According to Kash Nikazmrad of Students for Justice in Palestine, one should view passages from the Hamas charter like the one above as hyperbolic political rhetoric meant to stoke a political base, and not, he says, as something to be taken literally. The focus, he says should be on the genocidal conditions imposed by Isreal that give birth to the resistance. “The UN recognizes Genocide as anything deterring the progression of human life,” says Nikazmrad, “and that is what (Israel) does in Gaza. They don’t allow them to fish. Settlers come and cut down Oliver trees and put concrete on the olive trees. And (Israel) is all outside, and they blame Palestinians for building tunnels to try to bring medical supplies in. What do you think will happen when you build a prison (Gaza) and you prevent people from having any kind of right to life? They are going to try and build tunnels and they are going to try and resist the occupation that is there.”
fter two hours of deliberation,Vietnam Veteran and Buffalonian Russell Brown, was acquitted tonight by a six person jury in DeWitt Town Court, East Syracuse. He was facing charges of Obstruction of Governmental Administration (OGA), a misdemeanor carrying up to a year incarceration and up to $1000 fine, as well as Disorderly Conduct charge, a violation. Mr. Brown who went before the court Pro Se (he served as his own counsel) was assisted by Buffalo Attorneys Daire Irwin and Paul Fallon. Mr. Brown was arrested during a nonviolent protest at Hancock Air National Guard Base on April 28, 2013. In a roadway across from the Airbase, he lay down to symbolize the death of drone victims. There are biweekly demonstrations at Hancock Airbase. Several times a year there are larger demonstrations and nationally coordinated events. On six occasions there have been arrests, leading to six trials since 2011. Mr. Brown’s trial is the second acquittal. There are twenty activists are facing prosecution, working with Upstate Drone Action.
One of the many things I learned in government is that the investigative commissions which inquire into a scandal, disaster or atrocity are usually intended to bury the real causes of the incident and trumpet other circumstantial or irrelevant details as if they are shocking or novel. In other words, commissions are cover-ups pretending to be exposés. This is not always the case, but as the stakes rise, it becomes the accepted practice. One of the masters of this technique has been former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Indiana). He cut his teeth as chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, where he was careful to stop short of implicating President Ronald Reagan of impeachable criminal culpability, and, more importantly, provided the same service to the future President George H.W. Bush. A few smaller fries took the fall, and Reagan, the man whom Republicans retrospectively credit for making the sun shine and the rain fall, was chastised for not being in control of his own immediate subordinates. Bush, of course, was out of the loop. In 1992, Hamilton chaired the House October Surprise Task Force, and failed once again to find Bush culpable of criminal misdeeds – in this case, the allegation being that Bush was involved in secret and illegal negotiations with Iran to deny the American hostages’ release until after the 1980 elections. Twenty years later, however, Hamilton confessed to investigative journalist Robert Parry that he now has second thoughts about the October surprise. As they used to say in vaudeville, now he tells us.
Like most of her supporters in the courtroom, I was enraged when I heard N.Y. Judge David Gideon sentenced Mary Anne Grady-Flores to one year in jail on July 10. But a deep hope prevailed, which characterizes the local anti-drone movement in New York and is no small part of the impact we’ve had. When Grady-Flores was handcuffed in DeWitt Town Court, the 115 people in attendance stood up and sang. Resonating deep from her roots in the Catholic Worker movement, we called out in unison that night in the courtroom: Rejoice in the Lord always Again I say rejoice Rejoice, rejoice Again I say rejoice We shook the room with our song. Some embraced each other and some cried, but everyone sang. When the court guards had enough and told us to leave, the singing only grew louder. We stayed for 10 minutes in that courtroom, repeating the same song, hoping that Grady-Flores could feel us through the court walls. Grady-Flores was sentenced to one year in jail for violating an order of protection at the behest of Col. Earl Evans of the U.S. Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field in Syracuse, Judge Gideon gave her the maximum sentence despite a pre-sentencing report from the parole office recommending that Grady-Flores receive a conditional discharge, which would mean no jail time.
Vietnam Veteran and Buffalo resident Russell Brown’s trial began today in DeWitt Town Court in East Syracuse. Mr. Brown is representing himself and is facing charges stemming from his arrest during a nonviolent protest at Hancock Air National Guard Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing, on April 28, 2013. Mr. Brown laid down peacefully with red paint to symbolize the death of drone victims in a roadway across from the Airbase. He is charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration (OGA), a misdemeanor carrying up to a year incarceration and up to $1000 fine, as well as Disorderly Conduct charge, a violation. Mr. Brown’s trial follows about a dozen trials since 2011 in the DeWitt Town Court and is one of 20 upcoming trials of drone resisters working with Upstate Drone Action there. Judge David S. Gideon imposed an Order of Protection (OOP) on Mr Brown on behalf of Colonel Greg Semmel, the Hancock commandant. The OOPs have been imposed on more than 50 nonviolent civil resisters arrested at the Hancock Reaper drone hub in DeWitt since October 2012. Under oath, a military official acknowledged that the protesters were acting nonviolently and posed no threat to the Airbase or military personnel.
