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Zainab al-Hosni, the “Flower of Syria,” Alive and on TV: Will Human Rights Organizations and Mass Media Issue Corrections?

By Yoshie Furuhashi | Monthly Review | October 5, 2011

Zainab al-Hosni, dubbed the “Flower of Syria,” who the Syrian opposition claimed was tortured and murdered, burned and decapitated, by the Syrian government, has just appeared on Syrian TV, very much alive.

The case of opposition propaganda about Zainab al-Hosni is particularly noteworthy because this is one that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the most influential human rights organizations, both eagerly seized upon, seeking to turn its sensationalist character into a spur to prod the UN Security Council to act against Syria.

Will AI and HRW, and mass media such as CNN, France24, and the Associated Press, which followed the human rights organizations and also uncritically promulgated the Syrian opposition claim, issue corrections?  Or will they continue looking for a new Syrian opposition remake of Kuwait’s “incubator babies” story or the Libyan rebels’ “African mercenaries” story?

Here is the video of the TV interview with Zainab, who says she fled from her family home because her brothers were beating her:

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 2 Comments

Radiation found beyond Japan no-go zone

Press TV – October 5, 2011

A recent study says that high levels of soil contamination with radioactive cesium have been detected near Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

An independent survey conducted on September 14 by a radiological engineering expert and citizens’ groups revealed that some 307,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of soil was found near central Fukushima city, located about 60 kilometers (35 miles) away from the plant, AFP reported on Wednesday.

The amount is three times over the benchmark determined by the Japanese government as the legal limit is 10,000 becquerels per kilogram.

Tomoya Yamauchi — professor and radiation expert at Kobe University, who was in charge of the study — examined soil samples from five locations in the Fukushima city.

Yamauchi found the level of radioactive caesium in one location had increased five times from three months earlier.

He added that the whole area was so contaminated that it would be necessary to remove not only the topsoil but also the road surfaces, asphalts, roofs and concrete walls.

The finding has prompted calls on Tokyo to designate the affected section of Fukushima city an official hot spot, and make the area a voluntary evacuation zone.

“We are urging the central and local governments to have children and expecting mothers evacuated from the areas,” said Takeshi Sakagami, a member of Citizens against Fukushima Aging Nuclear Power Plants.

Sakagami said his group was calling on authorities to at least designate the area as a non-mandatory evacuation zone due to the level of contamination.

The Fukushima plant has leaked radiation into air, soil and the Pacific Ocean ever since it was hit by a 9-magnitude earthquake and a devastating tsunami on March 11.

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Nuclear Power | Comments Off on Radiation found beyond Japan no-go zone

Obama again sends U.S. tax dollars to countries with child soldiers

By Stephen C. Webster | Raw Story | October 5, 2011

For the second year in a row, the Obama administration has waived financial penalties for countries that enslave children and turn them into soldiers, ensuring that tens of millions of U.S. tax dollars will continue to be used by those who support the brutish practice.
In a Tuesday meeting described by Foreign Policy magazine, White House officials explained that the waivers for the Child Soldiers Protection Act of 2008 were handed out again this year because many of the offending countries did not have enough time to comply with its requirements. Others, they said, were exempt from the law because they were incorporated just recently.

The law was intended to prevent any military aid from going to support the use of child soldiers, yet in South Sudan, over $100 million in military aid will go to support the new nation’s military, which has a long history of conscripting children. […]

Other countries exempted from the laws include Chad, which the administration said has taken dramatic steps toward eliminating the practice, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which was given a partial waiver that will still allow their soldiers to be trained by the U.S. military — despite the continued presence of child soldiers.

The Child Soldiers Protection Act was a former cause célèbre for Vice President Joe Biden, in his prior role as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It was part of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

The White House and State Department maintain that they are working with these nations to ensure the practice of enslaving children into the military will eventually cease. … Full article

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

Saudi silence on Israeli-seized islands

Press TV – October 5, 2011

Saudi Arabia and the Western states have kept silent for decades regarding the occupation of two Saudi western islands by the Israeli regime.

