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Israel escalates attacks on Palestinains

PressTVGlobalNews · July 4, 2013

Nearly a dozen Palestinians have been abducted by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. A Palestinian journalist and a lawmaker are among those who were assaulted and then detained.

The latest Israeli raid also caused the death of a 19-year-old boy. Human rights groups say there has been a surge in violence by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters and the Palestinian media recording Israel’s violations.

Attacks are escalating against Palestinians with one brutal murder and over 11 arrests this week. Although the Israeli army state that the circumstances of these arrests are for legitimate reasons, they are rarely held accountable or made to show evidence for these crimes.

Nel Burden, Press TV, Bethlehem

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US aid cut to Egypt worries Israel: Report

Press TV – July 4, 2013

The Israeli regime is worried that Washington’s plan to cut aid to Egypt in the wake of the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi could endanger the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, a report says.

The Tel Aviv regime fears that the US government would suspends the annual military aid of USD 1.3 billion to Egypt after the Egyptian Army overthrew Morsi’s government, Israeli daily Globes reported on Thursday.

The paper quoted US sources as saying that Israel might ask the US administration to find a way to continue supplying aid to Egypt.

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that he was “deeply concerned” by the military removal of Morsi. Obama said he ordered the government to review the American aid to Egypt.

Under the US law, the government has to suspend foreign aid to any country whose elected leader is toppled in a coup. Obama has so far stopped short of describing the events in Egypt as a coup.

The American sources also told the Israeli paper that maintaining the peace treaty was one of the pillars of the collapsed government of Morsi.

“The US Congress, which controls the purse strings, was suspicious, and even hostile, to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government. Its agreement, albeit with gritted teeth, to keep the peace treaty with Israel, was one of the main reasons why the pro-Israeli Congress agreed to continue aid to Egypt after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011,” the paper also said.

The sources also said that the Tel Aviv regime hoped that the US would understand the importance of the treaty and continue its aid to Egypt.

General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of Egypt’s Army, announced late Wednesday that President Morsi was no longer in office. He declared Head of Supreme Constitutional Court Adli Mansour as the interim president.

Morsi’s ouster came after days of massive anti-government protests plunged the country into chaos.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egyptian army demolishes tunnels with Gaza

MEMO | July 4, 2013

Tunnels between Egypt and Gaza have been the main life line to the 1.8million residents of Gaza since the Israeli siege was imposed in 2006.

Tunnels between Egypt and Gaza have been the main life line to the 1.8million residents of Gaza since the Israeli siege was imposed in 2006.
On Thursday afternoon, Egyptian bulldozers began to demolish the tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip which have functioned as the life-line to the besieged Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Israeli siege in 2006.

Egyptian facebook news network RNN reported on its page that big Egyptian military bulldozers started the demolition of the tunnels. They were protected by military vehicles.

Eyewitnesses from Rafah, Gaza’s southern city which is adjacent to Egypt, said that they had seen the bulldozers at work; that they had seen them arrive several days ago, but that they had only started working today.

They said that heavy automatic guns are mounted on the military vehicles protecting the bulldozers there.

Egyptian sources said that new military forces arrived in the area between Egypt and Gaza yesterday [Wednesday].

The smuggling of commodities to the Gaza Strip was halted several days before the start of the unrest in Egypt.

Palestinian security forces raised the alert on the tunnels fearing chaos might occur during the unrest.

Tunnels between Egypt and Gaza have been the main life line to the 1.8million residents of Gaza since the Israeli siege was imposed in 2006.

The siege, which was imposed following Hamas’ shock victory in the Palestinian parliamentarian elections, is internationally agreed upon.

The ministry of health in Gaza announced that fuel for electricity generators and ambulances will run out within days. “We are facing an unknown future with the closure of the tunnels,” a statement said.

Israel does not allow enough fuel through its crossings with Gaza.


Egypt unrest slows down Gaza construction

Ma’an – 04/07/2013

GAZA CITY – Unrest in Egypt has slowed down construction in the Gaza Strip, which relies on building materials smuggled in through cross-border tunnels, a union official said Thursday.

Israel only allows construction material into Gaza through its border for internationally-funded and approved projects, and this is the only building material available in Gaza since the tunnel trade slowed down, said Nabil Abu Meiliq, head of the union of Palestinian contractors.

60754_345x230Abu Meiliq says no construction material is coming into Gaza from Egypt. Construction is down to 20% since tunnel traffic halted, ending a brief building boom in Gaza, Abu Meiliq told Ma’an.

