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‘Never again’?: The US and the Palestinian/Israeli issue (By Ron Forthofer) - 19-sep-2014

August 27, 2014 - Many Americans may think this foreign policy issue doesn’t concern them. If they think about this issue at all, many say that it’s not our business and we should just let them fight it out. However the US has been deeply involved in this conflict since before Israel declared its existence.
For example, in 1947 before the Partition Plan for Palestine was approved by the UN General Assembly, Loy Henderson, director of the State Department’s Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs, warned: "The UNSCOP [U.N. Special Committee on Palestine] Majority Plan is not only unworkable; if adopted, it would guarantee that the Palestine problem would be permanent and still more complicated in the future." Henderson added: "The proposals contained in the UNSCOP plan … are in definite contravention to various principles laid down in the [U.N.] Charter as well as to principles on which American concepts of Government are based...

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Israel’s information iron dome (Yarden Katz) - 18-sep-2014

August 27, 2014 - It is widely assumed that a free press should report accurate and relevant information to the population, and act as 'watchdog’ of power in the name of public interest. The reporting of secret government surveillance programs leaked by Edward Snowden rekindled a debate in the U.S. concerning the role of the free press, and the boundaries of freedom that journalists ought to respect. Some commentators and government officials were occupied with the possibility of the press taking its watchdog role too far, revealing information that harms national security. (A scenario that so far remains hypothetical.) Would journalists, then, be accomplices to a crime? The converse scenario, by contrast, is rarely raised: Should the press be considered an accomplice to a government crime for withholding information that, if revealed, would change public opinion of criminal government policies – perhaps leading to policy reform? ...

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How UN’s Ban Ki-moon and Oxfam undermine Palestinian right to resist (Ali Abunimah) - 18-sep-2014

August 27, 2014 - Earlier this month, as Israeli massacres claimed dozens of lives every day and night in Gaza, 129 Palestinian and international organizations sent an open letter condemning UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s role as a partner in Israel’s crimes. They criticized his "biased statements," his "failure to act, and the inappropriate justification of Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law, which amount to war crimes."They called on him to "stand for law and justice or resign."Sadly, the message did not get through. Yesterday, following the ceasefire deal between the Palestinian resistance and Israel, Ban issued a new statement welcoming the ceasefire....

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Israel’s extermination of whole families in Gaza reflects genocidal impulse (Rania Khalek) - 18-sep-2014

August 27, 2014 - Eighty-nine families that existed seven weeks ago in Gaza have been exterminated by Israel. On Sunday 24 August an Israeli missile tore through the home of Issam Jouda in Gaza’s Tal al-Zatar neighborhood east of Jabaliya without warning, killing Issam’s wife Rawiya and their four children—Taghrid, Tasnim, Usama and 
Muhammad. According to the Palestinian health ministry , the Joudas were the eighty-ninth family wiped out in Gaza since the Israeli army started bombarding the besieged coastal enclave on 7 July. A ceasefire that took effect on Tuesday evening may stop the flow of blood, but it will not heal the raw wounds of the families of more than 2,100 people killed, nor of the more than eleven thousand injured and 100,000 whose homes were destroyed...

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"A clumsy army beating Palestinians into submission": TIME correspondent’s Nablus diary from 1990 (The Electronic Intifada) - 18-sep-2014

August 27, 2014 - An excerpt from the unpublished memoirs of the former TIME journalist Murray J. Gart describing the occupied West Bank city of Nablus at the height of the first intifada, or uprising, could have been written today.
Closure under the pretext of "security," tear gas and lethal fire against unarmed protesters was what Gart observed in the city in 1990. Gart’s granddaughter, Brooke DeNisco, says of her grandfather that "the Middle East was his passion and he spent years living and traveling there." When he retired from TIME, the publication with which he spent most of his career, Gart "began working on a book about the Middle East peace process, but died in 2004 before its completion. I inherited some of the notes and drafts for the book, including a narrative of five weeks he spent living in the West Bank," DeNisco explains...

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“These are war crimes,” says father of Gaza family wiped out by Israeli airstrike (Joe Catron) - 17-sep-2014

August 27, 2014 - An elder cousin daubed the blood that dripped from a wound near Thaer Jouda’s left eye Tuesday afternoon as the nine-year-old lay in a bed in Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital."He’s very good in English," the cousin said. But Thaer, his face and body lacerated by shrapnel from an Israeli airstrike on Sunday and his right leg amputated at the knee, had little interest in talking.The bombing, which injured Thaer and his eleven-year-old sister Rahaf, also killed his mother Rawiya (43 years old), his sisters Tasnim (14) and Raghida (13) and his brothers Muhammad (8) and Usama (6)...

