have been protesting university tuition hikes since February 2011. The protests later turned into a larger movement, dubbed the “maple revolution,” which, analysts say, reveals deeper social unrest.

The developments come ahead of next week’s provincial elections, which will decide whether Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest’s ruling Liberal Party, which insists on a plan to increase tuition fees by 82 percent, could be reelected.

The latest opinion survey shows that the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), led by Pauline Marois, is heading for a victory in the September 4 polls.

The PQ has promised to hold a referendum on the separation of Quebec from Canada if 850,000 Quebecers sign a related petition.

August 31, 2012 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Comments Off on University of Montreal cancels classes for fear of protest

South African miners charged with murder of 34 colleagues killed by police

RT | August 30, 2012

South African workers arrested after a shooting at a platinum mine have been charged with killing 34 of their colleagues, despite confirmation that police committed the murders. The officers, who did not deny using guns, face no charges.

­The Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, in the country’s North West province, made headlines on August 16, when protesters, who demanded their wages be raised to over $1,000 a month, clashed with police. The crackdown claimed the lives of 36 people – miners and two policemen, and left 78 injured.

All of the 270 arrested miners, including the six hospitalized, were previously said to be charged with attempted murder or public violence. But state prosecutor Nigel Carpenter increased the charges against them.

The miners are to be tried under the “common purpose” doctrine, which implies that all participants in a criminal activity can be charged for its consequences.

“This is under common law, where people are charged with common purpose in a situation where there are suspects with guns or any weapons and they confront or attack the police and a shooting takes place, and there are fatalities,”Frank Lesenyego, spokesman for South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority, said.

The lawyers representing the Marikana strikers are expected to challenge the charges. A prior application for bail was rejected, and the hearing was delayed till September 6. Until then, the miners will remain in custody in three area police stations.

At the same time, the policemen involved in the deadly clashes at the Marikana mine will undergo a Commission of Inquiry investigation separately.

That is despite police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s confirmation a few days after the tragedy that the 34 people were killed by police. However, police officers insist that they opened fire to defend themselves against a wave of strikers armed with machetes, who allegedly charged barricades. Prior to gunshots, the police used tear gas and water cannons.

However, leaked findings of victims’ autopsies were published by the South African Star newspaper, and showed that the miners were shot in the back while running away.

The post-mortem results suggested that the strikers posed no danger to law enforcement at the time of the shooting.

An official spokesman refused to confirm or deny the accusations on what’s already being dubbed the Marikana Massacre – the most violent episode in South Africa’s history since the 1994 end of apartheid.

August 31, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

Judge Rules Against Colorado Supermax That Keeps Prisoners Indoors for Years

By Jean Casella and James Ridgeway | Solitary Watch | August 30, 2012

We’ve written at length about the case of Troy Anderson, a prisoner with mental illness who has spent more than ten years in solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary. This past April, a Federal District Court in Denver heard a case brought on Anderson behalf by students at the University of Denver Law School’s Civil Rights Clinic. As we wrote, “it was his untreated mental illness that first landed him at CSP, Anderson contends, and now the same symptoms are keeping him there indefinitely. Without proper treatment, he is unable to convince corrections officials that he’s fit for the general prison population. This catch-22, his lawyers say, condemns him to an effective life sentence under conditions that are increasingly being denounced as a form of torture—particularly when applied to mentally ill prisoners.” The suit claimed that Anderson’s treatment violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment and its guarantee of due process. Among other things, his lawyers pointed out that it has been more than a decade since Anderson had “felt the sun on his back.”

Westword‘s Alan Prendergast, who has also followed the case closely, reported earlier this week on the judge’s ruling in the case:

In what amounts to a landmark decision, a federal judge has ruled that the conditions of solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary constitute “a paradigm of inhumane treatment” and must change — notably, so that inmates locked down in their cells 23 hours a day can have at least three hours a week of natural light, fresh air and outdoor exercise. “The Eighth Amendment does not mandate comfortable prisons, but it does forbid inhumane conditions,” U.S. District Judge Brooke Jackson wrote in an order issued last Friday.

CSP has an interior courtyard that could be modified to permit outdoor exercise for inmates, Jackson notes. But since it opened in 1993, the state supermax has permitted its high-security inmates only to exercise in an odd-shaped room on each tier equipped with a chin-up bar; small holes allow some fresh air from outside to reach the room. Calling CSP “out of step with the rest of the nation” — even the notorious federal supermax in Florence allows its inmates outdoor recreation in individual cages — Jackson declared that prison officials must provide its charges with “meaningful exposure” to natural light and air.