Israeli forces reportedly occupied Saudi Arabia’s Tiran and Sanafir Islands in 1967.

The two islands are located at the southern end of the Gulf of Aqaba, leading to the Red Sea.

Tiran Island, which has an area of about 80 square kilometers, is located at the inflow of the Straits of Tiran. Sanafir Island, with an area of 33 square kilometers, also lies to the east of Tiran.

The two islands were given to the former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser for logistics use in the Six Day War of 1967 against Israeli forces.

However, the islands have been occupied by Tel Aviv since Egypt’s defeat.

The Straits of Tiran, which has remained under the control of Tel Aviv, has strategic significance since it serves as Israel’s only direct access to the Red Sea.

Regional observers say while Saudi Arabia has maintained a total silence on its own Israeli-occupied islands, it vigorously pursues baseless claims by the United Arab Emirates against three tiny Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf.

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | 6 Comments

Carbon credits tarnished by human rights ‘disgrace’

EurActiv | 03 October 2011

The reported killing of 23 Honduran farmers in a dispute with the owners of UN-accredited palm oil plantations in Honduras is forcing the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) executive board to reconsider its stakeholder consultation processes.

In Brussels, the Green MEP Bas Eickhout called the alleged human rights abuses “a disgrace”, and told EurActiv he would be pushing the European Commission to bar carbon credits from the plantations from being traded under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Several members of the CDM board have been “personally distressed” by the events in Bajo Aguán, northern Honduras, according to the board’s chairman, Martin Hession, who said they had “caused us great difficulties.”

“Plainly, the events that have been described are deplorable,” he told EurActiv. “There is no excuse for them.”

But because they took place after the CDM’s stakeholder consultations had been held, and fell outside the board’s primary remit to investigate emissions reductions and environmental impacts, it had been powerless to block project registrations.

Another board member told EurActiv that Aguán was a “hot potato,” which struck at the heart of the emissions trading scheme’s integrity. “We all regret the situation extremely,” he said.

Human rights abuses

At issue are the reported murders of 23 local farmers who tried to recover land, which they say was illegally sold to big palm oil plantations, such as Grupo Dinant, in a country scarred by widespread human rights abuses.

In July, a report by an International Fact Finding Mission was presented to the European Parliament’s Human Rights Sub-committee, alleging that 23 peasants, one journalist and his partner, had all been murdered in the Bajo Aguán region, between January 2010 and March 2011.

The deaths were facilitated by the “direct involvement of private security guards from some of the local companies who are complicit with police and military officials,” the report said.

In some cases it cited “feigned accidents” in which peasants were run over by security guards working for two named palm oil businessmen. In other cases, the farmers were simply shot, or “disappeared”.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will be holding a hearing into the report on 24 October, and a delegation of MEPs will be visiting the region between 31 October and 4 November.

But because of a three-year gap between the stakeholder consultation process and the biogas project approvals, the CDM board recently ruled that the project had met the criteria of its mandate.

“We are not investigators of crimes,” a board member told EurActiv. “We had to take judgements within our rules – however regretful that may be – and there was not much scope for us to refuse the project. All the consultation procedures precisely had been obeyed.”

Last week, Hession submitted proposals to a CDM board meeting in Quito, Ecuador, addressing the time-lag between project consultations and registrations.

The CDM secretariat is also preparing an analysis report for a UN meeting next year, and a report on the CDM’s integrity is expected to be published later this month.

But carbon credits from the plantations can still be freely traded on the EU ETS, which allows polluters to offset their carbon emissions by nominally clean energy investments.

Charities like the Lutheran World Federation are particularly concerned, as they say the situation in Bajo Aguán is deteriorating.

“There are worrying signs that the Honduran government is moving 1200 police officers and military personnel into the area,” Toni Sandell a rights worker with Aprodev, a coalition of Christian NGO’s told EurActiv. “That has previously been a source of conflict.”

