• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 5 mei 2007

The Empire 240

Zo kun je het dus ook zeggen: 'Soldaten leven in onmin met ethische regels,' terwijl je in feite bedoelt dat een aanzienlijk deel van je militairen dezelfde opvattingen hebben als SS-ers gedraagt. De Washington Post bericht:

'Troops at Odds With Ethics Standards
By Thomas E. Ricks and Ann Scott Tyson
The Washington Post
Saturday 05 May 2007

Army also finds more deployment means more mental illness.
More than one-third of U.S. soldiers in Iraq surveyed by the Army said they believe torture should be allowed if it helps gather important information about insurgents, the Pentagon disclosed yesterday. Four in 10 said they approve of such illegal abuse if it would save the life of a fellow soldier.
In addition, about two-thirds of Marines and half the Army troops surveyed said they would not report a team member for mistreating a civilian or for destroying civilian property unnecessarily. "Less than half of Soldiers and Marines believed that non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect," the Army report stated.
About 10 percent of the 1,767 troops in the official survey - conducted in Iraq last fall - reported that they had mistreated civilians in Iraq, such as kicking them or needlessly damaging their possessions.
Army researchers "looked under every rock, and what they found was not always easy to look at," said S. Ward Casscells, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. The report noted that the troops' statements are at odds with the "soldier's rules" promulgated by the Army, which forbid the torture of enemy prisoners and state that civilians must be treated humanely.
Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock, the acting Army surgeon general, cast the report as positive news. "What it speaks to is the leadership that the military is providing, because they're not acting on those thoughts," she said. "They're not torturing the people."
But human rights activists said the report lends support to their view that the abuse of Iraqi civilians by U.S. military personnel was not isolated to some bad apples at Abu Ghraib and a few other detention facilities but instead is more widespread. "These are distressing results," said Steven R. Shapiro, national legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union. "They highlight a failure to adequately train and supervise our soldiers."
The study also found that the more often soldiers are deployed, the longer they are deployed each time; and the less time they spend at home, the more likely they are to suffer mental health problems such as combat trauma, anxiety and depression. That result is particularly notable given that the Pentagon has sent soldiers and Marines to Iraq multiple times and recently extended the tours of thousands of soldiers to 15 months from 12 months.
"The Army is spread very thin, and we need it to be a larger force for the number of missions that we were being asked to address for our nation," Pollock said.
The authors of the Army document argued that the strains placed on troops in Iraq are in some ways more severe than those borne by the combat forces of World War II. "A considerable number of Soldiers and Marines are conducting combat operations everyday of the week, 10-12 hours per day seven days a week for months on end," wrote Col. Carl Castro and Maj. Dennis McGurk, both psychologists. "At no time in our military history have Soldiers or Marines been required to serve on the front line in any war for a period of 6-7 months."'

Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/050507Z.shtml Of:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/04/AR2007050402151.html?hpid=topnews

Klimaatverandering 107


Italy's largest river drying up
Reuters

ROME — Italy declared a state of emergency in northern and central
regions on Friday due to fears of drought following unusually warm
and dry weather.

Farmers have been fretting as Italy's largest river, the Po, has
dried up in recent months. The river, running west to east across
northern Italy, feeds the broad Po valley which accounts for about a
third of the country's agricultural output.

Environment Minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio said the state of
emergency had been declared as a precautionary measure. It came a day
after neighbouring France imposed water rationing in several of its
regions, also in fear of drought.

Italy's hottest winter in 200 years meant snowfall was light in the
Alps, with little snow-melt to swell the Po. Then a hot, dry spring
set in, with temperatures in April approaching levels usually seen in
June.


Officials have declared a state of emergency in the wake of unusally warm weather,
which has left the river dry.

But Cabinet Undersecretary Enrico Letta said the latest news of the
Po and the water situation in general was "reassuring".

And as the state of emergency was declared, torrential rain was
falling throughout the centre and north of Italy. Weather has been
generally cooler and wetter over the last week.

The environment ministry was unable to give immediate details of what
measures were envisaged.

Officials from the industry ministry, the national electricity grid,
regional governments and emergency services met last month to discuss
measures to replenish the Po and curb electricity consumption to
prevent the risk of summer blackouts.

Drought fears intensified after the Po's level fell by 80 centimetres
in late April, to 6.53 metres below its normal level in the northern
town of Pontelagoscuro.

Among the measures considered were filling the Po with water flows
from large lakes and reservoirs in the Alps, even though it was not
expected to bring it back to normal levels.

To minimise the risk of blackouts caused by millions of people
cranking up air conditioners, the government may also allow supplies
to some industrial clients to be temporarily interrupted, and raise
electricity imports.

Around 15 percent of Italy's electricity is produced from hydro-power
generation. Water supplies are also essential in thermoelectric plants.

Flowing for 650 kilometres from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea, the Po
has made the region it crosses Italy's most fertile agricultural
region and helped turn the north into the country's industrial
heartland.

Its delta of 70,000 square kilometres houses thousands of rice,
maize, tomato and melon cultivators.'


The Empire 239

De privatisering van het moorden.

'Blackwater Rising
By Chuck Goudie

The world's most controversial security service is now open for business in Illinois. But is Blackwater, Inc. looking to make Illinois an outpost for what has been called the world's largest private army?
This is the same Blackwater that has become the icon for private security services in Iraq. According to critics, Blackwater is nothing more than a corporate warlord, based in North Carolina, with a payroll of hired gunslingers-- hundreds of them now protecting diplomats and contractors in Iraq. Blackwater executives say they and their mission near a rural town south of Rockford are greatly misunderstood-- that to know them is to like them-- and that they want their new neighbors in Illinois to know them.
On the ground in nine nations around the world, Blackwater is what one company executive calls the most "notorious" in the fast-growing business of private security. For 10 years the firm has been headquartered on almost 7,000 acres in North Carolina. More than 100,000 people have been trained there, the majority of them active duty US Marines, sailors and soldiers. That makes it the largest private military training base in the world.
The firm has received hundreds of millions of dollars in State Department security contracts the past few years. But Blackwater also has a law enforcement training division. And the company says the facility it just opened in northern Illinois is for police training.
"We saw a need for it. You would have to go five states away to find a training facility to find anything like this," said Anne Tyrrell, Blackwater spokeswoman.
Surrounded by pristine farmland, down a series of bumpy rural roads, "Blackwater North" took over an existing 80-acre shooting range. On the day ABC7 visited, officers from several departments including Chicago and Rockford were in a tactical hostage exercise.
"There are new techniques that the criminals are using so we have to be updated with our techniques. Coming out to Blackwater, these guys have seen it all," said Det. Steve Stoball, Freeport Police Department.
In the nearest "big city" of Mount Carroll, some people say they just woke up one morning and Blackwater was in business.
"If they are going to do training for torture, are they going to do that on the site? We don't know," said one speaker at a community meeting.'

Lees verder: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=investigative&id=5267983

The Empire 238


'The Anti-Empire Report Some things you need to know before the world ends by William Blum
If the United States leaves Iraq things will really get bad. This appears to be the last remaining, barely-breathing argument of that vanishing species who still support the god-awful war. The argument implies a deeply-felt concern about the welfare and safety of the Iraqi people. What else could it mean? That the US military can't leave because it's needed to protect the oil bonanza awaiting American oil companies as soon as the Iraqi parliament approves the new written-in-Washington oil law? No, the Bush administration loves the people of Iraq. How much more destruction, killing and torturing do you need to be convinced of that? We can't leave because of the violence. We can't leave until we have assured that peace returns to our dear comrades in Iraq.
To better understand this argument, it helps to keep in mind the following about the daily horror that is life in Iraq: It did not exist before the US occupation.
The insurgency violence began as, and remains, a reaction to the occupation; like almost all insurgencies in occupied countries -- from the American Revolution to the Vietcong -- it's a fight directed toward getting foreign forces to leave.
The next phase was the violence of Iraqis against other Iraqis who worked for or sought employment with anything associated with the occupation regime.
Then came retaliatory attacks for these attacks.
Followed by retaliatory attacks for the retaliatory attacks.
Jihadists from many countries have flocked to Iraq because they see the war against the American Satan occupiers as a holy war.
Before the occupation, many Sunnis and Shiites married each other; since the occupation they have been caught up in a spiral of hating and killing each other.
And for these acts there of course has to be retaliation.
The occupation's abolishment of most jobs in the military and in Saddam Hussein's government, and the chaos that is Iraqi society under the occupation, have left many destitute; kidnapings for ransom and other acts of criminal violence have become popular ways to make a living, or at least survive.
US-trained, financed, and armed Iraqi forces have killed large numbers of people designated as "terrorists" by someone official, or perhaps someone unofficial, or by someone unknown, or by chance.
The US military itself has been a main perpetrator of violence, killing individually and en masse, killing any number, any day, for any reason, anyone, any place, often in mindless retaliation against anyone nearby for an insurgent attack.
The US military and its coalition allies have also been the main target of violent attacks. A Department of Defense report of November 2006 stated: "Coalition forces remained the target of the majority of attacks (68%)."[1]'