Jackson’s ruling came in the case of Troy Anderson, 42, a mentally ill inmate serving an 83-year sentence stemming from two shootouts with police. He’s one of ten inmates who have been at CSP for ten years or more with hardly any exposure to the outdoors (except during transport to court) during that time. His lawsuit, filed with the aid of student lawyers from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, challenged several aspects of life at CSP, from mental health treatment to the policies that have kept him from progressing to a less restrictive prison, as unconstitutional…

On other issues, the judge ordered a fresh look at Anderson’s medication issues and mental health treatment. He adopted a wait-and-see attitude toward new policies that are supposed to address other inmate concerns about how inmates receive bad behavior reports, known as “negative chrons,” that can prolong their stay in solitary confinement without a clear appeal process.

At Anderson’s trial, other inmates testified about suicidal thoughts brought on by the severe isolation and being deprived of any exposure to the outdoors. “I go to bed crying sometimes because I feel I have no hope of being outside of that cell any more,” one said.

A copy of the judge’s order can be found here: Troy Anderson v. Colorado DOC

August 31, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Comments Off on Judge Rules Against Colorado Supermax That Keeps Prisoners Indoors for Years

Russia Slams Unilateral Sanctions against Syria

Al-Manar | August 31, 2012

Russia criticized unilateral US and European Union sanctions against Damascus, as it voiced skepticism about forming buffer zones in Syria.

Saying they worsen the plight of the Syrian people, Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, called for exerting efforts in a bid to improve the humanitarian situation for the Syrians.

Churkin said he agreed with UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres, who warned the Security Council against the so-called “safe zones.”

“He (Guterres) made it very clear he thought that history showed that they cannot be relied on as an effective tool for protecting civilians – that we must work together in order to help alleviate and improve the humanitarian situation for the entire population of Syria,” Churkin told the council.

August 31, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Comments Off on Russia Slams Unilateral Sanctions against Syria

Uzbek bill flies in face of US hopes of military presence

Press TV – August 30, 2012

Uzbekistan’s upper house of parliament has endorsed a bill, banning the country’s hosting of foreign military bases, amid the US hopes of military presence in the country.

“Uzbekistan will have no foreign military bases and facilities on its territory,” ITAR-TASS quoted Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov as saying in Tashkent on Thursday.

The proposed law, yet to be fatefully signed by President Islam Karimov, authorizes the country to quit interstate organizations that form military blocs.

Komilov likewise said Uzbekistan would “reserve the right to leave any interstate structures if they become military-political blocs.”

The bill came against a backdrop of growing rumors of Uzbekistan’s plan to host a US military base to replace a major airbase, leased by the US military, in neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

In February, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said Bishkek planned to close the base, which is located at a major airport in the Kyrgyz capital, and is reportedly being used as a transit center for Washington’s operations in Afghanistan.

August 30, 2012 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Analysis of latest IAEA report on Iran – August 2012

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | August 30, 2012

So the latest IAEA report on Iran is out. The media have been trying very hard to put as scary a spin on the report as possible. Here’s my analysis.

Paragraphs 1 and 2 attempt to portray UNSC resolutions on Iran, demanding that Iran give up enrichment, as being “binding”. They further demand that Iran ratify the Additional Protocol.

Sorry, but the UNSC is not legally authorized to make such demands. A very fundamental principle of the international law of treaties is the principle of “voluntariness” – treaties are only binding when a country voluntarily agrees to them, and the UNSC cannot demand that any country sign and ratify a treaty. This is a basic principle of international law: “International treaty law comprises obligations states expressly and voluntarily accept between themselves”

Nevertheless Iran not only implemented the Additional Protocol for a period of about 3 years in the past (with no evidence of any nukes found) but has offered to permanently ratify the treaty as long as its rights under the NPT are also recognized. Thus far, the US has refused.

