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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saber Rattling Becoming Reality: NO WAR ON IRAN!

This is most ominous......MOST ominous.

US weighs possible strikes on Iran's military: report
1 hour ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US administration has shifted strategy and is drawing up plans for possible air strikes against Iran's Revolutionary Guard instead of the country's nuclear sites, the New Yorker magazine reported on Sunday.

President George W. Bush has requested the Joint Chiefs of Staff revise plans for a possible attack on Iran, with the focus on "surgical" raids against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps which Washington accuses of targeting US forces in Iraq, the magazine wrote.

Previous contingency plans called for a more elaborate bombing campaign against suspected nuclear sites in Iran as well as other infrastructure, the magazine reported, citing unnamed former officials and government consultants.

Read further>>>>>>>>

Could this possibly be even further "justified" in light of this which CLEARLY is stated as a "symbolic move" ENOUGH already. With the passage of the Kyl Lieberman amendment this week the US is NOT making "symbolic statements". The US is CLEARLY readying for war on Iran. The US does NOT have the troops NOR the ability to spread this regional war further and it is just plain WRONG in the first place. God Almighty what is going to happen next?

Read Seymour Hirsch's article HERE at the New Yorker.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sunday Offering #28: "A Brave and Startling Truth"

A Brave and Startling Truth
Maya Angelou
American Poet, Author and Actress

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

This poem was written and delivered in honor of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Teflon Alliance With Israel

See No Evil

The Teflon Alliance with Israel


Two recent offhand comments, both widely publicized, have seriously undermined whatever progress might have been made in exposing the fact that the Iraq war was initiated at least in large part to guarantee Israel's safety and regional dominance in the Middle East.

In late August, Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Colin Powell's chief of staff when he was secretary of state, told Gareth Porter of Inter Press Service that, when Israel first got wind of U.S. planning for a war against Iraq, a wide range of Israelis, including political and intelligence officials, began warning against such a war. "Israelis were telling us Iraq is not the enemy -- Iran is the enemy," Wilkerson said. Israeli warnings against an attack on Iraq were "pervasive" in Israeli communications with the administration during early 2002, according to Wilkerson.

This story garnered a fair amount of publicity and in at least one instance was used by a radio talk show host to shut off discussion of the John Mearsheimer-Stephen Walt book on the influence of the Israel lobby, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Just a few days after the Wilkerson story came out and also only days after release of the Mearsheimer-Walt book, a caller to the Thom Hartmann radio program commended the book, urged Hartmann and his guest at the time, Senator Bernie Sanders, to read it, and asked Sanders to address the issue of Israel's and the lobby's support for the Iraq war. Hartmann shut the caller off with a comment that "we don't hype books on this program" (after having just allowed another caller to hype another book). Sanders then proceeded to denounce "conspiracy theories" such as the notion that Israel had anything to do with the war, and Hartmann finished off with a remark that, "besides," a report just came out --obviously meaning the Wilkerson story -- that demonstrates there was no Israeli link to the war.

In fact, the Wilkerson report does not refute the notion of an Israeli link; he addresses only Israeli-U.S. contacts in early 2002, whereas by later in 2002 and 2003 the evidence is overwhelming that Israel and particularly the Israel lobby were pushing hard for the war. But this is the way myths are born: Hartmann and Sanders were able to use perhaps 90 seconds on a nationally broadcast radio program to tout an incomplete report reinforcing their own misconceptions and to dismiss a thoroughly researched book disproving those misconceptions. Never again, mostly likely, will they or any of the choir they were broadcasting to, who do not want to have to deal with Israel anyway, even think about the issue.

The Wilkerson assertions were followed in mid-September by the highly publicized single-sentence statement by former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan in his just-released memoir, The Age of Turbulence, that "it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." When the media pounced on this statement, which stands virtually alone and unelaborated in a 500-page book, Greenspan gave several interviews supposedly intended to clarify his statement. To AP he said -- in an obvious sop to the administration and the right, which clearly do not want to own up to such a crass motivation for the war as oil -- that he had not intended to imply that oil was "the administration's motive. I'm just saying that if somebody asked me, 'Are we fortunate in taking out Saddam?' I would say it was essential" for economic reasons. He had come to fear, he explained, that "Saddam, looking over his 30-year history, very clearly was giving evidence of moving towards controlling the Straits [sic] of Hormuz, where there are 17, 18, 19 million barrels a day" passing through. The war was not an oil grab, Greenspan said, but "taking Saddam out was essential" because it assured the continued smooth operation of the oil market.

A week later, on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now!," Greenspan, repeating that he had been watching Saddam Hussein for 30 years, said that he had feared that Saddam would acquire a nuclear weapon, that this would give him control over the Strait of Hormuz, and that he therefore had to be removed. Greenspan said he believed the "size of the threat" that Saddam posed "was scary" because "he could have essentially also shut down a significant part of economic activity throughout the world."

The logic here is really quite strange and indicates at least that whatever economic genius Greenspan possesses does not extend to military strategizing or political analysis. One wonders, for instance, how exactly Saddam could have controlled the Strait of Hormuz with a nuclear or any other type of weapon when Iraq does not border this key waterway at the opening of the Persian Gulf and has no navy of any significance. One also wonders why Saddam's future possession of a nuclear weapon was more worrisome than the likelihood that Iran, which does have a navy and does geographically control the strait, might close it. Greenspan's statements further raise the question of why, given his claimed knowledge of Saddam's "30-year history" and given the interest of earlier administrations in Iraq's nuclear ambitions, he began to feel Saddam's removal was "essential" only when the Bush administration began planning for war. And none of what Greenspan said explained why Iraq would have shut down its economy by blocking its own oil exports.

Greenspan's fumbling explanations seem at a minimum to be in the nature of meandering remarks by a man concentrated on economics with little political acumen, who went along with the war because of its presumed benefits in safeguarding oil markets but with no concern about the broader consequences of the war and little or no interest in its political motivations or its geostrategic implications beyond what he saw as its global economic goal.

It remains open to question whether Greenspan in addition intended to divert attention from the clear evidence that Israel and its U.S. supporters, both among Jewish American organizations and among neocon policymakers inside the administration, pushed hard for the war, among other reasons to guarantee Israel's security in the Middle East and its regional domination. But whatever his intent, this has been the effect of his concentration on oil. It reinforces the assumptions of those, primarily on the left, who have always contended that the war was "all about oil," and only about oil. The left's refusal to acknowledge that a desire to secure Israel in the region had anything to do with the Bush neocons' war planning is difficult to fathom, since many on the left are notable critics of Israeli policy. But, again, whatever their intent in quashing discussion of the Israeli link, the effect has been to contribute to silencing domestic debate on a critical U.S. policy issue.

Neither is it clear in Wilkerson's case whether he intended, by discussing Israeli representations against going after Iraq, to divert attention from Israel's actual interest in Iraq. But once again, diverting and silencing discussion has been the effect of his brief remarks.

Without closer examination, both Greenspan's and Wilkerson's statements seem to let Israel and its U.S. lobbyists off the hook, something that in differing ways serves the interests of Israel and the lobby, of the right in the U.S., and of the left. Israel's U.S. supporters -- fearful that Jews will be blamed for leading the U.S. into the debacle that Iraq has become and fearful of reviving old anti-Semitic canards about Jews exerting undue power -- roundly deny any Israeli connection to the war. Israel itself, although not as fearful as its American acolytes of anti-Semitism, has remained silent, obviously not affirming a role in instigating the war and letting its supporters do the denying. The U.S. political right does not, of course, want to acknowledge that the relationship with Israel has grown so close that the U.S. would actually go to war at the behest of or for the benefit of Israel. Nor does it want to own up to any of the other actual motivations for the war -- neither, as previously noted, to a motivation like oil nor to a baldly imperial motivation promising (and already providing) great profits for the joint U.S.-Israeli military-industrial complex.

