Aletho News


Radioactive Seawater Impact Map (update: March 2012)

Radioactive Sea Water Particle Tracing from Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Assuming that a part of the passive biomass could have been contaminated in the area, we are trying to track where the radionuclides are spreading as it will eventually climb up the food chain. The computer simulation presented here is obtained by continuously releasing particles at the site during the 2 months folllowing the earthquake and then by tracing the path of these particles. The dispersal model is ASR’s Pol3DD. The model is forced by hydrodynamic data from the HYCOM/NCODA system which provides on a weekly basis, daily oceanic current in the world ocean. The resolution in this part of the Pacific Ocean is around 8km x 8km cells. We are treating only the sea surface currents. The dispersal model keeps a trace of their visits in the model cells. The results here are expressed in number of visit per surface area of material which has been in contact at least once with the highly concentrated radioactive water. – More info at source

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Insecure in the Security State

By HOWARD LISNOFF | April 6, 2012

In order to understand the roots of contemporary police repression in the United States, readers need to return to the Vietnam War era and the attempt of the government to squelch political activism through the use of a centralized system of monitoring and responding to domestic social action and peace movements.

The protest movement of the Vietnam era scared the hell out of the government. The decision of Lyndon Johnson not to seek a second term and the resignation of Richard Nixon (in addition to the specter of Watergate) were reactions to the peace movement and reflections of that fear. Images of Nixon holed up in the White House portraying himself disinterested in the protest movement are at odds with the paranoia that produced Watergate.

Nixon responded to the demonstrations on the streets of the US by putting into motion the apparatus to monitor peace activists around the nation. By the time Jimmy Carter took office, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (now under the Department of Homeland Security), originally given the responsibility to respond to disasters, expanded into the area of civil affairs. It was no accident that FEMA set up shop in places like National Guard armories around the nation and in other locations.  The agency was given enormously expanded powers under the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, allowing it to coordinate state defense forces (Martin, Harry, V. “FEMA-The Secret Government,” Free America, 1995). Of course, all of this pales in comparison to the enormous powers that both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have added to an imperial presidency! Barack Obama has also given himself the power that allows for the assassination of US citizens deemed a threat to the country. A parallel development in policing that took off as FEMA enlarged its powers was the development of special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams that resembled storm troopers, or alternately, the forces of darkness portrayed in movies like Star Wars.  So, now there existed a centralized apparatus to respond to and track protest movements, and also to respond to them in a way that elicited terror for those who took to the streets in opposition to government policies and actions. It became routine to view nightly news broadcasts showing masses of police storming an area where a suspected criminal was located. Soon, these same shock troops showed up with regularity at protests in increasingly intimidating gear and in larger and larger numbers. Fast-forward over three decades later and it became expected that peaceful Occupy movements across the nation would be subjected to repression by SWAT teams and assaulted. Indeed, The Department of Homeland Security and Patriot Act gave added life to these shows of brute force in the face of peaceful demonstrations.

Now the police role of local, state, and national governments will be heightened by the 2013 completion of the National Security Data Center in Utah, run by the National Security Agency. Every communication, every traceable word, every electronic connection will be monitored by this spy agency. The data center is an Orwellian scenario in its intent and scope.

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 gave added sustenance to the security state mindset that is now routinely practiced on the streets of this nation. Occasionally, the security state spills over into what is routine policing. Incidents of police violence are now part of evening news telecasts. Such was the case in the police response to a mistaken call for help placed to a medical alert company in November 2011 in White Plains, New York.

Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. accidentally activated the button on his medical alert device in the early hours of a November morning. When he cancelled the false alert, the police showed up at his apartment in force along with an officer dressed in SWAT riot gear. Police demanded entry into Chamberlain’s apartment. He opened his apartment door a crack and told the police to leave. They insisted on entering and removed the door by its hinges and shot the unarmed former Marine Corps veteran dead within minutes of their incursion into his home, but not before taunting him for responding with “Semper fi” in answer to police taunts (“Officers, Why Do You Have Your Guns Out?” The New York Times, March 5, 2012). Ironically, Kenneth Chamberlain had spent twenty years as a corrections’ officer. He suffered from a serious heart ailment. For Kenneth Chamberlain’s innocuous mistake of activating his medical alert device, he paid with his life. At least one officer from White Plains was also heard shouting racial epithets prior to the shooting.

