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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 27 december 2008

Rabbijn Awraham Soetendorp 2

Twaalf dagen geleden stuurde ik onderstaande open brief aan rabbijn Awraham Soetendorp. Ik heb sindsdien niets van hem vernomen, zelfs niet een bericht van ontvangst. Ik stuur deze brief opnieuw naar hem, nu de Israelische terreur tegen de Palestijnse burgerbevolking ongestoord doorgaat. De recente Israelische luchtaanvallen vonden plaats op het moment dat kinderen hun school verlieten en dus extra gevaar liepen. De rabbijn stelt terecht dat kinderen beschermd moeten worden, niet alleen joodse kinderen, maar alle kinderen. Uit naam van zijn geloof en zijn cultuur worden nu oorlogsmisdaden begaan. Ik zou graag een reactie van rabbijn Awraham Soetendorp ontvangen, want niet alleen christenen en islamieten, maar ook joden kunnen op hun godsdienst worden aangesproken. Dit schreef ik op 15 december:

'Geachte rabbijn Shalom Awraham Soetendorp,
Dit is een open brief aan u. In het Parool van afgelopen zaterdag las ik dat u vorige week 'in de Ridderzaal als jurylid van de Mensenrechtentulp zat.' U vertelde ook dat u 'Tony Blair in mei' had 'horen spreken op een bijeenkomst over het Midden-Oosten en daar erkende hij: "Ik ben tien jaar premier geweest en ik dacht dat ik goed was ingelicht over het Midden-Oosten, maar ik realiseer mij nu hoe weinig ik wist." Dat is vreesaanjagend om te horen; tegelijkertijd laat het zien dat je in leiderschap soms van de veilige weg af moet gaan.'
Ik deel uw mening en doe daarom een beroep op u als een van de leiders van de joodse gemeenschap in Nederland. Rabbijn Soetendorp, spreek u publiekelijk uit tegen de Israelische terreur tegen de burgerbevolking van Gaza. De situatie is door de Israelische belegering zo verslechterd dat volgens de kwaliteitskrant The Sunday Times: 'Gaza families eat grass as Israel locks border.' Zie: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2008/12/guus-valk-van-de-nrc-5.html
Opgesloten in een getto kunnen de Palestijnse mannen, vrouwen en kinderen geen kant op. En u weet hoe belangrijk de bescherming van vooral kinderen is, zeker als ze tot een vervolgde groep behoren. U zelf zei daarover in het Parool: 'Ik heb liefde en bescherming gehad, van anderen, en ik ben in leven gebleven. Dat, ja, dat is het doel van ieder mens: eraan bijdragen dat ieder kind die liefde en die bescherming heeft. Op de Dag van Respect stond ik voor vijftienhonderd kinderen en vertelde dat in de oorlog mijn leven is gered doordat die mensen respect voor mij hadden.' Vandaar mijn verzoek aan u om publiekelijk op te roepen de rechten van de Palestijnse kinderen te respecteren, zodat zij net als u tot volwaardige mensen kunnen uitgroeien. Spreek u uit tegen de terreur van Israel, die alleen maar leidt tot haat en contra-terreur. U zelf verklaarde dat persoonlijke verantwoordelijkheid nooit ophoudt. U zei tegen de Parool-verslaggeefster: 'Ik heb een stichting, niet zo bekend, die mij helpt, mijn idealen steunt. Dat is het Jewish Institute for Human Values.' Vandaar dat ik een beroep op u doe de Human Values van de Palestijnen onder de aandacht te brengen. Immers, u weet hoe belangrijk het is dat burgers goed worden geinformeerd en dat dit in het geval van Israel niet gebeurd, zoals uit de door u aangehaalde uitspraak van Tony Blair opnieuw blijkt. Ik weet dat u een fatsoenlijk mens bent, gedreven door joodse/humanistische waarden, die vecht 'voor een toekomst waarin ook Palestijnse kinderen alle rechten van de wereld hebben.'
Mijn concrete verzoek aan u is nu om de eerbiedwaardige Amerikaanse geleerde Richard Falk publiekelijk te steunen. Professor Falk is een van de meest vooraanstaande pleitbezorgers in de wereld van de mensenrechten, en als zodanig de speciale VN-rapporteur voor de bezette Palestijnse gebieden. Hij mag van Israel niet naar de bezette gebieden. Leest u zelf:
'DCI deeply concerned as Israel denies entry to SR Falk[RAMALLAH, 15 December 2008] –
DCI-Palestine is deeply concerned by news received this morning from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Ramallah that the UN Special Rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territory, Professor Richard Falk, was denied entry into Israel and deported to Switzerland by the Israeli authorities. Professor Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, was planning to conduct his first official visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) this month. The objective of the visit was to collect information for a report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2009. On this visit, Professor Falk was to meet among others Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli journalist Amira Hass, UN agencies and NGOs working in the Occupied Territory, including DCI-Palestine. The visit was supposed to take place from 14 to 20 December. Professor Falk landed at Ben Gurion airport in Israel yesterday and was detained all night before being deported to Switzerland, on the first plane to Geneva this morning. The two colleagues accompanying him were allowed into Israel but are unable to carry out the visit without the Special Rapporteur. DCI-Palestine is also concerned by reports that their laptops were taken from them. Israel has always criticised the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the OPT because it does not address human rights in Israel, but Professor Falk's appointment in March 2008 particularly angered Israel because of Falk’s outspoken views on the Israeli military occupation and Israeli policies in the OPT. [DCI/PS, 27 March 2008]This week, Professor Falk issued a statement equating Israel's policies in the Gaza Strip to crimes against humanity. He said the siege of Gaza constituted a “continuing flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law” and amounted to collective punishment by Israel. [DCI/PS, 9 December 2008] Throughout 2006-2008, Israel denied entry three times to the High-level Fact-finding Mission to Beit Hanoun headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and established under Council Resolution S-3/1 to investigate the impact of the Israeli military operations carried out there around 8 November 2006. Israel’s refusal to facilitate the implementation of the Resolution prevented the Mission from discharging its mandate until May 2008, when the Mission decided to travel to Beit Hanoun via Egypt [BBC]. Israel’s refusal to cooperate with independent experts mandated by the UN to investigate human rights violations is unacceptable; all the more so if they represent attempts by the Israeli government to protect its politicians and military commanders from being held accountable for grave human and child rights violations; and especially in light of the fact that independent and impartial investigations into killings by the Israeli military are never conducted by Israel, despite numerous calls from both Israeli and Palestinian civil society. DCI-Palestine supports Professor Falk’s call for accountability, and calls on the international community to publicly denounce Israel’s lack of transparency and put pressure on the current government to cooperate with the UN’s efforts to improve the human rights situation in the OPT.DCI-Palestine had been asked by OHCHR in Ramallah to prepare a briefing for Professor Falk. We will be sending a detailed report on the detention and abuse of Palestinian children by the Israeli authorities to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as to the Special Rapporteur to aide his report to the UN Human Rights Council. “The deportation of Professor Falk is a clear and blatant attack against the UN, its mission and its staff and shows how far Israel can go in challenging the international community. It is time to put more pressure on the Israeli government to hold it accountable for all the human rights violations it is committing in the OPT and to force Israel to comply with internationally recognised human rights norms and standards”, said DCI-Palestine General Director Rifat Odeh Kassis. Professor Falk does not intend to attempt to re-enter Israel in the immediate future.'
Zie: http://www.dci-pal.org/english/display.cfm?DocId=905&CategoryId=1
In afwachting van uw antwoord,
vriendelijke groet,
Stan van Houcke'
PS: hier kunt u een interview met professor Falk lezen: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2008/12/de-israelische-terreur-496.html

De Israelische Terreur 509

'Hamas will not be shaken by Israeli war crimes
Taher al-Noono, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, tells reporters that Hamas will not be shaken by the "ferocious Zionist massacre" in which more than 200 Palestinians died and at least 700 were wounded.'

De Commerciele Massamedia 172

Ik stuur al mijn berichten door aan de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia om ze te confronteren met de werkelijk in Gaza. Doet u dit ook. Hoe meer hoe beter.

John Berger

"We are now spectators of the latest - and perhaps penultimate - chapter of the 60 year old conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. About the complexities of this tragic conflict billions of words have been pronounced, defending one side or the other.Today, in face of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the essential calculation, which was always covertly there, behind this conflict, has been blatantly revealed. The death of one Israeli victim justifies the killing of a hundred Palestinians. One Israeli life is worth a hundred Palestinian lives.This is what the Israeli State and the world media more or less - with marginal questioning - mindlessly repeat. And this claim, which has accompanied and justified the longest Occupation of foreign territories in 20th C. European history, is viscerally racist. That the Jewish people should accept this, that the world should concur, that the Palestinians should submit to it - is one of history's ironic jokes. There's no laughter anywhere. We can, however, refute it, more and more vocally.Let's do so."