There are also references to the “Annex” published by the IAEA in the Nov 2011 report which was touted as proof positive of Iranian nuclear perfidy. But as reporters like Scott Peterson and Seymor Hersh pointed out, it was just a repeat of well-known and still unsubstantiated claims that the previous IAEA head Elbaradei had refused to endorse. The same Annex in the news in Sept 2009, having been partially leaked to George Jahn of the AP. Back then, Elbaradei stood accused of “censoring” this “secret annex” which supposedly proved that Iran had an on-going nuclear weapons program, contrary to the NIEs. The IAEA denied there was such a “secret” annex, and the IAEA spokesman characterized it as simply information that was insufficiently verified to be included in the IAEA reports. Apparently, with the replacement of ElBaradei with Amano, this view changed, and the annex was included in the latest report, but under Elbaradei the IAEA issued a press release stating that  “it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.”

Paragraph 3 attempts to justify the expanded role of the IAEA as the “enforcer” of the NPT on Iran, but in fact if you read the text of Iran’s safeguards agreement you’d see that the role of the IAEA is quite limited — its function is “exclusively” to send inspectors to measure the declared nuclear material in Iran to ensure non-diversion to weapons use — and the IAEA has fulfilled this role already, which is why every single IAEA report on Iran (including this one) states that there is no evidence of such a diversion.

Paragraphss 5 – 7 are mainly about Parchin. The IAEA demands access to this site — even though it is not a declared nuclear facility, and therefore falls outside of the IAEA’s legal inspection authority. However Iran voluntarily allowed the IAEA to inspect this site already in 2005 — twice — with no evidence of any nuclear material or activities found. If the IAEA was serious about the “suspicions” here, all it has to do is present the evidence to the IAEA Board and get a “special inspections” authorization which Iran is legally required to allow — but the IAEA has not done so because the IAEA simply does not have any actual evidence of any nuclear work there. In fact the IAEA officials complained previously that the US intel on Iran’s nuclear program were bogus. Note that the Iranians have not refused another visit to Parchin, but want a “structured approach” to be determined beforehand. This was arranged for the previous IAEA visits to Parchin so why is the IAEA not doing so for this visit?

Paragaph 9 is the key paragraph where the IAEA verifies the non-diversion of nuclear material to non-peaceful uses. This is key, because that’s the relevant standard in determining whether Iran is in compliance with the NPT or not. As Michael Spies of the Lawyer’s Committee on Nuclear Policy has explained:

The conclusion that no diversion has occurred certifies that the state in question is in compliance with its undertaking, under its safeguards agreement and Article III of the NPT, to not divert material to non-peaceful purposes. In the case of Iran, the IAEA was able to conclude in its November 2004 report that that all declared nuclear materials had been accounted for and therefore none had been diverted to military purposes. The IAEA reached this same conclusion in September 2005.

Paragraphs 10-12 admits that all of the nuclear activities in the declared nuclear sites and facilities in Iran are under IAEA safeguards, which again means Iran is in full compliance with the actual requirements of the NPT, even though the UNSC has tried to impose additional demands and restrictions on Iran.

Footnote 14 is interesting because it states that Iran reportedly intends to make several more reactors that manufacture medical isotopes. This again is in full compliance with Iran’s rights under the NPT

Paragraphs 13-16 are about the Natanz enrichment facility, which operates under IAEA safeugards, and specifically paragraph 16 essentially states that the operations are not violating the NPT either, and the uranium is enriched to less than 5% which is low-enriched uranium used for reactors.

Footnote 17 states that a small amount of uranium is enriched to slightly more than 5% due to a “known technical phenomenon associated with the start up of centrifuge cascades”. This was previously misrepresented in the media as evidence of Iranian perfidy when the same phenomenon was found at Fordo, the site where Iran enriches uranium to 20%, but is in fact simply an unavoidable phenomenon: when introducing uranium into the centrifuges, the process takes a bit of time, so some of the uranium initially introduced into the a centrifuge may be enriched to slightly higher levels than the rest. In fact paragraph 26 , which addressese this “overshoot” phenomenon at Fordo, confirms that this “Iran’s explanation is not inconsistent with the further assessment made by the Agency.”

Paragraphs 18-22 are about the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant — again in Natanz, which according to paragraph 22 continues to operate in accordance with the NPT.

Paragraphs 23-26 are about the enrichment facility at Fordo, which makes the 20% enriched uranium for use in the Tehran Research Reactor. It states that Iran has expanded the number of centrifuges there, but that they’re not operating. In any case this hasn’t stopped the media scaremongering about the facility, which operates under IAEA safeguards. Of course, the media scaremongers don’t bother mentioning that Iran would not have had to start 20% enrichment had the US not interferred with Iran’s right to acquire the fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor in the first place, nor that Iran has already announced plans to covert 1/3 of this material into fuel rods thus precluding their use for bomb-making. In fact Iran has suggested that it would agree to a plan of immediately converting all of its enriched uranium into fuel rods. This is not what a country intent on making nukes would do.

