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Venezuela Leads Region in Poverty Reduction in 2012, ECLAC Says

By Dan Beeton and Joe Sammut | CEPR Americas Blog | December 6, 2013

The Associated Press reported yesterday that the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has highlighted a slowing of progress in poverty reduction in Latin America, citing “rising food costs and weaker economic growth” as contributing factors:

Poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean is now easing at a slower pace, the UN’s regional economic body said on Thursday, calling on governments to make policy changes that encourage growth while reducing the huge gap between the rich and poor.

UN economists based in Santiago said about 164 million people, or 28 percent of the region’s population, are still considered poor. That is nearly unchanged from last year. Out of those, 68 million of them are in extreme poverty.

But there are bright spots. ECLAC’s new “Social Panorama of Latin America” report [PDF] notes that Venezuela and Ecuador led the region in decreasing poverty in 2012:

Six of the 11 countries with information available in 2012 recorded falling poverty levels (see table 1). The largest drop was in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, where poverty fell by 5.6 percentage points (from 29.5% to 23.9%) and extreme poverty by 2.0 percentage points (from 11.7% to 9.7%). In Ecuador, poverty was down by 3.1 percentage points (from 35.3% to 32.2%) and indigence by 0.9 percentage points (from 13.8% to 12.9%).

This 5.6 percentage point decrease in Venezuela translates into a 19 percent decline in poverty overall last year, which CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot noted last month “is almost certainly the largest decline in poverty in the Americas for 2012, and one of the largest – if not the largest – in the world.”

This dramatic decrease in poverty is likely due to the impact of two new misiones (social programmes), the Gran Misión En Amor Mayor Venezuela and the Gran Misión Hijos de Venezuela, which were, by January 2013, benefitting more than 1,400,000 people.

Both misiones are aimed at assisting people living in extreme poverty: GM En Amor Mayor provides pensions to elderly people, and the GM Hijos de Venezuela provides cash transfers to households with children and pregnant women. The two missions are reaching a significant number of people: as of January 2013, 516,000 elderly people were receiving a monthly pension through GM Amor Mayor. Meanwhile, the program GM Hijos de Venezuela was making monthly payments to 324,000 families, which represents 794,000 individuals.

As well as simply reducing poverty, the GM Hijos de Venezuela reduces gender inequality. 98 percent of the recipients of the program were women, who are in many countries in Latin America overrepresented among the poor. It can be reasonably hypothesized that this high level of targeting is likely to increase the economic independence of women, reducing the frequent economic imperative for women to stay in disadvantageous relationships.

December 6, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Meet CO-TRAVELER: The NSA’s Cell Phone Location Tracking Program

By April Glaser and Kurt Opsahl | EFF | December 5, 2013

An article yesterday in the Washington Post disclosed the NSA’s massive cell phone location program. The program, codenamed CO-TRAVELER, is designed to track who meets with whom and covers everyone who carries a cell phone, all around the world.

With neither public debate nor court authorization, CO-TRAVELER collects billions of records daily of cell phone user location information. It maps the relationships of cell phone users across global mobile network cables, gathering data about who you are physically with and how often your movements intersect with other cell phone users. The program even tracks when your phone is turned on or off.

The trillions of collected records, which add up to twice the amount of data in the Library of Congress’ print collection, are saved and stored in the NSA’s mammoth database called FASCIA.  While allegedly aimed at foreigners and mobile phones overseas, the NSA admits that it has “incidentally” collected location information on U.S. persons.

CO-TRAVELER ignores fundamental values in the Constitution the NSA has sworn to uphold, including the right against unreasonable search and seizure as well as freedom of association. Thinking globally, the program disregards international human rights law, which is currently in the process of being reaffirmed in a draft resolution by the UN General Assembly.

The Fourth Amendment Protects Cell Phone Location Data

EFF has been working for years to get the courts to recognize that the government must get a warrant before seizing cell phone location records. The court decisions are split. In 2008 the Third Circuit federal appeals court correctly held that federal magistrates have the discretion to require the government to get a search warrant based on probable cause before obtaining cell phone location records. But the Fifth and Sixth Circuit have approved the seizure of cell phone location records without a warrant. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on cell phone location, but did hold that planting a GPS device on a car requires a warrant, without reaching a decision on whether the warrantless tracking itself would violate the Fourth Amendment.