Other human rights workers in the region claim linkages between Honduran state forces and the landowner’s militias they protect, which are said to have connections to local narco-traffickers.

EU urged to act

Green MEPs have been moved to demand that Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard act now against carbon credits from the Honduran palm oil plantations.

“As a big buyer [of carbon credits], as an EU, we can say that these kind of human rights allegations are so fundamental that we will not allow them to be bought,” the Green MEP Bas Eickhout told EurActiv.

“We should throw these Honduran projects out of the system,” he added, “as we did with the HFC 23s.”

Martin Hession said that he felt “extreme sympathy” for Eickhout’s suggestion but was concerned that the EU might not have optimal resources to effectively investigate rights violations.

“Ideally human rights problems need to be dealt with through the appropriate channels of the UN,” he told EurActiv. “But there may well be structures in the EU which could deal with the issue,” he said.

Eickhout held a meeting on integrity in the carbon market at the European Parliament last week, which he described as a “launch pad” for putting Aguán on the Parliament’s agenda and “building up pressure on the Commission to come forward with new proposals”.

An official with the European Commission’s directorate-general for Energy told EurActiv that including human rights in the criteria for assessing CDM projects would be “very difficult”.

“You can say that ‘human rights’ means the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and check every project for compliance, but I think that takes us very far and the practicalities of it would be very difficult,” he said.

For now, business continues as usual in Aguán and the world’s carbon markets, despite the “systemic and grave human rights violations” noted by the International Fact Finding Mission.

“If this is really a direct consequence of Europe’s climate policies then I would like to send my sincere apologies to the people of Honduras,” Bas Eickhout said.

“The CDM is supposed to be offering environmental benefits and sustainable development but these kinds of stories are really terrible. I don’t want to hear them anymore.”

  • 24 Oct.: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hold a hearing into the International Fact Finding report
  • 31 Oct.- 4 Nov.: A delegation of European MEP’s will visit the region
  • October: EU report on CDM integrity to be published

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | Comments Off on Carbon credits tarnished by human rights ‘disgrace’

Are Democracy Now!’s Libyan Correspondents Feeding Us the State Department and Pentagon Line on Libya?

By Bruce A. Dixon | Black Agenda Report | October 5, 2011

Let’s bomb Libya some more

Have Democracy Now’s correspondents in Libya, Anjali Kamat and Sharif Abdel-Kodous minimized or avoided reporting upon the persecution of black Libyans and sub-Saharan African migrants in by US-backed Libyan rebels? Have they reported massacres that may not have happened, and mercenaries who might not have existed? Have they ignored or minimized the impact of US and NATO bombing and the presence of Saudi, Qatari and other foreign forces on the ground in Libya, also in support of the US-backed Libyan rebels? Have they simply embedded themselves with US-backed forces in Libya to pass the views of the Pentagon and State Department to us as “independent, unembedded news”?

It’s hard to know all of this for certain. We’re over here, they’re over there, and Libya is very much a war zone.

I’m not in Libya and never have been, but people who have say the country is anywhere from a quarter to half what we would call “black” in the US. It’s hard not to notice that Anjali Kamat can’t find any black Libyans to talk to, and that none are visible among the US-backed Libyan rebels.

There have been many persistent reports from too many sources that have pointed to widespread persecution of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. There are reports of all-black towns in Libya which have been wiped off the map by the Libyan rebels and their allies. Our own Cynthia McKinney has visited the families of some who were lynched — hanged by jeering mobs who used their cell phones to record the ghastly spectacle. Some of the videos of these lynchings were still on YouTube as late as last week.

