Thursday, September 29, 2011

Headlines snipped from mostly water today...

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Letter to the UN from Hugo Chavez...

i found this open letter on the ecosocialist...

Picture Sep 21st 2011, by Hugo Chavez

Miraflores, September 17, 2011

His Excellency, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

Mr. Secretary General:

Distinguished representatives of the peoples of the world:

I address these words to the United Nations General Assembly, to this great
forum that represents all the people of earth, to ratify, on this day and in
this setting, Venezuela’s full support of the recognition of the Palestinian
State: of Palestine’s right to become a free, sovereign and independent
state. This represents an act of historic justice towards a people who carry
with them, from time immemorial, all the pain and suffering of the world.

In his memorable essay The Grandeur of Arafat, the great French philosopher
Gilles Deleuze wrote with the full weight of the truth: The Palestinian
cause is first and foremost the set of injustices that these people have
suffered and continue to suffer. And I dare add that the Palestinian cause
also represents a constant and unwavering will to resist, already written in
the historic memory of the human condition. A will to resist that is born of
the most profound love for the earth. Mahmoud Darwish, the infinite voice of
the longed-for Palestine, with heartfelt conscience speaks about this love:
We don’t need memories/ because we carry within us Mount Carmelo/ and in our
eyelids is the herb of Galilee./ Don’t say: If only we could flow to my
country like a river!/ Don’t say that!/ Because we are in the flesh of our
country/ and our country is in our flesh.

Against those who falsely assert that what has happened to the Palestinian
people is not genocide, Deleuze himself states with unfaltering lucidity:
From beginning to end, it involved acting as if the Palestinian people not
only must not exist, but had never existed. It represents the very essence
of genocide: to decree that a people do not exist; to deny them the right to

In this regard, the great Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo is quite right when
he forcefully states: The biblical promise of the land of Judea and Samaria
to the tribes of Israel is not a notarized property contract that authorizes
the eviction of those who were born and live on that land. This is precisely
why conflict resolution in the Middle East must, necessarily, bring justice
to the Palestinian people; this is the only path to peace.

It is upsetting and painful that the same people who suffered one of the
worst examples of genocide in history have become the executioners of the
Palestinian people: it is upsetting and painful that the heritage of the
Holocaust be the Nakba. And it is truly disturbing that Zionism continues to
use the charge of anti-Semitism as blackmail against those who oppose their
violations and crimes. Israel has, blatantly and despicably, used and
continues to use the memory of the victims. And they do so to act with
complete impunity against Palestine. It’s worth mentioning that
anti-Semitism is a Western, European, scourge in which the Arabs do not
participate. Furthermore, let’s not forget that it is the Semite Palestine
people who suffer from the ethnic cleansing practiced by the Israeli
colonialist State.

I want to make myself clear: It is one thing to denounce anti-Semitism, and
an entirely different thing to passively accept that Zionistic barbarism
enforces an apartheid regime against the Palestinian people. From an ethical
standpoint those who denounce the first, must condemn the second.

A necessary digression: it is frankly abusive to confuse Zionism with
Judaism. Throughout time we have been reminded of this by several Jewish
intellectuals such as Albert Einstein and Erich Fromm. And today there are
an ever increasing number of conscientious citizens, within Israel itself,
who openly oppose Zionism and its criminal and terrorist practices.

We must spell it out: Zionism, as a world vision, is absolutely racist.
Irrefutable proof of this can be seen in these words written with terrifying
cynicism by Golda Meir: How are we to return the occupied territories? There
is nobody to return them to. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.
It is not as people think, that there existed a people called Palestinians,
who considered themselves as Palestinians, and that we came and threw them
out and took their country. They didn't exist."

It is important to remember that: from the end of the 19th century, Zionism
called for the return of the Jewish people to Palestine and the creation of
a national state of its own. This approach was beneficial for French and
British colonialism, as it would later be for Yankee imperialism. The West
has always encouraged and supported the Zionist occupation of Palestine by
military means.

Read and reread the document historically known as the Balfour Declaration
of 1917: the British Government assumed the legal authority to promise a
national home in Palestine to the Jewish people, deliberately ignoring the
presence and wishes of its inhabitants. It should be added that Christians
and Muslims lived in peace for centuries in the Holy Land up until the time
when Zionism began to claim it as its complete and exclusive property.

Let’s not forget that beginning in the second decade of the 20th century,
Zionism started to develop its expansionist plans by taking advantage of the
colonial British occupation of Palestine. By the end of World War II, the
Palestinian people’s tragedy worsened, with their expulsion from their
territory and, at the same time, from history. In 1947, the despicable and
illegal UN resolution 181 recommends dividing Palestine into a Jewish State,
an Arab State, and an area under international control (Jerusalem and
Belem). Shamefully, 56 percent of the territory was granted to Zionism to
establish its State. In fact, this resolution violated international law and
blatantly ignored the will of the vast Arab majority: the right to
self-determination of the people became a dead letter.

From 1948 to date, the Zionist State has continually applied its criminal
strategy against the Palestinian people with the constant support of its
unconditional ally, the United States of America. This unconditional
allegiance is clearly observed by the fact that Israel directs and sets US
international policy for the Middle East. That’s why the great Palestinian
and universal conscience Edward Said stated that any peace agreement built
on the alliance with the United States would be an alliance that confirms
Zionist power, rather than one that confronts it.

Now then: contrary to what Israel and the United States are trying to make
the world believe through transnational media outlets, what happened and
continues to happen in Palestine —using Said’s words— is not a religious
conflict, but a political conflict, with a colonial and imperialist stamp.
It did not begin in the Middle East, but rather in Europe.

What was and continues to be at the heart of the conflict?: debate and
discussion has prioritized Israel’s security while ignoring Palestine’s.
This is corroborated by recent events; a good example is the latest act of
genocide set off by Israel during its Operation Molten Lead in Gaza.

Palestine’s security cannot be reduced to the simple acknowledgement of a
limited self-government and self-policing in its “enclaves” along the west
bank of the Jordan and in the Gaza Strip. This ignores the creation of the
Palestinian State, in the borders set prior to 1967 with East Jerusalem as
its capital; and the rights of its citizens and their self-determination as
a people. This further disregards the compensation and subsequent return to
the Homeland of 50 percent of the Palestinian people who are scattered all
over the world, as established by resolution 194.

It's unbelievable that a country (Israel) that owes its existence to a
general assembly resolution could be so disdainful of the resolutions that
emanate from the UN, said Father Miguel D’Escoto when pleading for the end
of the massacre against the people of Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.

Mr. Secretary General and distinguished representatives of the peoples of
the world:

It is impossible to ignore the crisis in the United Nations. In 2005, before
this very same General Assembly, we argued that the United Nations model had
become exhausted. The fact that the debate on the Palestinian issue has been
delayed and is being openly sabotaged reconfirms this.

For several days, Washington has been stating that, at the Security Council,
it will veto what will be a majority resolution of the General Assembly: the
recognition of Palestine as a full member of the UN. In the Statement of
Recognition of the Palestinian State, Venezuela, together with the sister
Nations that make up the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
(ALBA), have denounced that such a just aspiration could be blocked by this
means. As we know, the empire, in this and other instances, is trying to
impose its double standard on the world stage: Yankee double standards are
violating international law in Libya, while allowing Israel to do whatever
it pleases, thus becoming the main accomplice of the Palestinian genocide
being carried out by the hands of Zionist barbarity. Edward Said touched a
nerve when he wrote that: Israeli interests in the United States have made
the US’ Middle East policy Israeli-centric.