The left, on the other hand, very much wants to believe that oil, and perhaps secondarily the imperial drive, constituted the only motivations, and that Israel played no role at all. The left is as skittish as anyone, and perhaps more so than anyone else, about being seen to criticize Israel except occasionally regarding the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. It is much more comfortable for the left to believe that the U.S. is evil and Israel is at worst a hapless tool of Washington. The thought that the tail might wag the dog is rarely taken seriously.

So the weight of public discourse since before the Iraq war was launched has been that any Israeli role in inspiring or pushing for it is at best a silly invention and at worst a vile anti-Jewish lie, and both the Wilkerson and the Greenspan statements play into this impression. Until these statements, the knowledge of an Israeli connection had begun to gain some greater currency thanks to a few valiant souls who have dared raise the subject, including people like Chris Hedges, Scott Ritter and, most recently, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. In July, Hedges wrote a hard-hitting article for Truthdig, subsequently widely circulated, saying that the war "was strongly shaped by the notion that what is good for Israel is good for the United States," and Israel and its neocon supporters wanted Iraq neutralized. Hedges also acknowledged a "desire for American control of oil" as a major driver of the war, along with "the belief that Washington could build puppet states in the region."

Scott Ritter, who served as a weapons inspector in Iraq during the 1990s, paints a somewhat more complex picture in his 2006 book Targeting Iran. He makes it clear, supporting Wilkerson's statement, that over the years of weapons inspections, Israel had come to regard Iraq as a diminishing threat (unlike Greenspan, apparently), whereas Iran was increasingly viewed as a new looming danger. By August 2002, according to Ritter, when the Israelis passed intelligence about the threat from Iran to the Bush administration, "there was barely a reaction in Washington" because "all eyes were on Baghdad, not Tehran." But Israel's Ariel Sharon was, in Ritter's words, "quick to catch on," and in those last several months of 2002 -- the critical months of war planning, coming well after the early 2002 period that Wilkerson was discussing -- Israel jumped on the Iraq war bandwagon, publicly and privately, and began to press for and justify a U.S. invasion. Sharon assigned a senior Israeli military intelligence official to give the U.S. Israeli intelligence assessments on Iraqi WMD activity, according to Ritter, and at the same time, with an eye to later broadening the conflict to Iran and beyond, Israeli intelligence "pressed home to [the U.S.] the notion that the upcoming U.S. invasion of Iraq must serve as a springboard for a larger transformation within the Middle East, one that swept away not only Saddam Hussein, but also anti-Israeli elements in Syria, Palestine, and, of course, Iran."

This dovetails precisely with the neocon agenda, which was ultimately the operative ingredient in determining whether there would be war or not. This agenda was laid out publicly in the mid-1990s in the now infamous "Clean Break" paper, written in Israel for then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a group of Israelis and Americans, three of whom later entered the Bush administration and began planning for the attack on Iraq. The principal elements of the paper involved overturning the Palestinian-Israeli peace process to save Israel from having to make any territorial concessions and then sparking massive changes, through force if necessary, in Iraq, Syria, and Iran, leading to an era of peace in which Israel and the U.S. jointly dominated a transformed and intimidated Middle East.

In their book on the lobby, Mearsheimer and Walt provide overwhelming evidence for an Israeli link to the war that completely undermines the public myths revived by Wilkerson's and Greenspan's statements, and they build a convincing case against the notion that the war was "all about oil." They are the first who have done the extensive research necessary to bring the mountain of evidence together.

The two authors devote more than 30 pages and a remarkable 175 footnotes to constructing an irrefutable case for an Israeli role in helping plan, and a large lobby role in pressing for, the war. Although they do not claim that the effort to guarantee Israeli security was the sole reason for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, they demonstrate clearly -- citing public and privates statements by Israeli military and political officials, informed commentary in both Israel and the U.S., and analysis by foreign policy experts -- that "Israeli leaders, neoconservatives, and the Bush administration all saw war with Iraq as the first step in an ambitious campaign to remake the Middle East" in order to "make it a more friendly environment for America and Israel." Israel and the lobby "played crucial roles in making that war happen." Without the lobby and particularly the core of neocon policymakers inside government and neocon commentators and think-tank analysts on the sidelines, Mearsheimer and Walt conclude bluntly, "the war would almost certainly not have occurred" and "America would probably not be in Iraq today."

On the question of oil as a principal driver in the war, the authors demonstrate that in fact, although the oil industry was clearly happy to obtain lucrative concessions in post-Saddam Iraq, the argument that the industry pushed for the war in order to enhance profits is counter-intuitive. The disadvantages to the industry of turmoil in the region are evident. Energy companies, they make clear, do not like wars in oil-rich areas. Nor do they like such other recent "staples of U.S. Middle East policy" as sanctions and regime change, because each of these actions "threatens access to oil and gas reserves and thus [the oil companies'] ability to make money." Mearsheimer and Walt point out that Vice President Cheney opposed sanctions on Iran while he was president of Halliburton in the mid-1990s and complained about the "sanctions happy" policies of the U.S. Instability is rarely in the interests of the oil companies. In the end, the authors conclude, the "wealthy Arab governments and the oil lobby exert much less influence on U.S. foreign policy than the Israel lobby does, because oil interests have less need to skew foreign policy in the directions they favor and they do not have the same leverage."

It is fair to ask why it matters whether the U.S. went to war solely for oil, or solely for Israel, or out of an imperial drive -- or, as is much more likely the case, for some combination of these motivations. It matters, most fundamentally, because, if there is ever to be a course correction and a return to some kind of policy sanity that will prevent similar future disasters, it is necessary to understand how this disaster arose in the first place. All of these motivations, together and separately, are unacceptable reasons for launching an unprovoked aggression against another sovereign nation, for killing up to a million of its innocent citizens, and for fostering chaos throughout the region. Global sanity and global security demand that the U.S. not invade other countries to obtain control over their natural resources or gain huge corporate profits through oil concessions. Global sanity and security also demand that the U.S. cease trying to expand its imperial reach. And, perhaps most important, it is absolutely vital that the U.S. not so subordinate what should be its true interests to those of another nation that it can be led into wars anywhere, but particularly in the most sensitive area of the world, at the behest or for the benefit of Israel. If going to war to secure huge profits for oil companies is obscene, how much more obscene is going to war for the benefit of a foreign power because we are no longer able to distinguish our interests from theirs?

It has become almost trite to quote George Washington's farewell speech urging moderation in foreign attachments, but his injunctions 200 years ago have an eerie applicability to the U.S. relationship with Israel today. Warning against "a passionate attachment of one nation for another," Washington observed that this creates "a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification."

The U.S. alliance with Israel has unquestionably led to a gross distortion of U.S. policy in exactly the way in which Washington predicted, creating the illusion of a common interest where none exists and injecting Israel's enmities into the U.S. with little or no justification. If the U.S. cannot distinguish its own interests from those of Israel and Israel's lobby, then it simply cannot act, as it should, purely in its own interest. Those who minimize the role of the Israel lobby in influencing U.S. policy choices, and who refuse or fail to recognize the part Israel and the lobby have played in leading the U.S. into disastrous foreign adventures, pose an incalculable danger to the U.S., for a failure to recognize the reason for a misguided policy will inevitably doom us to repeat it.

Kathleen Christison is a former CIA political analyst and has worked on Middle East issues for 30 years. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession. She can be reached at

Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence officer and as director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis.

They can be reached at

Arlington, Mass. And Other Towns Say No To The ADL

BRAVO to this group of people with TRUE integrity for standing up to the strong arm bigoted pressures of the ADL and Abe Foxman

In reading about the other towns who have said NO to the ADL, their reason given has been the ADL's refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide. Arlington, Mass. takes their opposition to the ADL much further in this open letter they wrote.

