Thursday, March 19, 2009
Iraq War Anniversary
March 18, 2009
Alper is the producer and co-director of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," a film that documents a pattern of falsehoods disseminated by successive administrations and major media to go to war, as well as a series of rationalizations to keep wars going. The film highlights the Iraq war, but shows similar patterns in conflicts over several decades.
The film features Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, and is narrated by Sean Penn.
Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a colonel and a former U.S. diplomat who resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the war in Iraq. In December 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She has been to Gaza twice in the last month.
Wright said today: "As we're going into the seventh year of the U.S. war in Iraq and continuing in the midst of the eighth year in Afghanistan -- and as we've seen U.S.-made missiles smash Gaza, there seems to be plenty to be discouraged about.
"Two months into the new administration, there's much to press it about. The longer the U.S. military stays in these places, the more damage is done and the more our national security will be jeopardized."
On Wednesday afternoon Wright will be at a hearing of a Senate subcommittee on military suicides.
On Saturday, she will be participating in a march on the Pentagon against war and occupation. A listing of protests around the U.S. is online.
Wright can also comment on the just-released "Report on Sexual Assault in the Military." She is the co-author of the book Dissent: Voices of Conscience.
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
From Opinion: Six years later, Iraq lessons still unheeded by Alexia Gilmore
On March 19, 2003, in the aftermath of Sept. 11, the United States launched the Iraq war. Today, six years, hundreds of thousands of military and civilian deaths and $600 billion later, President Barack Obama is telling us the United States is beginning its departure.
But what is waiting in the wings so clearly — so painfully — is the escalation of the Afghanistan/Pakistan crisis. The Obama administration will push this escalation, just as President Bush pushed Iraq. Such is the purview of the party in power. So, let us reflect on Iraq as a prequel to what surely is pending in this next theater of conflict.
Not only has the Iraq war failed to accomplish any meaningful goals when compared to its human and financial costs, it has steeled the resolve of terrorists and other enemies of the United States. In that sense, the war has compromised our security, not protected it.
The public was led down the garden path to justify the Iraq war, as a result of emotion and false information in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Powerful interests and the agendas of government and certain industries also played a central role.
Green Bay soldier who protested against Iraq war expects to face discipline as he rejoins unit
GREEN BAY, Wis. —
A U.S. Army spokesman says the Wisconsin reservist who staged a one-month protest of the Iraq war will be disciplined when he rejoins his unit.
Army Lt. Col. Nathan Banks said Tuesday the commanding officer will decide on the nature of the discipline.
Army Spc. Kristoffer Walker of Green Bay had come home on a two-week leave last month. He refused to go back, saying the war is illegal and immoral.
The 28-year-old changed his mind after the Army threatened repercussions. He says he realized the military has the power to ruin his life.
Walker is scheduled to fly out Wednesday for the unit's remaining four months overseas.
He says he's on friendly terms with his fellow reservists, and he doesn't think there will be reprisals from superior officers.
Information from: Green Bay Press-Gazette, http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com
Seeeing Red Library
Welcome! The Seeeing Red Library is a small project focused on making underground literature available to everyone. The power of information is very great and I would like to enable as many people as I possibly can to access the texts inside of this library. If you somehow find this website please tell a friend about it. Learn, Teach, Anarchy and Peace!
From the Alliance for Human Research Protection :
Study 15 was pivotal to AstraZeneca gaining FDA approval to market Seroquel. The burial of negative data suggests that the approval process was tainted and the drug's license should be recalled.
A front page report by Shankar Vedantam in The Washington Post (below) about AstraZeneca's manipulation of research findings involving its antipsychotic, Seroquel (quetiapine) gets to the heart of the corrupting influence that pharmaceutical companies have on American medicine--both on its research and clinical practice guidelines--psychiatry, in particular has been compromised to its core.
Indeed, the evidence of corruption in psychiatry is so overwhelming that an editorial Robert Freedman, the editor in chief, of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the flagship journal of the American Psychiatric Association acknowledges:
"Even if most doctors are ethical, corporate grants, gifts and underwriting have compromised psychiatry." "The subsidy that each of us has been receiving is part of what has fueled the excesses that are currently under investigation."
