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Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the U.S. Terror State

Anthony Gregory | Lew | August 3, 2011

Being a U.S. war criminal means never having to say sorry. Paul Tibbets, the man who flew the Enola Gay and destroyed Hiroshima, lived to the impressive age of 92 without publicly expressing guilt for what he had done. He had even reenacted his infamous mission at a 1976 Texas air show, complete with a mushroom cloud, and later said he never meant this to be offensive. In contrast, he called it a “damn big insult” when the Smithsonian planned an exhibit in 1995 showing some of the damage the bombing caused.

We might understand a man not coming to terms with his most important contribution to human history being such a destructive act. But what about the rest of the country?

It’s sickening that Americans even debate the atomic bombings, as they do every year in early August. Polls in recent years reveal overwhelming majorities of the American public accepting the acts as necessary.

Conservatives are much worse on this topic, although liberals surely don’t give it the weight it deserves. Trent Lott was taken to the woodshed for his comments in late 2002 about how Strom Thurmond would have been a better president than Truman. Lott and Thurmond both represent ugly strains in American politics, but no one dared question the assumption that Thurmond was obviously a less defensible candidate than Truman. Zora Neale Hurston, heroic author of the Harlem Renaissance, might have had a different take, as she astutely called Truman “a monster” and “the butcher of Asia.” Governmental segregation is terrible, but why is murdering hundreds of thousands of foreign civilians with as much thought as one would give to eradicating silverfish treated as simply a controversial policy decision in comparison?

Perhaps it is the appeal to necessity. We hear that the United States would have otherwise had to invade the Japanese mainland and so the bombings saved American lives. But saving U.S. soldiers wouldn’t justify killing Japanese children any more than saving Taliban soldiers would justify dropping bombs on American children. Targeting civilians to manipulate their government is the very definition of terrorism. Everyone was properly horrified by Anders Behring Breivik’s murder spree in Norway last month – killing innocents to alter diplomacy. Truman murdered a thousand times as many innocents on August 6, 1945, then again on August 9.

It doesn’t matter if Japan “started it,” either. Only individuals have rights, not nations. Unless you can prove that every single Japanese snuffed out at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was involved in the Pearl Harbor attack, the murderousness of the bombings is indisputable. Even the official history should doom Truman to a status of permanent condemnation. Besides being atrocious in themselves, the U.S. creation and deployment of the first nuclear weapons ushered in the seemingly endless era of global fear over nuclear war.

However, as it so happens, the official history is a lie. The U.S. provoked the Japanese to fire the first shot, as more and more historians have acknowledged. Although the attack on Pearl Harbor, a military base, was wrong, it was far less indefensible than the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s civilian populations.

As for the utilitarian calculus of “saving American lives,” historian Ralph Raico explains:

The propaganda that the atomic bombings saved lives was nothing but a public relations pitch contrived in retrospect. These were just gratuitous acts of mass terrorism. By August 1945, the Japanese were completely defeated, blockaded, starving. They were desperate to surrender. All they wanted was to keep their emperor, which was ultimately allowed anyway. The U.S. was insisting upon unconditional surrender, a purely despotic demand. Given what the Allies had done to the Central Powers, especially Germany, after the conditional surrender of World War I, it’s understandable that the Japanese resisted the totalitarian demand for unconditional surrender.

A 1946 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey determined the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nukings were not decisive in ending the war. Most of the political and military brass agreed. “The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing,” said Dwight Eisenhower in a 1963 interview with Newsweek.

Another excuse we hear is the specter of Hitler getting the bomb first. This is a non sequitur. By the time the U.S. dropped the bombs, Germany was defeated and its nuclear program was revealed to be nothing in comparison to America’s. The U.S. had 180,000 people working for several years on the Manhattan Project. The Germans had a small group led by a few elite scientists, most of whom were flabbergasted on August 6, as they had doubted such bombs were even possible. Even if the Nazis had gotten the bomb – which they were very far from getting – it wouldn’t in any way justify killing innocent Japanese.

For more evidence suggesting that the Truman administration was out to draw Japanese blood for its own sake, or as a show of force for reasons of Realpolitik, consider the United States’s one-thousand-plane bombing of Tokyo on August 14, the largest bombing raid of the Pacific war, after Hirohito agreed to surrender and the Japanese state made it clear it wanted peace. The bombing of Nagasaki should be enough to know it was not all about genuinely stopping the war as painlessly as possible – why not wait more than three days for the surrender to come? But to strategically bomb Japan five days after the destruction Nagasaki, as Japan was in the process of waving the white flag? It’s hard to imagine a greater atrocity, or clearer evidence that the U.S. government was not out to secure peace, but instead to slaughter as many Japanese as it could before consolidating its power for the next global conflict.

The U.S. had, by the time of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, destroyed 67 Japanese cities by firebombing, in addition to helping the British destroy over a hundred cities in Germany. In this dramatic footage from The Fog of War, Robert McNamara describes the horror he helped unleash alongside General Curtis LeMay, with images of the destroyed Japanese cities and an indication of what it would have meant for comparably sized cities in the United States:

“Killing fifty to ninety percent of the people in 67 Japanese cities and then bombing them with two nuclear bombs is not proportional – in the minds of some people – to the objectives we were trying to achieve,” McNamara casually says. Indeed, this was clearly murderous, and Americans are probably the most resistant of all peoples to the truths of their government’s historical atrocities. It doesn’t hurt that the U.S. government has suppressed for years evidence such as film footage shot after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet even based on what has long been uncontroversial historical fact, we should all be disgusted and horrified by what the U.S. government did.

How would it have been if all those Germans and Japanese, instead of being burned to death from the sky, were corralled into camps and shot or gassed? Materially, it would have been the same. But Americans refuse to think of bombings as even in the same ballpark as other technologically expedient ways of exterminating people by the tens and hundreds of thousands. Why? Because the U.S. government has essentially monopolized terror bombing for nearly a century. No one wants to confront the reality of America’s crimes against humanity.

