Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lendman News Hour Guests for February 1 - 5 and Progressive Radio News Hour February 4 Guest

The Lendman News Hour Guests for February 1 - 5, 2010

Dates:

Monday, February 1 - Irving Wesley Hall

Tuesday, February 2 - Brian Concannon

Wednesday, February 3 - John Kozy

Thursday, February 4 - Monday's program repeated

Friday, February 5 - Catherine Austin Fitts

Time: 10AM US Central time

Irving Wesley Hall is a longtime activist who's taught English, political science, philosophy, economics, and history at California and New York colleges, most recently American History and Research Methods at the State University of New York at Morrisville.

Discussion will focus on comparing JD Salinger and Howard Zinn, distinguished figures who died a day apart as well as commenting on Obama's State of the Union address.

Brian Concannon is a distinguished human rights lawyer and Director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), working with grassroots groups there, in America, and the Haitian Diaspora to develop effective human rights advocacy for some of the world's most oppressed people.

The Haiti earthquake and aftermath will be discussed.

John Kozy is a retired philosophy and logic professor, now blogging on social, political, and economic issues. He taught for 20 years and has been a writer for another 20. His articles can be found at www.jkozy.com and www.johnkozy.mindsay.com.

Kozy's recent article will be discussed - "Blunder and Plunder."

Catherine Austin Fitts is an investment advisor, entrepreneur, former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner under GHW Bush, and former Managing Director and board member of the Wall Street firm, Dillon Read & Co., Inc.

She's now editor of Solari.com and runs Solari, Inc. as an "online media company focused on ethical investment and preserving family wealth. Long ago, (she) made a promise (never again to) act against the best interests (of her) own people (and to do her best) to leave a better world for generations to come."

Fitts' latest views on the economy, corporate pillaging, and overall conditions in the country will be discussed, especially now that Democrats have lost their Senate supermajority.


Nomi Prins is the featured guest on The Progressive Radio News Hour

Thursday, February 4 at 10AM US Central time

Nomi Prins is a journalist, author, and Senior Fellow at Demos, a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization.

Earlier she was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and ran the international analytics group for Bear Stearns in London.

Today, her pursuits are entirely different, an example in her latest book titled, "It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Streets."

Her book and views on Wall Street pillaging will be discussed.

Link to archived Radio Shows

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama's Outreach to Americans: Empty Rhetoric, Business As Usual

Obama's Outreach to Americans: Empty Rhetoric, Business As Usual - by Stephen Lendman

The response to Obama's first State of the Union address was predictable. Democrats loved it. Republicans were skeptical to critical, while the media tried to have it both ways.

The New York Times called his tone "colloquial, even relaxed" in quoting him stating "the worst of the storm has passed," then The Times saying "Americans are concerned, even angry." He urged Democrats not to "run for the hills," called for an end to "tired old battles," and focus(ed) intently on the issue of most immediate concern to the nation, jobs."

A Times editorial headlined "The Second Year," saying "The union is in a state of deep and justifiable anxiety about jobs and mortgages and two long, bloody wars. President Obama did not create these problems, and none could be solved in one year. (He) used his (address) to show the country what he has learned and how he intends to govern in the next three years. (It) was a reminder (of his ability) to inspire with a grand vision and the simple truth frankly spoken. It was a long time coming."

A Wall Street Journal editorial headlined "Staying the Course (but) with a little more humility, and a touch more bipartisanship....But whether this outreach is anything more than rhetoric will depend on a change of policy." It "could be a long year," concluded The Journal.

CNN.com was more upbeat saying "Obama outlines ambitious agenda for 'lasting prosperity,' noting that the "president struck an optimistic tone and avoided lofty rhetoric in stating that the cost of inaction will be great."

The Washington Post's EJ Dionne called Obama "a conciliator (who's) willing to fight."

The Post's Eugene Robinson called his rhetoric "determined, patient, forceful, good-humored, at times even mischievous. He looked relaxed and in control. (For) the first time in months (he) reconnected with the language and themes that got him elected."

Time.com headlined "Confident Republicans Give Obama a Frosty Reception." At the same time, columnist Joe Klein called his speech "a terrific performance....easily digestible, user-friendly....but it was also a fighting speech....This was Obama at his best."

In its customary supportive role, The Nation magazine's Robert Dreyfuss headlined "Two Cheers for Obama on Foreign Affairs," saying "it was a pleasure to listen to (him), especially after eight years of his predecessor's alarmist warnings and warlike thundering (so) let's take a moment to appreciate Obama's speech last night."

The Nation's Melissa Harris-Lacewell called his address a "National Rorschach Test....given meaning by the viewer more than by the subject. (Obama tried) to break through this psychological angst....to remind Americans of the situational constraints he faces; to shift....despair back to optimism," and remind people that the crisis began under his predecessor. "As he has done exquisitely since the campaign, (he) contextualized these difficulties within a broader historical sweep (by) insist(ing) that the "American story....is replete with examples of gritty determination (to overcome) seemingly insurmountable obstacles."

From the Financial Times: "Obama pledges renewed focus on jobs" as his "number one" priority (while) at the same time pledg(ing) to right the economy and continue pushing for healthcare and financial sector reform."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sounded the Democrat response saying:

"Tonight, President Obama presented a vision to the American people of a stronger union, a new foundation for prosperity and a thriving middle class. Working together, we will adopt a bold agenda for our economic growth."

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch called Obama "completely tone deaf (by) blaming all our problems on George W. Bush (and) doubl(ing) down on his commitment to a Washington-knows-best strategy that will only make matters worse."

From House Minority Leader John Boehner: "The American people were looking for President Obama to change course tonight, and they got more of the same job-killing policies instead."

As a candidate, Obama promised change, a new course, sweeping government reforms, addressing people needs, and "ensur(ing) that the hopes and concerns of average Americans speak louder in Washington than the hallway whispers of high-priced lobbyists...."

A year later, hope is disillusion, frustration, and anger over promises made, then broken with a growing awareness that Obama represents business as usual, a reality rhetoric can't change.

His top political, economic and national security officials are former administration members - from Wall Street, the military, and other key power centers for continuity, not promised change.

He presides over a bogus democracy under a homeland police state apparatus, embraces torture and political persecution like his predecessor, and continues unbridled militarism, imperial wars, and a shocking disregard for the law.

A January 27 Dana Priest Washington Post article revealed a secret Obama "hit list," the same policy George Bush authorized to kill US citizens abroad claimed to be supporting terrorism "against the United States or US interests," whether or not it's true.

He looted the federal Treasury for Wall Street, plans new monetary measures to control the world's money, and favors handouts to the rich at the expense of beneficial social change.

He embraces the same Bush administration policies, targets dissenters, Muslims, Latino immigrants, environmental and animal rights activists, and lawyers who defend them too vigorously.

He spies illegally on Americans, destroyed decades of hard won labor rights, wants public education privatized as another business profit center, and scorns democracy in favor of hard-line rule.

He backs rationing healthcare, destroying Medicare, and enriching insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains. He wants legislation passed to empower agribusiness, let corporate polluters reap huge windfall profits by raising energy costs, and create a speculative bonanza for Wall Street with a new carbon trading derivatives scheme.

He wants all Americans monitored with a national ID card, favors preventive detentions for uncharged detainees, and opposes protection for whistleblowers and journalists to protect their identity.

He ignores growing poverty, hunger, and homelessness, refuses help for budget-strapped states, and chooses rhetoric, theater, deceit and cynicism, not progressive change to address a national emergency.

His State of the Union address reflected "yes we can," "hope (and) change," and another pledge that "Tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before....The time to take charge of our future is here," at the same time he invaded Haiti, occupies the country with 20,000 combat troops, obstructs essential aid from reaching millions, and claims it's a humanitarian mission.

Rutherford Institute president and constitutional lawyer, John Whitehead, says he's "afraid (of) the state of the nation" in his January 27 augustforecast.com article, citing "Ominous developments in America (that) have been a long time coming," covering some of the above perspectives and more.

"As national borders dissolve in the face of spreading globalization, (it's likely) that our Constitution....will be subverted in favor of international laws....The corporate media (act mostly) as a mouthpiece for government propaganda, no longer....as watchdogs, guarding against encroachments of our rights....We have lost our moral compass....Americans have largely lost the ability to ask questions and think analytically....we no longer have a sense of right and wrong or a way to hold the government accountable," the way Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence - that when government fails the people, it's their right "to alter or abolish it," and replace it with one that works.

In his January 27 article titled "State of the Union Rhetoric, 2010: Economic Euphemisms and Internal Contradictions (Part II)," economist Michael Hudson cited growing dangers, unlikely to be addressed or reversed:

-- America's "road to debt peonage;"

-- "Debts that can't be repaid;"

-- rising defaults;

-- the illusion of "borrowing out way out of debt;"

-- an economic recovery favoring oligarchy, "the FIRE sector - finance, insurance and real estate - not the 'real economy;' "

-- America's "Bubble Economy (leaving) families, companies, real estate and government so heavily indebted that they must use current income to pay banks and bondholders," making it unavailable for goods and services; and

-- the "most dangerous belief that the economy needs the financial sector to lead its recovery by providing credit," when, in fact, Wall Street wrecked the economy by "predatory lending....casino gambling," and looting the federal Treasury to cover losses.

Hudson worried that Obama's speech would "celebrate this failed era." In fact, his policies embrace it, will continue to going forward, and proposing a discretionary spending freeze, the part most important to increase, is counterproductive and ludicrous. Specifically he said:

"Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security (meaning militarism and imperial wars), Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will."

A Road to Perdition Agenda

Obama's rhetoric hides a failed agenda he'll continue, serving capital and militarists, not people in dire need. He wants more business tax cuts and windfalls to stimulate growth and new jobs, repackaged Reaganomics that cost record numbers of job losses in the past two years, well over 500,000 in December alone based on the broader household survey.