The Post reports:
"The saga of Study 15 (1997) has become a case study in how drug companies can control the publicly available research about their products, along with other practices that recently have prompted hand-wringing at universities and scientific journals, remonstrations by medical groups about conflicts of interest, and threats of exposure by trial lawyers and congressional watchdogs."
Internal documents, the Post reports, show that company officials were worried because 45% of the Seroquel patients had experienced what AstraZeneca physician Lisa Arvanitis termed "clinically significant" weight gain. The documents reveal that rather than "coming clean" about the risk, the company put a "positive spin" on "this cursed study" and praised Dr. Lisa Arvanitis for having: "done a great 'smoke and mirrors' job!"
Two years after those exchanges, in 1999, the documents show that "the company presented different data at an American Psychiatric Association conference and at a European meeting. The conclusion: Seroquel helped psychotic patients lose weight."
~ more... ~
Posted by Dave Muller on Southnews :
The listing of potential international law breaches comes as the UN
Human Rights Committee prepares to hold a review into Australia's human
rights record in New York over the next fortnight.
UN, Australia and Aboriginal Rights.
Source: Nuclear Disarmament Party 18 Mar 09
Age: United Nations to query Australia on possible human rights breaches
13 Mar 09: "PARTS of Australia's immigration and indigenous
policies have been named potential human rights violations
by the United Nations. ... The listing of potential
international law breaches comes as the UN Human Rights
Committee prepares to hold a review into Australia's human
rights record in New York over the next fortnight. The UN
panel has made particular note of the suspension of the
Racial Discrimination Act for the indigenous intervention
in the Northern Territory ... " Tom Arup, Canberra
NIT: NT intervention an 'embarrassment', Amnesty tells UN
17 Mar 09: "Amnesty International plans to embarrass the
Rudd government on the international stage this week over
what it says are on-going human rights abuses in Australia.
Amnesty says the federal government intervention in remote
Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory is a
"clear-cut" breach of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR). ... Amnesty's report is also
critical of Labor's failure to support the UN Declaration
of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, despite promising to
do so before the 2007 election." Julian Drape
ABC Radio Australia:
Australia in 'flagrant' breach of rights, says Amnesty
16 Mar 09: "The human rights group Amnesty International
says Australia is flagrantly breaching its human rights
obligations by continuing to suspend race discrimination
laws in some Aboriginal communities. ... Amnesty's report
on the intervention will be presented to the UN Human
Rights Committee in New York this week, where Australia's
human rights record is under review." Linda Mottram
ABC: NT Intervention breaches international law: Amnesty
16 Mar 09: "Amnesty International says Australia is
breaching its international obligations by suspending race
discrimination laws as part of the Northern Territory
intervention. ... Amnesty says Australia should make the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights part
of domestic law, possibly through a bill of rights."
Freedom Respect Equality Dignity: Action
NGO Submission to the Human Rights Committee:
Australia's Compliance with the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights
Sep 2008: "This submission to the Human Rights Committee
has been prepared by the National Association of Community
Legal Centres, the Human Rights Law Resource Centre and
Kingsford Legal Centre, with substantial contributions from
over 50 NGOs. This submission is supported, in whole or in
part, by more than 200 NGOs across Australia. ... "
Includes sections on Article 1 - Right of Self-Determination:
* Recognition of Self-Determination for Indigenous Australians
* Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
* The Stolen Generations
* Intervention into Northern Territory Indigenous Communities
* Native Title
Human Rights Law Resource Centre:
Indigenous Rights: Request for Urgent Action on NT
Intervention from UN CERD (Jan 2009)
"The Centre is acting for a group of 20 Indigenous
Australians affected by the Northern Territory Intervention
– introduced by the Howard Government and continued by the
Rudd Government – who have submitted a Request for Urgent
Action to the United Nations saying that Australia is in
breach of its obligations under the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination. ... "
SMH: Australia will sign UN charter on indigenous rights: Dodson
12 Mar 09: "AUSTRALIA could reverse its position on a
United Nations charter of indigenous rights as early as
May, the Australian of the Year, Professor Mick Dodson,
says. ... it is Rudd Government policy to support the
declaration and it has been looking for a way to reconcile
support with its own approach to indigenous affairs." Joel
Gibson Indigenous Affairs Reporter
ABC AM: Racism conference needs Australia
12 Mar 09: "TONY EASTLEY: The Federal Government will soon
have to make up its mind on whether to attend a
controversial United Nations conference on racism next
month. Already the US, Israel, Canada and Italy have
announced they will boycott the forum in Geneva. ... "
From Pakistan daily The News :
Hizbullah chief vows never to recognise Tel Aviv
Sunday, March 15, 2009
WASHINGTON/BEIRUT: A study conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has cast doubt over Israel's survival beyond the next 20 years.
