American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, November 23, 2002
US bank in hot water after telling clients to pull out of unionised firms
Describing pension plans as "toxic" for shareholders, the analysts argue that union firms are more likely to provide retirement and healthcare benefits that could eat into corporate profits.

"Rigidity in labour costs, processes and pension requirements, while perhaps beneficial to employees, may prove toxic to shareholders," the note says.
onegoodmove "There is much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community."
OSCAR WILDE, The Critic as Artist, 1891
Friday, November 22, 2002
Guerrilla News Network - Vaccine Nation
Stephen Marshall, November 20, 2002

In what is shaping up to be one of the most draconian weeks since the Bush Administration took power, Tuesday’s Senate ratification of the Homeland Security Act leaves little doubt that corporate interests have a major stake in the post-9/11 re-engineering of American law.
Girl harassed at high school for wearing "Free Palestine" shirt
An Arab-American student at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School said she was frisked by a school security guard this week after wearing a "Free Palestine" T-shirt and a Palestinian flag pin to class.

Yusra Awawdeh, 16, told the Daily News yesterday she was humiliated when the guard yanked her from Spanish class Tuesday and took her into a dean's office.

Yusra, an American of Palestinian descent, said a female school safety officer patted her down and told her to remove her shoes and socks while a female dean looked on.

The student said she was told to empty her pockets and that the guard also checked to see if she was hiding anything around her abdomen.
Thursday, November 21, 2002
Christian Coalition Plans Massive Pro-Israel Rallies Across U.S.

Also known as the "Let's-Expedite-The-Second-Coming-Which-Entails-Death-Or-Xtian-Conversion-For-All-Of-The-Aforementioned-Jews-Plan." Also available as a fine dinette set. Buy yours now and don't get left behind!

Jose Bove gets sentenced to 14 months in jail for destroying two fields of gm crops. I can still picture him standing on top of a stopped bus in the middle of a halted intersection in downtown Seattle, the day before November 30, 1999, surrounded by an outbreak of fleshy democracy. Jose Bove is a living folk hero, and not only that--he's an internationally-recognized living folk hero. Globalize genuine folk heroes! Long live Jose Bove!

See also: Police Assault Anti-WTO Protestors In Australia

Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Judge wants to give RTF webmaster12 months in prison

The plea bargain was to give Austin a felony conviction with 1 month in jail, 5 months in a half-way home and 3 years supervised release. As the prosecutor read the factual basis of the plea agreement in court, Judge Wilson immediately turned defiant, saying 1 month in jail was not acceptable. He expressed that posting such information regardless of any intent should be illegal, (this of course completely disregarding the 1st amendment and the thousands of NON-ANARCHIST web sites which distribute bomb making instructions), stating that the offense is too serious for Austin to serve only 1 month in jail. Judge Wilson argued that Austin should serve more than 12 months, even though the sentencing is between 6-12 months for Austin's criminal history category under violation 18 U.S.C. 842.The judge also attempted to make Austin out as a terrorist, saying he didn't care how old he was, that his political philosophy behind his reasons of posting the information made it a very serious federal offense, with the intent that the information be used for malicious destruction at international events of foreign commerce.
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
Zapatista leader Marcos breaks silence
Marcos wrote that some Zapatista sympathizers "are carrying out autonomy and resistance ... against us," in a letter that was published Monday by the newspaper La Jornada, and reportedly delivered by Zapatista representative Fernando Yanez.

He also referred to "the disorganized rebellions we are suffering in the EZLN," the formal name of the movement that rose up in the southern state of Chiapas to demand greater Indian rights.

In a somewhat more bitter tone than his past statements, Marcos which insulted all of Mexico's main political parties, left and right.

"The federal government and the Chiapas government say 'the Zapatistas are finished,' when the only thing that's running out for the Zapatistas is their patience."
The City of the Dead - Part 2
From Aron, former Israeli soldier and current peaceblogger. As mentioned on this blog earlier this week, it is important for everyone to remember that Jews and Israelis are often at the forefront of the peace movement in the Middle East. These people need to be supported to the fullest, as they often face the harshest possible reactions because of their interest in negotation, peace, and understanding. This first person account of being a soldier in Hebron is illuminating as it underscores the divisions in Israeli society between the ultra-extreme settlers (especially the Hebron settlers) and the rank-and-file Israeli soldier who probably just wants to get home and carry on with his life. More great essays, links and more at Aron's Israel Blog.
Monday, November 18, 2002
Let's go back to the future and the question of whether this new "crusade" will again be the testing ground of bleeding-edge (sick) technologies. Iraq: World's First Scalar War?
"In what is called an "exothermic mode" the howitzers (a Tesla Howitzer) can cause a blast of heat at the interference zone, an explosion of near-nuclear proportions. It could topple buildings and cause other destruction. Or it could be set wide and heat the atmosphere in that region. Or it could be set to simply destroy all electronics in that interference (target) zone, or to destroy the hubs of the electric power grids of a very wide area. Although it seems unbelievable, the actual energy of the blast is not traveling through space to hit the target, but actually being made to emerge from the local vacuum in the interference (target) zone."