So, whether protesting on the streets of the US or accidentally activating a medical alert device, we are no longer safe and secure within the US security state!

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He can be reached at


April 6, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Amani al Khandaqja released following hunger strike

6 April 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

Amani al Khandaqja with her father, pose following her release

“You are a very clever woman Amani, you are the first free woman from Ashkalan, this brings me great frustration.”

These are the words of the Chief of Intelligence at Huwarra Camp where Amani al Khandaqja was forced to go during her first Sunday of freedom after her 10 days of imprisonment. On the 20th of March, al Khandaqja was taken from her home, Nablus City, in a 2AM night raid, shackled, handcuffed and blindfolded, her 10 days of imprisonment were as follows:

On entering the Ashkelon interrogation prison, al Khandaqja made the decision to begin an open ended hunger strike, bringing her to the immediate decision of the military to be held in solitary confinement. Her days started with fierce determination to show that she is not and will not be intimidated by the interrogators or the prison.

When taken for the routine strip search, al Khandaqja simply but vehemently refused anything of the sort. She spent her days in a room too small for any comfort, the light was on day and night, and food was used as a constant temptation out of her hunger strike.

The military used low, pathetic tactics including sitting her in front of a table with chicken, burgers, chips and rice. On refusal of the food soldiers asked al Khandaqja , “Why do you not like food?” al Khandaqja was quick to reassure them that she is in fact very fond of food but she “like [her] mother’s food, [her] sisters’ food, even [her] brother’s food, but [she] will not eat [their] food.”

Tactics quickly became even more personal by offering Amani an opportunity to see her brother Bassam. Bassam is a political prisoner in Ashkelon’s mixed sex prison, who is 9 years into his life sentence. The terms of the negotiation were to stop the hunger strike for a short visit. The negotiation was rejected by al Khandaqja.

As the days and nights passed and interrogation continued, the military became weaker and weaker. “All they had to say was that I was too active on Facebook.” Amani explained how the interrogator informed her, “I know your words have power” but this simply was not enough to keep Amani captured.

The Israeli military often offers monetary rewards for those it convinces to become collaborators against the Palestinian people, and with Amani the offers came thick and fast. Having studied psychology at university, and one who has traveled to Europe working with women groups in campaigns addressing issues such as domestic violence, she is a woman who is not easily scared or intimidated. This was evident to the Israeli military.

It is true that al Khandaqja is a threat to Israel’s apartheid, but not because of their usual rhetoric of her being a “violent Palestinian,” but because Amani is a clever, determined, educated, and passionate young woman who, it seems, will stop at nothing in her struggle for human rights. When asked if and when she will return back to work, Amani replied “I am always working. I will not stop. I write everyday about the conditions of the prisoners. I am only writing for peace, and I do not want to see anymore violence”

Amani, who is from Nablus City was releasd at Turkoomia checkpoint in Al Khalil (Hebron), 77 kilometer from Nablus. She was left with no phone or money. Fortunately she was able track down her father and have a car sent to her, not before visiting friends in Al Khalil as word had gotten out about her release. That night, the 30th March, Amani returned home split with emotion. The prospect of seeing her family filled her with happiness but to have left her brother Bassam and personal friend Masser Halabi behind brought an overwhelming sadness, a sadness that is sure to inspire and motivate Amani to continue the struggle with more passion and determination than ever before.

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Comments Off on Amani al Khandaqja released following hunger strike

Lethal Hawkademia and BDS

By Vacy Vlazna | Palestine Chronicle | April 5, 2012

‘It can never be business as usual. Israeli Universities are an intimate part of the Israeli regime, by active choice. While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation. [Ben Gurion University] is no exception. By maintaining links to both the Israeli defence forces and the arms industry, BGU structurally supports and facilitates the Israeli occupation.’ — Desmond Tutu.

Bluntly put-Israeli universities are military laboratories funded by Israeli and US war mongers and war profiteers. While, the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has a growing global momentum and success by consumers, the campaign for the boycott of Israel academic institutions integral to maintaining Israel’s illegal/apartheid occupation is lagging far behind.

Until now, amongst the thousands of universities worldwide, only the University of Johannesburg (UJ), after prolonged internal debates, severed ties in 2011 with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) for discrimination against Palestinian students and its complicity in the occupation. The expected domino effect among universities never took off. Why?

