Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Gaza a prison says U.N.

You get the story hot off the presses. How long, if at all, before our press reports this story in any form, and when they do, how will they frame it? My guess is it will be framed as the U.N. is anti-semitic, Israel is just defending itself, there is nothing they can do. Should their people keep getting blown up by suicide bombers? Gee, should Palestinians keep getting blown up in rocket attacks?

Copyright Reuters. It speaks for itself.

(Updates with Israeli reaction paragraphs 4,10) By Richard Waddington GENEVA, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into a prison for Palestinians where life is "intolerable, appalling, tragic" and the Jewish state appears to have thrown away the key, a U.N. human rights envoy said on Tuesday.

U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory John Dugard said that the suffering of the Palestinians was a test of the readiness of the international community to protect human rights. "If ... the international community cannot ... take some action, (it) must not be surprised if the people ... disbelieve that they are seriously committed to the promotion of human rights," he told the United Nations' Human Rights Council.

Israel hit back saying there was an "alarming disconnect" between the rapporteur's report to the U.N.'s human rights watchdog and the experience of Israelis who continued to "face the daily threat of Palestinian terrorism".

The South African lawyer, who has been a special U.N. investigator since 2001, repeated earlier accusations that Israel is breaking international humanitarian law with security measures which amount to "collective punishment."

Israel says its security restrictions, which include the construction of a steel and concrete barrier in the West Bank, are designed to stop suicide bombers entering Israel. Bombings have declined since the barrier was built. It also maintains tight restrictions on the movement of goods and people into and out of Gaza, a coastal strip that it pulled out of last year after 38 years of occupation.


Dugard also attacked the United States, the European Union and Canada for withdrawing funding for the Palestinian Authority in protest at the governing party Hamas's refusal to accept Israel's right to exist.

"Israel violates international law as expounded by the Security Council and the International Court of Justice and goes unpunished. But the Palestinian people are punished for having democratically elected a regime unacceptable to Israel, the U.S. and the EU," Dugard said.

But Israel's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva Itzhak Levanon said that by putting the "entire blame" on Israel the report "absolves the terrorists that have taken Palestinian society hostage from even the most minimal responsibility."

Dugard said that three-quarters of Gaza's 1.4 million people were dependent on food aid. Bombing raids by Israel since the June 25 capture of an army corporal by Palestinian militants had destroyed houses and the territory's only power plant.

"Gaza is a prison and Israel seems to have thrown away the key," he said.

The West Bank also faced a humanitarian crisis, albeit not as extreme as Gaza, in part due to the barrier, which Dugard alleged was no longer being justified by Israel on security grounds but was part of a move to annex more land. Palestinians living between the barrier and the Green Line, the frontier at the end of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, could no longer freely access schools and places of work and many had abandoned local farms, he said.

"In other countries this process might be described as ethnic cleansing but political correctness forbids such language where Israel is concerned," Dugard said.

(Reporting by Richard Waddington; editing by Ralph Boulton, richard.waddington.reuters.com@reuters.net, geneva.newsroom@reuters.com, 41-22-733-3831))

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The un-greening of Chicago by the Green Mayor

In the last several years of Mayor Daley’s reign, we have witnessed the open space on the lakefront covered with green lawns and ample space for people to gather in a serene, quiet setting to a crowded tourist attraction packed with a new, unneeded concert pavilion reminiscent of twisted metal from an urban war, the “bean”, a wading pool and a concrete walkway linking it all.

We saw the pre-emptive destruction of Meigs Field and the development of hundreds of high scale condos, whose residents now resent the noise emanating from what’s left of Grant Park, which they consider to be their “neighborhood park” rather than a gathering place for residents of the city and beyond.

We saw Soldier Field transformed into what can only be described as a stationary space ship, lose its historical landmark status, all in the name of more seating and therefore more money, for a team that has been losing since the 80’s.

When Daley was first elected, he vowed to make Chicago green. He proposed ordinances that would require new construction to allow for green space in front of their buildings, he landscaped Lake Shore Drive, he beautified parks with iron fences and built bike paths and walking paths along the lakefront. The city was guaranteed not to look like Manhattan Island.

But something happened to the green Mayor along the way. He seems to have lost sight of the vision our founding fathers had for our lakefront. The early city planners all agreed that the lakefront open space was sacrosanct. They wanted it to be something that could be enjoyed by everyone in the city. They theorized that pastoral settings are crucial in an urban environment because peaceful environments positively affect the people that visit them.

Our view of the lake, and the pastoral scenes one time seen from Michigan Avenue, are rapidly giving way to developments and high rises, all in the name of progress.

Now Daley wants to host the Olympics and he wants to do it in historic Washington Park. According to the National Register of Historic Places, 3670 acres, 15 buildings, 28 structures and 8 objects are all registered as having historic significance. This designation was won in 2004.

The historic significance is base on architecture and engineering, as well as its connection to a historic event, the 1893 World’s Fair. Its historic function is listed as landscape, recreation and culture. The area of significance is architecture, landscape architecture, entertainment/recreation, social history. Does the green mayor realize that his plan for a stadium to be built in this location could very well adversely affect its landmark designation? Does he care?

On any given day in Washington Park, residents are in the park strolling, playing Frisbee, having bar-b-ques, gathering, reading or just relaxing in the park. In an area that is host to a myriad of problems and a general lack of any other recreation, it is a bright spot in an otherwise blighted area.

Drive down Lake Shore Drive and get off in Hyde Park. Follow the roads that wind around Jackson Park with its rolling hills in an otherwise flat land, then see Washington Park open before you with its lagoons and twisting walkways that meander through this beautiful piece of planned landscaping, designed to give residents exactly what they use it for; a place to escape the urban environment and achieve a bit of peace and pastoral beauty in the midst of an otherwise concrete world.

