Over-population of a particular kind contributes to planetary environmental degradation, poverty, and wars without end. Thanks to Oxfam, we know just who the offending individuals are. Eight people now have the same wealth as the poorest half the world’s population.
Heading the list of the world’s richest is Microsoft magnate Bill Gates; number three is investor Warren Buffett. The Gates Foundation, bolstered by Buffett’s fortune, is the world’s largest private charity. Without a hint of irony, the foundation’s website describes their vision to “develop strategies to address some of the world’s most challenging inequities.”
The supreme irony of our modern era – really a contradiction – is that the forces of production have developed to the level that there is a material basis for eliminating poverty for the first time in human history. Yet the relations of production are such that unprecedented accumulations of wealth are ensured, threatening our very existence with destruction by either WMDs or ecocide also for the first time in human history.
The Gates Foundation is a leading modern promoter of the neo-Malthusian gospel of over-population, which has historical antecedents in British cleric Thomas Malthus’s theories of 1798. The ideology of over-population diverts criticisms of capitalist social relations of unequal distribution, serving to justify a system that creates needs without the means of satisfying them.
After World War II, Malthusian theory was resurrected to support the ideological initiatives of the ascendant US superpower and its cohorts. This ideological initiative in the service of international capital took place in the context of a wave of national liberation struggles in the post-war period. Peasant tillers of the soil were demanding land reform. To this rightful claim, the Cold Warriors offered population control coupled with the commercialization of land using the model of US agribusiness.
According to the Gates Foundation, population growth “contribute(s) significantly to the global burden of disease, environmental degradation, poverty, and conflict.”
Monthly Review editor John Bellamy Foster comments on this framing of global problems:
“There can be little doubt that the real aim of the neo-Malthusian resurrection of Malthus, then, was to resurrect what was after all the chief thrust of Malthusian ideology from the outset; that all of the crucial problems of bourgeois society and indeed of the world could be traced to over procreation on the part of the poor.”
“The biggest danger of blaming over-population for environmental problems,” warns Anne Hendrixson of the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College, “is that it ignores the real culprits.”
Conceptually underlying this particular understanding of the dynamics of human population growth is that these deleterious effects are somehow natural, because human reproductive activity is itself natural. In fact, poverty and environmental destruction are not simply and inevitably natural consequences of the human condition but are mediated by particular historical circumstances.
The high fertility rates of the poor and the high resource consumption rates of the rich are both environmental issues that should not be counter-posed, but should be seen as keys to understanding a single larger solution to environmental destruction.
For the super-rich such as Gates and Buffett and their self-serving foundations, over-consumption is not an especially troubling problem but over-population is. Illustrating the consumption gap, Oxfam reports “someone in the richest one percent of the world’s population uses 175 times more carbon on average than someone from the bottom 10 percent.”
Poverty is an inevitable by-product of a socio-economic system that generates increasingly inequitable wealth. Wealth is linked as a driver of population growth because the high fertility rates of the poor are a response to their precarious condition. A large family is the poor person’s work force and retirement fund.
Martin Luther King, Jr., commented, “I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few.” The 1960’s counterculture slogan “serve the poor… eat the rich” put it more crudely.
The more trenchant predicament, though, is not so much a moral one that the super-rich have too much money and live in obscene luxury, but the political one that they have too much power. Let them keep their mansions and yachts, if only they’d hand over their senators, generals, and presidents.
We do have an over-population problem – too many too rich people. The capitalist system, which creates both great wealth with unsustainable consumption rates and great poverty with unsustainable population growth rates, is the fundamental adversary of the environment.
As Bill and Melinda Gates counsel:
“Our friend and co-trustee Warren Buffett once gave us some great advice: ‘Don’t just go for safe projects,’ he said. ‘Take on the really tough problems.’”
Surely ending wealth inequality and the capitalist system that produces it must top the to-do-list.
Roger D. Harris is on the State Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party, the only ballot-qualified socialist party in California.
BETHLEHEM – A Palestinian rights group slammed on Wednesday the killing of a Palestinian teen by Israeli forces earlier this week, calling the case an “extrajudicial killing” and demanding that Israeli authorities open an investigation into the case.
Qusay al-Umour, 17, was killed during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth in the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu in the occupied West Bank on Monday.
Video of the moments immediately following al-Umour being shot by Israeli forces has elicited a strong emotional response, as it showed Israeli soldiers roughly carrying the teenager’s limp body by his dangling arms and legs.