Paragraph 27 states that the IAEA is awaiting information about Iran’s plans to make new reactors in the future. Well, according to Iran’s safeguards agreement, Iran is only required to formally disclose such reactors 180-days prior to the introduction of nuclear material into them. Since these reactors have yet to be built, then Iran is under no obligation to provide any other information – yet.

Paragraph 28 states that Iran is not reprocessing uranium — a process that is used to extract plutonium from reactor fuel rods, and Iran has stated that it has no intention of doing so. Again, no NPT violatons there either.

Paragraphs 29-31 are about the heavy water reactor that Iran is building which according to the report continues “under Agency safeguards”. Specifically Paragraph 31 complains that the IAEA has not been allowed “further access” to the Heavy Water Production plant. However, since heavy water is not fissile material, and the IAEA’s inspection authority is limited to the inspection of fissile material and places where fissile material is stored, Iran is not obligated to allow ANY IAEA inspections of the plant at all – even though it has already done so voluntarily.

Paragraphs 32-37 are about Iran’s Uranium conversion and fuel plate manufacture facilities. It is interesting to note that the report states Iran has been making fuel plates on its own, when a few years ago we were told that Iran could not possibly figure out how to do this, and so any enriched uranium it was making was necessarily intended for nukes rather than  reactor fuel (the fact that making fuel plates is a lot easier than making nukes, went unmentioned). Again, nothing violates the NPT here either.

Section H (paragraphs 38-44) are about the continued saga of the “alleged studies” from the Laptop of Death, as well as allegations about Parchin, specifically the “explosives testing container”. Note however that the IAEA report does not state that there were nuclear activities here — rather it refers to “undisclosed nuclear related activities” — which is funny because the IAEA’s inspection authority is limited to nuclear material not “nuclear related” material. The report states that the IAEA has “become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities” since 2002, but in fact Elbaradei stated clearly that the IAEA has no evidence of any such “undisclosed” activities. Furthermore Robert Kelley and others have already debunked a lot of the allegations about this “explosives testing chamber

In fact, the chamber is far too small to contain explosive proof tests of a full scale mock-up, and far too big to contain smaller tests of research interest. Thus, a container of this size is irrelevant to a Iranian nuclear weapons program.

If you’re interested, here’s what the former IAEA head Elbaradei had to say about these alleged studies.

Section I (paragraphs 45-47) are the IAEA’s complaints that Iran should provide information on plans to build nuclear facilities (such as the Fordo enrichment facility) earlier than what its standard safeguards agreement requires. This is a long-standing technical dispute between the IAEA and Iran about when precisely Iran should provide design information on planned nuclear facilities. For a while Iran agreed, as a gesture of good faith, to adopt a “Modified” version of a safeguard agreement that required it to provide this info earlier than its existing standard safeguards require, but Iran ended that voluntary cooperation after the Paris Agreement negotiations fell apart. Since then, the IAEA has been insisting that Iran is somehow obligated to continue this practice, but this demand is legally questionable. The bottom line, however, remains that regardless of when Iran declares a nuclear facility, the declared facility will still operate under IAEA safeguards and so cannot be used to secretly make nukes anyway, so this is really a side issue and involves no violation of the NPT as long as the IAEA continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material.

Section J (paragraph) 48 says that Iran hasn’t implemented the Additional Protocol, and so the IAEA cannot verify the absence of undeclared material until it does. Which is true, but the same is true for many other nations including Egypt, Argentina, Brazil. However, unlike those countries Iran voluntarily implemented the Additional Protocol, and has since allowed inspections that exceed even the Additional Protocol, with no proof of any nuclear weapons work found.

Section K is about other technical matters that involve no violation of the NPT either.

So that’s about it: Iran continues to work on enrichment, and the IAEA continues to verify this program and there’s still no proof of any nuclear weapons work

August 30, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Analysis of latest IAEA report on Iran – August 2012

When Obama Whitewashed Rape

Rape is Rape … Except When You’re a Female Detainee

By RILEY WAGGAMAN | CounterPunch | August 30, 2012

Hello friends! Have you heard the terrific news? President Obama stands up for women, and speaks out against rape! “Rape is rape!” Except when the U.S. Military is doing the raping, of course, in which case political expediency requires Barack Obama to whitewash and completely ignore rape, forever.