The CIA report predicts “an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution, as the most viable model based on democratic principles of full equality that sheds the looming spectre of colonial Apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947/1948 and 1967 refugees. The latter being the precondition for sustainable peace in the region.”
The study, which has been made available only to a certain number of individuals, further forecasts the return of all Palestinian refugees to the occupied territories, and the exodus of two million Israeli - who would move to the US in the next fifteen years.
“There is over 500,000 Israelis with American passports and more than 300,000 living in the area of just California,” International lawyer Franklin Lamb said in an interview with Press TV on Friday, adding that those who do not have American or western passport, have already applied for them.
“So I think the handwriting at least among the public in Israel is on the wall...(which) suggests history will reject the colonial enterprise sooner or later,” Lamb stressed.
He said CIA, in its report, alludes to the unexpectedly quick fall of the apartheid government in South Africa and recalls the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, suggesting the end to the dream of an 'Israeli land' would happen 'way sooner' than later.
The study further predicts the return of over one and a half million Israelis to Russia and other parts of Europe, and denotes a decline in Israeli births whereas a rise in the Palestinian population.
Lamb said given the Israeli conduct toward the Palestinians and the Gaza strip in particular, the American public—which has been voicing its protest against Tel Aviv's measures in the last 25 years—may 'not take it anymore'.
Meanwhile, Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday his movement would never recognise Israel, rejecting a US precondition for dialogue with the group it considers a terrorist organisation.
“To those who impose conditions on us, we say: We will never recognise Israel,” he said in a speech during celebrations of Eid-Milad-un- Nabi.
The White House said on Tuesday that both Palestinian movement Hamas and Lebanese group Hizbullah must renounce violence and recognise Israel before they can expect even low-level US engagement.
“We reject the American conditions ... Today, tomorrow and after 1,000 years and even until the end of time, as long as Hizbullah exists, it will never recognise Israel,” Nasrallah said.
A senior US official said Thursday he was unhappy with a British decision to open low-level contact with Hizbullah and suggested London only indirectly informed the new US administration ahead of time.
Nasrallah also saluted recent moves to smooth over Arab differences, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt seeking to improve ties with Syria, which has supported Hizbullah. “All Arab reconciliation reinforces us,” he said. He called for Riyadh and Cairo to “extend a hand” to Iran, Hizbullah's main backer.
An Hizbullah-led alliance has veto power over major decisions in the current unity government formed in July following a political crisis that brought Lebanon to the brink of civil war. Legislative elections are set for June 7 in Lebanon.
[ via Southnews ]
18 March 2009 - FOCUS News Agency
Athens. Greek government’s decision to penalize the wearing of hoods has triggered the opposition’s reaction and was slammed by jurists, Greek Antenna television announced.
On Tuesday Justice Minister said the people who were wearing hoods or hiding their faces and were arrested during vandalism incidents would have their sentences increased by between two or ten years. The aim of the government is to deal with the masked groups who are regularly involved in vandalism incidents and clash with the police.
In the parliament Minister of Economy Yannis Papathanasiou said “we have to decide what type of police we want and whether the police would observe the laws or would stay with their hand in their pockets.”
According to opposition PASOK the government is fooling the public.
Deputy chairman of the lawyers’ association in Athens Dimitris Varbesos says that after the introduction of the new measures Greece will have a reserved place in the European Court of Human Rights. He says the measures are not serious, but have an image character. Chairman of the prosecutors’ union Sotiris Bayas thinks the measures do not have a perspective and opposes them.