Until recently universities had a proud history as centres of discovery and of the transmission of knowledge and skills with dissent elemental to the morality of scholarship. This prestige and ethos has withered since the 1980’s measured by the steep decline in political activism on campuses due to the onset of academic capitalism.

“The impression that universities can be bought and sold, held by businessmen and fostered by university administrators trained in playing for the highest bid, is a reflection of the deterioration of western civilization. To buy universities is to destroy them and with them the civilization for which they stand.“ (Harold Innis)

After decades of government funding cutbacks, universities have turned to the marketplace for funds creating a symbiotic win-win for government and business while corroding academic autonomy. As universities have become businesses, there has been a shift in values with the privatization and commercialization of research as intellectual property meeting the demands of market and military globalization.

“Since 2004, the structure of the university has become corporatist,” says Dr. Iris Agmon of Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). “The name of the game is money, which means that the donors are extremely important.”

The acceptance by Israeli and Western universities of welcome funding from Israeli defence companies and Zionist foundations plus the absurd charge of anti-semitism for any criticism of Israel intensifies the constriction against academic boycott. While there is plenty of student activism on campuses, most academics and academic freedom are constrained and controlled by the Zionist corporate partnership. Championing academic and intellectual independence takes principled courage because the loss of or the threat of loss of tenure and /or attacks by Zionist groups are real as the examples in the USA of Norman Finkelstein, John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, Juan Cole and most recently, David Klein testify.

Israeli academics and students who challenge the state are spied on and added to a McCarthyesque blacklist of Israel’s enemies kept by right wing groups- Im Tirtzu, Isra-Campus and Israeli Academia Monitor. Im Tirtzu is an extra-parliamentary fascist movement that is bent on enforcing Zionist values. Im Tirzu has sent a death threat to Professor Neve Gordon (BGU), recently attacked Professor Yehouda Shenhav for criticising it, and in March demanded a Tel Aviv University (TAU) inquiry into Dr Anat Matar for her participation on campus in a solidarity demonstration with hunger striking Palestinian prisoner, Hanaa Shalabi.

The ‘corporate creep’ spreads an incestuous net of Zionist influence and defence interests over Israel’s universities. Im Tirzu, the aforementioned rabid academic watchdog is funded by The Azrieli Group, Israel ‘a shareholder in Bank Leumi and LeumiCard, which has 13 malls throughout the country and a controlling share in the Sonol, Tambour and Supergaz companies – Im Tirtzu keeps its accounts at Bank Leumi’. The Azrieli Foundation is also a patron of The Zvi Meitar Center for Advanced Legal Studies at BGU’s The Buchmann Faculty of Law.

Leo Schachter Diamonds, Israel’s largest polished diamond exporter also funds Im Tirtzu and its CEO, Elliot Tannenbaum is on the Board of Governors of Bar Ilan University (BIA) about which Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of Bar-Ilan’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), asserted “Bar-Ilan University is the only Zionist university left in Israel” at a gala dinner of the Zionist Organization of America (attended by US presidential contender, Michele Bauchmann who stated she would move the American Embassy to Jerusalem when sworn into office). In March, Inbar called for a large-scale renewed war on Gaza to bolster Israel’s Iran agenda “Not only would most or all of the Gaza missiles and the organizations preparing to use them be destroyed, but deterrence against the missiles from Lebanon and elsewhere would increase. Such an action would also bolster credibility in the international community that Israel really might attack Iran’s nuclear sites,” BESA holds conferences and seminars for academic, military and Jewish leaders.

Professor Moshe Arens , a retired major-general and ex-Minister of Defence, is a member of BESA’s International Advisory Board and Chairman of International Board of Governors of The Ariel University Center of Samaria (AUCS) within Ariel, a mega-colony built in violation of international law on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. In 2011, 150 Israeli academics (out of 7,000), including three Israel Prize laureates – professors Yehoshua Kolodny(HU), Benjamin Isaac (TAU) and Itamar Procaccia of the Weizmann Institute of Science signed a petition boycotting Ariel University because “Ariel was built on occupied land. Only a few kilometers away from flourishing Ariel, Palestinians live in villages and refugee camps under unbearably harsh conditions and without basic human rights. Not only do they not have access to higher education, some do not even have running water. These are two different realities that create a policy of apartheid.”