As a result:

-- real unemployment tops 20%;

-- 11 million full-time jobs were lost since late 2007;

-- over four and a half million jobs were lost since Obama took office;

-- a record 9.3 million Americans work part-time;

-- in 2009, a record 2.8 million homes were foreclosed, realitytrac.com saying "a massive supply of loans.... loom(s) over the housing market," many to become delinquent in 2010 and beyond, perhaps for years; and

-- an epic debt overhang crushes the economy, exacerbated by a $13 trillion giveaway to Wall Street; another $10.7 trillion pledged amounting to a virtual free money blank check; and similar largess goes for militarism and homeland security at a time dire people needs go begging.

Smooth rhetoric belies Obama's failed agenda, one he'll continue without progressive change under new leadership that cares, what neither party offers nor ever will with priorities leaving millions out of luck and on their own.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Link to archived Radio Shows

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Haiti's Earthquake: Natural or Engineered

Haiti's Earthquake: Natural or Engineered - by Stephen Lendman

Human activity can cause destructive harm. Columbia University geophysical hazards research scientist, Christian Klose, studies how, including from mining. In a recent paper, he said:

"mining activities disturb the in-situ stress in the upper continental crust and can trigger earthquakes (human-triggered seismicity)."

Past examples are numerous:

-- from potash and other mining in Germany since the 19th century;

-- potash mining in Bulgaria;

-- copper mining in Silesia;

-- ore mining in Russia;

-- coal and other mining in various parts of America, including New York state, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming; and

-- coal and other mining in China and throughout the world.

Klose also says geophysical data suggest that the Zipingpu Dam, a few kilometers from the epicenter of China's 7.9 magnitude 2008 earthquake, likely triggered it. In a December 2008 presentation at the American Geophysical Union, he explained:

"Several geophysical observations suggest this (quake) was triggered by local and abnormal mass imbalances on the surface of the Earth's crust. These observations include (1) elastostatic response of the crust to the mass changes, (2) slip distribution of the main rupture, and (3) aftershock distribution."

A follow-up issue of Science magazine explained further stating:

"the added weight both eased the squeeze on the fault, weakening it, and increased the stress tending to rupture (it). The effect was 25 times that of a year's worth of natural stress loading from tectonic motions. When the fault did finally rupture, it moved just the way the reservoir loading had encouraged it to...."

Klose also says that two centuries of coal mining triggered the 1989 Newcastle, Australia quake, killing 13 and causing billions of dollars in damage. Data show that increased post-WW II production "dramatic(ally increased) the stress change in the crust," setting it off and raising questions about how mining operates.

"You have two chances to avoid this, whether you reduce the hazard or reduce the vulnerability - so whether you mine in a more sustainable way or have urban planning in other areas away from the mining regions."

In addition, Klose estimates that human activity caused one-fourth of Britain's quakes, not just from mining. An Andrew Alden geology.about.com article headlined, "Earthquakes in a Nutshell" says:

"Earthquakes are natural ground motions caused as the Earth releases energy. The science of earthquakes is seismology (the study of shaking). Earthquake energy comes from the stresses of plate tectonics. As plates move, the rocks on their edges deform and take up strain until the weakest point, a fault, ruptures and releases the strain."

Five major types of human activity cause them:

(1) Damn construction

Since water is heavier than air, the crust beneath it is greatly stressed, easily setting off shocks that mostly are moderate. University of Alaska seismologist Larry Gedney explained:

"Since the (Hoover Dam) reached its peak of 475 feet in 1939, the level of seismicity has fluctuated in direct response to water level. None of the shocks have been particularly damaging - the largest was about magnitude 5 - but the area had no record of being seismically active."

Klose says dams cause about one-third of human-caused quakes. No wonder given their global proliferation, 845,000 according to Discover magazine, including 80,000 in America. Hoover Dam is the largest, storing 1.2 trillion cubic feet of water. China's Three Gorges Dam is the world's largest, holding back 1.4 trillion cubic feet. In 1967, a human-triggered 7.0 magnitude western India quake may have been caused by the Koyna Dam. If so, damns in seismically active areas may be more destructive than believed.

(2) Liquid injection into the ground

In 1951, the US Army constructed Basin F at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal to handle 243 million gallons of contaminated liquid chemical wastes in about a 93 acre area. In 1961, another way was chosen - by drilling a 12,000-foot deep well in the Rocky Mountains to inject napalm toxic waste into the earth's crust. From 1962 - 1966, 165 million gallons went in, likely triggering regional quakes and getting the Army to shut it down. According to seismologist Dave Wolney:

"If you are doing deep well injection, you are altering the stress on the underlying rocks and at some point, (it) will be relieved by generating an earthquake."

Klose also worries about carbon dioxide sequestration, a process of compressing CO2 from coal plants and injecting it into underground deposits. They, too, can generate quakes close to cities, as that's where facilities are located.

(3) Coal mining

Coal provides over half of America's electricity and an even larger percentage in China. Mines produce millions of tons annually, extract up to a dozen times as much water as coal, and cause huge regional mass changes. They, in turn, increase stress that can cause quakes as explained above. According to Klose, mining produces over half of recorded ones.

(4) Oil and gas drilling

A June 23, 2009 New York Times article headlined, "Deep in Bedrock, Clean Energy and Quake Fears," explaining that former oil man, Markus O. Haring, drilled a hole three miles deep in Basel, Switzerland prospecting for clean, renewable energy deep within the earth's bedrock. On December 8, 2006, an earthquake terrifyied residents who remembered the devastating one striking the city 650 years earlier.

Haring terminated his project, but a US start-up company, AltaRock Energy, will use the same technology to drill deep into quake-prone areas two hours' drive north of San Francisco for geothermal energy. The Energy Department backs it with more than $36 million, and several large venture capital firms are involved, despite the risk.

According the The Times:

"The California project is the first of dozens that could be operating in the United States in the next several years, driven by a push to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases and the Obama administration's support for renewable energy. Using the Basel method, it's hoped a breakthrough can be achieved, even though it's known that large quakes occur at great depths."

Three of the largest human-caused ones happened near an Uzbekistan natural gas field, the result of liquid extraction and injection changing its tectonic action. The most severe one registered 7.3, and according to Russian scientists:

"Few will deny that there is a relationship between hydrocarbon recovery and seismic activity, but exactly how strong a relationship exists has yet to be determined."

In regions with high tectonic activity, like northern California near San Francisco or Haiti around Port-au-Prince, extraction could trigger severe quakes. It's believed Haiti has significant oil, gas, and other mineral deposits, including gold, copper, and coal. Perhaps drilling around Port-au-Prince bay, the Gulf of La Gonave, and the Island of La Gonave set off the quake, why US occupation and human neglect are related to it, and why America, France, Canada and other nations seek to profit from disaster.

(5) Large building construction

On December 2, 2005 Kate Ravilious' UK Guardian article headlined, "Skyscraper that may cause earthquakes." It referred to Taipei 101 in Taiwan, the world's tallest building at 1,667 feet, weighing 700,000 tons. According to National Taiwan Normal University geologist Cheng Horng Lin, the building's stress may have reopened an ancient fault. Before its construction, the Taipei basin was very stable with no surface ones. Thereafter, "The number of earthquakes increased to around two micro-earthquakes per year during the construction period (1997 - 2003). After completion, two larger quakes were registered, strong enough to feel at magnitudes 3.8 and 3.2."

Lin believes that "the considerable stress might be transferred into the upper crust due to the extremely soft sedimentary rocks beneath the Taipei basin. Deeper down this may have reopened an old earthquake fault."

Other experts are more cautious. UCLA quake expert John Vidale says "A building will change the stress on the ground under the building, but this probably won't reach down to around 10km, the level where earthquakes occur." Compared with dams, coal mining, oil drilling, and underground waste deposits, skyscrapers cause minor stress to the earth's surface. Klose shares that view.

Other Earthquake Causes

A January 23, 2010 Pravda online article headlined, "US weapon test aimed at Iran caused Haiti quake," stating:

"An unconfirmed report by the Russian Northern Fleets says the Haiti earthquake was caused by a flawed US Navy 'earthquake weapons' test before (they) could be utilized against Iran. (Something) went 'horribly wrong' and caused the catastrophic quake in the Caribbean, the website of Venezuela's ViVe TV recently reported, citing the Russian report."

After its release, Hugo Chavez called it a drill, preparing to cause an earthquake in Iran. Russia Today said Moscow has the same weapons. The unconfirmed Russian report said America carried out a similar test in the Pacific Ocean, causing a 6.5 magnitude quake near Eureka, CA. No deaths or injuries were reported, but many buildings were damaged.

ViVe said the US Navy may have had "full knowledge" of the test's damage potential, and speculated it was why Deputy Southern Command General PK Keen was in Haiti when the quake struck, preparing to act in case of a disaster, perhaps an engineered one. In his January 21 Global Research article, Michel Chossudovsky said:

"A Haiti disaster relief scenario had been envisaged at the headquarters of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami one day prior to the earthquake (since) pre-disaster simulations pertain(ing) to the impacts of a hurricane in Haiti" were conducted.

A "communication-information tool" called the Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project (TISC) "links non-government organizations with the United States (government and military) and other nations for tracking, coordinating and organizing relief efforts."

When the quake struck, TISC was in "an advanced stage of readiness." The next day, SOUTHCOM implemented the system. "The (DOD's) Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)" set up a relief effort among "a range of Defense units and various" NGOs and aid groups operating "as part of a carefully planned military operation." Did DOD have advance knowledge of the quake so could act immediately when it struck? Was the drill's timing a coincidence or something more sinister?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, the CIA was running "a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building." Held at the Agency's Chantilly, Virginia Reconnaissance Office, it simulated a small jet hitting one of its four towers after supposedly experiencing mechanical failure. The media ignored it the way it's suppressing the January 11 drill. It raises serious questions and great suspicions.