CO-TRAVELER does not simply collect location information. It creates a portrait of travel times and people who crossed paths, revealing our physical interactions and relationships. The cell site information goes beyond email and phone calls and ordinary telephony data, allowing the U.S. government to know who we are with in-person and where. This is information that would be impossible to collect using traditional law enforcement methods.

An NSA official said that the agency’s collection methods are “tuned to be looking outside the United States.” This appears to be an attempt to assert that U.S. law does not apply because they are not “targeting” U.S. persons. Without the protections of U.S. law, the spying is regulated only by Executive Orders–orders by the President that are not subject to substantive oversight, and can modified at any time.  It’s likely that this program falls under Executive Order 12333. EO 12333 has few limits on surveillance overseas, even if it is a U.S. person.

CO-TRAVELER Violates the First Amendment

The CO-TRAVELER program is based on guilt by association, tracking location to determine our relationships and where we meet. The First Amendment protects our right to associate with individuals and groups without disclosing that information to the government. This is an essential right because it allows people to discuss their ideas, concerns, and feelings with others without the shadow of government surveillance. And this is not just a right recognized in the United States: the right to freely associate with individuals or groups has also been recognized in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and in countless other human rights charters.

EFF is currently representing 22 organizations from across the political spectrum who sued the NSA for violating their First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting their call records. The case, First Unitarian v. NSA, brings to light the real implications of mass surveillance–people are afraid to associate and meet based on likeminded interests.

Equally threatening to the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment are the speech-chilling effects of cell phone location tracking. Even if you use encryption online, when you meet someone in person and aren’t even on the phone, your movements may be tracked and recorded and stored.  The Washington Post article reports that the NSA tracks when a cell phone has been turned off, for how long, and what nearby devices are also being used and shut off.  The NSA provides further scrutiny of people who switch their phones on and off for brief periods or use throw-away phones.

Yet these security practices are common methods that journalists (or anyone else who might be privacy conscious) use to ensure security and trust when they meet with confidential sources and conduct investigations. Under this program, it is harder than ever for a journalist to guarantee a reasonable degree of privacy and security to their sources.

Privacy is an Internationally Recognized Human Right

While the NSA likes to claim it takes great care in not collecting the data of U.S. persons, the billions of people tracked by their programs have a basic human right to privacy. Right now the United Nations General Assembly is discussing a resolution that reaffirms that the human right to privacy is carried over and effective in the digital age.

EFF is part of the global movement demanding the protection of our most basic right to privacy, no matter the country or citizenship of a person. We signed on to a list of thirteen principles that a state should use to determine whether or not a surveillance program will encroach on fundamental human rights. Join us by adding your name to the global petition for privacy today.

We will continue to fight against the NSA’s unconstitutional and over-broad surveillance programs in the courts and in Congress, and advocate for deeper oversight of the NSA from all branches of government.

December 6, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

US Spy Satellite Logo Not At All Subtle: Octopus Enveloping The Earth

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | December 6, 2013

Over the past few months, I’ve certainly wondered quite a bit about just how bad the NSA seems to be at recognizing how the public feels concerning what it’s doing. This week’s revelations about tracking mobile phone locations was incredible because folks at the NSA must have known that information about this program was in Snowden’s collection, and yet when they were asked about collecting location info a few months ago, they made statements that would clearly look bad, when put next to the truth:

“We don’t get any cell site or location information as to where any of these phones were located.” — Keith Alexander

These phones. Under this program. But under this other program we collect pretty much everything. Beyond that, the various “code names” the NSA uses are somewhat revealing as well. Lots of people commented on the insanity of calling the giant database FASCIA. But, at the very least, you could argue that the NSA never expected those code names to be made public. And with the misleading statements, they were still holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, a meteor would magically flatten Glenn Greenwald, Barton Gellman and Laura Poitras before the info got out.

But… how about when the US intelligence community actually does something publicly. Like live tweeting the launch of a new spy satellite. Apparently, they slap the most unsubtle logo on it that you can imagine.