By the time its combat troops depart at the end of 2014, the United States will have appropriated more money trying to fix Afghanistan than it did on the Marshall Plan that helped Europe recover economically after World War II, according to an analysis by a government watchdog. The comparison in the latest quarterly report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction draws attention to the mixed results of U.S. investments in Afghanistan — $104 billion appropriated since 2002 — versus the success of the Marshall Plan, which is credited with helping to spur the economic revival of Western Europe. The Marshall Plan cost about $13.3 billion at the time, but dollars during the 1950s could purchase much more than today’s dollars. Adjusting for inflation and stated in today’s dollars, the Marshall Plan investment would be equal to $103.4 billion, SIGAR concluded. Using the same adjustments, the SIGAR report, calculated that the actual investment in Afghanistan equals more than $109 billion.
The past six months have seen an incredible ratcheting up of tensions in the East and South China Seas, where the world’s three largest economies – China, the United States, and Japan – are caught up in an increasingly tangled web of territorial disputes, competing alliances, and historical grievances. In February, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry assured Japan that the Americans would defend Japan in case of a military confrontation between Tokyo and Beijing. That same month, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert said the Philippines could count on American support if there were a clash with China in the South China Sea. In early May, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces practiced “retaking” islands of the Amami Group near Okinawa in a not-so-subtle challenge to China over the ownership of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. That same week, U.S. and Philippine forces held joint war games, while President Barack Obama promised “ironclad” support against “aggressive” neighbors interested in “changing the status quo” in Asia. Since then, the competing claims have only escalated. In mid-May, China challenged Japanese ownership of Okinawa, stating it did “not belong to Japan,” challenging Tokyo and indirectly calling into question the presence of huge U.S. bases on the island.
In the US’s so-called War on Terror, by far the greatest and most systematic terrorization of civilians is in fact perpetrated by the US state itself. Unarmed citizens are murdered across the world as ‘collateral damage’, ‘illegal enemy combatants’ or other license of impunity. The US state conceives itself as above international law along with ally Israel, but this reality is taboo to report and so too all the killing and terrorization of civilians. One can truly say that “the historical record demonstrates the US is provably guilty of continual lawless mass murder of civilians across the world”, but the truth is unthinkable within the ruling ideological regime. Consider for example, the US-led deadly civil wars and coup d’etats in Venezuela and Ukraine as well as Libya and Syria. They mass terrorize and destroy societies into defenseless dependency so that their resources, lands and markets are “free” for transnational corporate exploitation. Yet the meaning is un-decoded. Ignorance is built into the syntax of acceptable thought. Q: Many immigrants who seek refuge in United States from the four corners of the globe in search of a better and more prosperous life think of America as an absolutely free, democratic and open society with abundant opportunities for economic and social progress. However, you’ve argued, as many scholars did, that the United States is a police state. Would you please elaborate more on that? Do you believe that these immigrants and asylum-seekers are not told the whole truth about the United States or are somehow deceived?
There are various kinds of ‘missile defense’ (MD) systems now being tested. The one with the very worst testing record is the Ground-based Mid-course program. It is very likely the most expensive of the MD programs because of the sheer difficulty of trying to have a bullet-hit-a-bullet in deep space at more than 15,000 mph. In the end the program is incredibly destabilizing as the entire MD program is all about being the shield to take out Russian or Chinese retaliatory response after a Pentagon first-strike attack on them. This stuff ain’t theoretical either as the Space Command annually holds a computer war game to practice this very kind of an attack. We see the miniature version it being carried out by Israel in Gaza right now. You might call the Gaza attack by Israel as a field test of the Israel-US MD program. The military industrial complex, and in particular the MD lobby, has been pushing Congress hard to deploy a US east coast interceptor site. The already bought-and-paid-for bunch in Washington has mandated that the Pentagon do a feasibility study to determine which of four states (Maine, New York, Michigan, Ohio) would be the best place to host the interceptor missile facility. Public hearings to work on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) have been announced. They are listed below.
The decision of the Latin American countries to recall their ambassadors in Tel Aviv is a “deep disappointment”, says Israel. El Salvador on Wednesday became the fifth Latin American country to withdraw its ambassador from Israel in protest at Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru have already recalled their ambassadors. Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said that the move encourages Hamas; “this decision encourages Hamas which has been recognized as a terrorist organization by several countries. The countries standing against terror must act responsibly and should not reward them. While Hamas has been responsible for hindering a ceasfire, El Salvador, Peru and Chile were expected to support international attitude for peace and demilitarization of Gaza”, the statement said. Earlier Israel criticized Brazil over its decision to recall its ambassador in protest at Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. Brazil was one of 29 countries in the UN Human Rights Council that voted last Wednesday to investigate Israel over its military offensive in Gaza. During a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping on July 17, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said her country was “profoundly concerned by the dramatic events” in Gaza.