It would be one thing if Americans were in wide agreement that their government, like that of the Axis governments of World War II, had acted in a completely indefensible manner. But they’re not. The Allies were the white hats. Ignore the fact that the biggest belligerent on America’s side was Stalin’s Russia, whom the FDR and Truman administrations helped round up a million or two refugees to enslave and murder in the notorious undertaking known as Operation Keelhaul. We’re not supposed to think about that. World War II began with Pearl Harbor and it ended with D-Day and American sailors returning home to kiss their sweethearts who had kept America strong by working on assembly lines.

In the Korean war, another Truman project, the U.S. policy of shameful mass murder continued. According to historian Bruce Cumings, professor at the University of Chicago, millions of North Korean civilians were slaughtered by U.S. fire-bombings, chemical weapons and newly developed ordnance, some of which weighed in at 12,000 pounds. Eighteen out of 22 major cities were at least half destroyed. For a period in 1950, the US dropped about 800 tons of bombs on North Korea every day. Developed at the end of World War II, napalm got its real start in Korea. The US government also targeted civilian dams, causing massive flooding.

In Indochina, the U.S. slaughtered millions in a similar fashion. Millions of tons of explosives were dropped on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. These ghastly weapons are literally still killing people – tens of thousands have died since the war ended, and three farmers were killed just last week. Among the horrible effects of the bombing was the rise of Pol Pot’s regime, probably the worst in history on a per capita basis.

The U.S. has committed mass terrorism since, although not on quite the scale as in past generations. Back in the day the U.S. would drop tons of explosives, knowing that thousands would die in an instant. In today’s wars, it drops explosives and then pretends it didn’t mean to kill the many civilians who predictably die in such acts of violence. Only fifteen hundred bombs were used to attack Baghdad in March 2003. That’s what passes as progress. The naked murderousness of U.S. foreign policy, however, is still apparent. The bombings of water treatment facilities and sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s deliberately targeted the vulnerable Iraqi people. Once the type of atrocities the U.S. committed in World War II have been accepted as at the worst debatable tactics in diplomacy, anything goes.

American politicians would have us worry about Iran, a nation that hasn’t attacked another country in centuries, one day getting the bomb. There is no evidence that the Iranians are even seeking nuclear weapons. But even if they were, the U.S. has a much worse record in both warmongering and nuclear terror than Iran or any other country in modern times. It is more than hypocritical for the U.S. to pose as the leader of global peace and nuclear disarmament.

The hypocrisy and moral degeneracy in the mouths of America’s celebrated leaders should frighten us more than anything coming out of Iran or North Korea, especially given America’s capacity to kill and willingness to do it. Upon dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, President Truman called the bomb the “greatest achievement of organized science in history” and wondered aloud how “atomic power can become a powerful and forceful influence toward the maintenance of world peace.” Nothing inverts good and evil, progress and regress, as much as the imperial state. In describing the perversion of morality in the history of U.S. wars, Orwell’s “war is peace” doesn’t cut it. “Exterminating civilians by the millions is the highest of all virtues” is perhaps a better tagline for the U.S. terror state.

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | Comments Off on Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the U.S. Terror State

Veolia loses Ealing Council contract

Palestine Solidarity Campaign | August 3, 2011

In another victory for Palestinian rights, Ealing Council, in London , has failed to select Veolia for a comprehensive tender for its domestic refuse, street cleaning and parks maintenance contract. The contract is worth approx £300m in total over 15 years and one of Ealing Council’s largest single contracts. This is even more significant given the fact that Veolia had the previous parks maintenance contract.

Veolia remains involved in the building and future operation of a light-rail tramway linking Israel’s illegal settlements with West Jerusalem, facilitating Israel’s ‘grave breaches’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Veolia Transport Israel also runs two bus services serving the same function as the tramway: supporting and consolidating illegal settlements and tying them more closely into Israel.

Sarah Colborne, PSC Director, said: ‘Veolia’s loss of this contract, following its failure in a number of significant bids in Britain and internationally, is a clear sign that Veolia is paying a high price for its complicity in Israel’s occupation and violations of international law. West London PSC, together with other groups and individuals supporting Palestinian rights, wrote and met councillors from across the political spectrum and council officials, and submitted detailed factual and legal analysis. Veolia must realise that until it pulls out of all its activities serving Israel ’s illegal settlements, it will continue to be a target for the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). Through BDS, those committed to peace and justice are sending a message – we don’t buy into Israel ’s violations of Palestinian rights’.


  1. In April 2010 the UN Human Rights Council declared the tramway and its operation to be illegal (A/HRC/RES/13/7 of 14 April 2010).  The resolution was passed 44 to 1, with the UK, France and all the EU members of the Council voting in favour.  The operation of the tramway is precisely what Veolia has a contract to do.
  2. Veolia is trying to sell its shares in the tramway.  But the deal would involve Veolia Transport Israel in providing technical assistance in running the tramway for 5 years.
  3. Through its subsidiary TMM, Veolia Transport Israel has also been operating the Tovlan landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley for many years, supporting Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank by taking their refuse.  There has also been a report of Tovlan receiving refuse from Israel itself, the occupier dumping its rubbish on the occupied.  Veolia says that it is selling Tovlan to a local buyer and may have already done so, but far from ending Veolia’s complicity, the deal will compound it, for the intended sale is to Massu’a, the nearby illegal Israeli settlement.  Moreover Veolia will continue its involvement by providing the settlement with advice concerning Tovlan.

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | 2 Comments

Jewish publication says Jews give half of Democratic money and a third of Republican money

By Philip Weiss | August 4, 2011

Nathan Guttman at Moment discusses “myths” about the Jewish vote and concedes my points: Jews really don’t swing any state except maybe Florida, and the reason politicians pander to Jews is because of the money we bring to the process. Just imagine if evangelical Christians were so important in the process; would we ever hear the end of it in the liberal press? Do evangelicals have political diversity– I bet they do. And speaking of diversity, where is ours? Guttman also says that Jews don’t vote on Israel, but states that it’s a “threshhold” issue, and so long as a politician supports aid to Israel and is against an imposed solution on Israel, he’s fine. I.e., the issue isn’t politicized in our process. Everyone’s for that or they can’t play. Guttman:

• Myth: Jews can tip a swing state.