Legal NGO BADIL said in a statement on Wednesday that the footage provided “evidence contradicting Israeli accounts and raises concerns about the adherence of the Israeli forces to the central tenets of international law.”
The group quoted Hisham Abu Shaqra, the Palestinian journalist who recorded the video, who said that al-Umour was not a threat to Israeli forces when he was fatally shot — contradicting claims by the Israeli army, which said that the Palestinian youth was the “main instigator” of the clashes that day.
“Qusay was sitting between olive trees, you know how guys are, he was just watching the soldiers… Only a few seconds after (I was) looking at him the Israeli forces shot him three or four times,” Abu Shaqra said.
“The soldier who shot him was not in danger at the time of the shooting, in fact, he was secured and safe,” he added. “First the (Israeli military) jeeps started coming closer and closer [to the youth] and then this specific soldier, the sniper with the Ruger rifle, also started coming closer. I remember he was by the third jeep, then I saw him by the second jeep and he was by the first jeep when he shot Qusay.”
The eyewitness accounts of the incident, coupled with the audiovisual evidence, have led BADIL to conclude that “whether he was throwing stones at the soldiers or not, al-Umour could not have presented a lethal threat to the well-protected Israeli border police from a distance of around 100 meters, and the use of live ammunition against him was therefore unjustified.”
The NGO denounced the “complete lack of consideration for (al-Umour)’s human dignity or his traumatic injuries.”
The group also slammed statements by Israeli police to Ma’an saying that they were “not aware” of any official investigation being carried out by Israeli authorities into al-Umour’s killing.
“Israel continuously fails to investigate such actions or to prosecute members of its forces, which is the natural result of a growing culture of impunity that exists within the Israeli military,” BADIL wrote. “This is why recent Israeli actions towards Palestinian civilians cannot be considered as isolated incidents, but rather as the violent manifestations of a policy of lawlessness in which Israeli forces operate in repeat, and direct contravention of international law absent effective accountability.”
The group therefore “demands that a comprehensive and independent investigation be launched into this killing as a matter of great urgency in order to identify those responsible and to hold them accountable to the full extent of international law.”
Al-Umour is the fourth Palestinian to have been confirmed killed by Israeli forces in 2017. Two more Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the two days since.
Five Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in 2017.
In 2016, Ma’an recorded the deaths of 112 Palestinians, 15 Israelis, and three foreign nationals.
Rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their excessive use of force against Palestinians, including minors, during incidents which could have been handled without the use of deadly violence.
NEGEV – The Joint List, which represents parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, accused Israeli police of spreading misinformation to Israeli media regarding an alleged vehicle attack Wednesday morning in the Negev, as new video footage emerged further contradicting the Israel police’s version of events.
The Joint List’s statement argued that Israeli police lied in their claim that a Palestinian Bedouin deliberately rammed his car into officers during a raid to demolish homes in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, in order to distract from Israel’s campaign to establish Jewish-only towns “on the ruins of Bedouin villages.”
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that during a raid of the slain Palestinian’s home, police found three copies of a Hebrew-language newspaper from 2015 with the headline: “Isis bomb that took down a plane,” suggesting that the old newspapers were evidence that the man carried out a terror attack.
Rosenfeld added in his statement that Israeli police also detained and were questioning the son “of the terrorist” as part of the investigation.
However, numerous eyewitnesses reported that Israeli police fired at the Palestinian Bedouin, identified as Yaqoub Abu al-Qian, while he was driving, which caused him to spin out of control and crash into Israeli officers, killing one policeman. Family members also firmly denied Abu al-Qian intended to carry out an attack.
Meanwhile, new Israeli police footage published by Israeli daily Haaretz, which they said was most likely from a police a helicopter hovering above the scene, appeared to show police officers shooting at al-Qian as he was driving at a very slow pace, and only several seconds after the gunfire does his car appear to speed up, eventfully plowing through police officers. It is unclear if the drive sped up intentionally.
Hours later, as Israeli bulldozers began razing the homes to the ground, renewed clashes erupted in the village.
Umm al-Hiran is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli state, and more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages.
The unrecognized Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel.
Now more than 60 years later, the villages have yet to be recognized by Israel and live under constant threats of demolition and forcible removal.
The Joint List’s statement described the actions by Israeli authorities as “a terrorist and bloody invasion that brings to mind the scenes of displacement and destruction of Arab villages during the Nakba in 1948.” Some 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced during the creation of the state of Israel in what Palestinians call the Nakba — “catastrophe” in Arabic.
The statement described how Israeli forces besieged Umm al-Hiran en mass and fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets, “terrifying residents who took to the streets to defend their homes.”