I understand the Mayor wanting to attract tourism to the city with an event like the Olympics, but how much more of our rich history do we have to abandon to allow this Mayor to realize his plan to turn Chicago into Manhattan?

I think he’s missing a very important point. If we wanted to live in New York, we would move there. We don’t. We want to live in Chicago with its rich history of world-renowned urban planners who redesigned a city that rose from the ashes with exactly the opposite intention of the present Mayor.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

We the people can impeach the president - who needs Congress

An alert reader notified me that there is a mechanism for WE THE PEOPLE to begin the impeachment proceedings. THIS IS NOT A JOKE. George Bush will be in office for 2 more years, considering it only took 6 months of his administration for most of the world to hate us, I shudder to think the damage he can do in two more years.

So......here is the information and the link to the site that discovered this little used law and little known of procedure. Everyone must act quickly, we have seen how the slightest threat to their power is rapidly met and smothered. Let's get the signatures we need before they decide to close our only avenue to take back our country, and return it to the condition it was in before he was "voted" in.

I don't know about you, but I want to be able to hold my head up and be proud of being an American. I am tired of apologizing for my country.

Do-It-Yourself Impeachment...Impeach bush yourself logo

Impeach for Peace, a Minnesota-based impeachment group, has researched a method for impeaching the president using a little known and rarely used part of the Rules of the House of Representatives ("Jefferson’s Manual"). This document actually empowers individual citizens to initiate the impeachment process themselves.

"Jefferson's Manual" is an interpretive guide to parliamentary procedure, and is included (along with the Constitution) in the bound volumes of the Rules of the House of Representatives. The section covering impeachment lists the acceptable vehicles for bringing impeachment motions to the floor of the House.

Before the House Judiciary Committee can put together the Articles of Impeachment, someone must initiate the impeachment procedure. Most often, this occurs when members of the House pass a resolution. Another method outlined in the manual, however, is for individual citizens to submit a memorial for impeachment.

After learning this information, Minnesotan and Impeach for Peace member (Jodin Morey) found precedent in an 1826 memorial by Luke Edward Lawless which had been successful in initiating the impeachment of Federal Judge James H. Peck. Impeach for Peace then used this as a template for their "Do-It-Yourself Impeachment." Now any citizen can download the DIY Impeachment Memorial and submit it, making it possible for Americans to do what our representatives have been unwilling to do. The idea is for so many people to submit the Memorial that it cannot be ignored.

Feel free to download it, print out TWO copies, fill in your relevant information in the blanks (name, State, etc.), and send in two letters today (One to the head of the Judiciary, and the other to John Conyers lead Democrat in the House Judiciary). There's also extra credit for sending a DIY Impeachment to your own representative.

Hold on to the other copy of the two letters until October 12th when we're having everyone send them in.

That's right — to make a big impact, we're having everyone send it in on the same date (Over 165,000 downloads so far representing over 622,000 mailings). We hope to flood the Judiciary Committee and John Conyers office with sacks of mail and cause a newsworthy event to further pressure the Congress to act on the memorials. Although, it's important to keep in mind that in the 1826 precedent, impeachment resulted as a result of a single memorial. Yours might be the one.

Get the PDF to send in, and DIRECTLY initiate the impeachment of Bush:
•Regular Version [pdf]• (html version)

•Extra Credit (your representative) [pdf]• (html version)

•For folks in District of Columbia [pdf]• (html version)

•District of Columbia Extra Credit!! [pdf]• (html version)

Suggested voluntary donation to help with organization's expenses (web hosting/protests/printing of flyers/etc.): $5. We are not-for-profit. 100% of funds go directly to efforts to Impeach Bush!

Frequently asked Questions and Answers

Concerns over the strategy of pushing for impeachment in this way?
See the 'Arguments Against Impeachment' at the bottom of the main page.

Audio, provided with permission from the "Mike Malloy Show."


We would especially like to thank ImpeachBush.tv for their support, and whose charges related to impeachment we used in the creation of this document.

Also, if you're interested:

Information regarding Impeachment procedure

Precedent: Judge Peck's Impeachment supplied by the U.S. House of Representatives and policyreview.org.
House rules that allow for the submission of the memorial

Jefferson's Manual

Jefferson's Manual is a sort of interpretive guide to parliamentary procedure, and is included (along with the Constitution) in the bound volumes of the Rules of the House of Representatives.
Within the Manual itself, the section covering impeachment is designated Section LIII. Section 603 refers to the section of the entire volume (including the Constitution and Rules) in which you'll find the listing of acceptable vehicles for bringing impeachment motions to the floor.

"In the House of Representatives there are various methods of setting an impeachment in motion: by charges made on the floor on the responsibility of a Member or Delegate (II, 1303; III, 2342, 2400, 2469; VI, 525, 526, 528, 535, 536); by charges preferred by a memorial, which is usually referred to a committee for examination (III, 2364, 2491, 2494, 2496, 2499, 2515; VI, 552); or by a resolution dropped in the hopper by a Member and referred to a committee (April 15, 1970, p. 11941-2); by a message from the President (III, 2294, 2319; VI, 498); by charges transmitted from the legislature of a State (III, 2469) or Territory (III, 2487) or from a grand jury (III, 2488); or from facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House (III, 2399, 2444)."

Source: U.S. Government Printing Office

Hinds - III, 2364, 2491, 2494, 2496, 2499, 2515

Cannon's - VI, 552

Peck and contempt (care of policyreview.org)

There is the case of Judge James H. Peck, an 1830-31 impeachment and acquittal. President Monroe had appointed Peck to the bench in 1822. In 1828, the Democrats swept to power. That met the condition for partisan conflict.