Group opposes ADL involvement

Arlington, Mass. -
(all links are added by Under the Holly Tree as support of statements made below)

We are among several residents of Arlington of different religions and
ethnicities who strongly support a town program to fight bigotry and
make our community a place where diversity is welcome, but who have
opposed Anti-Defamation League sponsorship of such a program from the
time public announcement was made about plans to bring No Place for
Hate here more than eight months ago.

We are encouraged by the suspension or reconsideration of the program
in Watertown, Arlington, Belmont, Newton and other nearby communities
pending full ADL acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide and support
for a congressional resolution to that effect. And we applaud our
Armenian sisters and brothers for their principled and powerful
political stand on this issue. But our concerns with the
Anti-Defamation League are far broader, although many of them are
rooted in the organization's support for Israeli positions, actions and

Since it was founded in 1913, ADL has played an important role in
fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination. Many are
familiar with ADL's anti-hate work and bridge-building to religious and
ethnic communities, especially in New England. However, over the last
30 years the ADL has also allied itself with right-wing forces in our
country, silenced dissent on matters related to Israel and blacklisted
and defamed progressive voices expressing views that are not in keeping
with its own, particularly on Israel and Palestine. Journalists and
researchers who publish in the mainstream press have documented this.

As residents who care about our town and want to help create a welcome
and open community, we say that ADL is not an appropriate co-sponsor
for an official local program.
Here are some of our reasons.

1) ADL blacklists, defames and silences the voices of academics,
progressive Jews, Arabs, Muslims, and other critics of Israeli policy.
As noted on the Jewish Voice for Peace Web site, "The ADL's stated
mission is to protect the rights of Jews and fight bigotry wherever it
appears. But the ADL has created an environment of fear and
intimidation, in which thousands of American Jews are systematically

In 1984 and in 1995-96, the Middle East Studies Association of North
, the major academic and professional association setting the
standards for scholarship on the Middle East, condemned ADL's
blacklisting of critics of Israeli policy. ADL continues to harass
academics critical of Israeli policy and American foreign policy in the
Middle East. Arab, Muslim, and Jewish voices in the academy are
especially targeted. ADL has destroyed the careers and reputations of
academics by disseminating falsehoods about their views.

Since the 1970s, national ADL leaders have written about what they
call the "new anti-Semitism," which renders any serious critic of
Israel an anti-Semite or "self-hating Jew." In 2006, ADL condemned
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports on the
Israeli-Hezbollah war, calling Amnesty's report "bigoted, biased and
borderline anti-Semitic" and castigating Human Rights Watch for
"immorality at the highest level." More recently, ADL strongly
criticized former President Jimmy Carter for employing "the old canard
and conspiracy theory of Jewish control" and more broadly challenged
his integrity for his book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Only two
weeks ago in an NPR interview, ADL National Director Abe Foxman
condemned Harvard Professor Stephen Walt and University of Chicago
Professor John Mearsheimer for their new book on the Israel lobby by
employing analogies to Hitler and Stalin.

2) ADL conducts illegal surveillance. In the 1980s and 1990s, ADL
conducted illegal surveillance of more than 950 groups and nearly
10,000 activists. Targeted groups included NAACP, Asian-American Law
Caucus, Artists Against Apartheid, Farm Workers Union, ACLU, Mother
Jones magazine, National Lawyers Guild, American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee, Greenpeace, Act Up, Action for Animals,
United Auto Workers and the American Indian Movement. ADL operatives
shared information on anti-apartheid organizing in the U.S. with South
Africa's Afrikaner government. (Spy Case Update, the ADL Fights Back-WRMEA)

In the 1990s several lawsuits were filed against the ADL in San
In 1999 Federal Judge Richard Paez issued an injunction
permanently enjoining ADL from engaging in further illegal spying on
, anti-apartheid and civil rights activists and requiring
ADL to show evidence of adherence to this injunction. Since the 1990s,
several other cases against ADL have made or are making their way
through the courts.

The ADL's history of surveillance dates back to the 1940s when ADL
spied on leftists and communists. The ADL also shared this information
with The House Committee on Un-American Activities and the FBI.

3) ADL opposes affirmative action. In the 1970s ADL was an early
staunch leader in the national fight against affirmative action. In
1978, ADL head Nathan Perlmutter called for a ban on all race-based
criteria for university admissions. In 2003, in support of
anti-affirmative action plaintiffs, ADL filed an amicus brief to the
Supreme Court in a case involving race-based admissions at the
University of Michigan. The Town of Arlington has a firm commitment to
affirmative action, as embodied in our Affirmative Action Advisory
Committee. This is a sharp contrast with the position taken by the ADL
on affirmative action.

4) ADL advocates for war in the Middle East. Since the 1980s ADL has
aligned with right-wing forces in the U.S. and abroad. In 2002, ADL was
one of the groups advocating for the invasion of Iraq and it has long
maintained a hawkish stance on U.S. military action in the region,
currently beating the drums to promote U.S. war on Iran.

For these reasons, in addition to the national organization's
long-standing refusal to fully acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, we
believe that ADL is not an appropriate sponsor of a program on teaching
openness to diverse perspectives. We ask our Arlington friends and
neighbors: If you were a member of any of the groups targeted by the
ADL, would you want the organization to be sponsor of an
anti-discrimination program in your town?

This commentary was signed by:
Susan Barney,
Mary Lynn Cramer,
Elaine Hagopian, Noble Larson,
Marilyn Levin,
Susan Rivo,
Hilda Silverman


Read: "The Ugly Truth About the Anti-Defamation League"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Quiet Year in Palestine?

Notice the numbers...............45.7 times the number of Palestinians killed than Israelis. 9.2 times more Palestinian children alone died that ALL Israelis. Yet Israel just keeps killing........................and asking for the US to support them............with our weapons and our cash and our laws and our vetoes and our moral support and.............I ask, when will we stop doing this?

Twilight Zone / The children of 5767
By Gideon Levy

It was a pretty quiet year, relatively speaking. Only 457 Palestinians and 10 Israelis were killed, according to the B'Tselem human rights organization, including the victims of Qassam rockets. Fewer casualties than in many previous years. However, it was still a terrible year: 92 Palestinian children were killed (fortunately, not a single Israeli child was killed by Palestinians, despite the Qassams). One-fifth of the Palestinians killed were children and teens - a disproportionate, almost unprecedented number. The Jewish year of 5767. Almost 100 children, who were alive and playing last New Year, didn't survive to see this one.

One year. Close to 8,000 kilometers were covered in the newspaper's small, armored Rover - not including the hundreds of kilometers in the old yellow Mercedes taxi belonging to Munir and Sa'id, our dedicated drivers in Gaza. This is how we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the occupation. No one can argue anymore that it's only a temporary, passing phenomenon. Israel is the occupation. The occupation is Israel.

We set out each week in the footsteps of the fighters, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, trying to document the deeds of Israel Defense Forces soldiers, Border Police officers, Shin Bet security service investigators and Civil Administration personnel - the mighty occupation army that leaves behind in its wake horrific killing and destruction, this year as every year, for four decades.

And this was the year of the children that were killed. We didn't get to all of their homes, only to some; homes of bereavement where parents weep bitterly over their children, who were climbing a fig tree in the yard, or sitting on a bench in the street, or preparing for an exam, or on their way home from school, or sleeping peacefully in the false security of their homes.

A few of them also threw a rock at an armored vehicle or touched a forbidden fence. All came under live fire, some of which was deliberately aimed at them, cutting them down in their youth. From Mohammed (al-Zakh) to Mahmoud (al-Qarinawi), from the boy who was buried twice in Gaza to the boy who was buried in Israel. These are the stories of the children of 5767.

