Friday, January 30, 2009

The Goldman Sachs "secret handshake"

Oh no! Another Goldman Sachs article. Yes FNT (Future News Today) devotees I'm afraid so. [See related posts at the bottom of this article for my previous GS exposés.]

My antennas first started twitching when Timothy Geithner was first nominated for the position of Secretary of Treasury. Those of you who have read my previous posts may remember Tim as the former President of the New York Fed, and also as a member of the Group of Thirty (G-30). I wrote an article that detailed the power of the New York Fed, and noted that the Chairman of the Board, Stephen Friedman, is a GS capo. I failed to mention in that article the name of the President of the NY Fed, but by now everyone is familiar with Mr. Geithner. I made the point that the NY Fed was effectively under the control of the GS gangstas.

As if to prove my point, no sooner does Tiny Tim [Notice the resemblance? I wonder if he can play "Tiptoe through the Tulips" on the ukelele?] become Treas-Sec of the US than he appoints a GS insider to be his Chief of Staff. This might have gone unnoticed outside Washington circles except that the person in question, Mark Patterson, was not just any GS lackey. No, he was a high-profile lobbyist for GS. Which led to questions about the Obama pledge to reduce the influence of lobbyists in his administration. Not to worry because Tim has got this one covered.

Geithner issued rules Tuesday to restrict lobbyists from contacting Treasury about bailout issues.
But Tim, can you explain how that will apply to Msgr Patterson?
Mark Patterson will serve as Geithner's chief of staff at Treasury, which oversees the government's $700 billion financial bailout program. Goldman Sachs received $10 billion of that money.
Will he be required to restrict himself from contacting himself? It's all a little too Zen for me. My head is spinning.

Meanwhile, back at the New York Fed...
Federal Reserve's Board of Governors on Tuesday reappointed Stephen Friedman, chairman of private equity firm Stone Point Capital, as chairman of the New York Fed's board of directors.
Both Friedman and Hughes served on the search committee that chose William Dudley to be New York Fed president, succeeding Timothy Geithner, who left to become Treasury secretary.
Friedman you recall is the former co-chairman of GS. And what about this new guy William Dudley? Will he bring a breath of fresh air to the dank corridors of the NY Fed? 'fraid not.
For two years Dudley was a top lieutenant to former New York Fed chief Timothy Geithner, who was sworn in yesterday as U.S. Treasury secretary. Now, the central bank is relying on Dudley’s frontline crisis experience, financial expertise and capacity for long hours to guide the Fed’s biggest district bank and coordinate policies toward Wall Street firms including his former employer, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Gee, what a surprise. The "search committee" found another GS lackey to fill this powerful position. I guess the search was severely restricted to those with strong GS affiliations.
Goldman Sachs, where Dudley worked for more than two decades and in 1995 became head U.S. economist, has long contributed top policy makers. Henry Paulson and Robert Rubin both headed the bank before becoming Treasury secretaries. Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney are former managing directors of Goldman. Other notable alumni are Neel Kashkari, Paulson’s director of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and Josh Bolten, who served as White House chief of staff under President George W. Bush.
So Paulson and Rubin were both NY Fed Presidents before becoming Treasury secretaries. And both coincidentally were formerly CEO's of Goldman Sachs. People, this is a criminal conspiracy by GS to control the economic policy of the United States! And everyone in Washington is just winking and nodding, and then looking the other way.

Oh and GS was the biggest contributor to Obama's campaign.
Bundled together, by Sept. 28, 2008, the latest figures available, Goldman Sachs members or their families contributed $739,521 to Obama, making the firm [the] number one source of donors to the Obama campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
That's cheap. For less than $1 million, you can buy a President. And in return you get billions of dollars in bailout money. That's a great return on an investment! Here's what Bloomberg had to say about the TARP program in an article titled "Paulson Debt Plan May Benefit Mostly Goldman, Morgan".
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley may be among the biggest beneficiaries of the $700 billion U.S. plan to buy assets from financial companies while many banks see limited aid, according to Bank of America Corp.

"Its benefits, in its current form, will be largely limited to investment banks and other banks that have aggressively written down the value of their holdings and have already recognized the attendant capital impairment,'' Jeffrey Rosenberg, Bank of America's head of credit strategy research, wrote in a report dated yesterday, without identifying particular banks.
Do you still wonder why I keep coming back to the topic of Goldman Sachs? The NY Times calls them "The Guys From ‘Government Sachs’". That's cute - "Government Sachs". I prefer "Gangstas Sachs". It conveys a more appropriate meaning, don't you think? I recommend you read the entire NYT article yourself and come to your own conclusions. At times it comes to the defense of GS while at other times it points out the potential conflicts of interest. I just want to highlight this one excerpt from the article.
A person familiar with Mr. Geithner’s thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly said that there was “no secret handshake” between the New York Fed and Goldman, describing such speculation as a conspiracy theory.
Compare that with a quote from a totally different article about GS from the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Of course, this cloistered culture, populated as it is by power and wealth, has roused its share of suspicion among outsiders, who view the firm as a kind of secret society – just do a Google search on “Goldman Sachs and conspiracy.”

Current and former Goldmanites dismiss the notion that the spread of former executives to positions of influence is a Machiavellian plot to further enrich the company. There are no secret handshakes, they insist; no covert collaboration to extend the firm's reach.
They keep telling us that there is "no conspiracy" and "no secret handshake", while there obviously is a conspiracy. This makes me wonder whether there is also a "secret handshake". A quick Google search came up with this quote from a 2007 article in the International Herald Tribune.
"There is no mystery, or secret handshake," said Stephen Friedman a former co-chairman and now a Goldman director. "We did a lot of work to build a culture here in the 1980s and now people are playing on the balls of their feet. We just have a damn good talent pool."
[That's the same Stephen Friedman who was just reappointed the Chairman of the Board of the NY Fed.]

Are you starting to get the same creepy feeling that I am that there really is a "secret handshake"? Why else would they repeatedly bring it up only to deny it. Is the upper echelon of GS like a secret Skull and Bones Society? What other strange rituals do they practice besides the "secret handshake"? Are they like the modern day Masons? Maybe they are all Scientology members? Man, these people creep me out!

[And yes, I did repeat some quotes from my previous articles. Deal with it!]

Related Posts

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Gaza appeal that BBC refuses to broadcast

Above is a picture of protesters demonstrating in London against the BBC's refusal to air an appeal for aid to the Palestinians in Gaza. Here is the appeal by the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) that the BBC has refused to air for fear of losing their "impartiality".

The website for DEC is If you live in Britain, I would recommend donating to this organization. For those of us who live in the U.S. I recommend giving to UNRWA at UNRWA is the UN organization which is responsible for assisting the Palestinians, not just in the occupied territories, but also in camps that have been in existence ever since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Here is a description of this organization from their webpage.

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, was established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950. In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2011.

Since its establishment, the Agency has delivered its services in times of relative calm in the Middle East, and in times of hostilities. It has fed, housed and clothed tens of thousands of fleeing refugees and at the same time educated and given health care to hundreds of thousands of young refugees.

UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees and its contributions to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees. Originally envisaged as a temporary organization, the Agency has gradually adjusted its programmes to meet the changing needs of the refugees. Today, UNRWA is the main provider of basic services - education, health, relief and social services - to over 4.6 million registered Palestine refugees in the Middle East.
I have given to UNRWA in the past and will give again at this time of tremendous need. In the US one has to be careful when giving money for Palestinians that it not be deemed as a donation to a "terrorist" organization. By giving through the UNRWA there can not be any doubt that the donation is legal. For example the Holy Land Foundation was shutdown for allegedly sending funds to Hamas which the US has labeled a "terrorist" organization. At the time it was the largest Islamic charity in the US. I'm sure that the Israel Lobby would like to similarly shut down UNRWA. I suppose by that same standard they would say that UNRWA is also guilty of "financing terrorism".

It is sad and frustrating for me that while donors all over the world have given generously to the Palestinians, Israel has constantly been guilty of destroying the infrastructure that has been built up through these donations. It seems to me that Israel should at the very least have to pay to rebuild these facilities. (Of course the greater Israeli crime is the murder of innocent civilians.)

