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Monday, June 30, 2008

Why the AP SUCKS!

Just link HERE to find out why.

Are we getting paid as bloggers? NO!

Do they want to SPREAD news via the internet and the blogosphere, or do they want to nickle and dime the blogosphere out of business?

You tell me.

Go here Click here for copyright permissions! to see their new copyright permission rules.
Is that going to be $12.50 charged to me for those five words AP?

WOOPS, you can't even post the link to the copyright permission and have it work! Sooooooo, you have to link to any AP article and go to the bottom and link to it from there!

OH, let's see, you can find it at the BOTTOM of THIS article in blue

OH gosh, more on the restrictions on linking to any AP article for more than a month below!


Check it out, they are even saying you must use THEIR service to email articles to people! What's that all about folks? Tracking both the content and WHO is sending what to WHO?

Want to send the article out as a group mailing without ads? No more cutting and pasting on to an email guys, you get to PAY the AP FIVE BUCKS for forwarding it to 1-10 people!

Want to post the article OR link to it, you can do it for free as long as you fill out their form for up to one month, it includes all the ads of course! After that folks you get to PAY for it! For the right to post their articles without ads for more than a month, be ready to ante up a hundred bucks a month! OH wait, miscalculation, you can post it on your blog for the discounted rate of seven hundred fifty a year! Notice, I spelled the amount out, no cutting and pasting or using the same text in any way here!

Want to republish ANY of the words in an article? Better make it SHORT. Any quote over 5 words but under 25, will cost you $12.50. Want to take a paragraph, say 250 words? That will set you back a HUNDRED BUCKS!

Oh, and folks, remember you can't cut and paste it to send to yourself and others without paying, but they'll hold the article for you for up to six months! YEAH, no researcher ever needing to do research further than six months back should expect to do anything but PAY for it

Control, Big Brother, CONTROL!!!

OH GOODNESS, I haven't asked their permission to link to an article, can't use the title without copyright infringement even if used in quotes from what I see.

To the AP, contact me via my email on my profile, the check will be in the mail :)

Tell me AP, are you feeling like a 500 pound constipated gorilla with a whole lot of gas yet? Mind you, you'll be raking in the bucks at least WHILE controlling the free flow of information on the internet.

In a comment on THIS New York Times article, there's more!

'iCopyright License Excerpt:
Derogatory and Unlawful Uses: You shall not use the Content in any manner or context that will be in any way derogatory to the author, the publication from which the Content came, or any person connected with the creation of the Content or depicted in the Content. You agree not to use the Content in any manner or context that will be in any way derogatory to or damaging to the reputation of Publisher, its licensors, or any person connected with the creation of the Content or referenced in the Content.”


Here's what someone else had to say about this on June 20th. At that time, just ten days ago, the AP wasn't giving the author any answers about what they planned as "new guidelines" but the consensus was that it would put a chilling affect and challenge to fair use practice.

Welcome to the ICE AGE.

Why is the MSM Ignoring What Happened to Mohammed Omer? Condi Has Intervened on his Behalf Before, Which SHOULD Count for SOMETHING!

As the award winning Gaza journalist Mohammed Omer lies in a hospital bed in Khan Younis (as reported by Reuters India), the word is only SLOWLY getting out to the MSM about his criminal mistreatment by the IOF. (Democracy Now has put a short story on their website, )

The BBC has been made aware by several people but have not yet reported it. I myself spoke to the international desk at CNN in Los Angeles (Rory Suchet) on Saturday, to inform him of this situation. I forwarded him the article from IPS and the one concerning the formal complaint registered by the Dutch as well as Mohammed's phone number 48 hours ago.

REMEMBER: Mohammed is in the HOSPITAL receiving pain medication for his physical trauma. The emotional trauma he experienced is incomprehensible. He is a journalist who is protected not only under international law, but under Israeli law also (supposedly), yet this crime occurred against him.

As of yet, NEITHER the BBC or CNN has chosen to cover what has happened to Mohammed.

Does anyone think for a minute that if Mohammed was an American or British journalist this wouldn't be headline news the minute it occurred?

Let's remember back, over a year and a half ago, when Israel was refusing to allow him to come here to receive his first major journalistic award. (Indeed, he did not arrive on time, but came late and did a multi-city tour in December 2006 sponsored by WRMEA)

Who intervened on his behalf to get out of Gaza then? Condaleeza Rice herself. The US State Department, even the Secretary of State herself, is WELL aware of who Mohammed Omer is because she had to intervene on his behalf herself THEN.

Now is the time for ALL US citizens and anyone else reading this, to contact them on Mohammed's behalf. The tour he was returning from when this criminal act against him took place was sponsored by an AMERICAN publication, WRMEA. His travel coordination was done by the Dutch who have lodged a complaint.

Here is the contact info for the Dept. of State: (thank you Julie for posting these numbers on Desert Peace)

Americans - deluge your senators with letters, calls and emails as well as all news outlets and the state department. State’s Israel Country Desk in Washington D.C. 202-647-3872. Call them until they do something.

For those in Israel or Palestine, the US State Dept foreign service numbers Billy Feely 972-2-626-7205, Kirk Lindly 972-2-628-0345, Amy Schedbauer 972-2-622-7281, Bernard Woerz 972-2-622-7132

Following is the letter Mohammed wrote to Secretary Rice in 2006

Dear Secretary of State Rice:

I am the youngest journalist living in Gaza and reporting on the realities of life there. My articles are published and read around the world, including in the United States, and give a voice to millions. As a result, I’ve been asked to come to the United States on a speaking tour with dual purposes. The first is to help Americans understand the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, an acknowledged root cause of instability in the Middle East. Secondly, my trip will serve to assist Palestinians in understanding the U.S. Too often the only impression the Palestinian people have of America arrives at the end of a gun barrel or bulldozer. I know you agree that understanding each other, seeing each other as human beings, is the first step to peace, and requires a dialogue between people. This trip will allow me to act as a conduit for bridging misconceptions and healing misunderstandings.

In order to embark upon this trip, however, I need your help.

The American Consulate has agreed to grant me a visa interview in Jerusalem. Last January, however, Israel passed a new law forbidding Christian and Muslim Arab men between the ages of 16 and 35 from traveling between Gaza and the West Bank, or into Israel, if they are unmarried, or have fewer than two children. Ridiculous? Yes. Petty? Definitely. But real. Such discrimination based on a person’s faith and race does Jim Crow proud.

Being 22 and having just graduated college, I’m really not ready to get married, Madame Secretary. From what I understand, this is not an uncommon situation for 22-year-old American men, either. Yet this is Israel’s excuse. Although the United States has agreed to allow me to travel to your country, Israel is preventing me from going to your consulate for the interview because I am an undefined, ambiguous “security risk” to them—but not to the U.S.

My only weapon is words; my conduct throughout my life proves this. How is it that a small country, a nation which every year receives 40 percent of America’s foreign aid budget, can continue to violate international law and consistently ignore the requests of the most powerful nation on this planet? Madame Secretary, with all due respect, why is the United States allowing a tiny country to dictate who can and cannot visit your country? Shouldn’t America decide?

My touring the United States is in the best interests of the American government, as it would help win the hearts and minds of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, not to mention the nearly 2 billion non-dispensationalist Christians also affected by Israel’s policies against the Palestinians and Christian customs and holy sites.