Several projects funded by the Qatari government are on hold, including the Sheikh Hamad city, due to shortages of materials including cement, Abu Meiliq added.

Before smuggling tunnels closed, a ton of cement cost around 400 shekels ($110), but each ton is now selling for up to 1,000 shekels.

Abu Meiliq said the shortages were not a result of monopolies, but of high demand and very low supply.

Muhammad Abu Sido, a TV director from Gaza City, told Ma’an he had stopped work on his 3-storey home due to cement shortages.


Egyptian army reinforces presence on the borders with Gaza

Palestine Information Center – 05/07/2013

RAFAH — The Egyptian forces reinforced their presence on the borders with Gaza, where they brought more tanks.

Eyewitnesses said that the Egyptian army brought more tanks and troops along the Egypt-Gaza border which stretches 14 kilometers, and added they saw Egyptian armed forces on the roofs of a number of buildings.

For their part, Palestinian security forces in large numbers have been deployed along the border.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian security forces have closed the tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, used for the smuggling of essential goods and fuel to the besieged Strip.

Informed sources confirmed that the Egyptian army launched a campaign to demolish the tunnels built under the Egyptian-Palestinian border.

The sources told PIC’s correspondent that Egyptian tanks and armored vehicles have been intensively deployed on the borders, amid a campaign that included the destruction of many tunnels that have been closed for several days due to the recent developments in Egypt.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

Report details ill-treatment of Palestinian children by Israeli forces

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Defence for Children International Palestine | June 30, 2013

Ramallah — Defence for Children International Palestine submitted a report to four separate United Nations independent human rights experts this week that details the widespread and systematic ill-treatment Palestinian children encounter in the Israeli military detention system.

The report is based on 108 affidavits collected during 2012 from Palestinian children arrested in the West Bank and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system. The report details the type of violations children encounter in the system, including:

  • Use of hand ties in 97% of cases
  • Use of blindfolds in 95% of cases
  • No lawyer present during interrogation in 99% of cases
  • Physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation in 74% of cases
  • Verbal abuse, humiliation and intimidation in 68% of cases
  • Strip searches in 89% of cases
  • Use of solitary confinement for interrogation purposes in 19% of cases

Recommendations presented in the report to address ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children in the system include ending night arrests and the use of solitary confinement, excluding evidence obtained by force or coercion during interrogations, allowing access to legal counsel prior to interrogations as well as the presence of a parent during interrogations.

“It is no secret that systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian kids has been occurring for several years,” says Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCI-Palestine. “There are too many reports, what we need is action.”

Impunity for violations continued to be a significant obstacle in 2012. DCI-Palestine filed eight complaints with Israeli authorities concerning the ill-treatment and torture of children while in Israeli military detention. While investigations were opened in several of the complaints, not a single indictment has been issued against a perpetrator. Many Palestinian families refuse to file complaints for fear of retaliation or simply because they do not believe the system is fair or impartial.

The report concludes by declaring that recent amendments to Israeli military law relating to children have had little impact whatsoever on their treatment during the critical first 48 hours after an arrest, where most of the ill-treatment occurs at the hands of soldiers, policemen and interrogators.

Since 1967, Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have been living under Israeli military law and prosecuted in military courts. Israel is the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes children in military courts. Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years old, are detained, interrogated and imprisoned within the Israeli military detention system.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama, Mandela and Dangerous Mythology

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | July 3, 2013

Centuries of oppression have made black people particularly susceptible to the tempting siren song which comes with the image of black success. It is harmless to want a black person to win some coveted acclaim like a Pulitzer prize or even an Oscar, but quite another to be rendered stupid by the sight. Our history teaches us that we must be wary lest we be carried away by emotion that is without substance.

Barack Obama is the most obvious example of this phenomenon and its pernicious influence. A black man being elected as president of the United States was long hoped for but seemingly impossible. The realization of what had long been imagined and the often racist attacks against this dream create common cause with Obama and intense personal happiness on his behalf. Yet what seems inspirational is in fact anything but. The feelings of affection for Obama have been a negative force which impede rational thought and political common sense. The people who most epitomized the American search for true democracy have given it up completely because they love seeing a black man wearing a POTUS jacket and get angry when white people don’t like seeing it.

That history of struggle and the group identity it creates have not been limited to the American experience. The decades long fight against the racist apartheid system in South Africa was supported by millions of people in this country too. Jim Crow was America’s own apartheid. It is only logical that the sight of black people being treated cruelly in the name of white supremacy would elicit feelings of affinity in this country and around the world.

