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Sun, 10 Dec 2023
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An open letter to Israeli boycott activists

Now that your government has made any calls for boycott illegal, I urge you to comply with the new law rather than risk financial penalties and even imprisonment. After all, Israel is a democracy, and every citizen should respect the outcome of the democratic process.

But I do not suggest you sit idly and abandon your strongly-held conviction that your country must be pressured to end the Occupation and grant freedom and equality to Palestinians. Instead I propose you modify your calls from the prohibited tactic of boycott to measures deemed acceptable by your government

To start, you could demand that foreign military forces seal off Israel completely and reduce the amount of food that enters the country to the minimum deemed necessary to keep the population alive. Anything in excess, including clothing, children's toys and notebooks, should be excluded as "luxury items." Of course, Israel's domestic food production might help to alleviate shortages, so chicken farms and flour mills should be destroyed. Construction materials must be strictly prohibited, because Israelis have been known to use them for shelters to guard against attack, a known military purpose. Israelis also should be allowed enough water to survive, but any surplus should be diverted to provide Palestinians with lush lawns, swimming pools and relaxing baths.

Eye 2

American War Machine: Deep Politics, The CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan: book review

american War Machine
© Unknown
American War Machine: Deep Politics, The CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan. Peter Dale Scott. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2010.

In their 1964 book, The Invisible Government, journalists David Wise and Thomas B. Ross wrote that "there are two governments in the United States today. One is visible. The other is invisible. The first is the government that citizens read about in their newspapers and children study about in their civics class. The second is the interlocking, hidden machinery that carries out the policies of the United States in the Cold War. The second invisible government gathers intelligence, conducts espionage and plans and executes secret operations all over the globe."

In the 45 years since these words were written, we have learned a lot more about how the secret government operates, above and beyond the law, and continues to do so long after the Soviet demise.

Peter Dale's Scott's American War Machine represents an important contribution. Building on the themes of The War Conspiracy (1972) and Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1996), Scott, a professor emeritus of English literature at UC Berkeley and founder of its peace studies program, highlights the influence of right-wing cabals connected to Wall Street and the oil and arms industries in driving American foreign policy in a militaristic direction. Carrying out clandestine operations financed through off-the books channels, including the narcotics trade, they exemplify the crisis of democratic accountability in the United States and have yielded disastrous consequences in contributing to the destabilization of volatile regions and to the growth of international terrorism and drug production.

Scott begins the book recounting an incident in which a Vietnam Special Forces veteran who witnessed opium loaded onto CIA Air America planes had a large hole burned into the door of his car the night before their scheduled interview as a warning to keep silent. For Scott, this small act of terrorism exemplifies the repressive dimension of the American government, which most citizens are loath to acknowledge.


The Strange Silencing of Liberal America

© gwenflickr; Edited: JR / t r u t h o u t
How does political censorship work in liberal societies? When my film, Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia, was banned in the United States in 1980, the broadcaster PBS cut all contact. Negotiations were ended abruptly; phone calls were not returned. Something had happened. But what? Year Zero had already alerted much of the world to the horrors of Pol Pot, but it also investigated the critical role of the Nixon administration in the tyrant's rise to power and the devastation of Cambodia.

Six months later, a PBS official told me, "This wasn't censorship. We're into difficult political days in Washington. Your film would have given us problems with the Reagan administration. Sorry."

In Britain, the long war in Northern Ireland spawned a similar, deniable censorship. The journalist Liz Curtis compiled a list of more than 50 television films in Britain that were never shown or indefinitely delayed. The word "ban" was rarely used and those responsible would invariably insist they believed in free speech.

The Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, believes in free speech. The foundation's web site says it is "dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity." Authors, filmmakers, poets make their way to a sanctum of liberalism bankrolled by the billionaire Patrick Lannan in the tradition of Rockefeller and Ford.