Earlier in October 2000, the Defense Protective Services Police and Pentagon's Command Emergency Response Team conducted another exercise, simulating a plane striking the Pentagon - called "the Pentagon Mass Casualty Exercise." Coincidence again, or were these drills part of readiness planning for 9/11, with advance knowledge of what was coming? Was similar Haiti planning also preparatory to the Pentagon's militarized takeover? Was the catastrophe natural or engineered, and is there another way to trigger it?

HAARP Technology - High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program

HAARP manipulates the atmosphere, climate, and weather for military purposes. Based in Gokona, Alaska, it's a jointly managed US Air Force/Navy weather warfare program, operating since 1992, yet the HAARP web site explains its purpose as follows:

"HAARP is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere (the atmosphere's upper layer), with particular emphasis on being able to understand and use it to enhance communications and surveillance systems for both civilian and defense purposes. (It will be used) to induce a small, localized change in ionospheric temperature so that resulting reactions can be studied by other instruments located either at or close to the HAARP site."

According to Rosalie Bertell, a distinguished scientific expert and president of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health:

HAARP functions as "a gigantic heater that can cause major disruptions in the ionosphere, creating not just holes, but long incisions in the protective layer that keeps deadly radiation from bombarding the planet."

Writing in Earthpulse Press on November 5, 1996, Bertell explained that:

"Military interest in space became intense during and after World War II because of the introduction of rocket science, the companion of nuclear technology....During this time of intensive atmospheric nuclear testing, explosions at various levels above and below the surface of the earth were tried. Some of the now familiar descriptions of the earth's protective atmosphere....were based on information gained through stratospheric and ionospheric experimentation."

Numerous projects preceded HAARP, including:

-- Project Argus in 1958 "to assess the impact of high altitude nuclear explosions on radio transmission and radar operations," and learn more about the geomagnetic field;

-- Project Starfish in 1962, using nuclear detonations to disrupt the ionosphere and assess the effects on the earth's magnetic field;

-- SPS: Solar Power Satellite Project in 1968, using Solar Powered Satellites in geostationary orbit 40,000 km above the earth to intercept solar radiation with solar cells that potentially could be environmentally destructive;

-- Poker Flat Rocket Launch from 1968 to the present to "understand chemical reactions in the atmosphere associated with global climate change;" perhaps more to influence climate for military purposes;

-- Saturn V Rocket in 1975 - due to a malfunction, it burned unusually high in the atmosphere (above 300 km) producing a "large ionospheric hole," resulting in over a 60% reduction in "total electron content" over a 1,000 km area lasting several hours; all telecommunications over the Atlantic Ocean were disrupted;

-- SPS Military Implications in 1978 to develop a satellite-based beam weapon for anti-ballistic missile (ABM) use; also as a mind-control/anti-personnel weapon by affecting the human brain;

-- Orbit Maneuvering System in 1981 to study the effect of Shuttle injected gases on the ionosphere; it was learned they could induce holes;

-- Innovative Shuttle Experiments in 1985 using gases to create ionospheric holes;

-- Mighty Oaks in 1986 to develop x-ray and particle beam weapons;

-- Desert Storm in 1991, during which the US deployed an electromagnetic pulse weapon, designed to mimic the electricity flash of a nuclear detonation; and

-- HAARP since 1992

Bertell says its:

"related to fifty years of intensive and increasingly destructive programs to understand and control the upper atmosphere. (It's) an integral part of a long history of space research and development of a deliberate military nature. (Their) implications (are) alarming. Basic to this project is control of communications, both (their) disruption and reliability in hostile environments. The power wielded by such control is obvious."

"The ability of the HAARP/Spacelab/rocket combination to deliver very large amounts of energy, comparable to a nuclear bomb, anywhere on earth via laser and particle beams, are frightening." Yet the public is told it's "a space shield against incoming weapons (or) a devise for repairing the ozone layer."

By modifying the ionosphere, HAARP can be hugely destructive. Potentially, it can trigger floods, droughts, hurricanes, tsunamis, forest fires, and power blackouts over entire regions. It can disrupt radar, other communications, agriculture, ecology, and financial and other markets. It can use weather to wage war, and perhaps cause earthquakes like the one that struck Haiti.

The UN Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques (1977)

Its Article I states that:

"Each State Party to this Convention undertakes not to engage in military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects as the means of destruction, damage or injury to any other State Party."

Article II refers to "environmental modification (ENMOD) techniques (as) any technique for changing - through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes - the dynamics, composition or structure of the Earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space."

Citing Ecology News, Sourcewatch.org defines environmental warfare as:

"(1) the intentional modification of a system of the natural ecology, such as climate and weather, earth systems such as the ionosphere, magnetosphere, tectonic plate system, and/or the triggering of seismic events (earthquakes);

(2) to cause intentional physical, economic, psycho-social, and physical destruction to an intended target geophysical or population location;" and

"(3) as part of strategic or tactical war.

Environmental war weapons systems can include chemtrails, chemical weapons systems (climate and weather modification) and electromagnetic weapons systems (climate and weather modification; seismic warfare)."

Other definitions are broader, including the use of depleted uranium and other environmentally destructive weapons, practices and techniques.

International standards on environmental protections during armed conflict date back as early as the 1868 Declaration of St. Petersburg. It stated that "the only legitimate object which States should endeavour to accomplish during war is to weaken the military forces of the enemy."

The 1907 Hague Regulations stressed restraint, saying "The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited," and the Geneva Conventions (including Protocol I and Common Article 3) defined the principles of international humanitarian law.

In 1973, the US Senate adopted a resolution calling for an international agreement "prohibiting the use of any environmental or geophysical modification activity as a weapon of war...." President Nixon ordered the Defense Department to review the military aspects of weather and other ENMOD techniques.

During the July 1974 summit meeting in Moscow, Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev agreed to hold bilateral talks to achieve "the most effective measures possible to overcome the dangers of the use of environmental modification techniques for military purposes." Discussions continued in 1974 and 1975, resulting in an agreement on a common approach and language. The 1977 UN Convention followed, ratified 98 - 0 by the Senate on November 28, 1979. It took effect on January 17, 1980, but was violated thereafter by both sides.

Human environmental modification techniques (ENMOD) can cause irreversible damage. Yet international standards haven't stopped their development.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Link to archived Radio Shows

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Focus on Israel: Harvesting Haitian Organs

Focus on Israel: Harvesting Haitian Organs - by Stephen Lendman

On January 15, Haaretz reported that:

"The Israel Defense Forces' aid mission to Haiti left Israel overnight (January 14) with equipment for setting up an emergency field hospital. Around 220 soldiers and officers (were) in the delegation, including 120 medical staff (to) operate the hospital in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince."

According to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it includes "40 doctors, 25 nurses, paramedics, a pharmacy, a children's ward, a radiology department, an intensive care unit, an internal department and a maternity ward (able to) treat approximately 500 patients each day," including in two surgery rooms.

On January 20, Lebanon's Al-Manar TV reported on the mission, citing a damning You Tube video posted by an American named T. West from a group called AfriSynergy Productions.

"The video presents something to think about while exploiting the horrible tragedy that has befallen Haiti where Israeli occupation soldiers are engaged in organ trafficking."

Israel faced these charges before. In November 2009, Alison Weir's article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs headlined, "Israeli Organ Trafficking and Theft: From Moldova to Palestine." She cited an August Donald Bostrom article in Sweden's Aftonbladet suggesting that Israel illicitly removes body parts, including from Palestinians.

She stated:

"....Israeli organ harvesting - sometimes with Israeli governmental funding and the participation of high Israeli officials, prominent Israeli physicians, and Israeli ministries - have been documented for many years. Among the victims have been Palestinians."

Nancy Scheper-Hughes is a UC Berkeley Professor of Medical Anthropology, founder of Organ Watch, author of scholarly books and articles on the subject, and "unflinchingly honest in (citing) the Israeli connection."

"Israel is at the top," she states. "It has tentacles reaching out worldwide. (It has) a pyramid system at work that's awesome....they have brokers everywhere, bank accounts everywhere; they've got recruiters, they've got translators, they've got travel agents who set up the visas."

They pay "the poor and the hungry to slowly dismantle their bodies" or simply take what they want from fresh corpses. Body parts are commodities, to be harvested and sold to the rich, even though organ sales are prohibited in most countries, but not in international law.

Relevant International Law

The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime calls organ extraction for profit human exploitation. In 2008, Israel banned the practice, but it persists.

On October 13, 2009 at a UN press conference on the subject, Marja Ruotanen, Director of Cooperation of the Council of Europe, stated:

"We have legislation and definitions covering the trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal, but the study points out that there is a legal vacuum for the traffic in organs, tissues and cells (OTC)."

Human trafficking for any purpose is a crime. Global instruments cover OTC trafficking, but missing are "internationally agreed-upon definitions within an international convention." One is needed that clearly defines the practice, protects donors, but prosecutes brokers, medical staff, and others engaging in it.

Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics of the University of Pennsylvania, Arthur Caplan, and Austria's Public Prosecutor, Carmen Prior, say many nations are taking steps to address the issue, emphasizing that OTC material should only be gotten by "voluntary altruism." In other words, donated, not sold for profit.

Caplan explained that "money for parts" violates "basic human dignity and medical ethics." It also exploits the poor, and they stay poor after the sale. Also, their organ quality is usually low, and procedures used to extract them often harm buyers and sellers.

UN Secretary-General Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Rachael Mayanja, didn't predict when the world body will begin work on a convention, but she hoped it would be soon. Discussions to this point are "just the beginning," she said, "and it gives us an impetus to go forward."

Kawther Salam - "The Body Snatchers of Israel"

Salam is a West Bank-based Palestinian journalist, active in reporting on human rights abuses by the Israeli military (IDF). In 2003, she was one of 28 writers in 13 countries to receive a Hellman/Hammett Grant from Human Rights Watch "in recognition of (her) courage in the face of political persecution."

On August 24, 2009, her above titled article presented what she "witnessed, saw, observed and heard during (her) 22 years of journalistic work under the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza."