Rarely. The 2000 elections helped establish the myth that Jewish voters hold the power to decide a tight race. As election officials scrutinized ballots in Florida, some seemed to see an elderly Jewish swing voter behind every hanging chad. Florida remains an important battleground, and given the divided political makeup of the state and its large Jewish population, Jewish sun birds really can make a difference. Ohio is also a state where Jewish voters could play a role in a close race, although so far they haven’t. But the vast majority of Jewish voters vote in states that aren’t really in play, like New York and California, and their vote will hardly be noticed.

• Myth: Jewish money bankrolls election campaigns.

Maybe. It is commonly believed that more than half of political donations to Democratic races and more than a third of those to Republican races come from Jewish donors. Again, there are no hard numbers here, but counting the Cohens and Goldmans on campaign disclosure lists can give a strong impression that Jews are heavily involved in political giving.

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | Comments Off on Jewish publication says Jews give half of Democratic money and a third of Republican money

Eyewitness to Judaization (I saw a soldier strike a young boy for walking on a road for Jews)

By Matt Berkman | U.S. Middle East Project | August 4, 2011

Matt Berkman recently returned from a a two-week delegation to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories organized by Interfaith Peace-Builders. This is his account of what he saw.


Jerusalem effectively consists of two cities, one Jewish, one Arab. Whereas these cities were at one point geographically distinct—Jews living in West Jerusalem, Palestinians in East Jerusalem—the Palestinian half of the city has lately seen its ethnic homogeneity rent by the construction of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, a process ongoing since the city was conquered in 1967. These Jewish settlements—illegal under international law—are clean, affluent-looking housing complexes that are well serviced by the Greater Jerusalem municipality. The Palestinian neighborhoods whose physical and social contiguity the Jewish settlements fragment, on the other hand, are visibly under-serviced and neglected. Traveling through them, I found these areas to be overcrowded and littered with trash; the roads were unpaved, the schools few and derelict. A visual staple of the Arab neighborhoods was their black rooftop water tanks, used to offset the insufficient level of water pressure allotted them by the city.

The reason for the overcrowding in these neighborhoods is that it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to procure building permits anywhere in Jerusalem. Permits are arbitrarily denied or left indefinitely in bureaucratic limbo. Palestinian neighborhoods are also forbidden to expand beyond their present boundaries, which have been the same since 1967. The surrounding land (and this goes for all Arab villages and cities in Israel) was nationalized after 1948 and turned over to the dispensation of the Jewish National Fund, which does not sell or lease land to non-Jews. If a Palestinian family wants to expand their home or build a new one on a vacant lot, they must do so illegally, or not at all. If they build illegally, they risk having their homes demolished on short notice (often they are given ten minutes to vacate their possessions before the bulldozers arrive). That is why the landscape of East Jerusalem is riddled with the husks of demolished Arab homes. Jewish neighborhoods and settlements, on the other hand, have no problem purchasing land or receiving expedited permits.

This systematic discrimination, along with discrimination in the provision of municipal services, cannot be seen as other than a calculated policy of slow-motion ethnic cleansing. The goal is evidently to immiserate Arabs until they leave Jerusalem.

Although Israel formally annexed Jerusalem after 1967, the Palestinians that live there, unlike Palestinians residing within Israel’s internationally recognized borders, are not Israeli citizens. They have no citizenship. They are legally “residents” of Jerusalem, which entitles them to certain economic benefits like subsidized healthcare, but they cannot vote in Israel’s parliamentary elections nor do they have passports or other national identity documents. Traveling outside of Israel, except to the West Bank, is an arduous process for them that requires multiple authorizations. Moreover, their residency (and accompanying benefits) can be revoked if they are absent from Jerusalem for a period of three years. On our delegation, we heard reports of Arab Jerusalemites who have studied abroad only to come back and find that their right to live in the city of their birth has been revoked. The same goes for those caught residing in the suburbs beyond Jerusalem’s city limits, something Arab residents are often forced to do due to the overcrowding. The IDF launches periodic night raids in order to prove that these Palestinians are living outside the city, so that their residency can be revoked.

Although the notion of partitioning Jerusalem is likely defunct thanks to the proliferation of Jewish settlements, there do still remain small concentrations of Arab residents around the Old City that could potentially serve as a truncated Palestinian capital in the event of a two-state solution. For this reason, certain radical groups of settlers have been seizing or purchasing buildings in the heart of densely populated Arab neighborhoods in order to create a Jewish demographic foothold in these areas and, in this way, prevent partition. These settler dwellings are prominent for their Israeli flags and razor-wire ramparts. We saw several of them, and attended a weekly protest against one such cluster of settlements in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where using Ottoman-era documents of dubious authenticity a settler group recently secured the legal eviction of several Palestinian families that had been living in homes there since the 1950s. These houses were given to the families by the United Nations and the Jordanian government in compensation for homes in West Jerusalem from which they had been expelled by Zionist militias in 1948. Recently, however, an Israeli court ruled in favor of a settler group that claimed to hold the original deeds to these homes. The state then evicted the Palestinian residents and the settlers moved in. Needless to say, Israeli courts would never entertain the congruent notion that these same evicted Arabs could reclaim the West Jerusalem properties stolen from them in 1948.