I’ve read your speeches, Dr. Rice. Like me, you look for diplomatic solutions, a thinking person’s remedy to conflict. Like me, your actions show you seek justice, and justice resides within understanding. Does truth undermine security or strengthen it? By exposing injustices, truth forces people to act with justice, thereby benefitting all—with one exception: those profiting from fear, ignorance and misinformation. Could it be that Israel considers me a “security threat” because I tell the truth?

Madame Secretary, my next door neighbor, a middle-aged man who was not part of the resistance, was killed in late September during another Israeli attack. My friend is dead because he was not Jewish.Walking through the wreckage of his home, I saw shells and weapons fragments with U.S. markings littering the ground.Gaza today is a graveyard of wasted minds and marginalized lives. How many more wasted minds must perish?

Any man may wield a sword. It takes an exceptional person to reason, persuade, change hearts and minds and convince others to set aside hate in favor of the more difficult task of negotiation. Perhaps this is why when God sent Jesus, a man who, solely on the strength of words and ideas, conquered the most powerful empire in the world.

American values are based on the conviction that a person’s worth or participation in society is not determined by skin color, faith, national origin or gender. Living under Israeli occupation, we Palestinians have never experienced these values. We would like to. In order for this to happen, however, people need to see us for what we are—human. This is what my trip is about.

Given the principles governing your country, the values canonized within your Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights, it seems unconscionable that the United States would allow another nation to prevent a reporter from speaking to the American people about what it is like to grow up and live under apartheid—for we Muslims and Christians live in a segregated society of privilege for one group and oppression for another. The criteria for deciding who is privileged and who is not in Israel is faith first, race second—and no third. Being non-Jewish and Arab, we simply do not count.

I fervently hope you will give me a chance to share Palestine with the American people and the American people with Palestine. Understanding is how bridges are built, and dialogue instigates peace. Madame Secretary, please ask Israel to grant me the freedom to travel to Jerusalem for my visa interview so I may come to know your nation, and it us.

Mohammed Omer, Journalist
Rafah, Gaza Strip, Occupied Palestine


UPDATE: Haartz carried the following article via REUTERS! (the one published by India Reuters originally, although the tagline says "Gaza")

Gaza reporter: Israeli security officials broke my ribs
By Reuters
Tags: Israel, border security, Gaza

A Palestinian journalist said from his hospital bed on Monday that Israeli security personnel abused him and broke his ribs on his way home to the Gaza Strip after receiving a journalism award in Britain.

Mohammed Omer, who writes for the pro-Palestinian Washington Report, said he was strip-searched and detained for nearly four hours at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge when he crossed from Jordan into the West Bank, en route to the Gaza Strip, on June 26.

Read more>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

This comment was of great interest:

Title:Sorry Guys, The Story is All Over the World
Name:Mark of Lewiston
City: LewistonState: USA
I first saw this story on Yahoo news, then on Google news and they show several thousand news outlets around the world already carrying it.

"We`re checking the report" won`t make this story go away this time. It may not make the evening news cut in the US (Paris may have forgotten to wear underwear again), but it`s also on some networks websites already.
INDEED: Yahoo news carried it HERE

Funny thing is, when you GOOGLE "Mohammed Omer" then click "news", the Haartz article does NOT come up, although the Reuter's India article does, which is the SAME article.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bruce Oldfield Designs Diamond Abaya: Proceeds to go to Palestinian Children

So some very rich Gulf Arab (most likely Saudi since it's being sold at the Saudi Gulf Luxury Trade Fair) buys this outrageously priced "abaya" and part of the proceeds go to Palestinian children. Bravo to Bruce Oldfield, wonderful to do such a thing, BUT, maybe the person purchasing this "abaya" might think about donating that amount of money directly to Palestinian children. Woops, they wouldn't be able to say they own the world's most expensive "abaya" then would they? (with of course the caveat, part of the proceeds went to........)

This sort of thing just somehow seems to be out of touch with the reality of the lives of Palestinian children to me. I issue a challenge to those attending this Trade Fair, buy the "abaya", then give it back to be sold again, then again and again. Let's see how much you can bare to part with for Palestinian children WITHOUT the added ability to wear this outrageous garment, something a Palestinian child or her mother would never DREAM of even owning, since putting FOOD in their bellies, and not being shot by the IOF is THEIR priority!

The million dirham abaya

Julia Robson, Fashion Correspondent

  • Last Updated: June 28. 2008 11:46PM UAE / June 28. 2008 7:46PM GMT

The million dirham abaya, which has diamonds covering its collar and cuffs. Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage

He is most famous for dressing royalty, notably queens and princesses, for their wedding days. Now Bruce Oldfield, the celebrated British couturier, has designs on something equally traditional: the abaya.

Last week in London, Oldfield unveiled what is thought to be the most expensive abaya ever made. Sporting bespoke Crosley diamonds on the collar and cuffs, the garment is valued at about Dh1.27 million (US$365,000).

The market for designer Islamic garments is growing, and, until now, the most expensive abaya cost about Dh364,000.

“Crosley approached me with the idea of having a collaboration and initially, I thought of making a wedding dress covered in diamonds,” Oldfield said. “Then we thought it would be a good idea to make an abaya. Why not? Every leading designer seems to doing this right now.

“This is the world’s first red carpet abaya.”

For three decades, he has been dressing legions of aristocrats, royals and jet-setting clients.

Talking from his Knightsbridge salon, where samples of his signature floor-length beaded gowns – which can weigh a staggering 70kg – sparkle under an expensive lighting system, Oldfield stresses this abaya is “only for princesses, my dear”.

“It’s very grand. I used the finest black silk, a stiff taffeta, flowing sleeves and a mandarin collar.

“The most difficult challenge for me was to create a garment which did not follow the natural curves of a woman’s shape.

“An abaya must, by definition, envelop the body rather than suggest what lies underneath – which is in complete contrast to what I do and what I’ve been trained to do as a tailor and couturier.

“Normally, I work with bodily proportions and make them better and more streamlined.”

When Oldfield set to work, he “called up a princess friend of mine in Jordan, who told me you can actually do whatever you want in terms of the abaya.

“If you were a princess wanting to make a grand entrance in Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi, you would be expected to wear something with a wow factor.”

The garment takes the shape of a kaftan and flows away from the hips into a train at the back.

“I thought about an abaya Maria Callas might wear: a bit of 1960s couture and va voom.”

The abaya is the highlight of the luxury Saudi Gulf Luxury Trade Fair, which takes place in London in August to help boost British exports.

Oldfield is excited when he is “talking abayas”, and about another fashion project – his first bridal couture range in 10 years.

The line features silk tulle – “I use the same silk for my linings the cheaper boys use for the main dress” – and Chantilly lace, which “look heavy, but you can dance in them”.

Oldfield has been dressing heiress brides since 1976, including Jemima Khan, her mother Lady Annabel Goldsmith, Samantha Cameron, Lady Tamara Grosvenor and Queen Rania of Jordan.

Designing wedding dressings, which accounts for about half of his work, is incredibly time consuming.

“I recently had a client from Dubai who wanted me to do her wedding dress along with outfits for her six sisters and her mother.”

The bride’s body shape, her age and the venue are each considered.

“It’s important to examine what is required of the dress. I pander to the bride; most tend to have an opinion about what they want – something totally new and fabulous that will make their friends faint. But I also tell them, in a non-patronising way, it’s their parents’ day too.”