She states that from the early 1970s, the IDF kept bodies of Palestinians they killed, then later buried them in secret, numbered graves. In other cases, Israel's civil administration and military commanders returned corpses to families on condition they be buried immediately, late at night, for "security reasons."

They followed funeral processions in "armored grey cars," monitoring them through burial. Why so, asked Salam? "If the burial is normal, and the organs of the victims were not stolen, then why should they be buried in the dark of the night? The families of the victims all knew that they were receiving empty bodies, filled with cotton, to be buried in the middle of the night."

Salam said she "personally....witness(ed) Israeli soldiers and military vehicles kidnapping the bodies of dead Palestinians from (hospital) emergency rooms. In other cases, (she) saw the soldiers following the Palestinians to the cemetery, to steal the body from the family before burial. This practice became so widespread that many people started carrying the bodies of the murdered to be buried at home, in the garden, under the house or under trees, instead of waiting for the ambulance to take them to the hospital."

She said "everybody in Palestine" knows that Israel steals bodies for their organs. It was common IDF practice to "kidnap" Palestinians from emergency rooms in Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin, and most everywhere throughout Occupied Palestine, then transfer them to an Israeli hospital.

Her article lists names of IDF commanders and civil administration officials involved in the practice. "Everybody knew" they were doing it, yet their families were told sincere efforts were made "to release the bodies of their relatives from the military headquarters," calling it a favor, when, in fact, their organs were stolen.

Perhaps "thousands of bodies and even people known to have been alive were transferred to the Abu Kabir" Forensic Institute near Tel Aviv, Israel's only autopsy facility involved in organ trafficking, a matter that became a scandal inside the country. Its director, Dr. Yehuda Hiss, admitted doing it, never was held accountable, and until recently remained the institute's chief pathologist.

In 2002 and 2005, he was investigated over the large scale theft of body parts, the practice Yediot Aharonot journalists broke, saying he had "price listings" for organs sold to universities and medical schools.

On January 4, 2002, Israel National News.com headlined, "Abu Kabir Operating Organ Warehouse," saying Hiss was:

"accused of a long list of charges from inappropriate behavior as a medical professional to criminal acts such as the illegal sale of and dealings in organs and body parts, removing organs from deceased persons without consent, and misrepresenting organs in returned bodies."

Other allegations were that:

"in some cases (organs he took without consent were stuffed with) toilet paper rolls and metallic rods in their place to fill the voids and hide the theft of the organs. A court-ordered search of the institute revealed large supplies of stored organs illegally taken from bodies," thousands taken without permission.

During the first Intifada and other times, Salam said she "personally witnessed how the Israeli military were kidnapping Palestinian bodies and gravely injured people from the emergency room of Princess Alia hospital in Hebron (and dead bodies from) Al-Ahli hospital." The area was declared a military zone, the hospitals surrounded and invaded, and no one was allowed to move inside them.

Israeli organ harvesting is a longstanding practice, well known by "most if not all the Israeli medical establishment (who) keep silent because they either get money, or they are rewarded in other ways...."

Jerusalem Center for Democracy and Human Rights Director, Salim Khalleh, said JDCHR documented 270 cases of "reserved" Palestinian bodies, buried in numbered graves in secret cemeteries, or in numbered compartments of cooling facilities.

According to the Palestinian National Authority (PA) Director of the Department of Statistics, Abed Al-Naser Ferwana, many Palestinians were murdered in detention during the second Intifada, their bodies kept in secret Israeli cemeteries, some released weeks later. He calls this more proof that their organs were harvested illegally.

Israeli "Transplant Tourism"

Rich Israelis take advantage, availing themselves of what's called "transplant tourism," traveling wherever a needed organ can be found, sometimes from fresh corpses, usually from the desperately poor.

The Israeli government acts as facilitator, providing subsidies of up to $80,000 for "transplant holidays." According to Scheper-Hughes, Israeli officials exhibit "amazing tolerance....toward outlawed 'transplant tourism.' "

She said the Israeli Ministry of Defense is involved in a practice by which "bodies are broken, dismembered, fragmented, transported, processed, and sold in the interests of a more socially advantaged population....," Israel engaging in more of this globally than any other nation.

Its medical teams apparently are doing it in Haiti, exploiting fresh corpses and the living. The Manar TV cited You Tube said "there are people operating in Haiti who do not have a conscience and are members of the search and rescue teams, including the Israeli occupation forces," far from home harvesting Haitian organs, and the pickings are plentiful.

Apparently, the publicity about providing humanitarian aid is cover for this illicit operation, another crime against humanity among Israel's growing list, matched and exceeded by its Washington benefactor with generations more practice.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Link to archived Radio Shows

Monday, January 25, 2010

Focus on Haiti: Washington's Militarized Takeover

Focus on Haiti: Washington's Militarized Takeover - by Stephen Lendman

Haiti is no stranger to adversity and anguish - over 500 years of severe oppression, slavery, despotism, colonization, reparations, embargoes, sanctions, deep poverty, starvation, unrepayable debt, and natural calamities from destructive hurricanes to a dozen magnitude 7.0 or greater Caribbean region earthquakes in the past 500 years. The last major one was in 1946 at 8.1 in the adjacent Dominican Republic, also striking Haiti. Earlier catastrophic ones were in 1751 and 1770, both devastating Port-au-Prince, and the 1842 one destroying Cap-Haitien in the north.

On September 25, 2008, Phoenix Delacroix quoted geologist Patrick Charles of Havana's Geological Institute saying:

"conditions are ripe for major seismic activity in Port-au-Prince. The inhabitants of the Haitian capital need to prepare themselves for an event which will inevitably occur."

Citing a real danger, he explained that the dangerous Enriquillo Fault Zone extends across Port-au-Prince, starting in Petionville, traversing the Southern Peninsula to Tiburon. Noting earlier tremors in the area, he said a larger earthquake usually follows, yet no precautions were taken, leaving Haitians vulnerable to what happened - vast destruction, perhaps hundreds of thousands dead, countless numbers seriously injured, and disease, depravation, and militarized occupation haunting survivors in the aftermath.

After Washington ousted President Jean-Betrand Aristide in February 2004, UN Blue Helmets (MINUSTAH) occupied Haiti as paramilitary enforcers. They still do, subordinate to around 20,000 US land and sea based troops, including Marines, Army 82nd Airborne paratroupers, Navy assault ships, and Coast Guard vessels offshore, a powerful force for indefinite occupation, severe repression, and ruthless exploitation for American interests - obstructing, not providing, humanitarian aid, and facilitating potentially hundreds of thousands of deaths from starvation, dehydration, disease, untreated wounds, trauma, and for some perhaps just giving up and expiring unnoticed, unreported, and uncared about by forces able to help.

It's an old story for Haitians, beleaguered for over 500 years and under America's thumb for nearly two centuries, unrecognized, embargoed, exploited, and slaughtered to assure their freedom is denied. Now again, but first some background.

Occupied Haiti

On April 30, 2004, the UN Security Council authorized MINUSTAH - paramilitary peacekeepers, illegally sent for the first time ever to support a coup d'etat regime in place of a democratically elected president.

Rebel thugs got free reign to join them in the streets, the result being hundreds turned up dead or missing. The state Port-au-Prince morgue was swamped with bodies. Many showed up with their hands tied behind their backs and bags placed over their heads. Ruthlessness was empowered. Orders came from Washington.

Bodies turned up everywhere, in streets, on beaches, abandoned as food for pigs, and anyone connected with Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party (FL) was fair game.

US Marines and foreign troops arrived, not to deliver aid or for protection, but to intimidate, terrorize, crush resistance, solidify coup d'etat rule, and destroy Haitian democracy under Aristide and prevent any chance of it returning.

MINUSTAH and the reconstituted Haitian National Police (the force Aristide abolished with the army) took over from the initial Multinational Interim Force (MIF), terrorizing Haitians through thousands of political killings, disappearances, torture, and unlawful arrests and incarcerations.

FL was effectively destroyed and Aristide's remarkable accomplishments ended in areas of healthcare, education, free expression, economic and social reforms, human rights and justice, lost under coup d'etat rule and thereafter under the Preval government, a pseudo one subservient to Washington.

In the 2006 presidential and parliamentary elections, he agreed to painful concessions, surrendered his authority, and yielded power to US and elitist Haitian interests - a shameless betrayal of his people.

After the coup and thereafter, episodes like the following were commonplace:

On December 22, 2006, Blue Helmets assaulted Cite Soleil (one of Port-au-Prince's most impoverished communities), randomly shot and killed 30 or more people, supposedly to capture a gang member, but in fact to terrorize.

In an earlier July 6, 2005 incident, hundreds of heavily armed troops attacked Cite Soleil with an array of powerful weapons - high-powered assault ones atop armored personnel carriers, precision rifles for assassinations, and a type of gattling gun firing depleted uranium tipped armor-piercing bullets. Thousands of rounds were indiscriminately fired. About 70 people were murdered, and many were left unattended to bleed to death on streets or in their homes.

On January 23, 2007, MINUSTAH forces were back, open fired randomly for hours, and used helicopters to reign death from the skies, killing dozens, then removing the dead to prevent a body count.

From February 2004 - December 2005 alone, Wayne State University School of Social Work researchers estimated that 8,000 people were murdered and 35,000 women sexually assaulted in the greater Port-au-Prince area - attributed to MINUSTAH, the Haitian National Police (PNH), Haitian demobilized army members, and anti-Aristide paramilitary gangs enlisted to commit terror. Also reported were documented kidnappings, extrajudicial detentions, assaults other than rape, death threats, physical threats, and threats of sexual violence against helpless people. The report concluded that "crime and systematic abuse and human rights were common in Port-au-Prince" involving criminals but also "political actors and UN soldiers."