I would like to conclude with the voice of Mahmoud Darwish in his memorable
poem *On This Earth*: We have on this earth what makes life worth living: On
this earth, the lady of earth, Mother of all beginnings/ Mother of all ends.
She was called… Palestine./ Her name later became… Palestine./ My Lady,
because you are my Lady, I deserve life.

It will continue to be called Palestine: Palestine will live and overcome!
Long-live free, sovereign and independent Palestine!

Hugo Chávez Frías

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

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Checkpoint nation...

Early one morning, Maria—then nine months pregnant—and her family were stopped by the police for no discernable reason. A special breakfast outing became a nightmare—and at one of the most intimate moments of her life, Maria found a team of immigration agents—not her husband—by her side.

Maria's chilling story is the centerpiece of "Checkpoint Nation? Building Community Across Borders," a powerful new documentary that depicts the reality of post-9/11 racial profiling — as mandated by laws such as SB 1040 in Arizona, which are now being imitated and implemented nationwide — along with the new and strengthening alliances of diverse groups committed to racial justice.

Set in the U.S./Mexico border area near Tucson, Arizona, a region that sees more and more migrant deaths every year, the video explores the idea that the way to move forward is to find connections and build coalitions among between diverse groups of allies — including Muslim-, South Asian-, African-, and Latino-Americans; civil rights lawyers and media activists — that have identified with each other's histories and united in the common goals of justice, equality, and respect for all.

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Shackled and Detained: A Pregnant Woman's Story...

Juana Villegas from Mexico was nine months pregnant when she was stopped for a traffic violation, for which she was later found innocent. Because of an agreement between local police and federal immigration authorities, she was detained in jail where she was shackled. As Juana began to go into labor, she was shackled in transit to the hospital and while giving birth. She was not allowed to use a breast pump or nurse her newborn child.

Take action at:

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Friday, September 23, 2011

I think the more wealthy european nations want to have a desperate and cheap labour force/source near to home...

Greek workers strike, protest against brutal austerity measures

By David Walsh; 23 September 2011 - WSWS

Tens of thousands of Greek public transport workers, teachers, civil servants and air traffic controllers walked out Thursday to protest the latest round of austerity measures announced the day before by the PASOK government of George Papandreou. The massive cuts in jobs and pensions, on top of previous measures, will mean destitution for wide layers of the Greek population.

Workers responded explosively to the deeply unpopular plan. In and around Athens, bus, subway, tram, electric rail and suburban rail workers walked off the job, joined by taxi owners. A police official described the traffic situation in Athens as “dramatic, all major streets are jammed.”

The national rail network was also not operating. Secondary school teachers walked out for a day, while elementary school teachers staged rolling work stoppages. Municipal workers in Athens walked off the job for four hours, and air traffic controllers struck for three hours.

Employees at various ministries, including health and finance, staged sit-ins at several government buildings on Wednesday. Finance ministry staff announced a 48-hour strike for September 27-28. Tax collectors and customs officials will also walk out, along with transport workers and taxi drivers.

Thousands of workers, pensioners and students, along with members of various left groups, demonstrated in central Athens and at the parliament building on Thursday. According to the media, large numbers of riot police were deployed.

The measures announced by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, under fierce pressure from the “troika” of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Commission (EC) and European Central Bank, include cutting monthly pensions above 1,200 euros ($1,636) by 20 percent, while retirees under 55 will lose 40 percent of their pensions above 1,000 euros ($1,349) a month.

Some 30,000 civil servants will be placed on so-called “labor reserve” for 12 months. Their wages will be cut by as much as 40 percent and after a year they are likely to lose their jobs. The government also lowered the threshold for paying income tax to 5,000 euros a year ($6,800) from 8,000 euros ($11,000), an action that will affect low-income families.

The PASOK government will also go ahead with a new regressive property tax plan, which it plans to levy through electricity bills to avoid evasion. The utility workers’ union has said it will refuse to collect the tax.

The IMF forecasts that the Greek economy will shrink by 5.5 percent in 2011 and 2.5 percent in 2012, after a decline of 4.4 percent last year. The unemployment rate has officially risen to 16 percent and continues to climb. The combined impact of the various rounds of austerity measures will only deepen the recession, reduce tax revenue and necessitate even more draconian attacks.

All of this to satisfy the insatiable demands of global bankers and billionaire investors.

Popular anger in Greece is running high. Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economic theory at the University of Athens, told the BBC, “They are cutting into the flesh, not just the fat. And the patient — Greece — is dying from its wounds.”

A pale reflection of the popular outrage, and even despair, finds its way into the media. Retiree Efthymios Gardikiotis told Associated Press: “I’m 73 years old and I will start a war. The same way [the government] wants a war.”

A 32-year-old employee of the National Theater in Athens, Costas Andrianapoulos, told Reuters, “We are living in terror that we may lose our jobs, our lives. Even if these layoffs are necessary, we are not being treated like human beings. They cut our wages and pensions and we took it. But I don’t believe any more that any of this is for the good of the country. We’ll be sacrificed for nothing. We can’t avoid default. We have no hope.”

Leaders of the Greek trade unions blustered in response to the newest austerity measures. Yannis Panagopoulos, president of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), declared, “This is a policy we do not tolerate, we do not want. We are in continuous, total, permanent opposition to it.”

Greece’s union federations, which have helped implement the previous cuts in workers’ jobs and conditions, are doing everything in their power to restrict the movement to one-day or short-term protests. There can be little doubt that a call for a general strike and the defeat of the government would find a powerful response in the Greek population.

The GSEE and the Civil Servants' Confederation (ADEDY) have merely proposed a one-day nationwide public sector walkout October 5, two weeks from now, and a one-day general strike October 19, in a month’s time. The aim of these protests is to channel workers’ anger, exhaust it in limited and futile actions, and convince the population in practice that it has no choice but to submit to the demands of the international bankers.

The social democratic PASOK government and the Greek parliament agreed to 30 billion euros in austerity measures in May 2010 and another 28 billion euros this June. A further 50 billion euros is to be raised through a wide-ranging privatization program which will benefit global conglomerates at the expense of the Greek population.

The measures imposed have not been harsh enough or carried through quickly enough for the IMF and the European bankers. The PASOK government announced the most recent 6 billion euros in cuts after negotiations with the “troika.” The latter made it clear that the latest tranche of emergency funding from international lenders, 8 billion out of a total of 110 billion euros, would be withheld until the Papandreou government demonstrated its resolve to implement the austerity program to the full. If the money is withheld past mid-October, the Greek government will not have enough cash to pay its employees and retirees. A default on its foreign debts will most likely follow.

Wednesday’s announcement was met with general satisfaction by IMF and European officials, although a European Commission spokesman demanded that the Greek government spell out “key elements” of the new austerity package. Representatives of the various financial institutions will not return to Athens until the details of the plan are “finalized,” he said.

The plan failed to sway financial markets and speculators, many of whom are betting on Greek bankruptcy sooner or later. Fitch Ratings said in a report this week that it expects Greece to default on its debt. The German government is reportedly readying a plan to deal with such an eventuality.