He recalled one bride who expressed disappointment at having to keep “the same dress on all day”.

“I told her, ‘You will remember this day for the rest of your life because of it’.”

Oldfield’s royal clients have included Jordan’s Queen Noor and Queen Rania and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, who he was credited with transforming from a gauche teenager to a sophisticated trendsetter in the 1980s.

He also dresses some of Hollywood’s most glamorous women, including Sienna Miller, Angelica Houston, Barbra Streisand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Melanie Griffith, Charlotte Rampling and Faye Dunaway.

And soon his designs will be seen by millions each day; he has been commissioned to redesign the McDonald’s restaurant uniform.

Oldfield’s introduction to fashion came early in life. Born in 1950, he was two days old when his birth parents placed him in a Dr Barnardo’s orphanage.

He was fostered by a dressmaker, who taught him to sew and cut fabric. After finishing school, he studied to be a teacher but switched to the renowned Central Saint Martins art college in London to study fashion.

His schooling was funded by Barnado’s, which would later provide him with a start-up loan for his business in 1975.

He is now a vice president of the children’s charity.

Oldfield agreed to design the diamond-studded abaya on the condition that a percentage of the sales would be donated to a charity for Palestinian children.

“I’m not actually that interested in fashion,” he said. “When someone says lime green is the new black for this or that season, I just want to tell him or her to get a life. I love to create shapes from luxurious fabrics that make women look even more beautiful ... whether this is a wedding dress, an opera coat, a suit or an abaya. This is my job.”

Are more abayas in the pipeline?

“I’d be happy to make them to order, especially if it will mean nipping over to Abu Dhabi for a fitting. One must have strings to one’s bow.” (source)

Bruce Oldfield's WEBSITE

Bernardo's WEBSITE

NOTE: That is Linzi Stoppard modeling the "abaya", daughter in law of Tom Stoppard. She is evidently a well-known electronic violinist.

THIS article states the charitable donation will be going to Islamic Relief

Question: What do you buy the woman who has everything?

Answer: A $365,000 "abaya"!

Oh, there's MORE to read here about this luxury trade fair.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sunday Offering #58: Message of Hope in a Mad World

Sometimes, something just stops you in your tracks.................

May goodness and mercy follow them all the days of their lives.

Message of hope in a mad world
Article from: Sunday Herald Sun

Bryan Patterson

June 29, 2008 12:00am

AHMED Khatib was only 12 when shot dead by Israeli troops, who mistook his toy gun for a real one.

The Palestinian boy's death in the West Bank town of Jenin, tragically, was not unusual.

Children are commonly victims of fighting in the Middle East.

But what happened after his death in November 2005 was exceptional.

Ahmed's grieving parents donated the boy's organs to "the enemy" - an Israeli hospital.

His heart now beats in the chest of an Israeli Druze Arab girl.

His liver kept a Jewish girl and an Israeli mother alive.

His lungs were transplanted into a teenage Jewish girl and his kidneys divided between a five-year-old Bedouin and a three-year-old Jewish girl.

The parents, Ismail and Abla Khatib, decided that some good could come of his death.

The Palestinian family understood that their son's body parts were most likely to save people routinely spoken of as "the enemy" in Jenin.

"It doesn't matter who they are," said Ahmed's mother.

"We didn't specify that his organs would go to Arabs, Christians or Jews. I didn't want my son to suffer, I didn't want other children to suffer regardless of who they are."

The remarkable gesture astonished and impressed Israelis and Palestinians.

This year, Ismail Khatib visited Israel to see some of the families of those who received his son's organs.

"Violence against violence is worthless," he said in the documentary about his visit, The Heart Of Jenin, which showed in the West Bank for the first time this month.

"Maybe this will reach the ears of the whole world so they can distinguish between just and unjust.

"Maybe the Israelis will think of us differently now."

The documentary's producers - one Arabic and the other Jewish - hope to soon show the film in Israel.

They see it as a message of hope in a world seemingly gone mad with revenge killings and sectarian violence.

Another startling message of hope came from the other side of the world in 2006 when a tiny Amish community in Pennsylvania forgave the killer of five Amish schoolgirls and reached out compassionately to the gunman's widow.

They buried their anger before they buried their children.

Somehow, love endured in the face of evil. It was, to many minds, strange and other-worldly.


A new book, Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, explains the Amish believe the act of forgiving wipes away feelings of revenge and hate. (WEBSITE for the book)

They don't say it's easy.

Forgiveness on this scale is complex and difficult, but it is necessary to overcome evil with good.

The Amish believe love is the act of feeding the hungry, compassion is healing the sick and forgiveness is unconditional acceptance, not a creed or list of laws.

How much better to be a beacon of truth rather than an instigator of condemnation? Instead of merely complaining about the problems in the world, the Amish believe we can be part of the solution.

Writer and social activist Dorothy Day said works of mercy lightened the sum total of suffering in the world so those, who were suffering in this ghastly struggle, somehow mysteriously found their pain lifted and some balm of consolation poured on their wounds.

"If I did not believe these things, the problem of evil would indeed be overwhelming," she said.

U2's singer Bono said the one thing all faiths and ideologies agreed on was that God was with the vulnerable and poor.

"God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house," he said.

"God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war.

"God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives and God is with us if we are with them. History, like God, is watching what we do."

Martin Luther King Jr. said love could change the world.

"Love even for one's enemies is the key to the solution of the problems of the world," he said.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."


Friday, June 27, 2008

Gaza Journalist Mohamed Omer Sent to the Hospital After Manhandling by Israel Retrurning Home

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Image by Ben Heine
Link HERE to see a recent photo of Ben and Mohamed together

NO WORDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just received as action report from WRMEA

Gaza Correspondent Mohammed Omer Home Again in Rafah

At a June 16 ceremony in London, Mohammed Omer, author of the regular Washington Report feature “Gaza on the Ground,” received the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism (a link to the presentation and Omer’s remarks can be found on our home page, <>). He shared the prestigious prize with independent American journalist Dahr Jamail, who was honored for his “unembedded” reports from Iraq. (also can be seen HERE)

Before traveling to England to receive his award, Omer spoke in Sweden, the Netherlands and Greece about the situation in Gaza. Dutch MP Hans Van Baalen, head of the parliament’s foreign relations committee, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Pilger spent weeks lobbying Israel to issue an exit permit to allow this young reporter to travel to Europe and London.

Not for the first time, however, getting home was even harder than leaving.

As soon as Omer arrived in Amman, the Dutch diplomats who were helping facilitate his travel arrangements informed him that the Israelis did not want to allow him to return. After further intervention by his Dutch sponsors, Omer finally got the green light, and on the morning of June 26 crossed from Jordan into the occupied territories via the Allenby Bridge. There he was interrogated, strip-searched and manhandled for several hours. After losing consciousness, he finally was taken to a hospital in Jericho, and from there escorted back to Gaza.

MP Van Baalen has demanded that Israel launch an investigation into Omer’s barbaric treatment.

Mohammed is the best person to write about his ordeal, of course, and his account will appear in the next (September/October) issue of the Washington Report. Thankfully, he is now home and safe in Rafah, albeit sore and shaken. Doctors have ordered him to rest.

He can be contacted via his Web site.

Hang in there Mohamed, we're all sending our prayers. God bless you and keep you SAFE!


The following is a more detailed account of what occurred to Mohammed Omer when returning home to Gaza.