In May 2009, Barack Obama announced he would not comply with a court order that would have brought hundreds of meticulously documented cases of rape and sexual assault from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan to the forefront of public debate and scrutiny.

The court order stipulated the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs taken from Abu Ghraib and six other prisons across Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Major General Antonio Taguba, who led the formal inquiry into prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, the photographs in question depict “torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.”

Explaining his decision to ignore the order, President Obama argued, “The most direct consequence of releasing [the photographs], I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.”

I think I found the perfect keynote speaker for your college’s next Take Back the Night rally!

President Obama went on to add, apparently with no sense of shame whatsoever, “I want to emphasize that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational.”

And as a precautionary measure against the possibility that rape is actually “sensational” — especially when perpetrated (and gleefully documented) by the U.S military — the Pentagon’s official position on this matter is that the photographs in question do not even exist. Indeed, it’s unlikely that any of this “rape” stuff even happened. There’s certainly no evidence to support such wild claims.

But what about the video Major General Taguba obtained during his investigation, which shows “a male American soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee“? Don’t worry, that’s not “particularly sensational.” No need to fret! Move along! Also: that video doesn’t exist, and that never happened.

How about the photograph that depicts “an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner”? Or the photograph that shows “a male translator raping a male detainee”? Or the countless photographs which are said to document “sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube”? How about the photo that shows “a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts”?

That’s just a long list of “not particularly sensational”, misinformed speculation. Please try to remember: these photographs don’t even exist, according to the Obama Administration.

Also, this never happened:

Among the graphic statements, which were later released under US freedom of information laws, is that of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas in which he says: “I saw [name of a translator] ******* a kid, his age would be about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name] who was wearing the military uniform, putting his **** in the little kid’s ***…. and the female soldier was taking pictures.”

By now we are all well acquainted with Rep. Todd Akin’s ridiculous comments about “legitimate” rape, as well as President Obama’s widely-praised and publicized rebuttal, in which he called Akin’s remarks “offensive.” Obama went on to state, “rape is rape” and that Akin’s comments were “way out there.” As the November election looms, Obama supporters have jumped at the opportunity to contrast the president with the out-of-touch, anti-woman Rep. Akin, the latest poster boy for the Republican War On Women.

Yes, Barack Obama knows that “rape is rape.” Except when the U.S. military rapes women and children. Then rape is “not particularly sensational” or worthy of public disclosure, dialog or debate; then rape never even occurred, probably. And we don’t need to talk about rape that never happened. That’s just common sense, folks.

The President, ‬according to BUST Magazine, has become “the new feminist in town,” and his mighty takedown of Rep. Akin has been enshrined forever in the Annals of Brave Lip Service (“as if you needed another reason to swoon over our amazing president”; “We think feminism looks good on him“).

But Obama’s “rape is rape” lip service to America isn’t for everyone; it doesn’t really “resonate” if you’re a female detainee who was videotaped being raped by a U.S. soldier in uniform and then told that there’s nothing “particularly sensational” about that, no need to cause a commotion, think about the Troops that will be put in harm’s way! This is all silly goose talk anyway, since there is no evidence that such a rape even occurred. (Even though there is.)

But don’t be fooled: Todd Akin’s uninformed, hypothetical conjecturing about rape is the real war crime that needs to be exposed. That’s the real war being fought, in Jezebel Land, which apparently now suffers from “rape fatigue.”

And women will continue to praise Barack Obama for his bravery and feminism. And why shouldn’t they? The alternative is simply too gross to think about; whether a drone strike wiped out an entire village, whether President Obama covered up hundreds of rapes, or whether a phone call was placed by a high official in a forgotten, endless war… The point is, we need to bring Todd Akin to justice, before Jezebel explodes!

Riley Waggaman was the former co-editor of Wonkette.com.

August 30, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Navy Chases Fishing Boats, Tries To Sink Them

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | August 30, 2012

A Palestinian cameraman from the Gaza Strip managed to capture on tape, an attack carried out by Israeli Navi boats, on Wednesday, against small Palestinian fishing boats. The video shows the Israeli Navy boats encircling the boats flooding them with water, and even blocking their way as they tried to sail back to the shore.