The Empire 237

'Transcript: Bill Moyers Talks With Jon Stewart
Bill Moyers Journal

I'm Bill Moyers. Welcome. Every week at this time we'll be holding a kaleidoscope up to the light and turning it to see ideas and events through different perspectives.
I've been a journalist since I was 16 years old, with a detour here and there, and it's just as exciting as ever to catch a gust of news and ride it to some fresh insight and understanding. But events come faster than ever and the news from many more places - YouTube, the web, satellite radio ... Ipods. So a weekly journal will reflect a variety of sources.
For example, I start my day with Josh Marshall and end it with Jon Stewart. One's a journalist, the other says he is just a comic-but I think he's really kidding:
CLIPS FROM THE DAILY SHOW:
Coming up on the Journal: Jon Stewart of THE DAILY SHOW and Josh Marshall of talkingpointsmemo.com.
Bill Moyers: Thank you for being with me, Jon Stewart.
Jon Stewart: My absolute pleasure. Welcome back, very excited to see you back on the television.
Bill Moyers: I'm glad to be here, but you know I'm here only because I applied for a job as correspondent on THE DAILY SHOW and you turned me down.
Jon Stewart: We have standards. Anybody with the kind of journalism experience and professionalism that you have displayed over these years can not work for my program.
Bill Moyers: You've said many times, "I don't want to be a journalist, I'm not a journalist."
Jon Stewart: And we're not.
Bill Moyers: But you're acting like one. You've assumed that role. The young people that work with me now, think they get better journalism from you than they do from the Sunday morning talk shows.
Jon Stewart: I can assure them they're not getting any journalism from us. We are, if anything - I do believe we function as a sort of editorial cartoon. That we are a digestive process, like so many other digestive processes that go on. The thing about you know, there's a lot of young people get this and you know, young people get that from me. People are very sophisticated consumers of information, and they're pulling all different things.
It's the same argument people say about the blogs. The blogs are responsible. No, they're not. The blogs are like anything else. You judge each one based on its own veracity and intelligence and all of that. And if you like, you could cherry pick only the things that you agree with from various things. Or, if you want, you can try and get a broader perspective, or you can find people who are absolutely out of their minds, or find people that are doing incredibly complex and interesting and urgent journalism. And the same goes for our show. It's a prism into people's own ideologies, when they watch our program. This is just our take.
Bill Moyers: But it isn't just you, sometimes you'll start a riff, you'll start down the path of a joke, and it's about Bush or about Cheney, and the audience will get it. Your live audience will get it, they'll start applauding even before they know the punch line. And I'm thinking, "Okay, they get it. That's half the country." What about the other half of the country, are they paying attention? They don't care they don't they would they wouldn't listen to the joke, if they did, they wouldn't get it?
Jon Stewart: Well, I do you think that sense of humor goes as far as our ideology. I think that ultimately, we have we have very interesting reactions on our show. People are constantly saying, "I love your-your show is so funny, until you made a joke about global warming, which is a serious issue, and I can't believe you did that. And I am never watching your show again." You know, people don't understand that we're not warriors in their cause. We're a group of people that really feel that they want to write jokes about the absurdity that we see in government and the world and all that, and that's it.'

Zie: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/050107C.shtml

De Israelische Terreur 192

Israelische progressieve intellectuelen blijven knokken tegen de Israelische terreur:

'The debate "One State Solution or Two State Solution" on Tuesday, May 8th at 8.00 p.m. will have simultaneous translation from Hebrew into English available, sponsored by ICAHD's Action Advocacy Project.

Please forward this message to others in the diplomatic and journalist community, especially those in Tel Aviv, whom you think will be interested to hear Uri Avnery debate the two-state solution, versus Ilan Pappe debating the one-state solution. It will be held in the auditorium of Kibbutz Artzi, 13 Leonardo da Vinci Street, between Kaplan and Shaul HaMelech Streets near the Ministry of Defence "Kirya".

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Action Advocacy OfficerThe Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Jerusalemangela@icahd.org; www.icahd.org www.angelajerusalem.wordpress.com www.angelaicahd.blogspot.comTel: (02) 672 8771 / 0547 366 393 "The people of the world do not need to choose between a Malevolent Mickey Mouse and the Mad Mullahs" Arundhati Roy (The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire)
Read NO PLACE LIKE HOME (about home demolition) by Meir Margalit: http://www.icahd.org/eng/images/uploaded_admin_content/NoPlaceLikeHome_withCover.pdf
Watch Stop the Clash of Civilizations (& sign Avaaz.org petition) at: http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_clash/Watch ICAHD rebuild a demolished home (Jerusalem's Shuafat Refugee Camp, 2001): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPHtPNX7IAIWatch AL GORE's congressional testimony on global warming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6ZYXllyaF0Watch John Pilger's "PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE": http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=746557429802139093&pr=goog-slWatch JEFF HALPER & NAIM ATEEK IN D.C.: http://www.archive.org/details/Is_the_Two-State_Solution_Still_Possible Watch Prof. Jeff Halper speaking about apartheid: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8849846742802382846&hl=enWatch THE IRON WALL: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4866316426876380615 Watch ZOCHROT (Refugees, Demolished Palestinian Villages, "Transfer" & Remembering the Nakba): [google Zochrot's webpage, the link is blacklisted by servers]Watch CLOSED (UNOCHA on OPT humanitarian crisis): http://www.ochaopt.org/?module=displaysection§ion_id=117&format=htmlWatch HEBRON SETTLERS IN ACTION http://s03dl.castup.net/server12/23227566-13.wmv?cu=7CF11A61-B891-4919-9905-5E3338B63D4C & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBIcdoOKB9cWatch PUSHING THE BARRIER (Inigo Gilmore, C4 TV) href="http://www.channel4.com/news/special-reports/special-reports-storypage.jsp?id=4458Watch">http://www.channel4.com/news/special-reports/special-reports-storypage.jsp?id=4458<
Watch BREAKING THE SILENCE (IDF soldiers' testimonies): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37MFa7ZKQWoWatch SHORTS ON CHECKPOINTS: http://www.mahsanmilim.com/films.htm Watch JAHALIN (Hebrew) on HOT TV: http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/3806/1023517Watch Unrecognised Bedouin villages (BBC Newsnight): http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/6400501.stmWatch THE UNRECOGNIZED: http://www.theunrecognized.org/
'The Unrecognized' -- a short documentary, highlights the plight of Bedouin Israeli citizens living in the Naqab (Negev) desert. Approx. 70,000 live in the poverty of 'unrecognized villages', denied essential public services, facing fundamental human rights violations due to institutionalized discrimination. '

vrijdag 4 mei 2007

De Nuance van de NRC 27

Restanten van wat eens levende jonge mensen waren, slachtoffers van een Israelisch bombardement op Beiroet.


De NRC-correspondent in 'het beloofde land' bericht ons het volgende:

'Olmert neemt zijn verantwoordelijkheid en blijft.'

Dat is een opmerkelijke visie die de NRC hier geeft, een politicus die gefaald heeft ten koste van honderden mensenlevens en miljarden schade 'neemt zijn verantwoordelijkheid' door krampachtig in het zadel te blijven zitten. Hoezo verantwoorderlijkheid? Olmert weigert op te stappen, het gebruikelijke onfatsoen, ook van politici in een zogeheten parlementaire democratie. Dat is geen nieuws, zelfs niet als de NRC-redactie als mening heeft dat het blijven zitten nu juist een teken is van het feit dat 'Olmert zijn verantwoordelijkheid [neemt].' Vanwaar deze absurde NRC-mening in de kop? Er zijn geen aanhalingstekens, dus wordt niemand geciteerd, met andere woorden: dit is de mening van de NRC.