I would write something about my feelings, but I can't, literally cannot.

Contact the Israeli Foreign Ministry and DEMAND an investigation.

Contact information:

Foreign Minister's office
Director General's office -
Public Relations -

Ministry Address:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
9 Yitzhak Rabin Blvd.
Kiryat Ben-Gurion
Jerusalem 91035
Tel. 972-2-5303111
Fax 972-2-5303367

MIDEAST: Israelis Assault Award Winning IPS Journalist
By Mel Frykberg

GAZA CITY, Jun 28 (IPS) - Mohammed Omer, the Gaza correspondent of IPS, and joint winner of the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, was strip-searched at gunpoint, assaulted and abused by Israeli security officials at the Allenby border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank on Thursday as he tried to return home to Gaza.

Omer, a resident of Rafah in the south of Gaza, and previous recipient of the New America Media's Best Youth Voice award several years ago, was returning from London where he had just collected his Gellhorn Prize, and from several European capitals where he had speaking engagements, including a meeting with Greek parliamentarians.

Omer's trip was sponsored by The Washington Report, and the Dutch embassy in Tel Aviv was responsible for coordinating Omer's travel plans and his security permit to leave Gaza with Israeli officials.

Israel controls the borders of Gaza and severely restricts the entrance and exit of Gazans allegedly on grounds of security. Human rights organisations accuse the Israelis of using security as a pretext to apply collective punishment indiscriminately.

While waiting in Amman on his way back, Omer eventually received the requisite coordination and security clearance from the Israelis to return to Gaza after this had initially been delayed by several days, he told IPS.

Accompanied by Dutch diplomats, Omer passed through the Jordanian side of the border without incident. However, after arrival on the Israeli side, trouble began. He informed a female soldier that he was returning home to Gaza. He was repeatedly asked where Gaza was, and told that he had neither a permit nor any coordination to cross.

Omer explained that he did indeed have permission and coordination but was nevertheless taken to a room by Israel's domestic intelligence agency the Shin Bet, where he was isolated for an hour and a half without explanation.

"Eventually I was asked whether I had a knife or gun on me even though I had already passed through the x-ray machine, had my luggage searched, and was in the company of Dutch diplomats," Omer said.

His luggage was again searched, and security then proceeded to go through every document and paper he had on him, taking down the names and numbers of the European parliamentary officials he had met.

The Shin Bet officials then started to make fun of the European parliamentarians, and mocked Omer for being "the prize-winning journalist".

The Gazan journalist was repeatedly asked why he was returning to "the hell of Gaza after we allowed you to leave." To this he responded that he wanted to be a voice for the voiceless. He was told he was a "trouble-maker".

The security men also demanded he show all the money he had on him, and particular attention was paid to the British pounds he was carrying. His Gellhorn prize money had been awarded in British pounds but he was not carrying the entire sum on him bodily, something the investigators refused to believe.

After being unable to produce the prize money, he was ordered to strip naked.

"At first I refused but then I had an M16 (gun) pointed in my face and my clothes were forcibly removed, even my underwear," Omer said.

At this point Omer broke down and pleaded for an end to such treatment. He said he was told, "you haven't seen anything yet." Every cavity of his body was searched as one of the investigators pinned him down on the floor, placing his boot on Omer's neck. Omer began vomiting, and fainted.

When he came round his eyelids were being forcibly opened and his eardrums probed by an Israeli military doctor, who was also armed. He was then dragged along the floor by his feet by the Shin Bet officials, with his head repeatedly banging on the floor, to a Palestinian ambulance which had been called.

"I eventually woke up in a Palestinian hospital with the doctors trying to reassure me," Omer told IPS.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry at the Hague told IPS that Foreign Minister Maxime Zerhagen spoke to the Israeli ambassador to The Netherlands and demanded an explanation.

The Dutch embassy in Tel Aviv has also raised the issue with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which in turn has promised to investigate the incident and get back to the Dutch officials.

Ahmed Dadou, spokesman from the Dutch Foreign Ministry at the Hague told IPS, "We are taking this whole incident very seriously as we don't believe the behaviour of the Israeli officials is in accordance with a modern democracy.

"We are further concerned about the mistreatment of an internationally renowned journalist trying to go about his daily business," added Dadou.

A spokeswoman at the Israeli Foreign Press Association said she was unaware of the incident.

Lisa Dvir from the Israeli Airport Authority (IAA), the body responsible for controlling Israel's borders, told IPS that the IAA was neither aware of Omer's journalist credentials nor of his coordination.


"We would like to know who Omer spoke to in regard to receiving coordination to pass through Allenby. We offer journalists a special service when passing through our border crossings, and had we known about his arrival this would not have happened.

(YEH right, it was the DUTCH who were coordinating his re-entry! You don't think they know who to talk to? I can't freaking believe this statement!)

"I'm not aware of the events that followed his detention, and we are not responsible for the behaviour of the Shin Bet." (THEN WHO IS?

In the meantime, Omer is still traumatised and in pain. "I'm struggling to breathe and have pain in my head and stomach and will be going back to hospital for further medical examinations," he said. (END/2008)



Israeli Occupation Forces Detain Palestinian Journalist after he is awarded the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism

Cairo, June 28th 2008

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information “ANHRI.Net”condemns the detention of Palestinian Journalist Mohammad Omer Mughir by Israeli Occupation Forces. Muhammad was detained, assaulted and interrogated on June 27th upon his return to Gaza after receiving the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The young journalist returned to Gaza from the London ceremony and was subsequently seized and detained by the Israeli Military for several hours. During his detention he was assaulted, stripped, beaten, and interrogated about his trip to London and about the press award, which he received.

The international prize was awarded to Muhammad Omer Mughir for a series of newspaper articles that have portrayed the suffering of Palestinians under the current Israeli economic blockade of Gaza and the ongoing military occupation. Muhammad also wrote about his past detention at “Jesser El-Nabi” and how he has been targeted daily by Israeli Occupation Forces because of his journalism. The Martha Gellhorn prize for Journalism was established in 1999 by the wife of the late writer Ernest Hemingway, and honors journalists who give “a view from the ground” of world issues and conflicts.

Executive Director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information Gamal Eid said that “violations by Israeli Occupation Forces against Palestinians do not stop, and what Muhammed Mughir has been through is only a small example of the media block and the international complicity of these crimes. ”

The Arabic Network emphasizes its condemnation of these inhumane practices by the Israeli Military against journalists and all Palestinian. The Network stands in solidarity with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and appeals to all Arab human rights institutions and global civil society institutions to put an end to these violations exercised by the Israeli Occupation Army. (SOURCE)

Recap of Last Night's AAPG Event: ""The Detention of Japanese Americans During WWII at Manzanar"

Last evening, the Arab American Press Guild in Los Angeles hosted an event "The Detention of Japanese Americans During WWII at Manzanar". The purpose of this event was to inform other Arab media attending last night about the Pilgrimage to Manzanar which took place April 26th. As an invited speaker, I was honored to speak with Samir Twair, president of the Arab American Press Guild, Kathy Masaoka, co-chair of NCRR (Nikkei Civil Rights and Redress) and Hussam Ayloush, Director of CAIR Southern California, all of whom attended Pilgrimage this year in solidarity.