While I despise the destruction that the US has caused in Iraq, at least the US takes responsibility for rebuilding the country. This of course does not justify the US destruction of civilian infrastructure in the first place, but at least there is a recognition that with war comes a responsibility to the innocent civilians. Whether that rebuilding will ever be accomplished is another question, but at least there is a stated policy in this direction.

I only bring this up to contrast it with Israel, which feels no responsibility to its victims in the occupied territories or in Lebanon. The Israeli military invades and causes wanton destruction, deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure. And then withdraws leaving behind a man-made disaster similar to what would result from an earthquake. Israel shirks their responsibility to assist their victims, and then various international relief organizations are left to cleanup the resulting humanitarian disaster and to foot the bill.

An example of the Israeli criminal destruction of civilian infrastructure is the bombing in 2006 of huge oil storage tanks in Lebanon which resulted in the one of the worst environmental disasters in the Mediterranean. The UN has demanded that Israel pay $1 billion for the cleanup, but Israel has refused. In fact Israel has completely ignored requests that came directly from Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations.
This is not the first time Mr Ban has pushed the issue on Israeli actions towards Lebanon in the 2006 war and the resulting environmental damage. In a 2007 report, he called upon the Israelis to honour international law on these issues, and noted that attempts by the United Nations to discuss the situation had gone ignored.

Mr Ban said at the time: “The government of Israel has yet to assume its responsibility” and noted that the UN Environment Programme had sent letters to Israel in Aug 2007 and June 2008.

“No response has been received to either of those communications. In the absence of an official response from Israel, it is difficult to report on progress,” Mr Ban said at the time of the second letter.

The report asked Israel to address its responsibilities to the region as a whole and to take steps to mitigate the environmental effect of not just the Jiyeh bombings, but damage done throughout Lebanon and the region during to the 34-day war. Israel, Mr Ban wrote, needs “to take the necessary actions towards assuming responsibility for prompt and adequate compensation to the government of Lebanon”.
It's no wonder that in a recent visit to Gaza Ban Ki-Moon expressed his "solidarity" with the Palestinian people - he has suffered some indignities of his own at the hands of the Zionists. Just more proof that Israel is a rogue state that repeatedly violates international law. Here is the full statement by Ban Ki-Moon at the site of the still burning UN compound in Gaza.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

It is particularly significant for me as Secretary-General of the United Nations to stand in front of this bombed site of the United Nations compound. I am just appalled. I am not able to describe how I am feeling, having seen this site of the bombing of the United Nations compound.

Everyone is smelling this bombing still. It is still burning. It is an outrageous and totally unacceptable attack against the United Nations. I have protested many times, and am today protesting in the strongest terms, and am condemning it. I have asked for a full investigation and to make those responsible people accountable.

I have come to Gaza to see for myself the extent of the damage caused by the last three weeks of fighting and to demonstrate my solidarity to the population of Gaza, and to assure you of the United Nations and the international community’s full support to help you overcome this difficulty.

I will try to mobilize all humanitarian resources, and I am going to dispatch a humanitarian needs assessment team on Thursday - the day after tomorrow - led by the UNSCO [Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process] Director, Special Representative Mr. [Robert] Serry, and my Humanitarian Coordinator, John Holmes, to lead this mission.

I have also come to Gaza to express my deepest admiration and solidarity with the staff of the United Nations – UNRWA and UNSCO – for their bravery; for their dedicated commitment, to help you, the population of Gaza, during the past three weeks. I commend their leadership, their commitment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have seen only a fraction of the damage. This is shocking and alarming. These are heartbreaking scenes. I am deeply grieved by what I have seen today.

To the people of Gaza I have this to say. I have seen only a fraction of the destruction and suffering caused to this tiny and crowded place by more than three weeks of heavy bombardment, shelling and street fighting on top of months and years of economic deprivation.

I will do all I can, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, to help in this time of need.

I have condemned from the outbreak of this conflict the excessive use of force by the Israeli forces in Gaza.

I view the rocket attacks into Israel as completely unacceptable.

We need to restore a basic respect for civilians. Where civilians have been killed, there has to be a thorough investigation, full explanations and, where it is required, accountability.

International humanitarian law must be upheld and respected by all. I am very worried by the potential long-term impact of the recent crisis on this entire society, and particularly young children. I am sobered by the extent of the damage, and by the extent of relief and recovery challenges ahead. I promise the United Nations will do all we can.

I also want to make an appeal to the Palestinian people. We need Palestinian unity. I know that this is not [inaudible] but without unity we cannot succeed in achieving Palestinian self-determination.

Palestinian unity is the framework for international agreements to be restored, for crossings to be opened, for the whole world to help you build Gaza, for elections, for political negotiations with Israel.

I appeal to Fatah, Hamas, to all Palestinian factions, to reunite within the framework of the legitimate Palestinian Authority. The United Nations will work together with a united Palestinian Government encompassing Gaza and the West Bank.

To the staff of the United Nations, you have my deepest respect and thanks for your hard work. You have performed heroically. I know this is easy to say, but it is very difficult to act. Without you, many more people would have died. Without you, the suffering of thousands upon thousands of innocent people would have been all the more greater. To the world, I have this to say: The repeated violence felt by Palestinians and Israelis is a mark of collective political failure.

A genuine effort was made in 2008, but it was not enough. We all must do more. I will be speaking to many world leaders about what I have seen, including to the new President of the United States. As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will uphold the need for an end of occupation, a just and lasting resolution of the refugee issue, and the creation of a Palestinian state in accordance with international law and resolutions of the Security Council. I believe a massive and united international effort is required to help Palestinians achieve statehood and Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace and security. I am more determined than ever to see this achieved.
Will the Obama administration be a partner in Middle East peace? Will Obama force Israel to completely open up the Gaza border crossings to allow food and other relief supplies to enter into Gaza? While it is nice symbolism for Obama to send Mitchell to Israel and the West Bank just days after his inauguration, the symbolism will ring hollow if it does not lead to the end of the Israeli siege of Gaza - especially now when the people of Gaza are suffering and the eyes of the world are watching. Will Mitchell follow in Ban Ki-moon's footsteps and witness with his own eyes the "heartbreaking" destruction in Gaza? So far Mitchell has indicated that his trip will not include a visit to Gaza, even though events in Gaza are the immediate catalyst for his diplomatic mission.

But of course the Mitchell mission is fundamentally flawed because its stated goal is to create a two state solution, when the only real solution is for one state to emerge in the land called Palestine - a state where all people have equal rights. "For we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal." A "Jewish state" can never satisfy this basic human rights premise. Therefore, the US government must adopt a formal policy of opposition to the ideology of Zionism, and demand that Palestinians be granted the same rights as Jews in Palestine.

The formation of the State of Israel in 1948 by the United Nations was a grave mistake. This has caused needless instability and death and destruction in the Middle East for over 60 years. But just as Apartheid South Africa was dismantled and Germany was reunified, so too a new nation must be created in Palestine based on the principals of Democracy. Only when the peace movement unifies under the principal of a one state solution will we see any real progress towards "Peace in the Middle East".

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Living in a world of pigs

This post is for Sally who left a wonderful complimentary comment on my blog a few days ago. [See bottom of article for comments.] I tend to cringe when I get notified of a new comment. The internet is famous for the bluntness of comments and I have drawn my share of critical comments. Occasionally I will delete the more derogatory ones, but generally I've found that critical comments can lead to interesting and at times even meaningful discussions. But it's always especially nice to get a complimentary comment. It definitely motivates me to continue writing. I hope you enjoy this post Sally.

It's a short poem which was intended to be the lyrics to a song which I never quite completed. The truth is I always wanted to be a singer/song-writer like Bob Dylan. It seems like an easy thing to do, but actually it is the most difficult of all professions. Mostly because it seems to require some sort of God given talent which I don't seem to possess in any great amount. I marvel at the ability of Paul McCartney and John Lennon to turn out song after song with insightful lyrics and striking melodies.

The other day, around the start of the Israeli shelling of Gaza, I woke up with these lyrics in my head and tried to write them down quickly before they evaporated from my mind. I heard them in a dream, but unfortunately I have never had the ability to remember my dreams. So I wrote down what I could remember and tried to fill in the empty spaces and add some more content to make it into a short song or poem.