The other day we traveled to the Galilee area, which is inside Israel proper. In the not too distant past, the Galilee was majority Arab. Today, due to the success of Judaization policies (which have their own ministry in Israel’s government, the “Ministry of Development of the Negev and Galilee”), the number of Jews in the Galilee has surpassed the number of Arabs. The same discrimination in land and services that I described above applies equally to the Galilee. While Arab-majority cities of the Galilee have indigenous mayors, which should theoretically make the degree of discrimination in municipal services lower, the cities’ budgets are in fact determined by Jewish-controlled “regional councils” in conjunction with relevant state ministries (education, industry, infrastructure). According to an advocacy organization we met with, Israel’s Arab community, which currently stands at 20% of the total population but has needs disproportionate to its size, receives no more than 5% of any given ministry’s annual budget, and often less.

What we saw in the Galilee, however, was far more disturbing than these statistics. Our group toured a number of “unrecognized villages”—Arab and Bedouin shantytowns that existed before 1948 but were never recognized by Israel following the creation of the state. Because they were not recognized (for reasons unspecified), their land was declared state land by the government and their homes were summarily bulldozed. Instead of emigrating, however, many villagers rebuilt their homes after each demolition, evidently using industrial detritus. The situation today is that these villagers (or what remains of them) live in corrugated iron shacks, up to fifteen in a house, without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing. Because they are unrecognized, the state refuses to hook them up to the electricity grid or sewage system. Meanwhile, many of them are located within clear view of fully-serviced Israeli cities, some built just a few years ago on land that was originally theirs. One village we visited was almost fully encircled by the Russian-Jewish settlement of Karmiel. The villagers live literally feet from this affluent suburb of sparkling white high-rises but lack paved roads, sewage, electricity, and schools (the children must drive or walk to a nearby village to attend class). According to another civil society advocate, there are more than 40 such villages in Israel, all of them Arab, and all of them facing possible demolition. Most notable among these is the village of al-Araqib in the Negev, which has now been demolished more than 20 times.


So far I have been discussing what happens within what Israel considers to be its legitimate borders (despite East Jerusalem’s status as an occupied territory under international law). But nearly identical strategies of Judaization are also being applied in the West Bank, which has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Our delegation spent a night in the village of Bi’lin, which on a clear night is within view of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but located across the Green Line that demarcates the pre-1967 border. Bi’lin is an agricultural village whose farmers rely on their thousand-year-old olive trees to make ends meet. However, in 2002, under the pretext of security, Israel erected a wall in the West Bank that cut the villagers off from most of their agricultural lands, effectively annexing them for the expansion of nearby Israeli settlements, which at the time of our visit were undergoing further construction. The olive trees in the path of the wall were uprooted.

For the last few years, the residents of Bi’lin have mounted weekly non-violent protests against the wall. These protests have been brutally suppressed by Israel’s military. According to videos we screened, it appears that protesters are routinely fired upon with high-velocity tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live ammunition—all of which can be fatal. We toured the site of the protests and discovered shell casings, spent tear gas grenades and even live bullets littering the ground. One large patch of earth emitted a foul, fecal odor that was the product of Israel’s latest crowd-control method: spraying protesters with what our guides described as “sewage water.” The spray was last deployed a month ago and the stench remains to this day.

There are also midnight kidnappings and imprisonment of protest leaders and participants by the IDF, including children. The twenty-year -old son of the family I stayed with was abducted from his home by soldiers in the middle of the night, dragged to a nearby olive grove, and nearly beaten to death. His brother, Abdullah, was still on the lam after being targeted for abduction. The charge against them was arranging non-violent demonstrations. In addition, several protesters and innocent bystanders have been killed by Israeli soldiers in Bi’lin, including a woman who recently died of respiratory problems after inhaling tear gas and sewage water. Our group screened a video of a soldier firing a tear gas canister directly into the chest of a local protest leader name Bassem, killing him instantly. He was unarmed.

In 2007, an Israeli court ruled that the wall should be moved back 500 meters. That decision was implemented only last month. In the process of moving the wall, the IDF set fire to much of the land being returned to Bi’lin, destroying a number of olive trees. The ground there is visibly charred. Either way, the 500 meter alteration in the wall’s path has not ended the protests, which continue to demand the dismantling of the wall altogether.

There are several others villages like Bi’lin, where the wall annexes agricultural lands and aquifers for the use of nearby settlements. But there are also other cities that have it worse. Qalqiliya, for example, is a West Bank city of 60,000 inhabitants that is entirely encircled by the wall. Gates in the wall open twice a day for two hours; otherwise, its residents are imprisoned. In the area of East Jerusalem, the wall cuts off certain Arab suburbs that once formed an organic part of the city, disrupting family, labor, and religious ties. According to a former IDF soldier, the thousands of Palestinian laborers who penetrate the wall each week in search of work belies its security justification as a bulwark against suicide terrorism. Its only ostensible purpose is land theft.


We also visited Hebron. Hebron is unique among West Bank cities. It has an Arab population of 250,000, and a Jewish population of around 800 armed, highly ideological settlers that have underhandedly purchased or seized homes in the heart of the city. According to locals and the testimony of a former IDF soldier stationed in Hebron, these settlers perpetually antagonize and attack the Arab population. What is more, they do so with near impunity due to the fact that they are protected by 1,200 IDF soldiers whose orders are to arrest or kill any Palestinian that defends him/herself against settler assaults. The Palestinians know this and are forced to passively absorb all measure of abuse. To illustrate this, the soldier we spoke with told the following story. Responding to cries, he entered a marketplace one day to find several settler women violently beating the shopkeepers with rolling pins. When he demanded to know what they were doing, one of them replied, “What does it look like? We’re beating the Arabs.” The soldier surmised they were doing this in order to provoke a violent reaction from the shopkeepers, which would oblige him (the soldier) to shoot or arrest them.