Israeli police have denied to Israeli media that rubber-coated steel bullets were used to suppress the clashes, which are used by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. Some news sites said police were in fact firing sponge-tipped bullets, with journalists pointing out they are just as lethal as rubber bullets.
“Police behaved as in a battlefield, and as a result of the clashes, Yaqoub Abu al-Qian fell a martyr, and dozens of others, including MK Ayman Odeh were injured.”
The Joint List said that the “crime in Umm al-Hiran” was in line with the “dangerous escalation” of anti-Palestinian policies within the “extremist” Israeli government.
“The (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu government has effectually declared a military war against our people in the 1948 area,” the statement said, referring to lands that were declared part of the Israeli state in 1948.
“The war started with demolitions in Qalansawe, and it is continuing today in Umm al-Hiran.”
The Joint List denied the “false narrative,” in which Israeli police claimed that Abu al-Qian carried out a deliberate car ramming attack, which left an Israeli police officer dead. Israeli police also said they were investigating to see whether or not the slain Bedouin was “influenced” by the so-called Islamic State.
Numerous eyewitness accounts said that al-Qian lost control of his vehicle after he was shot, causing him to crash into Israeli police.
“Israeli police are trying to cover up the crime of displacing and uprooting a whole town and killing an unarmed Arab citizen through an incitement campaign against all Arab citizens, by spreading misinformation that a police officer was killed in a terrorist, ISIS-like attack.”
The statement urged Hebrew-language news outlets to ensure that they work “professionally” and fact-check their information before they publish their news reports.
“When media outlets take the information they receive from Israeli police as facts, they in fact partake in incitement against Arab citizens,” the statement argued.
Human rights organization Adalah also said Wednesday that they strongly objected to Israeli police’s version of events in Umm al-Hiran according to witness accounts.
They group said the police statements, “reflects the Israeli police’s culture of lying,” and referred to recent accusations by Israeli authorities claiming that a string of wildfires were deliberate arson attacks committed by Palestinians, saying that the claims had “not been proven at all. Not one person has been convicted based on these accusations.”
Rights groups have claimed that demolitions in unrecognized Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.
According to Adalah, families of the Abu al-Qian tribe were initially expelled from their lands in Khirbet Zubaleh in 1948 after they had cultivated the area for generations, and were eventually forced to move to Umm al-Hiran by an Israeli military order.
“Despite this, the state has not legally recognized the village to this day. As a result of the decision to establish the Israeli Jewish town of Hiran over the Bedouin village, the Israel Land Authority (ILA) demanded to expel them again, to the government-planned town of Hura.”
According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the Israeli government approved the construction of the new Jewish community of Hiran in November 2013 to be built on the land of Umm al-Hiran. Village residents lost the legal defenses they mounted, including an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, and were unable to prevent the demolition of the village.
“Palestinians from Umm al-Hiran have Israeli passports and citizenship, yet the Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing, colonization, forcible displacement, and apartheid affect them all the same,” Maya al-Orzza, a legal researcher at NGO BADIL said Wednesday.
“These policies do not only happen in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also inside Israel against Palestinians,” al-Orzza said, noting that Palestinians make up some 20 percent of Israeli citizens.
Commenting on a peace conference held in Paris on Sunday which reaffirmed international commitment to the two-state solution and the cessation of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory, al-Orzza said that “by focusing on the one- or two-state discussion, or only on Israeli actions in the occupied territory, the international community is disregarding the ongoing policies of ethnic cleansing that Israel is implementing against Palestinian citizens of Israel.”
Brothers, sisters, friends and supporters:
Our hearts are heavy today. President Obama has denied Leonard’s application for a commutation. His name appears on the January 18 list of commutations denied by Obama as issued by the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Leonard’s attorney Martin Garbus was also notified. (Pardon Attorney’s Letter)
Today, in an email, Leonard said, “If I should not [receive clemency] then after we are locked in for the day I will have a good cry and then pick myself up and get myself ready for another round of battles until I cannot fight [any] more. So, don’t worry. I can handle anything after over 40 years.”
It’s hard to bear such a blow, though. And make no mistake — Leonard has been hit hardest of all. But let’s not mourn so very long. Instead, let’s move ever forward. Channel your grief and anger in a positive way. Remember that Leonard still needs our help. He needs quality health care and a transfer to a medium security facility, among other things. We’ll always work towards freedom for Leonard, but these actions may help to make his life more bearable until freedom is won.