John Berger


27 December 2008''




John Berger, wiens joodse voorouders uit Polen, Galicië en het Oostenrijks-Hongaarse Rijk kwamen, schreef: ‘En hier identificeer ik mijzelf zonder te aarzelen met de rechtvaardige zaak en de pijn van degenen die de staat Israël (en neven van mij) veroorzaken in een mate die tragisch totalitair is.’ De Britse schrijver laat weten dat hij als kosmopoliet en humanist afstand doet van zijn ‘Recht op Terugkeer’, dat het elementaire recht van de Palestijnen onvermijdelijk heeft vernietigd.


En in Nederland zwijgen de intellectuelen en de schrijvers en de dichters, want ze hebben het te druk met zichzelf en hun gezinnetjes. Ttdat straks de geschiedenis hun knusse huisjes binnenmarcheert, en moet u dan het geweeklaag eens horen. Daarbij vergeleken zal het gejammer na de dood van Van Gogh niets blijken te zijn geweest.

De Israelische Terreur 508

Ik kreeg net van Omar Barghouti dit bericht: '

'Dear all,

I just received the following message directly from the distinguished and courageous British writer and art critic, John Berger.

He requested for it to be publicized:

"We are now spectators of the latest - and perhaps penultimate - chapter of the 60 year old conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. About the complexities of this tragic conflict billions of words have been pronounced, defending one side or the other.
Today, in face of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the essential calculation, which was always covertly there, behind this conflict, has been blatantly revealed. The death of one Israeli victim justifies the killing of a hundred Palestinians. One Israeli life is worth a hundred Palestinian lives.
This is what the Israeli State and the world media more or less - with marginal questioning - mindlessly repeat. And this claim, which has accompanied and justified the longest Occupation of foreign territories in 20th C. European history, is viscerally racist. That the Jewish people should accept this, that the world should concur, that the Palestinians should submit to it - is one of history's ironic jokes. There's no laughter anywhere. We can, however, refute it, more and more vocally.

Let's do so."
John Berger
27 December 2008
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is crucial to note that, two years ago, John Berger had mobilized dozens of prominent artists and writers worldwide to endorse the Palestinian call for an institutional cultural boycott of Israel:
http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=415_0_1_0_C

Omar'
John Berger, wiens joodse voorouders uit Polen, Galicië en het Oostenrijks-Hongaarse Rijk kwamen, schreef: ‘En hier identificeer ik mijzelf zonder te aarzelen met de rechtvaardige zaak en de pijn van degenen die de staat Israël (en neven van mij) veroorzaken in een mate die tragisch totalitair is.’ De Britse schrijver laat weten dat hij als kosmopoliet en humanist afstand doet van zijn ‘Recht op Terugkeer’, dat het elementaire recht van de Palestijnen onvermijdelijk heeft vernietigd.

De Israelische Terreur 507




Vanavond 19.00 uur op de Dam van Amsterdam demonstreerden iets meer dan honderd mensen tegen de Israelische terreur in Gaza.


De Israelische Terreur 506

Wat zijn de Nederlandse politici verdacht stil. Als er bijna 200 Joden in Israel waren vermoord dan zou de wereld te klein zijn geweest. Vanwaar dat racistisch onderscheid door mensen die de mond vol hebben van mensenrechten. Waar zijn de SP-ers, Groen Linksers, de sociaaldemocraten, de christenen die niet opkomen voor hun Palestijnse geloofsgenoten? De liberalen etc, waar zijn ze allemaal?

'International witnesses speak out from Gaza on Israeli atrocities
http://tinyurl.com/9pey69
27 December 2008, Gaza,

Palestine: Human rights defenders from Lebanon, the UK, Poland, Canada, Spain, Italy and Australia are present in Gaza and are witnessing and documenting the current Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Due to Israel's policy of denying access to international media, human rights defenders and aid agencies to the occupied Gaza Strip, many of these human rights defenders arrived in Gaza with the Free Gaza Movement's boats.
Free Gaza Movement boats have broken Israel's siege of Gaza five times in the past four months.
Eva Bartlett (Canada), International Solidarity Movement:
"At the time of the attacks I was on Omar Mukhtar street and witnessed a rocket hit the street 150 metres away where crowds had already gathered to try to extract the dead bodies [from a previous rocket attack]. Ambulances, trucks, cars – anything that can move – are bringing the injured to the hospitals.
"Hospitals have had to evacuate sick patients to make room for the injured. I have been told that there is not enough room in the morgues for the bodies and that there is a serious lack of blood in the blood banks. I have just learned that among the civilians killed today was the mother of my good friends in Jabalya camp."
Ewa Jasiewicz (Polish and British), Free Gaza Movment, writes:
"Israeli missles tore through a children's playground and busy market in Diyar Balah. We saw the aftermath – many were injured and some reportedly killed. Every hospital in the Gaza Strip is already overwhelmed with injured people and does not have the medicine or the capacity to treat them. Israel is committing crimes against humanity, it is violating international and human rights law, ignoring the United Nations and planning even bigger attacks. The world must act now and intensify the calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Governments need to move beyond words of condemnation into an active and immediate restraint of Israel and a lifting of the siege of Gaza."
Dr Haidar Eid, (Palestinian, South African), Professor of Social and Cultural Studies, Al Aqsa University:
"The morgue at the Shifa hospital has no more room for dead bodies, so bodies and body parts are strewn all over the hospital."
Sharon Lock (Australia), International Solidarity Movement:
"The bombs began to fall just as the children were on the streets walking back from school. I went out onto the stairs and a terrified 5 year old girl ran sobbing into my arms."
Dr Eyad Sarraj, President of the Gaza Community Mental Health Centre:
"This is incredibly sad. This massacre is not going to bring security for the State of Israel or allow it to be part of the Middle East. Now calls of revenge are everywhere."
Jenny Linnel (UK), International Solidarity Movement:
"As I speak they [the Israelis] have just hit a building 200 metres away.
There is smoke everywhere. This morning I went to the building close to where I live in Rafah that had been hit. Two bulldozers were immediately attempting to clear the rubble. They thought they had found all the bodies. As we arrived one more was found."
Natalie Abu Eid (Lebanon), International Solidarity Movement:
"The home I am staying in is across from the Preventive Security compound.
All the glass of the house shattered. The home has been severely damaged. Owing to the siege there, is no glass or building materials to repair this damage.
One little boy in our house fainted. An eight-year-old boy was trembling on the ground for an hour. In front of our house we found the bodies of two little girls under a car, completely burnt. They were coming home from school. This is more than just collective punishment. We are being treated like laboratory animals. I have lived through the Israeli bombardment of Beirut and the Israel's message is the same in Gaza as it was in Beirut – the killing of civilians. There was just another explosion outside!"

Contact details of the human rights defenders in Gaza:
Dr Eyad Sarraj (Arabic and English): tel. +972 599400424
Ewa Jasiewicz, Free Gaza Movement Coordinator in Gaza (Polish, Arabic and
English): tel. +972 59 8700497
Dr Haider Eid (English and Arabic): tel. + 972 59 9441766
Sharon Lock (English): tel. +972 59 8826513
Vittorio Arrigoni (Italian): tel. +972 59 8378945
Fida Qishta (English and Arabic): tel. +972 599681669
Jenny Linnel (English): tel. +972 59 87653777
Natalie Abu Shakra (Arabic and English): tel +598 336 328
For more information on the Free Gaza Movment (FGM) or the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), contact in the West Bank:
Adam Taylor (ISM): tel. +972 59 8503948
Lubna Masarwa (FGM): tel. +972 50 5633044
--
Redress Information & Analysis
Website - http://www.redress.cc/
Newsblog - http://redressnewsblog.blogspot.com/
Redress Information & Analysis is dedicated to exposing injustice, disinformation and bigotry and to providing thought-provoking interpretations of current affairs.

De Israelische Terreur 505

Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC)*

Press Release

"Stop the Massacre in Gaza – Boycott Israel Now
!"

Occupied Ramallah, Palestine - 27 December 2008: Today, the Israeli occupation army committed a new massacre in Gaza, causing the death and injury of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including a yet unknown number of school children who were headed home from school when the first Israeli military strikes started. This latest bloodbath, although far more ruthless than all its predecessors, is not Israel's first. It culminates months of an Israeli siege of Gaza that should be widely condemned and prosecuted as an act of genocide against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the occupied coastal strip.

Israel seems intent to mark the end of its 60th year of existence the same way it has established itself – perpetrating massacres against the Palestinian people. In 1948, the majority of the indigenous Palestinian people were ethnically cleansed from their homes and land, partly through massacres like Deir Yassin; today, the Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are refugees, do not even have the choice to seek refuge elsewhere. Incarcerated behind ghetto walls and brought to the brink of starvation by the siege, they are easy targets for Israel's indiscriminate bombing.

Prof. Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and international law expert at Princeton University, described Israel's siege of Gaza last year, when it was still not comparable in its severity to the current situation, as follows:

"Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy."

The most brutal episode of this "collective tragedy" is what we have seen today.

Israel's war crimes and other grave violations of international law in Gaza as well as in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, could not have been perpetrated without the direct or indirect complicity of world governments, particularly the United States, the European Union, Egypt, and other Arab regimes.

While the US government has consistently sponsored, bankrolled and protected from international censure Israel's apartheid and colonial policies against the indigenous people of Palestine, the EU was able in the past to advocate a semblance of respect for international law and universal human rights. That distinction effectively ended on December 9th, when the EU Council decided unanimously to reward Israel's criminal disregard of international law by upgrading the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Israel clearly understood from this decision that the EU condones its actions against the Palestinians under its occupation. Palestinian civil society also got the message: the EU governments have become no less complicit in Israel's war crimes than their US counterpart.

The large majority of world governments, particularly in the global south, share part of the blame, as well. By continuing business as usual with Israel, in trade agreements, arms deals, academic and cultural ties, diplomatic openings, they have provided the necessary background for the complicity of world powers and, consequentially, for Israel's impunity. Furthermore, their inaction within the United Nations is inexcusable.

Father Miguel D'Escoto Brockman, President of the UN General Assembly prescribed in a recent address before the Assembly the only moral way forward for the world's nations in dealing with Israel:

"More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a nonviolent means of pressuring South Africa to end its violations. Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations."

Now, more than ever, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, BNC, calls upon international civil society not just to protest and condemn in diverse forms Israel's massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violation of international law and Palestinian rights. Without sustained, effective pressure by people of conscience the world over, Israel will continue with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians, burying any prospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.


* The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) includes: Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine; General Union of Palestinian Workers; Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions; Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations' Network (PNGO); Federation of Independent Trade Unions; Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations; Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition; Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI); General Union of Palestinian Women; Palestinian Farmers Union (PFU); Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW); Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI); National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba; Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ); Coalition for Jerusalem; and Palestinian Economic Monitor.

De Israelische Terreur 504

De NOS-Journaal propaganda luidt als volgt: 'De afgelopen dagen zijn vanuit de Gazastrook tientallen raketten op Israël afgevuurd. De Israëlische premier Olmert dreigde donderdag met een "verwoestende" militaire interventie om een einde te maken aan de beschietingen van Hamas. Wraak Na de bombardementen heeft Hamas wraak aangekondigd in de vorm van zelfmoordaanslagen en beschietingen. Eén Israëliër zou vanmiddag zijn omgekomen bij een raketbeschieting. De Palestijnse president Abbas noemt de grootscheepse aanval misdadig. Hij vraagt de internationale gemeenschap tussenbeide te komen. Het bestand dat de Hamasbeweging en Israël hadden gesloten, liep vorige week af.' Zie: http://www.nos.nl/nosjournaal/artikelen/2008/12/27/isralvalthamasingazastrookaan.html

Geen woord op de NOS-website over het feit dat Israel met de vijandelijkheden is begonnen, zoals Trouw terecht meldt. De pro-Israel lobby binnen de redactie van het NOS-Journaal draait de zaak rustig om in een poging de Israelische terreur tegen de Palestijnse burgerbevolking te rechtvaardigen. Zie: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2008/12/de-israelische-terreur-503.html

De Israelische Terreur 503


Trouw bericht: 'Het was volgens Israël het antwoord op de stortvloed aan raketten die Palestijnse militanten de afgelopen week op het zuiden van Israël afvuurden.' Om vervolgens het volgende te vermelden: 'Vorige week kwam na zes maanden ''formeel'' een einde aan een bestand tussen de twee partijen, dat indertijd met Egyptische bemiddeling was bereikt, hoewel in feite de escalatie al meer dan een maand geleden begon met Israëlische acties in Gaza, waarop de Palestijnen reageerden met raketbeschietingen. Hamas besloot het bestand niet te verlengen en legde de schuld bij Israël dat het zich niet zou hebben gehouden aan de voorwaarden, zoals het opheffen van de blokkade. Israël beweerde aanvankelijk te zijn begonnen met een verlichten van de blokkade, maar daarmee te zijn gestopt vanwege het doorgaan van de wapensmokkel via de tunnels in het zuiden van Gaza en de raketbeschietingen.'

Met andere woorden, de eerste verklaring van Israel is dus onjuist, want de krant stelt terecht dat 'in feite de escalatie al meer dan een maand geleden begon met Israëlische acties in Gaza'. Een zin verder schrijft Trouw: 'Hamas besloot het bestand niet te verlengen en legde de schuld bij Israël'. Terecht dus als we op Trouw afgaan. Het is niet alleen Hamas die de schuld bij Israel legt, maar iedere onafhankelijke journalist weet dat Israel met het geweld is begonnen. Zie: http://www.trouw.nl/nieuws/wereld/article1933033.ece/
Ruim_honderd_doden_bij_Israelische_aanval_op_Gaza.html

De Volkskrant 73

De Volkskrant-propaganda gaat als volgt: 'Hamas
De aanvallen zouden gericht zijn op gebouwen en installaties van de radicale Hamas. Verscheidene gebouwen van de veiligheidstroepen van Hamas zijn beschadigd, aldus ooggetuigen. Ook elders in de Gazastrook voerden Israëlische toestellen bombardementen uit.

De afgelopen dagen zijn vanuit de Gazastrook tientallen raketten op Israël afgevuurd. De Israëlische premier Ehud Olmert dreigde donderdag met een ‘verwoestende’ militaire interventie om een einde te maken aan de beschietingen.
Israël heeft de extremisten 48 uur de tijd gegeven het verzet te staken, voordat wordt overgegaan tot een offensief, meldden lokale media vrijdag. De Israëlische regering zou zondag de knoop willen doorhakken. Vorige week had Hamas een bestand opgezegd dat door bemiddeling van Egypte tot stand was gekomen.'
Zie: http://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/article1113998.ece/
Dodental_Israelische_aanvallen_loopt_op

Nu de vraag: waarom bericht de Volkskrant dat 'De aanvallen zouden gericht zijn op gebouwen en installaties van de radicale Hamas.' Dat is een Israelische verklaring die geen standhoudt aangezien er vele burgerdoden zijn. Waarom geeft de Volkskkrant niet de verklaring van Hamas dat dit gewoon terreur is om de wil van de Palestijnen te breken, wat objectief gezien een veel plausibelere verklaring is? Waarom maakt de Volkskrant een onderscheid tussen Joden en niet-Joden? Waarom verdeelt de krant de wereld in Joden en niet-Joden? Waarom bedrijft de Volkskrant propaganda door te stellen dat de Israelische aanvallen een antwoord zijn op de Palestijnse aanvallen, terwijl het precies omgekeerd is, zoals uit de berichtgeving van de Volkskrant van vorige week zelf blijkt?

De Israelische Terreur 502

By Ali Abunimah
The Electronic Intifada
27 December 2008
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10055.shtml

"I will play music and celebrate what the Israeli air force is doing." Those were the words, spoken on Al Jazeera today by Ofer Shmerling, an Israeli civil defense official in the Sderot area adjacent to Gaza, as images of Israel's latest massacres were broadcast around the world.
A short time earlier, US-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters dropped over 100 bombs on dozens of locations in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip killing at least 195 persons and injuring hundreds more. Many of these locations were police stations located, like police stations the world over, in the middle of civilian areas.
The US government was one of the first to offer its support for Israel's attacks, and others will follow.
Reports said that many of the dead were Palestinian police officers. Among those Israel labels "terrorists" were more than a dozen traffic police officers undergoing training.
An as yet unknown number of civilians were killed and injured; Al Jazeera showed images of several dead children, and the Israeli attacks came at the time thousands of Palestinian children were in the streets on their way home from school.
Shmerling's joy has been echoed by Israelis and their supporters around the world; their violence is righteous violence. It is "self-defense" against "terrorists" and therefore justified. Israeli bombing -- like American and NATO bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan -- is bombing for freedom, peace and democracy.
The rationalization for Israel's massacres, already being faithfully transmitted by the English-language media, is that Israel is acting in "retaliation" for Palestinian rockets fired with increasing intensity ever since the six-month truce expired on 19 December (until today, no Israeli had been killed or injured by these recent rockets attacks).
But today's horrific attacks mark only a change in Israel's method of killing Palestinians recently. In recent months they died mostly silent deaths, the elderly and sick especially, deprived of food and necessary medicine by the two year-old Israeli blockade calculated and intended to cause suffering and deprivation to 1.5 million Palestinians, the vast majority refugees and children, caged into the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, Palestinians died silently, for want of basic medications: insulin, cancer treatment, products for dialysis prohibited from reaching them by Israel.
What the media never question is Israel's idea of a truce.
It is very simple. Under an Israeli-style truce, Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonize their land. Israel has not only banned food and medicine to sustain Palestinian bodies in Gaza but it is also intent on starving minds: due to the blockade, there is not even ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for schoolchildren.
As John Ging, the head of operations of the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), told The Electronic Intifada in November: "there was five months of a ceasefire in the last couple of months, where the people of Gaza did not benefit; they did not have any restoration of a dignified existence. We in fact at the UN, our supplies were also restricted during the period of the ceasefire, to the point where we were left in a very vulnerable and precarious position and with a few days of closure we ran out of food."
That is an Israeli truce. Any response to Israeli attacks
-- whether peaceful protests against the apartheid wall in Bilin and Nilin in the West Bank is met with bullets and bombs. There are no rockets launched at Israel from the West Bank, and yet Israel's attacks, killings, land theft, settler pogroms and kidnappings never ceased for one single day during the truce. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah has acceded to all of Israel's demands, even assembling "security forces" to fight the resistance on Israel's behalf. None of that has spared a single Palestinian or her property or livelihood from Israel's relentless violent colonization. It did not save, for instance, the al-Kurd family from seeing their home of 50 years in occupied East Jerusalem demolished on 9 November, so the land it sits on could be taken by settlers.
Once again we are watching massacres in Gaza, as we did last March when 110 Palestinians, including dozens of children, were killed by Israel in just a few days. Once again people everywhere feel rage, anger and despair that this outlaw state carries out such crimes with impunity.
But all over the Arab media and internet today the rage being expressed is not directed solely at Israel. Notably, it is directed more sharply than ever at Arab states. The images that stick are of Israel's foreign minister Tzipi Livni in Cairo on Christmas day. There she sat smiling with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Then there are the pictures of Livni and Egypt's foreign minister smiling and slapping their palms together.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported today that last wednesday the Israeli "cabinet authorized the prime minister, the defense minister, and the foreign minister to determine the timing and the method" of Israel's attacks on Gaza. Everywhere people ask, what did Livni tell the Egyptians and more importantly what did they tell her? Did Israel get a green light to turn Gaza's streets red once again? Few are ready to give Egypt the benefit of the doubt after it has helped Israel besiege Gaza by keeping the Rafah border crossing closed for more than a year.
On top of the intense anger and sadness so many people feel at Israel's renewed mass killings in Gaza is a sense of frustration that there seem to be so few ways to channel it into a political response that can change the course of events, end the suffering, and bring justice.
But there are ways, and this is a moment to focus on them.
Already I have received notices of demonstrations and solidarity actions being planned in cities all over the world. That is important. But what will happen after the demonstrations disperse and the anger dies down? Will we continue to let Palestinians in Gaza die in silence?
Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real solidarity, in the form of sustained, determined political action. The Gaza-based One Democratic State Group reaffirmed this today as it "called upon all civil society organizations and freedom loving people to act immediately in any possible way to put pressure on their governments to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and institute sanctions against it."
The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestine (http://www.bdsmovement.net/) provides the framework for this. Now is the time to channel our raw emotions into a long-term commitment to make sure we do not wake up to "another Gaza" ever again.
Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah is author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (Metropolitan Books, 2006).

De Israelische Terreur 501

2 Comments:
cecile said...
Hey Stan, Hier een link naar de blog van Haitham Sabbah, die ik ken. Maar lees vooral ook de mail onder Haitham's post: http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2008/12/26/the-rockets-of-hunger-and-israeli-propaganda/#more-3993
4:12 PM

Sonja said...
Foto's van vandaag van de Israëlische terreur in Gaza Stad en Rafah------------------BBC News: Eyewitness: Chaos in GazaPage last updated at 15:01 GMT, Saturday, 27 December 2008The BBC's reporter in the Gaza Strip, Rushdi Aboualouf, described the chaos as Israeli warplanes fired missiles at Hamas targets, killing at least 155 Palestinians.Israeli planes are still flying over Gaza and they have just targeted another Hamas [security] compound in the middle of the Gaza Strip, in a place called Khan Younis.We can see from our office here in Gaza, in the middle of Gaza City, ambulances are still evacuating the injured from buildings and school kids are trying to find secure places.People who were going to their work were turned back and went home, and most of the residents in Gaza have been ordered by the Ministry of Health to stay indoors.The mosques in Gaza are calling the people here to go to the hospitals and to donate blood. There is no room in the hospitals as far as we've heard from Hamas sources to treat the people.No safe placesIt's a very bad situation... There were Israeli aeroplanes everywhere, hitting everywhere. You could see smoke from north to south, from west to east. The people are really in a panic. The main object for the people now is to find a secure place to secure their family.It's hard to find a secure place in Gaza. Gaza has no shelters, it has no safe places. The Hamas security compounds are in the middle of the city - it's not the kind of place where you see compounds outside the cities.I have witnessed one of the compounds - which is 20m away from my house - I was standing on the balcony and I have seen the Israeli airplanes hitting the place.Some of my balcony was damaged and my kid was injured and it's a very, very serious situation here in Gaza, the people can't do anything except stay indoors.'

De Israelische Terreur 500


Ik ben op dit moment de proefdruk aan het corrigeren van mijn nieuwe boek De oneindige oorlog, dat februari volgend jaar bij uitgeverij Atlas verschijnt. Vanmiddag las ik in het kader daarvan het gesprek dat ik had met Hajo Meijer, 83 jaar, fysicus, overleefde Auschwitz en is bestuurslid van Een Ander Joods Geluid. Hij zei ondermeer dit:
'Het gruwelijke is dat de Holocaust de kern, de hele aard, de essentie van het jodendom heeft vernietigd, en misschien wel voor altijd. Op een bepaalde manier hebben de nazi’s daarmee toch bereikt wat ze wilden, de vernietiging van het jodendom. Kijk, je kunt alleen maar echt humaan denken, voelen, handelen als je redelijk onbeschadigd bent. Een van de diepste, meest ingrijpende beschadigingen is het beheerst worden door paranoïde gevoelens. Alles verandert daardoor, je hele kijk op de wereld wordt erdoor bepaald, alle gewaarwordingen worden erdoor gekleurd, je zintuigen worden erdoor besmet, je hoort anders, je ruikt anders, je voelt anders, je ziet anders, zelfs je smaak verandert erdoor. Ethiek heeft te maken met medemenselijkheid, ethiek zonder medemenselijkheid is niets. Om ethisch te kunnen handelen, moet je je medemens als medemens zien. En dat is nu onmogelijk als iemand paranoïde is, als zijn handelen bepaald wordt door extreme achterdocht en extreem wantrouwen. Iemand die paranoïde is kan geen medemenselijke ethiek opbrengen, want die zíét de medemens niet, die ziet alleen de vijand in een ander mens, zoals Leon de Winter zo kernachtig heeft verwoord toen hij zei dat er bij hem thuis “een ontzagwekkende angst voor de buitenwereld” bestond met “aan de ene kant die minachting van mijn ouders jegens hun niet-joodse omgeving en tegelijkertijd de waanzinnige angst ervoor […] Angst, angst, angst… Ik overdrijf niet.” Een paranoïde mens staat permanent op voet van oorlog met zijn omgeving, net als Israël, dat door paranoïde gevoelens wordt beheerst. Die angst, dat wantrouwen, die achterdocht wordt door de zionisten ook gekweekt en gekoesterd om de steun voor het expansionisme in stand te houden. Voor hen is de ander de vijand, voor mij als joodse humanist is de ander een medemens. Feit is dat de industriële, massale vernietiging tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog veel joden paranoïde heeft gemaakt. Geen enkel land kwam te hulp, de joden werden door de hele wereld in de steek gelaten. Ik heb onlangs het voorwoord geschreven voor het boek Het woord ‘Jood’ van de Franse filosoof Alain Badiou. Daarin heeft hij de tekst opgenomen van Cécile Winter, een joodse Franse arts gespecialiseerd in de behandeling van aids. Zij citeert Szmuel Zygielbojm, vertegenwoordiger van de socialistische joodse Bund en lid van de Poolse Nationale Raad in ballingschap, die op 11 mei 1943, kort voordat hij in zijn kamer in Londen door middel van gas zelfmoord pleegde, het volgende had geschreven: “De verantwoordelijkheid van de misdaad van de totale uitroeiing van joodse populaties in Polen ligt allereerst bij degenen die deze massamoord uitvoerden. Maar ze rust indirect op de hele mensheid, op de volkeren en de regeringen van de geallieerde naties die tot nu toe geen enkele concrete actie ondernamen om deze misdaad te stoppen […] Met mijn dood zou ik een laatste keer willen protesteren tegen de passiviteit van een wereld die getuige is van de uitroeiing van het joodse volk en dat toelaat (…) Ik weet dat in deze tijden een mensenleven weinig waard is, maar omdat ik het niet tijdens mijn leven heb kunnen bereiken, zou ik misschien met mijn dood de onverschilligheid kunnen doorbreken van hen die de laatste mogelijkheid hebben, misschien op het laatste moment, om de laatste Poolse joden die nog leven te redden.” Maar nee dus, tot op het allerlaatst reden de treinen naar Auschwitz en weigerden de geallieerden de spoorlijnen te bombarderen terwijl ze het wel konden. Dit verraad aan de menselijkheid heeft volgens mij de doodsteek gegeven aan het joods humanisme en is ook een van de redenen van het Israëlisch extremisme. Maar het kan natuurlijk nooit, nóóit, een rechtvaardiging zijn voor de Israëlische terreur, die door zo veel joden in de diaspora stilzwijgend wordt geaccepteerd, of zelfs publiekelijk wordt goedgepraat. Door het te rechtvaardigen vernietig je zelf de toekomst, er is geen hoop meer als de nazi-terreur de maatstaf wordt voor al je handelen. Daarom kan de Holocaust ook nooit de maatstaf zijn! Zo simpel is het, als wij ons als nazi’s gaan gedragen heeft het nationaal-socialisme alsnog gewonnen. De huidige praktijk van het politiek zionisme om de Holocaust te gebruiken om de eigen wreedheden te rechtvaardigen, is ronduit walgelijk. Dat heeft niets meer met angst, maar alles met cynisme te maken. Wat die panische angst betreft, er bestond altijd wel angst onder de joden. Als er wat gebeurde was onmiddellijk de eerste vraag: is het goed of fout voor ons joden, maar die panische angst, die paranoia is pas ontstaan door de nazi-holocaust. Men is zo diep gekrenkt geraakt dat men de ander niet meer als medemens kan zien, de ander is niet meer gelijkwaardig, hij is alleen nog maar de vijand. Hun hele identiteit is gebaseerd op panische angst, op overleven, op een permanente vlucht in een vijandige wereld. De Holocaust ís hun identiteit geworden en dat is natuurlijk niet gezond. De uitroeiing van de Europese joden versterkte de angstgevoelens onder de joden in de christelijke wereld, angstgevoelens die al eeuwenoud waren, maar nooit zo virulent als nu. Het hele jodendom wordt daardoor vandaag de dag van binnenuit vernietigd. Op angst kan niets bloeien, angst kan alleen vernietigen. Uit angst kan alleen agressie voortkomen en op haar beurt vergroot die weer de angst. Zolang de nazi-holocaust niet wordt gezien in een groter historisch geheel, waarin meerdere volkeren slachtoffer werden van gruwelijke slachtpartijen, zullen veel joden in een vicieuze cirkel van angst gevangen blijven. Zolang de paranoia niet wordt gerelativeerd, en al het joodse lijden telkens weer in herinnering wordt gebracht, zal de verstikkende en verlammende angst blijven groeien.'

De Pro Israel Lobby 88


Zo luidt de propagandistische verklaring van de NRC voor het bloedbad dat Israel onder de Palestijnse burgerbevolking aanricht: 'De afgelopen dagen zijn vanuit de Gazastrook tientallen raketten op Israël afgevuurd. Israël gaf de extremisten 48 uur de tijd om het verzet te staken, meldden lokale media vrijdag. Vorige week had Hamas een bestand opgezegd dat door bemiddeling van Egypte tot stand was gekomen.' Zie: http://www.nrc.nl/buitenland/article2105710.ece/
Minstens_155_doden_Gazastrook_door_Israelische_bommen

Met andere woorden: dit is een reactie op Hamas beschietingen. Nu de werkelijkheid zoals ik die al eerder heb beschreven aan de hand van de berichtgeving van de westerse commerciele massamedia zelf:

'Geweld aan vooravond eind bestand Gaza ANP gepubliceerd op 16 december 2008 08:59, bijgewerkt op 09:02

TEL AVIV - Twee dagen voor het einde van het bestand tussen Israël en Hamas schoot het Israëlische leger op de Westelijke Jordaanoever een Palestijn dood en vuurden strijders vanuit de Gazastrook raketten af op Israël. Dat meldden Israëlische media.Militairen in burger doodden in een dorp bij Jenin een 20-jarig lid van de Islamitische Jihad. Zij openden het vuur op de man toen hij probeerde te vluchten. Enkele uren later bestookte de Islamitische Jihad uit vergelding Israël met vier raketten zonder schade aan te richten.Vrijdag loopt een al zes maanden durende wapenstilstand in de Gazastrook tussen Israël en Hamas af. Volgens Hamas houdt Israël zich niet aan de voorwaarden van het akkoord.' Geen van de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia berichtte waarom aan de vooravond van het einde van het bestand Israelische 'militairen in burger in een dorp bij Jenin een 20-jarig lid van de Islamitische Jihad [doodden]. Zij openden het vuur op de man toen hij probeerde te vluchten.' Het woord 'doodden' is een eufemisme. Vermoorden was beter geweest, want de man is naar ik aanneem nog steeds een verdachte en Israel bezit geen rechtsbevoegdheid om op het grondgebied van anderen zomaar verdachten standrechtelijk te executeren. Dat recht hebben de Palestijnen ook niet, en dat zouden de commerciele massamedia ook meteen hebben laten weten in hun berichtgeving. Bovendien, hoe weet de Volkskrant zo zeker dat het hier gaat om 'een 20-jarig lid van de Islamitische Jihad.' De krant heeft dit niet kunnen checken dus moeten we ervan uitgaan dat de Volkskrant het Israelische leger klakkeloos napraat. Een journalistieke vraag is nu waarom Israel vlak voor het einde van een bestand ineens een Palestijnse verdachte vermoord? (Overigens, verdacht van wat? Wegrennen?) Die moord lijkt me niet slim, want daarmee brengt Israel de voortzetting van het bestand in gevaar, zoals nu ook blijkt. Tenzij men verwacht dat Palestijnen zich zonder verzet laten afslachten. Daarom de vraag: waarom zou Israel dit doen? De enige plausibele verklaring is dat Israel geen bestand wil, maar juist de confrontatie zoekt. Waarom zou Israel dat doen? De reden is simpel, de buitenlandse pers besteedt steeds meer aandacht aan de erbarmelijke omstandigheden waarin de bevolking van Gaza verkeert als gevolg van de Israelische terreur. En op die manier kan Israel de aandacht weer verleggen. En dat werkt zoals we aan de Volkskrant kunnen zien. De context is weer verdwenen en een verdere gewelddadighe onderdrukking van de Palestijnse bevolking is weer gelegitmeerd in de ogen van het westerse publiek. Dat is belangrijk, zeker nu de regering Obama de macht gaat overnemen. Vandaar propaganda, en dat wordt goed begrepen door de pro-Israel lobby bij publicaties als de Volkskrant.' Zo schreef ik nog geen week geleden naar aanleiding van een Volkskrant-artikel. Zie: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2008/12/de-pro-israel-lobby-85.html

De NRC gebruikt dezelfde propagandatechniek, het verzwijgen van de ware aanleiding. De krant verspreidt om propagandistische redenen valse informatie, zodat het beeld ontstaat dat Hamas agressie pleegt en Israel gedwongen wordt een reactie daarop te geven. Het feit dat het hier bovendien om een maandenlange illegale collectieve bestraffing van de Palestijnse burgerbevolking gaat, is al eerder volledig achter de horizon verdwenen. Dat past niet in de propaganda van de pro-Israel lobby binnen de NRC-redactie.



De Israelische Terreur 499

NPK-info - 27 December 2008Nederlands Palestina Komitee - www.palestina-komitee.nl

VANAVOND 19 UUR PROTEST OP DE DAM
P R O T E S T E E R ---- P R O T E S T E E R ----Beste vrienden en vriendinnen,Gaza wordt weer eens grootschalig gebombardeerd. Er vallen veel doden. We staan vanavond om 7 uur met fakkels en borden op de Dam. Geef het door !!!Tot vanavond!Kees Wagtendonk, NPKP R O T E S T E E R ---- P R O T E S T E E R ----

De Israelische Terreur 498

Grote rookwolken stijgen zaterdag op vanuit de Gaza-strook, nadat Israël bombardementen op het gebied heeft uitgevoerd. Daarbij zijn veel mensen om het leven gekomen. (AFP)

De Israelische bombardemententerreur tegen de Palestijnse burgerbevolking in Gaza is weer begonnen. Deze terreur wordt gesteund oor het Westen. De Volkskrant bericht:

'Veel doden door Israëlische luchtaanval

ANP/AFP gepubliceerd op 27 december 2008 11:30, bijgewerkt op 27 december 2008 14:18
GAZASTAD - In de Gazastrook zijn zaterdag minstens 155 doden gevallen door Israëlische bombardementen. In Gaza-Stad vonden zeker 120 mensen de dood.
In Khan Younis en Rafah kwamen minstens 23 mensen om. Honderden mensen zouden gewond zijn geraakt.
Gaza-Stad
De meeste doden vielen in Gaza-Stad, waar op het terrein van de politie een bijeenkomst was voor de promotie van agenten op het moment dat de bommen vielen. Ook de chef van politie, Tawfiq Jabber, overleefde de aanvallen niet, meldde het radiostation van de radicale Hamasbeweging.
Ook elders voerden Israëlische gevechtsvliegtuigen aanvallen uit. In het vluchtelingenkamp Khan Younis vielen zeker twee doden. Ook de haven van Gazastrook werd aangevallen. '

Let u nu vooral op de reactie van westerse politici en journalisten van de commerciele massamedia. Als er minstens 155 Joden in Israel waren vermoord, dan was de wereld te klein geweest. Maar datzelfde racisme bepaalt dat Arabieren geen mensen zijn, en dus vermoord mogen worden.

The Empire 387


'What’s wrong with America?
By Paul J. Balles

27 December 2008

Paul J. Balles compares American’s self-perception with the world’s perception of America. He argues that most Americans need to become better informed Americans, that informed Americans need to waken most Americans and that all Americans need to respect what the rest of the world likes and dislikes about America.What most Americans dislike about America:

The recent American election results revealed which issues the public is concerned about. Their election of Barack Obama as president along with a Democratic majority in the Congress provided a mandate for the US government to address these issues. These were raised and debated, indicating the voting public’s concerns.
Allowing unrestricted searches and seizures violating the US Constitution
Squandering the nation's wealth on weaponry
Funding wars while US taxpayers lose jobs, homes, education and health care
Fighting wars for foreign gas and oil while ignoring alternative energy development
Hundreds of thousands of unforgivable job losses
Wild inexcusable market speculation
Unnecessary inflation
Continued support for military occupation of Iraq
Lies and deception by government officials
Fear of a depression
Fear of unemployment
Fear of losing homes in foreclosure
Inability to meet the costs of health care and education
What informed Americans dislike about America:Though some Americans spend little time following news about issues that don’t affect them directly, many have a number of unfounded opinions about government, politics, society or the world but are generally uninformed. Informed Americans don’t limit themselves to the major media, but take time to access a number of sources.
Illegally-enacted police-state laws violating the US Constitution
Defaming Jimmy Carter for speaking the truth about Israeli apartheid
Media allowing Israeli historian to encourage bombing of Iran
Censoring books about the Israeli lobby in America
Ignorance of the importance of pleasing Israel to get elected
The Bill of Rights guarantee of freedom of speech violated
The right of habeas corpus demolished
Congress allowing the executive branch to supersede its powers
The people allowing the Congress to yield its powers
The people and government ignore the loss of civil liberties and the guarantees of the US Constitution
Granting retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies for illegal wiretapping
Promoting a destructive free-market ideology
Funding Israel's illegal wars and settlements while US taxpayers lose jobs, homes, education and health care
Major media’s unquestioning acceptance of what the government says
What the rest of the world dislikes about America:A number of things that America has done or is doing have violated others’ rights and interests. This has resulted in a rise of disdain toward America.
The general resistance of Americans to accept any criticism of America
Vetoing resolutions voted for by the whole world faulting Israel's misdeeds
Boasting about the importance of democracy while overthrowing democracies the US government doesn't like
Supporting Israel's near total destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure
Blind support of anything Israeli while Palestinians starve
Executing plans for a global American empire
an illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq
Illegal incursions into Pakistan
American double standards, like committing war crimes while faulting others
What informed Americans and much of the world dislike about America:At times, informed Americans and the rest of the world have spoken in harmony about American misdeeds.
WMD phosphorous dropped on innocent civilians in Fallujah
WMD depleted uranium in bombs dropped in Iraq
Rendition and torture of people dubbed, untried "enemy combatants"
The ends justify collateral damage (deaths of innocent civilians)
Killing a million people and displacing four million more in Iraq alone
Threatening a new cold war with Russia over Georgia
Threatening a new cold war with Russia over satellite proposal for Poland
Threatening a new cold war with Russia by surrounding it with NATO membership for previous Soviet Union countries
Torturing prisoners
Threatening to bomb Iran
Postscript: Most Americans need to become better informed Americans. Informed Americans need to waken most Americans. All Americans need to respect what the rest of the world likes and dislikes about America.
Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. For more information, see http://www.pballes.com/.

Carolien Roelants 11



Dit is het hoofd van Carolien Roelants, buitenland-redacteur van de NRC. Mevrouw Roelants die al sinds jaar en dag een hetze voert tegen de Arabische wereld spreekt vandaag op de NRC-website over Moammer Gaddafi, de leider van Libie. Dat gaat als volgt: 'Gaddafi was in de jaren tachtig, eh, een gevaarlijke gek.' Ineens ziet de kijker het gelaat van een andere 'gek' opdoemen, dat van de oud-filmster Ronald Reagan. Mevrouw Roelants vervolgt haar kwalificaties met nog meer negatieve kwalificaties om het publiek ervan te doordringen dat we hier echt te maken hebben met 'een krankzinnige, "een dolle hond" is de kwalificatie door de Amerikaanse president Reagan.' Vandaar het portret van de oud-filmster, die als president van de VS in strijd met de wil van het Amerikaanse Congres terreur tegen de democratisch gekozen regering en de bevolking van Nicaragua organiseerde. Een terroristische politiek die door de hoogste juridische instelling ter wereld, het Internationaal Gerechtshof in Den Haag, werd veroordeeld als 'onwettig gebruik van geweld tegen een land,' de juridische omschrijving van terrorisme. De VS is daarmee de enige natie ter wereld die door het Internationaal Gerechtshof is veroordeeld voor terrorisme.

Het Gerechtshof gebood de VS onmiddellijk met deze terreur te stoppen en veroordeelde Washington tot het betalen van een aanzienlijke schadevergoeding. Vergeefs allemaal, want Reagan negeerde het vonnis en liet de terreur tegen Nigaragua juist opvoeren waardoor naar schatting 30.000 burgers om het leven kwamen, het land werd verwoest, de wettig gekozen regering uiteindelijk niets anders kon dan opstappen en de bevolking nog steeds straatarm is. Inmiddels had de VS zijn veto uitgesproken over een resolutie in de VN-Veiligheidsraad waarin Reagan werd opgeroepen het vonnis te eerbiedigen. Tenslotte nam de overgrote meerderheid van de Algemene Vergadering van de VN de resolutie wel aan, met als enige twee tegenstemmers de VS en natuurlijk Israel, die de terreur tegen de burgerbevolking en regering van Nicargua steunden.

Daarover geen woord van Carolien Roelants, geen woord over de 'dolle hond' Ronald Reagan, 'de gevaarlijke gek' om in de terminologie van de redactrice van de 'kwaliteitskrant' te blijven. Integendeel, Reagans terreur blijft onbesproken, maar niet de terreur van Gaddafi: 'Hij was de man die terroristen steunde, denk maar aan Lockerbie.' Lockerbie? Er zijn talloze familieleden van de slachtoffers die niet geloven dat Gaddafi achter de terreurdaad van Lockerbie zat. 'Lockerbie Brother: ''I Don't Want £6m, I Want the Truth''[...] But Matt Berkley, from Hexham, Northumberland, is refusing his share because he does not believe the whole story has been told. He said there was no ''credible evidence'' Libya was to blame. Like many other relatives of those who died, he maintains that the truth about Pan Am Flight 103 is still shrouded in mystery and called on the Government to hold a full public inquiry. There is a strong suspicion among British relatives that the deal was brokered to allow Libya back into the international community and open its markets to Western companies. Colonel Muammar Gadaffi's government has stipulated that the rest of the compensation will be paid when the US lifts its own sanctions and Libya is taken off its list of terror states. However, Berkley fears that acceptance of the idea that Libya carried out the attack could stifle attempts to launch further investigations into the tragedy which might turn up evidence pointing to the real culprits.' Zie: http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/8-16-2003-44291.asp

Met andere woorden, de stelligheid van Roelants woorden is gebaseerd op niets. Dat verzwijgt Roelants en ze gaat haperend verder: 'Hij had, dat wist ook iedereen, een programma van het ontwikkelen van chemische en nucleaire wapens.' Dat is niet zo bijzonder, ook de VS en Israel hebben een dergelijk programma. Sterker nog, Israel heeft niet alleen zo'n programma, maar beschikt zelfs over chemische en nucleaire wapens, 'dat wist ook iedereen,' maar dat leidt er niet toe dat Israelische leiders door de VS en de EU gezien worden als 'dolle honden' en 'gevaarlijke gekken.' Dus wat probeert mevrouw Roelants haar kijkers wijs te maken? Welnu, dat is simpel, zodra Arabieren hetzelfde doen als westerlingen of als joden in Israel dan deugen die Arabieren niet. Het is een racistisch standpunt, maar dat vindt de slijpsteen voor de geest, een legitieme houding. Het is maar dat u het weet. Het is propaganda van een dame met lege ogen.

Zie: http://www.nrc.nl/buitenland/article2105149.ece/Pakistan_stuurt_extra_troepen_naar_grens_met_India

De Volkskrant 72

Wat is relevant voor een provinciaal? Voor een provinciaal is nooit de de inhoud, maar altijd de vorm relevant, nooit de context, maar het incident. De Volkskrant bericht:

"PvdA kan profiteren van Irak-onderzoek"
ACHTERGROND, Van onze verslaggever Theo Koelé
gepubliceerd op 27 december 2008 02:45, bijgewerkt op 27 december 2008 09:12

DEN HAAG - De voortslepende discussie over een parlementair onderzoek naar de Irakoorlog heeft deze week een verrassende wending genomen. De VVD in de Eerste Kamer schaarde zich achter de voorstanders van een onderzoek dat antwoord moet geven op de vraag: waarom bood het eerste kabinet-Balkenende politieke steun voor de Amerikaanse aanval op Irak in 2003?
Met de stellingname van de liberalen is de kans groot dat de senaat voor het eerst sinds de oprichting in 1815 een eigen onderzoek doet.'


Voor de Volkskrant is de 'achtergrond' de poppetjes, de mannetjes, de vorm. De 'achtergrond' is dus niet het feit dat Nederland meedeed aan een illegale bezetting van een land, aan een agressie-oorlog tegen een andere natie, en dat allemaal op grond van informatie die een leugen blijkt te zijn. Dat is voor de Volkskrant een irrelevante en daarmee te verwaarlozen detail. Hier toont zich het ware provincialisme. Het gaat de Volkskrant om de positie van de mannetjes en vrouwtjes rond dat pleintje in Den Haag, en niet om de schending van het internationaal recht.

Iran 241

'Israel lobby fails to silence Ahmadinejad’s Christmas message
By Stuart Littlewood
27 December 2008

Stuart Littlewood applauds Britain’s Channel 4 TV for screening Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Christmas message and notes the speed with which Israel’s stooges in the UK Parliament, Foreign Office and elsewhere raced with one another to condemn the broadcast.

Israel's stooges in the UK wasted no time orchestrating a tidal wave of protest against Channel 4 TV's showing of a Christmas message by Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The MP Philip Davies, a Friend of Israel, said that the address was "completely unacceptable on every level" but didn't explain why. "His previous comments don't strike me as being in tune with what most people feel at Christmas time. He is an offensive man and the last person you would want to use for a Christmas message." Speak for yourself, Mr Davies.
President Ahmadinejad spoke of the “the indifference of some governments and powers towards the teachings of the divine Prophets, especially those of Jesus Christ"
Israel’s ambassador, Ron Prosor, complained that Ahmadinejad's government "leads Christ’s followers to the gallows". Channel 4’s decision to broadcast the message was a “sick and twisted irony” and a "scandal and a national embarrassment" because the Iranian president "denies the Holocaust, advocates the destruction of the sovereign State of Israel, funds and encourages terrorism, executes children and hangs gay people." Mr Prosor himself represents a thuggish regime that is forcing children to eat grass and rummage through waste tips for food this Christmas in order to survive. I'm talking about Israel’s illegal siege of Gaza, of course. His government’s crimes against humanity, violations of human rights and all-round racist vileness are recorded elsewhere so there’s no need to amplify. Let’s just say that Mr Prosor is in no position to criticize others or indeed to lecture us on what constitutes a national embarrassment. He has plenty of his own.Even the TaxPayers' Alliance had to stick its oar in. They were upset because Channel 4 receives a bit of state funding and taxpayers' money was being used "to give a platform to a regime that despises democracy, oppresses women and gay people and has made clear its dislike for everything Britain stands for".The Foreign Office, which many feel is infected with pro-Israel bias, also issued a ticking off. "President Ahmadinejad has during his time in office made a series of appalling anti-Semitic statements," announced a spokeswoman, presumably referring to the famous remark where he quoted the late Ayatollah Khomeini as saying that "this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time", a proposition that many people agree with. Israeli propaganda twisted it to read “Israel must be wiped off the map”.The Foreign Office went on to say that the broadcast would "cause offence and bemusement not just at home but among friendly countries abroad".Well, I listened carefully and also read the text of Mr Ahmadinejad's message and could find nothing offensive or objectionable. On the contrary, Mr Davies, it was quite acceptable on all levels. I found myself applauding when Mr Ahmadinejad told us that the world is suffering because "some leaders are estranged from God". How very true of the dross that leads the West.'
Lees verder: http://www.redress.cc/global/pjballes20081227

vrijdag 26 december 2008

Harold Pinter 6


De centrale vraag die Pinter opriep en de commerciele massamedia en de politiek permanent verzwijgen is deze:
"Is Our Conscience Dead?"
On the news today of the death of Harold Pinter, the winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, I remembered hearing his Nobel Laureate lecture/acceptance speech. I was in London in December, 2005 speaking at the annual Stop the War conference when Pinter delivered his speech - not in Oslo, as Pinter was very sick and could not travel, but in London via TV link.
I was amazed and thrilled that he chose to use the Nobel Prize platform and devote a huge portion of his speech to shining an international spotlight on the tragic effects of the past decades of US foreign policy and particularly, on George Bush and Tony Blair's decisions to invade and occupy Iraq, on Guantanamo and on torture.
Pinter's Laureate speech question, "Is Our Conscience Dead?" is most relevant today when three years after his acceptance speech, "Art, Truth and Politics," Bush, Cheney, Rice and other administration officials are either trying to rewrite history or, as in Cheney's case - purposefully revealing his role in specific criminal acts of torture and daring the American legal system and people to hold him accountable.
Following is the part of Pinter's lecture that speaks to the invasion of Iraq, torture and Guantanamo - and our collective and individual conscience:
"Art, Truth and Politics" Noble Lecture by Harold Pinter December 7, 2005
"... The United States no longer ... sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant.'

Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel, and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is the co-author of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience."

Harold Pinter 5


Dit schrijft de NRC over hem: 'De laatste jaren was hij vooral actief als politiek activist en kwam hij op voor de mensenrechten. In oktober 2005 kreeg hij op de valreep de Nobelprijs voor de literatuur. Pinter leed al jaren aan kanker.
Harold Pinter werd op 10 oktober 1930 geboren in de Londense arbeiderswijk Hackney als zoon van een joodse kleermaker. Als kind ging Pinter naar een joodse club, en op weg erheen moest hij door een straat waarin opeens jongelui stonden met kapotgeslagen melkflessen in de hand, klaar om de joodse kinderen te verwonden.
Pinter zei hierover: ,,Er waren twee manieren om erdoor te komen, òf een fysieke òf een verbale. De beste manier was om tegen hen te praten, dan had je tenminste een kans te winnen.'''


Britse_toneelschrijver_Harold_Pinter_overleden


Zijn onderwerp was The dignity of man. Harold Pinter is op 78-jarige leeftijd overleden. Een van de grote geesten van deze tijd. Dit zei hij nadat hij de Nobelprijs had gekregen:

'Nobel Lecture
Art, Truth & Politics

In 1958 I wrote the following: 'There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.'I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost.I have often been asked how my plays come about. I cannot say. Nor can I ever sum up my plays, except to say that this is what happened. That is what they said. That is what they did.Most of the plays are engendered by a line, a word or an image. The given word is often shortly followed by the image. I shall give two examples of two lines which came right out of the blue into my head, followed by an image, followed by me.The plays are The Homecoming and Old Times. The first line of The Homecoming is 'What have you done with the scissors?' The first line of Old Times is 'Dark.'In each case I had no further information.In the first case someone was obviously looking for a pair of scissors and was demanding their whereabouts of someone else he suspected had probably stolen them. But I somehow knew that the person addressed didn't give a damn about the scissors or about the questioner either, for that matter.'Dark' I took to be a description of someone's hair, the hair of a woman, and was the answer to a question. In each case I found myself compelled to pursue the matter. This happened visually, a very slow fade, through shadow into light.I always start a play by calling the characters A, B and C.In the play that became The Homecoming I saw a man enter a stark room and ask his question of a younger man sitting on an ugly sofa reading a racing paper. I somehow suspected that A was a father and that B was his son, but I had no proof. This was however confirmed a short time later when B (later to become Lenny) says to A (later to become Max), 'Dad, do you mind if I change the subject? I want to ask you something. The dinner we had before, what was the name of it? What do you call it? Why don't you buy a dog? You're a dog cook. Honest. You think you're cooking for a lot of dogs.' So since B calls A 'Dad' it seemed to me reasonable to assume that they were father and son. A was also clearly the cook and his cooking did not seem to be held in high regard. Did this mean that there was no mother? I didn't know. But, as I told myself at the time, our beginnings never know our ends.'Dark.' A large window. Evening sky. A man, A (later to become Deeley), and a woman, B (later to become Kate), sitting with drinks. 'Fat or thin?' the man asks. Who are they talking about? But I then see, standing at the window, a woman, C (later to become Anna), in another condition of light, her back to them, her hair dark.It's a strange moment, the moment of creating characters who up to that moment have had no existence. What follows is fitful, uncertain, even hallucinatory, although sometimes it can be an unstoppable avalanche. The author's position is an odd one. In a sense he is not welcomed by the characters. The characters resist him, they are not easy to live with, they are impossible to define. You certainly can't dictate to them. To a certain extent you play a never-ending game with them, cat and mouse, blind man's buff, hide and seek. But finally you find that you have people of flesh and blood on your hands, people with will and an individual sensibility of their own, made out of component parts you are unable to change, manipulate or distort.So language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool which might give way under you, the author, at any time.But as I have said, the search for the truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot.Political theatre presents an entirely different set of problems. Sermonising has to be avoided at all cost. Objectivity is essential. The characters must be allowed to breathe their own air. The author cannot confine and constrict them to satisfy his own taste or disposition or prejudice. He must be prepared to approach them from a variety of angles, from a full and uninhibited range of perspectives, take them by surprise, perhaps, occasionally, but nevertheless give them the freedom to go which way they will. This does not always work. And political satire, of course, adheres to none of these precepts, in fact does precisely the opposite, which is its proper function.In my play The Birthday Party I think I allow a whole range of options to operate in a dense forest of possibility before finally focussing on an act of subjugation.Mountain Language pretends to no such range of operation. It remains brutal, short and ugly. But the soldiers in the play do get some fun out of it. One sometimes forgets that torturers become easily bored. They need a bit of a laugh to keep their spirits up. This has been confirmed of course by the events at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad. Mountain Language lasts only 20 minutes, but it could go on for hour after hour, on and on and on, the same pattern repeated over and over again, on and on, hour after hour.Ashes to Ashes, on the other hand, seems to me to be taking place under water. A drowning woman, her hand reaching up through the waves, dropping down out of sight, reaching for others, but finding nobody there, either above or under the water, finding only shadows, reflections, floating; the woman a lost figure in a drowning landscape, a woman unable to escape the doom that seemed to belong only to others.But as they died, she must die too.Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.But before I come back to the present I would like to look at the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will allow here.Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States' actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America's favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as 'low intensity conflict'. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued - or beaten to death - the same thing - and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.The tragedy of Nicaragua was a highly significant case. I choose to offer it here as a potent example of America's view of its role in the world, both then and now.I was present at a meeting at the US embassy in London in the late 1980s.The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador, later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: 'Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.'Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. 'Father,' he said, 'let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.' There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.Innocent people, indeed, always suffer.Finally somebody said: 'But in this case "innocent people" were the victims of a gruesome atrocity subsidised by your government, one among many. If Congress allows the Contras more money further atrocities of this kind will take place. Is this not the case? Is your government not therefore guilty of supporting acts of murder and destruction upon the citizens of a sovereign state?'Seitz was imperturbable. 'I don't agree that the facts as presented support your assertions,' he said.As we were leaving the Embassy a US aide told me that he enjoyed my plays. I did not reply.I should remind you that at the time President Reagan made the following statement: 'The Contras are the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.'The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40 years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.The Sandinistas weren't perfect. They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements. But they were intelligent, rational and civilised. They set out to establish a stable, decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished. Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given title to land. Two thousand schools were built. A quite remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh. Free education was established and a free health service. Infant mortality was reduced by a third. Polio was eradicated.The United States denounced these achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US government, a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and achieve social unity and national self respect, neighbouring countries would ask the same questions and do the same things. There was of course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador.I spoke earlier about 'a tapestry of lies' which surrounds us. President Reagan commonly described Nicaragua as a 'totalitarian dungeon'. This was taken generally by the media, and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair comment. But there was in fact no record of death squads under the Sandinista government. There was no record of torture. There was no record of systematic or official military brutality. No priests were ever murdered in Nicaragua. There were in fact three priests in the government, two Jesuits and a Maryknoll missionary. The totalitarian dungeons were actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala. The United States had brought down the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000 people had been victims of successive military dictatorships.Six of the most distinguished Jesuits in the world were viciously murdered at the Central American University in San Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl regiment trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. That extremely brave man Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass. It is estimated that 75,000 people died. Why were they killed? They were killed because they believed a better life was possible and should be achieved. That belief immediately qualified them as communists. They died because they dared to question the status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression, which had been their birthright.The United States finally brought down the Sandinista government. It took some years and considerable resistance but relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. They were exhausted and poverty stricken once again. The casinos moved back into the country. Free health and free education were over. Big business returned with a vengeance. 'Democracy' had prevailed.But this 'policy' was by no means restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it.It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, 'the American people', as in the sentence, 'I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.'It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days - conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what's called the 'international community'. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be 'the leader of the free world'. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them? They pop up occasionally - a small item on page six. They have been consigned to a no man's land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticise our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You're either with us or against us. So Blair shuts up.The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading - as a last resort - all other justifications having failed to justify themselves - as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'.How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore if any American soldier or for that matter politician finds himself in the dock Bush has warned that he will send in the marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the Court have his address if they're interested. It is Number 10, Downing Street, London.Death in this context is irrelevant. Both Bush and Blair place death well away on the back burner. At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths don't exist. They are blank. They are not even recorded as being dead. 'We don't do body counts,' said the American general Tommy Franks.Early in the invasion there was a photograph published on the front page of British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing the cheek of a little Iraqi boy. 'A grateful child,' said the caption. A few days later there was a story and photograph, on an inside page, of another four-year-old boy with no arms. His family had been blown up by a missile. He was the only survivor. 'When do I get my arms back?' he asked. The story was dropped. Well, Tony Blair wasn't holding him in his arms, nor the body of any other mutilated child, nor the body of any bloody corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your shirt and tie when you're making a sincere speech on television.The 2,000 American dead are an embarrassment. They are transported to their graves in the dark. Funerals are unobtrusive, out of harm's way. The mutilated rot in their beds, some for the rest of their lives. So the dead and the mutilated both rot, in different kinds of graves.Here is an extract from a poem by Pablo Neruda, 'I'm Explaining a Few Things':And one morning all that was burning,one morning the bonfiresleapt out of the earthdevouring human beingsand from then on fire,gunpowder from then on,and from then on blood.Bandits with planes and Moors,bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,bandits with black friars spattering blessingscame through the sky to kill childrenand the blood of children ran through the streetswithout fuss, like children's blood.Jackals that the jackals would despisestones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,vipers that the vipers would abominate.Face to face with you I have seen the bloodof Spain tower like a tideto drown you in one waveof pride and knives.Treacherousgenerals:see my dead house,look at broken Spain:from every house burning metal flowsinstead of flowersfrom every socket of SpainSpain emergesand from every dead child a rifle with eyesand from every crime bullets are bornwhich will one day findthe bull's eye of your hearts.And you will ask: why doesn't his poetryspeak of dreams and leavesand the great volcanoes of his native land.Come and see the blood in the streets.Come and seethe blood in the streets.Come and see the bloodin the streets!*Let me make it quite clear that in quoting from Neruda's poem I am in no way comparing Republican Spain to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. I quote Neruda because nowhere in contemporary poetry have I read such a powerful visceral description of the bombing of civilians.I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as 'full spectrum dominance'. That is not my term, it is theirs. 'Full spectrum dominance' means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don't quite know how they got there but they are there all right.The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity - the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons - is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force - yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish.I know that President Bush has many extremely competent speech writers but I would like to volunteer for the job myself. I propose the following short address which he can make on television to the nation. I see him grave, hair carefully combed, serious, winning, sincere, often beguiling, sometimes employing a wry smile, curiously attractive, a man's man.'God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden's God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam's God was bad, except he didn't have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don't chop people's heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don't you forget it.'A writer's life is a highly vulnerable, almost naked activity. We don't have to weep about that. The writer makes his choice and is stuck with it. But it is true to say that you are open to all the winds, some of them icy indeed. You are out on your own, out on a limb. You find no shelter, no protection - unless you lie - in which case of course you have constructed your own protection and, it could be argued, become a politician.I have referred to death quite a few times this evening. I shall now quote a poem of my own called 'Death'.Where was the dead body found?Who found the dead body?Was the dead body dead when found?How was the dead body found?Who was the dead body?Who was the father or daughter or brotherOr uncle or sister or mother or sonOf the dead and abandoned body?Was the body dead when abandoned?Was the body abandoned?By whom had it been abandoned?Was the dead body naked or dressed for a journey?What made you declare the dead body dead?Did you declare the dead body dead?How well did you know the dead body?How did you know the dead body was dead?Did you wash the dead bodyDid you close both its eyesDid you bury the bodyDid you leave it abandonedDid you kiss the dead bodyWhen we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror - for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us.I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man.