The video was captured by Mohammad Al-Mash-harawy, of the Media Town News Agency in Gaza, during a field report documenting the ongoing Israeli assaults against Palestinian fishermen in the coastal region.

The Navy boats were sailing at fast speeds, and encircling the Palestinian fishing boats, and flooding them with water, an issue that pushed the fishermen to go back to the shore.

Despite the fact that the fishermen were trying to steer their boats back to the shore, the Navy boats continue to encircle them.

In related news, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that, on Tuesday morning, 28 August 2012, two Palestinian fishermen were kidnapped and a Palestinian fishing boat was heavily damaged in two separate attacks carried out by the Israeli Navy in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Since 2000, fishermen have been denied their right to sail and fish and have been subject to frequent attacks that led to excessive damage and dozens of casualties.
Israel reduced the area of fishing from 20 nautical miles, which was established upon in the agreements signed between Palestinian and Israel, to 6 nautical miles in 2008.

“However, Israeli forces have continued to prevent fishermen from going beyond 3 nautical miles since 2009. As a result, fishermen are prevented from reaching areas beyond that distance where fish are abundant. Sometimes, Israeli forces also chased fishermen within the 3 nautical mile area. Consequently, Palestinian fishermen have lost 85% of their income, because of limiting the fishing area”, the PCHR reported.

August 30, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Video | , , , , , | 1 Comment

When Will Palestinians Become Human?

By AMER ZAHR | CounterPunch | August 29, 2012

We Palestinians have been struggling for a long time.  I am not speaking of the struggle to be recognized as an independent state, or the struggle to be recognized in the United Nations, or even the struggle to be recognized in international courts.  I am speaking, rather, of the struggle to be recognized as human beings.

I am a comedian, and I travel to Israel and Palestine often to perform, visit, and conduct workshops.  I have, to this point, done all of my work for Palestinian audiences and participants.  My first job is to be funny.  But I also hope to show that Palestinians can laugh just like everyone else, especially at ourselves.  If I do my job well, maybe I can show that we can be funny too.

The legal decision handed down yesterday in Israel, absolving the government of any and all responsibility in the 2003 death of American Rachel Corrie in Gaza, confirmed something to the world that we Palestinians are already acutely aware of:  We, and those who dare to stand with us, are simply not human beings.

In the past few weeks, this phenomenon has become all too clear in Israel.  On August 16, a group of teenagers beat a Palestinian boy to near death in a Jerusalem square.  One of those arrested for that crime publicly declared his astonishment for being held accountable for beating an Arab.  On that same day, a taxi carrying a family of Palestinians was firebombed near Hebron in the southern West Bank.  Six Palestinians were injured in that attack.

Rachel Corrie was killed while she was decrying the demolition of homes in the Gaza Strip.  She was engaging in something that we Americans have been politically and socially bred to have pride in: non-violent protest.  She stood in front of a bulldozer, only to have the driver run her over, viewing her life as no more worthy than the owners of the house he was destroying.

It is no small thing to say that the state of Israel views Palestinians as subhuman.  I do not say it lightly.  I have traveled to Israel many times, encountering the various checkpoints, border crossings, and security personnel.  I am always shocked by how Palestinians deal with this everyday.  I am never shocked by, sadly, the subhuman manner in which Israel treats them.

The Qalandia checkpoint from Ramallah to Jerusalem consists of cages and steel revolvers.  Palestinians are let through at the whim of the Israeli soldiers manning their stations.  The checkpoint itself is filthy and unsanitary.  Arab towns inside Israel are many times rundown, almost completely neglected by the Israeli government, while Jewish towns are generously funded and kept up, resembling upscale American suburbs.  Studies have shown that the Israeli government spends three times as much on schools populated by Jewish students as it does on schools with Arab students.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once referred to the Palestinian citizens of Israel as a “demographic threat.”  That remark, is, of course, utterly racist.  But one has to wonder how someone like Mr. Netanyahu, who graduated from both high school and college in America, could refer to a group of people that existed in that land for centuries before the establishment of Israel as a “demographic threat.”  The answer is simple: Palestinians are simply not human.

Newt Gingrich has called us “invented,” Barack Obama was attacked in 2008 for having a “Palestinian friend,” Ehud Barak referred to us as “crocodiles,” and former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who famously made peace with Egypt, said that Palestinians were “beasts.”  Why would we expect Israel to hold anyone responsible for killing a young woman foolish enough to protect the rights of these creatures?