Yes, it’s an octopus, with tentacles reaching all over the globe. And the tagline is “Nothing is Beyond Our Reach.”

Sure. They’re spies. This is what they do. But, somehow, you’d think that maybe, just maybe, someone with a tiny bit of sense back there at the office of the director of national intelligence would think that, “gee, a lot of people around the globe are pretty fucking angry at us for all the spying we’re doing right now. maybe we shouldn’t be spitting in their faces, mocking their concerns, and reminding them that we’re blatantly evil people who really don’t give two shits about their privacy.”

Of course, that would take some actual recognition of what anyone thinks of them, and that doesn’t seem to be part of the way that the US intelligence community operates.

December 6, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 1 Comment

DeBlasio, Bratton and the Ongoing Criminalization of Youth in New York City

By ZHANDARKA KURTI | CounterPunch | December 6, 2013

Today, standing in front of news-cameras and press, newly elect mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio responds to the grievances of stop and frisk critics and progressive non-profits groups by appointing ‘America’s Top Cop,’ William Bratton as chief commissioner of the New York City Police Department. This is a slap in the face for many liberals across the city as their dreams of a progressive mayor are quickly dashed. Yet, for the few community activists that have not sold their hopes to city electoral politics, the appointment of Bratton signals the state response to dissent and a reaffirmation of the role of police in the neoliberal era with new points of interest, namely the criminalization of youth across New York City.

Now 66 years old, Bratton, admonished by many as “America’s Top Cop” comes back to the city that in the 1990s gave him the free pass to practice his zero-tolerance policing strategies, albeit, back then under a republican mayor. Some may question de Blasio’s decision. Given the tensions that have mounted recently against stop and frisk, why appoint someone that is so closely tied to this particular form of ‘quick-fix’ policing that continues to alienate communities of color?

Broken-windows policing was the brainchild of social science. James Q. Wilson and William Kelling in a 1982 article in The Atlantic proposed that eradicating graffiti, loitering, and other outward signs of community decay would effectively make communities safer and simultaneously address future crimes. The theory was taken up and applied by William Bratton, in his tenures as police chief in New York City in the 1990s and Los Angeles in 2000s. Since then the relationship between broken windows policing and crime rates has been debunked. Bernard Harcourt for example, in his book The Illusion of Order, challenges the correlation often drawn by criminologists between crime and disorder.  It is also important to note that broken windows theory, also known as zero tolerance policing became the main form of policing strategy as neoliberal agenda was being consolidated. The consequences of zero tolerance policing have been documented far and wide from heightened surveillance to harassment, police brutality, over-arrests and overall dehumanization of poor communities and communities of color. Zero-tolerance policing has effectively allowed the NYPD to practice search and stops that are similar to the counterinsurgency military techniques of ‘cordon and search’ used in Afghanistan.

So given the way in which Bratton was instrumental in implementing zero tolerance policing, out of which ‘stop and frisk’ is an aspect of, why assign him again to the task of overseeing the NYPD?

Before we get angry at DeBlasio for failing to fulfill the role that many liberals across the city have boxed him into, let us recall the mainstream response to stop and frisk policing by the “progressive” elements of NYC.

On February 4th, 2012 at a rally in the South Bronx for the beating of Jatiek Reed and the murder of Rahmarley Graham, city council members and progressive officials took the opportunity to get on the microphone and to speak against stop and frisk and to criticize the NYPD for the egregious assault of one young man and the murder of another. While politicians gave speeches on end, no one from the community was invited to speak about their experiences with the NYPD. Furthermore, the rhetoric remained one that was critical of ‘stop and frisk’ but supportive of the role that police play in combating crime. Take Back the Bronx along with other activists drew attention away from the banter of the politicians to the heart of the matter by chanting: “Fuck the NYPD.” The real problem community members shouted was not only ‘stop and frisk’: the real enemy was the NYPD.  The angry politicians tried to quiet the voices, but it was too late. The community members attending the march already left the politicians behind, chanting and taking over the streets of the South Bronx. This is a unique response to stop and frisk and to policing in general that is missing from progressive mainstream accounts.