During our visit I personally witnessed a soldier striking a young boy because he was walking on a road accessible only to Jews and internationals. Our group also saw the mesh canopy that overhangs the Arab marketplace located below the settler houses. The canopy had caught cinder blocks, metal chairs, garbage, eggs, knives, and other objects thrown by the settlers onto the Arabs below. One of the overhangs had been eaten away by battery acid poured from above, and we heard reports of settlers urinating out of their windows onto the marketplace. All this, it appears, takes place in full view of an IDF watchtower. The soldiers do nothing to prevent settler rampages. It’s not part of their orders. On the contrary, many of them are subservient to the settlers. We witnessed one settler command an IDF soldier to arrest our Arab guide for walking on a street where Arabs were forbidden. The soldier, who had been ignoring us hitherto, quickly began to oblige (luckily we eluded him).

In order to hear the widest variety of perspectives on the situation in Hebron, we also met with a spokesperson for the settler community, a man named David Wilder. Wilder described a situation in which Jews, not Arabs, were the party facing ethnic discrimination in Israel and the West Bank. Jews, he said, were confined to 3% of the city, both by agreement with the Palestinian Authority and by the disinclination of local Arabs to sell them property. (In fact, Israel’s security control of Hebron, a city with 800 Jews, ranges over 30% of the city, including its holiest site, the Cave of the Patriarchs). He described what he considered Arab incitement—including the practice of shooting off fireworks to celebrate high school graduations—and cited instances of terrorism directed against Jews in Hebron during the Second Intifada. He denied the existence of premeditated settler violence, describing any attacks on the local population as the work of undisciplined youth reacting to Arab provocations. (Shortly after this meeting, our guide Issa, a local activist, recalled David Wilder holding a loaded pistol to his head as he attempted to videotape a settler pogrom.)


After our delegation concluded, I joined a small group of Israeli activists called Ta’ayyush (“Coexistence”) in the South Hebron Hills, where they gather each Saturday to assist the local population with reconstruction and agricultural projects (at its request). As a group of Israelis and internationals, Ta’ayyush’s very presence also provides these Palestinians with a measure of protection from violent settlers and apathetic military personnel who together conspire to make their lives unlivable.

Upon arrival, we split into two groups. The first was to accompany local shepherds who had lately been assaulted by settlers as they tried to bring their flocks to pasture. The purpose of this activity was not only to protect the shepherds, but also to document settler rampages that would otherwise be ignored by the military. The second group (my group) drove to the encampment of Bir al-Id to help an older man named Hajj Ismail and his family clear rocks and debris from the ruin of their demolished home. Following a fruitless court battle, the military had carried out its demolition order a month earlier on the typical grounds of “illegal construction.”

Hajj Ismail and his family are members of the most neglected substratum of Palestinian society. They are of a class referred to by village- and town-dwelling Palestinians as “cave people,” for the fact that many of them inhabit (and have from time immemorial) relatively well-provisioned caves in the South Hebron Hills. In recent times, however, population growth has forced families like Hajj Ismail’s to leave their caves and establish hilltop encampments like Bir al-Id, which are then declared illegal by the occupation authorities and slated for demolition. Meanwhile, these same authorities actively facilitate the creation of new Jewish settlement outposts in the area (allegedly “illegal” under Israeli law) by provisioning racist bands of Israeli “hilltop youth” with water, electricity and security. One such “illegal” outpost, whose power lines and massive cisterns strike a familiar contrast with the makeshift structures of Bir al-Id, was perched less a kilometer from Hajj Ismail’s ramshackle tent.

After a few hours the two groups reunited to perform a “direct action” at the illegal outpost of Bat Maon, from which settler attacks on Palestinian schoolchildren had recently originated. (According to an Italian NGO worker who has been accompanying the children to class for several months, settlers from Bat Maon had only days earlier beaten two American activists with lead pipes as they attempted to film these attacks.) Camcorders in hand, our group circumnavigated Bat Maon in hopes of drawing the military’s attention to what was going on there. We were immediately encircled by armored vehicles and asked to leave. One of our activists demanded to know why so many soldiers had been dispatched to quell Ta’ayyush’s nonviolent action while none had been tasked with investigating the recent stabbing of a Palestinian by a masked settler. Such attempts to shame the military, he later told me, had in the past succeeded in achieving marginal improvements in the conditions of the local Palestinians.

Driving back to Jerusalem, I asked one long-time member of Ta’ayyush, a mathematician named Danny, how many leftists of his stripe he thought existed in Israel today. He guessed a couple of hundred. (Israel’s Jewish population currently stands at 5.8 million.)

This, in part, is the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories as I have seen it and heard it described by those who live there. I leave it to the reader to draw from this testimony his/her own conclusions about the nature of the political system under which Israelis and Palestinians live, both within and beyond Israel’s recognized borders.

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | 1 Comment

Wall Gate # 300

| August 4, 2011

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Video | 1 Comment

Protest Israel’s detention of Palestinian writer Ahmad Qatamesh

By Maureen Clare Murphy – The Electronic Intifada – 08/03/2011

The Palestinian human rights group Addameer issued an appeal today urging supporters to take action on the administrative detention of Palestinian political scientist and writer Ahmad Qatamesh.

Qatamesh has been held in administrative detention after he was arrested on 21 April in the middle of the night. Hanin Ahmad Qatamesh, the detained writer’s daughter, described in an article for The Electronic Intifada how Israeli soldiers invaded their family home in Ramallah. Hanin and other relatives in the home were held hostage as Israeli soldiers demanded the surrender of Ahmad, who was not at home at the time. The Electronic Intifada also interviewed Qatamesh’s wife, Suha Barghouti, a well-known human rights defender.

The full action appeal from Addameer follows:

As part of its recently launched Prisoners at Risk campaign, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association demands the immediate release of Ahmad Qatamish, a well-known political scientist and writer currently held without charge or trial by Israel. The duration of his administrative detention has been set at 4 months, due to expire on 2 September 2011.