Nelson Mandela’s release from 27 years of imprisonment and his subsequent election as president created a surge of pride and joy among black people everywhere. Unfortunately we did not truly understand what we were witnessing. These events came about as a result of forces unacknowledged in America and they also came with a very high price.

The name of the Angolan town Cuito Cuanavale means little to all but a handful of Americans but it lies at the heart of the story of apartheid’s end. At Cuito Cuanavale in 1988 Cuban troops defeated the South African army and in so doing sealed apartheid’s fate.

It is important to know how apartheid ended, lest useless stories about a miraculously changed system and a peaceful grandfatherly figure confuse us and warp our consciousness. Mandela was freed because of armed struggle and not out of benevolence. He was also freed because the African National Congress miscalculated and made concessions which have since resulted in terrible poverty and powerlessness for black people in South Africa. By their own admission, some of his comrades concede that they were unprepared for the determination of the white majority to hold the purse strings even as they gave up political power.

Now the masses of black South Africans are as poor as they were during the time of political terror. The Sharpeville massacre of 1960 which galvanized the world against South Africa was repeated in 2012 when 34 striking miners were killed by police at Marikana. The Marikana massacre made a mockery of the hope which millions of people had for the ANC and its political success.

Obama’s recent visit to South Africa when the 94 year old Mandela was hospitalized created a golden opportunity for analysis and a questioning of long held assumptions about both men but the irrefutable fact is this. The personal triumphs of these two individuals have not translated into success for black people in either of their countries.

The victory of international finance capital wreaks havoc on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. In the U.S. black people have reached their political and economic low point during the Obama years. The gains won 50 years ago have been reversed while unemployment, mass incarceration, and Obama supported austerity measures have all conspired to undo the progress which was so dearly paid for.

Obama’s visit to Africa as Mandela lay critically ill brought very sincere but very deeply misled people to remember all of the wrong things. It isn’t true that black people benefit from the political success of certain individuals. It isn’t true that role models undo systemic cruelty or that racism ends because of their presence or that white people see or treat the masses of black people any differently when one black person reaches a high office.

The maudlin sentiment was all built on lies. Mandela fought the good fight for many years and is worthy of respect for that reason alone. But his passing should be a moment to reflect on his mistakes and on how they can be avoided by people struggling to break free from injustice. Obama’s career is a story of ambition and high cynicism which met opportunity. There is little to learn from his story except how to spot the next evil doer following in his footsteps.

It is high time that myths were called what they are. They are stories which may help explain our feelings but they are stories nonetheless and they do us no good.

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

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Somalia, The Opposite Is Probably True

By Stephen Roblin   ·   NYTX   ·   July 4, 2013

Evidently, in the worldview of the New York Times, the United States can play a “vital role in improving” a country despite subjecting it to mass famine death, while at the same time be a victim of the country’s internal troubles. This remarkable interpretation of recent events is implied from the few statements made about Somalia this past week.

As Carol Giacomo, a member of the NYT’s editorial board, informs us, the Obama administration “has played critical roles in stabilizing Somalia.” Elsewhere, NYT reporters cite the view of J. Stephen Morrison, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that the administration has played a “vital role in improving Somalia, a country whose troubles have bedeviled several American presidents.” When Somalia is the topic of discussion, the views expressed here are often put forth and taken for granted.

Before subjecting these views to Obama’s actual record, let us briefly entertain a hypothetical in order to achieve some helpful perspective. Imagine that Syria was on the brink of famine. And in its effort to prop up the Assad regime and prevent aid from “benefitting” the rebels, the Iranian government prevented international humanitarian relief agencies from providing life-saving assistance to civilians in rebel-controlled territory. By doing so in this hypothetical, Tehran played a major role in causing the death of an estimated 250,000 people. Needless to say, the American press would not overlook this policy in investigating whether Iran has played a “vital role in improving” Syria.

Of course, no historical analogy is perfect. But the one drawn here is sufficiently close to illustrate how remarkable the statements cited above are in light of the Obama administration’s record on the 2011 Somali famine, which may have killed over 250,000 people, according to a recent mortality study.