Today, similar abuses crush resistance, prevent the restoration of democracy, and keep Haitians cowed, abused and exploited. Washington decides their fate, and now the Marines are back along with thousands of combat paratroupers and naval forces (an authorized 20,000 force mostly arrived), not to provide aid, to deny it and perhaps let hundreds of thousands perish - a crime of genocidal proportions, a US specialty, honed and perfected from decades of ritual slaughter, especially against people of color, deemed inferior to American "exceptionalism" and "moral superiority."

Marines came earlier in 1915, stayed 20 years, ravaged the country, destroyed Haitian society and institutions, and committed horrendous crimes against humanity. Most notorious was the infamous 1929 slaughter of 264 peasants protesting in Les Cayes. In addition, corvee or forced labor was employed, brutally exploited, and new weapons tested like today, including aerial bombing years before the Nazis did it against Guernica (in April 1937) in support of Spanish fascists in the country's civil war.

Haiti's Catastrophic Tragedy

After its worst catastrophe in nearly 170 years, millions in the country need everything, not Marines - food, water, medical care, shelter, and deep compassion at their greatest time of need.

Instead, the country is occupied, militarized, denied aid, and taken over for greater exploitation. General Ken Keen, in charge of forces, says US troops will "be here as long as needed," signaling an open-ended commitment for years.

On her January 16 photo-op visit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton practically announced an emergency decree, suspension of the rule of law, and authorization of curfews and martial law under Pentagon control. She said:

"The decree would give the government an enormous amount of authority, which in practice they would delegate to us," omitting that its choice was do it or else.

Despite the calm and lack of disorder, it's now official under Pentagon command enforcing a state of emergency and martial law. US troops control Port-au-Prince's airport and port facilities, blocking and slowing aid, including relief flights from France, Brazil, Italy and other countries, diverting them to the neighboring Dominican Republic, hours from Port-au-Prince on bad roads. In addition, the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders report aid flights can't land for fast access to treat the injured, ill and dying. Pentagon troops obstruct them, willfully letting people suffer, die, and be ethnically cleaned from Port-au-Prince areas wanted for new development. More on that below.

According to General Keen:

"If an air traffic controller doesn't know what's on an incoming plane, then he doesn't know what priority to give it."

Military flights in and ones out with US citizens and foreign nationals have top priority. Saving lives don't matter. They're just Haitians, poor, black, unimportant, to be removed, using the earthquake as a pretext to do it, dead or alive.

In natural disasters, immediate aid is critical. After that, casualties multiply fast and in Haiti they're exploding, from a lack of medical supplies and equipment, vital surgeries, infections, diseases, extreme trauma, and inadequate essential to life supplies not let in or delayed. Three million or more Haitians need help. A fraction of that number are getting it. As a result, thousands are dying daily.

Phillippe Bolopion from FRANCE24 TV said supplies are piling up at the airport and not being delivered. Desperate people can't "understand why the generosity of the world isn't getting to them. It's really hard to comprehend."

Radio Television Esponola's (RTVE) Fran Sevilla reported:

"There continues to be no distribution of humanitarian aid, of food and water. I ask myself how all these human beings survive. I ask if anyone is helping them, if they are receiving anything, and the answer is always no. They survive thanks to the solidarity between them, sharing between families and groups of friends what little they have, what they can get."

President Rene Preval is disturbingly absent and silent, reportedly at the airport, out of sight, playing no role in the relief effort - something he should lead, not abstain from, and do it visibly, actively, on the ground in Port-au-Prince, what Aristide would do if there.

Despite the obstacles, some nations are doing what they can, Venezuela for one, a critical Hugo Chavez saying on his weekly Sunday broadcast:

"It seems that the United States is militarily occupying Haiti, taking advantage of the tragedy....Thousands of (soldiers) are disembarking in Haiti as if it were a war. (Haiti) needs doctors, tents, rescue teams and machinery....Now, who said soldiers, rifles and machine guns are necessary?"

Venezuelan and Cuban aid were some of the first to arrive, and Chavez and Castro promise more, including food, water, doctors, medical supplies and rescue equipment, yet Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicholas Maduro said shipments were diverted to the Dominican Republic, losing precious hours to deliver it to victims.

So far, Venezuela alone has sent fuel, 616 metric tons of food, and 116 metric tons of equipment, including water purification systems, electrical generators and heavy equipment for moving rubble, Chavez saying:

"The Venezuelan people (will do more and) will donate all the fuel the Haitian people need. We are coordinating with the president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez, who put the terminal of the refinery of his country at our service."

Chavez later announced that another five ships loaded with food and medical supplies left for Haiti on January 19 with Venezuelan soldiers on board to "protect the safety of everyone, but not to militarily occupy (the country) as the US intends to do."

Venezuela and other ALBA nations (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) pledged generous aid, additional shiploads already sent carrying thousands of tons of food and other supplies.

America's Response - Occupation, Not Aid

In a show of strength, US paratroupers took control of the Presidential Palace, symbol of the nation's sovereignty, wanting it for a command center, and angering one Haitian to say:

"I haven't seen the Americans in the streets giving out water and food, but now they come to the palace."

From another:

"It's an occupation. The palace is our power, our face, our pride," now taken, occupied, a deep humiliation while critical needs go begging.

Besides control, security is top priority, never mind how calm, resilient, compassionate, and committed able Haitians are to help, asking no more than for vital supplies to survive at a time they can't provide them on their own. Yet Keen claims:

"incidents of violence (are) imped(ing) our ability to support the (Haitian) government and answer the challenges that this country faces as they're suffering a tragedy of epic proportions," one America exacerbates along with repressive MINUSTAH forces, to be reinforced with thousands of additional troops.

In separate incidents, they fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a crowd close to the Port-au-Prince airport, and Hatian police did as well against civilians in the city center. Another report said police were shooting Haitians and letting them bleed to death in the street.

"We don't need military aid. What we need is food and shelter," shouted one man at UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his one-day visit with officials and UN forces, not to assess the tragedy and direct massive aid to address it.

Arriving on January 17, he left the same day, an appalling display of arrogance and indifference. During a photo-op near a tent city, he was heckled by angry crowds demanding help from the international community. Instead he said:

"Coordination will improve as we are better organized. Deliveries are now being made in a more effective and efficient manner."

In fact, they're being obstructed and prevented from landing, and much getting in is stacked at the airport, not delivered or delayed. The result is death, devastation, and human suffering everywhere while Ban, Hillary Clinton and husband Bill come for photo-ops and shameless comments like the former president saying:

"There was an extraordinary amount of time devoted to try and dig through those buildings to try to find living and dead."

If fact, no heavy equipment was delivered. UN and US troops didn't help, and Haitians had to use small implements and their bare hands to rescue a bare handful of people on their own while perhaps hundreds of thousands perished.

At the same time, desperation grows, arousing one woman to say:

"I have been here every day. I heard they gave away some food but there was a riot....we have been on this spot since the day of the earthquake and we have not seen anyone give away anything but water," and not enough.

Another man shouted:

"Have we been abandoned? Where is the food?"

Head of mission of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Michelle Chouinard, described their enormous challenges:

-- limited supplies of everything;

-- extreme crush injuries, partial amputations and open fractures;

-- people in severe pain with festering wounds;

-- a young man, typical of others, with a traumatic crush injury; he was young and strong, but his leg was dead and had to come off;

-- gangrenous limbs removed to save lives;

-- after surgeries, patients can't go home; they have none and need care - to prevent infections, change dressings and control pain;

-- many amputees and the paralyzed need lifelong care, but from where, by whom, and the numbers are so great it's impossible to help everyone;

-- thousands of children have been orphaned;

-- shocked, traumatized people are everywhere;

-- the number of people needing surgery is overwhelming; teams work under makeshift conditions around the clock with inadequate supplies running out as well as enough fuel for refrigerating medicines; and

-- people are dying and will die without essential treatment, and for the seriously ill, survival depends on leaving Haiti for what's not available internally - but Washington is blocking Haitian citizens from leaving, even parents whose children are US citizens; they can go, not their parents.

Two million or more are homeless, living on streets or, if lucky, in tents. Partners in Health, (with 25 years experience providing healthcare to Haitians), estimates 20,000 are dying daily from lack of surgery and essential treatment. The human tragedy is incalculable. Tens of thousands of bodies get dumped in mass graves like garbage.

MSF's Dr. Greg Elder fears:

"The next health risk could include outbreaks of diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, and other diseases among hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in overcrowded camps with poor or nonexistent sanitation."

On January 20, even The New York Times reported that:

"....people (are) writhing in pain (in squatter camps around the capital), their injuries bound up by relatives but not yet seen by a doctor eight days after the quake struck. On top of that, the many bodies still in the wreckage increase the risk of diseases spreading, especially, experts say, if there is rain."

The Wall Street Journal reported that Port-au-Prince General Hospital is besieged by over 1,000 patients needing surgery. "....thousands of injured, some grievously, wait outside virtually any hospital or clinic, pleading for treatment."

BBC correspondents said aid arriving by sea is taken to the airport, "where it is piling up and not being distributed to those who need it." As a result, most Haitians are getting little or nothing. An estimated two hundred thousand or more have died. Many more will perish for lack of help.

At the same time, MINUSTAH and US forces provide security, not aid, leaving Haitians on their own, at the mercy of what relief agencies can provide and doctors from Cuba, Venezuela and other concerned nations, not America, not the EU, not Canada, not the world's wealthiest states able to mount a sustained, large-scale effort but won't.

Instead, reports say flyers are being circulated throughout Port-au-Prince, telling people to evacuate to safer places. It's reminiscent of New Orleans post-Katrina, a mass ethnic cleansing exodus to level the city's most valued parts, prepare it for upscale development, and prevent poor Haitians from returning.

On January 22, AP reported that:

"Haitian officials are planning a massive relocation of 400,000 people from makeshift camps to the outskirts of the capital....to help residents survive the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake."

In fact, Pentagon forces run everything, providing aid not their concern. They're relocating people, dumping and forgetting about them, out of sight and mind.