Instead, the progressive activists and their non-profits have hijacked the discourse and have focused their energies on reforming the NYPD. Examples of this abound from so-called progressive East Flatbush councilmember Jumaane Williams to coalitions like Communities United for Police Reform (which includes many progressive non-profit groups throughout NYC). Together, they have been fundamental in channeling a radical critique of the NYPD to one that has boiled down to essentially legislative reform.

So, I wonder if these same groups will be surprised today as Bratton “the father of community policing” is called up to the task of overseeing the NYPD?

It may seem confusing to try to pinpoint why Bratton is hired at a moment when ‘stop and frisk’ has come under such scrutiny. Yet when we look at developments in Chicago and Oakland the picture is clearer.

Recently, in Oakland community groups came together to challenge City Council’s decision to hire Bratton as a consultant for its police department. In Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel[1] has openly embraced broken windows policing as a way to deal with violence. While politicians and their middle-class supporters cite violence as one of the main reasons for the need for heightened police presence, they do not look deeper to see the ways in which neoliberalism has affected Chicago, Oakland and New York City. Neoliberal re-structuring has displaced thousands. In neighborhoods that continue to ‘hold out’ and whose location is prime target for developers the only people that stand in the way are the youth. So, what we see in places like Chicago, Oakland and increasingly New York City is a focus on criminalization of youth, particularly street families or as the police likes to call them: gangs.

In Oakland, Bratton’s hire as a consultant for the police department was proposed at a time when community groups were heavily fighting gang injunctions, youth curfews etc. Similarly, in New York City, his appointment as Chief Commissioner of NYPD comes at time of increased scrutiny of police practices.  The state is making a particular choice when it hires Bratton as chief commissioner of the NYPD. It is responding to its critics and is clamping down on them. Bratton is coming into New York City at time when the NYPD is turning its attention to youth gangs like never before. In the next year, we will see the state focus more of its forces more heavily on criminalization of youth. What will be our response?

Zhandarka Kurti lives in the Bronx. She can be reached at zh.kurti@gmail.com

December 6, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN adopts disarmament resolution embodying Iran proposals

Press TV – December 6, 2013

The UN General Assembly has unanimously adopted a nuclear disarmament resolution that includes proposals forwarded by Iran President Hassan Rouhani as head of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The resolution, adopted on Thursday, calls on nuclear-power states to make more efforts to scale down and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear arms.

In an address to the UN Disarmament Conference in New York on September 25, President Rouhani called for the “total elimination” of nuclear weapons across the world and said no one should possess such weapons.

Rouhani’s proposals included the holding of immediate negotiations on the conclusion of a comprehensive international convention on banning the production, proliferation and use of nuclear weapons; the holding of a high-level conference in 2018 on nuclear disarmament; and designating September 26 as the international day for total elimination of nuclear weapons.

The UN General Assembly’s resolution urges nuclear-weapon states to rapidly adopt the necessary measures in order to abide by their international commitments regarding disarmament. It specifically calls for the full annihilation of nuclear arsenals, transparently, irrevocably, and under international supervision.

According to the resolution, non-nuclear states should be given guarantees that they will not be threatened or attacked with nuclear weapons.

It also calls on the General Assembly to urge all signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to follow up on the implementation of their obligations as agreed in the 1995, 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences.

December 6, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Charlatanism of Palestine-Denial

By Vacy Vlazna | Intifada-Palestine | November 13, 2013

Here we go again. On Israel and the US losing their UNESCO voting rights, ‘Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Nimrod Barkan, ‘said in an interview that his country supports the U.S. decision [to suspend contributions], “objecting to the politicization of UNESCO, or any international organization, with the accession of a non-existing country like Palestine.” (AP  8-11-13)

Palestine-denial, next to straight out violent ethnic-cleansing, is Israel’s sinister stratagem to wipe Palestinians off the face of their own ancestral land in order to lay a fictitious claim to the whole of historic Palestine.

Like the boy who cried ‘wolf’, Israel’s frenetic cries of ‘delegitimisation’ or’ anti-semitism’ at criticism of its illegal occupation and apartheid policies, are falling on the skeptical ears of the decent masses fed up with Israel’s double standards of delegitimising Palestine and dehumanising Palestinians as non-people.