Lannan also awards "grants" to America's liberal media, such as Free Speech TV, the Foundation for National Progress (publisher of the magazine Mother Jones), the Nation Institute and the TV and radio program Democracy Now! In Britain, Lannan has been a supporter of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, of which I am one of the judges. In 2008, Lannan personally supported the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, he is "devoted" to Obama.


Terrorism suspected as 3 blasts kill 8 in Mumbai

Mumbai, India - Three explosions rocked India's busy financial capital at rush-hour Wednesday, killing at least eight people and injuring 70 in what officials described as another terror strike on the city hit by militants nearly three years ago.

Television footage showed dozens of police officials, several of them armed, at the sites of the explosion and at least one car with its windows shattered. A photograph showed victims of a blast at the Jhaveri Bazaar crowding into the back of a cargo truck to be taken to a hospital.

Indian media reported the Home Ministry had called the separate blasts in three busy locations a terror attack. No officials there could be independently reached for comment.

One blast was in the crowded neighborhood of Dadar in central Mumbai. The others were at the bazaar, which is a famed jewelry market, and the busy business district of Opera House, both in southern Mumbai and several miles (kilometers) apart, a police official said.

Che Guevara

We Will Not be Silent: Statement in Regard to Israeli Anti-Boycott Law

© unknown
"We're going to arrest you, but it's difficult with you because all you do is talk."
- Israeli soldier to Palestinian organizer Mohammad Othman, 2009
We, Israeli citizens, members of Boycott![2], hereby reiterate our support and promotion of the Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights[3]. We declare this in spite of the new legislation by the Israeli Knesset, which aims to penalize our and our partners' activities, curbing freedom of speech and political organizing and most importantly - banning Israeli citizens from acting according to their conscience when it conflicts with the deplorable policies of the state.

The anti-BDS law is not the first attempt at silencing the BDS campaign. Throughout the years, Israel has detained Palestinian leaders, activists, speakers and organizers under administrative detention and without charges, or at times under various draconian charges such as 'incitement' and the organizing of 'illegal demonstrations'. On September 22nd 2009, Mohammad Othman, 34, was detained at the Allenby Crossing upon his return to the occupied West Bank following a meeting with Norwegian finance minister Halvorsen. Earlier that month, minister Halvorsen had announced Norway's divestment from the Israeli company Elbit due to "ethical concerns"[4]. Othman was arrested and held without charges or trial, under an unlawful administrative detention order and had spent much of the 113 days in detention under solitary confinement. Imprisonment of political activists is an almost routine practice against Palestinian human rights defenders.


US, California: Smart Phone Snooping by Cops Too Easy

© MCT Illustration
Bill would overturn court ruling giving police nearly limitless access to arrestees' devices.

Orson Welles' character in the 1958 movie A Touch of Evil, says, "A policeman's job is only easy in a police state." That line is often cited when issues of police policy come before the public. It's an important idea: Free societies should be more interested in protecting the rights of the accused than in making the job of the police too easy.

Unfortunately, the California Supreme Court lost sight of this ideal this year with its decision in People v. Diaz, which gives law enforcement a nearly limitless right to conduct warrantless searches of the personal information, files, messages and photographs of people under arrest. Now, Senate Bill 914, which could reach the Senate floor as early as Thursday, would essentially overturn that decision and put some limits on the wide-ranging searches officers can conduct without a warrant.

In the past, courts had allowed police to search an arrestee for items such as cigarette packs, where drugs could be stored, for instance. The court in the Diaz decision expanded that right to include searches of an arrestee's cell phone, reasoning that the phone isn't much different from other incidentals found in a person's pocket. In this case, police searched the text-messaging files of a man held on a drug charge nearly 90 minutes after his arrest.


TSA Frisks: That will be $2.50 please?

© Google
risk-based screening system filters passengers according to risk

Today, several officials from the transportation industry testified before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security regarding TSA authorization for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

Air Transport Association (ATA) is the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines. ATA President Nicholas Calio expressed support for the TSA's move toward risk-based programs that provide smarter security such as Known Traveler, Known Crewmember and Known Shipper/Shipment.