Amer Zahr is a Palestinian-American residing in Dearborn.  He is a comedian and graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

August 30, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

A Pattern of Abuse Against American Citizens

IMEU |  June 28, 2011

In coming days, ten ships will take part in a flotilla attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Among the ships will be the U.S.-flagged “Audacity of Hope,” carrying 36 U.S. citizens. Last year, the Israeli navy attacked a previous humanitarian flotilla in international waters, killing nine passengers, including one American.

Passengers on the “Audacity of Hope” have contacted the State Department, the White House, and members of Congress to notify them of the flotilla. They have urged the government to work to ensure the safety and free passage of the ships and to warn Israel against attacking unarmed civilian vessels with U.S. citizens on board who are exercising their legal rights. Instead, the State Department – whose mission in part is to protect and assist U.S. citizens traveling abroad – has issued numerous statements labeling the flotilla as an “irresponsible and provocative” action that risk[s] the safety of their passengers” and “creat[es] a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves”. The administration has also alluded to prosecuting the passengers, who will be delivering thousands of letters of solidarity and friendship to the people of Gaza, for providing material support to a designated terrorist organization. [3]

Though Israeli state violence against foreign nationals is often portrayed as an aberration, over the past 8 years alone, Israel has killed and/or severely injured a number of American citizens. Below are 10 such examples:

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Furkan Dogan
Troy, NY

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19 year-old American Furkan Dogan was on the Mavi Marmara, a 600-passenger ship sailing as part of a flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid. In the early hours of May 31st, 2010, Israeli commandos dropped onto the ship in international waters and attempted to commandeer it, leading to a struggle for control of the ship. Among others, Dogan was shot at close range with 4 bullets to the head and 1 to the chest.

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Emily Henochowicz
New York, NY
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(After attack)

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On May 31st, 2010 21-year old Emily Henochowicz was hit in the face with a tear gas projectile fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during a demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint. Henochowicz was taking part in a demonstration against the widely-condemned Israeli attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla. As a result of the attack, Emily lost her left eye.

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Tristan Anderson
Oakland, CA
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(After attack)

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On March 13th, 2009 in the Palestinian village of Ni’lin, American peace activist Tristan Anderson was critically injured after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear-gas canister. Anderson, 37 years old and from California, was taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv.

He was unconscious and bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a large hole in the right part of his forehead where he was struck by a tear gas canister. After 15 months in Tel Hashomer, some of that time in a coma, and at least one surgery, Tristan recently returned to his home in Northern California, still quasi-paralyzed.


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Brian Avery
Albuquerque, NM
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(After attack)

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On April 5, 2003, Israeli troops shot peace activist Brian Avery in Jenin. Avery, a 24-year-old American citizen from Albuquerque, New Mexico, experienced serious wounds to his face after Israeli troops shot at him with heavy machine gun fire from an armored personnel carrier (APC).

There were no reports of clashes on the street where the shooting took place and Avery was clearly marked as an observer. Avery’s cheek was torn and his eye socket and jaw bones were smashed, leading to at least 6 rounds of surgery. In a rare occurrence in November 2008, the Israeli government paid Avery $150,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed against them.


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Rachel Corrie
Olympia, WA

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On March 16th, 2003 in Rafah, occupied Gaza, 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie from Olympia, Washington, was murdered by an Israeli bulldozer driver. Rachel was in Gaza opposing the bulldozing of a Palestinian home as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement.

According to a Palestine Monitor report of the incident, “Other foreigners who were with her said the driver of the bulldozer was aware that Rachel was there, and continued to destroy the house. Initially he dropped sand and other heavy debris on her, then the bulldozer pushed her to the ground where it proceeded to drive over her, fracturing both of her arms, legs and skull.”

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Zaid Khalil
New York, NY

In April of 2002, while participating in a peaceful march along with other internationals in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, New York City resident Zaid Khalil was struck in the leg as Israeli soldiers opened fire.


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Lucas Koerner
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During Arrest

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On June 1, 2011, 19-year-old Tufts University student Lucas Koerner was assaulted and arrested by Israeli police while he peacefully protested the annual Jerusalem Day march, an official Israeli holiday when Israelis parade through occupied East Jerusalem to celebrate its 1967 occupation by Israel. Police grabbed, punched, choked and then threw Koerner to the ground. After being arrested he was taken to the emergency room to be treated for the wounds inflicted by police.

