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Paris court convicts Israeli doctor of slander

Ma’an – 30/04/2011

JERUSALEM — Knesset member Ahmad Tibi is calling on Israeli authorities to punish a doctor convicted of slandering the father of Mohammad Ad-Durra by a French court Friday.

In 2000, the television station France 2 reported that Israeli soldiers shot dead Mohammad Ad-Durra, 12, in Gaza City. The killing was filmed by French reporters and the channel broadcast footage of the incident, in which Ad-Durra’s father Jamal was also shot and injured as he tried to take cover with his son.

In an interview to a French Jewish publication in 2008, Israeli doctor Yehuda David claimed Jamal Ad-Durra’s injuries stemmed from a previous accident. He had operated on Ad-Durra in 1994.

Ad-Durra sued David and the publication for slander.

A Paris court on Friday convicted the doctor, a reporter and the editor of Jewish News Weekly, of defaming Jamal Ad-Durra. The three were fined 1,000 euros each and ordered to pay 5,000 euros in damages.

MK Ahmad Tibi urged the Israeli Medical Association and the Ministry of Health to prosecute the doctor, noting that misusing and distorting confidential medical files is a criminal offense.

David has previously claimed that the video footage of Mohammad’s killing was fabricated, and that the boy was killed by Palestinian fire.

In 2000, the Israeli army conducted an internal investigation and admitted responsibility for the killing but in 2007 the Israeli government officially denied involvement.

April 30, 2011 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | 1 Comment

Japan Callously Puts Thousands of Kids in Harm’s Way

By ROBERT ALVAREZ | CounterPunch | April 30, 2011

May 5 is Children’s Day, a Japanese national holiday that celebrates the happiness of childhood. This year, it will fall under a dark, radioactive shadow.

Japanese children in the path of radioactive plumes from the crippled nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station are likely to suffer health problems that a recent government action will only exacerbate.

On April 19, the Japanese government sharply ramped up its radiation exposure limit to 2,000 millirem per year (20 mSv/y) for schools and playgrounds in Fukushima prefecture. Japanese children are now permitted to be exposed to an hourly dose rate 165 times above normal background radiation and 133 times more than levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows for the American public. Japanese school children will be allowed to be exposed to the same level recommended by the International Commission on Radiation Protection for nuclear workers. Unlike workers, however, children won’t have a choice as to whether they can be so exposed.

This decision callously puts thousands of children in harm’s way.

Experts consider children to be 10 to 20 times more vulnerable to contracting cancer from exposure to ionizing radiation than adults. This is because as they grow, their dividing cells are more easily damaged allowing cancer cells to form. Routine fetal X-rays have ceased worldwide for this reason. Cancer remains a leading cause of death by disease for children in the United States.

On April 12, the Japanese government announced that the nuclear crisis in Fukushima was as severe as the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Within weeks of the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, the four ruined reactors at the Dai-Ichi power station released enormous quantities of radiation into the atmosphere.

According to the Daily Youmiri, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) announced that between 10 and 17 million curies (270,000- 360,000 TBq) of radioactive materials were released to the atmosphere before early April, a great deal more than previous official estimates.

Even though atmospheric releases blew mostly out to sea and appear to have declined dramatically, NISA reports that Fukushima’s nuclear ruins are discharging about 4,200 curies of iodine-131 and cesium-137 per day into the air (154 TBq). This is nearly 320,000 times more than the radiation the now de-commissioned Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant released over a year. NISA’s estimate is likely to be the low end, given the numerous sources of unmeasured and unfiltered leaks into the environment amidst the four wrecked reactors. On April 27, Bloomberg News reported that radiation readings at the Dai-Ichi nuclear power station have risen to the highest levels since the earthquake.

With a half-life of 8.5 days, iodine-131 is rapidly absorbed in dairy products and in the human thyroid, particularly those of children. Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years and gives off potentially dangerous external radiation. It concentrates in various foods and is absorbed throughout the human body. Unlike iodine-131, which decays to a level considered safe after about three months, cesium-137 can pose risks for several hundred years.

Measurements taken at 1,600 nursery schools, kindergartens, and middle school playgrounds in early April indicate that children are regularly getting high radiation doses. Radiation levels one meter above the ground indicate that children at hundreds of schools received exposures 43- 200 times above background. And this is outside of the “exclusionary zone” around the Dai-Ichi reactors, where locals have been evacuated. Japan’s Ministry of Education and Science has limited outdoor activities at 13 schools in the cities of Fukushima, Date, and Koriyama Cities.