The first of them was buried twice. Abdullah al-Zakh identified half of the body of his son Mahmoud, in the morgue refrigerator of Shifa Hospital in Gaza, by the boy's belt and the socks on his feet. This was shortly before last Rosh Hashanah. The next day, when the Israel Defense Forces "successfully" completed Operation Locked Kindergarten, as it was called, leaving behind 22 dead and a razed neighborhood, and left Sajiyeh in Gaza, the bereaved father found the remaining parts of the body and brought them for a belated burial.

Mahmoud was 14 when he died. He was killed three days before the start of the school year. Thus we ushered in Rosh Hashanah 5767. In Shifa we saw children whose legs were amputated, who were paralyzed or on respirators. Families were killed in their sleep, or while riding on donkeys, or working in the fields. Operation Locked Kindergarten and Operation Summer Rains. Remember? Five children were killed in the first operation, with the dreadful name. For a week, the people of Sajiyeh lived in fear the likes of which Sderot residents have never experienced - not to belittle their anxiety, that is.

The day after Rosh Hashanah we traveled to Rafah. Dam Hamad, 14, had been killed in her sleep, in her mother's arms, by an Israeli rocket strike that sent a concrete pillar crashing down on her head. She was the only daughter of her paralyzed mother, her whole world. In the family's impoverished home in the Brazil neighborhood, at the edge of Rafah, we met the mother who lay in a heap in bed; everything she had in the world was gone. Outside, I remarked to the reporter from French television who accompanied me that this was one of those moments when I felt ashamed to be an Israeli. The next day he called and said: "They didn't broadcast what you said, for fear of the Jewish viewers in France."

Soon afterward we went back to Jerusalem to visit Maria Aman, the amazing little girl from Gaza, who lost nearly everyone in her life to a missile strike gone awry that wiped out her innocent family, including her mother, while riding in their car. Her devoted father Hamdi remains by her side. For a year and a half, she has been cared for at the wonderful Alyn Hospital, where she has learned to feed a parrot with her mouth and to operate her wheelchair using her chin. All the rest of her limbs are paralyzed. She is connected day and night to a respirator. Still, she is a cheerful and neatly groomed child whose father fears the day they might be sent back to Gaza.

For now, they remain in Israel. Many Israelis have devoted themselves to Maria and come to visit her regularly. A few weeks ago, broadcast journalist Leah Lior took her in her car to see the sea in Tel Aviv. It was a Saturday night, and the area was crowded with people out for a good time, but the girl in the wheelchair attracted attention. Some people recognized her and stopped to say hello and wish her well. Who knows? Maybe the pilot who fired the missile at her car happened to be passing by, too.

Not everyone has been fortunate enough to receive the treatment that Maria has had. In mid-November, a few days after the bombardment of Beit Hanoun - remember that? - we arrived in the battered and bleeding town: 22 killed in a moment, 11 shells dropped on a densely packed town. Islam, 14, sat there dressed in black, grieving for her eight relatives that had been killed, including her mother and grandmother. Those disabled by this bombardment didn't get to go to Alyn.

Two days before the shelling of Beit Hanoun, our forces also fired a missile that hit the minibus transporting children to the Indira Gandhi kindergarten in Beit Lahia. Two kids, passersby, were killed on the spot. The teacher, Najwa Khalif, died a few days later. She was wounded in clear view of her 20 small pupils, who were sitting in the minibus. After her death, the children drew a picture: a row of children lying bleeding, their teacher in the front, and an Israeli plane bombing them. At the Indira Gandhi kindergarten, we had to bid good-bye to Gaza, too: Since then, we haven't been able to cross into the Strip.

But the children have come to us. In November, 31 children were killed in Gaza. One of them, Ayman al-Mahdi, died in Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, where he had been rushed in grave condition. Only his uncle was permitted to stay with him during his final days. A fifth-grader, Ayman had been sitting with friends on a bench on a street in Jabalya, right by his school. A bullet fired from a tank struck him. He was just 10 years old.

IDF troops killed children in the West Bank, too. Jamil Jabaji, a boy who tended horses in the new Askar refugee camp, was shot in the head. He was 14 when he was killed, last December. He and his friends were throwing rocks at the armored vehicle that passed by the camp, located near Nablus. The driver provoked the children, slowing down and speeding up, slowing down and speeding up, until finally a soldier got out, aimed at the boy's head and fired. Jamil's horses were left in their stable, and his family was left to mourn.

And what did 16-year-old Taha al-Jawi do to get himself killed? The IDF claimed that he tried to sabotage the barbed-wire fence surrounding the abandoned Atarot airport; his friends said he was just playing soccer and had gone to chase after the ball. Whatever the circumstances, the response from the soldiers was quick and decisive: a bullet in the leg that caused him to bleed to death, lying in a muddy ditch by the side of the road. Not a word of regret, not a word of condemnation from the IDF spokesman, when we asked for a comment. Live fire directed at unarmed children who weren't endangering anyone, with no prior warning.

Abir Aramin was even younger; she was just 11. The daughter of an activist in the Combatants for Peace organization, in January she left her school in Anata and was on the way to buy candy in a little shop. She was fired upon from a Border Police vehicle. Bassam, her father, told us back then with bloodshot eyes and in a strangled voice: "I told myself that I don't want to take revenge. Revenge will be for this 'hero,' who was so 'threatened' by my daughter that he shot and killed her, to stand trial for it." But just a few days ago the authorities announced that the case was being closed: The Border Police apparently acted appropriately.

"I'm not going to exploit my daughter's blood for political purposes. This is a human outcry. I'm not going to lose my mind just because I lost my heart," the grieving father, who has many Israeli friends, also told us.

In Nablus, we documented the use of children as human shields - the use of the so-called "neighbor procedure" - involving an 11-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy. So what if the High Court of Justice has outlawed it? We also recorded the story of the death of baby Khaled, whose parents, Sana and Daoud Fakih, tried to rush him to the hospital in the middle of the night, a time when Palestinian babies apparently mustn't get sick: The baby died at the checkpoint.

In Kafr al-Shuhada (the "martyrs' village") south of Jenin, in March, 15-year-old Ahmed Asasa was fleeing from soldiers who had entered the village. A sniper's bullet caught him in the neck.

Bushra Bargis hadn't even left her home. In late April she was studying for a big test, notebooks in hand, pacing around her room in the Jenin refugee camp in the early evening, when a sniper shot her in the forehead from quite far away. Her bloodstained notebooks bore witness to her final moments.

And what about the unborn babies? They weren't safe either. A bullet in the back of Maha Qatuni, a woman who was seven months pregnant and got up during the night to protect her children in their home, struck her fetus in the womb, shattering its head. The wounded mother lay in the Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus, hooked up to numerous tubes. She was going to name the baby Daoud. Does killing a fetus count as murder? And how "old" was the deceased? He was certainly the youngest of the many children Israel killed in the past year.

Happy New Year.

The Senate Rolls The Dice In The Middle East

The Kyl-Lieberman amendment passed yesterday. Please read the text of this amendment and read the writing on the wall. The United States has declared the armed forces of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards as a "terrorist organization". Mark my word, this is our Senate giving a nod of approval to war on Iran.

God save the world from American arrogance, and God save the Middle East from our aggression.

(b) Sense of Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate--

(1) that the manner in which the United States transitions and structures its military presence in Iraq will have critical long-term consequences for the future of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, in particular with regard to the capability of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to pose a threat to the security of the region, the prospects for democracy for the people of the region, and the health of the global economy;

(2) that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force that could serve its interests inside Iraq, including by overwhelming, subverting, or co-opting institutions of the legitimate Government of Iraq;

(3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;

(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies;

(5) that the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, as established under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and initiated under Executive Order 13224; and

(6) that the Department of the Treasury should act with all possible expediency to complete the listing of those entities targeted under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747 adopted unanimously on December 23, 2006 and March 24, 2007, respectively.