Defending the government’s new measures, Finance Minister Venizelos declared, “The situation is extremely critical and I could say dangerous. There is a great nervousness in the eurozone, the European banking system and the world economy.” He also told parliament, “The markets are blackmailing us and the circumstances are humiliating us.” Venizelos added that the “suffering” Greek people, were nonetheless fortunate to be under foreign supervision. Without such supervision, the finance minister declared, sounding like a repentant and recovering alcoholic, “We would have unfortunately slipped off course again.”

The European Union’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Minister, Olli Rehn, did not rule out a Greek default in a speech Thursday in Washington. Rather, Rehn said, European institutions and leaders would not allow “an uncontrolled default or exit of Greece from the eurozone,” which “would cause enormous economic and social damage, not only to Greece but to the European Union as a whole, and have serious spillovers to the world economy.”

European banks, according to the IMF, face $410 billion in financial risk because of the European debt crisis. Other countries in imminent danger, besides Greece, include Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy [which, along with Greece, comprise the so-called 'PIIGS' of heavily indebted European states - MW] — along with a number of Europe’s largest banks. “Risks are elevated and time is running out to tackle vulnerabilities that threaten the global financial system,” the IMF warned in a report issued Wednesday.

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The Truth about Libya Toronto Conference...

Sept 9, 2011, The Truth about Libya and NATO's "Humanitarian" Military Road Map - Cynthia McKinney, Mahdi Nazemroaya and Michel Chossudovsky speak at Friends Place in Toronto video PART 4 of 4 Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya - Independent journalist who just returned from Libya, and Research Associate of the Center for Research on Globalization - GLOBAL RESEARCH

(NOTE: Recording stopped because tape space ran out during speech, recommended further research check out What Really Happened in Libya? - Mahdi Nazemroaya on GRTV Get the truth out)

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"Unfortunately, what you in the united states and the global community were being told by the likes of the press in this country...was a lie"...

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Cynthia McKinney in Libya...

these are older interviews...from about three months ago. i just found them. she's awesome, brave, truthful and tends to travel to and from the middle east, always critically, politically in the middle of whatever fray is unfolding.

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Tarsands civil disobedience in Ottawa...

i hope they cause lots and lots of trouble.
i hope they don't walk away willingly.
i hope they make their bodies heavy to move and frustrating to carry.
i hope they chain themselves to whatever they can.
i hope they run and hide and climb up and hang banners.
i hope they do not allow themselves to be easily apprehended.
i hope they clog the streets, block buses.
i hope they make it very, very difficult for anyone to ignore the imminent tarsands ecological crisis.

OTTAWA Tar Sands Civil Disobedience Sept 26, 2011

Canadian First Nations, US-based Tribal Governments and Indigenous Advocacy Groups Endorse Mass Civil Disobedience Action to Protest Canadian Tar Sands
Press statement
Posted at Censored News

OTTAWA, Ontario – Canadian First Nations, American Indian Tribes, Territorial, Provincial and Federal First Nations Governments and Advocacy groups have added their support for a rally featuring a civil disobedience sit-in against the tar sands on September 26 in Ottawa.

"Current operations in the tar sands are violating our human and constitutionally protected treaty rights. Our community is currently in court with some of these companies and plan to oppose any and all future development with similar legal action,” said Lionel Lepine of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation “We demand free, prior and informed consent for development in our traditional territories as recognized by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Hundreds of people from across North America have endorsed the call to action for September 26, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in front of the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill. The action is to oppose the tar sands industry and push for a clean,green energy future that honors Indigenous rights and prioritizes the health of the environment and communities.

First Nations leaders from British Columbia, North West Territories and Alberta, three provinces most heavily affected by the tar sands development, will travel to Ottawa to lend their names and voices to raise awareness of the devastating environmental and social effects of the tar sands. US-based Native American Tribes and advocacy groups along with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Yankton Sioux Tribe have also endorsed the day of action.

"Enbridge is trying to ram its tar sands pipeline right through our territories and the lands of many other First Nations,” said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation, amember of the Yinka Dene Alliance. “We have used our laws to forbid these pipelines in our lands. We will use every means available to us under Indigenous, Canadian and International law to enforce our decision and stop theEnbridge pipeline. If we take care of the land and water, it will take care of us. If we ruin our water with oil spills and once the tar sands kill the waters of our brother and sister nations, our people will be finished."

On September 16 and 17, on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota, an Accord was signedopposing the proposed Trans-Canada Keystone XL pipeline and endorsing the Ottawa Action. The emergency Tribal meeting, which included Canadian First Nations and Native AmericanTribes affected by the proposed pipeline, focused on Tribal opposition to the Trans-Canada Keystone XL. The Accord highlights the neglected concerns of First Nations in Canada regarding the Canadian tar sands, the industry’s disproportionate impacts on Treaty and Aboriginal rights and the detrimental health and social consequencesfor affected First Nations communities.

“The tar sands represent apath of broken treaties, eroded human rights, catastrophic climate change,poisoned air and water and the complete stripping of Canada’s morality in theinternational community,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller of the IndigenousEnvironmental Network. “Our communities should not be sacrificed on the altar of Canada’s addiction to dirty fossil fuel; wewant a new economic paradigm that protects our relationship to the sacredness of Mother Earth.”

Other First Nations groups endorsing the September 26 action include: Dene Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Yinka Dene Alliance, Wet’suwet’en and Unis’tot’en Nations.

For more info: ClaytonThomas-Muller (English), Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigner, IndigenousEnvironmental Network (IEN), (613)297-7515
Join the IEN Newsletter!
Clayton Thomas-Muller
Indigenous Environmental Network
Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
180 Metcalfe Street, Suite 500
Ottawa, ON, CND, K2P 1P5
Office: 613 237 1717 ext. 106
Cell: 613 297 7515 Please visit!!!!
Please visit Defenders of the Land:
Please visit Global Justice Ecology Project:

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Of course he's going against the majority opinion of this country's citizens...he's a dictator...

Harper’s undermining of UN bid goes against Canadian public opinion
22 September 2011

Today the Palestinian Authority is pursuing a state on 22 percent of the Palestinians’ historic homeland.

How pro-Israel is Stephen Harper’s government?

It is so pro-Israel that Canada will vote in the United Nations against recognizing a Palestinian state on only half the land that Canadian diplomats promised Palestine sixty years ago.

It is so pro-Israel that it will support illegal settlers and the extreme right in blocking this small step towards righting a historical wrong despite Canada spending tens of millions of dollars on training Palestinian police and other “state-building” measures.

It is so pro-Israel that it will do this despite a higher percentage of Canadians supporting the Palestinian Authority’s bid for UN membership than voted Conservative in the last election.

Two and a half months ago Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird criticized the PA’s statehood bid, labeling it a “public relations” exercise. On Friday Harper reiterated this position. “Canada views the action as very regrettable and we will be opposing it,” the Prime Minister said.

Canada is one of only a half dozen countries that has publicly come out against the Palestinian Authority’s UN bid and the Conservatives are lobbying “like-minded” countries to do the same (despite the PA sending high-profile emissary, Hanan Ashrawi, to Ottawa to blunt such a move).

On June 24, The New York Times reported, “Canada … has been lobbying smaller countries to tell the Palestinians that they will not vote with them in September.” Canada has been spending this country’s diminishing diplomatic currency trying to cobble together a group of countries that will vote against the PA to spare the US and Israel from complete isolation. Notwithstanding Canadian-Israeli-American efforts, the PA expects the backing of more than two-thirds of UN member states, with 120 to 140 countries already in favor.