Arens is also chairman of the board of the Teuza Fund which has 38% holdings in Sagatec that boasts US Motorola as a customer. Motorola provides surveillance and communication systems for illegal Israeli colonies and military camps in the occupied West Bank. ”Motorola is the provider of the primary mode of communication for the Israeli military, meaning that Israeli soldiers—whether operating checkpoints, firing on the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead, tear-gassing nonviolent protesters, or descending on the Free Gaza Flotilla in the middle of the night—are receiving their orders via a Motorola system.”

Furthermore, Motorola holds a 9% stake in Afcon, one of Israel’s largest industrial groups. Along with Israel Defense Forces HQ and bases, Afcon’s clients include the Weizman Institute of Science, BGU, TAU, Technion, The Jewish Agency, The Azrieli Center, and Strauss –Elite which supports the brutal Golani and Givati brigades accused of war crimes in Gaza and Jenin. Afcon is owned by the Shlomo Group which, in 2011, acquired Tadiran Telecom that also serves the US Department of Defence. The Arrow system of ballistic missiles, jointly produced by Israel and the US, consists of the joint production hypersonic Arrow anti-missile interceptor, the Elta EL/M-2080 “Green Pine” early-warning AESA radar, the Tadiran Telecom “Golden Citron” (“Citron Tree”) C3I center, and the Israel Aerospace Industries “Brown Hazelnut” (“Hazelnut Tree”) launch control center. The system is transportable, as it can be moved to other prepared sites.”

The Zionist symbiosis of academia and militarism is evident by the embedding of Israel’s primary defence manufacturers, Elbit Systems and Rafael ADS in Israeli universities. TAU Professor Avraham Katzir observed: “One of the things which helps the State of Israel […] is the fact that each one of us is both an Israeli citizen and working in these fields [military] I’m an academic at university and I’ve also done my [military service], and I was also at [state arms manufacturer] RAFAEL for some years. All of those things come together; we’re helping one another – something which doesn’t happen [elsewhere]”. Typical of many academics, Dr Joseph Frey, Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan University, Israel gained industrial R&D experience while working at RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems. There is a thorough expose of military links with TAU in Tel Aviv University – A Leading Israeli Military Research Centre prepared By SOAS Palestine Society.

Michael Federmann, the Chairman of Elbit Systems is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of Hebrew University. His son, David Federmann, the Director of Elbit Systems is on the board of directors BGN Technologies,’ the Technology Transfer Company of Ben-Gurion University responsible for the commercialization of know-how and inventions of the university’s researchers’.

Elbit Systems Ltd is one of Israel’s largest military security and surveillance companies producing defence electronics, radio communications systems, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) remote weapon systems, radar, naval systems. David Rubner, Director of Elbit Imaging board of directors is a member of the boards of trustees of Bar Ilan University . In 2008 Tadiran Communications and Elbit Systems merged. Tadiran’s military communications technology operates hand-in-hand with the Israel Occupation Force, “Tadiran Communications is the IDF’s signal corps’ main supplier of communications equipment. Consequently, the company benefits from immediate battle-tested results [italics mine]and is able to hone its technology to perfection.”

The state owned RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems Ltd promotion reads- “Drawing on Israel Defence Forces’ vast combat experience and with over 6 decades of development [italics mine]and manufacturing of a wide range of battle-proven, pinpointed solutions for air, land, sea and space systems – Rafael is one of the world’s most sophisticated defense companies.” It derives its economic strength from international sales and US funding. It works with the US Raytheon Missile Systems to market the Iron Dome weapon system. In May 2011, a senior Israeli official said Israel plans to spend $1 billion to buy Iron Dome systems. The U.S. also has committed $205 million to help Israel buy the systems. During the March attack on Gaza, the Israeli media was urging even greater funding allocation for the Iron Dome system.

Gen. (Res.) Ilan Biran is Chairman of the Board of Rafael ADS. He was a former General Director of the Ministry of Defense and served in the Israel Defense Forces for 32 years in various staff and command positions, including Commanding General, Central Command, Head of the Technology and Logistics Branch, and Head of the Operations Division at the General Staff. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. He is also Chairman of the Kinneret Academic College on the Sea of Galilee which is affiliated with the Bar Ilan University and awards Bar Ilan degrees in the social sciences and humanities.