Obama’s contribution to humanitarianism has been to lead an assault on the very notion of humanitarian relief. The victims of the Somali famine are part of this legacy. By instituting and enforcing “counterterrorism” restrictions on aid operations, his administration effectively criminalized humanitarian relief in regions where anyone labelled a “terrorist” resides. In Somalia, this meant criminalizing relief in Al Shabaab-controlled territory, which was nearly all of southern Somalia. Due to these restrictions and Al Shabaab’s ban on numerous Western aid agencies, the region was largely “depopulated” of humanitarian relief operations. When an “epic” drought hit the Horn of Africa in late 2010 and 2011, the conditions were ripe for famine. (For a detailed assessment of the famine’s various causes and contributive factors, see the special issue on the Somalia famine in Global Food Security.) Despite the fact that the catastrophe was predicted close to a year in advance, the U.S. refused to de-criminalize humanitarian relief in the region, even after the UN officially declared famine in July 2011.

Obama did offer nice words as the horror that he helped create unfolded. “[T]ogether, we must insist on unrestricted humanitarian access,” he declared, “so that we can save the lives of thousands of men and women and children.” Ever the moral leader, he called on us to “show that the life of a child in Somalia is as precious as any other.” His record is understood well enough to unveil the deep cynicism and contempt present in these words. (See: Ken Menkhaus, “No access: Critical bottlenecks in the 2011 Somali famine,” Global Food Security, December 2012; Roblin, “New Study Claims Over 250,000 Died From 2011 Somali Famine, U.S.-Al Shabaab Savagery To Blame,” ZNet, May 11, 2013; Roblin, “The ‘Unscandal’ of Mass Famine Deaths in Somalia,” NYT eXaminer, Jun 26, 2013; and “Horn of Africa Crisis: Somalia’s Famine,” Al Jazeera, November 29, 2011.)

It’s true that to some degree conditions in Somalia have improved, particularly on the political front. However, it’s arguable that progress in this area has occurred largely in spite of the policies pursued by the U.S. and other Western “donors,” rather than because of them. Putting aside this issue, we should recall that since 2006 Somalia has struggled to climb out of the hell that Washington and its regional client, Ethiopia, created. Indeed, Somalia has been “bedeviled” by Washington far more than the other way around–there’s simply no comparison. Here’s a quick list of some of the more notable policies pursued by Somalia’s patron saint: the closure of Somalia’s largest remittance company, Al Barakaat, in November 2001; hiring warlords to wage a dirty war on the streets of Mogadishu (2004-2006); authoring Ethiopian aggression and backing its brutal two year-long occupation (2006-2009); criminal airstrikes and drone strikes (see link); criminalizing humanitarian relief (2009 to present); and supporting Kenya’s criminal invasion that began in October 2011. (For more on this record, see my articles: “War and famine, the only option?,” part I and part IIZNet, September 2011; “Kenya’s Criminal Assault on Famine-Stricken Somalia,” Truthout, December 18, 2011; “Somalia’s ‘Climate of Impunity’ Enjoyed By More Than Just Pirates,” NYT eXaminer, August 1, 2012; and “The Maury Levy Method of Journalism,” NYT eXaminer, October 28, 2012.)

To conclude, when readers of the “paper of record” come across historical themes that concern Somalia, they should assume the opposite is true and then investigate for themselves. Last week confirmed the reliability of this heuristic device, which very well may have wider application.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Endless war to mass surveillance: The White House effect

By Sam Sacks | RT | July 03, 2013

President Obama defended the spying scandal on his tour of Africa, and was joined by predecessor George W Bush, which highlighted how similar they have become by forgetting campaign promises while occupying the White House.

President Obama’s Africa trip is overshadowed by new allegations that the United States is committing widespread surveillance on its allies. The President defended these NSA programs saying that all countries are doing similar snooping.

“They’re going to be trying to understand the world better and what’s going on in world capitals around the world, from sources that aren’t available through the New York Times or NBC News,” he said in Tanzania this week.

He added, “I guarantee you that in European capitals, there are people who are interested in, if not what I had for breakfast, at least what my talking points might be, should I end up meeting with their leaders.”

Appropriately, just as President Obama was defending his administration against these spying scandals, he was joined in Africa by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Presidents 43 and 44 met in Tanzania on Tuesday laying a wreath at the site of the 1998 American embassy bombings. They were together far, far away from the White House, an office currently dealing with the fallout from all its intelligence secrets being laid bare for the world to see. Secrets created by both Presidents Bush and Obama.

These two men couldn’t be more different. Barely of the same generation, they are from different socio-economic backgrounds, from different parts of the country, and from different intellectual backgrounds and professions. They had different upbringings, different hobbies, and different religious beliefs.

