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Pentagon asks for extra $100 million to Israel for Iran defense (and Congress doubles the tip)

By Allison Deger | Mondoweiss | December 24, 2011

Congress approved an additional $235 million in U.S. military aid to Israel, Ynet reports. The U.S. allocates to Israel approximately $2.5 billion in aid, per year.

The request, which boosts the total amount allocated for 2012 to $25 million more than the last fiscal year (the 2011 budget was $3.075 billion), came from the Pentagon in order to help Israel in “development of safeguards against rockets and missiles that could be launched towards Israel by Hezbollah and Iran.”

Ynet reports:

Pentagon officials were the ones who requested that Congress approve a $106 million aid budget for Israel’s defense systems against missiles, on top of the Iron Dome budget. Congress chose to nearly double that amount, approving a budget of $235 million for 2012, amounting to $25 million more than in 2011.

Since 1949, Congress has distributed over $114 billion in U.S. aid to Israel.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | 1 Comment

New York to Host Israel’s Top Drone Lab

By Max Blumenthal | Al Akhbar | December 24, 2011

On December 19, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the establishment of a 2 million square foot engineering and applied sciences university campus in the heart of New York City. The New York-based Cornell University and the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology, were chosen to oversee the new institution.

“Thanks to this outstanding partnership and groundbreaking proposal from Cornell and the Technion, New York City’s goal of becoming the global leader in technological innovation is now within sight,” Bloomberg proclaimed. “When people look back 100 years from now, I believe that they will remember today as a signal moment in the transformation of the city’s economy,” Deputy Mayor Robert K Steel declared.

The Cornell-Technion partnership will result in a shimmering new university campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, a sleepy and long-neglected slice of land between midtown Manhattan and Queens. A US$350 million grant from the publicity shy philanthropist Charles Feeney supplemented by US$100 million in public money will fund the construction of the campus. The joint project was awarded after a well-publicized competition between several top-flight universities, and was enthusiastically trumpeted by the Mayor’s office, earning it coverage in the New York Times. However, neither Bloomberg or the Times bothered to mention a few facts that might have outraged the local taxpayers corralled into funding the project.

Presented as an anodyne research and development initiative that promises to produce thousands of jobs and hundreds of “spin-off” tech companies, the Cornell-Technion campus is also likely to be a boon to the military-industrial complex in the US and Israel. For decades, the Technion has provided the brains Israel required to create the elaborate mechanism of control under-girding its occupation of Palestine. Through its partnership with Israel’s burgeoning arms industry, Technion’s creations have been imported to armed forces around the world. In the words of Israeli researcher Shir Hever, the Technion “has all but enlisted itself in the military.”

In 2008, the Technion signed a joint research agreement with Elbit Systems, the Israeli weapons and security systems giant. Elbit is best known for providing the monitoring system for the Israeli separation wall, a 760 kilometer long concrete barrier that juts into the occupied West Bank, enabling Israel’s annexation of tens of thousands of dunams of Palestinian land. The company also produces weaponized aerial drones that have been procured by the Brazilian and US air forces,  Elbit representatives routinely host recruitment seminars for ambitious Technion students.

In recent years, the Technion has distinguished itself in the field of robotic weapons systems, developing some of the latest in aerial drone and unmanned combat vehicle technology through its Arlene and Arnold Goldstein UAV & Satellite Center.

Here are a few Technion creations intended to streamline the maintenance of Israel’s occupation and enhance the violent capacity of America’s ongoing drone wars:

The unmanned “Black Thunder” D-9 bulldozer – The armored bulldozer is an essential weapon of Israel’s occupation, enabling the Israeli army engineering unit to demolish approximately 25,000 Palestinian homes since 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolition. On occasion, bulldozers have come under attack from Palestinian guerilla fighters and stone throwing children. But thanks to the innovative spirit of the Technion, which boasts of pioneering the unmanned bulldozer, the Israeli army can demolish homes, olive groves and tunnels without any risk to the physical safety of its soldiers. As Jerusalem Post military affairs correspondent Yaakov Katz reported, “The IDF Ground Forces Command plans to double the number of unmanned D9 armored bulldozers in the Engineering Corps arsenal after the vehicle provided exceptional results during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in January.”