Make no mistake, Democracy Now is one of the few places that have reported the persecution of migrants and black Libyans at all. But a careful search of Democracy Now stories from the past six or seven months reveals that of this handful of mentions of ethnic cleansing in Libya, all except one on March 7, 2011, in which Anjali Kamat interviewed migrants from several countries awaiting transport out of Libya originated from Democracy Now studios stateside. DN’s correspondents in Libya apparently have more important things to do than interview the black Libyan and migrant victims of what Kamat called “populist rage,” a curious and revealing term for lynch law in Libya.

In that same segment, Kamat queried Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch about the existence and identity of Khadaffi’s alleged “African mercenaries”

PETER BOUCKAERT: I think the whole story of the African mercenaries in Libya should be a case study for journalism schools all across the United States, because it’s a prime example of irresponsible reporting and just lazy reporting. You know, rather than going out and investigating these incidents and whether they’re true, these rumors, Western journalists from very reputable publications just published the rumors as true. And they talked about African men running wild, raping women and all of these things, which is just about as racist a myth as you can get.

ANJALI KAMAT: Can you say a little bit about who the mercenaries actually are?

PETER BOUCKAERT: Certainly, it’s possible that Gaddafi used African mercenaries, because Gaddafi has been involved in training and financing and arming rebel groups around Africa. He’s been very involved in the Chadian civil war, and he’s been involved in the conflict in Darfur, where he’s been financing some rebel factions just to have a role around the negotiation table. So he does have the capacity not to go recruit African mercenaries, but to use the groups that he’s already training and financing. And it’s possible that some of those fighters have been mobilized around Tripoli or even in the east. But before we jump to that conclusion, we should investigate. And for the moment, all of the cases we have investigated in the east, these allegations have turned out not to be true.

Clearly Anjali Kamat is one of those lazy and irresponsible reporters. She has carried tales of African mercenaries fighting for Muammar Khadaffi many times over the last few months, with no more proof than the rest. Here is a representative segment of hers from a February 25 DN broadcast…

We saw some of the ammunition that was used against demonstrators by the pro-Gaddafi security forces and by mercenaries hired by the Gaddafi regime against these protesters. They included live ammunition as well as much larger — what doctors called anti-aircraft artillery, you know, incredibly large-looking bullets that were pulled out from the bodies of wounded and killed protesters.

Many of the patients that I spoke to talked about being — coming out to the protests being very inspired by what they had seen on their televisions from the scenes from Tunisia and Egypt. And when they saw what happened in Tunisia and when they saw what happened in Egypt, they felt that they had to rise up, as well, against their dictatorship in their own country. And they talked about going out in largely peaceful protests. They were armed only with stones and rocks, and they were met with very heavy machine-gun fire.

They were fired upon by Gaddafi’s security forces as well as mercenaries. And some of these mercenaries were captured by citizen groups in Al Bayda. And we talked to some of the hospital staff, as well as patients, about these mercenaries. They uniformly said that all of the mercenaries were foreigners, were not Libyans, but what we heard from some of the doctors and nurses was that some of the mercenaries had admitted to the doctors that they had been paid quite well by Muammar Gaddafi in order to come and attack protesters in Al Bayda.

So like every other Western reporter, Anjal Kamat never saw any “mercenaries,” just their oversized bullets. She never saw any mass graves of the hundreds or thousands allegedly killed by Khadaffi’s “heavy machine gun fire” either, or that would be on Democracy Now too. It’s not. Nobody’s located the thousands of wounded survivors either, that must have been the result of shooting into crowds killing hundreds of people, and none of this has stopped Democracy Now from carrying the story just like Fox News or CNN or MSNBC.

Something is really wrong with this picture. We have to wonder whether, at least as far as the war in Libya goes, whether Democracy Now is simply feeding us the line of corporate media, the Pentagon and the State Department’s rather than fulfilling the role of unembedded, independent journalists.

Twenty years ago the US trained and supplied Indonesian army was on a genocidal rampage through East Timor. Blessed by the White House and the Pentagon and ignored by corporate media they would ultimately slaughter a horrific one third of East Timor’s inhabitants.