In February 2012, Rafael ADS convened the 52nd Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences 2012 along with Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Tel-Aviv University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Elbit Systems Ltd, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Israel Military Industries. Rafael ADS is a client of The Israel Center for Negotiation and Mediation (ICNM) at the Neaman Institute, Technion University along with Israeli government ministries, the IDF, Elbit, EAI Ltd, Loreal, Strauss –Elit etc.

Armament manufactures’ promotion hype such as “immediate battle tested results“ and “vast combat experience and with over 6 decades of development” means in real and bloody terms that Gaza and the West Bank and Lebanon are testing grounds for Israel’s military industry. The extrajudicial assassination in March of Zuhair al-Qaisi, the Secretary General of the Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip was planned as was the subsequent military escalation and air raid attacks to test the Iron Dome system and the Israeli media were in raptures with the success which included the precision slaughter of a loving schoolboy, 12 year-old Ayoub Asalya who was blown to pieces.

Do arms CEO’s and their academic designer/consultants gloat with success when missiles strike 311 children dead in Operation Cast Lead or view survivors of drones as a failure? Did their spirits lift on April 3rd when Aseel Ara’ara, eventually died from an IOF sniper wound that turned a lively four year-old into a paraplegic? One wonders what makes them immune, in their offices and seminar rooms, to the unbearable wail of the grief-stricken mother of little Islam Qaraqi who was about to start kindergarten or to the cruel cold of death when a father in Ni’lin kisses his 10 year-old son, Ahmed Mousa, for the last time. Then again, it’s not that surprising, considering these hollow men and women are brutalized citizens of a nation saturated with a racism (resembling Nazi Aryanism and South African Apartheid) that regards the deaths Palestinian children to be less than the deaths of Jewish children in Toulouse.

Academic boycott of Israeli institutions and of the infestation of Israeli military interests in our own universities, as well as BDS generally, is a matter of life and death for the people of Palestine. It is an action, we the people can achieve while our governments and the UN stand by and collude in war crimes against Palestine that for 65 years have accelerated and gone unpunished.

Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 and was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Lethal Hawkademia and BDS

Critiquing Israel: colonialism or Jewish culture?

Fighting the enemy at times means fighting your erstwhile comrades-in-arms

By Eric Walberg | April 5, 2012

The phenomenal success the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has had since it began in 2005 has attracted attention from all corners of the political spectrum — for better or for worse. Israel is scared. Israeli thinktanks have described BDS as a greater threat to Israel than armed Palestinian resistance. At the same time, at the forefront of the movement against what is now widely called Israeli apartheid are Jews — Israeli and diaspora. This is not surprising, as Jews have traditionally been active in “political mobilisation and opinion formation”, according to Benjamin Ginsberg.

So it should not be surprising if the BDS movement itself experiences turmoil. For several years now, the UK Palestinian Soldarity Committee (PSC) has conducted a policy of calling leading activists such as Paul Eisen, Gilad Atzmon and Israel Shamir — all Jewish — anti-Semitic for daring to point out that those who persecute Arab Muslims and Christians are not just Zionists but are invariably Jewish. That the Jews who have opted to take Israeli citizenship are increasingly racist, belligerent settlers who use their new identity to dispossess, terrorise and murder Palestinians, with the intent of forcing them to leave even the remaining 12 per cent of the land once called Palestine.

These Jews have given Judaism a bad name, causing some “good Jews” to critique their own religious heritage and even disown it, such as American highschooler and winner of the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr Writing Award Jesse Lieberfeld, who came to realise, “I was grouped with the racial supremacists… I was part of a delusion.” For these Jews, Judaism today had been perverted by Zionism. Paying tribute to Jesse, ex-Israeli Gilad Atzmon said, “Journeying from choseness is a life-struggle. From time to time you may feel lonely but you are never alone. Humanity and humanism are there at your side — for all time.”

Atzmon, born and bred in Israel, with holocaust victims in his family, is the latest victim of the UK PSC, which earlier ostracised Eisen for his Der Yassin Remembered group honouring martyred Palestinian Muslims and Christians of the 1948 Nakba, when thousands of Palestinians were killed and hundreds of thousands made permanent refugees.

After being ostracised, Eisen and Shamir dismissed the “gatekeepers” in the movement, and carried on with their analysis and organising from the sidelines, sidelines which are growing just as fast as, if not faster than the mainstream and are now firmly centred on popularising a one-state solution to solve the Palestine-Israel problem.

