Human Rights

Israel shuts down Palestinian groups in Jerusalem

The Electronic Intifada, November 18, 2011 The recent forced closures of Palestinian nonprofit organizations in Jerusalem is an example of the Israeli authorities’ continued attacks on the city’s Palestinian identity and their attempts to maintain control over occupied East Jerusalem, according to local human rights groups. “The purpose is to control and undermine the role of Palestinian civil society and [its] efforts in Jerusalem,” Rashad Shtayyeh, the activities coordinator at the Civic Coalition to Defend Palestinians’ Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ), told The Electronic Intifada by email. ... Israel

Turkey's Syrian Ambit: New War in the Making

Jeremy Salt, Palestine Chronicle, November 18, 2011 Ankara - Possibly for the first time in the life of the Turkish republic, a Turkish government has adopted a policy of open, unprovoked confrontation with a neighboring country. The citizens of that country, Syria, are flabbergasted. Turkey spent years repairing relations with neighbors under the banners of soft power, strength in depth and 'zero problems'. At every level, the outcome was very positive. Some months ago, however, under the impact of the so-called 'Arab spring', that policy was abandoned virtually overnight. It has been replaced by threats, belligerence and support for an armed group seeking the overthrow ... Turkey

Syria targeted for imperialist intrigue after Arab League suspension

Chris Marsden, World Socialist Web Site, November 18, 2011 Wednesday’s three-day deadline by the Arab League for Syria to meet its terms is a political provocation. It presents terms that the Syrian government cannot possibly accept, to allow other Middle Eastern regimes to continue an imperialist-backed intervention against Damascus. The Arab League plan calls on Syria to withdraw its tanks from restive cities, cease attacks on protesters, release prisoners and engage in dialogue with the opposition. Under present conditions, this would require the Baathist regime of President Bashar al-Assad to commit political suicide. ... Syria

Freedom Riders on the West Bank?

Bill Fletcher, jr., Z Net, November 14, 2011 When I first heard about the planned Freedom Rides scheduled for Tuesday, November 15th to take place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories I realized that this was a brilliant tactic. Much as with the Freedom Rides that were used in the USA to dramatize the violence of Jim Crow segregation in the South, and later the Immigrant Freedom Rides to dramatize the plight of immigrants, the Palestinian Freedom Rides are about dramatizing violence - the violence that the Palestinian people face every day as a result of the Israeli Occupation. In my visit to Palestine this past June, the problem of transportation was discussed ... Freedom

From the American South to the West Bank

A Freedom Rider bears witness to human rights in Israel/Palestine. Rabbi Brant Rosen, Mondoweiss, November 8, 2011 On November 15, Palestinian activists will attempt to board segregated Israeli settler public transport headed to occupied East Jerusalem in an act of civil disobedience inspired by the Freedom Riders of the US Civil Rights Movement. Fifty years after the US Freedom Riders staged mixed-race bus rides through the roads of the segregated American South, Palestinian Freedom Riders will be asserting their right for liberty and dignity by disrupting the military regime of the Occupation through peaceful civil ... From

Black America and Obama’s Foreign Policy

Bill Fletcher, jr., Carl Bloice & Jamala Rogers, Z Net, November 3, 2011 In the face of the deployment of 100 US troops to Uganda and the assassination of unindicted accused Al Qaeda operative and US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by the Obama administration, and a clear pattern of increased militarization of  US policy toward Africa there is a serious question to be posed to Black America: where is the outcry? It is no rhetorical flourish to say that the foreign policy of the Obama administration, far from representing a qualitative break with that of the Bush administration, has proven in most spheres to be continuity. ... Black

Boats to Gaza Stopped by Israeli Warships

US to Gaza, November 4, 2011

At 7:43 AM (east coast time) ground support crew lost contact with two ships, the Saoirse of Ireland and the Tahrir of Canada, carrying 27 civilian passengers, medical supplies and letters of support for the people of Gaza. On board the Tahrir is one American, Kit Kittredge.