Samir, who invited us all to speak last night, opened with his remembrance of the job he had stepped in to as the director of the SoCal chapter of the ADC immediately following Alex Odeh's murder. In that capacity, he also had to immediately respond to the arrest of the LA 8, going in to action to raise the funds to get them out of jail, which he was able to do after 24 days. (it took another 20 years for the government to finally drop all proceedings against the last two of the LA 8, Michel Shehadeh and Khadir Hamide) He spoke of how Michel Shehedah of the LA 8 had been invited by NCRR as the keynote speaker at the 2002 Day of Remembrance in Little Tokyo. He also went back further in remembering the Japanese community's outreach to the Arab/Muslim community which began during Gulf War 1.

Kathy spoke of her own family's experience of internment. How her grandparents who were farmers in the Central Valley, had been given only a short amount of time to dispose of their belongings prior to internment. That while the government did give Japanese Americans the offer to relocate out of the Western military zone which included California, Oregon, Washington and parts of Arizona, very few Japanese Americans were able to do this before the deadline. Her grandfather was one of the first rounded up and taken away. They did not hear from him for months and when they did, it was by censored letters. While no Japanese Americans were ever convicted of espionage for Japan, more than 120,000 of them were placed in concentration camps after Executive Order 9066 was signed by Roosevelt. She also spoke of NCRR's grassroot efforts which took more than ten years to gain reparations for those who had been interred and an official apology to Japanese Americans from our government.

Hussam spoke of how he had gone with his family and a smaller group of activists the year before to Pilgrimage and had been so overwhelmed he felt the urge to take a larger contingency of activists back this year. Indeed, CAIR took over 100 activists and six imams to Pilgrimage this year in solidarity with the Japanese community. He informed the audience that NCRR, the Manzanar Committee and JACL had helped to put on talks at the five southland mosques prior to Pilgrimage and about the audiences overwhelming positive response to learning something from the Japanese community itself in much greater depth than they knew before. He spoke of how he felt it important to build solidarity with other ethnic minorities in their struggles and to not be isolated by fear, especially that which has grown to such extreme following 911. He informed the audience of something else they had not known: that during WWII, the US government was able to convince several governments in Latin America to round up their own citizens of Japanese descent, who were kidnapped and sent to the US to be used as hostages to be exchanged for our own POW's. After the war, these Latin American Japanese were not accepted back to their own countries. Many of them had no choice but to go to Japan even though they were not citizens there either. He referred to the current campaign to gain full redress for Japanese Latin Americans who as they age, have not been granted their full rights which were violated by our country.

Audience member attorney Pat Barry (a dynamic civil rights attorney who won the first case against sexual harassment at the Supreme Court level) was asked to speak about Wednesday's visit by over twenty activists from Women in Black Los Angeles and Los Angeles Jews for peace to the LA City Council meeting to protest Mayor Villaragosa's recent opportunistic trip to Israel in the run up to his anticipated run for the govenorship of California (hear Marci Winnograd speak on this) His signing of two security deals for the city of Los Angeles, one which contracted an Israeli firm to enforce security at LAX, the other at the port of Los Angeles, in addition to the public funding of this trip, was topic of their protest at City Hall. Also, another contract has been signed concerning "green technology" concerning water for the city. ALL of these contracts were signed without the bidding process which is required by the city charter of Los Angeles. Per the city charter, ALL contracts for services over $1000 must be put out for competitive bidding. This was NOT done!

Three short youtubes were presented to the audience, THIS one is part 1 of Manzanar at Dusk where several hundred people met at Lone Pine High School for 3 1/2 hours after attending the earlier program at Manzanar. THIS one is of Amina singing the beautiful names of Allah while George played his flute which fittingly closed out the program for this year's Pilgrimage.
The one below is the trailer for the mini-doc CAIR is doing on Pilgrimage

My Presentation for Manzanar Panel: June 26, 2008

Good evening every one, I’ve been invited to speak here tonight as an activist who attended pilgrimage and as someone who works with NCRR as a core support team member supporting First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, the only officer to refuse deployment to the war in Iraq on grounds the war is illegal who is still being held by the military as his case languishes in the court system.

The first time I visited Manzanar was in August 2003 with my family. My daughter’s summer reading that year was “Farewell to Manzanar”. Since we were traveling up Hwy. 395 on our way to Mammoth, I thought we should go to the very place she was reading about. It was a very hot windy day as we drove in and stopped at the gate to get a pamphlet for a self guided tour. It was difficult for us all to envision what was no longer there except as markers. I wanted to go to the monument where there is a small grave yard because this was proof, there HAD been people there, some of them remained. My husband and daughter both said, “I can’t believe that’s all there is I this huge place. I wonder what happened to them when they got out.”

Three years after that trip, there was a tiny article in the LA Times in June 2006 about a young Japanese lieutenant who was refusing to deploy to Iraq because he believed the war is illegal. FINALLY I thought, someone in the military actually has a conscience and is going to stand up and say, “No, I won’t do this”. By attending a rally in San Diego to support Ehren, I was put in touch with NCRR here in LA who would be handling a speaking tour by Ehren’s father, Bob Watada.

As the months went by working with NCRR supporting Ehren I realized, these are the very people who won reparations for those who had been interred. Remembering my visit to Manzanar……..what had happened to all those people? I knew they received reparations and an apology, but not much further.

When Ehren enlisted in the military, it was for purely patriotic reasons. An Eagle Scout, he was raised with the true values of honesty and integrity. Never in a million years did Ehren think our government would lie to us to take us to war. However, while in officer’s training his commanding officer told him, “Learn all you can about Iraq, the people, the country, and why we are there so that you can lead your men with full knowledge”.

Ehren took his advice and started reading, but what he learned as the news was trickling out, is that our government led us to war against a nation which had committed no crimes against us. Our government had lied to us, therefore, according to the Nuremberg Principles which applies to all nations, he as an officer who had taken his oath to uphold the Constitution, had the duty to follow that oath consistently and refuse the illegal order to deploy.

On the day his Stryker unit out of Fort Lewis, Washington was set to deploy, Ehren instead turned himself in. Knowing that he would face court martial for his decision, he did not stop at simply turning himself in to the military, he went public with his case, appearing at several functions and giving interviews to the press. When the military finally filed charges against him, he was facing eight years, which was dropped down to six with his cooperation, for refusal to deploy as well as several counts of conduct unbecoming of an officer.

Ehren’s court martial was in February of last year at Fort Lewis. Kathy, June Hibino, Kimi Maru-all from NCRR and myself traveled up to Tacoma to attend and support Ehren. For three days we sat in the court room observing. The first day was spent selecting the jury, the second day the prosecution put on their case. For all of us sitting there that day, we observed a trial that was for all intents and purposes a kangaroo court. Every witness that Ehren had subpoenaed as to the illegality of the war had been dismissed by the judge who also took it upon himself to rule the order to deploy was legal. The prosecution barely put up a case at all, only three witnesses who were better witnesses for the defense than the prosecution. Their assumption as they stated, “He thinks he has a case, we do not”.

On Wednesday, the third day of the trial, as Ehren was set to testify on his own behalf, the judge suddenly requested a mistrial, saying Ehren didn’t understand he had admitted guilt by signing the stipulation that he willingly refused deployment. Ehren, DID sign the stipulation, but he NEVER plead guilty, because to him, the order was illegal. The judge at the time stated that the military intended to try him again.