The “Stealth UAV” drone – According to the website of the American Technion Society, in 2010 Technion students designed “a ‘Stealth UAV’ designed to fly up to 2,977 kilometers without refueling. It can carry two 499 kg ‘smart bombs,’ and be equipped with various sensors (electro-optic, infrared and radar) to enable operation in the dark and under all weather conditions.” The weapon appears to be an unmanned version of the US-made B-2 “Spirit,” also known as the Stealth Bomber.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Israeli military has killed 825 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since 2006. The New America Foundation, a Washington DC-based think tank, reported that the US military has killed over 1800 civilians and accused militants in Pakistan during the same period.

The “Dragonfly UAV” mini-drone – Tiny, remote controlled drones capable of flying through windows and into homes and buildings for delicate spying operations are the latest craze in UAV technology. Technion students recently designed a drone plane with a 9-inch (23cm) wingspan and a 7.9-inch (20cm) body modeled after the dragonfly insect. “The plane’s relatively low speed enables it to easily enter rooms through small windows and to send back photos from a miniature camera,” the American Technion Society’s website states.

As America’s manufacturing base enters its death throes, once industrialized cities are seeking out high-tech research and development projects to stimulate their cash-strapped economies while filling blighted urban centers with a young, upwardly mobile “knowledge class.” The Cornell-Technion NYC campus, with its direct link to the American military-industrial complex and the Israeli occupation, exposes the disturbing underside of a seemingly progressive model of urban renewal.

In the name of transforming the New York City’s economy, local taxpayers have been enlisted into the disturbing world of “asymmetrical” robotic warfare, in which faceless human targets are liquidated by remote control. And a generation of ambitious students seeking careers in the fields of engineering and science may wind up volunteering their talents to Israel’s occupation without ever seeing the consequences of their handiwork.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | Comments Off on New York to Host Israel’s Top Drone Lab

Arabic place names erased in Municipality’s campaign to Hebrew-ize Jerusalem

SILWANIC | 24 December, 2011

Silwan, Jerusalem — The Jerusalem Municipality has ramped up its on-going campaign to alter the identity of Jerusalem and its place names, changing many Arabic street names in East Jerusalem to Hebrew ones.

Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan has been officially named “the City of David” by the Municipality, while Al-Bustan has become “the Park of the King”; Wadi Rababa “the Valley of Ben Hinoum”; and Al-Thouri “Giva’t Hannanyah”. Wadi Hilweh main street has been renamed “Ma’lout Ir David”; Cemetary Street “Ofel”; Al-Mister Street “Malki Tsadik; Dung Gate Hill “Malout Hashaloum”; and Wadi Hilweh Park “Givate Park”, in reference to the Givate unit of the Israeli Military Forces.

The name changes are decided upon by a committee of settlers in conjunction with the Municipality. The indigenous Palestinian residents of these areas have been completely denied any involvement in these changes, which form part of a clear agenda to erase the Palestinian history and identity of the region. East Jerusalem, however, remains underdeveloped and unserviced for its Palestinian inhabitants, who receive little to no support from the Municipality.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Comments Off on Arabic place names erased in Municipality’s campaign to Hebrew-ize Jerusalem

Qalandia Checkpoint – December 2011

Video: Machson Watch

Qalandia checkpoint is not a border crossing between Israel and the West Bank. Like most Israeli checkpoints in the occupied territories, Qalandia is located squarely in Palestinian territory and prevents Palestinians from traveling freely between one Palestinian area to another.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | 1 Comment

Right-wing attack group caught fabricating quotes in effort to smear critics of Israel

By Alex Kane | Mondoweiss | December 24, 2011

standwithus campus banner1

Smearing critics of Israel as anti-Semitic may have cost Josh Block a perch at a Washington think tank, but right-wing groups continue to use the slur to attack those in solidarity with Palestinians. This time, though, the right-wing Zionist group Stand With Us (SWU) was caught pushing fabricated quotes in an effort to attack an upcoming boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) conference in Pennsylvania.