Maar er zitten, zoals gebruikelijk, meer meningen en kwalificaties in de tekst verstopt. Zo schrijft onze Oscar:

'Reservisten waren massaal komen opdagen omdat zij denken de oorlog te hebben verloren doordat – zoals is gebleken uit het deze week gepubliceerde regeringsonderzoek – de regering en het leger slecht werden geleid.
En vredesactivisten waren naar Tel Aviv gekomen, omdat zij het principieel niet eens waren met het besluit om ten strijde te trekken tegen de moslimfundamentalistische beweging Hezbollah in Libanon.'

Zit er over de gehele linie een wezenlijk verschil tussen de 'reservisten' en 'vredesactivisten?' Hebben we hier te maken met twee volstrekt verschillende groeperingen? Geenszins, sterker nog, de vredesbeweging komt uit de reservisten voort, want beste Oscar, bijna iedereen, zowel mannen als vrouwen, zolang ze maar geen Palestijnse Israeli zijn, want die worden door de zionistische machthebbers collectief gewantrouwd, moet in Israel in dienst. Vandaar ook de veel gehoorde opmerking dat 'elk land een leger heeft, behalve Israel, daar heeft het leger een land.'

Let u ook op het taalgebruik van Oscar. 'De moslimfundamentalistische beweging' noteert hij en jawel, exact de volgende zin schrijft hij over 'kolonisten, altijd het meest energieke segment bij demonstraties.' Hoe nu? Waarom bij Hezbollah tot vervelens aan toe het adjectief 'moslimfundamentalistische' terwijl Oscar bij de joodse fundamentalisten, die voor het overgrote merendeel de fanatiekste kolonisten zijn, met de positieve kwalificatie komt 'het meest energieke segment bij demonstraties? Met andere woorden: Hezbollah is fundamentalistisch, joodse kolonisten zijn 'energiek,' terwijl de groep waarover de NRC-correspondent schrijft juist de fanatiekste joodse fundamentalisten zijn, zoals iedere journalist weet. Vanwaar die onevenwichtige berichtgeving? Waarom Hezbollah meteen negatief afbeelden en de joodse kolonisten positief? Waarom is de NRC-correspondent niet terughoudender in zijn kwalificaties? Waarom stelt hij zich niet onafhankelijker op? En nu we het er toch over hebben: Oscar, waarom heten bezetters van andermans land ineens kolonisten? Zo simpel mogelijk gesteld: als Hitler erin was geslaagd om de Nederlanders naar de Russische vlaktes te deporteren en hij had Nederland laten bevolken door Duitse fanatieke reservisten, waren die laatsten dan kolonisten geweest, of domweg bezetters?

Verder maar weer met Oscar's zinnen.

' Kolonisten, altijd het meest energieke segment bij demonstraties, willen van premier Olmert af omdat hij wordt beschouwd als een van de architecten van de ontruiming van de joodse nederzettingen in de strook van Gaza in 2005. De kolonisten vrezen dat Olmert, om zijn gezicht te redden, plannen smeedt om ook de nederzettingen op de Westelijke Jordaanoever te gaan ontruimen.'

Wat nu weer? Dit is heel interessant, Oscar. Waarom ' vrezen' de joodse fundamentalisten op de Westbank dit? Zijn er aanwijzingen? Zo ja, vertel ons. Zo nee, waarom schrijf je het dan op? Verliest Olmert niet veel meer zijn gezicht als hij de ' nederzettingen' opdoekt? Per slot van rekening is hij 1 van de meest uitgesproken aanhangers van de ' Groot-Israel' ideologie. Vertel ons wat er aan de hand is. Je zit er toch, dus doe je werk.

En dan deze opmerking van een niet bij name genoemde Olmert-medewerker: ' Een van zijn medewerkers voegde daaraan toe dat „Israël geen bananenrepubliek is”. De emoties op straat kunnen over een paar weken weer de heel andere kant opgaan, zei hij.' Waarom noem je je bronnen niet, Oscar? Durfde je de man of vrouw niet naar de naam te vragen, of is dit soms uit de dikke duim gezogen? De vergelijking gaat overigens volledig mank, want Oscar, kenmerk van een bananenrepubliek is juist dat deze geleid wordt door een dictator, gesteund door een militaire junta. En een ander kenmerk is dat deze gangsters aan de macht worden gebracht en gehouden dankzij steun van Washington om de Amerikaanse economische belangen in de regio veilig te stellen. Is jouw bron bang dat zijn land als een corrupte satelliet van de VS wordt gezien, louter en alleen omdat het Israelische leger niet in staat bleek om vorig jaar een guerillagroepering de kop in te drukken?

Beste Oscar, denk na voor je schrijft, want zelfs intelligente lezers kunnen hier geen touw aan vastknopen, hoeveel nuance je er ook in hebt willen verwerken.

Lees verder: http://www.nrc.nl/buitenland/article706778.ece/
Olmert_neemt_zijn_verantwoordelijkheid_en_blijft

donderdag 3 mei 2007

De Israelische Terreur 191


Na een Israelisch bombardement. Dood Kind. Zuid Libanon. Zomer 2006.

De Independent bericht:
'After the war in Lebanon... the battle for Israel
The struggle for a nation engulfed by the aftershocks of a bungled war
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Published: 03 May 2007
The struggle for control of an Israeli government gripped by aftershocks from the failures of last year's bloody Lebanon war began in earnest last night after Tzipi Livni, the Foreign Minister, called on the Prime Minister to resign.
Ms Livni became the first senior figure in the cabinet - and in Ehud Olmert's own party, Kadima - to announce that she had told the Prime Minister face to face that he should quit in response to the official report highlighting the failures of the war.
Ms Livni, who made no secret of her desire to replace Mr Olmert, declared after a tense hour-long meeting with the Prime Minister: "I told him that resignation would be the right thing for him to do. It's not a personal matter between me and the Prime Minister - this issue is more important than both of us."
Her announcement, which was delivered to reporters after the meeting in a notably low-key fashion and which stopped significantly short of a "you go or I will" ultimatum, was widely interpreted as an effort to accelerate the pace of an internal party revolt against Mr Olmert's 13-month premiership.'
En Robert Fisk schrijft:
'Olmert undone by the militia he said he could destroy
Published: 03 May 2007
So it has come to this. All those bodies, all those photographs of dead children - more than 1,400 cadavers (we are not including the 230 or so Hizbollah fighters and the Israeli soldiers who died) - are to be commemorated with the possible resignation of an Israeli prime minister who knew, and who cared, many Israelis suspect, little about war. Yes, Hizbollah provoked last summer's folly by capturing two Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese-Israel border, but Israel's response - so totally out of proportion to the sin - produced another debacle for the Israeli army and, presumably now, for its Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.
Looking back at this terrifying, futile war, with its grotesque ambitions to "destroy" the Iranian-supported Hizbollah militia, it is incredible Mr Olmert did not realise within days that his grandiose demands would founder. Insisting the two captured Israeli soldiers should be released and the militarily powerless Lebanese government should be held responsible for their capture was never going to produce political or military results favourable to Israel. One would have to add that Tzipi Livni's demand for the Prime Mnister's resignation sits oddly with her support for this preposterous war.
A close reading of the interim report of Judge Eliahou Winograd's report on the summer war - to which Mr Olmert himself only granted the title the "Second Lebanon War" a month after it had happened - shows clearly that it was the Israeli army which ran the military, strategic and political campaign. Again and again in Winograd's report it is clear that Mr Olmert and his Defence Minister failed to challenge "in a competent way" (in the commission's devastating phrase) the plans of the Israeli army.
Day after day, for 34 days after 12 July, the Israeli air force systematically destroyed the major infrastructure of Lebanon, repeatedly claiming it was trying to avoid civilian casualties while the world's press watched its aircraft blasting men, women and children to pieces in Lebanon. Israelis, too, were savagely killed in this war by Hizbollah's Iranian-provided missiles. But it only proved the Israeli army, famous in legend and song but not in reality, could not protect their own people. Hizbollah fighters were told by their own leadership that if they would just withstand the air attacks, they could bite the Israeli land forces when they invaded.
And bite they did. In the final 24 hours of the war, 30 Israeli soldiers were killed by Hizbollah fighters and their land offensive, so loudly trumpeted by Mr Olmert, came to an end. During the conflict, a Hizbollah missile almost sank an Israeli corvette - it burnt for 24 hours and was towed back to Haifa before it was able to sink - and struck Israel's top secret military air traffic control centre at Miron. The soldiers captured on the border were never returned - pictures of them, still alive, are flaunted across the border at Israeli troops to this day - and Hizbollah, far from being destroyed, remain as powerful as ever;
And so one of Washington's last "pro-American" cabinets in the Middle East is now threatened by the very militia which Mr Olmert claimed he could destroy.'
Ik heb de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia in deze affaire niet gevolgd vandaag, maar ik hoop dat het beter was dan de obligate en foutieve berichtgeving van de NRC-correspondent Oscar Garschagen afgelopen dinsdag.

De Israelische Terreur 190

Vandaag mailde Israelische acitivisten die opkomen voor de rechten van de Palestijnen me het volgende:

'The IDF is currently demolishing, as I understand it from an OCHA fieldworker who is currently travelling to the site to see what is happening, the fence around the house of Abu Samir at Beit Ijza. This is the single house surrounded almost completely by the settlement Givon HaHadasha, and surrounded for the past few years with its own fence/wall. Two months ago, the fence/wall was extended so that it cut the house off from its Palestinian village, Beit Ijza. The Supreme Court has said that the home may not be demolished. The army is currently demolishing the fence/wall and the fear is that the home will be demolished too.

Thank you.
Angela

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Action Advocacy OfficerThe Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Jerusalemangela@icahd.org; http://www.icahd.org/ http://www.angelajerusalem.wordpress.com/ http://www.angelaicahd.blogspot.com/Tel: (02) 672 8771 / 0547 366 393 "The people of the world do not need to choose between a Malevolent Mickey Mouse and the Mad Mullahs" Arundhati Roy (The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire)
Read NO PLACE LIKE HOME (about home demolition) by Meir Margalit: http://www.icahd.org/eng/images/uploaded_admin_content/NoPlaceLikeHome_withCover.pdf
Watch Stop the Clash of Civilizations (& sign Avaaz.org petition) at: http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_clash/Watch ICAHD rebuild a demolished home (Jerusalem's Shuafat Refugee Camp, 2001): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPHtPNX7IAIWatchWatchAL GORE's congressional testimony on global warming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6ZYXllyaF0Watch John Pilger's "PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE": http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=746557429802139093&pr=goog-slWatch JEFF HALPER & NAIM ATEEK IN D.C.: http://www.archive.org/details/Is_the_Two-State_Solution_Still_Possible Watch Prof. Jeff Halper speaking about apartheid: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8849846742802382846&hl=enWatch THE IRON WALL: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4866316426876380615 Watch ZOCHROT (Refugees, Demolished Palestinian Villages, "Transfer" & Remembering the Nakba): [google Zochrot's webpage, the link is blacklisted by servers]Watch CLOSED (UNOCHA on OPT humanitarian crisis): http://www.ochaopt.org/?module=displaysection§ion_id=117&format=htmlWatch HEBRON SETTLERS IN ACTION http://s03dl.castup.net/server12/23227566-13.wmv?cu=7CF11A61-B891-4919-9905-5E3338B63D4C & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBIcdoOKB9cWatchWatch PUSHING THE BARRIER (Inigo Gilmore, C4 TV) http://www.channel4.com/news/special-reports/special-reports-storypage.jsp?id=4458WatchWatch BREAKING THE SILENCE (IDF soldiers' testimonies): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37MFa7ZKQWoWatch SHORTS ON CHECKPOINTS: http://www.mahsanmilim.com/films.htm Watch JAHALIN (Hebrew) on HOT TV: http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/3806/1023517Watch Unrecognised Bedouin villages (BBC Newsnight): http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/6400501.stmWatch THE UNRECOGNIZED: http://www.theunrecognized.org/
'The Unrecognized' -- a short documentary, highlights the plight of Bedouin Israeli citizens living in the Naqab (Negev) desert. Approx. 70,000 live in the poverty of 'unrecognized villages', denied essential public services, facing fundamental human rights violations due to institutionalized discrimination.'

Het is 1 van de vele voorbeelden dat de Israelische terreur gewoon doorgaat, zonder dat de westerse commerciele massamedia hier aandacht aan besteden, met als gevolg dat de context van dit conflict niet wordt belicht en de westerling zich straks afvraagt 'waarom de Palestijnen nu ineens weer beginnen.'

Nog geen vijf minuten nadat ik dit bericht had samengesteld, kreeg ik deze email:

'This morning, Thursday 3rd May 2007, the IDF, Border Police guards, Private Security Guards, a contractor and some labourers arrived at the home of Abu Samir (Muhammad Sabri Ghanayem) to take down the fence around his house and replace it with a higher and more solid one. Abu Samir lives on the outer edge of Beit Ijza village, on what is effectively now part of the Givon HaHadasha settlement. His house was built in the early 90's (Pre-Oslo) with permission from the relevant authorities at the time (ie. Bet El - Civil Administration Office) and therefore, after several court hearings, the Supreme Court had ruled that the house may NOT be demolished. The arrival of the workers and the security forces this morning alarmed Abu Samir and his three sons, and they went out to try to stop the workers. Clashes ensued between Abu Samir's family (including his elderly wife) and the security forces and one of his sons was seriously injured and taken to Ramallah hospital. Meanwhile Abu Samir and the other two sons were arrested for obstructing the work. I arrived on the scene after they were already taken but I was assured by the many IDF Officers present that the construction was simply to create a higher fence, on top of a one-metre high concrete wall, to create more security for the residents of the area, in what is a very 'delicate' situation. In the meantime, I have tried to contact the Israeli DCL to check on Abu Samir and his sons but I have not heard back from them yet. Thanks to all of you for your interest today, and I will keep you posted with any further developments. Deena Asfour Humanitarian Affairs Assistant OCHA.'

Irak 205


'Corruption, Shoddy Work and Mismanagement Cripple Iraq Reconstruction
By William Fisher
t r u t h o u t Report
Thursday 03 May 2007
Evidence of widespread corruption, shoddy work, and poor management has called into question the Bush administration's claims that sabotage by insurgents is responsible for the failure of its multibillion-dollar Iraq reconstruction effort.
The new and growing body of evidence comes from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR); the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is the investigative arm of Congress, and CorpWatch, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit monitoring organization.
The head of SIGIR, Stuart Bowen, reports that his agency sampled eight projects that the administration had touted as successes, and found that seven were no longer operating because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment never used.
The GAO tells Congress that Iraqi government institutions are undeveloped and confront significant challenges in staffing a competent, nonpartisan civil service that's effectively fighting corruption; using modern technology, and managing resources effectively.
And CorpWatch reports that smugglers are suspected of diverting billions of dollars worth of crude oil onto tankers because the oil metering system that's supposed to monitor how much crude flows into and out of (oil terminals) has not worked since the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
With all of the approximately $30 billion in US reconstruction money now spent, future projects will become largely the responsibility of the Iraqi government. But, SIGIR's April 23 report to Congress says, "The Iraqi government has had difficulty operating and sustaining the aging oil infrastructure, maintaining the new and rehabilitated power-generation facilities, and developing and sustaining the logistics systems for the Ministries of Defense and Interior."
"Iraqi government institutions are undeveloped and confront significant challenges in staffing a competent, nonpartisan civil service; effectively fighting corruption; using modern technology, and managing resources effectively," says the report.
The GAO agrees. It tells Congress, "Iraqi capacity and commitment to manage and fund reconstruction and security efforts remains limited. Since 2003, the United States has obligated about $29 billion to help Iraq rebuild its infrastructure and develop Iraqi security forces to stabilize the country. However, key goals have not been met. The Iraqi government has not sustained reconstruction and security efforts, in part because Iraqi government institutions are undeveloped and lack needed management and human resource skills according to US officials.
GAO adds, "The inability of the Iraqi government to spend its 2006 capital budget also increases the uncertainty that it can sustain the rebuilding effort."
The Bush administration, usually under pressure from federal inspectors or press accounts, has reluctantly acknowledged that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But the most recent inspections by the Inspector General reveal for first time the failure of projects that had been officially declared successes.
Examples include:
· The Baghdad International Airport, where $11.8 million was spent on new electrical generators, but $8.6 million worth of the project is no longer functioning.
· A maternity hospital in the northern city of Erbil, where a newly built water purification system is not functioning; an expensive incinerator for medical waste is padlocked, and medical waste - including syringes, used bandages, and empty drug vials - is clogging the sewage system and probably contaminating the water system.
· At the same hospital, a system for distributing oxygen has been ignored by the medical staff, which told inspectors they distrusted the sophisticated new equipment and had gone back to using tried-and-true oxygen tanks - which are stored unsafely throughout the building.
· Expensive generators are missing from the Camp Ur military base, having been hauled off to another post. Also at Camp Ur, three modular buildings constructed at a cost of $1.8 million were dismantled and removed with no explanation given.
· Barracks renovated for enlisted soldiers are already in disrepair, just a year after being handed over to the Iraqi Army. Electrical wiring is pieced together to accommodate retrofitted lights and appliances that were not in the original design. Newly installed fixtures, hardware and appliances have been pilfered or abused. A number of electrical generation systems were not adequately maintained, and were inoperable at the time of the SIGIR's inspections. Leaks from the upstairs floor had damaged floor tiles and ceilings on the ground floors. An inadequate design, combined with low-quality fixtures and poor workmanship.

Israelisch Expansionisme 43



'Commentary: What Are the Prospects for Peace in the Middle East?
By Matthew Taylor

With President Jimmy Carter coming to town Wednesday to speak to UC Berkeley students about his book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, it’s an appropriate time for us to reflect on the current prospects for justice and peace in the Middle East.
As Carter accurately states in his book, a system of enforced apartheid reigns in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. It is systemic Israeli policy and practice to demolish Palestinian homes, uproot millions of olive trees, build roads that only Israeli colonizers are allowed to access, implant Israeli colonies on Palestinian soil in violation of international law, use an illegal wall to steal Palestinian land, and enforce two entirely different sets of legal standards for Israeli colonizers and the indigenous Palestinian population. Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians is both apartheid and ethnic cleansing, and is the further enactment of a long-standing desire for territorial expansion that has permeated Zionist politics since before the 1948 war.
At this past weekend’s Jewish Voice for Peace conference in Oakland, several speakers demonstrated that the situation is getting worse all the time. According to Nobel Peace Prize nominee Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (www.icahd.org), Israel has managed to confine Palestinians who live inside the illegally-occupied West Bank to 72 disconnected ghettoes within only 42 percent of the West Bank area, leaving the rest to Israel’s illegal colonization as well as military installations and hundreds of movement barriers—a “matrix of control.” When Israel’s current colonies and land grabs are taken into account, the future contours of the so-called Palestinian “state” does not look like the map of a country, but a piece of Swiss cheese.
Readers of Carter’s book are largely aware of the above challenges. However, what Carter’s book never reveals is that Apartheid can be said to prevail even inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel. Professor George Bisharat of the Hastings College of Law reports that over 100,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel live inside villages that are officially ‘unrecognized,’ appear on no maps, and are denied basic services such as electricity and garbage collection (www.assoc40.org). Israel has demolished the homes of tens of thousands of Bedouin Arabs in order to create Jewish-exclusive housing. Israel insists that its Palestinian citizens relate to Israel as a “Jewish state”—in other words, an ethnocracy that privileges one ethnic group over another in both blatant and subtle ways.
And then, there’s the elephant in the room: the refugees. Millions of would-be citizens of the state of Israel—the Palestinians who were forcefully exiled in 1948, as well as their children—are denied the ability to return to their homes in peace, despite international guarantees and repeated U.N. resolutions affirming their right to do so. (Meanwhile, as an upper-class American Jew in Berkeley I have the unrestricted right not only to move to Israel, but to purchase a home that once belonged to a refugee.) Apartheid, at its core, is about “apartness” or “separation,” as well as the domination of one group by another. What could be a more extreme act of separation and oppression than forceful expulsion coupled with the denial of a people’s right to return to their homes?'


Norman Finkelstein

'As Tenure Drama Comes Down to the Wire
Dershowitz v. Finkelstein: Who's Right and Who's Wrong?
By FRANK MENETREZ

The feud between Alan Dershowitz, a senior professor at Harvard Law School, and Norman Finkelstein, a junior professor of political science at DePaul University, is back in the news. Finkelstein is up for tenure this year, and Dershowitz has been waging an aggressive campaign against him. Both Finkelstein's department and an outside committee voted in favor of tenure, but the dean then recommended against it. As of this writing, the university has not made a final decision.
To date, the coverage of the dispute has not included any serious attempt at evaluating the merits of Dershowitz and Finkelstein's charges and countercharges. It's clear enough that these guys don't like or respect each other, and that each claims the other's work is a travesty. But the question remains: Who's right, and who's wrong? Answering that question ought to be relatively straightforward, and it is high time that someone other than Finkelstein or Dershowitz tried to do it publicly.
The feud began when Finkelstein charged that Dershowitz's book The Case for Israel (2003) was partially plagiarized and wholly false. Finkelstein ultimately published his critique as part of a book of his own, entitled Beyond Chutzpah (2005). The book quotes Dershowitz as offering, in an interview, to "give $10,000 to the PLO" if anyone can "find a historical fact in [The Case for Israel] that you can prove to be false." (p. 91) Finkelstein maintains, to the contrary, that "[t]he genuine challenge is to unearth any meaningful historical fact in The Case for Israel." (p. 91) Finkelstein goes on to quote one assertion after another from The Case for Israel, examine Dershowitz's supporting evidence, and then adduce his own evidence that the assertions are false and Dershowitz's evidence is worthless.'

Lees verder: http://www.counterpunch.org/menetrez04302007.html

De Israelische Terreur 189


De BBC bericht: 'Vanunu convicted for media links

A court in Israel has convicted former nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu of violating a military order banning him from speaking to foreign journalists.
The verdict could mean a fresh jail term for Mr Vanunu, who served 18 years in prison for revealing details of Israel's clandestine nuclear programme.
His lawyer called it intolerable to convict a person for the mere act of speaking, never mind whatever was said.
A sentencing hearing is set for 18 May. Vanunu is banned from leaving Israel.
"We should be clear here that Vanunu was convicted for the very act of speaking to non-Israelis, rather than the content of those conversations," lawyer Michel Sfard said.
"We do not consider this appropriate for a democracy in the 21st Century."
Mr Sfard said interior ministry officials had told him the travel ban on Mr Vanunu had been extended by another year to April 2008.'


Ilan Pappe 4


'Subject: Ilan Pappe: etnische zuivering in 1948

Persbericht


Ilan Pappe: etnische zuivering in 1948

De Israeliërs moeten het recht op terugkeer voor de Palestijnen erkennen. Het verdrijven van Palestijnen uit Palestina in 1948 was een etnische zuivering, aldus de Israelische historicus Ilan Pappe. De in zijn eigen land omstreden historicus vindt de term Naqba (catastrofe) niet scherp genoeg. Het vluchtelingenprobleem moet worden opgelost, dan pas is er een kans op vrede. Aanstaande zondag in NioScoop een exclusief interview met Ilan Pappe over het recht op terugkeer voor de Palestijnen.


NioScoop: zondag 6 mei 2007, 13.00 tot 13.30 uur, Nederland 2
Herhaling: zaterdag 12 mei 2007, 11.25 tot 11.55 uur, Nederland 2
Zie: http://www.nioweb.nl/
Twee lange lezingen van Pappe over de etnische zuivering van Israel kunt u hier beluisteren: http://www.stanvanhoucke.net/audioblog/pivot/entry.php?id=25#body Hier kunt u een samenvatting lezen: http://www.humanist.nl/101299
De website van Ilan Pappe: http://www.ilanpappe.org/

woensdag 2 mei 2007

De Israelische Terreur 188



Defence for Children bericht:
'2007/05/01 Israel's Violations of the Right to Life.
Throughout the second Intifada, beginning in September 2000, Israel has engaged in gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Israeli military activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) has been excessive and disproportionate. Routinely employing sophisticated military weaponry, including missiles and F16 war planes, Israeli forces have acted with insufficient, or no, regard for the lives of civilian residents of the OPT resulting in particularly high numbers of civilian casualties.
During this period Palestinian children have suffered countless violations of their rights, including violations of the right to life. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2006 there were an estimated 2.1 million children living in the OPT. These children constitute over half (52.3%) of the Palestinian population in the OPT. Their right to life, survival and development is the most fundamental of all human rights of the child. In spite of this, Israel has repeatedly and arbitrarily deprived Palestinian children of the right to life, in violation of article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which it is a State Party.
In 2006, the Israeli military’s lack of respect for Palestinian human rights and for the guidelines that seek to protect civilians in periods of armed conflict (as embodied in international humanitarian law) continued. Throughout the year, the Israeli military employed violent, excessive and disproportionate force against Palestinian civilians. This was evident in the bombardment of civilian houses and infrastructure; the extrajudicial killing of Palestinian activists resulting in the killing of civilian by-standers; and the opening of random gunfire leading to the deaths of children either whilst inside their homes or playing near them. Despite Israel’s withdrawal of troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the territory remains occupied. As a result Palestinian civilians, including children, were exposed to numerous violations of international humanitarian law in 2006. Two massive Israeli military offensives in the Gaza Strip during 2006 resulted in high civilian casualties and wide-scale targeting of civilian infrastructure.
Full Report [Word Format 224KB]'

Zie ook: http://www.dci-pal.org/english/display.cfm?DocId=574&CategoryId=2

Barrick

Een paar jaar geleden werden mijn vriend, collega en cameraman Mattias Ylstra en ik door een advocaat van het Canadese goudmijnbouwconcern Barrick met jarenlange juridische procedures bedreigd, als we het in ons hoofd zouden halen om een documentaire zouden uitzenden die we hadden gemaakt over een smerige affaire in Tanzania, waarbij Barrick betrokken was. Eerder al had Barrick via deze intimidatie The Guardian-uitgeverij dermate onder druk weten te zetten dat de directie de gedocumenteerde beschuldigingen tegen het Canadese concern introk en officieel excusses aanbood. De voornaamste reden was dat de uitgeverij niet over miljoenen beschikte om jarenlange procedures tegen een dergelijk miljarden-concern vol te houden. Maar de chantage tegen ons mislukte, want ook al zou Barrick het winnen dan nog zou het concern volgens de regels van de Nederlandse wet niet meer dan een paar duizend dollar aan smaadgeld kunnen incasseren. Ik schreef Barrick deze informatie, meldde nog even het te betreuren dat ze niet in beeld wilden verschijnen om hun visie op de zaak te geven, dat we als onafhankelijke documentairemakers niet voor een dergelijke druk zouden zwichten en tenslotte dat de totale directie van Barrick de hele documentaire onder andere tijdens een Amnesty Festival kon gaan bekijken. We hoorden niets meer van ze. Dan maar doodzwijgen zullen ze gedacht hebben, want zelfs de Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist Greg Palast, wiens gedocumenteerde beschuldigingen door de Guardian werden ingetrokken en die niets negatiefs meer in het openbaar over Barrick mocht vertellen, hoorde niets meer, terwijl hij toch pontificaal figureert in de documentaire en onder andere over de smerige deal tussen Bush senior en Barrick vertelt. Bush senior hield er een vorstelijk betaalde bijbaan aan over toen hij eenmaal president af was. Ik geef dit als voorbeeld hoe dit soort multionationals achter de schermen functioneren. Daarom petje af voor CorpWatch:

'Barrick's Dirty Secrets: Communities Worldwide Respond to Gold Mining Impacts http://corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14466


Canadian-owned Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold producer, is exploring, building and operating huge, open-pit gold mines on nearly every continent on the planet.

On average, gold mining today produces 70 tons of waste for every ounce of gold, while also consuming and polluting massive amounts of water. An estimated 50 percent of these mining operations occur on native lands.

For many Indigenous peoples, who often rely on their environment for food and necessities, mining threatens not only their livelihood, but also their spirituality and traditional way of life.

These new "modern mining" projects leave thousand-year legacies of acid mine drainage, destruction of ecosystems, disease, and regional climate change. Riches in the form of gold, silver and copper are exported to first world shareholders, leaving behind poverty, dependency and pollution.

A new CorpWatch report details the operations of Barrick gold in nine different countries, focusing on the efforts on the part of the communities to seek justice from this powerful multinational.

In the report, you will discover:

• individual profiles on Barrick's operations in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, the U.S., Australia, the Philippines, and Canada.
• how Barrick's Valedero and Pascua Lama projects got placed in a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve;
• a roundup of mine security and police repression in Peru;
• how "illegal" miners have had their lives threatened and taken away in Tanzania and Papua New Guinea;
• how Barrick threatens indigenous spiritual grounds of the Wiradjuri in Australia and the Western Shoshone in the U.S.
• how Barrick threatens the water sources in water scarce areas in Chile, Argentina, Australia, and Nevada. In New South Wales, Australia, Barrick's mine is licensed to use 17 million liters on water per day. Meanwhile, that region is experiencing their worst drought in the last hundred years.
• profiles of on-going community struggles against Barrick around the world

Also on May 2nd, as part of an "International Day of Action" against Barrick, protests will take place in six different countries as well as in Toronto, Canada, where Barrick is based. On the same day, Canada's second largest gold mining company, GoldCorp, will be protested at their annual meeting in Vancouver. For more information about these actions, go to protestbarrick.net.'

Zie: http://corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14466

Voor meer over onze documentaire zie: http://www.ylstra.nl/bulyanhulu.html

World Press Freedom Day

'The Price of Press Freedom

Thursday is World Press Freedom Day, a day when all of us – citizens, media professionals, governments, non-governmental organizations and what has come to be known as “civil society” - should remember and celebrate the crucial role a free press plays in democracy and development. Throughout the world, May 3 also serves as a much-needed annual reminder that our human right to freedom of expression is all too often violated — and that many journalists face jail or even death to give us our daily news.
And yes – let’s never forget that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, as outlined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
World Press Freedom Day is meant to remind both citizens and governments that they need to reaffirm this right “as an essential foundation of the information society.”
Originally proclaimed by the United Nations’ General Assembly in 1993, the occasion has also been marked since 1997 by the awarding of the annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to a deserving person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defense and promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world — especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. Significantly, the Prize is named in honor of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogota, in 1986 for denouncing the activities of powerful drug barons in his country.
Twenty years later, journalists like Cano are still dying simply for doing their job. In fact, last year saw a record number of journalists and media workers killed or thrown in prison around the world, with dozens dead in Iraq alone.
With reporters being killed or held hostage by groups in conflict, with governments jailing, threatening and censoring journalists and cyber dissidents for promoting democracy or political debate, and with drug traffickers, corrupt local politicians and other criminals getting rid of reporters investigating their whereabouts, members of the media are literally risking their lives just to get the story. Every year it seems there are more and more dangers to be overcome. And more and more journalists are paying the ultimate price – losing their lives - simply to protect our right to know.
That’s why it is fitting that the late Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya is the recipient of this year’s UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize – the first journalist ever to receive the award posthumously. Here’s how Kavi Chongkittavorn, President of the UNESCO/Guillermo World Cano Press Freedom Prize jury of fourteen professional journalists and editors from all over the world, explained the jury’s choice:...'

Lees verder: http://www.roryoconnor.org/blog/2007/05/01/the-price-of-press-freedom/

The Empire 236

'Report Shows Increased U.S. Military Spending Slows Economy

Washington, DC: The Center for Economic and Policy Research released a report today estimating the economic impact of increased U.S. military spending comparable to the spending on the Iraq war. The report, presenting the results of a simulation from the economic forecasting company Global Insight, shows the increased level of military spending leads to fewer jobs and slower economic growth.
For the report, The Economic Impact of the Iraq War and Higher Military Spending, by economist Dean Baker, CEPR commissioned Global Insight to run a simulation with its macroeconomic model. Global Insight's model was selected for this analysis because it is a commonly used and widely respected model. It estimated the impact of an increase in annual U.S. military spending equal to 1 percent of GDP (approximately equal to the military spending increase compared with pre-September 11th baseline).
The projections show the following:
-- After an initial demand stimulus, the effect of increased military spending turns negative around the sixth year. After 10 years of higher defense spending, there would be 464,000 fewer jobs than in the baseline scenario with lower defense spending.
-- Inflation and interest rates are considerably higher. After 5 years, the interest rate on 10-Year Treasury notes is projected to be 0.7 percentage points higher than in the baseline scenario. After 10 years, the gap would rise to 0.9 percentage points.
-- Higher interest rates lead to reduced demand in the interest-sensitive sectors of the economy. After 5 years, annual car and truck sales are projected to go down by 192,200 in the high military spending scenario. After 10 years, the drop is projected to be 323,300 and after 20 years annual sales are projected to be down 731,400.
-- Construction and manufacturing are the sectors that are projected to experience the largest shares of the job loss.
"It is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy," said Baker. "In fact, most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment."
The report recommends that Congress request the Congressional Budget Office produce its own projections of the economic impact of a sustained increase in defense spending.'

Lees verder:
http://www.cepr.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1155&Itemid=8The%20Economic%20Impact%20of%20the%20Iraq%20War%20and%20Higher%20Military%20Spending

The Empire 235

War on terror' is the wrong slogan
IT ONLY DISTRACTS U.S. FROM THE SERIOUS CHALLENGES IT FACES
By Zbigniew Brzezinski

The "war on terror" has created a national culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of Sept. 11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.
The damage these three words have done - a classic self-inflicted wound - is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare - political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.
But the little secret here may be that the vagueness of the phrase was deliberately (or instinctively) calculated by its sponsors. Constant reference to a war on terror did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue. The war of choice in Iraq could never have gained the congressional support it got without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction. Support for President Bush in the 2004 elections was also mobilized in part by the notion that "a nation at war" does not change its commander in chief in midstream. The sense of a pervasive but otherwise imprecise danger was thus channeled in a politically expedient direction by the mobilizing appeal of being "at war."
Crafting a narrative
To justify the "war on terror," the administration has lately crafted a false historical narrative that could even become a self-fulfilling prophesy. By claiming that its war is similar to earlier U.S. struggles against Nazism and then Stalinism (while ignoring the fact that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were first-rate military powers, a status Al-Qaida neither has nor can achieve), the administration could be preparing the case for war with Iran. Such war would then plunge America into a protracted conflict spanning Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and perhaps also Pakistan.
The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle. It acquires a life of its own - and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined America that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist act in America itself.'

Lees verder: http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_5779004?nclick_check=1

Het Neoliberale Geloof 34


'Post Mortem for the Stock Market
By Mike Whitney

"There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class that’s winning."

Investment tycoon, Warren Buffett

The real estate market is crashing faster than
anyone had anticipated. Housing prices have fallen in 17 of 20 of the
nation’s largest cities and the trend lines indicate that the worst
is yet to come. March sales of new homes plummeted by a record 23.5%
(year over year) removing all hope for a quick rebound. Problems in
the subprime and Alt-A loans are mushrooming in previously “hot
markets” resulting in an unprecedented number of foreclosures. The
defaults have slowed demand for new homes and increased the glut of
houses already on the market. This is putting additional downward
pressure on prices and profits. More and more builders are struggling
just to keep their heads above water. This isn’t your typical 1980s-
type “correction”; it’s a full-blown real estate cyclone smashing
everything in its path.

Tremors from the real estate earthquake won’t be limited to housing—
they will rumble through all areas of the economy including the stock
market, financial sector and currency trading. There is simply no way
to minimize the effects of a bursting $4.5 trillion equity bubble.

The next shoe to drop will be the stock market which is still flying-
high from increases in the money supply. The Federal Reserve has
printed up enough fiat-cash to keep overpriced equities jumping for
joy for a few months longer. But it won’t last. Wall Street’s credit
bubble is even bigger than the housing bubble---a monstrous,
lumbering dirigible that’s headed for the cliff. The Dow is like a
drunk atop a 13,000 ft cliff; inebriated on the Fed’s cheap “low-
interest” liquor. One wrong step and he’ll plunge headlong into the
ether.

The stock market cheerleaders are ooooing and ahhing the Dow’s climb
to 13,000, but it’s all a sham. Wall Street is just enjoying the last
wisps of Greenspan’s helium swirling into the largest credit bubble
in history. But there’s trouble ahead. In fact, the storm clouds have
already formed over the housing market. The subprime albatross has
lashed itself to everything in the economy ---dragging down consumer
confidence, GDP and (eventually) the stock market, too. No one will
be spared.

So why the stock market keep hitting new highs?

Is it because foreign investors believe that American equities will
continue to do well even though the housing market is slumping and
GDP has shriveled to the size of a California raison? Or is it
because stockholders haven’t noticed that the greenback getting
clobbered every day in the currency markets? Or, maybe, investors are
just expressing their confidence in the way the U.S. is managing the
global economic system?

Is that it---they admire the wisdom of borrowing $2.5 billion per day
from foreign lenders just to keep the ship of state from taking on
water?

No, that’s not it. The reason the stock market is flying-high is
because the Federal Reserve has been ginning up the money supply to
avoid a Chernobyl-type meltdown. All that new funny-money has to go
somewhere, so a lot of it winds up in the stock market. Evergreen
Bank’s Chuck Butler explains the process in Thursday’s Daily Pfennig:... '

Lees verder: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17627.htm

The Empire 234

Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst and Internet essayist. His articles as well as his archive can be found at his blog, http://www.valenzuelasveritas.blogspot.com and at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info as well as at other alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela is also author of Echoes in the Wind, a fiction novel. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at manuel@valenzuelas.net.

Enter the Empire
By Manuel Valenzuela

Comfort and Masquerades

The wealthiest nation-state the world has ever seen has for the last sixty years been standing atop the upper crust of humankind, basking in the splendor of unfathomable richness, enjoying unprecedented standards of living, accumulating power and control at tremendous speed and becoming, at the expense of the planet and its inhabitants, the latest incarnation of Rome. America, that city on a hill, from where modern man’s guiding light emanates, that nation anointed by man’s imaginary deity, has, since the end of World War II, become the most powerful nation humankind has ever produced.
Today, 300 million people live inside its borders, enjoying levels of comfort and luxury never before seen. America has for the last two centuries become the nation whose attractiveness has become a magnet to millions upon millions of immigrants from all corners of the globe. No other nation on Earth has the wealth of the United States, and only a few countries come close to matching its immense power. It is this enormous wealth and comfort, leaps beyond that of most nations, along with myriad number of freedoms and rights for decades granted its people, that compel humans everywhere to try to migrate inside its borders.
Indeed, while most people of the world, billions strong, still struggle to subsist and survive on a daily basis, scrapping to eat, clothe and house themselves, living in shantytowns and slums and shacks and ghettos and cardboard huts, lacking the basic infrastructure and investments for adequate living, most citizens of the new Rome face no such hurdles or difficulties. To the millions residing inside the bowels of the Empire, the obstacles, anxieties and problems facing billions never become an issue or a reality that must be confronted on a personal and daily basis. Indeed, the gap between Americans’ standards of living and that of most of the world’s people is enormous to the point of absurdity.
Most Americans do not go hungry, they do not subsist on two or five dollars a day, or anywhere close to that, having to toil in sweatshops or relying for food on the scavenger techniques of family members combing through a landfill. They do not have to combat embedded corruption or the complete looting of their treasure. Americans have not had to live in tyranny, in dictatorship, in despotism, having to suffer the consequences of turmoil, of disease, mass drought and internal strife. They have not had to suffer through insecurity, war, and state sanctioned rape and murder.
Americans enjoy liberties, freedoms and rights that few peoples are allowed to possess in their native lands. In fact, it is those nation-states that are under the grip of America, those with puppet regimes loyal to the Empire and not their people, that paradoxically are prevented from enjoying the freedoms and rights and liberties that the Empire bestows upon its populace. It is those American sponsored dictators, royalty and puppet politicians that are often cited for fostering and nurturing the worst violations of human rights. It is in those foreign lands dominated by America where one is likely to find that democracy is non-existent and the rights of the people easily expendable.'

Lees verder: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17629.htm

dinsdag 1 mei 2007

De Socialistische Partij

Een lezer van mijn blog stuurde me dit op. Als u op de afbeelding drukt kunt u het lezen. Politici van elke signatuur hebben het altijd moeilijk met de vrijheid van meningsuiting. Zowel rechtse als linkse.

Zie ook: http://sptransparant.blogsome.com/

De Nuance van de NRC 26

'Taal is de moeder van de gedachte, niet haar dienstmeid,' schreef ooit de grote Weense satiricus Karl Kraus. Ik moest hieraan denken toen ik net dit bericht in de NRC las. De taal waarin het bericht is geschreven, zit vol impliciete meningen, aannames, vooronderstellingen en aperte onjuistheden.

'Olmert ''faalde'', maar treedt niet af.

Jeruzalem, 1 mei. De Israëlische premier Olmert en minister Peretz van Defensie weigeren af te treden, hoewel zij volgens een onderzoekscommissie „ernstig gefaald’’ hebben in de oorlog tegen Hezbollah in Libanon.
„Het zou niet correct zijn af te treden. Het is nu juist tijd om fouten te herstellen en lessen te trekken”, zei Olmert na de publicatie van het tussenrapport over het begin van de oorlog. Het eindrapport over de hele Libanonoorlog, die op 12 juli 2006 begon met de ontvoering door Hezbollah van twee reservisten, wordt in juli gepubliceerd… De commissie verwijt Olmert „gebrek aan verantwoordelijkheidsbesef, oordeelsvermogen en voorzichtigheid”. Volgens voorzitter Eliyahu Winograd werd het falen van Olmert verergerd doordat Defensieminister Peretz, leider van de Arbeidspartij, „geen kennis van of ervaring in militaire, diplomatieke en regeringszaken heeft”. Hij had moeten weten „dat het leger niet klaar was voor deze oorlog in een dermate gecompliceerd land als Libanon”. Door onze correspondent.'