That day Ehren’s attorney, Eric Seitz spoke at the press conference afterwards saying that it was his firm belief that Ehren could not be tried again on firm double jeopardy grounds. As the military proceeded to pursue a retrial, Ehren appealed all the way up to the highest military court in Virginia which refused to hear his case. . His new attorneys he had hired decided to appeal through the Federal Court (in Tacoma) as last resort which granted Ehren’s request partially in early November, a temporary injunction barring a retrial based on double jeopardy with the added statement that the military was unlikely to prevail. A little over a month ago, papers were filed and a date set in early fall for all papers by both parties to be submitted. A final decision by Judge Settles is expected shortly thereafter, which AGAIN the military can appeal if the judgement goes in Ehren’s favor.All this time, since the military is still insisting on pursuing this, while there is any case pending or filed against Ehren, the military can still hold him in the military. In fact, this is what is being done. Ehren reports to his desk job at Fort Lewis every day, stripped of his security clearance, pushing papers, unable to travel more than a 200 mile radius.

Ehren Watada is being held hostage by our government for saying NO,

Spending the last two years working with NCRR has been not only a supreme pleasure beyond words, but also a learning experience beyond any imagination. I learned early on that they were the ones who had fought for reparations for the grievous wrong done against them in WWII, but I didn’t learn for a while that when 911 occurred, they and other Japanese Americans had taken it upon themselves to reach out to the Arab/Muslim community which was being brought under attack simply through guilt by association, race and religion. This hit a strong cord with me, because my eldest daughter in Arab American. She too was facing her own battle which increased exponentially after 911. Like many others I have spoken to for their own reasons, I had the spiritual desire and NEED to go to Pilgrimage.”.

Some have asked me, what struck me most about Manzanar. As I’ve told everyone who has asked me, I can’t tell you that, you would have to go, you would have to be there with the survivors and others to experience it yourself. There is no way to describe it.

However, there was something that stood out at the Manzanar because it took me off guard.

Although I didn’t know just what to expect, I knew one thing, I did NOT expect to sing along to an old Bing Crosby cowboy movie song, “Don’t Fence Me In”. As the song began and I looked around I was dumbstruck. It wasn’t til after I came back and looked up the words again, after being there, that it hit me.

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don't fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in.

There are more ways than one to fence a person in. It can be done literally like it was to Japanese Americans in WWII, putting a stain on our nation which even reparations and apology can never remove. It can be done by passing laws such as the Patriot Act, suggested mapping, and suspicion being thrown on a people through an ill-informed mass media which has been done to Arabs and Muslims. It can also be done by our own military, who has fenced themselves in, following illegal orders to pursue an illegal war against an innocent people because their allegiance to the military has blinded them to international and humanitarian law .

What Manzanar was to me, as I remember being taken off guard with the singing of that song, was voices raised against all fences. Fences of the past as Japanese Americans and others go there for pilgrimage; fences of the present that brave individuals such as Ehren Watada attempt to break down, and the battle against fences sought to be built by those seeking power over others due to blind racism that NCRR and CAIR and other civil rights organizations seek to tear down.

We all have a choice in our lives to travel our different paths, and often times they become one. The message of Manzanar and pilgrimage was just that, we all can CHOOSE to learn from the past so that we may travel this road of life together, seeking and living solidarity so that what happened there NEVER occurs again.

Thank you NCRR, CAIR and the Manzanar committee, thank you Lieutenant Watada. In speaking up for your own civil rights and in coming together in solidarity to speak out for the civil rights of others, in tearing down fences, you are an inspiration to all.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Most FITTING Tribute to George Bush: A SEWAGE Plant

Yes folks, some times ideas are sublime!

San Francisco may name sewage treatment plant after Bush

Published: June 25, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO: Reagan has his highways. Lincoln has his memorial. Washington has the capital, and a state, too. But President George W. Bush may soon be the sole president to have a memorial named after him that you can contribute to from the bathroom.

From the Department of Damned-With-Faint-Praise, a group going by the regal-sounding name of the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is planning to ask voters here to change the name of a prize-winning water-treatment plant on the shoreline to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

The plan - hatched, naturally, in a bar - would place a vote on the November ballot to provide "an appropriate honor for a truly unique president."

Supporters say that they have plenty of signatures to qualify the initiative and that the renaming would fit in a long and proud American tradition of poking political figures in the eye.

"Most politicians tend to be narcissistic and egomaniacs," said Brian McConnell, an organizer who regularly suits up as Uncle Sam to solicit signatures. "So it is important for satirists to help define their history rather than letting them define their own history."

Not surprisingly, those Republicans in a city that voted 83 percent Democratic in 2004 are not thrilled with the idea. Howard Epstein, chairman of the ever-outnumbered San Francisco Republican Party, called the initiative "an abuse of process."

"You got a bunch of guys drunk who came up with an idea," Epstein said, "and want to put on the ballot as a big joke without regard to the city's governance or cost."

The renaming would take effect on Jan. 20, when a new president is sworn in. And regardless of the measure's outcome, supporters plan to commemorate the inaugural with a "synchronized flush" of hundreds of thousands of toilets that would send a flood of water toward the plant, now named the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant.

"It's a way of doing something physical that's mentally freeing," said Stacey Reineccius, 45, a supporter of the plan. "It's a weird thing, but it's true."


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lieberman Must Go!!!

Joe Lieberman is a war hawk, plain and simple. He staunchly supports George Bush's War in Iraq and John McCain's plan to stay in Iraq for 100 years. But Lieberman's new alliance with the Republican Party runs even deeper. He has endorsed and stumped for McCain, wants to be the star of the Republican National Convention, and has even served on a 527 group that smeared Barack Obama with a nasty attack ad.

And yet Lieberman still holds a top rank within the Senate Democratic Caucus as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The Senate Democratic Steering Committee needs to know just how much of a conflict of interest this is. That's why we created Lieberman Must Go.

Here's what you can do: Sign our petition today and tell the Senate Democratic Steering Committee to strip Lieberman of his leadership role in Congress. Then, e-mail this video to everyone you know.

Recently in Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall suggested that the best way to limit Lieberman is by encouraging the Steering Committee to render him powerless in 2009.

Lieberman must go, sign the petition now:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Wonderful Message from George Carlin 1937-2008

A wonderful Message from George Carlin
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less. We buy more, but enjoy less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.
We've added years to life not life to years.
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space.
We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.
These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, "I love you" to your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
To all my friends in my life, thanks for being MY FRIEND!

Received by email from my beautiful oldest daughter.

WOOPS UPDATE: Seems George Carlin did not write this essay! It has been floating around wrongly attributed to him for quite a while. Seems a minister who was charged by seventeen of his parishioners with sexual assault did! It also seems when Carlin found out this was wrongly being attributed to him, he had a few words of his own!

Rest in peace George, correction made!

The Obama Campaign Store Told Me to Vote for McCAIN!!

In the midst of all the talk and actions by the Obama campaign concerning Muslim and Arab Americans, I'd like to share an incident I had last week when I called the campaign.

I was trying to call again and get someone at the headquarters to voice my dismay AGAIN at the fact the official website store still is not carrying Arab Americans for Obama buttons when now MCCAIN has buttons, bumper stickers, hats and pins.

Knowing from my last call to them that the store does not produce the buttons, but is an independent contractor hired by the campaign to handle the officially sanctioned campaign gear, when I called, I pressed #4 and for some reason was put through to the store, which was NOT who I needed to speak to.