A celebratory press release applauding an official University of Pennsylvania statement on a BDS conference in February turned into a headache for SWU after quick examination of the press release made clear that SWU was making quotes up to undermine the conference. The quotes were attributed to well-known writers Helena Cobban and Ali Abunimah.

The press release reads:

We were extremely concerned because the line-up of scheduled speakers indicated that this event would be filled with age-old bigotry and prejudice to incite hatred against Israel and foment bitter divisions on campus. Our research has revealed that most of the scheduled speakers are extremists who oppose the existence of the Jewish state and irresponsibly spread propaganda, distort facts, whitewash or justify terrorism and the murder of Jews, and frequently lie about basic facts to demonize Israel and its supporters…

Another invited speaker, Helena Cobban, has claimed that Israelis are “incapable of empathy and compassion for other people.” (January 2009, Georgetown University) Keynote speaker Ali Abunimah has declared that “Ending the occupation does not solve the problem. The Jews do not view all human beings as equal. The 1948 borders were calculated to harm Christians, Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims.” (Chicago Sabeel Conference, October 7, 2005)

After I saw the press release due to an Israeli army spokesman tweeting a link to it, I immediately alerted Ali Abunimah on Twitter to the statement. Abunimah has more:

When I asked StandWithUs via Twitter to provide and publish the source for the quote, which is not included in the press release, they eventually provided a link to an article by one Alyssa Lappen on FrontPage Magazine, the website of Islamophobic agitator David Horowitz.

I challenged StandWithUs repeatedly (the tweet conversation between us is reproduced below) to publish a recording of my remarks. I asked them if they had even heard such a recording. They never answered whether they had and claimed that the “reporter” must have one and said I should ask her myself.

But the quote went out in a press release bearing the name of StandWithUs. It’s obvious from their statements that they don’t have any recording, they haven’t heard one, and made no effort to verify the alleged quotes.

StandWithUs claimed to have been present at my 2005 talk but hasn’t identified who was there, nor even claimed that the person or persons representing them had heard me utter the words that appear in their press release between quotation marks.

SWU also had their story wrong about Lappen. The group claimed that Lappen had attended the conference, but in an e-mail to me, she said that she obtained the quote from a “reliable source” who was there. Lappen said that there “currently seems to be no publicly available recording of the quotation.” Lappen insisted that she writes “non-fiction” and checks “everything thoroughly,” but it’s clear that Abunimah did not say what SWU and Lappen claim he said; eyewitnesses at the conference in 2005 confirm Abunimah’s story. Furthermore, SWU didn’t bother to link to any sources when attributing the made-up quotes to Abunimah and Cobban.

SWU also appears to have made up the Cobban quote. Cobban says she never said what is in the press release, and told me:

Throughout my 17-year career as a columnist for the Christian Science Monitor, pro-Israeli discourse-suppression groups made repeated attempts to smear my name with fabricated quotes and inaccurate claims. They always failed. I see that this organization ‘Stand With Us’ is now continuing that tradition. But they are as incapable of authenticating their current claim as any of their predecessors. My record of standing for the equal rights of all human persons, be they Palestinian or Israeli, and my opposition to all forms of violence, including the very harmful systemic violence embodied in the system of military rule that Israel’s government has maintained over the occupied territories for nearly 45 years now, speaks for itself.

The controversy clearly detracted from SWU’s efforts to undermine the upcoming BDS conference. What’s more is that, as Abunimah notes, their claimed “victory”–that the BDS conference “does not have the university’s imprimatur”–doesn’t mean anything:

@StandWithUs also claiming a fake victory that UPenn isn’t “endorsing” BDS conference. Since when do universities endorse all events?