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Syria News - August 26, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - By the end of Tuesday, the coordination committees were able to document 48 martyrs including 4 women, 2 children, and 3 martyrs under torture: 12 martyes were reported in Deir Ezzor; 12 in Damascus and its Suburbs; 10 in Aleppo; 5 in Homs; 4 in Daraa; 3 in Hama and 2 in Idlib....

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6 Systematic Attacks on Multi-Storey Buildings and Palestinian Civilians Terrified and Forcibly Displaced from Centers of Cities (The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - Israeli occupation forces have continued their brutal and immoral offensive on the Gaza Strip for the 51st consecutive day in violation of the international law. They have employed their full-fledged arsenal to attack the Gaza Strip from the air, sea and land, killing and wounding thousands of Palestinians, mostly civilians, including children and women. Many Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes that attacked their homes without prior warnings. Israeli forces have attacked homes and civilian facilities and property. Over the past few days, Israeli forces have systematically destroyed multi-storey apartment buildings where dozens of families live, and have destroyed complete residential quarters by direct airstrikes...

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The CIA is No Stranger to Africa – But We Wish It Was (by Mark P. Fancher) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - Revelations contained in an unreleased nearly 7,000 page Senate Intelligence Committee report about CIA torture of purported terrorism suspects should come as no surprise to those with even a passing acquaintance with the agency’s long history of international crimes. Among other things, the study reportedly details the CIA’s systematic use of slapping, humiliation, sleep-deprivation, freezing and waterboarding. While this may not be news to informed observers, some might be a bit shocked by the candid reactions to the report by the Obama administration. A leaked White House document says of the report: "This report tells a story of which no American is proud." President Obama himself said: "…we tortured some folks. We did things that were contrary to our values."....

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Iraq snapshot - August 26, 2014. (The Common Ills) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - The prime minister of Iraq killed peaceful protesters. Including children. Including the child of a father who was present. The young teen was trying to get his father to safety. The challenged community in Iraq does not wait for others to do things, they join their brothers and sisters in the street in protests. And this father was in a wheel chair. It was chaos as Nouri's forces began firing at protesters and attacking them and the son was attempting to get his father to safety when they were stopped by Nouri's thugs.The thugs said one of them was dying and they shot the son when he tried to protect his father by stepping in front of him. They shot the father then too. But the son died. No one outside of Iraq really seemed to care about that man and the son he lost or about the children shot dead by Nouri's forces at that protest site. Barack didn't do a damn thing.The BRussells Tribunal cared and carried the account of Thamer Hussein Mousa who lost his son Mohammed Thamer. But Barack didn't care, AFP didn't care, AP either, go down the list...

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Hamas is not ISIS and ISIS is not Hamas (Motasem A Dalloul) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 -Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has felt desperate recently with the massive popular criticism of his country's savage war against the people of the Gaza Strip, which so far has claimed the lives of more than 2,100 Palestinians and wounded more than 10,600 others. He also has been furious over the popular support that the Gaza Strip, and Hamas, has gained. As such, he wants to find any way to demonise the Palestinian resistance movements in Gaza, mainly Hamas. It is for this reason that he has sought to link Hamas with ISIS in the public mindset. It is a totally false connection...

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Mass Murder as Political Marketing (by Dr. TP Wilkinson) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - Douglas Valentine explained the purpose or at least the subject of his study of the Vietnam Phoenix Program as "terror and its role in political warfare". He is generous, like most Americans—even critical ones—when he writes "It will show how, as successive American governments sink deeper and deeper into the vortex of covert operations—ostensibly to combat terrorism and Communist insurgencies—the American people gradually lose touch with the democratic ideals that once defined their national self-concept. This book asks what happens when Phoenix comes home to roost?"1 Valentine is generous to his readers since he ascribes to them ideals which while attributed to the US regime and naively held by many, in fact bear little resemblance to the political reality in the USA. Valentine is not ironic. ...