Contradicting Canadian wishes

Isolated diplomatically, Harper is also contradicting the wishes of Canadians. A recent GlobeScan-BBC poll of 20,446 people in 19 countries found that 46 percent of Canadians support the PA statehood bid while only 25 percent oppose it. Apparently, there are more Canadians in favor of the Palestinians than voted for the Conservatives.

Whatever happens at the UN assembly in the coming days it will not bring about a viable Palestinian state in the near future. A Palestinian diplomatic victory will not end the blockade of Gaza, bring down the Israel’s wall or remove the 500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem (let alone eliminate the institutional discrimination faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel).

While UN recognition may improve the PA’s ability to pursue Israeli officials through the International Criminal Court, taking the issue to the UN is a largely symbolic move pursued by a PA widely discredited for collaborating with Israel’s occupation. There are questions about whether the statehood bid might weaken Palestinian refugees’ (mostly expelled by Zionist forces in 1948) right of return and some have criticized the statehood bid for distracting attention from the growing international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Harper siding with Hamas?

For its part, the winner of the most recent Palestinian election, Hamas, has rejected the “tactical” UN bid. Oddly, on the statehood bid the Conservatives find themselves in agreement with Hamas, an organization they’ve worked feverishly to undermine since they won Palestinian legislative elections in 2006. In fact, on this issue the Conservatives are up against a regime they’ve helped maintain in power (despite the expiration of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ mandate in January 2009).

The Harper government has spent upwards of $100 million to build a Palestinian security force to protect Abbas from his main rival, Hamas. For the past four years Canada has been heavily invested in training a Palestinian security force designed “to ensure that the PA maintains control of the West Bank against Hamas,” as Canadian ambassador to Israel Jon Allen was quoted as saying by the Canadian Jewish News.

Trained by Canada, Britain and the US, all the Palestinian security recruits are vetted by Israel’s internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet. (“We don’t provide anything to the Palestinians,” noted former US mission head General Keith Dayton, “unless it has been thoroughly coordinated with the state of Israel and they agree to it.”) Abbas has used this Canadian-trained and funded force to pursue his political adversaries in the West Bank.

The Harper government has chosen to line up against domestic opinion, most of the world and their PA allies on recognizing a Palestinian state half the size of the one Canadian diplomats endorsed sixty years ago. When Britain turned its control over Palestine to the UN after the Second World War, Canadian officials played an important role in the move to divide the territory into Jewish and Palestinian states. Some consider Canada’s representative on the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, Supreme Court Justice Ivan C. Rand, the lead author of the majority report in support of partitioning the area into ethnically segregated states. Additionally, External Affairs Undersecretary Lester Pearson pushed partition in two different UN committees dealing with the issue.

Despite making up only a third of the population, under the UN partition plan Jews received most of the territory. Canadian diplomats pushed a plan that gave the Zionist state 55 percent of Palestine, even though the Jewish population owned less than seven percent of the land. The Palestinian state was supposed to be on the remaining 45 percent of the territory (Israel grabbed 24 percent more land during the 1948 war).

Today the PA is pursuing a state on 22 percent of the Palestinians’ historic homeland. The least we can ask of our government is to support this move.

Yves Engler is the author of the 2010 book Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid. His most recent (with Bianca Mugyenyi) is Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay. For more information, see

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Committee to Stop FBI Repression...

Build the Movement Against Political Repression

One year since the September 24 FBI Raids and Grand Jury Subpoenas

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) is asking you to build the movement against political repression on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 24, 2010 FBI raids on anti-war and international solidarity activists. We need your continued solidarity as we build movements for peace, justice and equality.

The storm of political repression continues to expand and threaten. It is likely to intensify and churn into a destructive force with indictments, trials, and attempts to imprison anti-war activists. The last we knew, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was preparing multiple indictments as he and Attorney General Eric Holder attempt to criminalize the targeted activists and the movements to which we dedicate our lives.

It is one year since the FBI raided two homes in Chicago and five homes plus the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis, eventually handing out 23 subpoenas. The anti-war activists’ homes were turned upside down and notebooks, cell phones, artwork, computers, passports and personal belongings were all carted off by the FBI. Anyone who has ever been robbed knows the feelings – shock and anger.

The man responsible for this assault on activists and their families, on free speech and the right to organize, is U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago. Fitzgerald has an ugly record of getting powerful Republicans like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove off the hook, while mercilessly pursuing an agenda to scare America into silence and submission with the phony ‘war on terror.’ Fitzgerald is attempting to criminalize anti-war activists with accusations of ‘material support for terrorism,’ involving groups in Palestine and Colombia.

First the U.S. government targeted Arabs and Muslims, violating their civil rights and liberties and spying on them. Then they came for the anti-war and international solidarity activists. We refuse to be criminalized. We continue to speak out and organize. We say, “Opposing U.S. war and occupation is not a crime!” We are currently building a united front with groups and movements to defeat Fitzgerald’s reactionary, fear mongering assault on anti-war activism and to restore civil liberties taken away by the undemocratic USA PATRIOT Act.

Many people know the developments in the case, but for those who do not, we invite you to read a timeline at We think the repression centers on this: During the lead up to the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, a federal law enforcement officer, using the phony name of “Karen Sullivan” got involved and joined the Anti-War Committee and Freedom Road Socialist Organization in Minneapolis. She lied to everyone she met and helped the FBI to disrupt many activities in the anti-war, international solidarity and labor movements in Minnesota – and also other states and even over in Palestine. It is outrageous.

In fact, many of those being investigated travelled to Colombia or Palestine to learn firsthand about U.S. government funding for war and oppression. There was no money given to any groups that the U.S. government lists as terrorist organizations. However, we met people who are a lot like most Americans – students, community organizers, religious leaders, trade unionists, women’s group leaders and activists much like ourselves. Many of the U.S. activists wrote about their trips, did educational events, or helped organized protests against U.S. militarism and war. In a increasingly repressive period, this is enough to make one a suspect in Fitzgerald’s office.

This struggle is far from one-sided however. The response to the FBI raids and the pushback from the movement is tremendous. Minneapolis and Chicago immediately organized a number of press conferences and rallies with hundreds of people. Over the first two weeks after the raids, 60 cities protested outside FBI offices, from New York to Kalamazoo, from traveled to the Bay Area. The National Lawyers Guild convention was in New Orleans the day of the FBI raids and they immediately issued a solidarity statement and got to work on the case. Solidarity poured in from anti-war, civil rights, religious and faith groups, students and unions. Groups and committees began working to obtain letters of support from members of Congress. The solidarity was overwhelming. It was great!

It is possible that U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald thought he was picking on an isolated group of activists. Instead, those raided proved to have many friends and allies from decades of work for social justice and peace. Over the months, all the targeted activists refused to appear at the grand jury dates set by U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald’s office. In November 2010, a large crew of us travelled to New York City to found the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, after the United National Antiwar Committee meeting.