From GR Reporter :
Greeks want their hoods back and inviolability in universities
Greeks want their hoods back and they are not so worried about hooliganism. This became clear after the government suggested yesterday that strict measures should be applied for those who wear hoods and hide their faces during protests and demonstrations. The news broadcasts of the big Greek TV stations Mega, Alpha, Alter, and Antenna dedicated much of their air time on the government’s intentions to curb the Athenian troublemakers and gave voice to journalists, lawyers, and the opposition, who basically rejected the new measures.
The viewers who watched last night’s debates found out that the strict punishments, when someone hides their face, are dictatorship, police, and state terrorism manifestations. Let us remind you that wearing a hood, by itself is not a crime. But if someone is committing a crime and wearing a hood, then his punishment will be aggravated compared to not wearing a hood or a mask. For example, this way the punishment for a small hooligan act can be increased with 2 to 10 years because of the hood and for more serious crimes, including murder, the punishment can reach life in prison.
Kostas Karamanlis’ government was pressured to act with more strict measures, in order to secure the public peace in Athens and in other big cities. The street riots, which started last year on December 6th after the death of the 16 year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, brought many damages mainly to the small and middle businesses in the center of the Greek capital. Damages, which exceed €1 billion. The cherry on top of the ice-cream was last week, when vandals raged unpunished in the central neighborhood Kolonaki.
Though, in Greece there is a public will and a consensus for dealing with street hooligans. The media, opposition and right-protecting organizations also reject the other suggestion of the Justice Minister – to abolish the inviolability of all universities. According to Greek law, the police do not have the right to enter universities without a court order. It is a practice after every riot in Athens, the vandals to enter universities, where they take off their hoods and masks, get mixed with the students and disappear. And until the police get a court order, the hooligans are already gone. The police remind that one “hooligan crusade” happens very fast. The damaging takes only few minutes and the place of action is chosen in a way to have a university nearby as a sanctuary.
The Greek Communist Party and the Coalition of the Radical Leftists are certain that the inviolability of universities should not be abolished. PASOK said that the current laws are enough, they just need to be applied right, in order to fight hooliganism. The only ones who agreed with the measure were the nationalistic Party LAOS.
From The Earth Times :
Greek government considering punishing demonstrators who wear masks
Athens - The Greek government is considering punishing demonstrators who wear hoods or masks as part of its effort to battle the ongoing wave of violence that has plagued the country since the police shooting of a teenager in December, officials said Tuesday. "The Greek citizen does not hide and is not afraid of showing his face, especially when he is protesting," said Justice Minister Nikos Dendias.
He said the use of hoods or masks during demonstrations to hide identities would be perceived as incriminatory instances and punishable by law.
Dendias said the new measure was among many the government was looking at enforcing to protect the public following major riots in December and a spate of attacks by far-left militant groups.
The government has promised to reorganize parts of its police force by creating a rapid-response unit for central Athens and has asked the assistance of Scotland Yard.
Counter-terrorism experts from Britain, who helped Greek authorities break up the terrorist organization November 17 in 2003, reportedly arrived in Athens late Monday to advise their Greek colleagues on how to tackle an emerging terrorism threat.
Reports said British experts would provide advice on restructuring Greece's counter-terrorism unit and to recommend tactics for curbing violence.
Greece has been plagued by daily bombings and arson attacks on banks and multinational businesses since the shooting of the teenager in December which sparked the worst riots the country has seen in decades.
Experts fear that the militant group Revolutionary Struggle and the newly-emerged Sect of Revolutionaries have recruited new members since those riots and have acquired large quantities of arms and explosives.
On Friday, around 40 masked rioters ran through central Athens with axes and iron rods, destroying shop windows of more than 50 businesses and damaging dozens of cars.
The violence has embarrassed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' government, which has been criticized for its inability to protect the welfare of citizens.
music: Pink Floyd
From the International Middle East Media Center :
On this day six years ago, Rachel Corrie was killed by Israeli soldiers in Rafah, Gaza. By now the story is well known: Rachel, standing in front of the home of a doctor and his family in hopes of preventing a demolition, was run over by an armored bulldozer, a Caterpillar D9. After six years of promises from elected leaders, no independent investigation of her death has been conducted.