Amy Goodman was one of a handful of unbought, unbossed Western journalists and film makers who worked, at the risk of her own life and freedom, with Timorese reporters to get the story of the US endorsed genocide out. In November 1991 Goodman and Australian reporter Alan Nairn witnessed and tried to intervene in the massacre of a funeral procession in Santa Cruz. They were savagely beaten, but survived. They were doing what correct and courageous journalists have always done.

In 2004 unembedded journalist Dahr Jamail took his life in his hands to enter the beseiged Iraqi city of Fallujah, while US Marines were shelling its hospitals and TV stations, dropping white phosphorus on houses and sniping at civilians whenever the appeared in the streets. Many of his reports then and since have also appeared on Democracy Now. Again, Jamail was doing what honest reporters in a war zone are supposed to do.

Democracy Now reporters used to question authority and empire, not serve it. Goodman in the 1990s and Jamail in 2004 told stories that made US officials furious, all of us uncomfortable, and that sometimes put their own safety at risk. That’s not what we see from Democracy Now’s coverage in Libya today, which can hardly be distinguished from that of Al-Jazzeera or CNN.

On Democracy Now’s September 14 show, African scholar Mahmood Mandami pointed out Anjali Kamat’s blind spot.

MAHMOOD MAMDANI: I’ve never been to Libya, OK? So, what struck me about Anjali’s description is the backdrop is missing. The backdrop is the manner of change in Libya, the heavy involvement of external forces in expediting, rapid fashion, change in Libya, and that manner of involvement being basically bombardment. In East Africa, which is where I’ve been for the last eight months, this has been the cause of huge concern, huge concern because Libya is not atypical. Egypt and Tunisia might be slightly atypical when it comes to the African continent. Libya is far more characteristic of countries which are divided, which have leaders who have been in power for several decades, which have strong military forces and sort of formally democratic regimes, but otherwise really autocratic regimes, and where the opposition is salivating the prospect of any kind of external involvement which will bring about a regime change inside these countries. So there is a real sense of danger around the corner. What is going to happen to the African continent? That’s one thing.

There it is. What Uncle Sam has done in Libya can be done in almost any African country. Is this right? Is this just? Is this what the US government ought to be doing with our dollars and lives? These are the questions Democracy Now reporters in Libya, and its hosts at home should be asking more often.

As for Ms. Kamat, she is missing her calling. She can make a lot more money at CNN or MSNBC or some other big time English language place. She knows what to say, and has been auditioning all year long. It’s time for her to go, and for Democracy Now to find a real reporter or two, if that’s the business they’re still in. I hope it is.


Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and lives in Marietta GA, where he is a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party.

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Aletho News | 3 Comments

Imperialist Pot Calls Imperialist Kettle Black

Moon of Alabama | October 5, 2011

For the imperial war on Libya Qatar provided the propaganda via Al Jazeerah, it provided the crucial Arab League request for a “no-fly zone”, its Special Force troops –like the Egyptians, French, British and Bulgarian- trained the rebels. Quatar took care of the oil the rebels wanted to sell and gave them money, it also provided lots of arms, Belgian FN assault rifles and Milan anti-tank missiles, to the rebels and its air-force took part in the bombing of the country.

Now it wants a say in what happens next in the “new” Libya.

But here it gets funny. “Western” imperialists do not like other imperialists, especially not darker skin Muslim imperialists in funny garbs, to do as they do.

Which brings us to this rather comical Guardian piece:

Qatar accused of interfering in Libyan affairs
Western diplomats say Arab state is bypassing international agreements, to pursue its own agenda.

The tiny Arab emirate of Qatar, a leading supporter of the revolution in Libya, has been accused by western diplomats of interfering in the country’s sovereignty.The claims come amid growing concern among Libyans in the National Transitional Council (NTC) and western officials that Qatar, which supplied arms to Libyan revolutionaries, is pursuing its own postwar agenda at the cost of wider efforts to bring political stability to the country.