US Planning Troop Buildup in Gulf After Exit From Iraq

Thom Shanker & Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, October 30, 2011 MacDill Air Force Base, Florida - The Obama administration plans to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf after it withdraws the remaining troops from Iraq this year, according to officials and diplomats. That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran. The plans, under discussion for months, gained new urgency after President Obama’s announcement this month that the last American soldiers would be brought home from Iraq by the end of December. ... US

Ahlam and Nezar, A Palestinian Couple Released in The Prisoner Exchange

James M. Wall, Wallwritings, October 29, 2011 Two young Palestinians, Ahlam and Nezar Tammimi, were among the 477 Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli prisons October 18. They were in the first contingent of what is supposed to become more than one thousand Palestinians released in an exchange for Israeli Sergeant Gilad Shalit. The Western media covered the exchange as a story about the lone Israeli soldier involved. Television captured the dramatic scenes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeting the young man who had spent five years in an Hamas prison. The Western public saw and read virtually nothing about the 477 Palestinians ... Ahlam

Pakistan: Reversing The Lens

"Terrorism is not a statistic for us." - Asif Ali Zardari, president of Pakistan. Conn Hallinan, Portside, October 26, 2011 This is a Pakistani truism that few Americans understand. Since the US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, Pakistan has lost more than 35,000 people, the vast bulk of them civilians. While the US has had slightly over 1800 soldiers killed in the past 10 years, Pakistan has lost over 5,000 soldiers and police. The number of suicide bombings in Pakistan has gone from one before 2001, to more than 335 since. For most Americans, Pakistan is a two-faced "ally" playing a double game in Central Asia ... Pakistan

United States Foreign Policy Does Not Respect Human Life

Harry Targ, Diary of a Heartland Radical, October 24, 2011 "The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner ... We value life and human dignity. They don't care about life and human dignity." General William Westmoreland interviewed in Hearts and Minds (1974), a documentary about the Vietnam War. This past week American politics took a peculiar turn. A new narrative about the Obama administration began to be systematically presented to the liberal media audience. Reviewing his three-year-old administration, the new construction is that on the national security front Obama is markedly more tough and effective than Republicans claim. ... United

I Woke Up One Morning And the War Was Over

Mike Ferner, War Is A Crime, October 24, 2011 America’s war in Iraq is over. The last US troops will leave by year’s end, “with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.” So sayeth President Obama. A “sham of a mockery of a sham” is what Groucho would call Obama’s announcement and he would be right. For several reasons Mr. Marx would be much closer to the truth than Mr. Obama. Even with “all” troops pulled out ... well ... who knows about Special Forces since their presence in a country never seems to really equal a “troop presence.” ... I

Captured soldier Gilad Shalit freed in Israeli-Palestinian prisoner exchange

Alex Lantier, World Socialist Web Site, October 19, 2011 Yesterday Hamas released captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to the Egyptian government in exchange for the release of 1,027 Palestinians detained by Israel. Shalit had spent five years in captivity, after being captured in a June 2006 attack near the Gaza border. Shalit gave a brief interview to Egyptian Nile TV, and Egypt then transferred him to Israeli custody. After receiving confirmation that Shalit was in Egyptian hands, Israel began releasing a first group of 477 Palestinian prisoners to points in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. The remaining 550 prisoners are to be released in two months. ... Captured

How the West won Libya

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, October 22, 2011 They are fighting over the carcass as vultures. The French Ministry of Defense said they got him with a Rafale fighter jet firing over his convoy. The Pentagon said they got him with a Predator firing a Hellfire missile. After a wounded Colonel Muammar Gaddafi sought refuge in a filthy drain underneath a highway - an eerie echo of Saddam Hussein's "hole" - he was found by Transitional National Council (TNC) "rebels". And then duly executed. Abdel-Jalil Abdel-Aziz, a Libyan doctor who accompanied Gaddafi's body in an ambulance and examined it, said he died from two bullets, one to the chest, one to the head. ... How

The US power grab in Africa

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, October 21, 2011 Beware of strangers bearing gifts. Post-modern Amazon and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally landed in Tripoli - on a military jet - to lavish praise on the dodgy Transitional National Council (TNC), those opportunists/defectors/Islamists formerly known as "North Atlantic Treaty Organization rebels". Clinton was greeted on Tuesday "on the soil of free Libya" (her words) by what the New York Times quaintly described as an "irregular militia" (translation: a heavily armed gang that is already raising hell against other heavily armed gangs), before meeting TNC chairman Mustafa Abdel-NATO (formerly known as Jalil). ... The

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