This article is from our associated project, CreativeResistance.org. The Israeli assault on Gaza December 27, 2008- January 18, 2009, or “Operation Cast Lead,” resulted in hundreds of innocent civilians being killed and thousands injured and left homeless. The number of children who were killed ranges between 300-350. At that time, in reaction to the horrifying stories of children dying, I made an artist book, In Memoriam. During the last few days of 2009, in solidarity with the Gaza Freedom March, I made the sculpture If It Were Zack. I am chilled by arguments rationalizing the brutal, violent killing of innocents. I cannot fathom the wretched abyss of hatred that feeds such an intellect. When I hold my son Zack, my heart breaks imagining these hundreds of children. When he laughs, I think,”That child once laughed, too, delighting his mother.” My grief in this time feels near intolerable–and this is just pain imagined. I don’t know what the answer is to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. But I do know that the military-minded adults on both sides of the Wall have to begin with the premise that there is no cause worth the torment of children–the children of Gaza live in fear, sleeplessness, boredom, frustration, anxiety, depression, hunger. And there is surely no cause worth the killing of children.
Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.Eastern Ukraine’s civilian death toll has been rising as the fractured country continues to see its worst fighting in months. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that 19 civilians were killed in clashes between separatists and government forces. And the UN says more than 1,000 people have been killed since April. Both sides have exchanged accusations of the targeting of civilian areas by heavy weapons, and the country’s UN mission has called for a full investigation into the killing of civilians and warns targeting civilians in warfare violates international humanitarian law.In response to what the West views as Russia’s meddling in the crisis and supporting pro-Russian separatists, the European Union expanded sanctions on Russia. It’s going to really hit Russia’s economy from its oil to its banking industry. And now President Obama says the U.S. will do the same. These sanctions are the most extensive sanctions from the E.U. on Russia since the end of the Cold War. Now joining us to discuss all of this is our guest, Roger Annis. Roger is a writer and solidarity activist in Vancouver, Canada. He was just recently a delegate to the antiwar conference that took place in Crimea.Thanks for joining us, Roger.
NBC News reports: “The fuel tanks at Gaza’s only power plant came under attack early Tuesday, threatening to deepen an already dire humanitarian situation. The attack came hours after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a televised speech of a ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza against Hamas. Israel carried out 76 strikes overnight — one of the biggest bombardments in the nearly month-long campaign. … “Jamal Dersawi, the plant’s general manager, told NBC News that the major fuel storage tanks supplying the facility took a hit before dawn. There was no immediate comment from Israel’s military about the attack. … “Dersawi said that since the facility provides power to key infrastructure, including water sanitation facilities, Tuesday’sattack will have a devastating impact on the citizens of Gaza.” The Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH), a coalition of 27 organisations working in the water and sanitation sector in the occupied Palestinian territories, recently released a statement: “Since the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza on July 8, 2014, the water and wastewater infrastructure in Gaza has been heavily affected by Israeli airstrikes. Main water supply and wastewater infrastructure has been hit and as a result the water supply or sewage services to 1.2 million (2/3 of the total population in Gaza) have been cut or severely disrupted. The targeting of civilian objects under situation of hostilities is prohibited according to International Humanitarian Law and is considered a war crime. …
“We are a diverse group of people who have come together against the Israeli occupation and against the massacre. However,” says Kash Nikazmrad, an organizer with Students for Justice in Palestine, “every massacre, every occupation, every act of colonialism always has a mechanism and a supporter. The supporter in this situation has been America.” Nikazmrad is one of the organizers behind the Los Angeles “Stop The Massacre in Gaza” events. Judging by the (in)action of Congress, it is hard to dispute Nikazmrad’s claims. When it comes to Israel and Gaza, there is unanimous agreement. As Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss sums up:
The talk by Eran Efrati was filmed in Denver, Colorado on March 3, 2014 as part of The Soldier and the Refusenik U.S. tour with Maya Wind. Eran talk about his experiences in the IDF and then more broadly discusses Israel, its relationship to the U.S. and the global expansion of militarism. Eran Efrati, 28, was born and raised in Jerusalem. After graduating high school he enlisted in the IDF, where he served as a combat soldier and company sergeant in Battalion 50 of the Nachal Division. He spent most of his service in Hebron and throughout the West Bank. In 2009, he was discharged and joined Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers working to raise awareness about the daily reality in the Occupied Territories. He worked as the chief investigator of the organization, collecting testimonies from IDF soldiers about their activities. He also guided political tours and to the West Bank and worked to educate Israeli youth about the reality of being a soldier in an occupying army. His collected testimonies appear in the booklet “Operation Cast Lead” and their most recent release “Our Harsh Logic”. Since leaving Breaking the Silence, his investigative reports appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian. Today he is active with the Israeli groups Anarchists Against the Wall and Boycott from Within. Key points from this lecture: There is a heavy indoctrination in Israel, from an early age in schools, which uses the holocaust to create paranoia and fear against ‘the enemy’. Israeli soldiers are trained intensively for a war, whilst their actual military duties are to subdue and control Palestinians.