A senior diplomat said: “There is a question now about what foreign players like Qatar are doing in Libya – whether it is being helpful and respectful of Libyan sovereignty. “Qatar is not being respectful, and there is a feeling that it is riding roughshod over the issue of the country’s sovereignty.”

One might think this is satire fresh out of The Onion. How could anyone dare to interfere in Libya’s sovereignity? That is just unthinkable.

But that “senior diplomat”, after having broken the UN resolutions on Libya in several issues, after having ignored the sovereignty of Libya and after bombing the Libyan people, seems serious in this.

All foreign powers with an interest in Libya, among which are the US, Britain and France, have had their own agendas. However, the source said: “There is a feeling that Qatar has been providing money and support to certain individuals.”

But that is exactly what the other countries have done as well. The National Transitional Council is filled with expats from Washington, London and Paris, financed by the various secret services of those countries.

The guy Qatar is accused of supporting is no other than Abdelhakim Belhadj, former CIA prisoner freed from jail by Saif al-Islam Gaddhafi, who, with a large gang of experienced folks from his Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, is currently the military commander of Tripoli.

At the centre of concerns are allegations that, rather than supporting the NTC, Qatar has chosen to back favoured key figures with financial and other resources. Most prominent among these would be the Islamist head of Tripoli’s military council, Abdul-Aziz Belhaj.

The CIA abducted and tortured Belhaj and then provided him to Gaddhafi who kept him in jail for some years before he got freed. How come those “western” countries would object to this guy now? Is someone afraid of revenge?

Of particular concern over the last month has been how Qatar has chosen to throw its weight behind a group of Libyan individuals including Sheikh Ali Salabi, a Libyan cleric who resides in Doha and has close relations with Belhaj.There has been the growing friction between Salabi and the NTC’s interim prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril. Salabi has appeared on television to suggest Jibril is a “tyrant in waiting”.

Salabi may have that right.

He is by the way the senior cleric that brokered between the senior LIFG leadership including Bejhaj and Gaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, for their release from prison. I would not be astonished to learn that Salabi is still in contact with Seif al Islam Gaddhafi.

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on Imperialist Pot Calls Imperialist Kettle Black

Occupying Wall Street

By Margaret Kimberley – Black Agenda Report – 10/04/2011

The Occupy Wall Street/99% movement has succeeded in demonstrating one important fact. There is a great deal of anger and frustration directed at the financial services mobsters and the political system that gives them such great power. Any mass effort directed against the prerogatives they now enjoy is a positive indication that there is still something left of what we call democracy.

The spread of the Occupy Wall Street movement around the country should be the beginning of a much needed political movement, but at the moment it isn’t clear that will take place. While the righteous and justifiable indignation is evident, organizing and the analysis which it should be based upon are not.

It isn’t really difficult to be angry with the bankster class which has ruined not just the American economy, but which has also devastated the lives of people around the world. It is much more difficult to think outside of the paradigm of the two parties which are both in fact servants of the plutocracy. Collapsing markets and rising unemployment are but symptoms of a larger and more worrisome disease.

In all likelihood the Democratic Party has benefited most from the votes cast of demonstrators at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. Do they know and are they ready to state that they must dump the Democrats if they are to have any opportunity to save themselves and what is left of democracy?

If the “spectrum of thinkable thought” is not done away with, some of these same protesters who are now so valiantly acting in opposition, will one year from now return Barack Obama and his policies of bailing out Wall Street, back to the White House.

The cry for change must include a cry in opposition to the Democratic Party. When Congressman Charles Rangel visited Zuccotti park, he was shouted down by one protester, but then received words of apology from others.

Certainly Charles Rangel is not himself the cause of all that ails American politics, but Democratic members of Congress and the Congressional Black Caucus have time and again been subservient to the dictates of their leadership and to the career trajectory of Democratic presidents. This subservience almost always takes precedence over the needs of the people. If protesters apologize for the righteous anger of one of their members, it is an indication that this movement is not quite ready to look outside of the thought spectrum which allows the economic elite to control both Democrats and Republicans.