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Munib Masri

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A 22-year-old Geology student at the American University of Beirut, Munib Masri was shot in the back with live ammunition by Israeli forces along the Lebanon border on May 15, 2011. Participating in a march to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba – the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes during the establishment of Israel – Masri was leaving the demonstration when he was shot. Treated in a Beirut hospital, the bullet destroyed Masri’s left kidney, his spleen and broke apart in his spine. During the demonstration, eleven people were killed by Israeli forces and more than 100 wounded.


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Christopher Whitman
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Whitman’s injury

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On May 13, 2011, 25-year-old Christopher Whitman, a Master’s student of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Hebrew University, was shot in the head at close range with a high-velocity tear gas canister by Israeli Border Police. He was in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, at the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the construction of Israel’s separation wall in the village. That week’s demonstration also commemorated the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba – the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes during the establishment of Israel. Whitman was treated at Ramallah Hospital.


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Sandra Quintano After assault

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On May 1, 2011, Sandra Quintano, 60, was assaulted by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Izbet al-Tabib in the Qalqilya district during a peaceful demonstration against the construction of a fence which would cut off villagers’ access to their land. She suffered a gash to the top of her head and both her wrists were broken, one severely. She was treated in an Israeli hospital and continues to undergo physical therapy in the U.S.

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August 30, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Rachel Corrie and the Kosher Legal Stamp

By Gilad Atzmon | August 30, 2012

Judge Oded Gershon’s ruling earlier this week that the state of Israel is not to blame for the death of Rachel Corrie, came as no surprise. In fact it reaffirms everything we know about the Jewish state – its politics, legal system and spirit. Israel is surely a most peculiar state – it is impervious to ethical thinking and humanist thought. Accordingly, Judge Gershon gave this week a kosher stamp to a cold-blooded murder and by so doing, he proved, once again, that Israeli criminal actions are consistent with the most vile interpretations of Old Testament and Talmudic Goy-hating.

As one would predict, Judge Gershon, restricted himself to legalism and litigation as opposed to ethical thinking – he actually blamed Corrie for not ‘behaving reasonably’. Yet, one may wonder what is this ‘reason’ or more precisely, what does an Israeli mean when he or she refers to ‘reason’.

Rachel Corrie was bulldozed to death by an Israeli military D9 Caterpillar on 16 March 2003. She was part of ISM (International Solidarity Movement), a non-violent pro-Palestinian peace activist group. Being an American youngster, Corrie mistakenly believed that Israeli soldiers were humanly driven. Being a reasonable person she must have believed that an Israeli bulldozer driver would never drive over her body. She was wrong. Corrie clearly failed to grasp that Israeli ‘reasoning’ was lethally fuelled by psychosis and fantasies of destruction.

Corrie failed precisely where so many solidarity activists fail. Israel is no normal state. It is a state of one people only – and a people who believe themselves to be chosen. The meaning of this is both simple and devastating. The people of Israel believe that their lives and security is a cosmic asset that must be maintained at the expense of the rest of humanity. However, make no mistake, Israeli psychosis is consistent and even driven by reason, but this ‘reason’ is somewhat different to that of the rest of us. It is certainly far from being universal.

Rachel Corrie, on the other hand, is a universal symbol. She is the epitome of solidarity, empathic thinking and courage, but her tragic death is also a clear indication that something is fundamentally wrong with Israel. Rachel Corrie’s death makes it clear that it isn’t just the Israeli leadership or military elite who are blind to human life and moral conduct. It isn’t just Netanyahu or Barak who are in a state of dismissal of human life. We are dealing here with a murderous continuum; it is the leadership, the anonymous soldier, the bulldozer driver – and also Judge Gershon and the Israeli legal system.

Israel could have used Corrie’s family legal appeal to mend its ways. But Judge Gershon was actually honest enough to admit that the murder of Rachel Corrie was the ‘right thing to do’. It was her fault, she shouldn’t have been there in the first place, he said. Judge Gershon provided us this week with the true meaning of ‘Israeli reasoning’. The murder of Corrie was consistent with Israeli survival philosophy and with Israeli interpretation of Jewish statehood. This week, Judge Gershon left us with a kosher stamp for a cold-blooded murder.

Rachel Corrie – American Hero!

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Video shows it was cold blooded murder:

Rachel’s letters:

http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/rachel/emails

August 30, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Comments Off on Rachel Corrie and the Kosher Legal Stamp