Peck was judge in Missouri in a series of land claim cases in the territory of the Louisiana purchase. The law was complicated, the interests involved huge. In the first such case, in 1825 (the account here draws mainly on Bushnell’s in Crimes, Follies, and Misfortunes), Peck ruled against the client of a lawyer named Luke Edward Lawless. Because of the high degree of interest in the case, Peck published his ruling in a St. Louis newspaper in 1826. Shortly thereafter, a detailed rebuttal of Peck’s ruling appeared in another newspaper under the byline, "A Citizen." Peck was furious at the attack. He believed the "Citizen" rebuttal, in addition to its flawed legal reasoning, was replete with errors and misrepresentations of his ruling. Lawless’s authorship soon became known.

Bushnell writes:
Peck held the letter to be a contempt of court, sentenced Lawless to twenty-four hours in jail, and suspended him from practicing in federal court for eighteen months [a serious blow to Lawless’s livelihood as a lawyer specializing in land claims before the federal courts]. As the basis of the contempt ruling, Peck found that Lawless acted "with intent to impair the public confidence in the upright intentions of said court, and to bring odium upon the court, and especially with intent to impress the public mind, and particularly many litigants in this court, that they are not to expect justice in the cases now pending therein."

Lawless felt he was entirely within his rights to criticize a published decision and saw the contempt ruling as a tyrannical affront to the Constitution. He began a long crusade against Peck that ultimately led to impeachment nearly five years later on one article dealing solely with the judge’s treatment of Lawless. The article accused Peck of acting "to the great disparagement of public justice, the abuse of judicial authority, and to the subversion of the liberties of the people of the United States." James Buchanan, who went on to be elected president in 1856, was chairman of the House managers.

Peck maintained that his contempt ruling was within his powers as a judge, and his defenders argued that even if it went too far, Peck did not, as the article alleged, act with bad intent, believing that he possessed sufficient authority for his actions. At a minimum, however, it seems fair to say that Peck’s actions from the bench were harsh enough to meet the test of genuinely dubious conduct.

Peck was acquitted with 21 votes in favor of removal and 22 against. Where was the abuse of the separation of powers here? In this case, not in the statute books but in the common law — the precedents Peck relied on to hold Lawless in contempt and to sentence him harshly. As Bushnell observes, Peck’s defenders "sought to refute the charge of abuse of the contempt power by citing English and American precedents supporting the authority of courts to punish for contempts like Lawless’s." The House tried to hold his conduct to the standard of its more circumscribed view of judicial contempt powers. The Senate was not willing to rely on the House’s assertions to the extent necessary to remove Peck.

But the Senate, like the House, can hardly be said to have found Peck’s conduct salutary. Both chambers amply demonstrated this by approving, within a month of Peck’s acquittal, legislation introduced by Buchanan restricting contempt findings in federal courts roughly along the lines of the terms the House managers had unsuccessfully tried to apply in Peck’s impeachment. Contempt could be found in misbehavior in a courtroom or close enough to it to disturb its proceedings; or in misbehavior in such business of the courts’ as filing motions and briefs; or in the failure to obey a lawful court order. It could not be found in a newspaper rebuttal to a court’s decision. Buchanan’s legislation governs contempts in federal courts to this day.

Lawless' actual memorial: Source-U.S. House Precendents: Hinds III, 2496-2499

More information on Peck's impeachment; Carnegie Mellon University Universal Library

Petitions, memorials, and private bills

[109th Congress House Rules Manual -- House Document No. 108-241]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office Online Database]

[[Page 593]]
Rule XII
receipt and referral of measures and matters
[[Page 599]]
Petitions, memorials, and private bills
3. If a <> Member, Delegate, or Resident
Commissioner has a petition, memorial, or private bill to present, he
shall endorse his name, deliver it to the Clerk, and may specify the
reference or disposition to be made thereof. Such petition, memorial, or
private bill (except when judged by the Speaker to be obscene or
insulting) shall be en
[[Page 600]]
tered on the Journal with the name of the Member, Delegate, or Resident
Commissioner presenting it and shall be printed in the Congressional
At the first organization of the House in 1789 the rules then adopted
provided for the presentation of petitions to the House by the Speaker
and Members, and for the introduction of bills by motion for leave. In
1842 it was found necessary, in order to save time, to provide that
petitions and memorials should be filed with the Clerk. In 1870, 1879,
and 1887 the practice as to petitions was extended to private bills, at
first as to certain classes and later so that all should be filed with
the Clerk (IV, 3312, 3365; VII, 1024). Before the House recodified its
rules in the 106th Congress, this provision was found in former clause 1
of rule XXII (H. Res. 5, Jan. 6, 1999, p. 47).
Petitions, memorials, <> and other papers addressed to the House may
be presented by the Speaker as well as by a Member (IV, 3312). Petitions
from the country at large are presented by the Speaker in the manner
prescribed by the rule (III, 2030; IV, 3318; VII, 1025). A Member may
present a petition from the people of a State other than his own (IV,
3315, 3316). The House itself may refer one portion of a petition to one
committee and another portion to another committee (IV, 3359, 3360), but
ordinarily the reference of a petition does not come before the House
itself. A committee may receive a petition only through the House (IV,

Source: U.S. Government Printing Office

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
Bush, June 18, 2002

"War is Peace"
Big Brother in George Orwell's 1984
Impeach for Peace icon

the link

Friday, September 15, 2006

No journalists, no news - prisoners in their own village

Jamal Darawi from Nu’man: “We Are the Refugees of the 21st Century ”
Community Voice, Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, August 7th, 2006

Jamal Darawi, 40, from Nu’man village, is part of the popular committee to defend the land in the Bethlehem district. He tells how the Occupation is forcing the villagers to leave Nu’man. The Zionist drive to expel the people from their lands and homes has a concrete target — 21 villages all along the path of the Wall. The land which was used to provide the villagers with the means of independence now is used to provide the means of their imprisonment.