But they did hold the same office. And that’s why on Tuesday, in Tanzania, Bush and Obama looked more similar than ever before. It’s as though the White House took hold of these two very different men, chewed them up and spit them out into two monochromatic globs who forgot who they were before moving in to the highest office in the land. And most importantly forgot their ideals.

Remember, it was as a presidential candidate in 2008 that Barack Obama opposed mass domestic surveillance, saying: “I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are.”

Edward Snowden’s leaks prove that now as President, Obama has thrown out all those campaign promises. Not only that, he’s expanded their global reach and justified this expansion by basically saying, “All countries are doing it so we have to also.”

This is what five years in the White House does to a person.

And remember, it was as a Senator in 2007 that Barack Obama supported legislation that would have protected journalists from heavy-handed subpoenas by the DOJ. It was called the Free Flow of Information Act, and it was directly opposed by George W. Bush in the White House. The legislation failed, and two years later, when Obama was in the White House, he made sure the legislation went nowhere, working actively to water it down. And then his Justice Department went to unprecedented lengths to target journalists at the AP and at Fox News.

And of course, one can only assume, that as a member of the Illinois Senate in 2002 when he spoke out so passionately against the Iraq War, that Barack Obama didn’t imagine a decade later he’d be at the helm of a global drone war targeting not just Afghanistan and Iraq, but also Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

So, what causes the transformation? Maybe it’s what Eisenhower warned of in 1961 – the power of the military industrial complex. Maybe it’s the immense political pressure to keep the nation safe from terrorism. Maybe it’s the weight of responsibility of steering a world superpower. Maybe it’s a combination of all of these.

But the office has affected not just Obama and Bush, but also Clinton and George HW Bush and Reagan. All have used the force of our military around the world.

The only President who didn’t start his own conflict was Jimmy Carter more than 30 years ago. Carter also tried to ban extra-judicial assassinations. And today, he’s distinguished himself from both Bush and Obama, calling Snowden’s leaks “beneficial”.

But Carter was tossed out of the White House after only one-term. The Presidents who came later learned this lesson. And now, both of them two-term presidents meet in Africa. Bush, the man who created the machine, and Obama, the man who innovated it.

Both men shaped not by their political ideology, but by their time in the White House taking the reins of the American superpower and doing everything it takes – from war to mass surveillance – to hold on in a world that’s becoming more and more hostile to superpowers.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment

Obama Visits Mandela’s Old Cell, But Won’t Free His Own Political Prisoners

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | July 3, 2013

President Barack Obama, a man of infinite cynicism, made a great show of going on pilgrimage to Nelson Mandela’s old prison cell on Robben Island, where the future first Black president of South Africa spent 18 of his 27 years of incarceration. With his wife and daughters in tow, Obama said he was “humbled to stand where men of such courage faced down injustice and refused to yield…. No shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit,” said the chief executive of the unchallenged superpower of mass incarceration, a nation whose population comprises only 5 percent of humanity, but is home to fully one-quarter of the Earth’s prison inmates.

True sociopaths, like the commander-in-chief who updates his Kill List every Tuesday, have no sense of shame, much less irony. Obama feigns awe at Mandela’s suffering and sacrifice in the prisons of apartheid South Africa, yet presides over a regime that, on any given day, holds 80,000 inmates in the excruciating torture of solitary confinement. During Nelson Mandela’s nearly three decades of imprisonment by the white regime, he spent a total of only about one week in solitary confinement. The rest of the time, despite often harsh treatment, backbreaking labor, and unhealthy conditions, Mandela and other political prisoners at Robben Island and other South African jails were typically housed together. Indeed, Mandela and his incarcerated comrades called the prisons their “university,” where they taught each other to become the future authorities over their jailers.

Racist South Africa’s treatment of Mandela and his co-revolutionists was downright benign and enlightened, compared to fate of U.S. prisoners who are deemed a threat to the prevailing order. At U.S. high security facilities, the slightest evidence that an inmate is of a political bent of mind is cause for him to be condemned to a solitary existence for decades – a social death alien to the human species. At California’s Pelican Bay and the state prison at Corcoran, thousands of inmates are held in isolation, 80 of them for more than 20 years, the very definition of barbarism. Yet, Obama journeys across oceans and continents to stand for a photo op in the cell of a prisoner whose ordeal was nowhere near as horrific as the standard fare for political prisoners in his own country.