Although the extent of long-term contamination is not yet fully known, disturbing evidence is emerging. Data collected 40 kilometers from the Fukushima’s nuclear accident show cumulative levels as high as 9.5 rems (95 mSv) nearly five times the international annual occupational dose. Soil beyond the 30-kilometer evacuation zone shows cesium-137 levels at 2,200 kBq per square meter 67 percent greater than that requiring evacuation near Chernobyl.

Three-fourths of the monitored schools in Fukushima had radioactivity levels so high that human entry shouldn’t be allowed, even though students began a new semester on April 5.

~

Robert Alvarez, an Institute for Policy Studies senior scholar, served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary from 1993 to 1999. www.ips-dc.org

April 30, 2011 Posted by | Nuclear Power | Comments Off on Japan Callously Puts Thousands of Kids in Harm’s Way

Russia aware of allies’ ground campaign plans in Libya – Lavrov

Libyan students training in the use of arms to defend their country against the imperialist forces of the U.S. and NATO as well as the rebels that are backed by the West. The government is handing out weapons to the people anticipating an invasion. by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
The government is handing out weapons to the people anticipating an invasion by NATO forces. Photo by Pan-African News Wire
RIA Novosti | April 30, 2011

Moscow is aware of the coalition’s plans about the ground military campaign in Libya, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday.

“The information shows that both NATO and EU work on the similar plans. EU develops these plans to secure humanitarian convoys, though it is being stressed that it would take place after the UN gave the green light,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian Center TV channel.

He said the possible ground military campaign should be sanctioned with the UN Security Council.

“If anybody wants to ask for this mandate [on carrying out ground campaign], welcome to the UN Security Council. We will discuss, try to understand what is planned, because the digressions from the mandate that we are watching now, are enough to learn lessons,” Lavrov said.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, paving the way for a military operation against Gaddafi which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a U.S.-led international coalition to NATO in late March.

A total of 14 of the 28 NATO countries are taking part in the operation Unified Protector in Libya, which includes airstrikes, a no-fly zone and naval enforcement of an arms embargo.

April 30, 2011 Posted by | Militarism | Comments Off on Russia aware of allies’ ground campaign plans in Libya – Lavrov

Librulz

By Charles Davis | False Dichotomy | April 28, 2011

Glenn Greenwald used to be a liberal favorite back when he was railing against the Bush administration, considered a progressive hero for his forceful defenses of civil liberties and attacks on the warfare state.

Guess what happened: Greenwald kept up his whole having-actual-principles shtick even after Barack Obama’s glorious ascent to power. And that’s a no-no.

Since January 2009, Greenwald has come under increasingly ludicrous attacks from Obama’s partisan fan club, the premise underlying most of the broadsides being that any critic of the president’s must be a secret Republican or, my favorite, in it for the fame and money (I’m still waiting for my check from the Koch brothers).

In a recent interview with Out Magazine, Greenwald really stepped in it, though, when he suggested he might be open to supporting someone for president who’s not a Democrat. In particular, he said some complimentary things about Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who, like Ron Paul, is campaigning for the Republican nomination on an anti-war, pro-drug legalization platform.

Now, as a non-voter I could perhaps criticize Greenwald for focusing a bit too much on electoral politics, which very rarely is a path toward real change; independent social movements, like the ones that pushed for civil rights and an end to the Vietnam war, seem to me much more effective. Instead of diverting time and resources into elections, I’d like to see more people organizing and their own communities and raising money not for politicians, but for health clinics and even alternative news organizations. But that, of course, is not what upsets Obama’s loyal fans.

In a piece much-circulated by that fan club, which by the reception from Democratic partisans I take it is supposed to be scathing, not satire, we are told Greenwald’s hypothetical support for Johnson constitutes an excommunicable offense. “Neither a Liberal Nor a Progressive,” blares the headline to the pieces, which gives a run-down of Johnson’s history as governor of slashing “taxes on the rich while cutting social services for the poor” (no one tell liberals about how that guy in the White House who just extended Bush’s tax cuts for the rich at the expense of social programs for the poor).