In the years since her death, Rachel’s memory has inspired countless people to take action in their own communities on behalf of the Palestinian cause. Songs have been written, plays performed, and books published about Rachel and her legacy.
Her family has traveled the world talking about Rachel and about Palestinians’ rights, a cause to which she was so passionately committed.
The Corrie family returned to Gaza for this anniversary and to see the devastation created by the recent Israeli attacks. They found open arms and welcoming hearts.
Rachel has become a part of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, part of it’s history of painful losses.
The anniversary, this year as in those past, is marred by fresh violence. Just days ago, an ISM volunteer was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers after a nonviolent demonstration in the West Bank village of Ni’lin.
Tristan Anderson lays in the intensive care unit of a hospital with an unknown future.
His brutal injury has received worldwide attention, as did Rachel’s death. What does not receive the same attention are the Palestinians who are injured or killed on a daily basis.
Today, on the sixth anniversary of Rachel’s death, Ayaat al-Ja’bari, age 24, was injured as she made her way home in Hebron.
Since July 2008, four unarmed demonstrators aged 10 to 22, were killed by Israeli forces in Ni’lin. Just over a month ago, the Israeli military killed over 1300 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, many of them women and children.
On this year’s anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s killing, the International Solidarity Movement wishes to express our humble gratitude to the thousands of people who have volunteered with us over the last eight years, and to those who have supported our work emotionally and financially; devoting their time and energy to Palestinian non-violent resistance.
As we all continue to work for an end to the occupation, please join us in wishing Tristan a full recovery, and for Palestine, freedom at long last.
From Her name was Rachel Corrie, and her life is a one-woman play by Robert Trussell :
One part of Rachel Corrie’s story is not in dispute: On March 16, 2003, the 23-year-old American was crushed beneath an Israeli military bulldozer as she tried to prevent it from demolishing a house in Gaza.
That’s where agreement ends and widely divergent opinion begins. Corrie was in Gaza as a member of the International Solidarity Movement, and some see her as a selfless human rights advocate who died for a just cause. Others see her as a naïve activist who burned American flags and whose “defense” of the Palestinian people was at best misguided.
There’s also disagreement on the facts of her death. Some witnesses said the Israeli bulldozer ran over her twice. The Israeli Defense Force conducted its own investigation and concluded that the death was accidental, in part because the bulldozer operator had a limited field of vision in his bulletproof cab.
“My Name Is Rachel Corrie,” a play adapted by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner from Corrie’s diaries, letters and e-mails, is an effort to capture just what motivated a young woman from Olympia, Wash., to put her life on the line in Gaza.
The one-woman play was first staged in London in 2005 and the following year was produced in New York amid controversy. The first company scheduled to present it, the New York Theatre Workshop, backed out, prompting Rickman to accuse it of censorship.
From U.S. citizens critically hurt at West Bank protest :
Palestinian sources said that an American citizen, in his thirties, had sustained critical wounds during an anti-separation fence protest in the West Bank on Friday, Army Radio reported.
Peace activists with the International Solidarity Movement said Tristan Anderson, of the Oakland, Calif. area, was struck in the head with a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops. The military and the Tel Aviv hospital where Anderson was taken had no details on how he was hurt.
Protesters who were at the scene said that Anderson was standing by the side of the road when soldiers fired at him, and not near the hub of the clash. They added that there was no one in his vicinity that could have been perceived as a threat to the soldiers.
"He's in critical condition, anesthetized and on a ventilator and undergoing imaging tests," said Orly Levi, a spokeswoman at the Tel Hashomer hospital. She described Anderson's condition as life-threatening.
The protest took place in the West Bank town of Na'alin, where Palestinians and international backers frequently gather to demonstrate against the barrier. Israel says the barrier is necessary to keep Palestinian attackers from infiltrating into Israel. But Palestinians view it as a thinly veiled land grab because it juts into the West Bank at multiple points.
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