The New York Times ignores it, referring only to aid groups helping the homeless by "an epic relocation (of) up to one million people." Not a word about capitalizing on disaster for profit.

Before the quake, Haiti had over 10,000 NGOs profiteering on the nation's misery, preparing now for a bonanza at the expense of the poor, displaced and immiserated.

Blocking a Haitian Exodus

The Pentagon has Haiti under siege. Five US Coast Guard vessels and Navy warships patrol offshore to interdict those fleeing and forcibly return them back home.

On January 19, cnn.com reported that:

"A US Air Force plane serving as an airborne radio station is broadcasting messages to Haitians (warning) them not to attempt ocean voyages to the United States, saying they will be intercepted and turned back home if they do."

The message comes from Raymond Joseph, Haiti's US ambassador, saying in Creole:

"Listen, don't rush on boats to leave the country. If you do that, we'll all have even worse problems....If you think you will reach the US and all the doors will be wide open to you, that's not at all the case. And they will intercept you right on the water and send you back home where you came from."

If large numbers flee, they'll be incarcerated at Guatanamo's Krome Service Processing Center under conditions others earlier faced. After the 1991 coup deposed President Aristide, thousands fled to America. Most were sent home, but around 300 were held at Guantanamo because tests showed they were HIV positive. In subsequent years, thousands more were interned there.

Conditions were deplorable. Treated like prisoners, they were held behind razor wire in leaky barracks with bad sanitation, poor food, and little medical care even for the sick and pregnant women. After one protest and a hunger strike, crackdowns were severe, and many were imprisoned.

In October 2002, 212 Haitians reached South Florida seeking asylum and safety. Instead, they were rounded up, handcuffed, held in detention, and grossly mistreated. Families were separated from children, husbands from wives, and siblings from each other, but it wasn't an isolated incident under a secret Bush administration policy authorizing what now is the Department of Homeland Security to detain South Florida arrivals, regardless of their asylum eligibility.

It's how Washington always treated Haitians since they began arriving over 50 years ago to escape repression, only to be treated abusively once here.

Today, sick and dying Haitians are denied visas for emergency medical treatment and those with them can't leave. On January 19, the Miami Herald reported that commercial flights from Haiti are banned because checks can't screen out potential terrorists, a policy applying to Haitians, not US citizens or others allowed to depart.

Abducting Haitian Children

Noted international law and human rights expert Professor Francis Boyle reports the following:

"The USA is stealing the alleged 'orphans' of Haiti, taking them away from their families. Haiti is currently being occupied by the United States....Obama basically told Preval he was taking over the country, and Preval said OK -- no choice in the matter" as Washington does what it pleases, especially against defenseless countries like Haiti.

"....the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to this situation. It clearly states in Article 2:

'The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.' "

Under Fourth Geneva, Haitian "orphans are protected persons under the terms of the (Convention). Hence, they cannot be moved from Haiti for any reason. To do so is a serious war crime."

Boyle added that Defense Secretary Gates said America won't police Haiti. However, under Fourth Geneva, occupying the country and displacing its sitting government (even in weakened form) is precisely what Washington is doing.

On January 19, The New York Times headlined, "53 Haitian Orphans Are Airlifted to US," then explained that some Haitian orphanages "are fronts for traffickers who buy children from their parents and sell them to couples in other countries." Now profiteers are stealing them.

According to UNICEF spokesperson Christopher de Bono:

"In orphanages in Haiti, there are an awful lot of children who are not orphans."

According to UNICEF adviser Jean Luc Legrand, children are also missing from hospitals.

"We have documented around 15 cases of children disappearing from hospitals and not with their own family at the time. UNICEF has been working in Haiti for many years and we knew the problem with the trade of children....that existed beforehand. Unfortunately, many of the....networks have links with the international adoption market."

Fast-track adoptions are proceeding in Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and America.

They're victims of child-traffickers, now aided by Homeland Security's January 18 announced policy of waiving visa requirements on humanitarian grounds for Haitian children approved for adoption, or perhaps abducted to be sold for profit, never to see their parents again or know if they're alive. DHS is facilitating a crime, a practice it's expert at targeting Latino immigrants, including documented US citizens.

Boyle asks who gives "the White Racist United States (the) Divine Right to go around the world (stealing) Black Children from Third World Countries, depriving those children and their countries of their future?"

"The forcible transfer of children of one group (Black Hatians) to another group (White Americans) is genocide under the 1948 Genocide Convention (besides violating Fourth Geneva)."

It may also violate America's "Genocide Implication Act as amended by the Genocide Accountability Act and perhaps the US War Crimes Act."

The White House pressured the Haitian government to comply, forcing it to be complicit in child abductions - trafficking potentially thousands of Haitian children for profit at a time they're most vulnerable.

"Notice the duress and coercion involved here. The Black Haitian government was forced by the White Racist USA to surrender up their Children to White American child thieves," parents complicit in a crime with lawyers helping them who know better but are well paid to stay silent.

Boyle asks:

"Are we American Lawyers going to stand by and let their genocidal thievery of Haitian babies happen? Or are we going to do something to stop it?"

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Link to archived Radio Shows

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lendman News Hour Guests for January 25 - 29 and Progressive Radio News Hour January 28 Guest

The Lendman News Hour Guests for January 25 - 29, 2010

Dates:

Monday, January 25 - Garda Ghista

Tuesday, January 26 - Rachael Rudolph

Wednesday, January 27 - Webster Tarpley

Thursday, January 28 - Monday's program repeated

Friday, January 29 - Jack Rasmus

Time: 10AM US Central time

Garda Ghista is the Founding Director of the World Prout Assembly (WPA) and editor of its web site. She's also a freelance journalist and author of "The Gujarat Genocide: A Case Study in Fundamentalist Cleansing."

WPA stands for "PROgressive UTilization Theory," meaning the progressive utilization and rational distribution of the earth's natural resources. It advocates for a new era - socially, economically, politically, culturally, psychically and spiritually.

The Obama administration's world and national policies will be discussed.

Rachael Rudolph is a Professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies at Emory & Henry College where her research and writing focus mainly on resistance strategies, especially Islamic movements in Algeria, Palestine, and the Philippines.

Her books include "Terrorism and Politics; Mobilizing Movements, Mobilizing Contemporary Islamic Resistance;" and "Saudi Arabia's War on Terrorism." She's currently working on a new book about the War on Gaza.

Webster Tarpley is an author, journalist, lecturer, and outspoken critic of US domestic and foreign policies. His newest book is titled "Surviving the Cataclysm: Your Guide Through the Greatest Financial Crisis in Human History."

Current world and national issues will be discussed.

Jack Rasmus is a Professor of Political Economy at St. Mary's College and Santa Clara University, CA. He's also a freelance journalist, frequent speaker, a playwright and author, including his newest book to be released in March titled, "Epic Recession and Financial Crisis: Prelude to Global Depression."

Rasmus' latest views on the economy will be discussed.


David Swanson is the featured guest on The Progressive Radio News Hour

Thursday, January 28 at 10AM US Central time

David Swanson is co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org and Washington Director for Democrats.com. He's also a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, and Voters for Peace as well as a member of the legislative working group of United for Peace and Justice.

Swanson's new book is titled, "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming A More Perfect Union," a timely and impressive account of presidential extremism, congressional complicity, the urgency for progressive change, and how to do it.

Obama's world and national policies will be discussed.

Link to archived Radio Shows

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Lessons of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

The Lessons of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) - by Stephen Lendman

Established in 1989, the MA'AN Development Center is "an independent Palestinian development and training institution....work(ing) towards sustainable human development in Palestine" through its various programs. On October 31, it released a publication on the Palestinian BDS campaign titled, "Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions: Lessons learned in effective solidarity."

It's another of the many BDS initiatives multiplying to support Palestine. In July 2005, a coalition of 171 Palestinian Civil Society organizations created the global movement for "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights" for Occupied Palestine, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinian diaspora refugees.

MA'AN covers BDS history and outlines current efforts and challenges to be overcome. Past Palestinian boycotts showed they work. The 1936 six-month strike against the British Mandate demanded a representative government in Palestine, prohibition of land sales to Jews, a cessation of Jewish immigration, and immediate elections. The strike brought the economy to a halt and got the Peel Royal Commission to recommend limited Jewish immigration and plans for eventual partition.

In 1948, the Arab League banned all commercial and financial transactions between Israel and League members.

In 1951, each nation set up a national boycott office, linked to the Damascus headquarters. It maintained a central blacklist of companies.

In 1973, OPEC embargoed oil to America and other countries that supported Israel in the October war.

In November 1975, UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 "determine(d) that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination." Under pressure from GHW Bush and Israel as a condition of its Madrid Peace Conference participation, Resolution 46/86 revoked it (in December 1991) saying only that:

"The general assembly decides to revoke the determination contained in its resolution 3379 (XXX) of November 1975."

In 1977, Arab boycott efforts began when the Carter administration called them illegal for US companies. In 1978, the Camp David Accords began normalizing Israeli-Arab relations, effectively undermining boycott efforts.

The First Intifada (1987 - 1993) reactivated them, effectively in Beit Sahour where residents took control of public affairs. Underground schools were established. The community refused to pay taxes. Military ID cards were returned, and all Israeli products were boycotted. Beit Sahour got a 1990 Nobel Peace Prize nomination and continued resisting until the Palestinian Authority (PA) took over in 1995.

In 1993, the Oslo Accords and subsequent Paris Protocols generated immediate normalization. The 1995 Taba summit decelerated boycott efforts further. The outbreak of the 2000 Second Intifada failed to reactivate them. Today, grassroots efforts lead the global BDS movement.

What Is Normalization"

As agreed on during the first Palestinian 2007 BDS Conference:

"Normalization means to participate in any project or initiative or activity, local or international, specifically designed for gathering (either directly or indirectly) Palestinians (and/or Arabs) and Israelis whether individuals or institutions; that does not explicitly aim to expose and resist the occupation and all forms of discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people."