The SWU press release is part of the group’s efforts to undermine BDS efforts around the US. Embarrassing episodes like this, though, should give grassroots BDS activists hope as they continue to fight deep-pocketed Israel lobby groups.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Deception | 1 Comment

Venezuela’s Attorney General: Extradition of FARC Singer Conrado Shouldn’t Proceed

By Ewan Robertson | Venezuelanalysis | December 23, 2011

Maturin, December 23rd 2011 ( – Venezuela’s Public Ministry has formally recommended that the extradition of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) member Guillermo Torres Cueter (aka Julian Conrado) to Colombia not be carried out, on both legal and human rights grounds.

Conrado, who is wanted by both Colombian and US authorities and currently has an extradition request pending on him by Colombia, was arrested in Venezuela by Venezuelan authorities on 31 May this year. Known as “the Singer”, the Colombian leftist and protest musician has composed over 100  songs including the FARC anthem “from my village to the guerrilla”.

Two months after his capture, in a smuggled letter dated 20 July from his imprisonment in Venezela, he requested asylum in Venezuela, stating he had fled from Colombia in fear of his life. In August the Venezuelan Communist Party, who have protested against his capture, presented a formal request for his political asylum.

Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz explained on Venezuela public television this week that Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) is to decide on the extradition of Conrado to Colombia, and as part of this judicial process the Public Ministry has formally submitted its opinion that “the extradition shouldn’t proceed.”

Part of the reason for this is that there is a legal disjuncture where “the reasons for the extradition request are different from the crimes for which he [Conrado] is wanted [in Colombia].”

AFP reports that Colombian authorities want to charge Conrado with homicide, kidnapping and rebellion.

Diaz further pointed out that that extradition couldn’t proceed on human rights grounds if Conrado was to be charged with a crime carrying the death penalty, as Venezuelan legislation protects human rights and the right to life. “If the crime for which someone is to be extradited carries the death penalty, they aren’t extradited,” she confirmed.

Finally, she stated that a legal representative of the state has been sent to verify Conrado’s state of health.

Colombian authorities have not commented on the Public Ministry’s statement.

In his July letter, Conrado complained that since his capture his human rights had not been recognised, he had not been able to release a statement, and that he was suffering from a prostate condition.

After his arrest Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez defended the measure on the basis that Venezuela was fulfilling its international obligations, in this case an Interpol “code red” on Conrado.

Sections of the Venezuelan and international left have questioned the Venezuelan government’s policy of collaborating with Colombian authorities in their decades long war against the FARC, including the arrest and deporting to Colombia in April this year the Colombian alternative journalist Joaquín Pérez Becerra, who was granted political asylum in Sweden in 2000.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on Venezuela’s Attorney General: Extradition of FARC Singer Conrado Shouldn’t Proceed

Running from Climate Change: The Obama Administration’s Changing Rhetoric

By Graciela Kincaid | Climate Development Laboratory | December 22, 2011

At both President Obama’s “job speech” to the Joint Session of Congress and his speech at the Clinton Global Initiative last September, one issue was shockingly absent from the agenda: climate change. The term was scarcely mentioned in either speech, and more surprisingly, the administration also failed to deliver on the more popular message of clean energy. For all the talk of job creation and economic growth, the role of green jobs and a potential transition to a green economy were missing from the dialogue. In fact, lately the green jobs issue has taken a serious hit because green innovation has not been proven to create enough immediate “boots, jeans and helmets” jobs.

The phrases “climate change” and “global warming” have become all but taboo on Capital Hill. These terms are stunningly absent from the political arena, and have been since 2010. As Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said on October 13th, “It has become no longer politically correct in certain circles in Washington to speak about climate change or carbon pollution or how carbon pollution is causing our climate to change.” Why?

As part of a Brown University research project this summer, I conducted a comparative analysis of the Obama administration’s use of climate change and clean energy rhetoric, and how they were changing. We examined 1,606 speeches by administration officials over three and a half years (January 2008-July 2011), assembling keyword counts from a campaign speech database and the White House Speeches and Remarks Archive. Rhetoric was sorted by categories: “climate” and “energy.”