Alphabetical by Senator Name

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Allard (R-CO), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Nay
Dole (R-NC), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Nay
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Nay
Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Nay
Lott (R-MS), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Not Voting
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Sununu (R-NH), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Nay
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wyden (D-OR)

In further HUBRIS, the Senate passed a non-binding amendment to support the partition of Iraq:

Senate backs separating Iraq into 3 regions

Biden's nonbinding bill, which draws bipartisan support, calls for a decentralized nation that empowers areas.
By Noam N. Levey, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 27, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Implicitly criticizing the Bush administration's reliance on the Iraqi central government to unify the country, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly endorsed the decentralization of Iraq into semi-autonomous regions.

The nonbinding measure sponsored by Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) -- which supports a "federal system" that would divide Iraq into sectarian-dominated regions -- won unusually broad bipartisan support, passing 75 to 23.

It attracted 26 Republicans, 47 Democrats and both independents.

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

"Casino Nation"

In a weapons producing nation under Jesus
In the fabled crucible of the free world
Camera crews search for clues amid the detritus
And entertainment shapes the land
The way the hammer shapes the hand

Gleaming faces in the checkout counter at the Church of Fame
The lucky winners cheer Casino Nation
All those not on TV only have themselves to blame
And don't quite seem to understand
The way the hammer shapes the hand

Out beyond the ethernet the spectrum spreads
DC to daylight, the cowboy mogul rides
Never worry where the gold for all this glory's gonna come from
Get along dogies, it's coming out of your hides

The intentional cultivation of a criminal class
The future lit by brightly burning bridges
Justice fully clothed to hide the heart of glass
That shatters in a thousand Ruby Ridges
And everywhere the good prepare for perpetual war
And let their weapons shape the plan
The way the hammer shapes the hand

Gaza: The Quality of Mercy Revisited

Gaza: The quality of mercy revisited
Sonja Karkar, Counterpunch, Sep 27, 2007

A Palestinian child stands near women protesting in Gaza City, calling for the release of relatives held in Israeli prisons. (Hatem Omar, Maan Images)
A Palestinian child stands near women protesting in Gaza City, calling for the release of relatives held in Israeli prisons. (Hatem Omar, Maan Images)

Do we really want to see 1.5 million people scrabbling for food in the garbage dumps, people withering away as diseases begin to spread into an epidemic and the descent into chaos as absolute desperation forces the people to grab at anything for survival? Just in case anyone thinks that this is an exaggeration, the beginnings of that scenario are already in play. Israel is setting up a demonic experiment in human behaviour reduced to the extremes of existence. By demonising the Palestinians over the years and rendering them unfit for human compassion, these now "sub-human" people are to be kept in Dov Weisglass' formaldehyde with the peace process.4 Give it any name you want, this is genocide.

The situation in Gaza is so dire now that mercy is just about all they can hope for if they want to survive. Neither justice nor peace have been offered in any measure nor are likely to be if Israel has its way. The Palestinians know only too well the futility of the peace processes and the barriers to justice. The powers that be have already thrown their weight behind Israel enough times for the Palestinians to be sure that their next generation will be suffering even worse humiliations than they have experienced themselves. But for many, the choice of being killed or living as slaves is not a choice at all. No wonder some of them are fighting back, even if their crude attempts at resistance are met with formidable and unmatchable retaliation. Only last November, the Israeli military attacked Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip with a vengeance that left 82 Palestinian civilians dead and 260 injured.5 This was the culmination of five months of killing by Israeli soldiers which saw the number of dead soar to 382 Palestinians with 1,229 injured. In the same period, Palestinian rocket fire had killed one Israeli and injured 26 others.6

It is impossible to make sense of this brutality unless we understand that Israel, since its creation, has been willing the Palestinians to vanish ­ not only those living in Gaza, but also in the West Bank and even inside Israel itself. That what is happening in Gaza is just part of the long and unforgiving litany of crimes that is still continuing.

Over sixty years, Israel has razed Palestinian homes and villages; destroyed their historical records of existence; denied their culture and identity and even promoted elements of it as their own; terrorised the Palestinians into leaving through campaigns of massacres and military brutality; divided families and communities with a prison wall and razor wire; prevented family unification bulldozed their cultivated lands which provided the farmers with sustainable living for centuries; obstructed education to a people long known for their academic achievements; intensified the closure on their society despite agreeing to ease the restrictions; taken their water leaving the Palestinians no choice but to buy it back at exorbitant prices; ruined their economy; demolished thousands of their homes; transferred thousands of others by force; refused them building permits while they allow Jewish citizens and settlers to build; created some 2000 occupier laws and regulations to prevent their natural growth even as they encourage the development of illegal Jewish settlements deep inside the occupied Palestinian territories; herded them into Bantustans while Israel maintains absolute control of all their movements; withheld their taxes so their civil servants could not be paid; put pressure on Western governments to impose sanctions; allowed US armaments in to stoke a civil war between the Palestinians; isolated Gaza from the West Bank and ostracised its leadership; and now, in a particularly venomous act is reducing Gaza to absolute penury while offering the interim Palestinian leadership in the West Bank "legitimacy" and another round of peace talks. And in the neighbouring Arab countries, some 6 million Palestinians are refused their right to return home - a situation going back to 1948 when Israel's first prime minister Ben Gurion set up a "Transfer Committee" which prohibited the return of the then 750,000 refugees who had fled Israel's campaign of terror.7

On the long and painful road towards resolving the injustices that are mounting with each Israeli act of aggression, mercy is very much needed. If Israel is loathe to give it, we must demand it of our governments to pressure Israel into stopping this collective punishment. Otherwise, we will be complicit in acts of calculated misery and ultimately the death of a whole people. However, mercy must extend beyond agreeing to feed the Palestinians properly, letting them have their electricity back and promising not to deprive them of water. This mercy must free the Palestinians from Israel's occupation and allow them the justice that has long been their due. And that, according to Dr Ghada Karmi, is the dilemma that Israel has with Palestine.8 It would mean the end of the grand Zionist plan to establish a Jewish-only state in a land belonging to another people and the beginning of an arduous journey towards reconciliation with the long-suffering victims of its colonial project. In the process, both peoples have yet to find out that mercy "blesseth him that gives and him that takes":9 without it, peace will remain as elusive as ever.

Sonja Karkar is the founder and president of Women for Palestine in Melbourne, Australia.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just a Song

Sunday Offering day isn't coming soon enough...............and I just need a song...........a beautiful song which speaks of love.................And the beauty of the desert..............Maybe some times you've felt that way too.


Action Alert: Israel Denies Entry To Only Priest in Ramallah

Alert: Please make the needed calls and spread this information widely. This is just a MISCARRIAGE of HUMAN RIGHTS!!!

Washington Report

September 26, 2007
Contact:Rasha Mukbil

Israeli Authorities Deny Entry to Clergyman

Campaign for the Right of Entry/Re-Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt), A Grassroots Campaign for the Protection of Foreign Passport Holders Residing in and/or Visiting the oPt.

In a continuing demonstration of Israel's arbitrary denial of entry policy and disregard for the Palestinian population's right to practice their religion and worship freely, Father Faris Khaleifat, priest of Ramallah's Greek Catholic Melkite Church, was barred entry to the West Bank on Friday, September 14, 2007.