Specifically, this includes projects:

-- not supporting Palestinian rights under international law;

-- implying equal Israeli and Palestinian responsibility for the conflict;

-- denying Palestinians are victims of Israel's colonial project;

-- refusing Palestinian rights to self-determination and the right of return and compensation under UN Resolution 194; and

-- supported by or partnered with Israeli institutions not recognizing Palestinians' legitimate rights.

Boycott As a Grassroots Movement

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor," to wit: the Quartet (US, EU, Russia and UN), the Arab League, and most other nations with few exceptions. To achieve justice, global grassroots movements must pressure official bodies to change.

In August 2002, Palestinian civil society called for a global boycott Israel campaign:

"for the sake of freedom and justice in Palestine and the world....upon the solidarity movement, NGOs, academic and cultural institutions, business companies, political parties and unions, as well as concerned individuals to strengthen and broaden the global Israel Boycott Campaign."

The campaign against South African apartheid began in 1963 when 45 prominent British playwrights refused performing rights anywhere "where discrimination is made among audiences on grounds of colour." By the 1980s, it became a near-total cultural exchange ban.

In 1965, 496 UK academics protested South Africa's racial discrimination and pledged not to accept a position in the country. Other movements advocated against bank lending, South African products, and for divestment. In the mid-1980s, students demanded their universities divest from companies doing business in or having operations in the country. Hampshire College was the first success. Others followed until apartheid finally ended in 1994.

Cultural and Academic Boycott

On April 6, 2002, UK professors Steven and Hilary Rose first presented the idea in an open letter to the London Guardian, saying:

"Despite widespread international condemnation for its policy of violent repression against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, the Israeli government appears impervious to moral appeals from world leaders. (For its part, America) seems reluctant to act. However, there are ways of exerting pressure from within Europe....many national and European cultural and research institutions....regard Israel as a European state for the purposes of awarding grants and contracts. Would it not therefore be timely (for a pan-European moratorium of all further support) unless and until Israel abides by UN resolutions and opens serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians (along the lines of proposed) peace plans."

By July, 700 signatures were registered, including from 10 Israeli academics. Other initiatives followed despite start-and-stop efforts and enormous opposition. They remain viable and have spread globally.

On February 1, 2009 in Occupied Palestine, the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds University said it no longer would cooperate with Israeli academic institutions to:

"pressur(e) Israel to abide by a solution that ends the occupation, a solution that has been needed for far too long and that the international community has stopped demanding."

It followed Israel's Gaza attack and addressed decades of occupation and continued efforts to subvert peace and negotiations to achieve Palestinian self-determination.

Earlier in October 2003, Palestinian academics and intellectuals called on their colleagues in the international community to resist repression and injustice by boycotting Israeli academic institutions. In April 2004, the campaign was consolidated by PACBI's founding (the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel).

Palestinian academics and intellectuals launched it by "buil(ding) on the Palestinian call for a comprehensive economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel issued in August 2002 (followed by further calls) in October 2003."

Its statement of principles read:

-- "to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions until Israel withdraws from all lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem;

-- removes all its colonies in those lands;

-- agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugee rights; and

-- dismantles its system of apartheid."

PACBI's call got wide support from Palestinian academia and civil society.

Church Divestment

Christian churches in America, the UK, Canada, and elsewhere have begun to call for boycotting and divesting from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation. Examples include:

-- in 2005, the United Church of Christ (UCC) endorsed divestment, not as yet implemented;

-- in 2005, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted a "positive investment" policy to foster regional peace and cooperation;

-- in 2006, the United Church of Canada's Toronto branch began boycotting Israeli products and companies doing business with its military;

-- in 2006, the US Presbyterian Church urged various companies, including Caterpillar, ITT, Motorola, and others to invest in West Bank and Gaza companies;

-- in 2008, the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire passed a resolution for divesting in companies supporting and/or profiting from the Occupation; and

-- in 2009, the Church of England divested from Caterpillar stocks, the company whose bulldozers and equipment is used to demolish Palestinian homes.

Student Campaigns

Students led international protests against Operation Cast Lead. On January 13, 2009, they occupied a University of London building, igniting student occupations at 29 US and UK universities in solidarity with Gaza. They called for:

-- condemning the attack;

-- divestment in companies doing business with Israel, especially ones providing military weapons, munitions, and equipment;

-- sending computers and books to Gaza students and providing scholarships; and

-- arranging lectures and debates about the Occupation.

Other civil society initiatives included participants at a July 2005 UN International Civil Society Conference in support of Middle East peace unanimously adopting the Palestinian Call for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions). In November 2007, the first BDS conference was held, and the Boycott National Committee (BNC) formed in the same year to build and spread boycotts as a central form of resistance.

Targeting Israeli Companies with Colonial Operations

Agrexco is the most prominent, a 50% state owned company exporting fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs from Israel and its West Bank locations. It's one of the three largest Israeli companies exporting from Occupied Palestine while labeling their products "made in Israel."

The campaign began in 2005 when activists blockaded the company's depot in Middlesex, UK, stopping all deliveries for over eight hours. Other actions followed and continue. Protestors accuse Agrexco of complicity with crimes of war and against humanity and cite the destroyed Palestinian economy forcing West Bank workers, including children, to survive on 30 shekels a day with no unions or benefits.

Lev Leviev was also targeted, the Israeli diamond mogul and real estate baron who finances Israeli colonies in the West Bank. In November 2007, a surprise protest was held at his Manhattan boutique. Others followed in different countries against his real estate partner Shaya Boymelgreen's company Green Park, including a Bi'lin village $2 million suit for building and selling settlement housing on village land in violation of international law.

"Key to the success so far has been the level of coordination and the involvement of Palestinian villages and organizations in the campaign" to:

-- engage the press;

-- attract Hollywood celebrity endorsers;

-- get the UK government to boycott Leviev over his West Bank construction ;

-- have UNICEF cut ties with him;

-- Oxfam International and the US Carousel of Hope charity to refuse his donations;

-- get the Arab League's Damascus Boycott Office to consider adding his companies to its boycott list; and

-- have Dubai refuse to let him open new stores there under his name.

Economic Isolation Works

Western governments supported South African apartheid until civil society group actions got corporations to divest, paving the way for government boycotts and sanctions. "The timeline of action "during the Gaza massacre suggests a similar pattern:"

-- on January 13, 2009, the Greek government announced that a ship with munitions for Israel wasn't welcome; students at 29 US and UK universities protested for divestment and severing cultural and academic ties with Israel;

-- on January 14, Amnesty International (AI) called for a global arms embargo against Israel; the EU and European Commission announced a freeze in upgrading relations with Israel;

-- on January 16, Qatar closed Israel's trade office in Doha and gave Israeli officials a week to leave the country; Mauritania suspended trade relations as well;

-- on January 20, the Stockholm community council announced that the French company, Veolia, lost a future eight-year contract to build and maintain a railway through East Jerusalem that connects Israeli settlements in the West Bank;

-- on February 1, Belgium ended arms exports to Israel;

-- on February 5, South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) dockworkers refused to offfload a ship carrying Israeli goods;

-- on February 9, 23 vicars encouraged the Church of England to divest;

-- on February 12, Hampshire College became the first US university to divest from companies involved with the Occupation;

-- on February 26, UK-based Cardiff University divested all shares from BAE Systems and GE's aerospace arm over their IDF dealings;

-- on April 2, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the New York Campaign to Boycott Israel and others got Motorola to sell its Government Electronics Department, a unit that supplied military-related items to Israel;

-- on April 13, the Dutch Labor Party sought sanctions against Israel;

-- on April 14, French corporation Veolia's transportation branch lost a Bordeaux contract worth 750 million euros; it's lost business now totals over $7.5 billion.

Israel's Tarnished Brand Name

When sustained with enough pressure, economic boycott works. In February 2009, the Israeli Export Institute reported that 10% of 400 exporters got order cancellations over Operation Cast Lead. In March, the Israel Manufacturers Association said 21% of 90 local exporters questioned reported a drop in demand due to boycotts, mostly in UK and Scandinavian counties.

In Europe, supermarkets are re-labeling Israeli products made in Cyprus or Spain because "made in Israel" no longer sells.

The Challenge of Dependency

Since 1967, Israel forced dependency on the Territories by controlling its ports, land crossings, and airports, compounded by hundreds of West Bank checkpoints and the Separation Wall. As a result around 90% of it is with Israel, while 75% of imported goods are Israeli-made. Conditions are especially acute in Gaza because of war and closure, meaning only Israeli-approved goods can enter, and too few of those under siege.

A Working BDS Framework

Just as civil society-led boycotts ended South African apartheid, so can they end decades of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity against Occupied Palestine. They work, more than ever after human rights reports on Operation Cast Lead documented what no longer can be tolerated. The task is to build global outrage to critical mass enough for change.

Organizations in 20 countries now participate under the banner of the International Coordinating Network on Palestine (ICNP). Formed in 2002, it calls itself "a body of civil society organizations....under the auspices of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People."

Its mission "is to strengthen the role of civil society in supporting and demanding, of governments and international institutions, the full implementation" of all Palestinian rights under international law, including to self-determination, national independence, and sovereignty.

ICNP coordinates global campaigns; facilitates communication; aids local organizations' plans civil society conferences; and mobilizes global BDS support. It strives for representation on every continent in many more nations than the following now participating:

-- Australia;

-- Belgium;

-- Canada;

-- the autonomous Catalonian northeast Spanish community and its capital, Barcelona;

-- Denmark;

-- France;

-- Egypt;

-- Greece;

-- Iceland;

-- Italy;

-- Netherlands;

-- Norway;

-- Scotland;

-- South Africa;

-- Spain;

-- the UK; and

-- US.