The results were dramatic:

The ratio of the administration’s usage of “climate change” versus “energy” has changed significantly since Obama’s 2008 campaign days. “Climate change” rhetoric saw its brief heyday in 2009, thanks to the popularity of the President, the streamlined message of unified party government, and the hope for legislative action before the United Nations climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. Climate change rhetoric was most prominent during 2009, when it was mentioned 246 times and the months with highest frequency were April and November. Interestingly, the only point at which these two levels were equivalent was in November of 2009–the month the Copenhagen Conference began. Since then, the ratio of energy to climate rhetoric has steadily increased, and the phrase “climate change” is routinely omitted in favor of clean energy-related diction.

The difference in magnitude for the two classes of rhetoric usage is striking. The overall ratio for this 3.5-year period is 7.6:1; energy is mentioned over seven times for each mention of climate change. The ratio of energy to climate rhetoric usage was 9.6 in 2008, 5.0 in 2009, 10.6 in 2010, and 14.6 in the first half of 2011. These ratios climbed since President Obama took office–tripling between 2009 and 2011–revealing the administration’s urgency to outpace the depressing “climate change” imagery with the more upbeat promise of “clean energy.” Noteworthy are the State of the Union speeches, meant to be indicators of the president’s agenda. These speeches regularly favor energy to climate change messages. In 2009, climate change was mentioned only once while energy came up 14 times; in 2010, climate change was mentioned three times to energy’s 15; and in 2011 while energy was mentioned 9 times, climate change was not mentioned at all.

What has caused this significant shift in rhetoric? Climate change is apparently politically tainted, a doomsday issue, and the administration has re-branded it under a clean energy and energy independence discourse. The administration has clearly responded to increasing hostility (on one end of the political spectrum) towards the effort to address climate change, scrubbing out words like global warming, cap-and-trade, and climate change from agency communication. Surveys are showing drops in public concern for the issue, and since 2010 House Republicans have directed an increasingly right-wing agenda against it, striking down climate change legislation and funding at every opportunity. Climate change is a hard sell amidst the economic downturn, and the environment always loses to job concerns. By contrast, the push for clean energy seems bipartisan, positive, and more difficult to publicly oppose. The political calculus seems clear: job creation, national security, and oil independence all seem to be credible, patriotic, and appealing reasons to promote the green sector.

As the calendars flip once again into campaign season, we may see a different strategy from the Obama administration as it seeks to distinguish itself from its Republican challengers. We have already seen more proactive rhetoric from Obama, with digs such as this at Governor Rick Perry: “I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.” However, the UNFCCC climate change negotiations in Durban this month saw little effort by the president to shift attention to the issue—Obama chose to send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Busan, Korea for a conference on foreign aid instead of to South Africa for COP17. The president’s intentions are revealed by his weak rhetoric and avoidance of anything tainted with the terms climate change or global warming.

Notes etc…

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on Running from Climate Change: The Obama Administration’s Changing Rhetoric

Biofuels production is not our wisest use of limited land resources

By Tyler Hamilton | Clean Break | December 19th, 2011

My Clean Break column this past week looks at the missed opportunity of growing crops for biofuel production when making green chemicals is a higher value proposition, both economically and environmentally.

About seven million tonnes of grain corn was grown in Ontario in 2011, and by year’s end roughly 30 per cent of that is expected to go toward ethanol fuel production.

Let’s ignore for the moment the whole food-versus-fuel debate, and assume that devoting nearly a third of Ontario corn production to making renewable fuel doesn’t help drive up global food prices, or for that matter, reduce our capacity to feed the world.

Let’s focus instead on the use of corn as part of a greenhouse-gas reduction strategy that returns more economic value per harvested bushel. Through this lens, is biofuel production the best use of a renewable but also land-limited resource?

Corn, after all, doesn’t have to be made into ethanol and burned in the gas tanks of our cars to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. It can also be used to make a variety of “green” chemicals that form the basis of a wide variety of products currently made from petroleum-based chemicals.

Let’s take, for example, Burlington, Ont.-based EcoSynthetix, which takes starch from corn to make certain biopolymers. These biodegradable biopolymers can displace petroleum-based ingredients used to make coatings for packaging and cardboard, adhesives, carpet backing, building materials and a wide range of other products.