Now, we urge you to write to Leonard and help to keep his spirits up. Tell him you won’t give up, that you’ll walk the rest of the way with him. Send cards and letters to:
Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP Coleman I
PO Box 1033
Coleman, FL 33521
Thank you for your hard work and determination. Blessings to all of you.
Please stay tuned.
International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Governments are using media organizations as proxies in an effort to control the information citizens can get from the Internet, says former MI5 officer Annie Machon. The fake war against fake news is predicated on a big lie, she added.
RT has been blocked from posting content to its Facebook page during the live broadcast of Barack Obama’s final news conference over an alleged copyright infringement.
The suspension was triggered by one of the social network’s algorithms, which is alerted according to what’s being submitted.
RT has a contract with the Associated Press and streamed a news feed. The agency has confirmed RT had the right to retransmit the video, so the problem must lie with Facebook.
The head of Russia’s telecoms watchdog is warning of “active response measures” if RT’s work is restricted by the American media or the social networks.
Facebook has not replied to inquiries, and the restrictions on posting remain.
RT: The news outlet was mentioned as triggering a Facebook alert and says it’s not them. So just how sensitive has Facebook’s media clampdown tool become?
Annie Machon: I think this is the first blow in Facebook’s self-proclaimed war against so-called fake news. Both Facebook and Google in the wake of the shadowy PropOrNot list of 200 news organizations around the world that are supposedly peddling fake news, but actually just offering an alternative to the corporate US media, and RT was included in that. Facebook and Google in the aftermath said that they would start to censor all these outlets. I think that is what we are seeing with Facebook now is that they are using the excuse of copyright to censor legitimate news channel and stop them from covering a world event that the rest of the world is going to watch without any problem on other channels.
RT: At the World Economic Forum in Davos the Facebook representative said that their organization is dedicated, as they put it, to tackling so-called fake news and the whole phenomenon that we’ve heard of lately. Do you think this is part of that?
AM: I think it is part of that. And it is not just Facebook and Google who said they are going to take on the so-called fake news. It is also the European Union who issued a diktat last November saying that they were going to set up a body to counter fake news. We see countries like France and Germany already peddling this idea that there is going to be hacking and counter-democratic activity in the run up to their elections this year. So, they are using this. But I think it is interesting to see that the copyright has been used as a pretext for this censorship. I’ve been saying for years that the media organizations are being used by the governments as proxy organizations in terms of trying to control the information we can ingest over the internet and the information we can actually access over the internet.
RT: The suspension is imposed ahead of Trump’s inauguration and won’t be lifted until the day after it. What do you make of that? Is it a coincidence?
AM: Absolutely not. It is a first blow in the so-called battle – fake battle against fake news. And let’s just remind ourselves how this so-called concept of fake started. Somehow information was leaked from the DNC last year and the people who received that information, WikiLeaks said very clearly it was not a hack, it was actually a leak. And yet the corporate media in America has said again, “No, this was Russia hacking the DNC.” And then somehow it became Russia hacking the American elections, Russia hacking voting computers, Russia hacking the energy grid in America. None of this has been proven. Some of it has been actively proven to be false. But when Obama expelled the 35 Russian diplomats from America back to Russia before Christmas, that sort of solidified as fact that the Russians had done something wrong. There is no proof whatsoever. So this fake war against fake news is predicated on a big lie.
I think there are strings have been pulled in the background, shall we say. Particularly, in America. And the big media and internet corporations in America have been proven year after year to be very much in bed with the US state and with the US secret state. We know this of course because of the revelations of Edward Snowden. You know, all the big social media giants signed up to allow access to their databases by the secret agencies in America, starting with Microsoft back in 2006. We know that they are complicit; we know that they have been compromised. So, who can tell where this is going to go. There is a sort of all-out fight between the president-elect anyways and his so-called intelligence agencies.
RT: The original source mentioned as alerting Facebook denies it raised a copyright flag. AP confirmed RT had the rights for transmission. Facebook is the only entity yet to answer. Why isn’t it being more pro-active to remedy this considering this being a pretty big media news?
Chris Bambery, political analyst: It is pretty big media news, and I am really puzzled. Donald Trump is about to become President, and he is painted by much of the world’s media and spy agencies as being President Putin’s chum. And yet there is this continuing escalation of the Cold War with Russia, even hours before Trump is elected. Facebook is a giant American transnational. It is not known for its own transparency over these things. It does lead one to suspect that there are sections of our US elite who really do not like Donald Trump and want to create difficulties between the incoming presidency and Russia.