In December 2010, U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald’s office called in three of the Minnesota women and threatened them. We prepared a campaign in case they were jailed for refusing to speak. The FBI also delivered subpoenas to nine more Arab-American and Palestine solidarity activists in December. Their grand jury date was on Jan. 25, 2011, and we organized protests in over 70 American cities, plus a few overseas. The movement was building and expanding, so we organized conferences with over 800 participants in the Midwest, the South, and on the East and West Coasts. While we were organizing a pushback, the FBI was making new plans.

On May 17, 2011, at 5:00 a.m., the Los Angeles, California Sheriff, under the direction of the FBI, busted down the front door of Chicano leader Carlos Montes, storming in with automatic weapons drawn and shouting. The early morning raid was supposedly about weapons and permits, but they seized decades of notes and writings about the Chicano, immigrant rights, education rights and anti-war movements. The FBI attempted to question Carlos Montes while he was handcuffed and in the back of a L.A. sheriff squad car. Montes is going to another preliminary court date on Sept. 29, prepared to face six felony charges, carrying up to three years in prison for each, knowing he is extraordinarily targeted by the FBI. We will walk every step of the way with Carlos Montes, and more. Montes was with us at the Republican National Convention protests; his name was included on the search warrant for the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis, and the FBI attempted to question him about this case. We ask you to support Carlos Montes and to organize speaking events with him and local protests on his important court dates, Sept. 29 being the next one.

The same week the FBI raided Carlos Montes in May 2011, the CSFR came back with a big revelation – we released a set of documents, the FBI game plan, which the FBI mistakenly left behind in a file drawer at one of the homes. The FBI documents are on the CSFR website and are fascinating to read. Fitzgerald and company developed 102 questions that come right from a McCarthy witch-hunt trial of the 1950s. It is like turning back the clock five decades.

The whole intention of the raids is clear: They want to paint activists as ‘terrorists’ and shut down the organizing. They came at a time when the rich and powerful are frightened of not just the masses of people overseas, but of the people in their own country. With a failing U.S. war in Afghanistan, a U.S. occupation of Iraq predicted to last decades, a new war for oil and domination in Libya, a failing immigration policy that breaks up families and produces super-profits for big business, and now a long and deep economic crisis that is pushing large segments of working people into poverty, the highest levels of the U.S. government are turning to political repression.

The only hope for the future is in building stronger, consistent and determined movements. In a principled act of solidarity, the 23 subpoenaed activists refuse to testify before the grand jury. This sets an example for others.

In addition, the outpouring of support and mobilization into the streets from the anti-war, international solidarity, civil rights, labor and immigrant rights movements means that not one of the 24 has spent a single day in jail. That is a victory.

We ask you to stand with us, to stay vigilant and to hold steady as we proceed to organize against wars abroad and injustice at home and as we defend Carlos Montes from the FBI charade in Los Angeles.

Please come to the Committee to Stop FBI Repression one-day Conference in Chicago on November 5, 2011.

Committee to Stop FBI Repression -

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

I really liked this animated piece about the invention of money, credit and debt...

It has absolutely no critique of amerikkkan nationalism. It definitely has no patriarchal analysis. They know their subject matter but don't have any interlocking bits of critical analysis that would really make their observations fly. "Another man's woman?" I watched it despite the blatant misogyny because there were pieces of consciousness there that I need to add to what I already know.

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Of course they executed him...

It's Georgia. He was a Black man.

He could have been my father, my brother, my cousin, my nephew, my partner, my lover, my friend.

R.I.P. Troy Davis

Executed by the murderous, barbaric, racist white supremacist state of Georgia 10:00 PM Sept 20, 2011

The Execution of Troy Davis

By Kate Randall; 22 September 2011 - WSWS

The world looked on in horror Wednesday night as death row inmate Troy Davis was executed by lethal injection at the state prison near Jackson, Georgia.

The state-sanctioned murder was the final grisly episode in a judicial travesty that spanned more than two decades. It stands as a damning indictment of the entire political system and a shameful episode in the history of the United States.

The death of Davis was ensured after the US Supreme Court rejected a last-minute appeal for a stay at about 10:20 pm. At 10:53, a sedative was injected into his veins, rendering him unconscious. A second injection paralyzed all muscles, causing suffocation. The final injection induced a massive heart attack, causing death at 11:08 pm.

The barbarism of the process reached its epitome Wednesday night. In the hours before the lethal concoction was delivered, originally scheduled for 7:00 pm, Davis remained strapped to the gurney, while the high court deliberated. Family members and supporters stood in agony outside prison walls, waiting for news. The ruling came in the form of a one-line denial, without explanation or dissent.

It would have taken only five justices’ votes to stop the killing going forward. In the end, even this temporary measure was rejected by the black-robed executioners.

Peaceful protesters outside the prison, at one point numbering in the thousands, were surrounded by hundreds of police officers, some decked out in riot gear, while helicopters circled overhead. Earlier in the evening several demonstrators who crossed the road running past the prison were arrested and taken away.

Davis issued a written statement before his execution, which read: “The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me.”

His case had attracted the attention of millions of people throughout the country and around the world. A petition urging clemency was signed by over 600,000 people. His senseless and needless murder without doubt struck something deep within the public psyche — something that will not be forgotten and will serve to further discredit and undermine a barbaric, relentless and remorseless system.

The American political establishment for the most part reacted with indifference. Particularly noteworthy was the cowardly silence of President Barack Obama, who refused to intervene in the case. Press Secretary Jay Carney stated blithely Wednesday that the president had “worked to ensure accuracy and fairness in the criminal justice system,” but that he would not weigh in on Davis’s case because it was a “state prosecution.”

Obama is on record supporting the death penalty, a practice banned by the vast majority of industrialized nations.

This is of a piece with the policies of the entire political establishment in America — Democratic and Republican — which condones targeted assassinations, torture, secret prisons and the right to subjugate sovereign nations through the use of air strikes, invasions and occupations.

Just days before Troy Davis was injected with lethal chemicals, Obama spoke before the United Nations, hailing the imperialist war against Libya as a great victory for democracy.

Wednesday’s execution was the fourth and final appointment with death faced by Davis, a man who has spent 22 years on death row protesting his innocence. His execution had been scheduled on three previous occasions, two of these halted within only hours of the planned injection.

Since Davis’s arrest in connection with the killing of off-duty police officer Mark McPhail in 1989, authorities at every level of the state have carried out an assault on his basic rights. The legal case has been marred by prosecutorial misconduct, denial of due process and discrimination.

There is a great deal of evidence that points to Troy Davis’s innocence. But the state parole board denied him clemency Tuesday despite the fact that seven out of nine witnesses in his trial recanted their testimony, citing police intimidation, and jurors publicly repudiated their opinions.

Davis was not provided with legal representation during the state appeals process. A federal district judge acknowledged that even though the recantations of key witnesses cast doubt on Davis’s conviction, he was not granted a new trial. On the day of his execution, prison officials refused the condemned man’s request to undergo a polygraph test to prove his innocence.

The legal lynching of Troy Davis brings into focus the remorseless brutality of American society in the 21st century. He was one of the estimated 3,251 prisoners who languish on death rows across the United States, and the 35th person to be executed in 2011.

The US has the largest prison population in the world, both in numbers and as a percentage of population. The latest figures available show some 2.3 million people incarcerated, a rate of about 750 prisoners for every 100,000 US residents. The nation’s prisons are also disproportionately filled with members of racial and ethnic minorities.

Troy Davis, an African-American, was 22 years old at the time of his trial. Cases similar to his are played out every day in police stations and courtrooms across the US. As of 2009, 1 in 10 black males aged 25-29 was in prison or jail.