The following is the conversation which occurred when I got the Obama store on the phone by mistake:

(By her voice) an African American woman answered the phone- I briefly said, "Oh, I somehow got the store and I realize you're not the one I need to talk to, sorry"

She asked me what I was calling about, so I BRIEFLY said, "I'm calling again because I would like to see Arab-American for Obama pins offered in Arabic because you have many other ethnicities but not that one, but you're really not the person I need to talk to because I know you only sell what the campaign sanctions, I'm sorry, I'll call back, thanks."

She went OFF her rocker. Said, "LOOK, you need to vote for McCain!"

STUNNED, I said, "Wait a minute, I'm calling for Obama, what are you talking about?"


Again I said, "PLEASE what are you talking about, I called for OBAMA, I dialed the OBAMA campaign!!"

"I KNOW WHO YOU CALLED FOR AND I'M TELLING YOU TO VOTE FOR MCCAIN, do NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA, You HERE ME. Do NOT vote for Obama!!!!!!!I do not WANT you to vote for Obama!"


Now, why did my call elicit this response from this person? Was it because of what I told her I was calling about? Or had she just forgotten her prozac that morning?

Inquiring minds want to know.

UPDATE: As if I didn't already know the answer to my own question, George Stepanopolos has thankfully confirmed my suspicions in THIS interview:


ROBERTS: And one other issue this morning smack dab on the front page of the New York Times. In the headline, "Muslim Voters Detect a Snub From Obama. What do you make of that?"

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the Obama campaign doesn't want to admit it, but they are distancing themselves from the Muslim community in some way. You had that issue last week where two Muslim women wearing veils were taken out of the photo-op with Obama. Obama had to apologize for that. What the Obama campaign makes no apologies for, though, is trying to combat this issue that's really running around e-mail chains all across the country that Barack Obama is a Muslim. He is not. And they feel that they have to take every possible step they can to combat these rumors."

I guess the woman who answered the phone at the Obama store got the memo!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Treat Your Family This Summer To Laguna's Pageant of the Masters

Photo by Brian: Volunteer performance artists
bring Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado trading cards
to life at the Laguna Pageant of the Masters

Photo by Brian: The magic of the Pageant of the
Masters comes to life as teenage volunteers stand
perfectly still portraying 18th century Meissen figurines.

Treat Your Family This Summer

to Laguna's Pageant of the Masters

By Robin

This years 75th Pageant of the Masters Festival in Laguna Beach promises to reward attendees with a spectacular show honoring its’ platinum anniversary. The theme, “All the World’s a Stage” reflects the rich history of this annual extravaganza attended by people from far and wide with this spectacular show opening July 9 and running nightly to Aug. 30.

On press night, June 2, the crowd was treated to an insider’s view of what it takes to put on this yearly show which is manned almost entirely by volunteers, many of whom have been coming back year after year to participate.

The “living pictures” of the Pageant can certainly fool the eye, enough so that one has a difficult time determining where the painted backdrop and the live figures in the “painting” divulge from each other. When portraying art, one is amazed at the way these volunteers can stand in place not moving a muscle or changing facial expressions. Imagine for yourself, teenagers standing perfectly still as 18th century Meissen porcelain figurines and you discover the magic that is the Pageant of the Masters.

Two casts rotate weekly for the entire summer. Both casts must be the same size and of the same appearance to fit into one costume to portray the same painting or statue. The materials which make up the costumes are made so that they can mold easily into the exact folds of what they are in the original piece of art. Before showing to the audience, volunteers with a copy of the original art piece in hand, pose each figure to look exactly like the original. The result is such that one is looking at a piece of art brought to life in three dimensions by actual human beings.

One display which is being staged this year is from the Far East, Oriental trading cards which were produced in honor of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”. As they are lit up, one sees four large cards, part of which is painted prop, part of which is a live person in costume. The months of work which goes in to each piece of art, whether a painting, sculpture or figurine makes the transition from painted prop to human figure seamless.

The festival itself has been held since 1941 in a theater which was built specifically to house the Pageant of the Masters and the art show put on by the artists who are invited to display and sell their exquisite art just inside the Pageant doors. If you plan on attending the Pageant, make sure to make time for browsing through this unique offering of artists who have the honor of showing there.

The casting call for volunteers goes out in early January. Children as young as four and some up to the age of ninety have either volunteered as human art works or behind the stage as volunteers, from building sets to applying makeup, ushering, to coordinating the costume changes. When interviewing some of the volunteers, one woman stated, “I’m a young volunteer, I’ve only been here for twelve years. Others have been here for more than thirty years”. There is something for everyone to volunteer for if they get the “call” to the Pageant.

Tickets for the Pageant of the Masters are available on their website or by phone at 949-497-6582 or 800-487-3378 (toll free) Call or order online soon while some seats are still available to see this year’s 75th anniversary spectacular, “All the World’s a Stage”. You will experience an evening like none you have ever experienced before.

A Book I'm Going to Read: Bugliosi's Prosecution of George Bush

Sometimes you hear of a book that you know you need to rush out and get. This new book by Vincent Bugliosi is one of those. And to think, Ehren Watada has stood court martial for refusing to deploy to this ILLEGAL war............this one's for you Ehren.

A Call to Heroes: An Interview with Vince Bugliosi

June 22, 2008

bugliosi.jpgThere are adjectives that come to mind when describing famed former prosecutor and renowned author, Vincent Bugliosi, who for 40 years has set the standard for prosecutorial skill in America. Some are intrepid, brave, independent, brilliant, driven, indomitable, respected, focused, relentless, and confident. Each fits perfectly well.

But after interviewing Mr. Bugliosi at his California home, and reading his latest book, The Prosecution Of George W. Bush For Murder, I am compelled to add two more adjectives to that already formidable list: PATRIOTIC and ENRAGED. Beyond all other characterizations one may ascribe to Vincent Bugliosi, the principal descriptors TODAY for this inherently honorable man are PATRIOTIC and ENRAGED - emanating equally from his love for his nation.

Of course, there’s another descriptor that has long been associated with Vincent Bugliosi. That descriptor is JUSTICE, to which Bugliosi has devoted his life. Yet not until now - not until George W. Bush caused the murders of over 4,000 Americans and countless innocent Iraqi men, women, children and babies, has JUSTICE assumed an even greater role for Bugliosi - arguably this nation’s preeminent prosecutor. JUSTICE has morphed from a noun to a verb - enacted by Bugliosi with a vengeance - fueled by his intense love of nation, his profound knowledge of law, and his unparalleled ability to dispense it. Vincent Bugliosi is a man of action. While others speak of JUSTICE, Bugliosi creates the ways to achieve it - and he has done so in this book.

Thus it is, that when legendary prosecutor Vince Bugliosi writes a book that establishes the case to prosecute George W. Bush for murder in an American court, for those who know the law, neither the book nor the case are ignored. As told to me by Elizabeth De La Vega, veteran Justice Department attorney who served under Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II, and author of the New York Times best seller, “United States v. George W. Bush et. al.”:

“Vincent Bugliosi is a consummate prosecutor who has now put together yet another compelling case. His is a cry for justice on behalf of the thousands upon thousands of people who have suffered irreparable harm — and the many of who have died — as a result of the criminal conduct of the President of the United States. This passionate and powerful brief should not be ignored.”