"A rich rogue, is like a fat hog, who never does good til as dead as a log."
- Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1733

Living in a world of pigs

We're living in a world of pigs
Trying to run me down
I'm not going to let them - Oh no!
They have to go around me - That's right!
I'm going to get in their way.

Gaza got bombed today
What does Israel have to say?
They're the ones that started - Oh yeah!
We're defending ourselves - Uh huh!
Can somebody give me a break?

My neighbor just lost his house
What does Paulson want to do?
Give a trillion dollars - Say what?
To his friends on Wall St. - Ka-ching!
And who do you think's gonna pay?

The car industry is ready to cave
What does Congress plan to do?
Drive home in their Honda's - Zoom zoom
Watch it on their Sony's - Snooze snooze
Say "bye" to cars made in USA

Maddoff stole 50 billion and change
How do you think he's going to pay?
Arrested in his penthouse - Oh nice!
Instead of going to prison - That's right!
Is there no justice today?

Dalai Lama's calling for peace
China says he's a terrorist
Do you believe in Karma? - I do!
Then you know what's coming - Tell me!
An earthquake to make China pay

The cops are takin' over my town
They say to keep the terrorist down
What about my freedom? - Bye-bye
And the Constitution? - Sigh-sigh
Is that just a paper today?

(C) Frank Hope - 2009
When I showed this to a friend, he asked if I really believe that we are "living in a world of pigs"? Well yes I believe that the world is controlled by an elite that has little regard for humanity, but I also intended the lyrics to be somewhat of a comic relief.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Amal Abed Rabbo, age two, shot dead at close range by Israeli soldier

The list of Israeli war crimes go on and on, but this well documented story of a two year old being shot to death by an Israeli soldier is perhaps the most egregious one. Here is the story as reported by Sherine Tadros of AlJazeera.

The details of the story are revealed in various online articles.

From the Guardian, "Child casualties of Israel's war on Gaza: Stories of 10 of the 280 or more children who died during the three-week military operation".

Amal Abed Rabbo, two, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers outside her family's five-storey house in the village of Izbit Abed Rabbo, in eastern Gaza, on 7 January. Shortly after midday, soldiers from an Israeli tank ordered the family out of the house, according to her father, Khalid, 30. There was gunfire from the tank and Amal and her sister Souad, seven, were killed immediately. Another sister, Samer, four, was severely injured – she is now paralysed in hospital in Belgium. Later, the soldiers demolished the house. When she was shot, Amal was carrying her favourite toy, a brown bear, which still lay in the ruins yesterday. Khalid, a policeman under the pre-Hamas authority, said: "Israel knows very well that no one in this house belonged to Hamas. I want to know from the Israeli army: why did they kill my daughters? What have they done?"
From the Age in Australia, "Soldier gunned down my daughters, says Gaza father".
"There were 25 of us in the house, so we started to come outside as we were instructed," Mr Abed Rabbo said.

"On one of the tanks we could see two soldiers … then a third soldier came up from inside the tank and he drew his gun and started firing."

Mr Abed Rabbo, a policeman whose wages are paid by the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, believes his two-year-old daughter Amal was the first to be hit.

"She was shot in the chest and abdomen and you could see her organs coming out," he said.

He said his seven-year-old daughter Souad was shot next, in the neck, chest and abdomen.

A third daughter, four-year-old Samar, was shot three times and sustained severe spinal injuries. She was eventually taken to intensive care at a hospital in Belgium.

Mr Abed Rabbo said his 60-year-old mother was also shot after she screamed at the soldier to stop shooting. She is now recovering in al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

After rushing his daughters to the nearest hospital, Mr Abed Rabbo said he returned to find the five-storey apartment block where he lived was a pile of rubble.
From the BBC, "New evidence of Gaza child deaths".
Samar [Amal's sister] had been shot in the back at close range. The bullet damaged her spine, and she is unlikely to walk again.

At her bedside, her uncle Hassan told us the family had been ordered out of their home by Israeli soldiers who were shelling the neighbourhood.

A tank had parked in front of the house, where around 30 people were taking shelter.

The women and children - mother, grandmother and three little girls - came out waving a white flag and then, he said, an Israeli soldier came out of the tank and opened fire on the terrified procession.

Samar's two sisters, aged seven and two, were shot dead. The grandmother was hit in the arm and in the side, but has survived.

Samar's uncle said the soldier who had shot his niece was just 15m (49ft) away. ''How could they not see they were shooting at children?'' he asked.
This is a case of pure cold blooded murder. Any government that does not do everything within its power to prosecute such a horrific act can only be considered a rogue state living outside the international community of civilized countries. But I fear that as in the case of the brutal murder of Rachel Corrie by an Israeli bulldozer operator, this murder will also go unpunished.

How is it possible that this story goes untold in the US mainstream press. Only the foreign press has carried the story. Is it true that the US press is controlled by the Zionist as claimed by ex-CIA operative Bob Baer.
RB: In American politics, you can't do anything in the Middle East without the approval of Tel Aviv, at least on some level. It's impossible. I mean, I cannot think of a country that is so beholden to a small country like this, even a superpower, in all of history. I can't even think of it.

IPS: And why is that?

RB: Look at New York City. Look at the major newspapers. They have a Zionist agenda. They do. I'm not Jewish. I'm not anything. I don't care about the Israelis. And I'm not anti-Semitic. It's just a fact. I suggested to my publisher writing a book on Israel, and he said forget it. You can't talk about the reality of Israel. The only place you can talk about the reality of Israel is in Israel. They tell you things you will never hear in the United States.

IPS: Like what?

RB: For instance, why are people on Gaza so unhappy? Well, if you had to live in a prison, wouldn't you be unhappy? You would never get that in the New York Times. Look at the New York Times; it's almost an extension of Israel.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama resurrects the farce of a 2-state solution

Right on queue the Obama puppet comes out to declare that "Israel has the right to defend itself". In a statement right from the AIPAC playbook, Obama harshly criticizes Hamas while offering no criticism of Israel.

[See video of Obama delivering his statement here.]

Will the US punish Israel for violating its agreements with the regards to the use of US military equipment? No. Will the US stop sending aid to Israel? No. Does the US seek punishment of Israel for committing war crimes? No. And what do the Gazans who suffered at the hands of the brutal Israelis get? A few words of sympathy.

In fact Israel will be rewarded. The Bush administration and Israel just signed a new deal last week that promises increased sharing of intelligence ostensibly to keep arms from entering Gaza. According to a report from AlJazeera the deal includes US cooperation in "monitoring of waterways". Does this mean the US is going to join Israel in the naval blockade of Gaza? Will the next "Free Gaza" shipment of medical supplies be blocked by a US warship?

And now Obama sends George Mitchell as a special envoy to resurrect the so-called "peace process". Given Obama's unconditional support of Israel this will be used by the Zionist once again as a smokescreen so that they can continue expanding their settlements, while at the sam time the world public is comforted by the false illusion that something is being done to help the Palestinians.

Oh please, haven't we seen this before? If the US really wanted to provide Israel with an incentive to reach a meaningful peace agreement then they would apply a stick to Israel, as they did to Iraq and as they are doing to Iran. As long as the US coddles Israel by providing protection in international bodies like the UN, Israel will continue its Zionist expansion in the occupied territories.

Related posts

Obama sacrificed the Palestinians to win the election

Just a few days ago Obama was saying he couldn't comment on the Israeli assault on Gaza because there is only "one President at a time". Now that Obama is the President and Bush has departed from the White House, what is his excuse?

Why didn't Obama honor the request of Father Manuel Musallam, the pastor of the Catholic parish in Gaza City?

We ask that you offer to God your most ardent prayers and that no Mass or religious service be celebrated without remembering before God the tragedy in Gaza.
Where was Gaza in the prayers that were said at the inauguration? How could we forget their suffering at this time of celebration for so many in the USA? Will the "first Black President of the United States" be only the latest in a series of Presidents that have unconditionally supported Israel's undisrupted 60 year assault on the Palestinian people?