Father Faris, a holder of both Vatican and Jordanian passports, commented: "For the past six years, I have been traveling regularly between the West Bank and Jordan on church affairs without any problems whatsoever." Just one week ago, Father Faris traveled to Amman for several days and returned without incident. However, on Friday, his multiple entry visa as a clergyman serving in the oPt, valid until February 2008, was canceled by Israeli authorities at the Al Sheikh Hussein Bridge without explanation, and he was forced to return to Jordan. His de facto deportation has left the Ramallah parish without its sole clergyman.

Father Faris is one of thousands of foreign passport holders who have been denied entry by the Israeli authorities over the past several years. The priest's case is just one of numerous incidents of entry denial documented by the Campaign in recent months, demonstrating that Israel's regulation of entry into the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) by foreign nationals remains arbitrary, abusive and internationally unlawful. Even clergymen are not immune. Israel continues to abuse its control over entry, presence and residency in the oPt in a manner damaging family life, businesses and the religious and social institutions serving the occupied population.

The Campaign calls on third states, religious leaders and congregations worldwide to protest Israel's actions harming the Greek Catholic Church and to demand a clear, transparent and lawful policy for all foreign nationals wishing to enter the oPt.

Call the Israeli Embassy (202) 364-5542; and the White House (202) 456-1111; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (202) 647-6575 today.


Contact: Rasha Mukbil, Coordinator, Media Committee
(c) +970-(0)59-817-3953 (email)

Johnny Appleseed, An American "Icon"

Starting with this from This Day is History: 1774 John Chapman was born. He was better known as Johnny Appleseed. He planted orchards, befriended wild animals and was considered a great medicine man by Native Americans.

Growing up in America is an exercise in being indoctrinated in American myths. Many "historical figures" we are taught about are not historical at all, such as Paul Bunyan. Other "truths" we are told are mythic in stature, GREAT Americans who through hard work and the "blessings of God", established this "Great Nation".

Then there are some historical figures which are deemed "untouchable", paragons of virtue beyond ANY reproach. Today when I saw that it would have been Johnny Appleseed's 233rd birthday I was intrigued. After all, we all know the song, "Johnny Appleseed", indeed the first few lines, "Oh the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need like the sun and the rain and the appleseed Oh the Lord is good to me", This song is taught to ALL Girl Scouts and sung quite often as a meal blessing. If we are old enough to remember, we have all probably also seen the video done by Disney below which was produced in 1948.

John Chapman aka "Johnny Appleseed" was indeed a REAL person. And he is iconocalized in American history as a folksy hero who was loved by all, even by the Native Americans whom he encountered as is written here:

In the Mohican country, Johnny visited every cabin religiously, feeling that he had been commissioned to preach, to heal diseases, to warn of danger-in short, to help God take care of the settlers. He planted his nurseries around Mansfield, Loudonville, Perryville, and the Indian village of Green Town, living in a little cabin near Perryville. When asked why he feared neither man nor beast, he replied that he lived in harmony with all people, and that he could not be harmed as long as he lived by the law of love. He is said to have sown the seeds of medicinal herbs wherever he went: dog fennel, pennyroyal, catnip, hoarhound, mullein, rattlesnake root, and others. For a long time, fennel was called "Johnny weed." He often appeared at the door of a new settler's home with a gift of herbs in his hands. Johnny made friends with many of the Indian tribes and was known to have learned many Indian languages well enough to converse. Memoirs from settlers who knew Johnny well indicate the impression that many Indians held Johnny in a high regard, and that his unusual zeal for serving others led some to believe he was touched by the Great Spirit. For that reason, they allowed him to listen to their council meetings, and he was therefore sometimes able to avert trouble between a tribe and incoming settlers. He is said to have had compassion for the views and needs of both cultures, and was a fine communicator. He possessed a peculiar eloquence and a resonant voice that was persuasively tender, inspirationally sublime, or when needed witheringly denunciatory. He had a keen sense of humor and was quick to make a witty retort or a cutting rebuke. And he was sincerely patriotic. He had unlimited faith in his country. On one occasion, at least, he made a Fourth of July oration at a celebration in Huron County.

So I got to thinking and researched further. In the war of 1812 in which many Native Americans sided with the British, he learned of an impending Indian attack on settlers and is said to have RACED 30 miles to warn the settlers. Now myself being a PACIFIST I do NOT condone massacres. But what are we talking about here? We are talking about the settlers who were encroaching on Indian lands and taking them for themselves, quite OFTEN in a violent manner.

So continuing to research, for page after page I kept coming up with the statement about Native Americans honoring Johnny Appleseed. I kept thinking to myself, wait a minute, he IS peaceful by all accounts, he DID befriend Indians by all accounts, but what was his GOAL? His goal was quite unmistakenly to make things easier for the settlers to achieve their goals, albeit in a "friendly manner".

Then I came to this website which writes:

“Not withstanding his grotesque dress, Johnny was always treated with the greatest respect by the rudest frontiersman. The Indians not only treated him kindly, but with a sort of superstitious feeling.

“They regarded him as a ‘great medicine man’ because of his fantastic dress, strange manner, eccentric conduct and the wonderful calmness with which he endured pain.

“He would thrust needles and pins into his flesh without flinch or quiver.

“In his wanderings among the Indians during the War if 1812 – when they were murdering settlers -- he frequently obtained information in regard to their intentions. Thus he was able to warn settlers, thereby enabling them to fly to places of protection"

So just WHAT was Johnny Appleseed's mission? His mission was to make it EASY for settlement to spread westward in Manifest Destiny (John L. O'Sullivan on Manifest Destiny, 1839 ). And every person on this earth SHOULD know what happened to the Native Americans as the White Man took over, it is a matter of brutal history which our nation has only in recent years been able to admit. Remember, one man's hero is not necessarily another man's hero. By all accounts I read the Native Americans he came in contact with revered him and yes, by all accounts he seems to have been a good man, but what he enabled was NOT always peaceful by ANY means. So while there WERE good relations between many settlers and the Native Americans, the ultimate outcome was tragic beyond all words.

As Johnny Appleseed moved west planting apples, our settlers went also and eventually all of the Indian tribes ended up on squalid reservations, were given land which was quite often stolen from them at a later date, many were slaughtered, many died from White Man's diseases and they were treated as a nuisance simply to be pushed aside "for progress" And while I am certainly not trying to detract from the apparent goodness of Johnny Appleseed as an individual, I am attempting to put it in context.

Video: Disney's 1948 production marvellous animation. The story of the life of John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed.With a tin pot for a hat and the Bible at his side, Johnny set out into the wilderness to do his own part in helping the western march: plant apple trees all over the countryside to help feed the pioneering settlers. As evident in this sweet, gentle classic, he proved that one need not have great size or strength to make a difference.

Question: Where are the Native Americans in this Disney production?

Much has been written about the similarities between the Native American experience at the White Man's hand and that of the Palestinians at the hands of the Zionists. Indeed, the similarities are VAST.

The following is an excellent source giving several essays on the comparison between Native Americans and Palestinians. (SOURCE) (read further on that site for essays)

Reservation Politics: the Palestinian experience through the historical monocle of Native Americans - Melancholic Troglodytes

Palestinians in Native American costume protest Condoleeza Rice visit

An historical examination of the similarities and differences in the situations of the Palestinians and the Native Americans.

"Our historical analogy aimed to demonstrate the failure of the present course of action for the region’s proletariat and suggest an alternative. It is the social and not the military dimension of the struggle that has the potential to transcend capital."


Reservation Politics: the Palestinian experience through the historical monocle of Native Americans

(Melancholic Troglodytes, 2007)
The current plight of Palestinians increasingly resembles the tragic demise of Native Americans. To have become refugees in their own land, hounded and derided by a superior military and economic entity, and to have endured mostly apathy from the outside world as well as the inevitable corruption and authoritarianism of ‘their own leaders’ are markers of both experiences. The aim of this short essay is to demonstrate (some of) the commonalities and differences that have shaped these two struggles.