Given Johnson’s record — the accounting of which excludes that whole opposition to war and locking up hundreds of thousands of people for non-violent offenses stuff — we are told:

“You simply can’t consider yourself a progressive in any broadly accepted meaning of the term and thoughtfully and in an informed way support for president someone with the views and history of Gary Johnson.”

And:

“By saying he might support Gary Johnson, Glenn Greenwald has now demonstrated that he is a narrowly-focused advocate who cares about only a few issues, and is not a liberal or progressive with a broad sense of the common good.”

As the post makes clear, though, one can still be a “liberal or a progressive with a broad sense of the common good” if you support a guy who blows up little children with cluster bombs, as Barack Obama has in Yemen. You can still be a liberal or progressive in good standing if you support a man who has killed hundreds, if not thousands, of Pakistani civilians with flying death robots. And you can still be a liberal if you back a guy who has shown not the slighest inclination to reform, much less do away with, a war on drugs that has led to 2.3 million Americans being placed in cages, the vast majority minorities.

That the president has doubled the number of troops in Afghanistan, ordered more drone strikes in Pakistan than his predecessor did in eight years, and launched another war in Libya without so much as getting a rubber stamp from Congress is of no concern to the good party-line liberal. The president, after all, is a Democrat.

If that’s what it really means to be a liberal or a progressive — supporting empire and mass incarceration or, even worse in my opinion, pretending neither exist — Greenwald might be happy to learn he’s not one.

April 30, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | Comments Off on Librulz

Palestinian identity under attack in Israel

By Mya Guarnieri | Ma’an | April 29, 2011

Earlier in April, the Israeli Ministry of Education decided to add a question about the Holocaust to the matriculation exam of Arab students.

Because the state has banned any study of the Nakba– going so far as to strike the word from the textbooks– the move has drawn sharp criticism in Israel’s Palestinian community.

The Abraham Fund — a joint Jewish-Arab organization that advocates for equality within in Israel — remarked that, “It is important that Arab students learn about the Holocaust and understand the history and pain of the Jewish people… At the same time, it is important that Jewish students learn about the history of the Palestinian minority in Israel, especially those aspects tied to the state of Israel and her existence.”

Sawsan Zaher is a Palestinian who was born and raised in Israel. An attorney at Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Zaher recalls that she did not learn about the Nakba until she studied it on her own, in her early twenties.

“I finished high school without being able to study Palestinian history–about what was here before 1948, about the nakba.”

“And if the parents [of Palestinian students] aren’t political?” she adds. “That’s it.”

The decision to add a question about the Holocaust comes in the wake of the “Nakba Law,” which was passed by the Knesset last month.

The new legislation states that municipalities, public institutions, or organizations that receive public funds will be fined for marking the Nakba or expressing feelings of mourning about Israel’s establishment.

The law was slammed by both Jewish and Arab members of Knesset. “On this day, the thought police is being established in Israel,” Isaac Herzog of the right-wing Labor party said.

Both the Nakba Law and the change to the matriculation exam come just months after a principal of a public school in Yafo, the historically Arab city that was annexed by the Tel Aviv municipality in 1950, forbade students from speaking Arabic.

About half of the school’s students are Palestinian citizens of Israel. While all classes are taught in Hebrew, the principal’s decision forbade Palestinian students from speaking Arabic amongst themselves.

Russian-speaking students, however, are allowed to use their mother tongue.

April 30, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

Bahraini boy suffocated by tear gas

Press TV – April 30, 2011

A 6-year-old Bahraini boy has died after being exposed to tear gas fired by Saudi-backed Bahraini security forces in the east of the country.

The victim, named Mohammad Abdul-Hussain Farhan, lost his life on Saturday as a result of the police raid on Sitra, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty’s over-40-year rule.

On March 13, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed police and military forces in the kingdom upon Manama’s request to quell the nationwide protests.

According to local sources, scores of protesters have been killed during the government-sanctioned clampdown with the foreign troops contributing to a rise in the violence.

The rallies continued on Saturday in several cities in defiance a martial law put in place by Manama last month.

The public repeated their demand for the ouster of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and condemned Riyadh’s involvement in suppression of the revolution.

Saudi and Bahrain troops have also destroyed dozens of mosques and religious sites.

The public, however, have asserted they would keep up the protests until the regime collapses.

April 30, 2011 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Bahraini boy suffocated by tear gas