The leaderless, mass-led nature of this action presents both benefits and problems. It is good that the corporate media cannot personalize these activities and designate any one person or group of people as leaders. Inevitably, those people are scrutinized in ways that render them useless or in the worst case scenarios are co-opted and bought off.

The down side to this non-organization is that there may not be anyone able to direct the mass action in any effective way. The movement may be doomed to become a permanent gripe session against an obvious villain, but with no means of planning how to end the system that increases income inequality, debt peonage and unemployment.

Make no mistake, Occupy Wall Street should be the beginning of fundamental changes in the political landscape. Whether it will be or not, will depend upon the willingness of activists to stand up for those changes. They must not succumb to fears about the latest Republican bogeyman or woman. Rick Perry or Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney will be mocked as a fascist, charlatan, idiot who doesn’t believe in gay marriage/evolution/global warming and who is therefore unfit to serve as president.

But it is Barack Obama, a man no doubt supported by many of the occupiers, who backs offshore oil drilling and the wholesale resurrection of the nuclear power industry. It is Barack Obama who has forestalled efforts to require cleaner air standards. It is the constitutional law professor who decides that Anwar al-Awlaki or any other American citizen can be marked for death.

Some commentators have likened Occupy Wall Street to the actions at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt which brought down president Mubarak. The Egyptian protesters had a clear demand, that Mubarak had to go. What is the clear demand in Zuccotti Park, that Obama and the Democrats go? That is to say, are they committed to end their support for them?

Right now this site has become a magnet for celebrities and gawking tourists. It ought to become the place where Democratic Party control of the left dies once and for all.


Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. She can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism | 6 Comments

Demolitions: Israel annexing more land

4 October 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

On Tuesday around 11am the Israeli army carried out demolitions in the West Bank towns of Beit Ula and Kufr ad-Dik, destroying homes, animal pens, wells and hundreds of trees.

Yousef Muhammed Turshan sat amongst the rubble that used to be the home for him, his wife, and 5 children.

“This is our only home, I don’t know where we will sleep tonight. They destroyed the building that held the sheep and now they have gone missing. This is my children’s future they are destroying.”

The Tursham family lost the tent they lived in as well as 2 brick rooms, an animal pen, and a water cistern. Their land was one of 3 sites demolished in Beit Ula. In total the Israeli army destroyed 1 residential tent, 4 brick rooms, 4 animal barracks , 4 wells, 2 irrigation systems, 150 olive trees and 400 other trees and vines. In Kufr ad-Dik, west of Saflit at least 2 animal barracks and a water well were also destroyed.

Another farmer from a site in Beit Ula showed the wasteland that had just a few hours ago, been full of hundreds of olive and fruit trees.

“I have cared for this land where they destroyed for years, checking every plant everyday. We pay 40 shekels per cubic metre of water from Israeli companies just to water them. I used to go out every night with a torch to check that the irrigation system was working correctly, now they are all destroyed and all our efforts were for nothing.”

After the bulldozers uprooted the 150 olive trees they also confiscated them from the land so that nothing could be salvaged. The farmers told us that they managed to save one home from demolition by sitting in front of it and refusing to move. However the house still has a demolition order on it, and they know that the army will return eventually to destroy it.

All of the farmers told us that they had documents proving that they owned the land, the sites destroyed were all at least 1 kilometre from the Israeli apartheid wall and there are no settlements in close proximity.

One of the farmers explained that the demolitions could not have been for security reasons because pine trees much closer to the wall were not destroyed. He believes they want to drive the farmers out from the land so that it can be claimed as state property after 3 years of not being used.

There are a further 11 demolition orders around Beit Ula, which means many families have to live with the fear that their homes, buildings or crops may be destroyed at any time.

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment