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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 25 september 2010

Israel as a Rogue State 107

Sonja heeft een nieuwe reactie op uw bericht "Israel as a Rogue State 105" achtergelaten:

VN concludeert: Israël kan en moet vervolgd worden

http://deisraellobby.blogspot.com/2010/09/vn-concludeert-israel-kan-en-moet.html

Conclusies zijn o.a.:

• de actie was 'volkomen onnodig'
• de actie was 'ongelooflijk gewelddadig'
• de actie was disproportioneel
• de actie was onwettig
• er zijn duidelijke bewijzen van "wilful killing"
• er zijn duidelijke bewijzen van "torture or inhuman treatment"
• er zijn duidelijke bewijzen van "wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health"
• in beslag genomen goederen moeten nog steeds worden teruggegeven
• de slachtoffers moeten gecompenseerd worden
•de stigmatisering van de slachtoffers moet stoppen
• veiligheid was geen rechtvaardiging
• Israel schond de mensenrechten
• Israël schond het internationaal recht
• de blokkade van Gaza is onwettig ('collectieve straf')
• Israël kan en moet vervolgd worden



25.9.10


VN concludeert: Israël kan en moet vervolgd worden

De VN-commissie voor de Mensenrechten veroordeelde gisteren in niet mis te verstane woorden de Israëlische aanval op het Free Gaza hulpkonvooi en meent dat Israël kan en moet vervolgd worden. En opeens is het doodstil in Den Haag.

"The fact-finding mission concluded that a series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotillaand during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation."

"Principally, the action of the IDF in intercepting the Mavi Marmara in the circumstances and for the reasons given on the high sea was clearly unlawful. Specifically, the action cannot be justified in the circumstances even under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter."

"There is clear evidence to support prosecutions of crimes within the terms of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention".

Binnen 24 uur na de aanval op het hulpkonvooi wist onze minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Maxime Verhagen, na instructies van de Israëlische ambassadeur, te melden dat 'Israël moest ingrijpen', en dat Israël 'het recht' had om de schepen te enteren. Deze uitspraken waren helemaal nergens op gebaseerd, omdat nog niemand wist wat zich precies had afgespeeld. Maar Verhagen's reflex om Israël tegen welke kritiek dan ook te beschermen is altijd sterker gebleken dan welk feit dan ook. Voor de vorm voegde Verhagen er aan toe dat er wel een officieel en gedegen onderzoek moest komen. Dat kwam er, dus applaus van Verhagen? integendeel, hij was er ineens op tegen. Waarom? Omdat Verhagen consequent tegen elk onderzoek naar de handelingen van Israël is dat niet door Israël zelf wordt uitgevoerd.

Ik heb nog nooit een politicus meegemaakt die naar eigen zeggen de mensenrechten totspeerpunt van zijn beleid heeft gemaakt, die zo intensief mensenrechtenschendingen verdedigt. Maar zelfs de zogenaamde critici van Israël in ons parlement, dus ook in de zogeheten oppositie, durven het beleid van Verhagen niet in twijfel te trekken. Want zo zit onze parlementaire democratie in elkaar: politieke macht gaat voor mensenrechten en internationaal recht. Uitingen van compassie voor het Palestijnse volk vormen slechts een moreel vernisje over een zwart gat waarin moraliteit en internationale solidariteit totaal ontbreekt, en politieke macht de enige drijfveer is.

Samenvatting uitspraak VN-commissie Mensenrechten:

• de actie was 'volkomen onnodig'
• de actie was 'ongelooflijk gewelddadig'
• de actie was disproportioneel
• de actie was onwettig
• er zijn duidelijke bewijzen van "wilful killing"
• er zijn duidelijke bewijzen van "torture or inhuman treatment"
• er zijn duidelijke bewijzen van "wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health"
• in beslag genomen goederen moeten nog steeds worden teruggegeven
• de slachtoffers moeten gecompenseerd worden
•de stigmatisering van de slachtoffers moet stoppen
• veiligheid was geen rechtvaardiging
• Israel schond de mensenrechten
• Israël schond het internationaal recht
• de blokkade van Gaza is onwettig ('collectieve straf')
• Israël kan en moet vervolgd worden

De laatste zinnen in het rapport:

"The Mission sincerely hopes that no impediment will be put in the way of those who suffered loss as a result of the unlawful actions of the Israeli military to be compensated adequately and promptly. It is hoped that there will be swift action by the Government of Israel. This will go a long way to reversing the regrettable reputation which that country has for impunity and intransigence in international affairs. It will also assist those who genuinely sympathise with their situation to support them without being stigmatised."

Op daadwerkelijke veroordeling en vervolging van Israël hoeven we niet te rekenen want Israël is voor de meeste zogenoemde democratische Westerse regeringen nog steeds de heiligste schurkenstaat in het Midden Oosten die al zijn misdaden ongestrafd mag blijven plegen.

Israel as a Rogue State 106

British Liberal Democrat leader Clegg now singing off Zionist hymn-sheet


By Stuart Littlewood

26 September 2010
Stuart Littlewood shows how Britain’s Liberal Democrat leader and deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, has done an about face by rapidly retreating from his previously principled position in support of justice in the Holy Land and is now aligning himself with Israel and Zionism.

In the space of a few short years Nick Clegg has shot from obscurity to stardom in British politics, joining Conservative leader David “I’m-a-Zionist” Cameron at the head of Britain’s new coalition government.

Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, is deputy prime minister and gets to play prime minister from time to time, like now when Zionist Dave appears still to be enjoying a perk that’s laughably called “paternity leave”.

Cameron too came from nowhere to lead a party that’s said to be 80 per cent loyal to Israel. This patron of the 
Jewish National Fund then became prime minister – with Clegg’s help.

Nick Clegg “thanked Friends of Israel for all the work they had done to promote themselves within the party and declared himself an admirer of ‘the democratic traditions and liberal ethos of life within Israel’”.

But what exactly is Clegg’s little game on the foreign affairs front? Last year he seemed to be his own man and was writing this about Gaza in the Guardian:

...And what has the British government and the international community done to lift the blockade? Next to nothing. Tough-sounding declarations are issued at regular intervals but little real pressure is applied. It is a scandal that the international community has sat on its hands in the face of this unfolding crisis.

No doubt the febrile sensitivities of the Middle East have deterred governments, caught between recriminations from both sides. No doubt diplomats have warned that exerting pressure on Israel and Egypt may complicate the peace process.

 But surely the consequences of not lifting the blockade are far more grave?

It was shockingly provocative stuff in the cesspit of pro-Israel Westminster.

Around the same time he was telling the
 Jewish Chronicle:

There is simply not a shred of racism in me...The very suggestion that I might explicitly or tacitly give cover for racism, I find politically abhorrent and personally deeply offensive.

I presumed this to be a warning not to count on his support for the Zionist Project.

But now, following the freaky electoral good fortune that catapulted him to the top, and in the wake of Israel's murderous assault on the Turkish aid ship the Mavi Marmara, Clegg has begun to change his tune. He welcomed the appointment of 
David Trimble to the racist entity’s farcical inquiry into its own entrails, well aware that Trimble is a founding member of the new international movement Friends of Israel Initiative.

And at the Liberal Democrats' annual conference a few days ago he abandoned any non-racist credentials he may have had by attending a fringe meeting of his party’s 
Friends of Israel group along with the new deputy Israeli ambassador to the UK.

According to a 
report in Middle East Monitor Clegg thanked Friends of Israel for all the work they had done to promote themselves within the party and declared himself an admirer of "the democratic traditions and liberal ethos of life within Israel".

“Clegg has a lot to learn if he seriously thinks Israel is some kind of Western-style liberal democracy. He wasn’t even-handed enough to attend a meeting of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine, where Britain has helped crush a blossoming, non-racist democracy.”

Clegg has a lot to learn if he seriously thinks Israel is some kind of Western-style liberal democracy. He wasn’t even-handed enough to attend a meeting of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine, where Britain has helped crush a blossoming, non-racist democracy.

And, in harmony with the puppet-masters in the White House, he said that so much hinges on “the talks”. It is remarkable how those who promote “the talks” never speak of the Israelis’ automatic peace-wrecking tactics – their defiance of international law requiring them to get the hell off Palestinian territory and their continuing killing spree and land thieving, which continue unabated while Palestinians are required meekly to submit to the humiliation of going through the motions of negotiation.

Instead, they whisper respectfully of Israel’s partial “moratorium” on its illegal construction of settlements, as if suspending a criminal programme to seize more land and insert more armed squatters to terrorize Palestinian villagers amounts to a major concession.

The international community has unfinished business


And how can Clegg or any other respectable leader go along with talks that stand democratic principle on its head and invite Mahmoud Abbas, whose presidential term ran out long ago, who has no popular mandate from the Palestinians and who assumes brutal, dictatorial powers?

Are they all barmy? Their idea appears to be to get an agreement – any agreement, even one signed by a chancer like Abbas who has no legitimacy – just to save a few worthless faces rather than deliver justice to millions and resolve the decades-old bloody conflict.

They show no respect whatever.

Hamas’s chief is right when he 
says that the massive imbalance of power on the ground makes negotiation at the present time grossly unfair and would play into the enemy’s hands. That’s another fundamental point of principle studiously ignored by the West’s political élite.

The international community has unfinished business to take care of before meaningful talks can take place. And it stands to reason that the correct sequence of events should be (1) Israel ends the occupation and siege, (2) Israel withdraws behind its pre-1967 borders in compliance with UN resolutions and international law, (3) talks begin with no gun to the Palestinians’ head, (4) the Palestinians are properly represented by their elected leadership, even if that’s Hamas.

“Will our dynamic duo [Nick Clegg and David Cameron] call for sanctions against Israel for persistent land theft, endless breaches of international law, ongoing lethal violence and continuing defiance of UN resolutions?... [W]ill they show the way and take unilateral action, as principled leaders should?”

If the Americans have a problem with these basics they should keep away from the process and let the UN handle it. Actually, the UN should have insisted on handling it in the first place. Why doesn’t it get a grip on its responsibilities?

In the meantime, Nick Clegg might find it refreshing to stop and re-read the preamble to his own party's constitution, a very fine document indeed especially where it says:

We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience...

We reject all prejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation and oppose all forms of entrenched privilege and inequality. Recognizing that the quest for freedom and justice can never end, we promote human rights and open government...

Our responsibility for justice and liberty cannot be confined by national boundaries; we are committed to fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur and to promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services.

These principles are as good as any for guiding a person through political life. But how many of them are reflected in the coalition’s policy dealing with the scandal of the Holy Land and in Clegg’s recent pronouncements?

I wait with interest to see how he and Cameron react when Israel’s “moratorium” on squatter settlements expires this weekend.

Will our dynamic duo call for sanctions against Israel for persistent land theft, endless breaches of international law, ongoing lethal violence and continuing defiance of UN resolutions?

And, if necessary, will they show the way and take unilateral action, as principled leaders should?

Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.

http://www.redress.cc/stooges/slittlewood20100926

vrijdag 24 september 2010

The Empire 666

A real change one can believe in begins when citizens dare to speak up, and start respecting universal morality, which means stop obeying a corrupt state:


Veterans Defend Accused WikiLeaks' Source Bradley Manning


by: Ryan Harvey, t r u t h o u t | Report

photo
Protesters rally for Bradley Manning. (Photo:mar is sea Y / Flickr)
At a rally Sunday, September 18, 2010, outside of the gates of Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, Iraq veterans spoke on behalf of a soldier imprisoned inside, Pfc. Bradley Manning.
Manning has been held in solitary confinement at Quantico for almost three months now, accused of being the source of the "Collateral Murder" video which was released in April by the online whistleblower web site WikiLeaks. The video shows US forces firing 30 mm cannons from helicopter gunships into a crowd in Baghdad, killing over a dozen Iraqis, including two Reuters journalists, and seriously wounding two children.
The government has intimated that Manning may also be considered the source of the "Afghan War Diaries," a series of almost 100,000 documents pertaining to the Afghan war published in July by WikiLeaks, which all together constitute the largest leak in military history.
A former soldier from the ground unit that responded to the helicopter shooting seen in the now-infamous video described the incident as a typical moment in his 2007 deployment to Baghdad as part of the Surge. "It was by no means abnormal," said the former soldier, Josh Stieber, who served 14 months in the New Baghdad neighborhood.
In a previous interview with me, Stieber and two other soldiers from his unit, Bravo Company 2-16, detailed the paradox of attempting to "win hearts and minds" while systematically abusing people. "I think it illustrates why we shouldn't put soldiers in that situation" he said of the video.
"That's what the war looks like," he told the crowd Sunday, while explaining that those who leak such information to the public are doing a service to the country. "It's important in order to even have a conversation on [these wars] where soldiers are supposedly fighting on behalf of the American public," he added, "for the American public to realize what kinds of situations soldiers are being put into."
Matt Southworth, a former soldier who now works for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby on Capitol Hill, spoke to the crowd as well and echoed Stieber's experience. "So many things were commonplace," he said of his 2004 deployment to Mosul and Tal Afar in northern Iraq. "Abuses of Iraqi detainees, unjustified raids, unjustified trashing of peoples homes," he says. "It was hard to qualify what was 'right' and what was 'wrong.'"
Like Stieber, Southworth has a specific interest in the case of Manning. As an intelligence analyst with the Army's 2nd ID, Third Brigade, 1-14 Cavalry Squadron, he shared the same Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) as Private First Class Manning, which means they had roughly the same job. And as a former intelligence analyst, he believes that whoever leaked the "Collateral Murder" video and the "Afghan War Diaries" was justified in doing so. "Exposing the things that happen, I think, is actually crucial," he tells me. "It's imperative that we really think about these things."
Jacob George, a three-tour Afghanistan veteran who served with the Army Special Operations Command's 528th Special Operations Support Battalion, has been publicly supporting Manning as well. He too calls the accused a hero, if indeed he is the WikiLeaks source. "He's doing this country a favor," he states bluntly. "I think whistle blowing is the only way to challenge the narrative of war that we have right now. The media and our government, which closely controls the media, doesn't allow transparency and cultivating transparency is the thing that [the WikiLeaks source] did. It is a heroic act."
To shine light on the fact that these leaks show only relatively small portions of two very long wars, these veterans tell me about some similar things they witnessed that haven't been brought to the public's attention by a whistleblower. Southworth describes a car "full of women and children" driving past his convoy too fast. "Some of the soldiers at the back of the convoy opened fire and killed everybody in the car," he says, "because they got too close."
This he says, like the helicopter shooting documented in the "Collateral Murder" video, was "Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)." The soldiers in the WikiLeaks video "followed SOP; they requested permission to engage and they did 'everything right' by the military's standard," he confirms.
George recalls a gruesome story of what he thought was an isolated incident - that is, until a similar story of soldiers organizing "Kill Squads" and cutting off fingers of victims in Afghanistan came to light earlier this month. In the summer of 2002, George was stationed at a firebase in southern Afghanistan. "One day, there was a visit from some British Special Air Service (SAS) guys, and they were in their normal tactical vehicle," he says. "As they were approaching the base, I could see something dangling on their side view mirror." When he realized what it was, George was disgusted. "It was a bunch of ears hanging off of a necklace," he says. "There's no telling how many ears were on that thing."
In light of recent stories suggesting similar incidents among US soldiers in Afghanistan, he concludes that things like this "probably happened way more over there than I want to know about."
In Afghanistan, George also witnessed a scene very similar to the one depicted in the "Collateral Murder" video. After receiving intel that possible insurgents had entered a nearby building, Special Forces soldiers approached. "No one knew who was in the building," he says, describing how one or two insurgents could have just run into a building housing civilians as well. "They caught some small arms fire from the building as they approached." George says, "and the end result was that a bunch of Apaches came and just leveled it." He does not know how many people were killed in the attack because "all we could find was arms and legs." The limbs were loaded into two body bags and George had to carry them back to Bagram Air Base "so they could figure out who we just killed."
Southworth says it wasn't just the killing, but the daily abuse and degradation that he witnessed and participated in that really made him question the war. "The thing that affected me most," Southworth tells me, "was detaining Iraqis and holding them for hours, sometimes days." He says he and his fellow soldiers would "break down doors at three in the morning and we'd separate all the men and women. We'd take all the men of fighting age and put f--king sacks on their heads and zip cuff 'em." As they transferred these young men to detainment centers, "they would sometimes urinate or defecate on themselves and we'd have to hose them off," he says.
He describes a system of mass detainment of "suspected insurgents," mostly young men who were picked up during random house searches simply for being of "fighting age." He explains that these raids were often based on faulty intelligence and the detainees, after going through the Army's "Observation Areas," where they would often sit in plexiglass boxes for days - sometimes with bags over their heads - would usually just be released without charges.
"They were presumed guilty until decided innocent by some counter-intel guy who was interrogating them through a translator," Southworth says. "He didn't even speak Arabic ... This guy gets to decide the fate of these people and who knows where they go. They could have ended up at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, or be extraordinary renditioned somewhere around the world."
These are the wars that Southworth, Stieber and George want the American people and the world to see, because it was the daily reality for them as they put their lives at risk on the frontlines. And they want the world and especially Americans, to put themselves in the shoes of the occupied.
"I don't think it takes a whole lot of imagination to think about what would happen if something similar were to happen in our own neighborhoods," Stieber told the crowd. "We probably wouldn't be very sympathetic to the army that came in and did that." George frames it similarly, talking about the "Collateral Murder" shootings. "If someone were to do that on the streets in our own country," he suggests, "how would they be treated?"
Who Is Really Putting Lives at Risk?
Though some military officials and political leaders have accused WikiLeaks of putting US troops and Afghan allies in harm's way by leaking the "Afghan War Diaries" documents, these former soldiers do not see this as an honest assessment.
"First and foremost" says Southworth, "we have to point out that what endangers the lives of these soldiers most is the government that sends them to war ... There is a legitimate concern about keeping people safe, but I don't think these documents make anyone less safe than the fact that they're deployed in the first place into senseless places, fighting just to fight."
George does not see the "Afghan War Diaries" as exposing much more than what the average Afghan or US troop already knows, but rather, he sees it mainly as an intelligence report for the American public. "The one thing that probably was alarming [in the leaked documents] was that in almost every military operation that I looked through, there were civilian causalities," he says. "One here, two there, sometimes five to ten ... when five to ten people are killed daily over the course of a few weeks, that adds up."
Stieber says all these leaked documents are "an indicator of a much broader situation," and he believes that the transparency made through these leaks is an important factor in the public getting a real understanding of that broader situation "so people can make informed decisions about what goes on on the ground." When that information is available, he says, "the official narrative of what's going on with these wars shows itself to not be completely accurate." George echoes this, speaking of accused WikiLeaks source Manning. "We have to re-write the narrative of this man's deeds."
"I really hope [we] spend more time thinking about the content of the documents rather than how whomever leaked them should be punished," Southworth says. "We have orders as soldiers to disobey unlawful orders. And [in these wars] it's Standard Operating Procedure to do things that are against the Geneva Conventions."
"I think as long as we're doing things that are unjust and unlawful," he concludes, "someone should expose those. And I don't think someone exposing those is a crime. I think it's something that can be viewed as the right thing to do."

http://www.truth-out.org/veterans-defend-accused-wikileaks-source-bradley-manning63555

Israel as a Rogue State 105

Ter info / publicatie:

EU blijft Israël belonen met geld en contracten

Lezersbrief aan Knack: knack@knack.be
Europa blijft handel met schurkenstaat Israël verkiezen boven een kritische houding tegenover Tel Aviv of sancties tegen het Israëlische beleid inzake de illegale bouw in bezet Palestijns gebied. Catherine Ashton en de EU tonen een totale desinteresse om vrede te bewerkstellingen in het Midden-Oosten of de ontmanteling van apartheidsstaat Israel.
Israëlische bedrijven en instellingen zijn betrokken bij twaalf veiligheidsonderzoekprogramma’s van de Europese Unie. Het gaat ondermeer om Israel Aerospace Industries (dat onbemande vliegtuigen maakt om Palestijnen buitengerechtelijk te executeren), Motorola Israel (met zijn ‘virtuele hekkens’ van warmtegevoelige camera’s rond 47 van de illegale kolonies – een radarsysteem van 158 miljoen dollar) en Elbit Systems (dat meewerkt aan de Apartheidsmuur op Palestijnse grond).
Verint Systems kreeg van de Europese Commissie een contract van 9,1 miljoen euro voor bewakingsopdrachten en de binnenlandse veiligheid aldus Ben Hayes van International Voice ( http://www.tni.org/article/should-eu-subsidise-israeli-security ). Een proefproject loopt op Heathrow, Athene en een binnenlandse Israëlische luchthaven. Indien positief onthaald, mag Israël via dit TASS-project (Total Airport Security System) straks al onze Europese luchthavens gaan beveiligen. Zowel gebouwen, cargo, passagiers, vliegtuigen, voertuigen en faciliteiten). Israëlisch veiligheidspersoneel, scanners, sensoren, dataverwerking, enz. Geen aanlokkelijke gedachte voor wie ooit op Ben Gurion vertoefde.
Israël kreeg ook voor het eerst 14 miljoen euro van de Europese Unie voor de samenwerking de volgende zeven jaar.
Het Actieplan dat met Israël is afgesloten helpt om nieuwe energie te geven en zich te concentreren op de relaties tussen de EU en Israël. Doelstelling is dat Israël in het Europese beleid en de programma's geleidelijk zal integreren. Elke getroffen maatregel wordt bepaald door beide partijen en het Actieplan is op maat gemaakt om tegemoet te komen aan de belangen en de prioriteiten van Israël evenals zijn niveau van ontwikkeling. ( http://www.eeas.europa.eu/israel/index_en.htm )
De EU is in hetzelfde bedje ziek als de Amerikaanse president. Obama liet het Amerikaans parlement in juli 2010 nog een cheque van 2.775 miljoen dollar uitschrijven voor “veiligheidshulp” aan de Israëlische staat. Nu beschikt Israël op zich al over 400 veiligheidsbedrijfjes. De Israëlische veiligheidsindustrie verkoopt jaarlijks voor 5,5 miljard dollar producten, waarvan 2 miljard voor het buitenland bestemd. Import van veiligheidsproducten is goed voor 650 miljoen dollar, waarvan 65 % Amerikaanse makelij aldus het Amerikaans Departement voor Handel. ( www.buyusa.gov/israel/en/doingbusinessisrael2010.pdf ,- pg.20).
Mario Bergen
Kesseldallaan 80/0202
3010    LEUVEN

The Mainstream Media 3

Look at the remarkable way the BBC reports:


Ahmadinejad: 9/11 'suspect event'

An airliner flies into the World Trade Center's south tower as the north tower burns on 11 September 2001
The Twin Towers collapsed after being hit by hijacked airliners
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York as a "suspect event" and queried the death toll.
"A building collapsed and they said 3,000 people had been killed but never published their names," he said in a speech in the holy city of Qom.
He did not mention the planes hijackers flew into the twin skyscrapers.
On the fifth anniversary, the names of 2,749 people killed in New York were read out at a ceremony.
"Four or five years ago a suspect event took place in New York," President Ahmadinejad said.
"Under this pretext they [the United States] attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and since then a million people have been killed only in Iraq," he said in the speech broadcast on state-run television.
Iraqi woman mourns relative killed in clashes, Sadr City, Baghdad (29.03.2008)
Estimates of the number of lives lost in Iraq vary.
A World Health Organization survey in January this year suggested that 151,000 civilians had died between March 2003 and June 2006.
This was roughly in line with Iraqi government estimates, although one study in the Lancet medical journal put the toll at 655,000, while a UK-based polling agency suggested in September 2007 that up to 1.2m people may have died because of the conflict.




See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7350830.stm

And for some honest reporting one can read this: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060314_iraq_body_count.php 

And more remarkable BBC-reporting: http://www.medialens.org/search.php


Read all about it!!!