Addameer believes that the arrest and detention of Ahmad Qatamish has all the hallmarks of arbitrary detention and is aimed at silencing this prolific writer for his unbridled criticism of the Israeli occupation. Ahmad was arrested on 21 April 2011 in the middle of the night following a raid on his house whilst he was away, in which his wife, daughter, and two other relatives – including a 14-year-old girl – were held hostage by Israeli troops in order to compel him to surrender himself. Since then there has been a catalogue of serious errors and malpractice by the Israeli authorities. Ahmad was held for 13 days – during which time he was interrogated for only 10 minutes – before being informed on 3 May that he would be placed in administrative detention; despite the fact that both he and his lawyer had been told by the Military Court that he would be released that very day. Ahmad’s original administrative detention order was found to be flawed and had to be re-written twice, and even now the order is based on the vague accusation that he is an active member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – a charge he has consistently and vehemently denied. As the order is based on a secret file which is not accessible to Ahmad or his lawyer, it is impossible for Ahmad to know how to defend himself against any possible charges.

This is not the first time Ahmad has been placed in administrative detention. In the 1990s, he was held for five-and-a-half years without charge or trial, making him one of the longest held administrative detainees in Israeli prisons. For more information about Ahmad’s case, you can read his profile here and follow updates on his detention on facebook.

The Prisoners at Risk campaign aims to highlight cases which raise grave concern and require urgent action. Without international pressure, there is the real risk that Ahmad’s administrative detention order will be renewed again in September. You can help stop this from happening by joining our campaign and doing one of the following:

– Use our template letter to the Israeli authorities to call for Ahmad’s immediate and unconditional release;

– Write to your own government and representatives to call on them to pressure Israel to release Ahmad (if you are a EU citizen, you can use our template letter to members of the European Parliament);

– Organize a vigil or a demonstration to call for Ahmad’s release;

– Write to Ahmad in prison (postal address: Ofer Prison, Givat Zeev, P.O. Box 3007, via Israel);

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on Protest Israel’s detention of Palestinian writer Ahmad Qatamesh

“You do not have any right to harass me this way”–Two journalists and three villagers arrested in Nabi Salih

By Michele Monni – The Palestine Monitor – August 3, 2011

Muheep Barguthy, a photojournalist from Al-Hayat, and David Cronin, an author and correspondent for the International Press Service, were arrested in the village of Nabi Saleh last Friday, during a weekly demonstration. Three Palestinian villagers, Eyad Tamimi, Rafat Tamimi and Malik Tamimi were also arrested.

Last Friday, international and Palestinian activists witnessed what has become routine in Nabi Salih—the disproportionate use of force used by the Israeli army against demonstrations in the village.

Protests in Nabi Saleh started in 2009 in response to the illegal seizure of the land surrounding the village—including the spring named Ein al-Qaws—by the nearby settlement of Halamish. Before that, the spring was owned by a Palestinian resident of the village, Bashir Tamimi.

By seizing control of the spring and its surroundings—and denying Palestinians access to their land—the Israeli settlers, who receive significant support from the Israeli army, have taken almost all resources away the residents of Nabi Salih.

This tactic is nothing new.

Romans deployed the same strategy against the Gauls in the first century A.D., during their conquest of northern Europe. Cutting off natural resources or polluting the nearby area is an inhumane but effective tactic to demoralize a population.

Nevertheless, it does not seem to be working in Nabi Salih.

Since 2009, villagers of Nabi Sali have held regular Friday protests. Starting out to resist the confiscation of their spring, the demonstrations now target the Israeli occupation in full. They are supported both by community members from the nearby village of Dir Nizam and international activists.

Last Friday, at around 11:00AM, one Israeli army jeep approached the village. A handful of young boys—between five to seven years old—perched on the surrounding hills, watching. One or two of them threw rocks at the armored vehicle.

A few minutes later two other Israeli vehicles joined the first one; soldiers got out and started shooting tear-gas projectiles and sound bombs in the direction of the young boys.

Other Israeli troops positioned themselves in the fields surrounding the village. The army established themselves on top of the promontory in front of Nabi Salih’s main road, where they had a secure and strategic vantage point.

After nearly an hour of shooting—which targeted not only the adjacent hills where protesters were  standing, but also houses—and attempts by commandos to chase down and detain the protesters, the situation calmed.

Photo by Michele Monni.

But only for a moment.

International and local media agents worked their way to the soldiers. They stood behind the army’s vehicles and began taking pictures and recording videos.

The reporters were harassed and bullied by the soldiers, some brutally.

Among the media workers was Muheep Barghouthi, a photojournalist for Al-Hayat, a leading London-based Arabic news source. ( Israeli soldiers surrounded him. “I’m an accredited journalist,” Barghouthi said, “you do not have any right to harass me this way.”

Two soldiers gripped him, and a kicking and shouting Muheep was thrown into an army vehicle bound for a jail cell in the nearby settlement of Halamish.

Meanwhile, on top of the hill, members of the village, protesters and international activists were going forward with the regular peaceful protest planned for the afternoon.

Amongst them were women and children, protesters from the nearby village of Dir Nizam, members of the International Solidarity Movement and independent journalists and filmmakers.

At around 3:00PM, the protesters gathered and started walking down the hill singing protest songs mostly against the settlement of Halamish.

Soon after, they were met by a shower of tear-gas projectiles and sound bombs.

The protesters tried to find shelter in nearby houses, but a dozen Israeli soldiers chased them and raided the homes. Some protestors ran through the narrow streets of the village towards the fields.

Photo by Michele Monni.

Soldiers approached one house where two of the most senior members of the Tamimi family were sitting outside.

The soldiers asked for IDs and they were provided. Abu Hossam Tamimi and his brother Abu Hasraf asked the soldiers about their conduct. There are abuses in this village, they said, and excessive violence.

The Palestine Monitor questioned the person who was leading the small platoon, asking the reasons for their behavior. No answers were given. After few minutes, the soldiers silently left.

At 7:00PM, the day of protest was coming to an end. The soldiers had parked their vehicles at the entrance of the village blocking any way of escape while one of their jeeps patrolled the surroundings for any lingering protesters.