War or no war, fly zone or no fly zone, UN or no UN: international laws of contradiction

Just time to pass a resolution, send inspectors, and voilà, Iraq 'breaching UN resolution'. Quick and painless. If only wars were really like that. Short and to the point, exactly like UN resolutions are. Or, rather, not... The safe stage of "multilateral" action has been set, but it's really no more than a show, when the room for interpretation has been left limitless. And especially when the very first "breach!" cry comes not from inspections - which haven't even started yet - but from something that may or may not be contemplated in the Security Council decisions. The space occupied by that "or" includes everything from total invasion to continuation of the air-strikes that have been offered to Iraqis as complimentary gifts of western democracy for the past ten years.

As a short reminder that war on Iraq has never really stopped since 1991, so it can't really start again (how about that for complicating further the knots of what remains of "international law", by now conveniently tangled up in a huge bundle of hypocrisy that, as usual, only bombs can untie), here's a quick overview of the issue with the no fly zones. If you don't get bored/sick/tired of the usual justifications, counter-justifications, sophisms and "humanitarian" excuses, especially those regarding civilian casualties. Take your pick:

...the no-fly zones were not authorised by the United Nations and they are not specifically sanctioned by any Security Council resolution...

...action was consistent with Security Council Resolution....

...the resolution did not say the Security Council was acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which provides for enforcement action...

...whatever was justified in 1991 is not necessarily justified more than 10 years later...

...are now alone in the Security Council in insisting that their frequent bombing of Iraqi targets is covered by international law...

...under international law, there is a right to intervene to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe...

...condemned the no-fly zones as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty...

...there is no backing for the policy under international law or UN resolutions...

...hundreds of civilians have died in these attacks...

...disputed some of these figures, and insist they never target civilian areas...

...latest UN resolution on the disarmament of Iraq does not mention the no-fly zones...

...firing on British and American planes amounts to a violation of the UN resolution...

See how useful is the UN when you need a "legal position"? You can get any resolution to mean exactly anything you like. Don't you just wish it worked like that for your tax returns, but no, on that sort of thing, the laws are usually overly precise.
Ford connived in junta abductions
The car giant Ford is being investigated over claims that it allowed the military junta to abduct workers from one of its factories in Argentina.

A former Ford worker has claimed that company directors in the South American country allowed 25 union members to be seized by the army during the 1970s. Workers, who were held for a year, claim they were beaten and taunted with execution by their captors.

Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral is now investigating the accusations made by 61-year-old Pedro Norberto Troiani, who was one of those abducted.

According to Troiani, executives of Ford’s Argentinian operation allowed soldiers to move freely inside the General Pacheco plant, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in the run-up to the 1976 military coup led by General Jorge Videla.

He claims that on the day the military grabbed power, a number of workers were seized and held in a shed in the grounds of the factory, Ford’s largest in Argentina.

Troiani told the court that after the coup "two or three more disappeared each day". He added: "The soldiers grabbed people and threw them into trucks belonging to Ford."

Commenting on the allegations against Ford, prosecutor Felix Crous said: "There was a great deal of hate in this society. After the coup, witnesses say the directors of the company were festive. They joked and teased the workers that from then on there would be no more workers’ rights debates."
A NY Times article A Snooper's Dream (sign in required) give more information about Total Information Awareness
"The program, known as Total Information Awareness, is a project of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which helped develop the Internet and a host of cutting-edge military technologies. It is run by John Poindexter, the retired Navy rear admiral who was Ronald Reagan's national security adviser and, in that capacity, helped devise the plan to sell arms to Iran and illegally divert the proceeds to the rebels in Nicaragua. Sentenced to six months in jail for lying to Congress (a conviction later overturned on appeal), the admiral was never particularly contrite about his deceit, asserting at one point that it was his duty to withhold information from the American people."
"Mr. Poindexter is pursuing a scheme he thought up right after 9/11 and then sold to the Bush administration."

I've read many things in my search for what is happening in Israel/Palestine. Nothing I've read has affected me quite like this piece. I have just posted the end of this essay. It's a must read.

Living with the Holocaust: The Journey of a Child of Holocaust Survivors

In the context of Jewish existence today, what does it mean to preserve the Jewish character of the State of Israel? Does it mean preserving a Jewish demographic majority through any means and continued Jewish domination of the Palestinian people and their land? What is the narrative that we as a people are creating, and what kind of voice are we seeking? What sort of meaning do we as Jews derive from the debasement and humiliation of Palestinians? What is at the center of our moral and ethical discourse? What is the source of our moral and spiritual legacy? What is the source of our redemption? Has the process of creating and rebuilding ended for us?

I want to end this essay with a quote from Irena Klepfisz, a writer and child survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, whose father spirited her and her mother out of the ghetto and then himself died in the ghetto uprising.

I have concluded that one way to pay tribute to those we loved who struggled, resisted and died is to hold on to their vision and their fierce outrage at the destruction of the ordinary life of their people. It is this outrage we need to keep alive in our daily life and apply it to all situations, whether they involve Jews or non-Jews. It is this outrage we must use to fuel our actions and vision whenever we see any signs of the disruptions of common life: the hysteria of a mother grieving for the teenager who has been shot; a family stunned in front of a vandalized or demolished home; a family separated, displaced; arbitrary and unjust laws that demand the closing or opening of shops and schools; humiliation of a people whose culture is alien and deemed inferior; a people left homeless without citizenship; a people living under military rule. Because of our experience, we recognize these evils as obstacles to peace. At those moments of recognition, we remember the past, feel the outrage that inspired the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto and allow it to guide us in present struggles.

For me, these words define the true meaning of Judaism and the lessons my parents sought to impart.

thanks to Electronic Intifida

It's instructive to look at the Palestinian's attack in Hebron Friday night. The Israeli government tried to make it look like an attack on civilians during the Sabbath while, in fact, it was purely a military attack. An attack that is entirely legal and justified. The Nazis, at the Nuremburg war crime trials, tried to justify their destruction of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto; they were fighting Jewish terrorists; they were only maintaining order. The Tribunal thought otherwise. It established that those being opressed under a military occupation had every right to resist. The Palestinians were only doing the same thing as the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto — fighting for their freedom.

The actions of the right-wing Israeli government and settlers only show how far they have slid into this ugliest of racist barbarism. They scurry around trying to make the situation even worse in order to carry out their morally depraved plans.

It could be easy to paint all Jews and Israelis with this paint brush. Just don't forget that some of the most impassioned voices crying against this outrage are Jewish.

Israel falsely claims "massacre" of "worshippers" in Hebron

News media and public officials did not wait for the full story to emerge before jumping to the conclusion that Jewish "worshippers" had been killed in a Palestinian ambush in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Friday. In fact, those killed were all Israeli soldiers and armed paramilitary settlers

Fear and loathing in Hebron
Amira Hass hears about the travails of Arab residents and finds herself exposed to settler wrath.

Every weekend, including this past Friday, at around 5 P.M., soldiers take up positions on the roof of the home of Hussam Jaber in Wadi Nasara in the eastern part of Hebron. The three-story home is located on a narrow street that turns southward from the "worshipers' way" from the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The entire wadi, the hills that surround it, the houses of the neighborhood, the grapevines and the olive and peach groves spread beneath the roof like a relief map.

On the railing around the roof the soldiers set up a floodlight ("At our expense," notes a member of the family) that illuminates the wadi. This happens every Friday and every Saturday, to ensure the safety of the many Jewish worshipers who walk the kilometer or so between Kiryat Arba and the old city of Hebron.

"On Fridays and Saturdays we don't go out," relates a neighborhood resident last weekend. "Because of the many Jewish settlers that go through our valley and because of the military reinforcements, we don't dare go outside."

A catastrophic response

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday joined the demands of the Hebron and Kiryat Arba settlers when he spoke of the need for territorial continuity between Kiryat Arba and the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offhandedly negated the Oslo Accords, as well as the Hebron Agreement, which he, himself, signed. The Kiryat Arba settlers hurriedly set up an outpost at the site of the battle and declared they would not leave the area until their demands were met. And the Israel Defense Forces began uprooting trees and destroying houses.