When Amy Goodman asked famed White House Correspondent Helen Thomas this question, here was her response.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you expect to see a change of policy, for example, on Israel and the Occupied Territories?

HELEN THOMAS: No, I don’t.


HELEN THOMAS: Because I think that Obama, during the campaign, made many promises, as every president, potential president does to Israel, that they seem somehow bounded by their promises, promises to uphold all Israeli goals.
Truer words were never spoken. All politicians make promises during their campaigns. Many of these promises are never fulfilled. I for one never expect Obama to offer any meaningful change to the health care system in this country, for example. He has already hinted that given the economic crisis we are experiencing, that some of his campaign promises might be left unfulfilled.

But when it comes to promises made to the Israel Lobby, there is a different standard. As Helen says Presidents seem "bound" by their promises. No matter what the circumstances - political, economical; no matter what Israel does - invade its neighbors, commit war crimes; Israel has the "unwavering" support of the United States. Our Presidents seem "bound" as if chained like a slave, with the whip of the slave master poised and ready to strike at the slightest act of insubordination.

How many Palestinians must be sacrificed on the altar of Zionism before the world rises up and demands that Israel pay for its crimes? Will Israel ever be held accountable?

With the staunchly pro-Israel Hillary Clinton in charge at the State Department, it is guaranteed that no criticism of Israel will be forthcoming from the incoming Obama administration. Here's what JTA, "the global news service of the Jewish people", had to say about Clinton's qualifications.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state designate, has been one of Israel's fastest friends in her eight years in the Senate, taking the lead in bringing to light anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and threatened to obliterate Iran if it launched a nuclear weapon at Israel.
In that same article the JTA expresses their approval of Susan Rice as the United Nations ambassador.
Rice signed onto a Washington Institute for Near East Policy paper last summer calling for greater Israel-U.S. coordination on Iran policy. More recently, in Senate testimony, she accused the world body of singling out Israel for blame.
So what is this power that the Israel Lobby holds over American politics? For the full answer read the book "The Israel Lobby" by Mearsheimer and Walt. The short answer is that it isn't because of the power of Jewish voters which constitute about 4% of the US population, but the power over the media and the ability to destroy a candidate politically through constant attacks.

Obama certainly recognized this political reality, and in order to win the election he realized that he would need to have allies in the Jewish community. Early on he appointed Dan Shapiro to assist in his efforts to sway the Israel Lobby. Here is an excerpt from an Obama campaign press release announcing that Shapiro had "officially" joined the campaign in August 2008. Notice he had already been working with the campaign "unofficially" since 2007.
The Obama campaign announces the appointment of Daniel B. Shapiro as Senior Policy Adviser and Jewish Outreach Coordinator. Dan has been advising the campaign since 2007 on Middle East policy and Jewish community issues, and now will continue this work as a member of the campaign staff.
And now the payoff. Shapiro will reportedly join the Obama administration on the National Security Council as a chief adviser on Middle East Policy. Shapiro by the way is one of the writers of the famous speech that Obama delivered to AIPAC - just in case you were wondering what his views on Israel are. I wonder if he's the one that slipped in the line about an undivided Jerusalem that raised so many protests in the Arab world. This is just one small example of how Obama sold out to the Israel Lobby, and in so doing sacrificed the lives of hundreds if not thousands of Palestinians.

Like Pontius Pilate when Jesus Christ was brought before him for judgement, Obama declared that the case of the Gazans was not within his jurisdiction. Let Bush decide. And Bush threw it back at the Israelis. Let the Israelis decide. And so the innocent men, women and children of Gaza were sacrificed in a modern day crucifixion. Instead of nails and a cross, F-16 jet planes and attack helicopters were used. And who's hand hammered in those nails? The US by blocking early attempts at a cease fire resolution in the United Nations Security Council.

Obama's hands are covered with the blood of Palestinians. He has completed his initiation by the Zionists. Now he is an accomplice in their slow and creeping ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Next he will be called upon by the Israelis to cover-up their crimes with the usual smokescreen of a two state solution. Here is where Obama will be the most useful to the Zionists - as a credible spokesman for the farce of the "peace process". The same "peace process" that has resulted in the Palestinians losing ever more territory and rights.

Obama the O-bamboozler will play the good cop to Israel's bad cop in beating the Palestinians into submission. The purpose is to divide the Palestinians in order to continue their enslavement, and at the same time divide world public opinion by labeling any Palestinians that resist Israeli occupation as "terrorists".

In his inauguration speech Obama spoke these words.
We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
The phrase "those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents" is an apt description of Israel's assault on Gaza. In fact the Israelis have made numerous statements making it clear that this was in fact their objective in Gaza.
  • To advance their political objective of destroying Hamas
  • By terrorizing and slaughtering the civilian population of Gaza
And yet the United States continues to support Israeli policy unconditionally. And the Congress even goes as far as to pass resolutions in the midst of the slaughter of the people of Gaza affirming the "unwavering support" of the US for Israel.

I don't know how to end this article. I don't know what words I can say that could possibly make a difference. I supported Obama early on in the primaries because he spoke out against the US invasion of Iraq, and I thought this was some sort of "coded message" that he would stand up against the Israel Lobby. I didn't know at the time that he already had advisers embedded on his staff that were AIPAC operatives. Like so many others, I was "hoodwinked" and "bamboozled" by the sweet talking Barack Obama.

I think many Obama supporters thought he was just saying what he needed to say to get elected, and then he would "change" once he got into office. Wasn't that what Bush had done to get elected? Didn't he promise to be a "compassionate conservative"? I wonder how long it will take for many liberal Obama supporters to realize that they, along with the Palestinian People, have been betrayed.

Related posts

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A young girl from Gaza joins the Angels

This picture was published in Jerusalem's Al-Quds Newspaper (Jan 4, 2009) - the caption reads as follows.

Gaza - During her funeral in the Latin Patriarchate Church, a citizen kisses the forehead of the martyred Christine Turok (14 yrs old) who was martyred due to a heart attack from fear of the Israeli bombardment. (Reuters).
I found someone else who has written an article on Father Manuel Mussallam. When I read his article, it seems as if we were experiencing the same emotions as we heard this story. Just one of the many stories of the People in Gaza who have suffered through this brutal assault by the Israeli military. The article is on the RamallahOnline website - "news about and from occupied Palestine".

In Father Manuel Mussallam's letter he describes the tragic death of a young Palestinian girl, Christine Wadi al-Turk.
"Christine was in the tenth grade and she died this morning, Friday January 2, as a result of fear and the cold. The windows in her home were open to protect the children from flying glass caused by bomb blasts. The bomb that hit her neighbour's home caused her whole body to shake in horror. She could not bear all this, so she went to complain to her Creator about her situation and request a home and a refuge where there is no crying, screaming or wailing, but joy and happiness."
And now dear reader, I must tell you that I did not believe at first what I saw in the comments of this article. Christine's sister read the article and replied with the following comment. Here is the entire unedited comment from Julie, Christine's sister.
As me being Christen's older sister, I need to clarify that she had no problems in her heart and there has been no offical or Medical resorces that have said that she died from a Heart attack, all what has happened was that she woke up with difficulty in breathing. My sister died of fear.

Here's the story of that night and all of what has happened, please read it to know the truth..
Thank you and God Bless you..

That night was as black as coal, as cold as pole, an as loud as more than you could imagine. The sky was full of black clouds which smelled like burn, and about every two minutes as explosion is heard. That night was the 7th day of the Israeli’s war on Gaza Strip. The ”cast Bullets” war!

My, 15 years old, sister, Christen, was sleeping beside my other, 16 years old, sister and my, 6 years old, brother, on a mattress, on the ground. Beside the mattress, my parents slept on a single-bed. My whole family was sleeping in the same room, that night.

During the shelling, Christen suddenly woke up, on the sound of a very big explosion, near our house, with difficulty of breathing. The extreme number of the rockets and missiles were too much stress for her that she got scared and couldn’t tolerate the continues shelling for 7 days in a row. Although it was very dangerous to go outside in the streets, my father took risk and held his youngest daughter to the car to take her to the hospital in attempt to rescue her. He was racing the time, ignoring the voices of shelling, pretending not to notice the rockets flying above their heads and forgetting the danger they are going through; my father drove under a fire-raining sky, and through an atmosphere full of fear. Despite the fear, the fire, and the danger, her young soul dared everything around her and left her body between her father’s arms and said goodbye to this earthly hell she was living in.