The sun was setting and Nabi Salih’s main street was littered with used sound bombs and empty tear-gas shells. People sat in their houses and back gardens waiting for the soldiers to leave. Around 8:00PM a last battery of tears-gas ammunition was shot.

As soon as the last Israeli army vehicles left, villagers started coming out and gathered in the street, exchanging their impressions from the day. Kids collected empty shells and played with them like they were toys. Exhausted from the day’s grueling battle, the villagers remain nevertheless determined to continue their fight.

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | 1 Comment

Israeli Knesset considers bill to end ‘democratic’ element of Israeli state

By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC News – August 04, 2011

A new law currently under consideration by the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) recognizes the inherent contradiction in Israel’s self-definition as both a ‘democratic’ and Jewish state, and calls on the government to favor Jewish law and traditions over democracy.

Forty legislators have sponsored the bill, including the majority of Knesset members from the Kadima party, and Knesset members from the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party, the Labor party, Atzamaut and National Union parties.

It calls on Israeli courts to use Jewish law to make decisions “in situations in which the Jewish character of the state clashes with its democratic character”, and calls for Arabic to be removed as one of Israel’s national languages (20% of the population of Israel are indigenous Palestinians who remained after the state of Israel was created on their land in 1948).

The bill also calls for the state to take action “to ingather the exiles of Israel and [further] Jewish settlement within it, and allocate resources to this end.” Israel already has laws in place to encourage immigration of Jews from around the world into Israel, including housing incentives, free language classes and job assistance.

The Institute for Zionist Strategies helped draft the bill. Among the Institute’s stated goals are stopping Palestinians from constructing new homes and stopping the ‘demographic threat’ posed by Palestinians — a term used by right-wing Zionists to refer to the fact that the 20% of the Israeli population that is Palestinian has a higher birth rate than the majority Jewish population.

Knesset members Zeev Elkin and David Rotem, who introduced the bill, also introduced the controversial law which passed last month banning Israelis from supporting the boycott of Israeli products and practices.

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 2 Comments

Turkey Not Present For Annual Naval Exercises With Israel And US

By Katie Child – International Middle East Media Center – August 04, 2011

For the second year in a row, Turkey is not participating in the naval drill, Reliant Mermaid, with Israel and the US. This action taken by Turkey is a result of the killing of nine Turkish activists from the 2010 Gaza Flotilla Raid.

Greece has now replaced Turkey as a new ally in the Mediterranean, participating in naval drills with Israel and the US last week.

The purpose of the naval exercises is to practice “search-and-rescue operations” with International navy’s that are also present in the Mediterranean.

The goals of the naval drills are to strengthen international ties to share information with each other and familiarize the operational procedures between the three countries.

For the past ten years, until the 2010 Gaza Flotilla Raid, Israel, Turkey, and the US held annual naval drills together.

Israel had also used Turkish air space before the 2010 Gaza Flotilla Raid, when the Israeli Military killed nine Turkish activists.

Israeli military’s Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said earlier this week that Israel would not oppose a formal apology for the killing of nine Turkish activists, according to the Jerusalem Post.

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on Turkey Not Present For Annual Naval Exercises With Israel And US

Palestinian man banished for ‘harassing’ usurping settler

Palestine Information Center – 04/08/2011

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli authorities have banished a Palestinian native of Beit Safafa for allegedly harassing Jewish settlers who usurped the residence of close relatives.

In a bizarre decision by the Israel Magistrates Court, Mohammed Salah, 47, was ordered to pack up from his family of ten and reside in Tarqumiya, south of Al-Khalil, for 90 days after allegedly ‘’humiliating’’ the settlers.

‘’One of the settlers attacked me and threatened to create a problem and have me banished, but I paid no attention to the threats. But unfortunately the occupation police listened to his lies, so I was arrested,’’ Salah said.

Salah added he was forced to pay fines as well as several bail bonds worth thousands of Israeli shekels.

He said the settlers had seized a house that belonged to his father and brother on property owned by his family since the period of Jordanian rule.

Before Salah was arrested, the settlers physically assaulted his wife and daughter and demolished a wall on his residence and began digging on his property to extend water and sewage lines, Salah said.

‘’The same settler, accompanied by another group of settlers, had threatened to kill me and confirmed that he had paid a sum of money to have me killed if I didn’t depart from the land,’’ Salah also said.

The Gilo settlement, established in 1971, was built on Beit Safafa and stretches to Beit Jala city. It has grown so it has consumed smaller settlement communities, all of them built on Palestinian lands.

Jewish settlers have become an increasing menace for the native Palestinian people in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The natives fight for existence as the Israelis have aimed at displacing them claiming the land as their own.

According to a report released by the Palestinian Authority Central Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, the settler population of the West Bank has increased 40 times since 1972.

The report said the population as 2010 came to an end was 519,974, marking a 1.4 percent increase from the closure of the previous year.

About 51 percent of them have settled in East Jerusalem, where most of the new settlements have been established, the report says.

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | 1 Comment

The decline and fall of the American Empire

By Paul Craig Roberts | Intrepid Report | August 4, 2011

The United States Government and its presstitute media have wasted time and energy creating hysteria over a non-existent “debt ceiling crisis.”

After reading the “news” in the Ministry of Propaganda and witnessing the stupidity of the US government, the rest of the world is struck dumbfounded by the immaturity of the “world’s only superpower.”

What kind of superpower is it, the world wonders, that is willing to go to the eleventh hour to convince the world, which holds its banking reserves in US Treasury debt, that the US government will default on the debt?

Every country in the world now worries about the judgment and sanity of the country with the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

This is the achievement of the Republicans, who took an ordinary commonplace increase in the debt ceiling limit, an event that has occurred routinely many times over the course of my life, and turned it into a crisis threatening the world financial system.

To be clear, there was never any risk whatsoever of US default as President Obama has power established by President George W. Bush’s Presidential Directive 51 to declare default a National Emergency and to set aside the debt ceiling limit and Congress’ power of the purse, and to continue to issue the debt necessary to fund the US government and its wars.

