Israeli Soldiers Tell Tales of Civilian Killings in Gaza

Tales of Civilian Killings in Gaza
by C. L. Cook
Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz released today statements made last month at the Rabin Military College by IDF veterans of the December-January assault on Gaza. The statements confirm accounts of civilian targeting by Israel's forces during the 22 day invasion of the Strip.
IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.
(IDF Spokesman's Office)

According to Ha'aretz, the soldiers are "graduates of the Yitzak Rabin pre-military preparatory course at Oranim Academic College in Tivon" and their report includes the testimony of, "combat pilots and infantry soldiers."
Their accounts run contrary to the official IDF line, which states the Gaza operation "observed a high level of moral behaviour."
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Four Canadians Killed, Eight Injured During Afghanistan Raids

Four Canadians Killed, Eight Injured During Afghanistan Raids
by C. L. Cook
The four soldiers died in two separate Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks Friday while patrolling the Zhari district, just west of Kandahar, and in the Shah Wali Kot district to the north of the city.
Master Cpl. Scott Francis Vernelli, Cpl. Tyler Crooks, Trooper Jack Bouthillier and Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes were killed on Friday in two separate roadside bomb blasts in Kanadahar province on Friday. Eight Canadian soldiers were also wounded in the attacks. (Department of National Defence)

The deaths bring to 116 the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan since its "Mission" there began in 2001. Two Canadian aid workers, and a Canadian diplomat have too lost their lives in the embattled country.
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Pitchforks and Protests: The Fury Down Below

Will Public Anger With The Ongoing Rip-off Have An Impact?
by Danny Schechter (Author of PLUNDER)
It took a little time but the American public is in a state of growing fury, looking for who to blame for their declining economic fortunes.  It’s being called a “populist fury.”

Jon Stewart has a hilarious graphic of angry citizens armed with sticks moving across his TV screen to represent the protests he knows will be coming.
Three million marchers in France this past week can’t be all wrong. What has been someone else’s crisis is now everyone’s problem and the public is pissed off.
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Canadian Border Services Welcome War Criminal Bush, Ban Anti-War MP Galloway

Civil Liberties Association Decries Shameful Banning of British MP on “National Security Grounds”
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association is calling on the Canadian Immigration Minister to immediately overturn the outrageous decision by the Canadian Border Services Agency to ban British MP George Galloway from Canada for his anti-war views. 
Minister Jason Kenney, Harper's water-carrier for the Likud lobby in Canada
Today the British media reported that Mr. Galloway has been deemed inadmissible to Canada on national security grounds under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.  Government spokespersons have apparently declined to cite what precise “threat to national security” is posed by Mr. Galloway who is about to start a North American speaking tour and is due to speak at a public forum entitled Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar, hosted by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War. 
BCCLA Policy Director, Micheal Vonn: 
“This is shameful conduct from our government.  We could not agree more with Mr. Galloway that this is a dismal reflection on Canada.  It strikes at the core of the essence of our democratic rights.  If the government or some border agent is allowed to determine what speech Canadians get to hear, one of our most precious freedoms will be shredded.  This  decision is clearly ideologically motivated and has nothing whatsoever to do with national security.  It is yet another in the seemingly endless list of abuses and violation of our fundamental freedoms that the rhetoric of national security has spawned.” 
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Palestine in Victoria: Relief Fundraiser

Two Arab Children Get Treatment in Texas
In early March, two children from the Middle East arrived in Texas for treatment that was not available to them in their homelands. 
15-year-old Latifa Hemran from the West Bank town of Jenin will have orthopedic surgery at the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, Texas. 
Latifa suffered a gunshot wound to her right shoulder last year and has significant scarring and bone deformities as a result. 
KinderUSA is helping with the local logistics in Dallas for her housing and appointments. 12-year-old Nasser Hamad Ibrahim from Al-Anbar in Iraq had heart surgery at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas.  The boy was born with congenital heart disease and could not be treated adequately in his war-torn country.  Both children are charity cases sponsored by the PCRF. 
There will be a CAIA dinner on March 29 in aid of the Palestinian ChiIdren's Relief Fund.
St. Dunstan’s Anglican Church, 1806 San Juan Road, Saanich
(at the corner of San Juan and Tyndall),  Sun. March 29, 5pm – 8pm
Speaker: Ramzy Baroud, will inform us about the situation in Gaza.  
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Sir Bono's Undignified Retreat

Sir Bono: the Knight Who Fled From His Own Debate
by Dave Marsh
As CounterPunch and Rock and Rap Confidential disclosed in September, last May U2’s Bono confronted Irish journalist Gavin Martin and myself in the lobby of Dublin’s Merion Hotel. He asked what I’d been working on. I said “the premise that celebrity politics has been a pretty much complete failure.” Bono replied that he wanted to debate the topic in public. He reiterated the challenge the next evening. The witnesses included U2’s manager Paul McGuinness and my wife, Barbara Carr, among others.