maandag 20 september 2010

The Neoliberal Religion 11

Share23

Poverty and Economic Crisis

by: Rick Wolff, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis
photo
Between 2008 and 2009 - while health insurance "reform" was a top agenda item for the president and the Congress - the number of Americans without any health insurance rose by over 4 million people. (Photo: John Starnes)
The costs of capitalism and its recurrent crises can be tallied in multiple ways. Frequently used measures include the effects of unemployment, home foreclosures, cuts in wages and job benefits, insecurity of jobs and reductions in the services provided by governments at the federal, state and local levels. The costs tallied for the current crisis - now completing its third awful year - are so huge, diverse and lasting that no final or complete count will ever be possible. There are yet other ways of seeing and measuring the costs of capitalism. One measure less frequently used concerns poverty: the consequences of consigning people to live on incomes below whatever amount the government uses to define poverty. Another less frequently used measure is the number of people without health insurance.
The US Census bureau released statistics on September 16, 2010, that enable us to consider these last two measures of the costs of capitalism’s dysfunction in this crisis across its first two years.
The US poverty rate rose between 2008 and 2009 from 13.2 to 14.3 percent. That is, while trillions were thrown at banks and corporations in bailouts and stimulus programs, nearly 4 million more Americans fell into the ranks of the poor. Those poverty-stricken among us entered 2010 numbering 43.6 million, one in seven of our fellow citizens. The US Census Bureau calculated the threshold for poverty in 2009 for a family of four at $21,756. At that level of income, the members of such a family of four would each have a total of $14-15 per day for everything they need to spend money on. During the same year, elite US colleges and universities charged a typical individual undergraduate well over $50,000 for tuition, room, board and basic expenses for an eight-month academic year.
Over the same year period between 2008 and 2009 - while health insurance "reform" was a top agenda item for the president and the Congress - the number of Americans without any health insurance rose by over 4 million people, from 46.3 million to 50.7 million.
Such statistics testify to deepening social divisions and explain correspondingly building mixes of depression and rage. Growing social tensions point to future social costs of capitalism's crisis that will have to be added to the already-imposed costs as the economic crisis has unfolded since late 2007. When we recall that most of 2009 saw media headlines trumpeting economic "recovery," the costs of an uncritical press also need to be added to those of a dysfunctional economy. 
This article was originally published on Dr. Richard Wolff's blog. Click here to visit rdwolff.com

Slavery and the Bible

Slavery in the Bible

    Except for murder, slavery has got to be one of the most immoral things a person can do.  Yet slavery is rampant throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments.  The Bible clearly approves of slavery in many passages, and it goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves.

    Many Jews and Christians will try to ignore the moral problems of slavery by saying that these slaves were actually servants or indentured servants.  Many translations of the Bible use the word "servant", "bondservant", or "manservant" instead of "slave" to make the Bible seem less immoral than it really is.  While many slaves may have worked as household servants, that doesn't mean that they were not slaves who were bought, sold, and treated worse than livestock.

    The following passage shows that slaves are clearly property to be bought and sold like livestock.

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

    The following passage describes how the Hebrew slaves are to be treated.

    If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years.  Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom.  If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year.  But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him.  If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master.  But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children.  I would rather not go free.'  If he does this, his master must present him before God.  Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl.  After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.  (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

    Notice how they can get a male Hebrew slave to become a permanent slave by keeping his wife and children hostage until he says he wants to become a permanent slave.  What kind of family values are these?

    The following passage describes the sickening practice of sex slavery.  How can anyone think it is moral to sell your own daughter as a sex slave?

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.  But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.  And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.  If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife.  If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.  (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

    So these are the Bible family values!  A man can buy as many sex slaves as he wants as long as he feeds them, clothes them, and screws them!

    What does the Bible say about beating slaves?  It says you can beat both male and female slaves with a rod so hard that as long as they don't die right away you are cleared of any wrong doing.

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.  (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

    You would think that Jesus and the New Testament would have a different view of slavery, but slavery is still approved of in the New Testament, as the following passages show.

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear.  Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.  (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed.  If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful.  You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts.  Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.  (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

    In the following parable, Jesus clearly approves of beating slaves even if they didn't know they were doing anything wrong.

    The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it.  "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly.  Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given."  (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