In between the years spanning Golda Meir’s  “There were no such things as the Palestinians… They did not exist.” (June 15, 1969) to the regurgitation by US Presidential nominee candidate, Newt Gingrich, Sheldon Adelson’s ventriloquist dummy, “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state — (it was) part of the Ottoman Empire. I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs” (10 12- 11) and up to Barkan’s present absurdity, are torrents of similar Zionist gibberish in the media.

Just as the English people evolved over millennia through the assimilation of indigenous folk and conquering colonisers and migrants, ie Picts, Celts, Britons, Romans, Angles, Saxons and Normans, so too modern Palestinians descended from sundry peoples; Canaanites, Edomites, Eremites, Moabites, Assyrians,  Egyptians, Philistines, Hebrews,  Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Europeans,Turks.

In fact the nation of England didn’t manifest from multiple kingdoms until the 10th century CE and English identity only began to develop after the Norman conquests in the 12th century. At that time Palestine was part of the Arab Caliphate that took over from 600 years of Roman rule in 634 and held Palestine until 1516  three times longer than the sum of historic Jewish control sans the fictitious monarchies of Saul, David and Solomon:

“There is no evidence of a United Monarchy no evidence of a capital in Jerusalem or of any coherent, unified political force that dominated western Palestine, let alone an empire of the size the legends describe. We do not have evidence for the existence of kings named Saul, David or Solomon; nor do we have evidence for any temple at Jerusalem in this early period. What we do know of Israel and Judah of the tenth century does not allow us to interpret this lack of evidence as a gap in our knowledge and information about the past, a result merely of the accidental nature of archeology. There is neither room nor context, no artifact or archive that points to such historical realities in Palestine’s tenth century. One cannot speak historically of a state without a population. Nor can one speak of a capital without a town. Stories are not enough.” The Bible in History: How Writers Create a Past, Thomas L Thompson

Thus the Israeli claim to Palestine on historic grounds has much less validity than a claim by modern Italians or Greeks on Palestine, or say Italians or Danes on England or Germans on France or the Syrians on Spain. In his book, ‘The Invention of the Land of Israel’, Israeli historian Prof. Shlomo Sand ‘argues that for 2,000 years the Jews did not constitute a people and that only religion, belief and culture united them.’(Haaretz 24-5-13)

To alchemise the myth that Palestine is the birthplace of the Jewish people into ‘reality’, Israel fused two elements, the Bible and archeology. As the Hebrew Bible is the basis of  Christianity, which itself is a pillar of western civilisation, Biblical archeology then becomes the focus and front for a fabricated and dominant Zionist history, a ‘master story’ totally obscuring the rich heritage of Palestinian history. In short, Palestine-denial:

“Appropriations of the past as part of the politics of the present… could be illustrated  for most parts of the globe. One further example which is of particular interest to this study, is the way in which archeology and biblical history have become of such importance to the modern state of Israel. It is this combination which has been such a powerful factor in silencing Palestinian history.” ( p.16 The Invention of Ancient Israel: the silencing of Palestinian history, Keith W Whitelam)

The findings of Biblical archeology have gone unquestioned until recently with the advent  of The Copenhagen School which challenged the Bible’s literal value as history.

These scholars agree that the heroic biblical accounts of David and Solomon were written between the  5th and 3rd centuries BC; hundreds of years after  the so-called Iron Age united monarchy. Much the same as Homer’s heroic Iliad and Odyssey were written 400 years after its  Bronze age setting. Nevertheless, the state of Israel has invested heavily in the David myth for its false historic claim to Jerusalem as its capital because it was the city of David.