RT: RT’s troubles with Facebook come a day after the online news alert service Dataminr refused to renew our contract with them. That stems back to the CIA also being denied access and saying the same should apply to RT claiming we’re tied to Russian intelligence. Is that the real reason, do you think?
CB: On that basis, if you are being blocked because you receive state funding, the BBC World service is funded by the British Foreign Office, so why would that not be blocked? And I am sure Radio Free Europe and various other outlets have received funding from the American state. So, if that is to be criteria than a lot of leading news agencies would be off social media, and off air. This is going to feed into the conspiracy theories because it is so bizarre and strange.
Well, the biggest fake news story I’ve seen was the so-called dossier about Donald Trump, and they didn’t seem to be blocking that, which was all over Facebook. Again, I find it rather strange.
Colombian human rights defender Emilsen Manyoma | Photo: Conpaz
On Tuesday police in the Pacific coast city of Buenaventura announced they had discovered the body of Afro-Colombian human rights activist Emilsen Manyoma, 32, and her partner Joe Javier Rodallega, who had been missing since Saturday.
A prominent leader in the Bajo Calima region since 2005, Manyoma was an active member of the community network CONPAZ where she was an outspoken critic of right-wing paramilitary groups and the displacement of local by international mining and agribusiness interests.
For the past year Manyoma played a key role in documenting attacks on human rights leaders in the region as part of the recently created Truth Commission.
The police said they had found the bodies in an advanced state of decomposition in a jungle area beside the highway. The Justice and Peace Commission, an ecumenical human rights group, reported that both bodies were severely wounded, with Rodallega’s hands reported tied. Radio Contagio reported that both bodies were beheaded.
While police did not release the names of any suspects, just days before their disappearance on Saturday, Rodallega reported being threatened and said a truck had been circling Manyoma’s house.
According to the human rights organization Front Line Defenders, at least 85 human rights defenders were murdered in Colombia in 2016 alone.
Many members of the Black Panthers and New Afrika party remain behind bars, some under dubious circumstances.
In the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning and Oscar Lopez Rivera, teleSUR takes a look at some of the more prominent political prisoners who remain behind bars for their activism and fight for justice.
Mumia Abu-Jamal was arrested and charged with killing white police Officer Daniel Faulkner in Philadelphia in December 1981. One year later, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.
In 2011, the United States Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional in his case, and he was re-sentenced to life in prison without parole. He and many activists have maintained that he is innocent.
Indigenous activist Leonard Peltier, who was convicted under the dubious murder of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975, has continually maintained his innocence. In the 40 years since his trial, evidence continues to surface showing that Peltier was in fact convicted under false pretenses
Simon Trinidad joined Colombia’s FARC rebel group in 1987, rising through the ranks to eventually serve as the group’s de facto foreign minister. On a diplomatic visit to Ecuador in 2004, Trinidad was arrested and deported to Colombia, where on trumped up charges he was extradited to the U.S. After two hung juries Trinidad was ultimately convicted of conspiracy charges related to the kidnapping of two Plan Colombia agents and sentenced to 60 years at a supermax prison. Speaking of the sacrifices he’s made for his beliefs Trinidad said, “If I don’t do this, what am I? A traitor. That’s why I put up with pain and suffering to fight for what we lack. That’s why I took up the guerrilla struggle.”
Mutulu Shakur, a Black Liberation Army and Republic of New Afrika member who was stepfather to the late rap artist Tupac Shakur, was jailed in 1988 on charges of “conspiracy to aid bank expropriation.” Due to his activism, he had previously been placed on the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO surveillance program, which was also used against Martin Luther King Jr. and other radical Black activists.
“Sonia” aka, Omaira Rojas Cabrera
Born to a Colombian peasant family, Omaira Rojas Cabrera, known by her nom de guerre “Sonia,” joined the FARC rebel group as a teenager and rose to become one of their top female commanders. She was kidnapped by Colombian special forces in 2004, and eventually extradited to the U.S. where she was put on trial over drug charges. She was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to 16 years, a fraction of the 55 to 60 years the prosecutors had asked for. Both she and Simon Trinidad were the subject of prisoner exchange negotiations between the FARC and then Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, launched by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
David Gilbert is a radical U.S. leftist organizer and member of the Weather Underground Organization, who worked with members of the Black Liberation Army. In 1983, he was convicted and sentenced to 75 years for three counts of felony murder over an attempted bank robbery attempt along with the activists.
Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz
Russell “Maroon” Shoatz was convicted back in 1970 for the first-degree murder of a Philadelphia police officer, in an attack that was conducted at the Philadelphia police station. A former member of the Black Panther Party and “soldier” of the Black Liberation Army, he was held in solitary confinement for 22 years, only being returned to the general prison population in 2014.
Black Panther Sundiata Acoli was convicted of killing a state trooper during a 1973 shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike. Acoli is one of at least 15 former members of the Black Panther Party who are still in prison.
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin was a Black activist who worked with the Black Panthers, and was previously known as H. Rap Brown. He was convicted of shooting two deputies in March 2000 as they approached him with an arrest warrant for offenses including impersonating a police officer. He is serving a life sentence.
Al-Amin and his supporters have long argued that he was framed by a government that has feared him since his days in radical anti-racist politics.
Ever since its founding in Oakland in 1966 the Black Panthers were ruthlessly persecuted by the FBI and other domestic security forces. From the illegal Cointelpro program to the infamous Panther 21 trial, when 21 members of the Party were tried on 156 charges which were all eventually dropped, the U.S. government set out to destroy the grassroots movement. In addition to the former Panthers listed above, there are 11 Black Panthers who remain in jail on a variety of charges: Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald in California; Ed Poindexter in Nebraska; Joseph Bowen in Pennsylvania; Jalil Muntaqim in New York; Romaine Fitzgerald jailed since 1969; Herman Bell imprisoned in New York since 1971; Veronza Bowers, in prison since 1973; Robert Seth Hayes, jailed since 1973; Zulu Whitmore, in prison in Louisiana since 1977; Maliki Shakur, jailed since 1979; and Kamau Sadiki, imprisoned since 2002.
When is “terror,” terror? When is it something else? Who defines what is “terror?”
Tonight’s post will be difficult to write because it will try to parse the linguistic thicket defining “terrorism” in the Israeli context. Most of us understand terror as an act of violence by individuals or groups aggrieved for their treatment at the hands of others. In some cases, the target is a nation which rules over them. In others, terror is used to eliminate perceived political, religious or ethnic enemies.
In Israel, terror is used by both Israeli Jews and Palestinians. Among Israeli Jews there is ad hoc terror perpetrated by settlers. But there is also state-sponsored terror, which is based on historical policies of theft, oppression, ethnic cleansing, assassination and murder. Israelis seem to think that states, or at least their state, are outside the definition of “terror” since they’re not individual actors or oppressed groups. This simply isn’t the case. In Israel’s case, its state policies are terror because they employ mass violence to uphold a regime systematically oppressing the Palestinians in violation of international law. Keep in mind that approximately 40,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since 1948.
In that sense, today’s ethnic cleansing of the Bedouin village of Um al Hiran was an act of state terror. Hundreds of police brandishing weapons, tear gas and other forms of repression assaulted the village and began destroying its residences. The village had been founded in 1956 when the IDF sent its residents there to live after their previous village had been destroyed during the 1948 War. Unlike other Bedouin communities which were established by the residents themselves under their own initiative, Um al Hiran was founded by State authority.
But now, the Judaizing policies of the current Israeli regime plan to remove thousands of Bedouin from their ancestral homes in favor of new domestic settlements for Jews. This village is slated for demolition as are many others. The Bedouin “refusers” will be forcibly moved to urban towns artificially decreed for the habitation of Bedouins. No attempt has been made to consult with Bedouin about any of this (the Prawer Plan was a State attempt to negotiate Bedouin acquiescence to the expulsion, which the Bedouin rejected). They’re merely plopped down in the middle of an environment that is totally alien to their way of life; then told to make do.
This is an act of cultural dispossession. It is a throwback to the colonial era when ruling powers could treat native peoples arbitrarily and such policies often resulted in acts up to, and including genocide. I am not using that term in connection to the Bedouin. But the echo of earlier powers who did engage in it is not accidental on my part as a warning of what the future might hold.
The native Bedouin residents of this village appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court asking for their right to their homes. The Court, which has now been eviscerated of any previous sympathy for the civil rights championed by former justices like Aharon Barak, turned down the appeal. That exhausted the legal remedies of the Bedouin. And set the stage for this morning’s tragedy.
As the police began their destruction, a Bedouin schoolteacher named Musa Abu Alqiyan plowed his car into a group of them. One policeman was killed and another seriously wounded. Abu Alqiyan was shot and killed. Israeli Palestinian MK, Ayman Oudeh, was also shot in the face by a Border Police rubber bullet. The bullet which struck his temple (from what I can tell in pictures) could easily with a millimeter’s difference, have struck his eye and blinded him. I can’t recall any other instance in Israeli history when an official representative of the state shot and injured a member of Knesset. Of course, being a Palestinian MK excludes him from the circle of protection the authorities would afford Jewish MKs. Which is a further confirmation of the level of racism in Israeli society.