ATA President and CEO Calio is not in favor of a $2.50 per passenger aviation passenger security fee, an idea entertained during discussions on ways to raise the U.S.debt ceiling,

Calio stated:
"U.S. airlines and their passengers contributed $2 billion in taxes and fees to TSA in 2010, a fifty percent increase from the amount collected in 2002. He said "Aviation security taxes and fees now constitute almost 25 percent of the industry's federal tax burden." Calio added "Aviation security costs should be borne by the federal government."


Defense Secretary Panetta Twists Iraq's Arm on Extending US Occupation

Just days after being confirmed as the nation's newest Secretary of Defense, former CIA head Leon Panetta toured Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Iraq in particular, has publicly been a source of concern for the Obama administration - in June alone, more than 15 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq - the greatest number in the past two years. U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year but American authorities are now angling for an invitation from the Iraqi government to remain longer.

Defense Secretary Panetta blames insurgents armed and backed by neighboring Iran for the troop deaths and urged Iraqis to take action. The Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Danaeifar responded by saying "[t]he Americans are trying to make excuses... [they] are trying to suggest that if they leave, Iraq will be threatened by Iran." Panetta's trip to Iraq was aimed, in part, at upping the pressure on Iraqis.

At a press conference, he said, "I'd like them to make a decision... Do they want us to stay? Don't they want us to stay?... But dammit, make a decision." Despite casting the decision as Iraq's to make, Panetta asserted that ultimately, the U.S. would "do what we have to do unilaterally, " to protect Americans.


"Military Meltdown Monday": 90K military usernames, hashes released

© Unknown

Anonymous hackers have broken into a server belonging to consultancy firm Booz Allen Hamilton and published a database containing some 90,000 military e-mail addresses and hashed passwords in what they have named Military Meltdown Monday. The database appears to have come from a system used for tracking training and qualifications of military personnel. The full release also includes some information from another military training system, the Defense Acquisition University.

Unlike the passwords taken from government contractor IRC Federal, the passwords from the Booz Allen system have been hashed using SHA-1. This will make breaking into further systems using the released account information harder - but it's likely that at least some of the passwords will be crackable, and so further damage could follow.

Eye 2

Why Rupert Murdoch Love$ God: World's Biggest Sleaze Mogul Also Getting Rich from Christian Moralizers

Rupert Murdoch
© Unknown
Rupert Murdoch is one of America's number one publishers of evangelical and other religious books.

Here's what you might not know about Rupert Murdoch: he's one of the leading religion publishers in the world.

Maybe one day soon Murdoch will go to jail as might his son, as will several of their UK editors if many alleged and disgusting and illegal acts of pirate "journalism" are proved true, ranging from bribing the police to hacking the phones of bereaved family members of killed service men and women and child murder victims. Make no mistake: when it comes to the Murdoch media "empire" we're talking about the lowest form of "journalism" as detailed by the Guardian newspaper.

So are religious moralizers and others writing about religious and/or "moral" themes prepared to enrich the Murdoch " media juggernaut" forever while Rupert Murdoch further corrupts UK, American and Australian politics while his companies trade in human misery for profit by hacking murder victim's phones, paying off the police, elevating smut to a national sport and even hacking the phones of killed soldiers' families?

You bet!

Rupert Murdoch is one of America's number one publishers of evangelical and other religious books, including the 33-million seller Purpose Driven Life by mega pastor and anti-gay activist Rick Warren. Murdoch is also publisher of "progressive" Rob Bell's Love Wins.

Rick Warren, Rob Bell and company helped Murdoch fund his tabloid-topless-women-on-page-3 empire, phone hacking of murdered teens and Fox News' spreading "birther" and "death panel" lies about the president. They helped Murdoch by enriching him. And these weren't unknown authors just lucky to get published anywhere, they could have picked anybody to sell their books.

Do the religious authors making their fortunes off Murdoch wear gloves when they cash their royalty checks? Do they ever dare look in the mirror?