“Nu’man is one of the villages to the southeast of Jerusalem and east of Bethlehem and Beit Sahour occupied in 1967,” explains Darawi. “We all have West Bank IDs. The village and its lands are part of the Bethlehem district and it has never been considered part of Jerusalem proper. The village lands comprise 5,000 dunum with around 300 inhabitants. We are just at the foot of the Abu Ghneim mountain, a small forest that has been destroyed to build the colony of Har Homa. Zionist greed and expansion now want to annex the entire village and its land for the settlement. This move forms part of the Israeli plan to stranglehold Jerusalem through a settlement belt around the city. Seventy percent of the village land belongs to Palestinian owners in Bethlehem and Beit Sahour. These lands were to be the area on which Beit Sahour could develop and its people build and cultivate. Now, there is no way Palestinians can build and live on this land because the land that was to be used as cultivation has now been confiscated to create a prison for them. They took most of this land to build a Wall around Nu’man village.”

“Until 1992 we were still able to have a dignified life. We were able to build our houses, no one imposed choking restrictions on us, we continued our life between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The village is a part of the Ta’amre area which extends from Sur Baher and Um Toba in the North and to Hebron in the South. Our families live for the most part within this area. Most of my relatives, for example, live in Ash-Shawawre, Za’tara and Dar Salah, east of Bethlehem, while my immediate family has lived for 150 years in Nu’man. In Nu’man, people have developed caves as homes as the rocks keep a very constant temperature in summer and winter. You can still see the cave my family has lived in. These structures are unique and form part of our history and heritage. Seventy years ago my family moved to build our family house.

“Our land is registered in the Bethlehem district. It has never been registered with the Jerusalem municipality, so we were shocked in 1992, when the so-called Jerusalem municipality and the Occupation responsible over the local administrative affairs came to distribute papers informing the people in the village that they were living on land within the Jerusalem municipality's borders. The documents stated that they were illegally living there. Olmert was the mayor of Occupied Jerusalem at that time. Suddenly, we, the owners of the land and everything on it, had become strangers in our land.

We didn’t respect any of these Israeli rules. We didn’t accept these ridiculous claims. Yet, they started immediately to prohibit us from building houses in the village. They claim that the area is within the Jerusalem border and earmarked as a green area and no building plans have been approved. They started giving demolition orders to the house owners.
In 1994 we were shocked again when they expelled all the village students from their schools. The students have always gone to school in Sur Baher in the Jerusalem district stretching from way back to the Jordanian period and even before the Jordanian period. I went to school there and I am now 40 years old. We all studied in Sur Baher or Um Toba because it is the closest school to us. It was the Ministry of Education and the Jerusalem municipality of the Occupation that prevented our children from going to school. They claimed that these schools are in Jerusalem and that we don’t carry Jerusalem IDs. At the same time we were not allowed to build schools or anything else, as we had been declared illegal residents in our own village. So all of our students had to take up the much longer way to schools in Beit Sahour, Dar Salah and el Abediye. At the beginning we organized a bus to pick up the children but, in 1998, they stopped even the bus. It wasn’t allowed to come to the village anymore as our village had become an “Israeli area” and no cars with green Palestinian number plates were allowed to come to us. The Occupation forces closed the entrance of the village stationing military jeeps at flying checkpoints. They dug up the road and put rocks on it so cars could not cross. We were enduring this racism and harassment day after day and our students had to walk around six km to go to school and back. We went to Palestinian and international human rights institutions, but none of them were able to do anything.”

“After the start of the al Aqsa Intifada, the attack on us got worse as the Occupation began to build the Wall. The Wall is the worst thing that has ever been done to us. It is erected on our village land. In addition to the wall they have started destruction for a settlement road which connects the settlements on Bethlehem land with those built in Jerusalem. This road confiscated land from el Khass and Nu’man. Our two villages are twin villages with one village council and complete interdependency. This wall has separated us. They also built what they call “Mazmouriya Terminal”. Mazmouriya was the Roman name for our village and now they steal it for a check point to oppress us. For this checkpoint they have already taken and destroyed 350 dunum from Nu’man land and now they are going to build a military camp next to it, under the pretext that this will serve to protect the Wall and the checkpoint. The camp will be located between Nu’man and Beit Sahour and will confiscate another 150 dunums. The military orders are already distributed and I guess the works will start soon.

In addition to all of that, there is something called Har Homa “D”, which is the third phase of expansion of the settlements on Abu Ghneim hill. They will build 5,000 housing units on the lands of owners from Beit Sahour and Bethlehem. In the end, the village will be surrounded from three sides. From the West, between Har Homa and the village by the military camp; from the south by the “Mazmouriya terminal” and in the north by the settlement road.”

“Now that they have finished the Apartheid Wall, the system they build is clear. They are building the Mazmouriya checkpoint for commercial use and products only and are keeping a gate, further away for the people from Nu’man. Occupation forces are stationed at the gate. Every day we face complicated procedures of oppression. Life gets to be a hell like this. Nevertheless, we are living and we are struggling.

Just to mention a few things. For two months now - and all the human rights organizations, the Red Cross and OCHA know about it – the forces don’t allow the rubbish car to enter the village. The rubbish is piling up in the village and people have turned to burning it as we have done 40 years ago. The gas trucks are not allowed to enter and at the same time we are not allowed to carry gas bottles in our cars. They claim it is dangerous and prohibited but we don’t have anything to cook and heat with. If we want to bring gas bottles to the village, we have to try several times. If they don’t allow us to get it in today, then we try tomorrow. The rule is completely random. The lorries that sell the vegetables can’t enter the village. Even our close relatives living outside the village are not allowed to visit us anymore. For example, I have nine sisters living in el Khass, Deir Salah, in Deheiseh, Beit Jala and Hebron. None of them is able to come to visit us as their residency is not officially registered as “Nu’man”. My mother is about 80 years old and she is sick. For two months I didn’t see her. No one is allowed to enter the village. Even people with Jerusalem IDs tried to enter but they are blocked at the gate as well.”

Living in a Prison

“When you enter the village the soldiers check everything possible in the cars. Our life has become a life entirely subjected to their “security” claims. They move the chairs in the cars, the spare parts, they check our bodies. Their aim is to frustrate any resistance within us to force us to accept this life.

Even if you pass 10 times through this gate you will still undergo these checks.
Nothing of all this has to do with security. They want to create frustration in the people to encourage a slow and steady exodus.”

“Imagine your refrigerator breaks. It is heavy. Usually the one who repairs it, comes to take it. But they won’t allow him to enter. We need to bring it out of the village to be repaired. The veterinarian is not allowed to enter either. There are around 200 sheep and goats belonging to the people in the village. They didn’t allow the doctor to come to give them an important vaccination against diseases that can be transmitted to human beings. They have asked us to bring the sheep and the goat to Bethlehem. The wheat sacks – even if signed by the company – are not allowed in. In case somebody wants to buy one for his family to make bread, they will ask him to go back to Beit Sahour and to put the wheat in small bags and bring it like this. Even if it is only one kilo of tomatoes or two kilo of bananas, each time we bring vegetables to the village, they accuse us of smuggling it to “Israel”. The aim of all of this is nothing more but to destroy the life of the people here and to create the worst conditions possible within the village.”

“The people cannot leave the village as they might lose the chance to return by 5 or 6 pm. If anyone is late, he will face terrible harassment. The area around the gate is empty and dark. Soldiers force him to walk 100 meter away from the car until they see him and tell him to come. He has to take off his trousers and to raise his t-shirt. Sometimes, even undergoing this degrading procedure, the Occupation forces won’t let you pass. As a result, the people don’t go out of the village after 5 and people that have to stay away late, prefer passing the night outside instead of coming back through the gate.”

“Finally, we have some cases of marriages with Palestinians from Jordan in the village. They have no IDs from Nu’man because the Occupation doesn’t allow the PA to give any IDs after the outbreak of the al Aqsa Intifada. These women can’t leave the village as they will not be able to get back. So these women prefer to stay sick and to treat their illness by themselves and not to go out of the village to see a doctor. This would be a bigger catastrophe for them than the illness itself. I am not speaking about cases of illness only, it is the same for any reason to leave the village—to run errands or go out for occasions.”

Childhood at the whim of the soldiers

“Every day children go through the harassment and racist procedures at the gate. All kids more than 5 or 6 years old must carry their birth certificate to prove that “Nu’man” is written there as their birthplace. Otherwise they stop the children from entering the village and from coming home.

The whole village has become isolated from social life and from relatives. Each weekend, our relatives and friends from the surrounding villages came there to visit us and stay. I have 24 close relatives and they came and played with our kids. Now they are prohibited from coming here. We don’t see kids in the village anymore. Our kids are not more than 30 or 40 and they are now separated from the rest of the world. It's even hard to find ways to take them out of the village. Usually, when you go to a restaurant or for any other occasion, you go after 4 pm. Yet, we have to return before 6pm. So, there is no time to take them anywhere. I can’t risk coming late with them to the gate and then I am forced to take off my trousers and my t-shirt in front of my kids. I prefer to keep up my ethics and dignity in front of my kids and so being home is better.”

No doubt, the children in the village are facing psychological problems. You can’t imagine, the village has no services, institutions or anything – only one small shop and the Wall and settlements around it. There is nothing to do. And even the shopkeeper, if he wants to bring something, he needs to bring it in small packaging and they check every single item before he can bring it in.”

Isolation and Destruction

“The whole village is threatened to be demolished. They have already demolished three houses this year. There are another seven houses still under demolition orders. Yesterday the Occupation forces came and took photos of one of these houses. So, it seems they will demolish it soon. Nobody will care about it or raise a protest, especially now that there are no journalists or other people who could support us, as nobody can pass through the gates that isolate us. We are now refugees of the 21st century. I don’t know how long we can resist in this situation. It is clear that they are determined to expel all the people from the village for the sake of Zionist expansion. The people, whose houses are demolished, where do they go with their wives and children? They are not allowed to build another house. For 14 years, we haven’t been not allowed to build anything anymore. There are new generations to come. Where shall they go? The only thing they can do is to rent a house or to build on land outside the village.”

“The Occupation has no respect even for the ill people and the pregnant women. They need to walk or find somebody with a car from the village to bring them out of the village and to the hospitals. The ambulance is not allowed to enter the village. A month ago, somebody needed an ambulance but it couldn’t enter. So they took him with a car to the gate, carried him across the gate and then the ambulance could take the person.

Firemen are also not allowed to enter the village. A short time ago there was a fire and it burned all trees in the village. They didn’t allow the Palestinian firemen to stop the fire and they didn’t allow Israeli firemen to come either.

Now the village has been transformed into a prison. A real prison with two gates – one between the village and Jerusalem and one between the village and Bethlehem district.

We are completely cut off from any services. We can’t reach neither services from Bethlehem nor Jerusalem. We used to get services – such as electricity, water and the phone line - from the Palestinian Authority. But already in 1996, they confiscated the telephone pillars and broke them. So we aren’t allowed to have telephone lines in the village. Now we use cell phones to make sure we are not completely cut off from the world.

Not one of the workers from the electricity and water company is allowed to enter the village to bring the bills or to ensure maintenance of the system. When the Occupation was working at the Mazmouriya checkpoint thy set fire to the electricity cables and as a result we were without electricity for five days. They didn’t allow the company to come and to repair it. After five days of struggle and complaints to Red Cross and human rights organizations, they allowed somebody with a Jerusalem ID to repair it.”

“Are you surprised about what I am saying? But I challenge anybody that this is what is happening and it is only a small part of what we are facing daily. I have just pointed out briefly the main issues. Life in the village now is like 70 years ago. Very basic. This constant attack is something that no human being can endure. We are now completely at the whim of the soldiers. This happens in front of the eyes of the whole world and all internationals and official representatives coming to the village to see the reality. None of them has done anything. Our suffering is getting worse daily.”

Expulsion and ethnic cleansing is perpetrated by a myriad of mechanisms that make life impossible. Isolation, harassment, house demolition and the cutting off of vital services and infrastructure can turn any village to hellish prisons without chances of survival.

Palestinians are determined not to let another Nakba happen but staying on in the villages slated for destruction has become a daily act of heroic resistance.

To read more voices, go to stop the wall

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jewish group works to change CNN's programming - and succeeds

For those of you who are dissatisfied with CNN and its coverage of the Israel-Lebanon War, I have found an article that should interest and enlighten you. It should be our plan for fighting back to regain control of our media. See the media should be reporting the facts, who, what,when,where,and why.....they shouldn't be choosing sides. They shouldn't have to dig up a story on one ide to give equal coverage because of a story on the other side. The news should not be spoon fed to the media, one would hope they could feed themselves, after all it's their job. Unfortunately, it appears that this is not the case. From AISH a Jewish organiation based in NJ.

Winds of Change at CNN
by HonestReporting.com

CNN announces a series of major policy changes in favor of the Israeli position.

CNN has announced a series of major policy changes which will greatly shift public perception of the Arab-Israel conflict in general, and the role of Palestinian suicide bombers in particular.

This week, CNN.com unveiled a special section devoted to Israeli victims of terror. It features victims' names, bios and description of the attack, a timeline of terror attacks, a chart featuring the equivalent death ratios in other countries, and interviews with a victim's family. See it at:

Meanwhile, CNN's Wolf Blitzer is in Israel this week doing special reports on Israeli victims of terror, to be broadcast on primetime on CNN International every evening.

CNN even set up a special email box for viewers to write - terrorvictims@cnn.com.

Eason Jordan, CNN's Chief News Executive, who also flew to Israel, announced that he has issued a directive ordering staff to "go to extremes" to avoid any impression the company sees moral equivalence between terror victims and their attackers. (This on the heels of President Bush's speech placing the blame for the region's ills squarely on Arafat's shoulders.)

CNN has also announced that, barring an "extraordinarily compelling situation," CNN will refuse to air any videotape or statements of suicide bombers or their families. This aligns CNN with the widespread media policy against broadcasting videotaped statements by Osama Bin Laden.

The dramatic CNN turnaround can be attributed to two factors:

  1. Pressure from media-watch groups like HonestReporting.com.

Eason Jordan, the chief news executive of CNN, was quoted in The New York Times as saying that he could find up to 6,000 e-mail messages protesting coverage in his in-box in a single day.

Recent public relations disasters at CNN, for example:

In an interview published last week in the UK Guardian, CNN founder Ted Turner accused Israel of "terrorism" against the Palestinians.

CNN issued a statement saying that Turner "has no operational or editorial oversight of CNN" and was speaking for himself. Without excusing the stupidity of Turner's comments, CNN noted that his comments were made two months ago, at the height of the Jenin media frenzy, and Turner has since backtracked.

[The Guardian, by the way, should be taken for task for misreporting on June 18 when the Turner interview took place: "Ted Turner, the billionaire founder of CNN, accuses Israel today (sic) of engaging in 'terrorism' against the Palestinians."]

Another PR nightmare occurred in May when CNN interviewed an Israeli woman whose mother and daughter were tragically killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber. To the family's shock, CNN International broadcast only a short snippet of the interview, and devoted the bulk of the time to an interview with the mother of the terrorist who carried out the mass murder.

Within days, CNN had backtracked. They broadcast the Israeli interview in full and issued a statement that "CNN deeply regrets any extra anguish the [Israeli] family has suffered as a result of CNN's broadcast... It was a mistake not to air the full international version of the interview immediately..."

Now for the Bad News

We find a "different story" in the reports filed by Mike Hanna, Jerrold Kessel, Christiane Amanpour, Rula Amin and other CNN correspondents in the region. For example, Sheila MacVicar's first report from last week's Gilo bombing, as the burnt bodies were being removed from the bus, noted that Palestinians consider Gilo an "illegal settlement."

(In fact, the blast didn't take place in Gilo, but rather within pre-1967 Jerusalem, or at least in "no-man's land." But either way, MacVicar's reference to "illegal settlement" gives an element of legitimacy to this mass murder.)

We suspect that CNN policy is often driven by the foreign bureaus, rather than by CNN's headquarters. As senior CNN executives visit Israel this week, we hope and expect that to change.

The following are some recent actions taken by CNN-Atlanta to challenge or correct reporting from its Mideast reporters:

-- In April, when Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat claimed that 500 Palestinians were massacred in Jenin, Atlanta-based anchor Bill Hemmer demanded to see proof, and challenged him: If [Israel's] numbers are right and your initial numbers are wrong, will you come back here on our network and retract what you said?"

Erekat replied: "Absolutely." (Though we are still waiting for that public retraction on CNN.)

-- On April 16, the height of the media frenzy in Jenin, CNN's U.S.-based anchors repeatedly challenged CNN correspondent Rula Amin and a UN official, reminding them that no proof had been presented of a massacre.

CNN's Daryn Kagan, for example, told Rula Amin: "Clearly what we are looking at is a different perception here. Rula, I am sure, as we can see from the pictures, a number of homes have been destroyed. But the Israelis would point out that they believe there were gunman and fighters holing out in those houses, and that's why they had to be attacked so fiercely."

-- On April 9, New York-based anchor, Paula Zahn, interrupted Rula Amin's report: "All right, Rula, by the same token, the Israelis argue there's a very good reason why they went into Jenin in the first place, that they know that men who are very active in the Palestinian Authority's violence against Israel are located there."


While we are encouraged by the positive developments, CNN still has a long way to go to restore the trust of the consumer public. CNN's coverage has already led many viewers to switch to competitors, and in Israel, the local cable company announced last week that it will begin carrying Fox News.

And there are more unresolved problems. For example, CNN's bio of Yasser Arafat woefully under-reports his history of terror. "I am one of the victims," CNN quotes Arafat as saying. See the bio:

Recommendations for media activists:

  1. Continue to monitor CNN's coverage.
  2. Discuss CNN's coverage with your local cable station directors and advertisers.
  3. Email polite criticism and comments to CNN. Praise as well as complain, when appropriate. Send to: Eason.Jordan@Turner.com

This article can also be read at: http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/mediaobjectivity/Winds_of_Change_at_CNN.asp

Copyright © 1995 - 2006 Aish.com - http://www.aish.com

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

President insane, impeach now

This is the full text of Bush's speech, very inadequately covered by the media. USA Today was the only paper I found last night online that had the text. No broadcast stations either. The scary part is they only reported on the non-inflammatory parts of the speech. I'll bet the Arab world will have a few good opinion pieces on this one.

In bold are some of the more frightening features of this speech:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A text of President Bush's address Monday evening, as provided by the White House:

Bush: Good evening. Five years ago, this date — September the 11th — was seared into America/s memory. Nineteen men attacked us with a barbarity unequaled in our history. They murdered people of all colors, creeds, and nationalities — and made war upon the entire free world. Since that day, America and her allies have taken the offensive in a war unlike any we have fought before. Today, we are safer, but we are not yet safe. On this solemn night, I have asked for some of your time to discuss the nature of the threat still before us, what we are doing to protect our nation ... and the building of a more hopeful Middle East that holds the key to peace for America and the world.

On 9/11, our nation saw the face of evil. Yet on that awful day, we also witnessed something distinctly American: ordinary citizens rising to the occasion, and responding with extraordinary acts of courage. We saw courage in office workers who were trapped on the high floors of burning skyscrapers — and called home so that their last words to their families would be of comfort and love. We saw courage in passengers aboard Flight 93, who recited the 23rd Psalm — and then charged the cockpit. And we saw courage in the Pentagon staff who made it out of the flames and smoke — and ran back in to answer cries for help. On this day, we remember the innocent who lost their lives — and we pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live.

For many of our citizens, the wounds of that morning are still fresh. I have met firefighters and police officers who choke up at the memory of fallen comrades. I have stood with families gathered on a grassy field in Pennsylvania, who take bittersweet pride in loved ones who refused to be victims — and gave America our first victory in the war on terror. And I have sat beside young mothers with children who are now five-years-old — and still long for the daddies who will never cradle them in their arms. Out of this suffering, we resolve to honor every man and woman lost. And we seek their lasting memorial in a safer and more hopeful world.

Since the horror of 9/11, we have learned a great deal about the enemy. We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy — but not without purpose. We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam — a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent. And we have learned that their goal is to build a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings, and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilized nations. The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation.

Our nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War. We saw what a handful of our enemies can do with box-cutters and plane tickets. We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our people. And we know that if they were able to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they would use them against us. We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes. America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I. But the war is not over — and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious. If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons. We are in a war that will set the course for this new century — and determine the destiny of millions across the world.

For America, 9/11 was more than a tragedy — it changed the way we look at the world. On September the 11th, we resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies — and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor or support them. So we helped drive the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. We put al-Qaeda on the run, and killed or captured most of those who planned the 9/11 attacks — including the man believed to be the mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He and other suspected terrorists have been questioned by the Central Intelligence Agency — and they have provided valuable information that has helped stop attacks in America and across the world. Now these men have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay, so they can be held to account for their actions. Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding. Our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we will bring you to justice.

On September the 11th, we learned that America must confront threats before they reach our shores — whether those threats come from terrorist networks or terrorist states. I am often asked why we are in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat. My administration, the Congress and the United Nations saw the threat — and after 9/11, Saddam's regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take. The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. And now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in free elections last December.

al-Qaeda and other extremists from across the world have come to Iraq to stop the rise of a free society in the heart of the Middle East. They have joined the remnants of Saddam's regime and other armed groups to foment sectarian violence and drive us out. Our enemies in Iraq are tough and they are committed — but so are Iraqi and coalition forces. We are adapting to stay ahead of the enemy — and we are carrying out a clear plan to ensure that a democratic Iraq succeeds.

We are training Iraqi troops so they can defend their nation. We are helping Iraq's unity government grow in strength and serve its people. We will not leave until this work is done. Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone. They will not leave us alone. They will follow us. The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad. Osama bin Laden calls this fight "the third world war" — and he says that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's "defeat and disgrace forever."

If we yield Iraq to men like Bin Laden, our enemies will be emboldened ... they will gain a new safe haven ... and they will use Iraq's resources to fuel their extremist movement. We will not allow this to happen. America will stay in the fight. Iraq will be a free nation, and a strong ally in the war on terror.

We can be confident that our coalition will succeed — because the Iraqi people have been steadfast in the face of unspeakable violence. And we can be confident in victory — because of the skill and resolve of America's armed forces. Every one of our troops is a volunteer, and since the attacks of September the 11th, more than 1.6 million Americans have stepped forward to put on our nation's uniform. In Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war on terror, the men and women of our military are making great sacrifices to keep us safe. Some have suffered terrible injuries — and nearly 3,000 have given their lives. America cherishes their memory. We pray for their families. And we will never back down from the work they have begun.