I made sure that Sirius Satellite Radio, which was to broadcast the debate, knew about Bono’s invitation. By mid-June, U2’s New York office confirmed the plan, asking only that it be delayed until U2 finished recording its next album. I kept it public via RRC and my Sirius show, Kick Out the Jams.

In November, U2 manager Paul McGuinness rang me. After some brief personal palaver—I like Paul even though I know he’s alluded to me as a “Trotskyist” behind my back—McGuinness sheepishly said “Bono has asked me to ask you if he can withdraw” from the debate.
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Wash. Post: Return of the Right Wing Rant in 'Mainstream Media'

Framing Obama - by the WPost
by Robert Parry (A Special Report)
An insidious power of a propagandistic newspaper – especially one with great influence – is how it can “frame” an issue so the assumptions behind a story guide the readers to a preordained conclusion under the guise of presenting a fair journalistic account. As Barack Obama reaches the two-month anniversary of his presidency, he is facing such a problem from the powerful Washington Post, which is creating a negative “frame” for his administration.

The Post’s news pages have been filled with supposedly objective news stories that have portrayed Republican obstructionism not as the GOP’s determination to hobble Obama – much as the Republicans did to Bill Clinton in 1993-94 – but as Obama’s “failure” to achieve the bipartisanship he advocated during the campaign. The Post and other leading news organizations also have suffered from a strange amnesia about the fact that today’s worldwide financial disaster has been in the making for many years and reached a crisis point in 2008 under the “self-regulatory” theories of President George W. Bush.

Instead of that context, the recession is portrayed as an Obama problem, with the Post and other news outlets even forgetting to mention in stories about the 6.2 percent drop in the gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2008 that the startling decline occurred under Bush, not Obama.
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Health Trojan Horse: Harper's Bill C-6 Assails Access to Natural Medicines

Rights and Freedoms are at Risk: An Important Notice Regarding Bill C-6
On January 29th, 2009, the Canadian Minister of Health introduced Bill C-6 into the House of Commons. 
Bill C-6 means doctor's prescriptions for vitamins and alternative medicines
Similar to last year's Bill C-52, this bill poses a grave threat to the Rights, Freedoms and Democratic processes all Canadians now have.  The powers sought after in Bill C-6 again are hidden in what is meant to seem like a much needed Consumer Product Safety Act.
Bill C-6 will: Remove your Elected Officials ability to protect you against illegal or brutal actions from government agencies. If voted into law Bill C-6 will remove Parliaments authority over the Health and Safety of Canadians. Decisions will be made behind closed doors with foreign governments, international trade organizations and government agents who may not have your best interests in mind.

Remove your Right* to have a judge review and approve actions taken against people, companies and organizations, before they have been proven guilty of any offence.

Punish Canadians with little opportunity for protection or recourse, without any proof of guilt or wrong doing.  Guilt will no longer be decided in a court room.  Guilty verdicts will come from the office of the minister of health.  No evidence will be required, no defense will be allowed, no warning will precede their actions.
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The World's Most Dangerous Country

The World's Most Dangerous Country
by Brave New Films
Recent protests in Pakistan reveal the country's potential explosiveness. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and a government disconnected from the crippling poverty, rampant malnutrition, and lack of healthcare afflicting its people. Though Pakistan remains an ally of the United States, tensions continue to rise as the U.S. considers broadening military strikes within Pakistan's borders. Part two of ourRethink Afghanistan documentary focuses on how the Afghanistan crisis affects Pakistan and all of us.

How exactly could the war in Afghanistan trigger regional chaos with Pakistan? Leading authorities like Steve Coll, Ahmed Rashid, Cathy Collins, Tariq Ali, Rory Stewart, Stephen Kinzer, and Andrew Bacevich weigh in on this perilous issue. Watch the trailer for part two of this documentary; the full-length version is available here.