Atzmon continued to lock horns with the UK PSC establishment, hoping to change it, though it is dominated by the likes of Tony Greenstein with his J-Big (Jews boycotting Israeli goods). No doubt Atzmon’s Sabra heritage steeled him for battle with those supporters of the Palestinians who see the movement as more a way to fight anti-Jewish sentiment (caused by Zionism) than to actually achieve victory for the Palestinians. He decided to write an analysis of his Jewish heritage and how it was transformed over the past century entitled The Wandering Who? (see Al-Ahram Weekly “Jezebel’s Legacy”). His book became a bestseller and he has been touring America and Europe regularly, speaking out bravely and making his a must read for all who care about both Palestine and “the plight of the Jews”.

Jewish intellectuals such as Ilan Pappe are following Atzmon’s footsteps and leaving Israel, disgusted with the cynicism and duplicity of the entire Israeli establishment. Atzmon has attracted many admirers — too many, it seems — from among the more mainstream critics of Israel. Richard Falk and John Mearsheimer — both Jewish — endorsed Atzmon’s book, Mearsheimer recommending that the book “should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike”.

On 13 March, near the end of Atzmon’s latest tour of the US speaking to pro-Palestinian groups, Electronic Intifada editor Ali Abunimah published a letter at the US Palestinian Community Network (PCN) signed by 23 Palestinian activists, including Columbia University professor Joseph Massad and Omar Barghouti, a founder of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Committee for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and author of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights (currently doing an MA in philosophy at Tel Aviv University). The letter called for “the disavowal of the racism and anti-Semitism of Gilad Atzmon”. Abunimah effectively excommunicated Atzmon from participating in pro-Palestinian activities of the US PCN, as he was by the UK PSC. Atzmon wound up his tour the next day with an interview with (Jewish) history professor Norton Mezvinsky of Connecticut State University, at Washington’s Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, where he rebutted the charges against him.

But just as Muslims are loudly called on to disown Islamic terrorists such as Al-Qaeda, so must Jews disown their own Judaic terrorists, reasons Atzmon, who has been leading the way in this politically-incorrect battle. Now that the dust has settled, and support for Atzmon has poured in, the letter in retrospect looks like an exercise in hasbara gone wrong. Conspicuous in their absence among signatories are leading Israel critics Noam Chomsky, Norman Finklestein, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, The Progressive’s Matt Rothschild, Tikkun’s Michael Lerner, and US Congress hopeful Norman Solomon.

It is possible to critique Atzmon for downplaying the imperialism behind Israel’s founding and support, which Abunimah does: “Our struggle is with Zionism, a modern European settler colonial movement, similar to movements in many other parts of the world that aim to displace indigenous people and build new European societies on their lands.” However, there is nothing wrong with critiquing the problem from a cultural point of view, and the guilty culture just happens to be Jewish. Sadly, there is more than one way to skin the Palestinian cat.

Shamir took the debate a logical step further by posing the question, “To disavow or debate Abunimah”. He was attacked by Abunimah a decade ago, when he “hunted me out of the pro-Palestinian movement, saying that without Shamir, they will win sooner.” After a decade of unrelenting Israeli crimes, Shamir advised Massad, Barghouti and other Arab signatories, “Our Arab brothers will do well if they will stand out of this debate: let the Jews fight out the battle for their identity. As it happens, Gilad is their strongest champion on the Jewish side, they should cheer, not discourage him.”

Perhaps what prompted the letter was fear that BDS was just not mainstream enough. This was the implication behind a dismissal of BDS by Finkelstein, who just a few weeks before the Abunimah screed, called BDS a “cult” and admonished Palestinians to limit their struggle to the “two-state solution”. While himself exposing the “cult” of the holocaust, calling it an “industry” used to promote Israel’s aggressive colonial agenda, Finkelstein disappointed many admirers by suggesting that BDSers are conspirators intent on wiping poor Israel off the tattered old colonial map. “What is the result? There’s no Israel!”

But ironically, Atzmon and Finkelstein are on the same side this time. They are both pro-Palestinian activists and believers in free speech and open debate, not afraid to point the finger at machinations of their co-religionists. Before writing his ill-fated missive, Abunimah, author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israel-Palestine Conflict, would have done well to ponder Atzmon’s defence of Finkelstein’s criticism of BDSers for their cultishness. “Finkelstein’s criticism of the solidarity movement is largely valid. The recent expulsion of Palestinians and academics from the UK PSC proves that we aren’t just dealing with a ‘cult’ discourse as Finkelstein suggests, far worse, we are actually dealing with a rabbinical operation that exercises the most repulsive Judaic excommunication tactics.”