No doubt one factor behind the high court's decision not to intervene in the end was concern that raising questions about the justice of Davis's execution would cast doubt upon the entire system of state repression in the United States.

The backdrop to this apparatus is a society plagued by poverty and a growing chasm between the vast majority of the people and a small, obscenely wealthy elite. Some 26 million Americans are jobless, with more than 6 million in the ranks of the long-term unemployed. While corporate profits and CEO salaries continue to soar, there are no government programs to address the jobs crisis or the accompanying scourges of poverty, hunger, homelessness and the lack of decent education or medical care for tens of millions.

The legal murder of Troy Davis underscores the fact that there is no constituency within the American political establishment for basic principles of democracy. An end to the cruel and sadistic practice of capital punishment, along with the defense of democratic rights in general, depends on the development of an independent political, socialist movement of the working class.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

But who actually voted for these two bozos?

i give you the mayor of the cesspool also known as toronto and the village idiot of kkkanada also known as the fascist white boy who presently rules us according to the doctrine of his twin separated at birth who many of you my know as the war criminal george bush...
rob ford and steven harper

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Most likely he's Black or of colour and they're so scared the city's gonna burn...

It's not like the old days when they could kill and get away with it. A new precedent has been set. Now they have to step lightly and make sure to make full use of the corporate news media machine.

and I quote...

SIU called in after MAN was shot by police near Eaton Center

SIU investigates after MAN shot near Eaton Center

MAN shot by Toronto police officer

SIU called after MAN shot in Toronto

They're not describing him, not giving his name, most likely because it will lead to his picture being published, which will lead to people developing their own understandings of what has happened, which may lead to fire.

Instead, they're offering us a simple yet powerfully manipulative message -

"We're responsible. It's not about his race or class. That's why we've encouraged the media to not offer any of these markers that we normally use to demonize those we torment and harm. We also need to let you know that we're on it. We're voluntarily investigating ourselves ahead of any public outcry because we're responsible and don't just run around shooting people. We care about what happened to this man, too. And as soon as we're finished cooking up a sufficiently solid story complete with planted evidence, some intimidated witnesses and maybe a switched body, we're going to tell you all about it."

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Funny how people assumed it was extinct...

the elusive blue african coelacanth

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Monday, September 19, 2011

It's a body of work that you can't ever change...

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

So, let me get this right...

The UK will arrest people for lighting fires and running screaming through the streets en masse.

But they will not arrest people for crimes committed while at war.

Israel hails UK change over war crime arrests

A UK law curtailing citizens' rights to seek the arrest of foreign politicians for alleged war crimes has taken effect, removing a thorn in British-Israeli relations.

Passed on Thursday, the law amends legislation which Israel had protested about, saying it exposed high-profile officials to the threat of arrest while visiting Britain.

Under the old law, private individuals could start criminal prosecutions, including for international war crimes, by applying to a magistrate for an arrest warrant.

Israel demanded changes to the law in late 2009 after reports that former foreign minister Tzipi Livni would have risked arrest on war crimes charges over Israel's 2008/09 war on Gaza, had she not cancelled a visit to London.

Livni's Kadima party said Britain's ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, had informed her of the change to the law.

A Kadima statement said Livni welcomed the decision, telling Gould: "I am happy that the arrest warrant against me opened the eyes of the British and will bring an end to the cynical use of the British legislation against commanders and soldiers in the IDF".

'Ticket to escape law'

Last year, Israel said it had stopped sending delegations to Britain for routine strategic talks out of fear pro-Palestinian activists would seek their arrest for alleged war crimes.

The new law requires the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be issued in "universal jurisdiction" cases, where a case involves alleged crimes committed outside Britain.

"These new changes to existing law will ensure the balance is struck between ensuring those who are accused of such heinous crimes do not escape justice and that universal jurisdiction cases are only proceeded with on the basis of solid evidence that is likely to lead to a successful prosecution," Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said in a statement.

Activists attempted to obtain warrants under the old law to arrest visiting foreign dignitaries such as former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, senior Chinese Communist Party official Bo Xilai and Livni.

Israel's foreign ministry had said that the legal jeopardy faced by Israeli politicians and military officers could damage Britain's efforts to play a role in Middle East peacemaking.

Human rights group Amnesty International condemned the planned change last year, accusing the government of handing war criminals "a free ticket to escape the law".

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A film about one of the most pivotal moments in the history of these lands...

turning autonomy, land rights and ongoing occupation into a theoretical mind game/debate that throws into question people's ancient ties and links only works as a liberal ploy because it's based on very real violent colonial occupation and ongoing threat of genocidal destruction.

it funny how whenever i talk to white liberals about land, occupation, theft of people, genocide and how they are implicated, how they benefit...

they invariable find a way to sigh and roll their eyes and sort of wave hands in the air and completely negate any narratives that lead back to others who are not them talking about blood that isn't going to wash out, wash away any time soon. they are able to do this kind of compartmentalized blocking of consciousness because they live on a steady diet of denial and privilege.

i'm encountering a lot of white liberals who are framing the israeli occupation of gaza in a way that says both sides have responsibility, both sides need to concede, the palestinians are perpetuating terrorism and need to acknowledge israel as a true state, not a racist occupier.

when i point out that we're also occupiers and that the two governments of this continent, situated on occupied native lands need to locate themselves when they talk about gaza and the occupation you should hear the disengagement, the indifference, the dissimulation. denial stinks up the air like a fart as they attempt to avoid seeing the similarities, as they attempt to avoid knowledge of what it means for all of us to be here.

to my ears they often sound like this as they scramble to spin doctor hundreds of years of horror so they don't have to draw links between the palestine and north amerikkka, between the israeli zionists and manifest destiny and all settler occupied territories on these lands...where i sit squatting and type.

"i take the detached moral high ground re conversations about the land because my people do not claim to have a religious claim on these lands. we just came and there wasn't much going on. we didn't see signs of there being any government...we'd recognize as legitimate.

so, we set up shop and ended up inheriting a bunch of free workerbots from overseas who spoke in weird tongues and sort of reminded us of animals...because they didn't look or dress or sound like us. so, they couldn't have been human. it was great because whenever they ended up dying in the fields, we could just send word for more from wherever it is they came from. market times when the ships pulled in to shore were always so festive! :)

then some other people who were here hiding in the woods when we got here, just sort of wandering around the land and not building any big cities or monuments about themselves, literally waiting to adore us as if sent by the one and only true god, who were nice enough to put us up and feed us when we thought the winters here were gonna massacre our asses...

these folks started getting cranky about sharing land. sharing land meaning we could choose to move and set up farms wherever we wanted over here because we needed the space and they did...not.

well, they didn't seem to be using it consistently like we did. they would stay somewhere for a bit, then up and move to somewhere else and then do the same thing all over again. we could never figure out why they wouldn't just stay where they were and suck the land dry of all it was worth. what's up with that?

so, anyways, they were complaining and trying to not move over when we tried to nudge them to one side so as to get more comfortable in our new territories. we just conveniently got rid of them.

how? oh, let's not worry about that. just rest assured that our claim to the land is solid because we make the laws here and now. our claim is solid because we say so. our claim to the land is solid because these people and anyone else who has come here since to help us take up all this big, big space and use the land to its limits, does things our way, behaves as we do, follows our rules of engagment now or else.

we're a peace loving people. we don't want any trouble. so just stay in line and behave or else, we've got guns and bombs and agents and nice courteous descendants on websites who will explain to you exactly what we taught them in nice civilized terms.

you should listen. really, you should listen."


i was surfing around this morning and came across this link to a documentary about one of the most pivotal moments in kkkanadian history. it happened relatively recently, not far away from the university i went to when i was a young dyke still putting political pieces together, starting from center, not still clear about what all was center.

i didn't understand why i was supposed to be sending good energy and standing in support of these people and their struggle.

continuing to develop my understanding of the intersections between my oppressions and my privileges, i'm developing a better understanding now. conscious comes...slowly...