Thankfully, as De La Vega aptly implores, Vince’s book is NOT being ignored. NOT by his patriotic colleagues in law who seek justice against an Administration that misled their nation into a wretched unnecessary war. NOT by the patriotic American public that’s witnessed its beloved nation toppled from human rights enforcer to human rights destroyer. And NOT by the legions of activist patriots who have placed their own freedoms at risk again and again to end the unConstitutional reign of George W. Bush - despite the complicit Legislative and Judicial Branches which failed in their Balance of Powers.

As shared with me by Stephen Rohde, Constitutional lawyer, author, and former president of the ACLU of Southern California:

“At a time when the Democratic leadership has utterly failed to pursue the remedy of impeachment provided by the Founders in the Constitution, Bugliosi’s innovative challenge to indict Bush for murder should be pursued by attorneys general in every state where men and women have died due to Bush’s criminal acts. This Nation cannot allow Bush to leave office and live out his days being paid huge fees to give speeches and serve on corporate boards instead of being tried for the deaths and injuries he has caused. Whether he is forced to stand trial for murder or for war crimes and crimes against humanity, George W. Bush must be held accountable.”

Which brings us to Vince’s CALL TO HEROES. The heroes in Vince’s case are those who would prosecute George W. Bush for murder in an American court of law - which includes the hundreds of city and county District Attorneys, the 50 State Attorneys General and any of the 93 U.S. Attorneys in the 93 federal districts for whom Vince established jurisdiction to proceed with the case. Vince is certain that amongst this vast population of prosecutors, there is at least one patriot who loves this nation deeply enough to hold Bush accountable for the murders of over 4,000 service men and women whom he lied into going to war.

The good news for whomever does step forward to take George Bush to task is the promise of assistance from Bugliosi himself - who as a prosecutor is held in the highest regard. In the words of famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey, Vince is “the quintessential prosecutor.” For Harvard Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz, Vince is “as good a prosecutor as there ever was.”Thus, Vince’s offer to serve as consultant to whomever accepts the case should be incentive enough to take it on - especially since whomever does take it on will encounter instant fame. Vince has also offered to accept a Special Prosecutor appointment from any U.S. Attorney or District Attorney who would like him to try the case.

There are certainly enough family members of murdered service men and women who want George W. Bush tried for their murders. This afternoon I spoke with Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan whose son Casey was killed in Iraq. Cindy, who’s mentioned in Vince’s book, is eager to see Bush tried for Casey’s murder. She’ll be reaching out to Vince to tell him that if prosecution is possible, she’s on board on Casey’s behalf.

As I’ve previously noted, Vince’s patriotism is palpable - in his presence, and in his book. By any standards, this 73-year-old son of hard working Italian immigrants has achieved his American dream. He’s the first in his family to finish college. He’s a brilliantly successful lawyer and one of America’s most renowned authors. Yet despite his great accomplishments, Vince’s focus is on the future - with minor reflection on his past. Right now, the driving force of Vince’s life is prosecuting George W. Bush for murder - a desire that first took hold on August 13, 2005, when he watched Bush on television speaking with reporters from his cushy Crawford ranch. As Vince tells it:

“In the middle of some of the worst atrocities in Iraq, with the surivors of victims screaming out in anguish over the unspeakable horror of it all, Bush after a hearty breakfast tells the media: Quote: I’m gonna have lunch with Secretary of State Rice, take a little nap, I’m reading an Elmore Leonard book right now - knock off a little Elmore Leonard this afternoon - go fishing with my man Barney [his dog], have a light dinner, then head for the ball game. So it’s a perfect day. End quote.

As I talk to you [Linda] right now, there are a hundred-thousand dead - maybe a million - and this guy is off having a great time! I said to myself, ‘No, you son of a bitch! You’re not gonna have another perfect day for as long as you live if I have anything to say about it because I’m gonna put a thought in your mind that you’re going to take with you to your grave. That’s the least that I can do for these thousands of poor soldiers coming back from Iraq in a box or in a jar of ashes. And the thousands upon thousands of innocent men, women, children and babies dying because of your war. And that thought is that there’s no statute of limitations for murder. They went after Pinochet after 33 years - and then he died.”

Read further>>>>>>>>>>>>>

And video: from AntiWar Radio (three parts)

Friday, June 20, 2008

UNICEF Rejects Support From Israeli Billionaire, Leviev

Adalah-NY - UNICEF Rejects Support From Israeli Billionaire Known for Constructing Settlements on Palestinian Lands

Diamond Mogul, Lev Leviev, Facing Increasing Pressure for Human Rights Violations

A senior advisor to UNICEF’s Director said in a letter today that UNICEF will reject all partnerships with, or financial support from, Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. Leviev had previously provided UNICEF with support by sponsoring fundraising events in France. Leviev’s past support for UNICEF is featured in a number of places on his company’s website (

UNICEF’s rejection of Leviev’s support followed meetings with Adalah-NY, letters from organizations and Palestinian communities advocating a boycott of Leviev’s companies, and a visit by UNICEF officials to Jayyous, one of the Palestinian communities where a Leviev company is building Israeli settlements. Leviev’s diamond-mining companies in Angola have also been accused of serious human rights abuses.

Abdullah Abu Rahme, a community leader from the West Bank village of Bil’in, said, “We welcome UNICEF’s decision to hold one of the companies that has been building Mattityahu East settlement accountable for attempting to destroy our community. Our village has engaged in a three and a half year nonviolent campaign to save our land, and an international boycott is an important complement to our weekly protests. This is a victory, but we need many more like it.” Leviev’s companies have also recently built homes in the settlements of Maale Adumim and Har Homa, both of which cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank.

A June 19 letter to Adalah-NY from Chris De Bono, senior communications advisor to UNICEF’s Executive Director, stated: “Yesterday we confirmed that UNICEF has concluded that it will not consider partnerships - direct or indirect - with Mr. Lev Leviev or any of his corporate entities, and will not accept financial or other support that we know is from him or his corporate entities. The concerned parts of the UNICEF family, including our national committees, have been advised of this.” (See the full UNICEF letter: The letter followed a June 18th meeting at UNICEF’s New York headquarters with representatives from Adalah-NY.

In a previous March 25, 2008 letter to Adalah-NY, UNICEF explained that Leviev had indirectly supported UNICEF three times, “each time as a sponsor of fundraising activities organized by the French magazine Gala in support of UNICEF.” In the same letter UNICEF expressed its support for UN resolutions stating that Israeli settlements violate international law. Then in April, UNICEF received letters demanding that it reject all support from Leviev from Jewish Voice for Peace, Defence for Children International-Palestine, the villages of Jayyous and Bil’in, The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign, and Jews Against the Occupation.

The Mayor of the West Bank village of Jayyous, Mohammed Taher Jaber, commented: “UNICEF officials visited us in May and saw the terrible impacts on our children of the theft of our farmland for the expansion of Zufim settlement by Leviev’s company Leader. We thank UNICEF for upholding international law, and supporting children’s rights, and we call on other organizations to do the same.”

When contacted by Adalah-NY in January, Oxfam International announced publicly that it had not received support from Leviev, contrary to press reports and information on one of Leviev’s websites, and that it would not accept his support in the future due to Leviev’s companies’ settlement construction. Dubai has also recently announced that it would not allow Leviev to open planned jewelry stores in the Emirate following boycott calls issued by Adalah-NY and Palestinian communities.

Click here for the original PDF of the letter from UNICEF.

Hat-tip to Sabbah's Blog