“Finkelstein is correct when he suggests that the achievements of the solidarity ‘cult’ operations are pretty limited,” continues Atzmon. He looks beyond the gatewatched BDSers and the larger-than-life critics such as Chomsky, Finkelstein and himself — two-state or one — and predicts “that the solidarity movement is already a mass movement … that the Palestinians and the Arabs will liberate themselves.”

The Lobby is no doubt patting itself on the back, having through obvious pressure on prominent activists helped to weaken its foes for the nth time. This tactic is part of the age-old strategy by those in power of “divide and conquer”. Just as Britian and then the US and Israel have worked to divide up the Muslim world to weaken and control it — even mobilising “Islamic terrorists” (not to mention “Judaic terrorists”) in their schemes — so the domestic representatives of imperialism do the same on the homefront, manipulating soft anti-Zionists.

The tactic was used in the Cold War, using liberals and ex-Communists to isolate Communists from movements critical of imperialism. Now as then, it is necessary not to boycott each other, but to work together without responding to provocation. It is to be expected that the bad guys are going to infiltrate progressive movements and try to split them.

When Saudi Prince Faisal grilled Hamas Chief Khaled Meshaal about his alliance with Iran, the Hamas chief explained: “Yes, we have relations with Iran and will do so with whoever supports us. We are a resistance movement, open to the Arabs, to the Muslims and to all countries in the world, and we are not part of any agenda for regional forces.” BDSers may have their differences, but the goal is the liberation of Palestine. Let a hundred flowers blossom.

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Critiquing Israel: colonialism or Jewish culture?

Rachel Maddow Defends the US Drone Program on Howard Stern

By Sean Fenley | Dissident Voice | April 6th, 2012

Rachel Maddow defended the legally fuzzy bombardment of Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, and other nations in an interview with Howard Stern. In Maddow’s words the drones, “don’t change the politics of it [war] that much.” In reality, however, the politics have changed markedly because of the US military’s use of their stable/panoply of death-inducing/mass immolating drones. And it is, moreover, exceedingly unclear what is meant by Maddow’s comments as, for example, families have embarked upon lawsuits against the US government for innocents, non-terrorists, and non-combatants — who have been unceremoniously snuffed out — by the legally hazy, and decidedly unmanned aerial drones.

Additionally and infamously, of course, whole wedding parties have been wiped out, by some detached and far-flung controller in the American Southwest or in Langley, VA. Is this what is meant by making war more and more “hospitable” and “sanitized”? I guess, in a sense, but not; of course, for those at the receiving end of the drone. Such questions, I think, force one to wonder about what Maddow thinks regarding the Constitution — vis a vis the war authorization for the US military conflict — in the so-called Afpak war zone.

Indeed, the aforementioned authorization for the war in Afghanistan, pertains to the US military’s actions in Afghanistan — and Afghanistan alone. [4] Thus, of course, there is no constitutional basis for any sort of military, or even drone activities in the sovereign nation of Pakistan (or any of the other nations where they have been used). And furthermore, one wonders what Maddow’s position on the two American citizens — executed under unconstitutional bureaucratic fiat is — considering that this was not addressed in the Howard Stern interview. These Americans were, according to the Obama administration, guilty until proven innocent, but; of course, never received anything like their inalienable right to a trial, or the long-hallowed and (previously) integrally American jury of their peers.

International law scholar Richard Falk does believe that drones have changed the idea of war/military conflict seriously, and that their advent should be regarded with grave interest/concern. According to Falk the drones clearly raise questions about national sovereignty, and the parameters about presently held notions — of what are the currently permissible forms of war. Falk likens legal “rationalities” for the usage of the deathly — and indeed death-dealing — military drone technology, as analogous to John Yoo style torture memo-esque scrawlings of the George Bush Jr. administration/cabal. So, if some more mature, rational, and informed legal bases/doctrines, don’t arise regarding present and impending drone technology; Falk envisions a dystopian future scenario of rampant proliferation that will be imposed upon the world, by a small number of select, drone-armed, and exceedingly powerful elite states.