The Border Police in willing collaboration with Israeli media are spreading the lie that Oudeh was struck by a rock thrown by Bedouin protesters. You might just as well claim Oudeh threw the rock at himself and struck his own head. The idea that a protester would strike a Palestinian MK is not only preposterous, it’s offensive. The idea that the Border Police would shoot at a Palestinian MK is not only credible, but likely. The whole sordid show is typical of the lies of the Israeli police (remember when they said Mohammed Abu Khdeir was murdered by his family in an honor killing because he was gay? ‘Nuff said) and hasbara apparatus.
The family of the attacker claimed he was murdered in cold blood and that he was neither a terrorist or an Islamist. Apparently, according to my sources this is not true. A security source tells me he was an Islamist. Israeli reports have variously associated him with the Islamist Movement and Islamic State. Those are two entirely different entities, but ones about which most Israelis don’t make any distinction.
But for the purposes of this discussion, I think it hardly matters whether the man was an Islamist or not. His village was being destroyed by the Israeli state. To him this was an act of state terror. He responded in the most dramatic fashion he could.
While I don’t endorse violence myself, I simply cannot call his act unjustified. When a state blocks every avenue of redress for a people who are being robbed of their homes and lives, what should they expect? Silent and sullen acceptance? No, Israel is at fault in this. It brought the residents to this place then tried to steal it from them. It denied them any legal or peaceful recourse. I don’t see any other outcome that was possible under the circumstances.
Oh, and I’ll offer a deal to all the Israel-defenders out there who are screaming bloody murder about this new “terror attack.” If you’ll call the systematic dispossession of tens of thousands of Negev Bedouin an act of State terror, then I’ll agree to call this killing an act of terror. Any takers?
The world should rally round the Negev Bedouin. It should declare their ethnic cleansing to be a violation of international law. It should add this crime to the long list which will sometime be sent to the Hague for deliberation. It should add this to the list of crimes which should be addressed in UN resolutions and sanctions.
Forget the empty posturing of world leaders in Paris yesterday. This photo tells us what the Israel-Palestine “conflict” is really about.
Imagine for a second that the little boy – how old is he, eight, nine? – is your son, trying to adjust his keffiyeh because it keeps falling over his eyes and he can’t see anything. Imagine your small son surrounded by masked Israeli “soldiers”, or what looks more like a Jewish militia than an army. Imagine that the boy is likely soon to be bundled into the back of a military van and taken for interrogation without his parents or a lawyer present, or even knowing where he is. That he could end up beaten and tortured, as human rights groups have regularly documented.
Maybe you can’t imagine any of that because you, a responsible parent living in Europe or the United States, would never let your child out to throw stones.
Then you need to know more about the story behind this picture.
This photo was taken in Kfar Qaddum last month. The boy and his friends aren’t there to bait Israeli soldiers or indulge a bout of anti-semitism. Jews from the violent – and illegal – settlement of Kedumim have taken over their farm lands. Kedumim’s expansion has been further used to justify the army closing the access road in and out of Qaddum. The village is being choked off at the throat. In short, these villagers are being ethnically cleansed.
Parents living in such circumstances do not have the privilege of concealing from their children what is happening. Everyone in the village knows their community and its way of life are being extinguished. Israel is determined that they will leave so that the Jewish settlers next door can grab their land. Israel expects these villagers to join the rest of the aid-dependent Palestinian population in one of the ghettoised towns and cities in the bantustans of the West Bank.
Even little boys understand the stakes. And unlike your child, this one knows that, if he doesn’t resist, he will lose everything he holds dear.
Witnesses said, according to Al Ray, that Israeli soldiers broke into AL-Madareb, in Khirbet Abziq, and seized two agricultural tractors belonging to Fayez Nghneghya and Nemr Horoub, and took them to a nearby military camp.
They pointed out that seizures have happened repeatedly, in an attempt to harass citizens and force them to leave Khirbet Abziq.
More than two dozen tractors have been confiscated in different areas of the Jordan Valley, over recent months.
It is noteworthy that dozens of citizens living in Khirbet Abziq, mostly refugees from the pre-1948 occupied territories, are being deprived of many basic essential services under Israeli policies. The tractors are used for agriculture and water transference.