That night, the 2nd of January 2009, another innocent victim has been recorded dead, in order to increase the pleasure of the Israeli’s addiction to the Palestinians death. That victim was my little sister. My little sister who shared me her dreams and ambitions. My little sister who used to always laugh and bring joy to everyone around her. She was a close friend to everyone she knew. Christen knew she was living in an occupied country and her life is completely not the same normal life of other people her age around the world. According to that truth, she tried to make up a world of her own. A world of joy, laughter and dreams; hoping that the real world might change one day. I don’t know if that is a mistake (to try to live the life however and try the best to laugh and dream) but it seems that the answer turned out to be a “YES”; it is a mistake and we, the Palestinians, are forbidden from our least rights in laughing, dreaming, and hoping for a better future.

That night, the war didn’t just kill my sister alone, it left an entire family die every second of a broken heart. The tears and the screams are not enough to describe what am I feeling deep inside my heart, while the sorrow is tearing me apart. There is no words can explain the suffering of my parents neither any condolences can cool down their burning hearts. There is no cure for my other sister’s pain and I of losing our beloved little sister and there is no toys or magical stories can make my little brother forget the memory of that night.

Christen was not the first or the last to die on the Israelis hands, but she was a sample on how simple these monsters can kill.

As an 18 years old girl, I can do nothing to bring my sister back to life, neither do anything to stop the Israelis from killing my nation; all I can do is asking God to rest my sister’s soul in peace and to bless my family and my country, Palestine.

Finally, I am begging whoever have a sense of feelings, to stand up, hand in hand and say ENOUGH to the crime against Palestine.
And here is an article eulogizing the young Christine Turok from the RamallahOnline website. I hope they do not mind that I have copied the text in full.
In a phone conversation today, from Gaza the Latin Patriarchate Church priest, Father Manaweil Musallam, clearly shaken, said, "her name is Christine, a tenth grade student. Her father is a doctor and she lived near the YMCA in Al-Remal area. She died of fear. Since the war started she felt apprehensive of the danger. She suffered from neurotic disorder and a hysteric situation just as many children are suffering. On Friday, during the shooting of F-16 missiles, she fell on the ground due to the dreadful sound. Her father tried to help, but he couldn't. Then he held her in his arms hoping to rescue her in the hospital, but she died before reaching there."

He continued, "the Latin Patriarchate school [where Christine attended] did not face any damages, however, the Rosary Sisters School did face physical damages, since it is located near to the Preventive Security building. Today, no one attended Sunday Mass, no one was able to reach the church...we tried to find an alternative place in the school to do the prayers...I tried to gather the nuns with my own car. Today, the area in which the church is located was shelled, we cannot go there."

Being part of the Greek Orthodox Church, the other congregation in Gaza, means that Christine and her family were looking forward to celebrating their Christmas on January 7th. Instead, they will bury Christine at a time where funerals are a rare commodity, for Gazans cannot keep pace with the mounting dead.

This is one child. One story. There are hundreds more and yet hundreds more about to happen tonight, and tomorrow, and the next day...until this madness ends. When the dust settles and the all the dead are buried, some in mass graves, Gazan's children will return to their overly crowded classrooms to find many empty seats. Another Palestinian generation is being destroyed by Israel's killing machine. The US cares less. The UN cares less. The EU care less. The Arab League cares less.

Palestinians are depending on themselves and all those grassroots solidarity communities around the world to weather this madness.

Christine, farewell. I never met you but love you like I love my 14-yr old daughter Areen nevertheless. Christine you lived 14 years in constant fear. I apologize that I, and the world, could not act swiftly enough to bring you a normal life, a dignified life.

Christine dear, you are one of the older ones to be killed and we need you to be brave to look after all those young children and infants being sent your way by US-supplied Israeli weaponry.

May you rest in peace and find yourself in good company with all those other children. Please look after them and yourself.

You will never be forgotten. Never!

P.S. More words below...words that are starting to feel less and less important as we learn of the massive loss of life.
Related posts

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Father Manuel of Gaza: "Between slavery and death, for us there is no choice"

I wrote an earlier article about Father Manuel Musallam, the pastor of the Catholic parish in Gaza City. I read the news today about the Pope's appeal for peace in Gaza and decided to do a search. I wondered if Father Musallam would even still be alive. First I found this short article titled "Pope expresses support for Christians of Gaza".

Benedict XVI has repeatedly expressed "his closeness to our brothers and sisters living in the Gaza Strip, who have suffered so much because of the persistent conflict that has caused a serious humanitarian crisis." The words come in a statement from the pontifical council Cor Unum, which says that the Pope has decided to send "a concrete sign of his personal support for the small but fervent Catholic presence in Gaza."

"The aid," continues the statement from the dicastery, in charge of managing the pope's charitable initiatives, "has been sent to Fr. Manuel Musallam, pastor of the Church of the Holy Family, to the Missionaries of Charity, and to other religious congregation serving the most vulnerable people in the birthplace of Jesus, now tragically afflicted by death, suffering, destruction, while the people weep for peace."
Upon doing a deeper search I found the following article in Spanish titled "La escalofriante tragedia de Gaza narrada por su párroco" - "The chilling tragedy in Gaza told by its pastor". I searched for an English version, but was unsuccessful. So I've translated it from Spanish using Google translator and then edited it to make it more readable. My apologies to Father Manuel for any errors in translation. I assume the original was in Arabic so some nuances may have been lost in the multiple translations, but I have done my best to convey his original meaning.
GAZA, Saturday, 17 January 2008 ( .- Here is the message that Father Manuel Musallam, parish priest of the Latin Church in Gaza, wrote to an ecumenical prayer meeting for peace and justice in Jerusalem (see ZENIT, January 6, 2009).

* * *

From the Church of God in Gaza to the beloved holy People of Palestine and to the whole World:

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

From this valley of tears, from Gaza drowning in blood, the blood that has stifled the happiness in the heart of one and a half million people, I bring to you these words of faith and hope. I do not use the word "love", that word has been stuck in our throats even in the throats of Christians. The priests of the Church raise the banner of hope so that God will have mercy and compassion on us and to give Him a chance to rest in Gaza, in this manner the light of Christianity that was ignited in the early church, by Deacon Felipe will continue to shine. May the compassion of Christ raise our love up to God, even though at this time it is in "critical condition".

With all my heart as your priest I ask you to pray for the soul of our daughter, our beloved daughter of the Holy Family School, the first Christian who died in this war: Cristina Wadi al-Turk.

She died on Saturday morning, January 2nd 2009, from the effects of fear and cold. The windows of her house had been left open to protect the children from the effect of the bomb blasts on the glass. The rockets passed over her home, affecting the whole neighborhood and causing everything to tremble in an ominous way. She was not able to withstand all that and went to complain to the Creator and ask for a new home in a place where there were no tears or rockets or crying, but only joy and happiness.

Dear brothers in Christ, what you see on your TV screens and what you hear is not the whole Truth of the suffering that the people of Gaza are enduring. Neither television nor radio is capable of transmitting in all its immensity that which is happening in our homeland right now.

The siege of Gaza is a hurricane that has grown little by little until reaching the point where it has converted itself into a crime against humanity. The people of Gaza now present their tragic case for every man of "good will" to pass judgement. In the coming times it will be the time for God to pass judgement.

The children of Gaza, with their parents, are forced to sleep in the hallways of their houses, if they still even have a house, or in the bathrooms, in order to protect themselves, trembling with fear caused by the rumbling and the shaking, the terrible shaking caused by the F-16 jet fighter planes.