BDS initiatives include:

-- academic and cultural boycotts to tell Israel that its "occupation and discrimination against Palestinians is unacceptable;" Israel practices militarized apartheid combined with religious fundamentalist bigotry; non-Jewish voices are excluded; Israeli children are taught to deny a Palestinian identity; through close monitoring, Israel cracks down hard against non-compliers;

-- consumer boycotts through bad publicity, building public awareness, pressuring stores to remove Israeli products, encouraging companies to stop buying Israeli technology, and overall creating an inhospitable climate for Israeli commerce;

-- sports boycotts to highlight Israeli oppression and discrimination and stop its self-promotion as a "fair player" in bilateral and international competition; at the same time to promote a Palestinian presence in these events to support their right to identity and self-determination;

-- divestment/disinvestment in Israel and companies globally that support its occupation and oppression; encourage and pressure individuals, businesses, organizations, universities, pension funds, and governments to shed their Israeli investments to exert pressure for change;

-- sanctions, starting with open debate and raising awareness on applying them; followed by implementing comprehensive economic, political, and military measures to isolate the Jewish state; ending Israel's membership in economic and political bodies like the UN, WHO, Red Cross, WTO, and OECD;

-- end cooperation agreements under which Israel gets preferential treatment on trade, joint research and development, and various other projects; Israel's Export and International Cooperation Institute reported in 2006 that participation of its companies in global 2005 projects grew by 150% over 2004 - from $600 million in to $1.5 billion; Israel is the only non-European country participating in the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for R & D and gets preferential treatment as a member; many international agreements have clauses that bind participating countries to human rights, international law, and democratic standards; Israel disdains them, and must be challenged and excluded as a result;

-- efforts at the local, regional, and institutional levels to build greater individual awareness and support;

-- ending military ties over Israel's role as a serial aggressor; militarism and violence define its culture; confrontation is practiced over diplomacy, and peaceful coexistence is a non-starter; despite its own technology, it's heavily dependent on America and other nations for hardware and munitions supplies; breaking that connection can curb its crimes of war and against humanity; heightening public awareness is crucial to accomplishing this goal;

-- involving faith-based bodies and institutions regarding moral and human rights issues, not religion; and

-- working cooperatively with trade unions; Palestinian ones faced Zionist attacks since the 1920s, especially from the Histadrut General Federation of Laborers in the Land of Israel; it's replaced Arab workers with Jewish ones; in 1965, the General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW) was founded to organize West Bank, Gaza, and diaspora labor; in 1986, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) grew out of Occupied Palestine's labor movement; today it's ineffective given condition under Occupation and Israeli discrimination against its Arab citizens, consigning them to low wage, few, or no benefit jobs; Histadrut represents only Jews.

Beyond Boycott

Boycotting Israeli products successfully needs a transition to Palestinian ones, but much work is needed to achieve it, including effective promotion. Several organizations doing it include:

-- PalTrade: an organization mandated to promote Palestinian products locally and internationally;

-- Palestinian Federation of Industries (PFI) and "Watani:" they support local producers to upgrade quality and urge government and institutions to enact policies to back local production; and

-- Intajuna: a three-year project to get Palestinians to prefer locally-produced products.

These initiatives along with a committed, grassroots global BDS movement is crucial to ending decades of subjugation under an oppressive occupier that won't quit until forced by committed pressure. BDS is the tool to do it.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Link to archived Radio Shows
 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Political Earthquake Rocks Massachusetts

Political Earthquake Rocks Massachusetts - by Stephen Lendman

For the moment, millions of Haitians don't matter. For Washington and the West, they never did and don't now. It's pretense, a topic a forthcoming article will explore.

Today, however, the Massachusetts political earthquake takes precedence, and headlines explain it.

From the Boston Globe:

"Big win for Brown....Voter anger caught fire in final days." How can it be, asks the Globe, that "an obscure state senator with an unremarkable record" (became) a household name across the country by the end of the abbreviated campaign."

From the Financial Times:

"Democrats suffer blow in Massachusetts vote (sustaining) a humiliating defeat....in one of (America's) most liberal states."

From the New York Times:

"GOP Senate Victory Stuns Democrats....Independents Voice Unease....Democrat Defeat Imperils Health Care Overall."

From the Washington Post:

"Brown upsets Coakley in Massachusetts race...Election dramatically alters the trajectory of Obama's agenda....Democrats ponder health reform....Voters turn anger on Democrats."

From the AP:

"In epic Upset, GOP's Brown Wins Mass. Senate Race (riding) a wave of voter anger to win the US Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century....marring the end of (Obama's) first year in office" in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans three to one, and has as many independents as both parties combined. They likely made the difference.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"Republican Victory Upends Senate....Independent Voters Abandon Democrats....Americans Weary of Government Intervention," and an op ed headlining "Blame the Left for Massachusetts," typical Journal blather blaming Democrat defeat not on "the messenger, but the message - and the sooner progressive Democrats face up to that fact, the better."

According to the Journal, the message is leftist, never mind that throughout Obama's first year, he's been solidly pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Pharma, pro-the insurance lobby, pro-war profiteers, and pro-business overall, Republican credentials in all but name.

Brown's victory margin was 52% - 47%, and given the state's poor weather and fact that it was a special election, turnout was remarkably strong - the highest in any Massachusetts non-presidential general election in 20 years. The defeat stuns Democrats given the stakes for Obama's agenda, now that his Senate supermajority is lost.

Consider also that in the 2008 election, he carried the state by 26 points, and it's solidly Democrat. The party holds large majorities in both houses. The governor is a Democrat, and for the most part, Republicans are unloved in a state far less liberal than commonly believed. Not this time, so at issue is why.

At one point Democrat Martha Coakley (state Attorney General) held a 31 point lead, yet managed to lose it in weeks, an astonishing reversal any time, let alone one this short.

According to the Boston Globe, angry voters "sent Washington a ringing message....Enough." Perhaps so, yet unexplained is their overnight change of heart and the fact that Massachusetts elects so few Republicans. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. was its last senator, a seat he lost to John Kennedy in 1952, and the one brother Ted held from 1962 until his 2009 death.

Worse still is candidate Scott Brown, a man MSNBC's Keith Olbermann calls "an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against women."

Perhaps so based on his voting record, overwhelmingly hard-right, including public support for waterboarding, other enhanced interrogation methods, and no constitutional rights for "enemy combatants."

According to Project Vote Smart and On the Issues.org, his positions are strongly pro-business, pro-war, and anti: civil and gay rights, affirmative action, state provided health care, other social services including welfare, abortion, progressive immigration reform, labor, stem cell research, and women's rights - an unlikely choice to succeed Ted Kennedy.

Brown's also for tax cuts for the rich, or in his own words:

"I am a free enterprise advocate who believes that lower taxes can encourage economic growth."

In other words, for business, not the most needy. He also opposes taxing big banks, and since January 12 has been against Red Cross aid to help Haitians post-quake.

He provided no healthcare for his campaign staffers and opposes government involvement in delivering it. On his web site he says:

"I believe that all Americans deserve health care coverage, but I am opposed to the health care legislation that is under consideration in Congress and will vote against it. It will raise taxes, increase government spending and lower the quality of care, especially for elders on Medicare. I support strengthening the existing private market system with policies that will drive down costs and make it easier for people to purchase affordable insurance."

Of course, leaving healthcare in private hands is the problem, not the solution. Neither is Obamacare - legislation that will ration it, raise costs, enrich insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains, and take a giant step toward destroying Medicare, a position Republicans and Democrats endorse.

Brown also supports the right to keep and bear arms, tough crime fighting measures, the death penalty, marriage between men and women only, and Israel, stating:

"Israel has made enormous sacrifices in an attempt to secure peace....I support a two-state solution that reaffirms Israel's right to exist....Israel lives every day under the threat of terror yet shares with America a dedication to democratic ideals, a respect for faith, and a commitment to peace in the region."

In fact, Israel from birth chose violence, not peace; confrontation, not diplomacy; and strength through militarism, intimidation, and naked aggression. Its agenda is repugnant, indefensible, destructive and malignant. It ruthlessly occupies the West Bank, strangles Gaza under siege, expropriates Palestinian land, practices torture as state policy, and denies its own Arab citizens rights afforded only to Jews.

It menaces its neighbors and humanity with a Zionist ideology advocating oppression, dispossession, Jewish exceptionalism, and racism, yet presidents, the entire Senate, and most House members pledge support, Democrats and Republicans.

Brown also "support(s) the bi-partisan Iran sanctions bill and believe(s) that until Ahmadinejad gives up his nuclear ambitions he should be isolated from the rest of the world. With its reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons, Iran represents the biggest threat to Israel....A personal meeting with Ahmadinejad, as suggested by my opponent, would embolden him and be used as a propaganda tool to strengthen his position."

Brown ignores the real threat - from Israeli and American belligerency and the enormous global consequences.

Voters Across America Are Rightfully Angered

After one year in office with a Democrat-controlled Congress, voters express disillusion, frustration, and anger over promises made, then broken, and a realization that once again they were betrayed.

Ignoring people needs during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the Obama administration supports business, militarism, and homeland repression. He backs open-ended banker bailouts, aggressive wars, repressing dissent, privatized healthcare, free, not fair trade, a war on Islam and Latino immigrants, torture, illegal surveillance, military commissions, preventive detention for dozens of detainees facing no charges, and extraordinary renditions to offshore hellholes, most of them secret.

He opposes labor, civil, and human rights, free expression, dissent, public education, social services when they're most needed, job creation, help for the unemployed (over 20% of the workforce with all categories included), whistleblower protection, detainee habeas rights, prosecuting Bush administration war criminals, and help for millions of Haitians facing starvation, disease, debilitating injuries, and death post-quake.

He's provided continuity, not change, a bogus democracy under a repressive police state apparatus, militarism, and permanent wars at the expense of vital homeland needs. His record is betrayal and failure.

Perhaps that's the Massachusetts message - not just opposition to Obamacare as state polls show, but a rejection of the entire Democrat agenda and a demand for real change, promised but not delivered.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Link to archived Radio Shows