See trailer below.
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Boss vs. Workers: Truth and Lies About Employee Free Choice Act

The "Card Check" Hullabaloo                                   
by Mike Whitney
Big business has launched a no-holds-barred propaganda blitz against the Employee Free Choice Act. Their goal is to scare people into believing that if the bill passes it will trigger higher unemployment and a deeper recession. According to opponents, there's even the threat of creeping socialism.
The truth, of course, is far less dramatic. The Employee Free Choice Act or so called "card check" simply makes it easier for unions to organize. Here's a short summary of the bill posted on the Change To Win web site:

1. Majority Rules, Not the Boss
Currently, a majority of workers can sign up for a union, but the company can veto that decision and demand an election. This allows the company to fire or harass workers, and threaten that it will close the workplace, in order to coerce workers into voting against a union. Under EFCA, if a majority of employees sign cards indicating they want a union, the company has to recognize the union, as long as it is certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). (Change To Win supports EFCA)
That's it. All that's needed for union certification is for a majority of workers to sign cards. No one is coerced into doing anything they don't want to do; it's completely voluntary. There's nothing in the process that will have any material effect on the economy and, despite all the fearmongering, union goons will not force people to sing L'Internationale at baseball games or make them wear funny-looking blue jumpsuits to work. It's just a better way to organize, which is why the Chamber of Commerce and other far-right organizations are in a lather.
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Iraq: The Women's War

Annals of Liberation: The Agony of Iraq's Women
by Chris Floyd
On the anniversary of the first great war crime of the 21st century -- the unprovoked, unnecessary, illegal ground invasion* of Iraq by the United States and its lap-dog "Anglosphere" allies Britain and Australia, and a few other minor accomplices in mass murder -- Yifat Susskind at American Forum (via tells us what this "liberation" has brought to Iraq's women:
image by Mikeru
If you haven't thought about the Iraq War as a story of U.S. allies systematically torturing and executing women, you're not alone. Likewise, if you were under the impression that Iraqi women were somehow better off under their new, U.S.-sponsored government. In the spring of 2003, Fatin was a student of architecture at Baghdad University. Her days were filled with classes and hanging out in her favorite of Baghdad's many cafes, where she and her friends studied, shared music, and spun big plans for successful careers, happy marriages, and eventually, kids. Today, Fatin says that those feel like someone else's dreams.
Soon after the U.S. invasion, Fatin began seeing groups of bearded young Iraqi men patrolling the streets of Baghdad. They were looking for women like her, who wore modern clothes or were heading to professional jobs. The men screamed terrible insults at the women and sometimes beat them. By the fall, ordinary aspects of Fatin's life had become punishable by death. The "misery gangs," as Fatin calls them, were routinely killing women for wearing pants, appearing in public without a headscarf, or shaking hands and socializing with men.   
As the occupying power, the U.S. was legally obligated to stop these attacks. But the Pentagon, preoccupied with battling the Iraqi insurgency, simply ignored the militias' reign of terror. In fact, some of the most treacherous armed groups belonged to the very political parties that the US had brought to power. By 2005, the Pentagon was giving weapons, money and military training to these Shiite militias, in the hope that they would help combat the Sunni-led insurgency.

This fact cannot be stressed enough -- and therefore, it is course almost entirely ignored in our national political "debate": the United States very deliberately empowered some of the most violent, retrograde elements in Iraqi society (many of them militias formed, trained and armed by Iran), and then helped them carry out one of the most savage "ethnic cleansing" campaigns since World War II.
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Tagging the Torture Team

Reviewing: Torture Team – Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law by Philippe Sands
by Jim Miles
Only a few pieces of paper can change the course of history. On Tuesday, 2 December 2002 Donald Rumsfield signed one that did.”  From such a singular beginning Philippe Sands writes the history of U.S. attempts to abrogate international laws and conventions on the use of torture and the inhumane treatment of prisoners of war. 
This is the memo Rumsfield approved with the sarcastic comment about standing:  “However, I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?” Perhaps Rumsfield should have been subjected to the other seventeen “techniques” that accompanied the memo to see if his limits for them were any better. 

Torture Team begins carefully, reviewing and structuring the trail of evidence and the chain of command. Most of the participants in the chain of command were interviewed, some more willingly than others, and good portraits of their characters come through.
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