Daniel Ellsberg Speaks On The State Of Our Nation And Averting an Attack on Iran

Note: In this brilliant speech by Daniel Ellsberg, he mentions Ehren Watada. Ehren is facing his second court marshal which is a violation of his double jeopardy rights on October 9th. He is to appear before Judge Head, the same judge who ruled over his first court marshal and declared a mistrial which was a blatant miscarriage of justice, then he ruled over the hearing concerning double jeopardy, ruled against Ehren and REFUSED to recuse himself as judge. Ehren's case is still on appeal to move it out of military court and in TO a civilian court. To learn more about Ehren, go here where I have written other articles about him. To visit Ehren's website, go to where you can sign the petition in support of him.

'A Coup Has Occurred'

By Daniel Ellsberg
September 26, 2007 (Text of a speech delivered September 20, 2007)

Editor’s Note: Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming war with Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States at an American University symposium on Sept. 20.

Below is an edited transcript of Ellsberg’s remarkable speech:

I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.

If there’s another 9/11 under this regime … it means that they switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth.

Will there be anything left for NSA to increase its surveillance of us? … They may be to the limit of their technical capability now, or they may not. But if they’re not now they will be after another 9/11.

And I would say after the Iranian retaliation to an American attack on Iran, you will then see an increased attack on Iran – an escalation – which will be also accompanied by a total suppression of dissent in this country, including detention camps.

It’s a little hard for me to distinguish the two contingencies; they could come together. Another 9/11 or an Iranian attack in which Iran’s reaction against Israel, against our shipping, against our troops in Iraq above all, possibly in this country, will justify the full panoply of measures that have been prepared now, legitimized, and to some extent written into law. …

This is an unusual gang, even for Republicans. [But] I think that the successors to this regime are not likely to roll back the assault on the Constitution. They will take advantage of it, they will exploit it.

Will Hillary Clinton as president decide to turn off NSA after the last five years of illegal surveillance? Will she deprive her administration her ability to protect United States citizens from possible terrorism by blinding herself and deafening herself to all that NSA can provide? I don’t think so.

Unless this somehow, by a change in our political climate, of a radical change, unless this gets rolled back in the next year or two before a new administration comes in – and there’s no move to do this at this point – unless that happens I don’t see it happening under the next administration, whether Republican or Democratic.

The Next Coup

Let me simplify this and not just to be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It’s not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9/11. That’s the next coup, that completes the first.

The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution, … what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world – in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.

There have been violations of these principles by many presidents before. Most of the specific things that Bush has done in the way of illegal surveillance and other matters were done under my boss Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans.

I could go through a list going back before this century to Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus in the Civil War, and before that the Alien and Sedition Acts in the 18th century. I think that none of those presidents were in fact what I would call quite precisely the current administration: domestic enemies of the Constitution.

I think that none of these presidents with all their violations, which were impeachable had they been found out at the time and in nearly every case their violations were not found out until they were out of office so we didn’t have the exact challenge that we have today.

That was true with the first term of Nixon and certainly of Johnson, Kennedy and others. They were impeachable, they weren’t found out in time, but I think it was not their intention to in the crisis situations that they felt justified their actions, to change our form of government.

It is increasingly clear with each new book and each new leak that comes out, that Richard Cheney and his now chief of staff David Addington have had precisely that in mind since at least the early 70s. Not just since 1992, not since 2001, but have believed in Executive government, single-branch government under an Executive president – elected or not – with unrestrained powers. They did not believe in restraint.

When I say this I’m not saying they are traitors. I don’t think they have in mind allegiance to some foreign power or have a desire to help a foreign power. I believe they have in their own minds a love of this country and what they think is best for this country – but what they think is best is directly and consciously at odds with what the Founders of this country and Constitution thought.

They believe we need a different kind of government now, an Executive government essentially, rule by decree, which is what we’re getting with signing statements. Signing statements are talked about as line-item vetoes which is one [way] of describing them which are unconstitutional in themselves, but in other ways are just saying the president says “I decide what I enforce. I decide what the law is. I legislate.”

It’s [the same] with the military commissions, courts that are under the entire control of the Executive Branch, essentially of the president. A concentration of legislative, judicial, and executive powers in one branch, which is precisely what the Founders meant to avert, and tried to avert and did avert to the best of their ability in the Constitution.

Founders Had It Right

Now I’m appealing to that as a crisis right now not just because it is a break in tradition but because I believe in my heart and from my experience that on this point the Founders had it right.

It’s not just “our way of doing things” – it was a crucial perception on the corruption of power to anybody including Americans. On procedures and institutions that might possibly keep that power under control because the alternative was what we have just seen, wars like Vietnam, wars like Iraq, wars like the one coming.

That brings me to the second point. This Executive Branch, under specifically Bush and Cheney, despite opposition from most of the rest of the branch, even of the cabinet, clearly intends a war against Iran which even by imperialist standards, standards in other words which were accepted not only by nearly everyone in the Executive Branch but most of the leaders in Congress. The interests of the empire, the need for hegemony, our right to control and our need to control the oil of the Middle East and many other places. That is consensual in our establishment. …

But even by those standards, an attack on Iran is insane. And I say that quietly, I don’t mean it to be heard as rhetoric. Of course it’s not only aggression and a violation of international law, a supreme international crime, but it is by imperial standards, insane in terms of the consequences.

Does that make it impossible? No, it obviously doesn’t, it doesn’t even make it unlikely.

That is because two things come together that with the acceptance for various reasons of the Congress – Democrats and Republicans – and the public and the media, we have freed the White House – the president and the vice president – from virtually any restraint by Congress, courts, media, public, whatever.

And on the other hand, the people who have this unrestrained power are crazy. Not entirely, but they have crazy beliefs.

And the question is what then, what can we do about this? We are heading towards an insane operation. It is not certain. It is likely. … I want to try to be realistic myself here, to encourage us to do what we must do, what is needed to be done with the full recognition of the reality. Nothing is impossible.

What I’m talking about in the way of a police state, in the way of an attack on Iran is not certain. Nothing is certain, actually. However, I think it is probable, more likely than not, that in the next 15, 16 months of this administration we will see an attack on Iran. Probably. Whatever we do.

And … we will not succeed in moving Congress probably, and Congress probably will not stop the president from doing this. And that’s where we’re heading. That’s a very ugly, ugly prospect.

However, I think it’s up to us to work to increase that small perhaps – anyway not large – possibility and probability to avert this within the next 15 months, aside from the effort that we have to make for the rest of our lives.

Restoring the Republic

Getting back the constitutional government and improving it will take a long time. And I think if we don’t get started now, it won’t be started under the next administration.

Getting out of Iraq will take a long time. Averting Iran and averting a further coup in the face of a 9/11, another attack, is for right now, it can’t be put off. It will take a kind of political and moral courage of which we have seen very little…

We have a really unusual concentration here and in this audience, of people who have in fact changed their lives, changed their position, lost their friends to a large extent, risked and experienced being called terrible names, “traitor,” “weak on terrorism” – names that politicians will do anything to avoid being called.

How do we get more people in the government and in the public at large to change their lives now in a crisis in a critical way? How do we get Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for example? What kinds of pressures, what kinds of influences can be brought to bear to get Congress to do their jobs? It isn’t just doing their jobs. Getting them to obey their oaths of office.

I took an oath many times, an oath of office as a Marine lieutenant, as an official in the Defense Department, as an official in the State Department as a Foreign Service officer. A number of times I took an oath of office which is the same oath office taken by every member of Congress and every official in the United States and every officer in the United States armed services.