Facebook is gearing up to battle the problem of “fake news” on social media with a new name-and-shame system involving independent fact checkers being trialed in Germany.
The social media giant has employed the services of Correctiv, a nonprofit group involved in investigative journalism and news auditing, as an independent fact checker.
According to Facebook, new updates to the social site for German users can be expected in the coming weeks. It could see content shared by outlets deemed to be purveyors of false information sent to the back of the Facebook algorithm queue.
The changes include tabs that allow users to report suspected fake news, as well as labels that name-and-shame organizations believed to be peddling fraudulent information.
Facebook insists the system will work through third-party fact auditors associated with Poytner’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles.
“If the fact-finding organizations identify contributions as fraudulent, they are provided with a warning label that identifies them as untrustworthy. The warning contains a link to the corresponding article as well as a justification for this decision,” Facebook says.
“Messages classified as untrustworthy may also appear later in the newsfeed,” they added.
Correctiv announced the partnership via their official Facebook page and the fake news phenomenon as a major threat to politics in Germany.
“Fake news – especially on Facebook – is already one of the major threats [to] our society. That is clear. We fear these threats will become even more massive in the comings months. Whether it be in the NWR election [North Rhine-Westphalia state election] or the election of the Bundestag next autumn,” the company said.
A Facebook statement read: “It is important to us that posts and news posted on Facebook are reliable.”
“We are pleased with this progress, but we know there is still a lot to be done. We continue to work on this challenge and will introduce these innovations in other countries in the near future.”
It comes after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg asserted he is taking the issue of misinformation seriously, but admitted the social nature of the business meant the company erred on the side of “letting people share what they want whenever possible.”
“We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or to mistakenly restrict accurate content. We do not want to be arbiters of truth ourselves, but instead rely on our community and trusted third parties,” he said last November.
Last year, German Social Democratic Party politician Thomas Oppermann suggested social media sites like Facebook should face individual fines of up to €500,000 for the spread of fake news.
Friends, “fake news”, and censorship pays off big. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth jumps $5 billion in two weeks
Facebook has been coming under fire for promoting “fake news”.
The huge social network was pressured by the neo-liberal left deep state to censor news that harms the Soros “Open Society” globalist agenda, pushed heavily under the Barack Obama presidency.
Facebook folded to the neo-liberal agenda like origami, and decided to crack down on “fake news”.
It looks like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is reaping the rewards for decisions made to crack down on “fake news”.
In the first two weeks of 2017, Zuckerberg’s net worth jumped by nearly $5 billion. This is the biggest gain of any person in the world.
Climbing ad revenues and a series of bullish analyst reports, are credited for Facebook’s shares inching closer to October’s all-time high.
Forbes has the details of the Facebook founder’s two week, $5 billion good fortune…
Zuckerberg, who owns 410 million company shares, has more than recouped the losses he suffered in the weeks following Donald Trump’s election, when his net worth fell 7% to $49 billion. He is now worth an estimated $53.8 billion dollars, according to FORBES’ real-time rankings of the world’s billionaires, and clocks in as the planet’s fifth-richest person; Zuckerberg trails only Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Amancio Ortega of Spain, each of whom holds a fortune of more than $70 billion.
Zuckerberg’s $5 billion surge vastly outpaces the gains of any other individual on the FORBES billionaires list, based on data compiled between the start of normal trading hours on January 3 and the end of normal trading at 4:00 P.M. EST on Friday, January 13.
Of course, Facebook’s spiking share price cannot be attributed to any single event, but the company has received a string of positive press as of late for its efforts to tackle the proliferation of fake news content on its site. On Wednesday it unveiled a new “journalism project,” with the goal of improving its relationship with the media and increasing “news literacy.” The initiative follows a previously announced plan to “[disrupt] fake news economics” by preventing abusive media outlets from using Facebook’s ad-placing technology.
Zuckerberg, who famously founded the social media giant as a 19-year-old Harvard undergrad, has watched his personal fortune consistently rise year after year. In 2016 he cracked the top five on The Forbes 400 for the first time, placing fourth behind Gates, Buffett and Bezos. If Facebook maintains its current trajectory, he may soon place even higher.
We completely agree with Forbes… if Facebook continues to play nice with the globalist deep state, censoring any opposing voices, then expect more positive “buy” stock analysis to propel FB to the valuation stratosphere.
Users on the other hand are seemingly unimpressed with FB’s recent censorship business model, rating the social network as the sixth worst company in the United States.
Pissed off users, neo-liberal globalist darling… something has got to give.