Indeed, archaeology has become a state apparatus for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Zionist fairyland aka the City of David Archaeological Park located in the Palestinian village of Silwan in East Jerusalem,

‘De-Arabizing the history of Palestine is another crucial element of the ethnic cleansing. 1500 years of Arab and Muslim rule and culture in Palestine are trivialized, evidence of its existence is being destroyed and all this is done to make the absurd connection between the ancient Hebrew civilization and today’s Israel. The most glaring example of this today is in Silwan, (Wadi Hilwe) a town adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem with some 50,000 residents.  Israel is expelling families from Silwan and destroying their homes because it claims that king David built a city there some 3000 years ago. Thousands of families will be made homeless so that Israel can build a park to commemorate a king that may or may not have lived 3000 years ago. Not a shred of historical evidence exists that can prove King David ever lived yet Palestinian men, women, children and the elderly along with their schools and mosques, churches and ancient cemeteries and any evidence of their existence must be destroyed and then denied so that Zionist claims to exclusive rights to the land may be substantiated.’ — Miko Peled, Israeli dissident.

Furthermore Prof. Ze’ev Herzog  at Tel Aviv University in Deconstructing the walls of Jericho debunks a historic Exodus myth, “This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel.” The emergence from the desert and creating a unified state where the desert blooms and the brave pioneering Jews prosper lies at the core of Israeli identity and echoed here by President Shimon Peres:

“I remember how it all began. The whole state of Israel is a millimeter of the whole Middle East. A statistical error, barren and disappointing land, swamps in the north, desert in the south, two lakes, one dead and an overrated river. No natural resource apart from malaria. There was nothing here. And we now have the best agriculture in the world? This is a miracle: a land built by people” (Maariv, 14 -4-2013).

The old ‘there was nothing here’ strikes agin! Peres knows this is charlatanry. Palestinian agriculture and trade was booming when the Zionist colonists arrived and was vibrant, booming, and plenteous for centuries.

Guy Le Strange, in 1890, translated in his fascinating book, Palestine Under the Moslems; From AD 650 to 1500, the works of 20 medieval Muslim geographers including the famous  Jerusalemite, Al Mukaddasi and Ibn Battuta:

“Filasîn is watered by the rains and the dew. Its trees and its ploughed lands do not need artificial irrigation; and it is only in Nâbulus that you find the running waters applied to this purpose. Filastîn is the most fertile of the Syrian provinces.

“From Palestine come olives, dried figs, raisins, the carobfruit, stuffs of mixed silk and cotton, soap and kerchiefs. “ From Jerusalem come cheeses, cotton, the celebrated raisins of the species known as ’Ainûnî and Dûrî, excellent apples, bananas—which same is a fruit in the form of a cucumber, but when the skin is peeled off, the interior is not unlike the water-melon, only finer flavoured and more luscious—also pine nuts of the kind called ‘ Kuraish-bite’ and their equal is not found elscwhere; further, mirrors, lamp-jars, and needles. “ From Jericho is brought excellent indigo. “ From Sughar and Baisân come both indigo and dates, also the treacle called Dibs. “

“Unequalled is this land of Syria for its dried figs, its common olive-oil, its white bread, and the Ramlah veils; also for the quinces, the pine-nuts called ‘ Kuraish-bite,’ the ’Ainûnî and Duri raisins, the Theriack-antidote, the herb of mint, and the rosaries of Jerusalem. And further, know that within the province of Palestine may be found gathered together six-and-thirty products that are not found thus united in any other land. Of these the first seven are found in Palestine alone; the following seven are very rare in other countries; and the remaining two-and-twenty, though only found thus gathered together in this province, are, for the most part, found one and another, singly, in other lands. Now the first seven are the pine-nuts, called ‘ Kuraish-bite,’ the quince or Cydonian-apple, the ’Ainûnî and the Duri raisins, the Kâfûrî plum, the fig called As Sabâ’i, and the fig of Damascus. The next seven are the Colocasia or water lily, the sycamore, the carob or St. John’s bread (locust-tree), the lotus-fruit or jujube, the artichoke, the sugar-cane, and the Syrian apple. And the remaining twentytwo are the fresh dates and olives, the shaddock, the indigo and juniper, the orange, the mandrake, the Nabk fruit, the nut, the almond, the asparagus, the banana, the sumach, the cabbage, the truffle, the lupin, and the early prune, called At Tarî; also snow, buffalo-milk, the honey-comb, the ‘Âsimî grape, and the Tamri—or date-fig. Further, there is the preserve called Kubbait; you find, in truth, the like of it in name elsewhere, but of a dififerent flavour. The lettuce also, which everywhere else, except only at Ahwâz (in Persia), is counted as a common vegetable, is here in Palestine a choice dish.