And that oath is not to a Commander in Chief, which is not mentioned. It is not to a fuehrer. It is not even to superior officers. The oath is precisely to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Now that is an oath I violated every day for years in the Defense Department without realizing it when I kept my mouth shut when I knew the public was being lied into a war as they were lied into Iraq, as they are being lied into war in Iran.

I knew that I had the documents that proved it, and I did not put it out then. I was not obeying my oath which I eventually came to do.

I’ve often said that Lt. Ehren Watada – who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional and aggressive war – is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously in upholding his oath.

The president is clearly violating that oath, of course. Everybody under him who understands what is going on and there are myriad, are violating their oaths. And that’s the standard that I think we should be asking of people.

Congressional Courage

On the Democratic side, on the political side, I think we should be demanding of our Democratic leaders in the House and Senate – and frankly of the Republicans – that it is not their highest single absolute priority to be reelected or to maintain a Democratic majority so that Pelosi can still be Speaker of the House and Reid can be in the Senate, or to increase that majority.

I’m not going to say that for politicians they should ignore that, or that they should do something else entirely, or that they should not worry about that.

Of course that will be and should be a major concern of theirs, but they’re acting like it’s their sole concern. Which is business as usual. “We have a majority, let’s not lose it, let’s keep it. Let’s keep those chairmanships.” Exactly what have those chairmanships done for us to save the Constitution in the last couple of years?

I am shocked by the Republicans today that I read in the Washington Post who yesterday threatened a filibuster if we … get back habeas corpus. The ruling out of habeas corpus with the help of the Democrats did not get us back to George the First it got us back to before King John 700 years ago in terms of counter-revolution.

We need some way, and Ann Wright has one way, of sitting in, in Conyers office and getting arrested. Ray McGovern has been getting arrested, pushed out the other day for saying the simple words “swear him in” when it came to testimony.

I think we’ve got to somehow get home to them [in Congress] that this is the time for them to uphold the oath, to preserve the Constitution, which is worth struggling for in part because it’s only with the power that the Constitution gives Congress responding to the public, only with that can we protect the world from mad men in power in the White House who intend an attack on Iran.

And the current generation of American generals and others who realize that this will be a catastrophe have not shown themselves – they might be people who in their past lives risked their bodies and their lives in Vietnam or elsewhere, like [Colin] Powell, and would not risk their career or their relation with the president to the slightest degree.

That has to change. And it’s the example of people like those up here who somehow brought home to our representatives that they as humans and as citizens have the power to do likewise and find in themselves the courage to protect this country and protect the world. Thank you.

Daniel Ellsberg is author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Forty Acres and a Mule in Israel

OK, this article below about the Israeli Supreme Court's ruling yesterday concerning the JNF isn't making sense to me. (Read below) Let's say you've got land parcel "A" and you CAN and should sell that to Arab Israelis if they want to buy it, but then the state gives you ANOTHER equal piece of land to pay you for your "loss" which can ONLY be sold to Jews. Does this mean that the entire land owned up til this time by the JNF is available to Arab Israelis but if they buy it all then the JNF is given another 13% (the amount of land in Israel owned by the JNF) of other lands for Jews only? I'm not an attorney but this is the screwiest ruling I've ever heard.

"Now mind you, on July 20, 2007 -- New York, NY -- On July 18, 2007, the Israeli Knesset plenum approved the first reading of a bill which calls for all lands under Jewish National Fund - Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (JNF-KKL) ownership to continue be allocated to Jews only as has been its covenant for over 100 years. The bill passed by a majority of 64 -16 members of the Knesset. "

Not so fast, it seems the Israeli Supreme Court deems the JNF's policy of selling only to Jews as a problem when it comes to claiming to be a "democratic regime". Well, SORT OF.

Oh I just love what they have to say about themselves on JNF UK:

"JNF is the UK’s leading humanitarian Israel charity. We don’t do politics. We do water, trees and human beings."

Oh REALLY? But you don't do Arab human beings do you? And oh goodness forbid that someone might think you have any political purpose, no no, NOT the "chosen" people! What about all those "human beings and trees" in the 450 Arab villages in Israel which were destroyed and left in ruins or REPLACED by Jewish only towns and villages?

Read further about the JNF>>>>>>>>>>
Since you are surviving on MY tax dollars, might I suggest you read THIS.

The following is an article on the Israeli Supreme Court's ruling on the JNF:

Israeli court: Land sales must include Arabs
BY LAURIE COPANS, Associated Press

JERUSALEM - Israel's Supreme Court on Monday gave the country's main land distributor three months to change its policy of selling property only to Jews - a practice that Israel's Arab minority deems racist.

The policy also has provoked criticism of the Jewish National Fund - one of world Jewry's most beloved organizations.

Supporters of the fund insist it has the right to refuse to market its lands to Arabs.

The case points up a basic contradiction Israel has been grappling with for decades: maintaining its Jewish character while offering equality to its Arab minority in the framework of a democratic regime.

The venerable Jewish group in effect acknowledged before the court that it can no longer eliminate Israeli Arabs from its land transactions, agreeing to reinstitute a complex land-for-land deal to try to keep everyone happy.

"I think part of this is redefining the vision of what the JNF is all about," said Mike Nitzan, a member of the fund's board.

The fund is a century-old symbol of the drive to reclaim the Holy Land and fill it with Jews. Founded in 1901, it is known around the Jewish world for its little blue collection boxes, where Jews contributed money to buy land for settlement.

A century later, the fund is still in the business of providing land for Jewish settlement in Israel, owning about 13 percent of the land in the country.

But even some Jewish critics say it has outlived its usefulness in a modern, democratic state that grants equal rights to non-Jewish minority citizens. Legal expert Moshe Negbi told Israel Radio the fund should have been phased out when the state of Israel was created in 1948.

Under the deal accepted Monday by the Israeli court, while the fund would agree to sell land to Arabs, the Israel Lands Authority would give the JNF an equal amount of land in exchange. That would allow the fund to tell its contributors that it still maintains its original function of providing land for Jews in Israel. The court ordered the fund to come up with a permanent solution in three months.

Critics charged that the deal still discriminates against Israel's Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the population.

"The JNF's policy could create a total separation between Arabs and Jews in where they live," said Auni Bana, a lawyer with one of the petitioners, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. "This is racism."

On the other side, die-hard fund donors insisted they won't let the organization back down.

Israeli Nobel laureate Robert Aumann and former military chief Moshe Yaalon said they want to join the court case on the side of the JNF.

Now the question needs to be asked: It is stated that the Israeli Lands Authority will give an equal portion of land to the JNF for every parcel sold to an Arab Israeli. Isn't this only going to INCREASE the land under the authority of the JNF? Isn't this just a freebie appeasmenet ruling which STILL does not come anywhere close to what supposed "western values" claim as "democratic"?

For those who may not know, the Israeli Lands Authority operates under the "Basic Law". Read the following (source) and keep in mind that Arab Israelis comprise 20% of the population of Israel:

The ownership of land in Israel is under the jurisdiction of the Israel Land Authority, which applies as a "fundamental criterion" of land use, religion and nationality. As noted by Professor Uzi Ornan, "Those registered as `Jews` have full rights in regard to most of the land, cities, and settlements; those who are not registered as `Jews` are barred from owning real estate in most sectors of the country" ("An Amazing Resemblance to South Africa," Ha'aretz, Feb. 10, 1991). These restrictions apply to over 90 percent of Israeli land, within which, as Israel Shahak states, "the non-Jewish citizens of Israel--and of course all the non-Jews of the rest of the world too--simply cannot live; they cannot rent a house or an apartment, or open a business, unless they surreptitiously sublet it from a Jew." Shahak goes on to say: "One can imagine what a storm would be raised if such official policy of discrimination was practiced against Jews" ( Lies of Our Times, May 1991).

Such is the case of "Forty Acres and a Mule" in Israel!