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Conscious and rousing morning...

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

George Carlin was so right...

they'll use any excuse to keep fighting. They're a warlike people. They like war. They're good at it! Why are they good at it? Because they get a lot of practice.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Electronic Intifada: A Bay Area children’s museum shut down a planned exhibition of Gaza children’s drawings...

Gaza children’s images of war censored under pressure from US Israel lobby
by Nora Barrows-Friedman

Pro-Israel organizations pressured an Oakland children’s museum to cancel an upcoming exhibition of drawings made by Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip. Community leaders say the shutting down of the exhibition is the result of a disturbing — and well-funded — campaign to silence Palestinian voices across the US.

On 8 September, just two weeks before the exhibition was set to open to the public, the board of directors of the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) announced that they had canceled “A Child’s View of Gaza.” The board shut down the show due to pressure from “constituents,” according to a statement made by Randolph Bell, the board’s chairman, in the San Francisco Chronicle (“Oakland museum cancels Palestinian kids’ war art,” 9 September 2011).

The show was curated in partnership with the Berkeley-based non-profit group Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), which has been working for 23 years to advocate for Palestinian, Iraqi and Lebanese children’s rights. Barbara Lubin, MECA’s executive director, told The Electronic Intifada that it was “upsetting and infuriating” that the show was canceled, but she wasn’t surprised.

Anybody who knows this issue knows that the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs have launched a multi-million dollar project to combat what they call the ‘delegitmization’ of Israel,” Lubin said. “They try and suffocate the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and censor Palestinian cultural initiatives. What they’re doing is financing the work of silencing and shutting down anyone who wants to talk about what’s really happening to Palestinians.”

The Chronicle also reported that the board of directors at MOCHA vaguely cited the “inappropriate nature” of the content of the children’s drawings in their decision to shut down the exhibit. Some of the Palestinian children’s illustrations show tanks, guns and explosions, but the board’s assertion that these images are “inappropriate” enough to censor is clearly selective.

In years past, MOCHA had successfully exhibited strikingly similar artwork by children in Iraq who drew from their personal experiences of war following the 2003 US-led invasion and subsequent occupation. Another exhibition several years ago showed artwork by children made during the Second World War that “featured images of Hitler, burning airplanes, sinking battleships, empty houses and a sad girl next to a Star of David,” the Chronicle added.

Lubin said that the difference in this context is simple: “The pro-Israel groups are afraid that people will start understanding what’s really going on with Israeli policy through seeing exhibits like the one we put together. They don’t want people to know that Palestinian children are suffering. They’re afraid of us hearing that other side. For 63 years we’ve heard one side in this country and around the world, and it’s time for the other side to be heard.”

Stretching Israel’s siege from Gaza to Oakland

The censored drawings were created through local children’s mental health initiatives in Gaza immediately following Israel’s attacks in the winter of 2008-09, during which approximately 1,400 Palestinians, including more than 300 children, were killed.

Ziad Abbas, associate director of MECA, told The Electronic Intifada that several art-based organizations in the Gaza Strip began working with traumatized children in an effort to help them channel their fears, anger and trauma through artistic expression. Those drawings resulted in the collection of artwork that was to be showcased at the children’s museum.

The art projects were born out of a necessity to try to reduce the impact and effects of the attacks which killed hundreds of children in Gaza. These drawings came from that kind of therapy to express their feelings,” he said.

Abbas added that the child artists were thrilled that their work had “broken Israel’s siege on Gaza” when the drawings made their way to a museum halfway across the world.

It was important for these children to know that their voices were going to be heard in Oakland. However, they didn’t expect the siege to stretch all the way from Gaza to California, which is essentially what happened when MOCHA canceled the exhibit due to pressure from these groups,” Abbas said.

Major donors: “Funding was not jeopardized”

Upon investigation, it emerged that those “constituents” who got the ear of MOCHA’s board chair included pro-Israel public relations institutions with extraordinarily large budgets and organized community outreach programs. In the Bay Area, these organizations include the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), a subsidiary branch of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA); and the local chapter of the Jewish Community Federation (JCF), which operates under the umbrella of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

The JCRC and the JCF both receive substantial funding from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, which has also funded MOCHA.

The fund, based in San Francisco, is a major donor to arts, science, social justice and Jewish organizations around the Bay Area across the political and cultural spectrum. MOCHA received $30,000 in grants from the Haas fund in 2011 (Recent grantmaking: The Arts,” Walter & Elise Haas Fund website, accessed 9 September 2011).

However, a program coordinator with the Walter & Elise Haas Fund told The Electronic Intifada that their staff had talked to the museum about possible public concern with the exhibit, but that the art show “was their decision and their funding was not in any way jeopardized with their doing it.”

Pam David, the executive director of the Haas Fund, declined to comment for this article.

John Patchner, communications director for the East Bay Community Foundation — which has awarded tens of thousands of dollars in grants to MOCHA over the years — told The Electronic Intifada that they had “not been contacted by anyone in connection with the cancellation of the exhibit and we’re currently seeking additional information from the Museum of Children’s Art.”

But there are many other foundations that support MOCHA. And in August at least one pro-Israel online campaign encouraged the general public to directly contact MOCHA funders, and published a list of various foundations, in a bid to cancel the children’s art exhibition.

No fight is too small” for pro-Israel groups

Whether or not MOCHA’s funders were directly intimidated by pro-Israel groups in the Bay Area, it’s certain that top leadership from groups such as the JCRC had a hand in shutting the exhibit down. The JCRC has repeatedly thwarted art and cultural initiatives in the Bay Area which highlight the Palestinian struggle, and has used the guise of “fighting anti-Semitism” to censor alternative voices.

At San Francisco State University in 2006, a proposed mural in honor of the late Palestinian-American intellectual Edward Said was attacked by the JCRC, which helped convince the university administration that the mural sent a “chilling” and threatening message to Jewish students and therefore should be blocked (“SFSU president keeping Jews safe with mural censure,” Jewish Weekly, 6 October 2006).

In 2007, the JCRC also worked hand-in-hand with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the largest and most influential Israel lobby organizations in the US, to force the San Francisco Arts Commission to exert pressure on a local grantee of theirs, an organization for at-risk youth in San Francisco. A mural, planned and painted by Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY), depicted symbols of Palestinian struggle and resistance, including a Palestinian woman with a kuffiyeh (the traditional checkered headscarf) and a crack in the wall that resembled historic Palestine.

The JCRC and the ADL put pressure on the Arts Commission to make the artists omit or modify some of the images after claiming that the symbols were anti-Semitic and “out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Jews,” as reported in the San Francisco Examiner (“Controversial mural to be altered in S.F.,” 20 September 2007).