On his trip to South Africa, Obama proclaimed that “the world is grateful for the heroes of Robben Island.” And, that’s certainly true, although it was a U.S. intelligence agent who lured Nelson Mandela into a trap in 1962 that ultimately led to his capture and imprisonment. Obama has no sympathy, however, for political prisoners of any race in his own country. Former Black Panther Herman Wallace is thought to be the longest-serving prisoner in solitary confinement in the United States, having spent 40 years alone in a cell in Louisiana’s notorious Angola Prison. Obama could free him at any time, but of course, he won’t. He could emancipate Black Panther captive Russell Maroon Shoatz, who has spent nearly 30 years in solitary, or Republic of New Africa political prisoner Mutulu Shakur or any and all of the scores of other aging political prisoners – people whose dedication to human freedom is no less than Mandela’s, yet have been subjected to far worse treatment at American hands. Instead, Obama has doubled the bounty on Shakur’s comrade and sister, Assata, in exile in Cuba. She might even be on Obama’s Kill List – which is the real and authentic legacy of this country’s First Black President.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Restore the Fourth’: Reddit, Mozilla, thousands of people set for July 4 NSA spying protest

RT | July 3, 2013

Thousands of websites will launch a July 4 online protest against the NSA surveillance programs. Reddit, WordPress, and Mozilla will take part in the ‘Restore the Fourth’ campaign online, while live protests take place in cities across the US.

‘Restore the Fourth’ is aimed at restoring the fundamentals of the Fourth Amendment – the part of the Bill of Rights which protects citizens against unlawful searches and seizures. Participants will display an online banner which reads, “This 4th of July, we stand by the 4th Amendment and against the U.S. government’s surveillance of internet users.”

The campaign, which was spawned on Reddit, has the support of several privacy and press freedom advocacy organizations, including Mozilla, Free Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and ColorOfChange.org.

The rally was largely organized by Fight for the Future – another non-profit agency which fights against internet censorship. The organization’s co-founder, Tiffiniy Cheng, said in a statement that “the NSA programs that have been exposed are blatantly unconstitutional, and have a detrimental effect on free speech and freedom of press worldwide.” The rally is expected to be Fight for the Future’s largest online mobilization since its actions against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

But the protest doesn’t stop online. Organizers are planning live protests in dozens of US cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta. Doug MacArthur, a member of Restore the Fourth’s national board and moderator on Reddit’s r/news, expects between 10,000 and 20,000 people to take part in the protests in the nation’s larger cities.

MacArthur stressed the need for the protest, largely because mainstream media is failing to adequately cover the NSA leaks and what that means for everyday citizens.

“I think if you are on social media right now and political blogs, this might seem like it’s an issue that’s all over the political blogs. But if you turn on CNN or Fox or MSNBC, you’ll see that a lot of the more mainstream channels aren’t covering this as much as you might be assuming. So I really think it’s important we get more citizens aware of this issue,” he said, as quoted by Mashable.

Free Press CEO and President Craig Aaron echoed MacArthur’s sentiments. “We need to bring these government and corporate activities into the light of day, and the only way that will happen is if millions more people get involved and demand accountability, demand change, demand the truth,” he said in a Tuesday press conference.

However, it’s not just internet activists getting involved in the fight – one Hollywood celebrity has been very vocal in expressing his views on the NSA’s surveillance practices.

“How long do we expect rational people to accept using terrorism to justify and excuse endless executive and state power?” actor John Cusack said during a press conference announcing the protests. “Why are so many in our government, our press, our intellectual class afraid of an informed public?”

Cusack, who is a board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, complained that many of those defending the NSA surveillance programs are focusing on supposed character flaws of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden instead of questioning the program’s legality.

Harvey Anderson, senior vice president of business and legal affairs at Mozilla, agrees with Cusack. He said in a statement that the spotlight on Snowden is a “big distraction to avoid focusing on the invasions that have actually been occurring.” The lack of transparency about the surveillance programs “undermines the openness of the internet,” he added.

There has been a massive outcry against the surveillance practices since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked sensitive information in May. In just three weeks, StopWatching.us has collected more than 531,000 signatures from people calling for Congress to fully disclose details about the NSA surveillance programs.

Snowden is currently held up in the international transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. He is unable to travel as his passport is invalid. Washington has issued an extradition order against Snowden, calling for international cooperation in returning him to American soil.

The whistleblower has so far made asylum requests for more than a dozen countries, with ten nations already denying him refuge. Venezuela says it will consider Snowden’s request when it is received.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Is An Objective Journalist?

By Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer | Worker’s Compass | July 2, 2013

In a recent New York Times article article David Carr questioned whether someone could be both a journalist and an activist, a question that was prompted by the role of Glenn Greenwald, a writer for The Guardian and a political activist, in reporting on Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency leaks.

As Carr put it, “The question of who is a journalist and who is an activist and whether they can be one and the same continues to roar along, most recently in the instance of Glenn Greenwald’s reporting for The Guardian on the secrets revealed by Edward J. Snowden.” Carr also framed the question as “a fight between objectivity and subjectivity.”

Carr initially seemed to concede that one and the same person could be both an activist and a journalist, even though the activists are “driven by an agenda.” In fact, the title of his article conveyed exactly that point: “Journalism, Even When It’s Tilted.” And, as Carr noted, this is an important concession since journalists are afforded special legal protections in the case of reporting leaks. Mr. Greenwald needs this protection because there are some government officials who would like to see him prosecuted.

However, towards the end of his article Carr began to raise caveats. Activism, he concluded, does not prevent someone from being a journalist; it rather tends to make them bad journalists: “But I think activism – which is admittedly accompanied by the kind of determination that can prompt discovery – can also impair vision.” And he added: “…the tendentiousness of ideology creates its own narrative.” In other words, activism can on rare occasions be helpful in unearthing the truth, but usually it is a barrier.

But perhaps Mr. Carr has failed to grasp the larger picture, possibly due to his own unspoken commitments. Everyone falls into one of two categories. There are those who basically have resigned themselves to established society, perhaps because of ideological compatibility, a strong strain of pragmatism, or a conviction that attempts to change society are entirely futile. Then there are others who are critical and are prepared to embark on a campaign to try to change what they find objectionable. Neither of these groups has a monopoly on objectivity; both positions rest on a set of fundamental values that can be rationally supported. And both involve a kind of activism: one aims at changing society while the other aims at refraining from changing it.

Yet there is a superficial difference between the two: those who want to change society do stand out. Unlike Mr. Carr, they do not seamlessly blend in with the surrounding social institutions and the values embodied in them. Accordingly, they might seem as if they have an agenda that uniquely distinguishes them, but that is only from the perspective of people like Mr. Carr, whose agenda ties him to the status quo but who has not sufficiently reflected on his own social commitments and therefore is unable to acknowledge them. No one, in other words, is exempt from having an “agenda.”

This point was graphically illustrated when “Meet the Press” host David Gregory pointedly asked Greenwald why he should not be charged with a crime for divulging Edward Snowden’s leaks. Here Gregory stood smugly on the side of those who wield power and was quick to demonstrate this point by his tendentious question, perhaps with the thought in mind of winning a promotion, which is a rampant form of another kind of activism.

To his credit, Carr elicited Greenwald’s response to the counterposing of activism and journalism, and this was Greenwald’s response: “It is not a matter of being an activist or a journalist; it’s a false dichotomy. It is a matter of being honest or dishonest. All activists are not journalists, but all real journalists are activists. Journalism has a value, a purpose – to serve as a check on power.” And Greenwald added: “I have seen all sorts of so-called objective journalists who have all kinds of assumptions in every sentence they write. Rather than serve as an adversary of government, they want to bolster the credibility of those in power. That is a classic case of a certain kind of activism.”

Greenwald’s rejection of the purported dichotomy between activism and journalism is, of course, entirely correct. Everyone is an activist of one kind or another. The distinction should rather be drawn between those who are conscious activists and those who, like Mr. Carr and Mr. Gregory, are unconscious activists. Those who fail to reflect on their own commitments are sometimes the most vicious.

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer may be reached at sanfrancisco@workerscompass.org

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Morsi ousted with US blessing’

RT | July 4, 2013

From its inception the uprising against President Morsi was aided by the US, researcher and writer Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich told RT. She argues that whoever succeeds the ousted Egyptian leader will likely be beholden to the forces that put him in power.

RT: What do you think the future holds for Mohamed Morsi now?

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich: I don’t think Mohamed Morsi has any place to go to really. There might be a lot of jubilation that the military has removed him from office. President Morsi did make himself very unpopular not only inside Egypt but with his neighbors, the surrounding countries. But that being said, the implications are huge as he was democratically elected. And for the army to step in and remove him from office is a military coup and it is very hard for me to believe that the military would have taken this step without the blessing of the United States.