That the American press ever took this highly-hyped “crisis” seriously merely demonstrates their prostitute status.

The US public debt is rising too rapidly against US GDP, although it is still below the percentages during World War II. The problem that is ignored by the idiots in Washington and the presstitutes is that the debt is rising relative to the economy because the economy is not rising, but war expenditures are.

Why is the economy not rising?

It is not rising, because it has been offshored. What formerly was US GDP produced in Gary, Indiana, St. Louis, Detroit, Silicon Valley, and other US locations is now GDP for China, India, Indonesia and other countries where manufacturing labor and professional services can be hired below US rates.

What happens with offshoring? The answer is clear. US GDP, consumer income, career opportunities, and tax base leave the country. Corporate profits and bonuses rise due to the lower labor costs.

Who is this good for?

The answer is that it is only good for Wall Street, corporate shareholders, and corporate management. Their incomes go up, and the GDP goes down along with the employment opportunities of Americans and the tax base for government.

The other destroyer of American economic prospects was the deregulation of the financial sector. Economists theorized that markets were self-regulating and created the illusion that greed was never a problem. This was music and dollars to Wall Street’s ears. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and the Wall Street-owned US Treasury jumped on board. Those, who like Brooksley Born, were empowered by US law to regulate derivatives, were driven out of office by the Federal Reserve chairman, the US Treasury secretary, and the Securities and Exchange chairman.

Financial institutions freed from Glass-Steagall, freed from capital requirements, and freed from oversight, immediately took debt leverage on highly unrealistic bets to amazing heights. When the schemes collapsed, the Federal Reserve lent US and foreign banks $16.1 trillion dollars, a sum larger than the US national debt and larger than the US GDP.

Where did the Federal Reserve get $16.1 trillion to lend? The Fed created it out of thin air with a stroke of a computer entry.

While the Federal Reserve created $16.1 trillion in new loans for private banks, the bailed out banks bulldoze the foreclosed homes of the evicted Americans.

So in America, the light unto the world, American citizens are thrown out of their homes in order that banks can bulldoze their homes.

Only in America does this makes sense.

And it is not only Americans who are being made homeless by US policies. Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Yemenis, Somali, Libyans are also consigned to homelessness by American policy. Moreover, America’s wars against these peoples together with the supporting military/security budget account for 75 percent of the US budget deficit. Indeed, the cost of these wars exceed the planned future budget savings from the debt limit deal.

In other words, the cost of the wars that make millions of foreigners homeless use up revenues that the federal government could have used to keep Americans in their homes and teachers in the schools. As much as many Republicans profess to be concerned about the US public debt, Republicans were not sufficiently concerned to address their issue by cutting back the $1.2 trillion military-security budget or by raising the low tax rates on the mega-rich.

Look at these July 30 headlines, just two days prior to the default deadline, from the online group, Stop NATO:

What in the world is a country facing bankruptcy and default doing conducting military exercises in Mongolia and Central Asia? What is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, designed to counter a Soviet thrust into Western Europe, doing in Mongolia?

Why are these military expenditures necessary, but not expenditures to keep America’s homeless population from rising while homes are destroyed?

Why do not the Republicans listen when mega-billionaire Warren Buffett says that the tax rate on his massive income is lower than the tax rate on his secretary’s income?

The answer is that the Republicans have an agenda: War. And Republicans want to fund this war, not by taxing high incomes but by cutting support programs for the down and out.

To cut to the chase: Even if all the cuts actually happen, the weakening economy will result in new deficit projections that will wipe out the expected savings from the debt limit agreement.

What then will the government do?

Until US policymakers comprehend that the economy has been moved offshore and take steps to bring it home, there will be no solution to America’s debt problem or to its unemployment problem.


Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary U.S. Treasury, Associate Editor Wall Street Journal, Columnist for Business Week, Senior Research Fellow Hoover Institution Stanford University, and William E. Simon Chair of Political Economy in the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on The decline and fall of the American Empire

Statement by the Employees of the Libyan Broadcasting Authority

Uruknet | August 3, 2011

On 30 July 2011, NATO hit broadcasting facilities of the Libyan al-Jamahiriya state television. According to the TV station, three people were killed and 15 injured during the attack.

NATO said it aimed to degrade Gaddafi’s “use of satellite television as a means to intimidate the Libyan people and incite acts of violence against them”. The original title of its press statement was “NATO silences Gaddafi’s terror broadcasts”. The strike apparently failed to disrupt the television service.

Here’s the official statement of the Libyan state television in response to the attacks:

Statement by the Employees of the Libyan Broadcasting Authority

30 Jul 2011

In an act of international terrorism and in violation of UNSC resolutions, NATO targeted facilities of the Libyan Broadcasting Authority in the early hours of this morning. 3 of our colleagues were murdered and 15 injured while performing their professional duty as Libyan journalists.

NATO admitted the crime citing “silencing Gaddafi’s propaganda machine” as a justification for such a murderous act.

We are the employees of the official Libyan TV. We are not a military target, we are not commanders in the army and we do not pose threat to civilians. We are performing our job as journalists representing what we wholeheartedly believe is the reality of NATO’s aggression and the violence in Libya.

We have the right to work in a safe environment protected by national and international law. The fact that we work for the Libyan government or represent anit-NATO, anti-armed gangs views does not make us a legitimate target for NATO’s rockets.

As journalists, we demand that we get full protection from the international community and ask our brothers in the profession from all around the world to stand against such attacks targeting media personnel.

Foreign journalists in Tripoli, Reporters without Borders and human rights organisations: we appeal to you to make your moral and professional stand clear on this issue.

We are hopeful that your media organisation will help us highlight this important issue and come out in support of our just cause.

Thank you.

Muhammad Ahmed Mukhtar, Abdelwanis Sulaiman Elsayed, Abdelwahid Muhammad Ali

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | Comments Off on Statement by the Employees of the Libyan Broadcasting Authority