John van Leeuwen, chairman and chief executive of EcoSynthetix, which had a successful initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange in August, says he can make $35 worth of biolatex for every bushel of corn the company consumes in its process.

Ethanol, by comparison, fetches about $10 for every bushel of corn, he says. Indeed, the amount of corn that’s consumed annually by 10 large ethanol production plants – out of about 200 in North America—could probably supply enough starch for the entire emulsion polymer market worldwide if it were to switch to 100 per cent biopolymers.

More than that, EcoSynthetix’s biopolymer can compete head on with petroleum-based polymers that currently dominate the marketplace, unlike the heavily-subsidized ethanol industry. “We don’t need subsidies. We can actually go into a deal and offer a discount against petroleum-based products to win business,” says van Leeuwen.

Asked about the growing volume of corn consumed by the ethanol industry, van Leeuwen, without pointing fingers, responds sensibly. “We really need to be thoughtful as an industry to make sure what we make derives maximum value from our agricultural feedstocks.”

Such wise advice could be directed to Canada’s bioproducts sector as a whole, which as I wrote in August has been shrinking when it should be flourishing. That was the conclusion of a report by the Richard Ivey School of Business, which called Canada’s performance on the global stage “disappointing.”

In that report, ethanol represented more than two-thirds of Canada’s bio-products market, while higher-value polymers accounted for just 2 per cent and organic chemicals 12 per cent. In the area of green chemicals, Canada’s landscape was described as “stagnant.”

This isn’t just about corn; it’s also about how we choose to use agricultural residues, municipal organic waste, wood waste, algae biomass, and non-food crops.

Does it make sense to just burn this material for energy, or convert it into fuel so it can be burned? Or, should we be doing a better job of targeting niche markets with high-value “green” products that are just as effective at reducing our dependence on fossil fuels?

“There is an overemphasis on biomaterials as a source for energy,” says Dr. Rui Resendes, executive director of Kingston-based GreenCentre Canada, which helps commercialize green chemistry innovations coming out of Canadian universities.

And that energy isn’t as green as often claimed. After all, Resendes points out, the fertilizers used to grow crops are petroleum-based, as are many other products consumed along the supply chain.

“Just because you pluck it out of farmer’s field doesn’t mean it’s sustainable,” he says, adding that the entire value chain has to be considered. This is where green chemistry and the products it supports play a crucial role. “I’m a firm believer in technologies that are addressing niche markets where volumes are much smaller and margins are much higher.”

Green chemicals may be a broad category, but it’s one that serves highly targeted markets where petroleum-based products currently dominate, including the manufacture of fertilizers, polymers, and lubricants, to name a few.

And, as EcoSynthetix is demonstrating, you can be competitive and aim for profitability without relying on subsidies.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on Biofuels production is not our wisest use of limited land resources

Brutal assault on 16 year old boy

SILWANIC – December 23, 2011

Silwan, Jerusalem – Dawood Yousef Sharaf, 16, was brutally beaten by Israeli soldiers on two separate occasions in the past week in Silwan. Here he recounts the dramatic story to Silwanic.

On Thursday, 15 December Dawood was on his way home from school in East Jerusalem. As he passed by the Mercy Cemetary near the Lion Gate of the Old City the police station outside Silwan, Israeli troops began to harass him. Three troops called Dawood over and asked for his ID and if he’d ever been arrested. He was then told to come into the police station, remove his clothes and get ready to be searched.

“I stood against the wall and raised my hands. One soldier forced me to put my legs apart, then started to beat them. The soldier demanded to know why I had spoken in a high voice when being questioned outside, and I told him that I was in a hurry. They then left me wait over 30 minutes before allowing me to leave. As I was about to exit the building, several officers drew their weapons and forced me back in for another inspection. Finally I was able to leave.”