The two organizations also worked together to stifle free speech on college campuses in the Bay Area, censoring academic lectures by attempting to conflate criticism of Israeli policy with anti-Semitism. Other pro-Israel groups, backed by the ADL, have pressured faculty boards to deny tenure to university professors who openly criticize Israeli policies.

Following MOCHA’s cancellation of the exhibit, Rabbi Doug Kahn, executive director of the JCRC, admitted to the online blog Muzzlewatch (a project of Jewish Voice for Peace) that he was “working closely with the Jewish Federation of the East Bay [which is part of the JFNA]” and “shared with the leadership of MOCHA our concerns about the inappropriateness of this exhibit given the fact that MOCHA — an important and valued community institution — serves very young children” (“Oakland children’s museum cancels Palestinian children’s art exhibit under pressure from local Jewish groups,” 10 September 2011).

Rabbi Kahn refused to respond directly to The Electronic Intifada’s questions via phone, but emailed a statement from the JCRC on 12 September. Entitled “Jewish Community Applauds Children’s Art Museum’s Decision on Exhibit,” it alleges that the art show “contains violent images that dehumanize an entire ethnic and religious population.”

The JCRC adds that MOCHA’s leadership “recognized the negative effect that this inflammatory exhibit would have on young children, Jewish and non-Jewish alike,” adding that the drawings could “potentially create an unsafe atmosphere for Jewish children.”

However, nowhere in the children’s drawings are there anti-Semitic images or phrases. The only Stars of David that are drawn are the ones that Israel itself has put on its flags, F16 bomber jets, tanks and soldiers’ uniforms — ubiquitous Israeli national symbols that any Palestinian child living under Israeli military occupation would see on a daily basis, especially during times of wanton attacks.

The cancelation of the children’s exhibition was celebrated as a victory by pro-Israel groups. On 7 September, the day before MECA was informed by the museum’s board of directors that the exhibit had been canceled, the Jewish Federation of the East Bay (JFEB) had already received information that the show was shut down — and boasted about the cancellation of the exhibit on its official twitter account.

JFEB (@JFEDeastbay) tweeted: “Great news! The ‘Child’s view from Gaza’ exhibit at MOCHA has been canceled thanks to some great East Bay Jewish community organizing.”

Pro-Israel groups to “pressure civic leaders” in new $6M initiative

The timing of Kahn’s determination to pressure the MOCHA board is significant. Just eleven months ago, the JFNA pledged to invest $6 million in a new, three-year initiative they call the “Israel Action Network.”

Working alongside the JCPA — of which the JCRC, Kahn’s organization, is a subsidiary — the Israel Action Network “is expected to serve as a rapid-response team charged with countering the growing campaign to isolate Israel as a rogue state akin to apartheid-era South Africa — a campaign that the Israeli government and Jewish groups see as an existential threat to the Jewish state … The network will monitor the delegitimization movement worldwide and create a strategic plan to counter it wherever it crops up” (“Federations, JCPA teaming to fight delegitimization of Israel,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 25 October 2010).

The JFNA stated that this new campaign would seek to influence “civic leaders,” and said that it would be fully staffed and “up and running” by 1 January 2011.

According to their recent tax forms, the JFNA’s investment of $6 million in this new campaign should not be a financial burden — they listed more than $197 million in total assets between June 2009 and June 2010 (Return of organization exempt from income tax, 2009, 2009-2010 [PDF]).

The fact that these enormous, well-funded Israeli advocacy organizations have turned their attention to a singular, modest children’s art exhibition in Oakland highlights the Israeli lobbies’ tireless efforts to silence Palestinian expression. Deborah Agre of MECA agreed, saying that “no fight is too small” for these groups.

MECA’s Barbara Lubin added that the attack on this children’s art show is just one in a long line of such campaigns.

But this is particularly saddening to me because these are voices of children,” Lubin said. “And as I said to the head of the board of directors at the museum, MECA loses, MOCHA loses, but more importantly, the children from Gaza lose the most. They’ve always been the ones to lose the most. Not only do they have to live through these bombings and the siege, but then when they try to express their experiences through art, they’re shut down.”

There’s only one winner in all of this,” Lubin added, “And that is the Zionist lobby who intimidate, harass and do everything they can to make it impossible for people to have these kinds of exhibits.”

MOCHA’s board of directors: supporting all children, or just some?

According to its tax documents, accessed from public records, it is clear that MOCHA is a grassroots organization highly dependent on funding from outside grants and foundations. MOCHA listed just over $700,000 in contributions and grants in 2009 — whereas salaries and employee benefits accounted for approximately double that amount. Their fee-based children’s art programs bring in additional revenue of just under $1 million for that year.

If pro-Israel lobbyists indeed placed threatening calls to foundations that support MOCHA, it is understandable that they could feel frightened by the potential loss of money for the next fiscal year and would therefore bend to pressure by these outside groups. But MOCHA may have violated its own mission statement in doing so. On its tax forms, MOCHA states its mission is “to ensure that the arts are a fundamental part of the lives of all children.”

Ziad Abbas said that it’s wrong for the board of directors to put conditions on that support. “Do they really support all children, or just certain ones? Certainly, in this situation, the Palestinian children who made this artwork are not being supported at all,” he remarked.

The Electronic Intifada asked whether the children in Gaza had been informed that their exhibition was shut down, and what their reaction was to the news. Abbas explained that he had just received a call from one of the young artists in Gaza who saw MECA’s press release on the Internet that explained that the show was canceled.

He was extremely disappointed, and the other children were obviously shocked and sad as well,” Abbas replied. “It’s upsetting to them to hear that a children’s art museum across the world decided that their personal [narratives] are offensive, and then silenced their voices and artwork. When you hear about an art museum that has violated its own mission to censor children’s artwork and children’s artistic expression, it’s extremely disappointing.”

Community support is out in force

Following Thursday’s announcement by the MOCHA board of directors, MECA has been flooded with phone calls and emails from supporters not only just across the Bay Area but worldwide who are appalled at the shutting down of the children’s art show. And Lubin said that while outrage at the museum is understandable, the institution is not the enemy.

MOCHA is very dear to our hearts,” Lubin emphasized. “We love this organization and respect the work they do. It’s an essential institution in the Bay Area. Our anger is not at the people who work at MOCHA; rather, our anger is at the board who do not have the courage to stand up to this kind of intimidation from the pro-Israel groups. We’re asking people to direct their anger at the board and at the Zionist organizations who do this kind of muzzling. But certainly not at the organization itself.”

MECA has started an email action campaign in an effort to counter-pressure the board of directors with support and gratitude for hosting the Palestinian children’s artwork. They are also asking people to come to the gallery on 24 September, on the planned opening day of the exhibition, in a show of support for the show even if it remains canceled.

Meanwhile, Lubin and the MECA staff are busy figuring out alternative venues for the exhibition.

We’re not sure where the show will be yet, but we’ll continue to work on seeing that these voices are heard and that these pictures are shown. People want to do something, and have been offering space in their homes, shops and even in schools,” Abbas said. “They won’t shut down these children’s voices.”

Nora Barrows-Friedman is an award-winning independent journalist, and is a staff writer and editor for The Electronic Intifada. She also writes for Inter Press Service, Al Jazeera, Truthout and other outlets, and regularly reports from Palestine.

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