What is intriguing in these Muslim chronicles is their acknowledgement of the Jewish and Christian narratives, “In the middle of the Lake of Tiberias is a projecting rock, which they say is the tomb of Solomon, the son of David. Now, the sinking together of the waters of the Lake of Tiberias will be a sign of the coming of the Antichrist, called Ad Dajjâl.” and according to Sand, “it was not until the arrival of the armies of Islam in the early seventh century that Jews were finally allowed to freely enter and reside in their ancient holy city.”

So unlike Israel’s perpetual denial that Palestine ever existed as a nation that disregards the definition of ‘nation’ includes both the legal entity of nation as state and also nation as ‘a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history inhabiting a particular country or territory.’ For example in Australia there are over 200 Indigenous nations and over 500 in America.

There are countless historic references to Palestine to counter Israeli denial such as:

1150 BC: “Peleset transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t referring to the people and land of the Philistines during Egypt’s Twentieth Dynasty.

800 BC:  The Assyrians referred to region as Palashtu

5th Century BC: “The first known occurrence of the Greek word Palaistine is in the Histories of Herodotus, written near the mid-fifth century B.C. Palaistine Syria, or simply Palaistine, is applied to what may be identified as the southern part of Syria, comprising the region between Phoenicia and Egypt.”

306 -337 CE: Of the Roman Emperor Constantine, Eusebius the Palestinian writes in his Vita Constantini:  In this manner, then, the emperor executed in Palestine the noble works I have above described: and indeed in every province he raised new churches on a far more imposing scale than those which had existed before his time. Chapter xlvii book III   and includes a letter from Constantine to “”Victor Constantinus, Maximus Augustus, to Macarius, and the rest of the bishops in Palestine “ LII

Arab Caliphate 650-1500: “the early division of Syria into five Junds. These corresponded very nearly with the old Roman and Byzantine provinces, such as the Arabs found in existence at the time of the conquest, and which are described in the Code of Theodosius, a work that dates from the fifth century A.D. Palæstina Prima, with Cæsarea for its capital, comprising Judsea and Samaria, became the Arab Jund of Filastîn, with Ramlah for capital. Palæstina Secunda, with Scythopolis (Beth Shean, Baisân) for its capital, comprising the two Galûees and the western part of Persea, became the Jund of Al Urdunn (the Jordan), with Tiberias for the new capital. Palæstina Tertia, or Salutaris, including Idumsea and Arabia Petraea, was absorbed partly into the Damascus Jund, and partly was counted in Filastîn. ( le Strange)

“ The population of Palestine consists of Arabs of the tribes of Lakhm, Judhâm, ’Âmilah, Kindah, Kais ( le Strange)

The discovery of the 7th Century Standing  Caliph Coins of Aylah-Filastin

Circa 1603:  Shakespeare’s Othello, Act4 Sc.3 ll38-9

EMILIA: I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.

1896: Even the father of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, recognised Palestine within the Ottoman  Empire,”If His Majesty the Sultan were to give us Palestine, we could in return undertake to regulate the whole finances of Turkey.” (The Jewish State,)

1915-8: The Australian War memorial and the official Australian Light Horse website recognise the WW1 Sinai and PALESTINE campaigns.

1927: “the Currency Board put into circulation a new currency which in 1928 became the sole legal currency. This was the Palestine pound, equivalent in value to the pound sterling and divided into 1,000 mils. The notes in current circulation in Palestine are £P ½, 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500. There are also silver coins of 50 and 100 mils and bronze and nickel coins of 5, 10 and 20 mils.”

February 1927: ultra Zionist David Ben Gurion said

“The right which the Arabs in Palestine have is one due to the inhabitants of any country . . . because they live here, and not because they are Arabs . . . The Arab inhabitants of Palestine should enjoy all the rights of citizens and all political rights, not only as individuals, but as a national community, just like the Jews.”

The same Ben Gurion who, according to Prof. Ilan Pappe, was the “architect of ethnic cleansing” during the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe) when, 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed by Zionist militias and 750,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their ancestral land while thousands of innocents were murdered.