It is true that until now the targets of the planes have been mostly the government buildings and the headquarters of Hamas, but all these buildings are located among people's homes from which they are separated by not more than 6 meters, which is the legally allowed distance between buildings. Because of this people's homes suffered severe damage and many children were killed due to this. Our children live in a constant state of panic and terror, and this makes them sick. This and the lack of food, poor nutrition, poverty, cold ... The tragedy that hospitals are going through has reached a critical state. These hospitals, before the war, lacked emergency facilities, and now they are being overwhelmed by thousands of wounded and sick caused by these events, it has reached the point where operations must be done in the hallways of the hospitals. Many of the wounded are sent via the Rafah crossing to Egypt, but those that manage to get through do not return, because the majority die along the way. The people in the hospitals are scared, sad, almost hysterical.

I want to now tell you the story of what happened in the hospital to the family of Abdel Latif. One of his sons disappeared in the first wave of bombings. They looked for him in the homes of his relatives but they did not find him neither on the first nor on the second day of the war. On the third day, when the family was searching for him in the hospital, they came across a member of the Yarad family who was taking care of one of his sons who had been injured and was mutilated. The child had lost one of his legs and his face was disfigured not by the bombs from the aircraft but by the effects of the shock waves caused by the explosions. Pieces of broken glass from the windows were embedded in him when part of the hospital in which he was staying was bombed. Abdel Latif approached to console the Yarad family, but when he saw the injured child, he realized that this child was his son and not the son of the Yarad family. To resolve the dispute between the two families, they decided to wait for the injured child to wake up to and to declare which family he belonged to. In this way the family of Abdel Latif was able to recover their son, who had been cared for by the Yarad family.

I briefly describe this in my letter asking for help from you, and also from God. Our people in Gaza are having to live like wild animals, not people. They eat but they are not nourished; they cry but they have no tears. There is neither water nor electricity nor food, only fear, panic and the blockade ... Yesterday the bakery refused to give me bread. The reason: the man refused to give me bread made with flour that is not healthy, not out of some disrespect for me as a priest. The good flour has all been consumed and now he can only offer what he has left in large quantities, which is flour unfit for human consumption. I for my part have sworn not to eat bread for as long as this war lasts.

We ask that you offer to God your most ardent prayers and that no Mass or religious service be celebrated without remembering before God the tragedy in Gaza. For my part, I continue sending notes to our children to encourage the hope which lies in their hearts. We have decided to pray together every hour this prayer: "Lord of peace, grant us peace. Oh Lord of Peace, grant peace to our country. Lord have mercy, have mercy on your people and do not ever become angry with us." I ask you now to rise and pray with us. Your prayers, united with ours, will move the whole world and will teach us that the miracle of love which has been detained along the way and which still has not reached your brothers in Gaza, is not the love of Christ and his Church . For the love of Christ and the Church political or social differences are not an obstacle, neither are wars or any other cause. When we receive your charity we feel that we here in Gaza have not been forgotten by the rest of the Church of Christ, a holy Church, Catholic, and that our Muslim brothers who are among us are part of our family, our destiny, with whom we share everything and with whom we form, all of us together, the Palestinian people.

But amid all this, the people of Gaza continue to reject war as a solution for peace, and are convinced that the only path to peace is peace itself. In Gaza we are patient and in our eyes you can read: "Between slavery and death, for us there is no choice". We want to live to worship the Lord in Palestine and to bear witness to Christ. We want to live for Palestine, not to die for its cause. But if one day death comes, we will die happily with courage and strength.

We beseech that when you offer your prayers to God that you ask that our Lord Jesus Christ give us true peace, so that "the wolf and the lamb can live together, the ox can graze next to the lion, and a child can put his hand in the mouth of a snake without being bitten".

May the peace of Christ, that peace which invites us to be one body, be with you and protect you. Amen.

Your brother,
Father Manuel Musallam,
Priest of the Latin Church in Gaza

Saturday, January 17, 2009

There is nothing more anti-Semitic than Zionism

The title of this article comes from the lyrics of Long live Palestine! by LowKey. The image above titled "Israel has the Reich to defend itself!" is one that is declared to be officially anti-Semitic by the ADL. It never occurs to the ADL that the ones causing a wave of anti-Semitism are actually the Zionists like those pictured in this image. Here is the description from the ADL website.

The two words in Arabic on the right and the left: "The New Nazis!"

Underneath (left to right) Israeli leaders Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak in Nazi regalia.
Actually, even though the ADL claims to abhor this portrait, I think they are secretly infatuated by the imagery. This is exactly the message they want to send to the Palestinians - that they are more ruthless and cold blooded than anything the Palestinians can imagine in their worst nightmare. And that therefore the Palestinians should bow before the Master Jewish Race. And give in to all demands. If they know what's good for them.

In fact they should go running from the Holy Land of the Fourth Reich before they are exterminated like cockroaches. Which is what they are according to the Zionists. Nothing but animals fit to be slaughtered.

This is intended by the Zionists to be a repeat of Al Nakba - the disaster of 1948 when Palestinians were sent running for their lives by the terrorist Irgun leader Menachem Begin. Later to become the Prime Minister of Israel.

The propaganda is the same; the methods are the same; the racist slogans are the same.

But of course the ADL can only view such comparisons as being anti-Semitic. Let's be clear - according to the ADL, any criticism of Israel or Jewish people is anti-Semitic. The only way to avoid this charge is to accept the motto "Israel - right or wrong!"

As proof, here is a link to a slide-show of Arab editorial cartoons on the ADL website about the ongoing Zionist slaughter of innocent Palestinians. (Including the image at the top of this post.) And here is the ADL's condemnation of these depictions.
Editorial cartoons in Arab newspapers are using age-old anti-Semitic images and motifs to critique Israel’s operation in Gaza, using blood-libel, stereotypical depictions of Jews, comparisons to the Nazis, the Holocaust and allegations of Jewish domination of the United States, the United Nations and the world. Particularly dangerous and disturbing is the use of Nazi imagery to depict Israelis and comparisons of Israel’s actions to the absolute evil perpetrated by the Nazis in the Holocaust. These comparisons and the imagery feed the age-old myths of Jews as a satanic and conniving force which endeavors to take over the world. Such anti-Semitic notions create fodder for hatred and bias by continuing the myths which have plagued the Jewish people for centuries. Furthermore, the images of Jews as Nazis, committing genocide are an insult to the memories of those who perished in the Holocaust and an affront to those who survived the horrors of Nazi Germany.
An insult to the memories of those who perished in the Holocaust? Well that's one Zionist's opinion. What about a Jewish MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman, who's relatives perished in the Holocaust? Let's see what he has to say in this video titled, "UK Jewish MP: Israel acting like Nazis in Gaza".

That's significantly different from the ADL's point of view. But then again he is probably a self-hating Jew and doesn't realize it according to the ADL.

I leave you with this self-description from the ADL website.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
Really? It seems to me that the ADL is spreading hatred, prejudice and bigotry. But then I am probably an anti-Semite without realizing it according to the ADL.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Long live Palestine!

Long live Palestine! by LowKey

This is for Palestine, Ramallah, West Bank, Gaza
This is for the child that is searching for the answer
Wish I could take your tears and replace them with laughter
Long live Palestine!
Long live Gaza!

While we listen to tunes made by ignorant fools
Israel blocked the UN from delivering food
They bring in the troops and you won't even glimpse in the news
They make money off the products that we're quick to consume
And it's not simply a question of differing views
Forget emotions - this is facts - what I speak is the truth
It makes no difference if you're a Christian or if you're a Jew
They are just People living in different conditions to you

They still die when you bomb their Schools, Mosques and Hospitals
It's not because of rockets - please God can you stop this all!
I'm not related to the strangers on the TV
But I relate because those strangers could have been me

Words could never ever explain the raw tragedy
It's not a war - they're just murdering more rapidly!
And we're automatically supporting pure savagery
Imagine how you'd feel if this was Your Family!

Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!

Palestine remains in my heart forever
We stand for Peace in times of War we shan't surrender
Remember... it didn't start in this Dark December
Every coin is a bullet if your Marks & Spencer

And when your sipping coca-cola
That's another pistol in the holster of them soulless soldiers
You say you know about the Zionist Lobby
But you put money in their pocket when you're buying their coffee

Talking about revolution sitting in Starbucks
The fact is that's the kind of thinking I can't trust
Let alone even start to respect
Before you talk learn the meaning of that scarf on your neck
Forget Nestle

Obama promised Israel $30 billion over the next decade
They're trigger happy and they're crazy
Think about that when you're putting Huggies nappies on your baby

Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!