Putting Palestinian "Terrorism" into Perspective

Palestinian activist Marwan Barghouti, General Secretary of Fatah on the West Bank and an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, wrote earlier this year to the Washington Post, "Want Security? End the Occupation."

His opinion, as you can tell, is not being taken seriously by the Israeli lawmakers, who conveniently locked him up, branding him and his Fatah movement as "terrorist."

"Our enemies called us terrorists. People who were neither friends nor enemies…also used this Latin name, either under the influence of…propaganda or out of habit ... They called us 'terrorists' to the end. And yet, we were not terrorists ... It all depends on who uses the term ...What has a struggle for the dignity of man, against oppression and subjugation, to do with 'terrorism?' Our purpose, in fact, was precisely the reverse of 'terrorism.' The whole essence of our struggle was the determination to free our people of its chief affliction -- fear...if you love your country, you cannot but hate those who seek to annex it…if you love your mother, would you not hate the man who sought to kill her: would you not hate him and fight him at the cost, if needs be, of your own life?"

These were not the words of Mr. Barghouti, or of the spiritual leader of Islamic Jihad, rather, of revered former Israeli Prime Minister, and, incidentally, former leader of the (terrorist?) Irgun group, who personally led the notorious Deir Yassin massacre, Menachem Begin, rebuffing charges of terrorism against his militant gang, whom he refers to as freedom-fighters (from his book, The Revolt, New York, 1977).

To Begin's dual ethical standard, murder of innocent civilians by Jewish (terror?) groups does not qualify as "terrorism," rather, "a struggle for the dignity of man, against oppression and subjugation." His observations of course have profoundly ironic poignancy when applied to the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict, especially the brutal suicide bombings orchestrated by the various Palestinian armed groups against Israeli targets.
Sunday, November 17, 2002
90 Arrested at Army Base Protest
More than 90 people, including at least six nuns, were arrested for marching onto Fort Benning grounds Sunday during an annual protest of a U.S. military program that trains Latin American soldiers.
feel anger at the deliberate teaching of violence," Caryl Hartjes, a nun from Fondulac, Wis., said as she entered the compound, where she arrested.

About 6,500 protesters gathered for the 13th annual demonstration by the School of the Americas Watch, which continues to protest the Nov. 19, 1989, killings of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador. Protesters said they demonstrate because people responsible for the killings were trained at the School of the Americas, a Fort Benning-based program that was replaced last year by a new institute. Protesters say the change was only cosmetic.
Israel rejects black Hebrews as Jews
Calling themselves the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, their origins are rooted in their charismatic leader, Ben Ammi Ben Israel. Ben Ammi, who was a foundry worker named Ben Carter in Chicago, had a vision in 1966 that his African ancestors were descended from one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel.

Since 30 disciples followed him to Israel in 1969, the community has established many celebrated professional gospel choirs and R&B singing troupes, sent their Hebrew-speaking offspring to Israeli universities and even represented the country in the annual European-wide Eurovision Song Contest.

Israeli authorities reject the claims that the black Hebrews are authentic Jews, and have insisted in vain that they convert to Judaism so they can be recognized as full citizens. The native-born members are as stateless as their immigrant parents and the grandchildren of the original founders might not even be eligible for U.S. citizenship.
Update: Israelis, Palestinians spar over Hebron "massacre"
Palestinians on Sunday blasted Israel for describing as "a massacre" a militant ambush that killed 12 soldiers and security men in Israeli-occupied Hebron, saying the world had rushed to judgment as a result.

Unarmed civilians were not among the dead in Friday night's attack on Israeli forces who had just escorted Jewish settlers home from Sabbath eve prayers, but the "massacre" report spread fast from the Foreign Ministry of Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Massacre" allegations have boomeranged against Palestinians too in the propaganda war shadowing the bloodshed on the ground.
The Price of Freedom

In a newsweek article about Bob Woodward's new book In the War Room Evan Thomas writes:

In the war in Afghanistan last fall, the United States bought off more enemy fighters than it killed. In one case, the CIA offered $50,000 to a Taliban warlord to defect. When the commander asked for time to think about it, a Special Forces A Team laser-guided a JDAM precision bomb to explode next door to his headquarters. The next day the CIA man called the commander back with a new offer. How about $40,000? This time the commander said yes.  

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