Israel has compelled the criminalisation of Holocaust denial in Europe and elsewhere even though it has enacted domestic laws criminalising Nakba commemoration. The flaccid reaction of world governments to Israel’s galling double standards is as ethically contemptible as Israel’s effrontery to expunge an oppressed people and their lineal land.

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 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001. 

December 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Mandela was on US terrorist watch list till 2008

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Press TV – December 6, 2013

Former South African President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela passed away Thursday evening at the age of 95 and eulogies from world leaders began to appear soon after his death.

US President Barack Obama was one of the world leaders who paid their glowing tribute to South Africa’s anti-apartheid legend.

“We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with,” the US President said. “He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages … His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to.”

Nevertheless, it was not until 2008 that the US government removed Mandela’s name from its terrorism watch list.

Following the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, when forces of South Africa’s apartheid regime shot 69 people dead in protests in the township of Sharpeville, Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) was banned.

The apartheid regime designated the ANC as a terrorist organization because it fought against the regime’s apartheid system which legalized racial discrimination from 1948 to 1994.

The apartheid system banned the black people from voting, traveling without permission, or even possessing land.

In 1987, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also described Mandela’s ANC as a “typical terrorist organization.”

The US State Department under the presidency of Ronald Reagan also deemed Mandela’s ANC a terrorist organization and Reagan vetoed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 passed by US Congress. Reagan’s veto was later overridden by Congress.

December 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas: Any peace treaty with Israel is not binding for the Palestinian people

Palestine Information Center – December 5, 2013

GAZA — Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that any conciliatory agreement resulting from the current negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the occupation is non-binding for the Palestinian people.

Zahhar made his remarks during a special session held on Wednesday by the Palestinian legislative council to discuss the report that was submitted by its political committee on the negotiations between the PA and the Israeli occupation regime.

Zahhar called for forming a national front opposing the peace negotiations with the occupation and addressing their detrimental impacts on Palestinian rights and constants.

“The Palestinian negotiators are illegitimate, they neither represent the national consensus nor have the majority that allows them to speak on behalf the Palestinian people,” the Hamas official stated.

He affirmed that the Fatah faction took the Palestinian cause to a dangerous level in its negotiations with the Israeli occupation and waived many Palestinian rights, noting that the results of the negotiations had been settled in advance by the US sponsor in favor of the occupation.

Fatah chose to obey America in order to protect its presence as a representative of the people and insure financial support, he stressed.

Continuation of negotiation condemned

Dr. Ismail Radwan, Minister of Religious Affairs in Gaza, condemned the continuation of negotiation between Israeli and Palestinian authorities despite the national consensus on its rejection.

During his participation in a workshop concerning the current Palestinian situation, Radwan said that the Palestinian situation is “painful” in light the continued detention of thousands of Palestinian behind Israeli bars, escalated Judaization schemes, and security coordination between Israeli and Palestinian forces, in addition to the Islamic nations preoccupation with their internal problems.

Radwan praised the workshop, which contained participants from all Palestinian political parties, considering it a contribution to national reconciliation.

English: The Al Aqsa Mosque

Radwan pointed to the Israeli settlers’ escalated break-ins into al-Aqsa mosque under Israeli forces’ protection in total disregard of Muslims’ feelings and freedom of religion.

He said that the continued Israeli violations in al-Aqsa Mosque aim at imposing a new fait accompli in al-Aqsa Mosque and toward building their alleged Temple on its ruins, stressing that what is happening to Jerusalem is a shame on leaders of the Islamic nations.

He praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem who continue to defend al-Aqsa Mosque.

Radwan said that the unfair Israeli siege on Gaza aims at undermining Palestinian resistance, praising Gazan people’s steadfastness.

Radwan called on the Fatah movement to implement Doha and Cairo agreements that stipulate the formation of a national unity government and achieving national reconciliation.

Commenting on a statement by one of the participants, Radwan stressed that resistance is a “red line”, adding that it is a strategic option for the Palestinian people.

Freedom is guaranteed to all Palestinian people under the rule of law, he finally said in response to a question by one of the participants.

December 6, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 1 Comment