This is not just a war over Stolen Land
Why do think little boys are throwing stones at tanks?
And we'll never really know how many people are dead
They drop bombs on innocent girls while they sleep in their beds

Don't get offended by facts - just try and listen
Nothing is more anti-Semitic than Zionism
So please don't bring bad vibes when you speak to me
There's plenty of Rabbis that agree with me

It's your choice what you do with this message
Don't get confused - I view this from a human perspective
How many more resolutions have to be violated?
How many more children have to be annihilated?

Israel is a terror state
They're terrorists that terrorize
I testify
My television televised them telling lies
This is not a war
It is systematic genocide!

But whatever they try
Palestine will never die!

Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!

Palestine, Ramallah, West Bank, Gaza
This is for the child that is searching for an answer
Wish I could take your tears and replace them with laughter
Long live Palestine!
Long live Gaza!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Asking the tough questions about Gaza

I was watching DemocracyNow! today as I usually do. I've been disturbed by some of the reporting on Gaza by DN!. There has been a heavy reliance on official statements by Israel spokespersons. After hearing a few sentences from one of these Israeli representatives spewing lies which are constantly contradicted by organizations like the United Nations and the Red Cross, I had to jump ahead in the video to keep from throwing things at my computer screen which might damage my laptop.

I'm also concerned by an over reliance on representatives from the Jewish community to interpret events in Gaza. It's fine here and there, but it's becoming a pattern and is distracting from the real suffering of the People of Gaza. I get the feeling that Amy Goodman as a Jew herself, was trying to make a statement that all Jewish people are not in favor of the Israeli assault on Gaza. OK, well Amy if that is your point, why don't you just say so in an editorial statement and move on?

So today it was with some trepidation that I began watching the day's broadcast. Especially after reading the summary of today's feature stories. Not surprisingly one of them was another clearcut example of this genre: " 'Catastrophically Misguided and Incomprehensible Policy' - Renowned Jewish Playwright Tony Kushner Speaks Out Against Israel's Assault on Gaza." Did it have to be a Jewish playwright Amy? If he wasn't Jewish then would his criticism of Israel carry less weight?

Well after watching that piece, I wasn't that impressed by the statement from Tony Kushner, but some of the Jewish women who were at the same protest did make some real heartfelt statements that touched me. Shalom. It is good to here some Jewish voices that sincerely and unapologetically criticize the actions of Israel when the "Jewish state" commits an atrocity of the level of horror which we are witnessing today in Gaza.

Contrast that with the statements from another featured story: "Pro-Israel Supporters Praise Gaza Assault as Justified Despite Mounting Civilian Death Toll". These people could barely restrain themselves from calling for an all out "obliteration" of Gaza and all its inhabitants. It was particularly disturbing to see the Governor of New York, David Paterson, addressing the crowd and supporting Israel's criminal actions. Paterson, as you may know, is blind and black. I had the feeling I was watching Stevie Wonder endorsing the apartheid policies of Israel. Very disturbing.

But the part of today's news show that I ended up most appreciating was one which I never expected would have much to do with Gaza at all. It was the interview with Helen Thomas, the "First Lady of the Press Corps". Helen has been covering the White House since Kennedy. She has traditionally been given the first question to ask at White House press conferences. And when it comes to the US relationship with Israel, she does not hold back.

Here's what she had to say to Amy Goodman on the subject of Israel at the beginning of the interview.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you expect to see a change of policy, for example, on Israel and the Occupied Territories?

HELEN THOMAS: No, I don’t.


HELEN THOMAS: Because I think that Obama, during the campaign, made many promises, as every president, potential president does to Israel, that they seem somehow bounded by their promises, promises to uphold all Israeli goals.

I don’t see how the US can provide F-16s, gunships, Apache gunships, phosphorus, possibly phosphorus, and cluster bombs and so forth to kill helpless people, children who are starving to death. They control the checkpoints. They control the arrivals and departures, supplies and people. And the Americans—President Bush has remained silent to that suffering. He has blocked by a veto at the UN any stoppage of the warfare, and he continues to supply Israel.
I was frustrated, because rather than following up on this particularly strong statement, Amy decided to change the subject. But Helen got right back on the subject the first chance she got.
AMY GOODMAN: Helen Thomas, what would you have asked President Bush if you got a chance yesterday? Did you expect that he would call on you?

HELEN THOMAS: No, but I wish that he had, because I would have—I mean, I would have asked a news question. I would not have gone into the nostalgia, though I’m not criticizing it, because I do think the reporters had to wrap up to find out what he really thought about himself and his legacy. But I would have asked why—why do you continue to support the killing in Gaza? And that’s what we’re doing.

I mean, you can’t remain neutral. I remember the rabbi who spoke at the Martin Luther King march on Washington. Heschel had a cameo appearance, and he said, “The greatest sin of all in the Nazi era was silence.” When you remain silent to the suffering and the incredible aggression against a people, then you are culpable.
Did you hear that Obama? What do you have to say about your silence now? By the time Obama reaches office, the bloodshed in Gaza will be over. It will be too late for the thousands that will have been slaughtered. It will be too late for the many more who will have suffered horrific injuries. It will be too late for all the people of Gaza whose homes have been destroyed, who have suffered the loss of loved ones, who's whole way of life has been destroyed.

Israel's goal is to create "facts on the ground". Israel's ally, the US, gives it time and protection to complete its massacre. Just like the Sharon's troops gave time and protection to the Phalangists to complete their bloody massacre of the innocent Palestinians living in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Here is what Robert Fisk had to say about that massacre in Lebanon in 1982.
But in Beirut, the victims were Palestinians. The guilty were certainly Christian militiamen - from which particular unit we were still unsure - but the Israelis were also guilty. If the Israelis had not taken part in the killings, they had certainly sent militia into the camp. They had trained them, given them uniforms, handed them US army rations and Israeli medical equipment. Then they had watched the murderers in the camps, they had given them military assistance - the Israeli airforce had dropped all those flares to help the men who were murdering the inhabitants of Sabra and Chatila - and they had established military liason with the murderers in the camps.
Certainly the same judgment applies to the US with regards to the current massacre which Israel is committing in Gaza. Here it is, more than twenty years later. And again Israel is murdering innocent Palestinians. Yet the US insists that it is the Palestinians who are the terrorists.

But again, Amy changed the subject. Later, Goodman presented video of two different exchanges with White House spokespersons that relate to Israel. One with Dana Perino, and another with Tony Snow. But Amy didn't ask any follow up questions on the subject of Israel. Even though Helen asked some very tough questions in those segments and followed up with some pointed statements.
HELEN THOMAS: Why is the President letting more people be killed in this situation, instead of going for a ceasefire and calling for restraint, as they have in the past, on both sides?

DANA PERINO: We are calling for a durable ceasefire. That’s what we were trying to establish.

HELEN THOMAS: But why don’t you call it today and stop people from being killed?

DANA PERINO: Well, I think, Helen, strong views are held on this by all sides. We believe that Israel has a right to defend itself, and—

HELEN THOMAS: Do the Gazans have a right to defend themselves?

DANA PERINO: blah, blah, blah...

HELEN THOMAS: The President did not recognize their election, which was fair and square under international law, as observers—

DANA PERINO: blah, blah, blah...

HELEN THOMAS: So knowing that, why did the US cut off all relation—all aid to the people?

DANA PERINO: blah, blah, blah...
There is a similar exchange with Tony Snow in 2006 with regards to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. And here is Amy's follow up after showing a piece where Tony Snow thanked Helen for giving the "Hezbollah view" of events.
AMY GOODMAN: Helen Thomas, you were born in Kentucky, your parents, Lebanese Christians. Your Arab American background, do you think that informs—or how does it inform your reporting?