http://www.evilbible.com/Slavery.htm

The Empire 664

20 Signs That The Economic Collapse Has Already Begun 
For One Out Of Every Seven Americans

By Economic Collapse Blog

September 19, 2010 "
Economic Collapse Blog" - -For most Americans, the economic collapse is something that is happening to someone else.  Most of us have become so isolated from each other and so self-involved that unless something is directly affecting us or a close family member than we really don't feel it.  But even though most of us enjoy a much closer relationship with our television sets than we do with our neighbors at this point, it is quickly becoming undeniable that a fundamental shift is taking place in society.  Perhaps you noticed it when two or three foreclosure signs went up on your street.  Or perhaps it got your attention when that nice fellow down the street lost his job, and he and his family seemingly just disappeared from the neighborhood one day.  The Census Bureau made front page headlines all over the nation this week when they announced that one out of every seven Americans was living in poverty in 2009.  Every single day more Americans are getting sucked out of the middle class and into soul-crushing poverty.   
Unfortunately, most Americans don't really care because it has not affected them yet.
But this year, millions more Americans will discover that the music has stopped playing and they are left without a seat at the table.
Meanwhile, neither political party has a workable solution.  They just like to point fingers and blame each other.
The Democrats blame Bush for all the poverty and advocate expanding programs for the poor.  Not that there is anything wrong with a safety net.  But the "safety net" was never meant to hold 50 million people on Medicaid and 40 million people on food stamps.  The number of Americans on food stamps has more than doubled since 2007.  So do we just double it again as things get even worse?
The truth is that welfare programs are only short-term solutions.  Unfortunately, the Democrats do not understand this.  What Americans really need are good jobs.
The Republicans are so boneheaded that they don't even like to talk about poverty because they think it is a "liberal issue".  Some conservative commentators have even been so brutally cold as to mock the "99ers" (those who have been unemployed so long that even their extended federal benefits have run out).
Instead of showing some compassion and being the party of the American worker (as they should be), the Republicans are often very uncompassionate and they allow the Democrats to be "the party of the poor" by default.
Both political parties need a big wakeup call.  There is a tsunami of poverty sweeping the United States, and somebody better wake up and do something about it.  More handouts will help people get by in the short-term, but there is no way that the federal government can financially support tens of millions more poor Americans.
How long is it going to be before the "safety net" simply collapses under the weight of all this poverty?
The path we are on is not sustainable.
The economy is falling apart, and somebody better wake up and do something before even more Americans find themselves drowning in poverty.
The following are 20 signs that the economic collapse has already begun for one out of every seven Americans.....
#1 The Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in 51 years of record-keeping.
#2 In the year 2000, 11.3 percent of Americans were living in poverty.  In 2008, 13.2 percent of Americans were living in poverty.  In 2009, 14.3 percent of Americans were living in poverty.  Needless to say the trend is moving in the wrong direction. 
#3 In 2009 alone, approximately 4 million more Americans joined the ranks of the poor.
#4 According to the Associated Press, experts believe that 2009 saw the largest single year increase in the U.S. poverty rate since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.
#5 The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
#6 Today the United States has approximately 4 million fewer wage earners than it did in 2007.
#7 Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many as were receiving it in 2007.
#8 U.S. banks repossessed 25 percent more homes in August 2010 than they did in August 2009.
#9 One out of every seven mortgages in the United States was either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.
#10 There are now 50.7 million Americans who do not have health insurance.  One trip to the emergency room would be all it would take to bankrupt a significant percentage of them.
#11 More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.
#12 There are now over 41 million Americans on food stamps.
#13 The number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program increased a whopping 55 percent from December 2007 to June 2010.
#14 One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.
#15 California's poverty rate soared to 15.3 percent in 2009, which was the highest in 11 years.
#16 According to an analysis by Isabel Sawhill and Emily Monea of the Brookings Institution, 10 million more Americans (including 6 million more children) will slip into poverty over the next decade.
#17 According to a recently released Federal Reserve report, Americans experienced a $1.5 trillion loss in combined household net worth in the second quarter of 2010.
#18 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.
#19 Median U.S. household income is down 5 percent from its peak of more than $52,000 in 1999.
#20 A study recently released by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College University found that Americans are $6.6 trillion short of what they need for retirement.
How anyone can look at those numbers and think that things are about to "get better" absolutely boggles the mind.
It is time to wake up.
Things are not going to get better.
Things are only going to get worse.
The United States is rapidly becoming a nation where poverty is absolutely rampant.
As poverty continues to spread, crime will not be far behind.
Meanwhile, the international community wants to impose a global tax on us so that they can "redistribute" even more of our wealth around the world.
The following was just reported by CNSNews.com....
A group of 60 nations will meet next week at the United Nations to push for a tax on foreign currency transactions as a way to generate revenue to meet global poverty-reduction goals, including “climate change” mitigation.
Well isn't that great?  As American descends into poverty, the rest of the world is pushing for a global tax that will drain us of wealth even more.
It is just a tax on foreign currency transactions, but history has taught us that once taxers get their foot in the door they always go for more eventually.
Sadly, it is not just the United Nations that is discussing a global tax.  In fact, the IMF and the World Health Organization have both been very open about the fact that they want to impose global taxes of their own.
Not that we aren't taxed enough already.  We already pay dozens of different kinds of taxes each year, and 2011 is already being dubbed as "the year of the tax increase".
But most Americans don't have any more to give.  Most Americans can barely make it from month to month.  More Americans than ever are slipping into poverty. 
What a mess we have on our hands.
Do any of you have any suggestions for how we should go about fixing all of this?