Falk posits that in our Machiavellian world, where a handful of nuclear countries have been able to cajole a vast majority of the world’s nations, into the signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that a similar regime could come forward — regarding these still fairly nascent military drones. Falk sees no impediment to ridding the world of nuclear weapons, at present, and says that the same is essentially true of the drones. But the least evil (but still evil) route for the drones may; in fact, end similarly to nuclear armaments, in which the “great powers” — self-chosen — make elaborate and extensive use of their own specific unmanned aerial drones. And by that Falk means that some nations will use drones within their own territory, whilst more powerful international actors, will use them globally (and for attack purposes too).

Falk may be putting his realist hat on, and his spot-on theorizing may be of the Machiavellian reality/order of things, but the actuality of the matter is that the drones are totally (and utterly) illegal and unfair. Like a child in a candy shop, the military-industrial complex’s eyes have bulged out, at the advent of this facile way of grievously and insufferably slaughtering people — and so Falk’s analysis is, positively, very sound in this sense. But truth, facts, and reason, I think, must be defended also, even if they are ridiculed as utopian and overly idealistic, by the egregious, sly, and unscrupulous actions — made by the technocrats, military, governmental and political elite officials — who rule our modern day Oceania-esque nation-state, and evermore integrated world.

One of the most prominent government officials of any position — or any stripe — to come out, and unequivocally attack the drones is Hina Rabbani Khar, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Khar has said that, “Drones are not only completely illegal and unlawful and have no authorization to be used — within the domains of international law, but even more importantly, they are counterproductive to your objective of getting this region rid of militancy and terrorism and extremism. Furthermore she has stated, “if one [drone] strike leads to getting you target number one, or target number three today; you are creating five more targets, or ten more targets — in the militancy that it breeds — in the fodder that it gives to the militants, to join their ranks.”

Earlier this year Amnesty International called upon the Obama administration to demonstrate the legal and factual basis of the lethal use of drones. Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific director — at the time — said that, “the US authorities must give a detailed explanation of how these strikes are lawful, and what is being done to monitor civilian casualties and ensure proper accountability. And the director moreover asked, “What are the rules of engagement? What proper legal justification exists for these attacks? While the President’s confirmation of the use of drones in Pakistan, is a welcome first step towards transparency, these and other questions need to be answered.”

Thin and paltry “justifications” for the drone attacks have, in the past, been offered by US officials, and are “grounded” upon the spurious legal basis of a US global war on terrorism with Al-Qaeda — a concept that is not accepted or recognized, by international humanitarian or human rights law. Truthfully, the ultimate question is what law — if any — recognizes, or gives any credence to the deplorable bombardments, by these egregious, brutish, feral, and essentially barbaric (and deeply) inhuman drones?

International law scholar Philip Alston has said about the drones, “I’m particularly concerned that the United States seems oblivious to this fact when it asserts an ever-expanding entitlement for itself to target individuals across the globe… this strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability is not an entitlement which the United States or other states can have without doing grave damage to the rules designed to protect the right to life and prevent extrajudicial executions.”

Alston, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has proposed a summit by the “great” military powers to clarify the legal limits, and the boundaries on the extrajudicial attacks by the killer drones. If such a summit doesn’t take place, and define a fixed, immutable, firm, resolute, and unbending (drone) operational blueprint Alston says, “This expansive and open-ended interpretation of the right to self-defense [used to attempt to legitimize the drone strikes] goes a long way towards destroying the prohibition on the use of armed force contained in the [Charter of the UN].”

As made clear by Professor Richard Falk, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever, to continue on with these savage, mass slaying, and annihilating — and indeed, authentically diabolical killer drones. Like the opening of Pandora’s box, though, these horrid, reprehensible, and unconscionable technological creations may be with us for good. Professor Falk is a more learned man than I, so sadly, if the forces of peace and justice can’t effectively resist, and potentially put an end to these stealthful mass-murderers — run by cowards who have never even envisaged any battlefields — then they will continue to amass great civilian murder, death, heinousness, invidiousness, and inordinate barbarity too. This will more than likely be done by the nations, and regimes that trumpet human rights, democracy, liberty, transparency, openness, and unregulated; and unrestrained human thought, as articles that are necessary to their very basic foundational civic principles, and integral to their national essence also.

Sean Fenley is an independent progressive who would like to see the end of the dictatorial duopoly of the so-called two party adversarial system.

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Comments Off on Rachel Maddow Defends the US Drone Program on Howard Stern