HELEN THOMAS: Of course. I have a background and an understanding of what’s happened in the Middle East that a lot of people don’t have, because there’s been no interest. But why shouldn’t I project some of my feelings and so forth? I mean, I have that right, as an opinion column. But also, I hope I seek justice. And I don’t think that I go off the highway.
Where the heck did that question come from Amy? Did you really think that it was important to inform your audience that her parents were Lebanese Christians? I'm surprised Helen didn't come back with, "Well Amy you're a Jewish American, the granddaughter of an Orthodox rabbi and the great-granddaughter of a chassidic rabbi. You have relatives who died in the Holocaust and spent part of your youth in Israel. How does that inform your reporting?"

And again Amy changed the subject from Israel and the Middle East. At the end of the interview Amy asks how Helen will respond to an Obama administration.
AMY GOODMAN: And finally, do you have your first question planned for President Barack Obama?

HELEN THOMAS: Sure. I have a thousand of them. I say, you know, what are you going to do to fulfill your ideals that so expressed on the campaign trail? Or are you going to submit, like most presidents, just follow through, make—try to carry out your promises that don’t—that have no meaning except for how many people gave you money?

AMY GOODMAN: Today, Hillary Clinton goes before the Senate, before her colleagues, to be questioned before her confirmation hearing as Secretary of State. Your thoughts on the First Lady, who you covered for many years, now becoming the Secretary of State? And the question you would ask her?

HELEN THOMAS: Question I would ask here is, what’s she going to do about the Middle East? She’s been all on all sides of the question. She first proposed a Palestinian state when she ran in New York. Understandably, she pulled back on that. I don’t know where she stands, and I don’t think it matters where she stands. It’s probably where does Obama stand?
So Helen is right back on topic. Is Obama going to followup on his promises to end the Iraq War and negotiate with Iran? Or has he sold out to AIPAC? What's Secretary of State Clinton going to do about the situation in Palestine? Will she stand up to the pressure from Israel, or like the outgoing Secretary of State Rice be manhandled by the Israeli government?

So to Amy Goodman... I like your show. Otherwise I wouldn't listen to it everyday. But you would be better off treating Israel just like any other country in the world. Jews in America do not help their cause by being protective of Israel. I think this one unidentified women on another segment of the show got it right.
"I think it’s really important. I mean, in a way, this is a human issue for every person, not just the Jewish people. But I think it’s extremely important right now that Jewish people be out and visible and make it clear that, as Jews, as people who have experienced genocide against our people, that we understand that the Palestinians are today’s Jews. And if we learned the lesson of the Holocaust, the lesson is we need to be out and we need to speak for Gaza, as we had always wanted people to speak for us."
This is what I would expect from the Jewish People. Otherwise Jews are just using the Holocaust as a shield to protect themselves from criticism while lashing out with a sword against the Palestinians.

Visit updated post: "Ich bin ein Palestinian"

I don't have a new post today, but I have updated a previous post from May 2008 titled "Ich bin ein Palestinian" - "I am a Palestinian". I think all of us who care about the future of humanity can echo these words today. I have taken the liberty to revise the famous speech by JFK at the Berlin Wall at the height of the Cold War. I do it with all respect to the memory of President Kennedy.

For those Redditors that follow my webpage, I just want to say thank you. And I apologize for not putting a Reddit button on my site, similar to the Digg button. I have tried, but the button was not working properly. The problem was that it was not linking to the Reddit page. I'll give it another shot this weekend.

I do want to add that Reddit is many times more powerful than Digg. I can see this from the statistics returned from my blog. The most hits I ever got in a day from Digg was 1,000. With Reddit I have received as many as 5,000 hits in one day. Once the assault on Gaza has ended, I plan to write an article on this subject. For now, all my attention is focused on Gaza.

I've started writing an article on the complicity of Fatah and Egypt in Israel's War Crimes. I hope to finish it this weekend. Israel could not pull off this horrific crime without help from others. Of course we all know about the assistance Israel receives from the US and the EU, but what about the role of Arab governments? Clearly there are many people in the Arab world that wished to see the destruction of Hamas and are happy to allow Israel to do the job for them. Of course they cry out that they support the People of Gaza, but they don't lift a finger to stop the massacre.

This is the sad Truth. The situation is not unlike Spain in the 1930's when many governments backed the Fascists in order to eliminate the Communists. Politicians don't care how many people must die to achieve their political objectives. Like Pontius Pilate, they have blood on their hands. And no matter how many lies they say, they cannot wash the blood of the innocents from their hands. The people on the streets understand this - whether it is the Arab streets or the streets of Europe. When will we be able to take the power out of the hands of those who abuse it for their own gain?


Monday, January 12, 2009

Young Palestinian witness of Israeli War Crime in Gaza recalls the events

If you have been following the events in Gaza closely as I have, then you have surely heard about the tragic story of young children rescued by the Red Cross who were found starving next to their dead mothers. AlJazeera has done an interview with these children. I cannot imagine the nightmares that these young innocents are suffering at night. Once again AlJazeera and its reporters and crews should receive the highest praise for their fearless reporting in Gaza. In fact I think AlJazeera should receive a Pulitzer Prize, or whatever is the equivalent for video journalism, for their reporting from Gaza during this Israeli invasion.

Here are some excerpts from the print version of this story from AlJazeera titled "Shelled family recounts Gaza horror"

Ahmed Samouni, who was left for days amidst the dead bodies of his mother and four brothers, witnessed what many are calling a massacre.

The horror that the 16-year-old has seen is hard for him to put into words, but the effects are written all over his face.

"It was the third missile I remember. The other ones had killed my elder brother and injured people, they kept bleeding. But the third missile, that killed them all," he said in between sobs.

"My brother was bleeding so much and right in front of my eyes he died. My other brother Ismail, he also bled to death.

"My mum and my youngest brother, they are gone. Four brothers and my mother, dead. May God give them peace."

On January 7, paramedics finally brought the dead and injured to hospital, after they had spent four days trapped in their home in the Zeitoun neighbourhood.
In this previous report (from British TV) Katharine Ritz, head of the International Red Cross in Israel and Palestine, makes some stunning accusations [at 1:00 in video] against the Israeli government with regards to this incident. This is followed [at 4:35 in video] by Mark Regev, the Israeli Prime Minister's spokesman defending Israel's actions while being repeatedly challenged by the journalist conducting the interview.

Here is the official statement from the International Red Cross.
8-01-2009 News release 09/04
Gaza: ICRC demands urgent access to wounded as Israeli army fails to assist wounded Palestinians

Geneva/Jerusalem/Tel Aviv (ICRC) - On the afternoon of 7 January, four Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) managed to obtain access for the first time to several houses in the Zaytun neighbourhood of Gaza City that had been affected by Israeli shelling.

The ICRC had requested safe passage for ambulances to access this neighbourhood since 3 January but it only received permission to do so from the Israel Defense Forces during the afternoon of 7 January.

The ICRC/PRCS team found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses.

In another house, the ICRC/PRCS rescue team found 15 other survivors of this attack including several wounded. In yet another house, they found an additional three corpses. Israeli soldiers posted at a military position some 80 meters away from this house ordered the rescue team to leave the area which they refused to do. There were several other positions of the Israel Defense Forces nearby as well as two tanks.

"This is a shocking incident," said Pierre Wettach, the ICRC's head of delegation for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. "The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded."

Large earth walls erected by the Israeli army had made it impossible to bring ambulances into the neighbourhood. Therefore, the children and the wounded had to be taken to the ambulances on a donkey cart. In total, the ICRC/PRCS rescue team evacuated 18 wounded and 12 others who were extremely exhausted. Two corpses were also evacuated. The ICRC/PRCS will recover the remaining corpses on Thursday.

The ICRC was informed that there are more wounded sheltering in other destroyed houses in this neighbourhood. It demands that the Israeli military grant it and PRCS ambulances safe passage and access immediately to search for any other wounded. Until now, the ICRC has still not received confirmation from the Israeli authorities that this will be allowed.

The ICRC believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded. It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable.
It's highly unusual for the Red Cross to publicly criticize the actions of one side over another in a conflict. They have a very strong interest in maintaining their neutrality. Yet in this case the ICRC has openly condemned the actions of the Israeli military. Will Israel now condemn the Red Cross and accuse them of anti-Semitism and siding with the "Islamo-fascists"? Is AlJazeera spreading Hamas propaganda when it reports on these incidents?