Lees verder: http://www.nrc.nl/buitenland/article705144.ece/
Olmert_faalde_%2C_maar_treedt_niet_af

Allereerst de kop: 'Olmert "faalde" maar treedt niet af.' Nee, maar dat is toch geen nieuws. In de kop staat doorgaans het nieuws, het afwijkende, man bijt hond. Ooit een oorlogsmisdadiger uit eigen vrije wil de macht uit handen zien geven? Net als zijn voorganger, de oorlogsmisdadiger Sharon, blijft hij bang ooit eens juridisch verantwoordelijk te worden gesteld voor zijn tertreurdaden, dus blijft hij verkleefd aan de macht. Zeker als hij daarbij ook nog eens gesteund wordt door grote broer de VS. Toch impliceert de NRC-kop dat hij zou moeten aftreden gezien het feit dat hij 'ernstig gefaald' heeft 'in de oorlog tegen Hezbollah in Libanon.' Oorlog tegen Hezbollah? Het vernietigen van de infrastructuur van een democratisch land en het bombaderen van een burgerbevolking heet bij de NRC kennelijk een oorlog tegen Hezbollah.

'de hele Libanonoorlog die op 12 juli 2006 begon met de ontvoering door Hezbollah van twee reservisten.' Hoe nu? Gesuggereerd wordt dat de Israelische terreur tegen de Libanese burgerbevolking werd veroorzaakt door een 'ontvoering' van 'reservisten.' Dit is een bewuste vertekening van de werkelijkheid, want ook de NRC-correspondent, ik neem aan Oscar Garschagen, had kunnen weten wat de wereldpers al anderhalve maand geleden wist:

'Israeli backlash to Olmert comments
Sat, 10 Mar 2007 10:24:13
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's admission that last summer's onslaught against Lebanon was pre-planned has provoked anger among Israeli officials. Olmert told Israeli daily Haaretz on Thursday that last summer's war was planned in advance and before the Islamic resistance of Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. Olmert's admission confirms Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah's earlier claims, Al-Manar TV reported. Senior officers in the Israeli General Staff expressed their anger before the Winograd Commission, which is investigating the war. "If war was planned, why was the Israeli Defense Force left unprepared?" Haaretz quoted a member of Israeli General Staff saying.'

Lees verder: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/03/de-israelische-terreur-165.html Of:
http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/03/de-israelische-terreur-168.html

Het leger was niet klaar voor 'deze oorlog in een dermate gecompliceerd land als Libanon.' Het zal best, maar waarom meldt de correspondent niet de context, het feit dat een staand leger nooit een guerilla-oorlog kan voeren zonder de burgerbevolking op grote schaal te terroriseren met fosfor- en fragmentatiebommen, zoals de Israelis dan ook deden. Waarom onderzoekt Oscar Garschagen de terreur tegen de Libanese burgerbevolking niet? Journalisten van Britse kwaliteitskranten doen dat wel. Waarom bericht hij zonder context, verdraait hij de werkelijkheid en liegt hij bewust? Hij heeft notabene de beschikking over een vernietigend rapport, waaruit duidelijk wordt dat Israel deze terreur nooit had moeten beginnen? Wat weerhoudt hem? De pro-Israel lobby? De adverteerders van de NRC? Oplagecijfers?

De Commerciele Massamedia 60


Op de website van De Nieuwe Reporter staat deze bijdrage:
'Professionele journalistiek in verwarring
Email artikel: Print artikel: Reacties: 1
1 mei, 2007 Bart Brouwers
Het voert te ver om te constateren dat de journalistiek in een identiteitscrisis zit, maar enige verwarring is er zeker. De reden: een totale vermenging van professionele, semi-professionele en ronduit amateuristische bijdragen in zo´n beetje alle bestaande media. De oorzaak daarvan ligt in de opkomst van nieuwe, voor iedereen toegankelijke technieken. En het gevolg is dat uitgevers en hoofdredacteuren van vooral de traditionele media de weg een beetje zijn kwijtgeraakt. Dat dat vervolgens weer het nodige betekent voor het zelfreinigend vermogen van de beroepsgroep, is evident. Vandaar dat zowel bij de Raad voor de Journalistiek als in het Genootschap van Hoofdredacteuren de roep om een nieuw houvast groeit.'
Ik heb de volgende vraag gesteld:
'beste bart brouwers
u schrijft dat er sprake is van 'enige verwarring' in de journalistiek.'De reden: een totale vermenging van professionele, semi-professionele en ronduit amateuristische bijdragen in zo´n beetje alle bestaande media.'
Om nu te voorkomen dat er een babylonische spraakverwarring onstaat, stel ik u de volgende vraag: is het hieronder afgedrukte bericht uit de Volkskrant nu een voorbeeld van 'een totale vermenging van professionele, semi-professionele en rounduit amateuristische bijdragen' in de volkskrant. of hebben we hier te maken met ronduit een crisis in de journalistiek, waarbij zoals na 11 september 2001 bleek de commerciele massamedia, inclusief de zogeheten publieke omroepen, doorgaans maar al te graag de autoriteiten klakkeloos citeren? Regelmatig zonder bronvermelding.
Het volkskrant bericht van 30 april en mijn vragen aan de volkskrant-redactie, die overigens nooit beantwoord worden:
'De Volkskrant bericht:
''Tientallen Taliban gedood in West-Afghanistan
ANP
KABUL - Door Amerikanen geleide buitenlandse troepen en Afghaanse militairen hebben zondag zeker 87 Talibanstrijders gedood tijdens gevechten in het westen van Afghanistan. Dat heeft de internationale coalitiemacht maandag laten weten.De gevechten vonden plaats in het district Shindand in de provincie Herat. De coalitietroepen en de Afghanen namen veertien uur lang posities van de Taliban onder vuur vanaf de grond en vanuit de lucht.In hetzelfde gebied kwamen vrijdag al 49 Taliban-strijders om tijdens gevechten met NAVO-militairen en het Afghaanse leger. Ook een Amerikaanse militair kwam om.''
Tientallen_Taliban_gedood_in_West-Afghanistan. Hoe nu geachte Volkskrant redactie?
Zeker 87 Talibanstrijders gedood. Poe, poe!!! 87 of 88 of 85? Had de Volkskrant een verslaggever ter plaatse die dit heeft kunnen checken? Nee toch, want anders hadden jullie dit ANP-bericht niet overgenomen. Hoe weten jullie of dit bericht klopt, hebben jullie bronnen gecheckt? Wisten jullie niet dat dit bericht uit de koker van het Amerikaans leger komt, dat zoals bekend, alle belang er bij heeft om niet de waarheid te vertellen en in het verleden ontelbare keren gelogen heeft over de ware toedracht van gebeurtenissen. En als jullie het niet wisten, waarom niet? Waarom doen jullie je huiswerk niet? In de journalistiek is het regel om je bronnen te vermelden. Waarom doen jullie dat niet? Als het ANP het niet doet, betekent niet dat jullie het ook niet hoeven. En stel dat jullie wisten dat Amerikaanse legerwoordvoerders de waarheid regelmatig verdraaien, waarom publiceerden jullie dit bericht dan klakkeloos? Nu bedrijven jullie propaganda. Waarom? Welk belang heeft de Volkskrant bij het bedrijven van propaganda.
In afwachting van uw antwoord
collegiale groet
stan van houcke'
Tot zover mijn vraag. mocht u geinteresseerd zijn in de crisis van de westerse journalistiek dan moet u echt 'Into the Buzzsaw' lezen. In tegenstelling tot nederland wordt in de angelsaksische wereld buitengewoon serieus over de journalistiek gediscussieerd en wordt de journalistiek nauwkeurig geanalyseerd. Een van de uitspraken in dit boek is van Dan Rather van CBS die zegt: 'There's never been an American war -small or large - in which access has been so limited as this one… what's going on to a very large extent, I'm sorry to say, is a belief that the public doesn't need to know.' Rather is buitengewoon kritisch over zijn eigen rol en die van zijn collega's in de journalistiek. er is namelijk wel wat anders aan de hand dan een zogenaamde vermenging. In afwachting van uw antwoord,
collegiale groet
stan van houcke