Two days later as Dawood was on his way home from school, an Israeli soldier stopped him in the street and said “you’re the one they took in and humiliated on Thursday.” He pointed to a group of soldiers standing nearby, and said “those are the ones over there who did it. Why don’t you go and ask them why they did it?”

“I thought that confronting them might stop them from harassing me in the future,” said Dawood. “So I went over to the three soldiers who had assaulted me. As I approached them, they knocked me to the ground immediately. They handcuffed me and dragged me back into the police station, where I was beaten for over 40 minutes. I was beaten brutally, all over my body, until I passed out. I didn’t believe I would get out alive.”

Dawood comments that he is only the most recent in an ever-increasing line of brutalities inflicted on the children of Silwan. “Soldiers are constantly harassing children from Silwan.” He also added that soldiers told him that despite his clean record, Dawood would now have a criminal record after the attack.

The Children Protection Committee at the Wadi Hilweh Information Center states that “physical assault of children from Silwan by Israeli forces are taking place both in and outside of the Silwan area at an unprecedented level. Israeli soldiers, settlers and settler guards often target Silwan children when they are outside the neighborhood on their way to or from school.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | 2 Comments

Francis Boyle: US threat to nuke Iran is criminal

Press TV – December 24, 2011

A distinguished American expert on international law says the US government threatening Iran with nuclear war amounts to an internationally accepted criminal act.

Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois at Champaign, further noted that when Obama administration officials say “all options are on the table,” against Iran, they are, in fact, alluding to a nuclear war which is prohibited by international law.

Addressing the 18th conference on “Direct Democracy” in Feldkirch, Austria, on nuclear deterrence, Boyle added that the US government is threatening to attack Iran “under the completely bogus pretext” that it might have a nuclear weapon.

He added that as the sole global authority to monitor nuclear activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has already refuted charges against Iran as “simply not true.”

The legal expert stated that Article 2 of the UN Charter “prohibits both the threat and the use of force except in cases of legitimate self-defense” and the US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, “do not qualify under that definition.”

The professor also said that nuclear weapons and “nuclear deterrence” have “never been legitimate instruments of state policy, but have always constituted instrumentalities of internationally lawless and criminal behavior.”

Boyle noted that the former US President George W. Bush’s doctrine of preventive warfare, which has not been officially repealed by Obama, was in fact, concocted by the Nazi lawyers for the Nazi defendants at Nuremberg and was rejected at that court.

“If we don’t act now, Obama and his people could very well set off a Third World War over Iran that has been already threatened publicly by (the former President George W.) Bush Jr.,” he asserted.

He added that the governments of all the nuclear weapons states – including the US, Russia, France, Britain, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea – are “criminal” for threatening to exterminate humanity.

“If mass extermination of human beings is a crime, the threat to commit mass extermination is also a crime,” Boyle said.

The professor noted that the US today is engaged in “ongoing international criminal activity” for “planning, preparation, solicitation, and conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.”

“The design, research, testing, production, manufacture, fabrication, transportation, deployment, installation, storing, stockpile, sale, purchase, and the threat to use nuclear weapons are criminal under well-recognized principles of international law,” Boyle added.

He concluded by saying that the leaders of NATO states which “go along with US nuclear policies are all accomplices as well.”

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | 15 Comments

Helen Thomas: Israel should get that Hamas was chosen democratically

Palestine Information Center – 24/12/2011

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Noted US journalist Helen Thomas told a Hebrew newspaper that she wonders why Israel cannot absorb the idea that the Palestinian people elected Hamas Movement democratically.

“I do not know why it is difficult for Israel to believe that the Palestinian people elected Hamas,” she told Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Replying to a claim during the interview that Hamas was a terrorist group, she said that she is against violence, but she understands Hamas’s desire to restore what was taken from the Palestinians.

She noted that she is not against Jews but against Zionism and stressed that the Jews must give back what they took from others and is not theirs.

The US journalist added the Jews’ right to exist does not give them the right to seize other people’s land.

The journalist underlined that the Jews in the 1940’s after the end of the second world war had homelands and they should have returned to their homes without having to occupy the country of another people.

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | 16 Comments