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The Evil of U.S. Aggression against Iraq (by Jacob G. Hornberger) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - What better confirmation of the manifest failure of the philosophy of foreign interventionism than the renewed U.S. bombing of Iraq?...Interventionists are pointing out the evil nature of the Islamic State, the group that is threatening to oust the U.S.-installed regime in Bagdad from power. But simply because one group is evil doesn’t necessarily mean that the term cannot also be applied to what the U.S. government has done to Iraq, especially given it was the U.S. government’s war on Iraq, along with its other Middle East policies, that unleashed the furies that have given rise to the Islamic State.How can an unlawful and unconstitutional war of aggression, a type of war condemned as a war crime at Nuremberg not be considered evil?How can a war in which people are being killed and maimed based on a cost-benefit analysis not be considered evil? Indeed, think back to the brutal sanctions that the U.S. government enforced against Iraq for more than ten years....

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Detainees Held at Bagram Air Base Without Charge for Ten Years Transferred to Yemen (International Justice Network) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - The International Justice Network (IJN) is delighted to announce that two of its clients,Fadi al-Maqaleh and Amin al-Bakri, have been released from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, were they had been imprisoned without charge for over a decade. On the evening of August 25, 2014, the U.S. government transferred the two Yemeni nationals to the custody and control of the Yemeni government. The transfer is the first time that a detainee has been transferred from U.S. military custody to Yemen since 2010. IJN filed the first case challenging the U.S. government’s imprisonment without charge of detainees at Bagram in 2006, on behalf of Yemeni citizen Fadi al-Maqaleh...

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Will Abbas go to the ICC as a plaintiff or a defendant? (Dr Salman Abu-Sitta) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014- There is no doubt that President Mahmoud Abbas will go to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on behalf of the State of Palestine sooner or later, preferably sooner. He will represent Palestine as it is outlined in the Rome Statute of 1998 and ratified by the relevant Palestinian representative body. However, if he does not seize the opportunity to defend Palestinian rights at The Hague he may well find himself accused of war crimes in the same court. The facts of the matter have long been simple, clear-cut and documented. Every member of every Palestinian faction is extremely frustrated by Abbas's reluctance to sign the Rome Statute on behalf of the Palestinian people...

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Top 5 Ironies of U.S. Reaction to Egypt/UAE Bombing of Libya (By Juan Cole) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - The diplomatic angst issuing from Washington around the United Arab Emirates and Egypt bombing of weapons depots belonging to the Qatar-backed fundamentalist militia of Misrata holds many delicious ironies: 1. According to the BBC, "the US, France, Germany, Italy and the UK issued a joint statement denouncing "outside interference" in Libya." Seriously, guys? Except for Germany, these are the NATO countries that intervened in Libya in the first place, in large part at the insistence of an Arab League led by Egypt and the UAE! ...

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Hagel ignores leading NGOs’ call for release of Gitmo force-feeding tapes (Reprieve) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who oversees Guantanamo Bay prison, has ignored a letter from a group of NGOs including Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, Physicians for Human Rights and Reprieve, in which they ask him to release the videotapes of detainees being force-fed.The signatories write in the letter (the full text of which is below): "This administration has promised the American people transparency in the conduct of government affairs. If, as the government repeatedly claims, the force-feeding of hunger striking detainees at Guantanamo Bay is being done in a lawful and humane manner then subjecting these videotapes to public scrutiny would seem to be the best way to demonstrate this fact."...

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Iraq: The cafeteria's serving left overs -- again (The Common Ills) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - ...I'm sorry where has the Guardian been -- or the US press -- as Sunni prisoners were tortured and targeted? As Nouri rushed through executions?The prison attacks did not start this week.I'm glad Navi Pillay is leaving. What a lousy High Commissioner for Human Rights. It was not UNHCR that documented Nouri's murder of children, it was UNICEF.I'm talking about the April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from Nouri's federal forces storming in. Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk) announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault. AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead. UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured). And Pillay -- like the White House -- couldn't be bothered.That's just one incident. The Islamic State did not spring to life out of the head of Zeus one day fully formed.Nouri al-Maliki bred it.He used hate to help it grow.That doesn't make the violence of IS any less disgusting. But it does note that when Sunnis were the victims of violence for the last four years, there was no international outcry and reporters regularly treated the topic as if it were normal and acceptable, traffic accidents and not ethnic cleansing. Yet now they want to ignore all that led up to today and practice selective outrage....


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The Anti-Imperialism of Fools (Mahmoud E) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - As we all witnessed yesterday Syria’s foreign minister Walid Muallem said that Syria will offer to help the US fight the Islamic State (IS) militant group. This of course has left the so called Anti-war camp and "Anti-Imperialist" left in the U.S/West and even Arab assadists that support Assad either confused or silent on the matter. It’s important to note these are the same leftists or as some call them 'tankies’ that support Russian imperialism and Iranian mini-imperialism in the Middle East and don’t even care whether Russia is a capitalist oligarchy or if Iran has communist political prisoners in its jails or killed because of their ideas this shows you how unprincipled they can be by becoming reactionary by supporting bourgeois nationalism and fascism....

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Counter-revolutionary "Left"will again be with NATO (Clay Claiborne) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - ....While its true that the Lincoln Brigade and groups like it came under relatively progressive leadership, whereas most of the young foreigners fighting in Syria have given themselves to very reactionary leadership, the motivations are quite similar, they want to intervene against Assad's murder of the children. It certainly isn't the fault of these young people that there is no "left" or progressive road to Damascus, no "Lincoln Brigade," those that occupy the high ramparts of the "Left" have seen to that. But for Muslim youth around the world the Islamists have put in place a highway that leads from the local mosque to the front-lines. Because they have mobilized for the Syrians while the "Left" has cheered on Assad, these reactionary jihadists have gained in strength while the "Left" has been complete discredited in their eyes. [The Left is with Assad.] Of course, these commentators on CNN, Fox News and the like can't afford to talk about these more noble motivations for going to Syria and fighting with whoever claims to be fighting Assad, because then they would have to talk about what is really happening in Syria and try to explain why the murder of two hundred thousand people in three years in a relatively small country merited so little coverage. They can't do that...

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Shepherds detained for crossing a road (International Solidarity Movement) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - While shepherding approximately 1 km south of Qawawis, a village south of al-Khalil (Hebron), on Sunday 24th near the illegal settlement and army base of Suseya, three shepherds were stopped by the Israeli army and detained for 20 minutes. The three shepherds were just on their way back from grazing their sheep in the fields outside of the village when the Israeli army arrived in a jeep, stopping the shepherds who were attempting to cross the street. After shortly talking to one of the shepherds, the soldiers drove the sheep down the hill without any explanation....



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Meet the New Gaza Ceasefire, Same as the Old Ceasefire (Richard Silverstein) - 17-sep-2014

August 27, 2014 - The paper says the ceasefire provides for partially lifting the siege to permit humanitarian aid and reconstruction material to enter. The Israeli and Egyptian crossings will be opened. These are almost the same provisions of the 2012 truce that ended Operation Pillar of Cloud. In actuality, the siege of 2012 wasn’t even partially lifted. The borders remained open for a time and then closed. We know how this song goes: Israel promises under duress. Then after the pressure eases it returns to the usual obduracy... There are Israeli reports that Netanyahu has finally and overtly renounced the two-state solution. Instead he will propose a bi-national state in which a small portion of the West Bank would be independent. The rest would become Israeli. But the way the far-right will finesse the demographic threat question is that they will only allow a small percentage of those absorbed into Israel to become full-fledged citizens (the number 50,000 has been bandied about)...

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Syrian refugees in Gaza suffer second war (Mohammed Othman) - 17-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - Young engineer Abdullah al-Baltaji had only one choice: leave Syria and find shelter in the Gaza Strip after rockets hit his home and private office in the Mezze neighborhood in the Syrian capital, Damascus. He settled with his family in the Shajaiya neighborhood in the eastern Gaza Strip less than a year ago, accompanied by his wife, twin daughters and son. They lived in an apartment built by the Gaza government.Baltaji fled Syria to protect his family from the bloody war that has been raging there for more than three years. However, this was just a prelude to a more dangerous phase that awaited him in the Gaza Strip....


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Israel’s decades-long effort to turn the word ‘terrorism’ into an ideological weapon (Rémi Brulin) - 16-sep-2014

August 26, 2014 - The Israeli discourse on "terrorism" has a long history, one in which Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current Prime Minister, played a central role. Thirty years ago, at a major conference on "international terrorism" in Washington, D.C., Netanyahu insisted that "without a clear understanding of terrorism, the problem cannot be tackled" and proposed a clear, simple definition: "Terrorism is the deliberate, systematic murder, maiming and menacing of the innocent to inspire fear in order to gain political ends." The discourse draws its normative, rhetorical power from a simple, central claim: what separates "us" from "the terrorists" is a fundamentally different, irreconcilable conception of the value of innocent, civilian life....

continua / continued










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