I know that the Americans said, President Obama said, that they would review aid to Egypt. But [US Secretary of Defense] Chuck Hagel had been on the phone with Egypt for two or three days. Egypt basically owes its military, owes its existence to the United States of America. This is not a step they would take without their blessings.

Mohamed Morsi may be out now, but his followers will not be and we’ll only see an escalation of clashes, which is very unfortunate for the Egyptian people.

‘People rallying against poverty – and Morsi’

RT: You talk about the support the Egyptian military got from the US. But live video from Tahrir Square suggests that there are people out there, a significant if not a majority of the Egyptian population who also want Morsi out of power.

SSU: I’m not arguing with that, I’m talking about a military that gets its support from the United States. You have to understand that a lot of people that are on Tahrir Square right now, many of them are not supporters of Morsi. The military actually put tanks against Morsi’s supporters and was very quick to arrest them.

There are people on the streets. A lot of them may be opposed to Morsi because of the laws that he wanted to establish, but a lot of it is also the economy. The [Egyptian] economy is very poor, these are very poor people. A lot of them are out there maybe protesting the fact that President Morsi was not able to improve the economic conditions better over the last year he had in office.

‘Egyptian army defends US-Israeli interests’

Again, for the military to have stepped in and removed him from power, and especially for General [Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Abdul Fatah Khalil] Al-Sisi, who was instrumental in blocking and enabling the Israelis to kill the Gazans, for them rejoicing over that is just mindboggling. The [Egyptian] military is an instrument of the United States of America, and the billions [of dollars] in support it has gotten for years now goes towards maintaining peace with Israel, not to serve Egyptian people.

Very soon the Egyptian people will wake up and realize that they are perhaps cheering the wrong faction.

American protégé ElBaradei most likely to replace Morsi

RT: The military, having pushed Morsi out of power now, do you think they have a plan who will lead the country next?

SSU: Again, America has invested a lot of time and money into this. Ever since 2007, America knew that former President Mubarak was dying of cancer. There was even a New York Times article in 2007 talking about who would be his replacement. Since 2008, they would have young Egyptians coming to America, go to the State Department, meet at the time Condoleezza Rice and others, and learn how to use modern technology to start an uprising in Egypt.

So this uprising from the very start was aided by the United States and one of the favorite horses in the race has been and continues to be [Nobel Peace Prize winner and opposition leader] Mohammed ElBaradei. He is the one who actually met with the military to remove Morsi.

Interestingly enough, ElBaradei is a member of the International Crisis Group, which is funded by George Soros and also the Carnegie Endowment and Ford Foundation, which during the Cold War was a conduit for CIA money. Although some have said that Mohamed ElBaradei [when he served as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] never pushed hard enough to say that Iran was developing a nuclear program and Israel might have had issues with that, he is in fact a favorite [to succeed Morsi] and he is coming up very prominently right now.

‘Next Egyptian president risks becoming a puppet’

RT: Do you think this is bad for the country right now? Mohammed ElBaradei is internationally respected figure, widely regarded as moderate and pro-democratic force for Egypt.

SSU: ElBaradei absolutely is. But it is bad for any country when somebody is helped from the outside – from forces without – to bring this person to power.

Then that person will automatically turn into a puppet. Their concern will not be for ‘what is good for the country’, their concern is their ambition, and that is always dangerous, whether they are moderate or fundamentalist – it does not matter. It should be an Egyptian decision.

RT: If he is elected into office – do you think that there will be a legitimate popular support for him?

SSU: I think that the people will have to decide. But ultimately, should he be elected into office, which is very likely, one has to remember where he comes from and how he got to become so prominent and whose support he has.

A lot of times it happens in every country and we’re not aware of the forces behind a figurehead or a given politician. And once that plays out, you might realize that it is a bit too late to change the course. But let’s hope for the best.

‘Chaos will prevail’

I don’t think that the followers of President Morsi will sit back and take this very quietly.

My hope and my wish for Egypt is to see a very peaceful process from here on. But I doubt that will be the case. I think chaos will prevail.

RT: Why do you say chaos will prevail?

SSU: The Muslim Brotherhood followers, the people that put Morsi into power, they feel disenfranchised. In fact, all though one does not want to see this conflict at all, they are the ones who have more right to backing the democratically elected president than anyone else.

If they feel they don’t really count anymore, that their votes and voices don’t count, they are going to show reaction, I think it is normal.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics | , , , , , , | 1 Comment