We also honor those who toil day and night to keep our homeland safe — and we are giving them the tools they need to protect our people. We have created the Department of Homeland Security. We have torn down the wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information ... we have tightened security at our airports, seaports, and borders ... and we have created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls. Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement and intelligence professionals, we have broken up terrorist cells in our midst and saved American lives.

Five years after 9/11, our enemies have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil — but they have not been idle. al-Qaeda and those inspired by its hateful ideology have carried out terrorist attacks in more than two dozen nations. And just last month, they were foiled in a plot to blow up passenger planes headed for the United States. They remain determined to attack America and kill our citizens — and we are determined to stop them. We will continue to give the men and women who protect us every resource and legal authority they need to do their jobs.

In the first days after the 9/11 attacks, I promised to use every element of national power to fight the terrorists wherever we find them. One of the strongest weapons in our arsenal is the power of freedom. The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower. They are thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the election lever, of girls enrolling in school or families worshipping God in their own traditions. They know that given a choice, people will choose freedom over their extremist ideology. So their answer is to deny people this choice by raging against the forces of freedom and moderation. This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it is a struggle for civilization. We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations. And we are fighting for the possibility that good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom, and tolerance, and personal dignity.

We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom — and whether the forces of moderation can prevail. For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. So we changed our policies, and committed America's influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism.

With our help, the people of the Middle East are now stepping forward to claim their freedom. From Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut, there are brave men and women risking their lives each day for the same freedoms that we enjoy. And they have one question for us: Do we have the confidence to do in the Middle East what our fathers and grandfathers accomplished in Europe and Asia? By standing with democratic leaders and reformers, by giving voice to the hopes of decent men and women, we are offering a path away from radicalism. And we are enlisting the most powerful force for peace and moderation in the Middle East: the desire of millions to be free.

Across the broader Middle East, the extremists are fighting to prevent such a future. Yet America has confronted evil before, and we have defeated it — sometimes at the cost of thousands of good men in a single battle. When Franklin Roosevelt vowed to defeat two enemies across two oceans, he could not have foreseen D-Day and Iwo Jima — but he would not have been surprised at the outcome. When Harry Truman promised American support for free peoples resisting Soviet aggression, he could not have foreseen the rise of the Berlin Wall — but he would not have been surprised to see it brought down. Throughout our history, America has seen liberty challenged — and every time, we have seen liberty triumph with sacrifice and determination.

At the start of this young century, America looks to the day when the people of the Middle East leave the desert of despotism for the fertile gardens of liberty — and resume their rightful place in a world of peace and prosperity. We look to the day when the nations of that region recognize that their greatest resource is not the oil in the ground — but the talent and creativity of their people. We look to the day when moms and dads throughout the Middle East see a future of hope and opportunity for their children. And when that good day comes, the clouds of war will part the appeal of radicalism will decline ... and we will leave our children with a better and safer world. On this solemn anniversary, we rededicate ourselves to this cause. Our nation has endured trials — and we face a difficult road ahead. Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country. And we must put aside our differences, and work together to meet the test that history has given us. We will defeat our enemies we will protect our people ... and we will lead the 21st century into a shining age of human liberty.

Earlier this year, I traveled to the United States Military Academy. I was there to deliver the commencement address to the first class to arrive at West Point after the attacks of September the 11th. That day I met a proud mom named RoseEllen Dowdell. She was there to watch her son Patrick accept his commission in the finest Army the world has ever known. A few weeks earlier, RoseEllen had watched her other son, James, graduate from the Fire Academy in New York City. On both these days, her thoughts turned to someone who was not there to share the moment: her husband, Kevin Dowdell. Kevin was one of the 343 firefighters who rushed to the burning towers of the World Trade Center on September the 11th — and never came home. His sons lost their father that day — but not the passion for service he instilled in them. Here is what RoseEllen says about her boys, "As a mother, I cross my fingers and pray all the time for their safety — but as worried as I am, I am also proud — and I know their dad would be too."

Our nation is blessed to have young Americans like these — and we will need them. Dangerous enemies have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. They are not the first to try — and their fate will be the same as those who tried before — 9/11 showed us why. The attacks were meant to bring us to our knees, and they did — but not in the way the terrorists intended. Americans united in prayer ... came to the aid of neighbors in need ... and resolved that our enemies would not have the last word. The spirit of our people is the source of America's strength. And we go forward with trust in that spirit, confidence in our purpose — and faith in a loving God who made us to be free.

Thank you, and may God bless you.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Wouldn't you think a call for a world-wide ban on transactions in dollars would be news?

On August 2, Malaysia's former premier called for a worldwide ban of transactions in dollars and pounds in an attempt to force the United States and Great Britain to call for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon. I just stumbled on this article in a Dubai paper on my way to something else. Wouldn't you think something that cuold potentialy collapse our economy would be considered news? I would think so but I guess not.

KUALA LUMPUR -Malaysia’s former premier Mahathir Mohamad has called on the world to ban transactions in US dollars and British pounds as a way to stop Israel’s military campaign in the Middle East.

“The destruction and killings by Israeli terrorists would not be possible without the support and collusion of the United States of America and Europe,” he said in a statement.

“The world must therefore condemn all three and act against them. The oil-producing countries can stop these atrocities by stopping all transactions in US dollars or British pounds,” he said.

A staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause when he was in office, he points out that the oil producing countries could stop the Israeli onslaught if they all banded together. He is right, OPEC did that in the 80's and it had a profound effect on our oil prices. Unfortunately, we did not learn that lesson and get off of oil as Brazil did, but it was a showstopper.

For the full story Khaleej Times Online