Gaza: Separating the Truth from the Hype

The Bloodbath In Gaza: Separating the Truth from the Hype
by Mike Whitney
January 06, 2009 - In a rare moment of honesty, the New York Times divulged the real motive behind the bombardment and invasion of Gaza. In Ethan Bronner's article, "Israel Weighs Goal: Ending Hamas Rule, Rocket fire, or Both", Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said, "We need to reach a situation in which we do not allow Hamas to govern. That is the most important thing. If the war ends in a draw, as expected, and Israel refrains from reoccupying Gaza, Hamas will gain diplomatic recognition...No matter what you call it, Hamas will obtain legitimacy.”

According to the Times: "In addition, any truce would probably include an increase in commercial traffic from Israel and Egypt into Gaza, which is Hamas’s central demand: to end the economic boycott and border closing it has been facing. To build up the Gaza economy under Hamas, Israeli leaders say, would be to build up Hamas. Yet withholding the commerce would continue to leave 1.5 million Gazans living in despair." (Israel Weighs Goal: Ending Hamas Rule, Rocket fire, or Both; Ethan Bronner)

If Israel wants to prevent Hamas from "obtaining legitimacy," than the real objective of the invasion is to either severely undermine or topple the regime. All the talk about the qassam rockets and the so-called "Hamas infrastructure", (the new phrase that is supposed to indicate a threat to Israeli security) is merely a diversion. What really worries Israel is the prospect that Obama will "sit down with his enemies"--as he promised during the presidential campaign--and conduct talks with Hamas. That would put the ball in Israel's court and force them to make concessions. But Israel does not want to make concessions. They would rather start a war and change the facts on the ground so they can head-off any attempt by Obama to restart peace process.

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My Michelle: Letter to a Lady in Waiting

Letter to the First Lady in Waiting
by William A. Cook
Dear Michelle; before you were silenced by your husband’s handlers for speaking your mind and heart, I listened to you talk to Americans about how they had changed by recognizing that the ideas embedded in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights encased sacred values that gave meaning to human life. One cannot know change if one does not accept the reality that preceded it.
 
You know the reality of America’s past, its racist, barbaric existence as a slave nation, its years of genocidal ferocity against the indigenous people of this continent, its 100 years of apartheid, and its slow acceptance of the reality of America that it is a multicultural, multi-racial land that can rise above fanatical closed minds of those who would wish otherwise.

That’s why I turn to you and not your husband. He appears to be at the mercy of those who would see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. Yet evil exists, now, in Palestine, an evil comparable in its hatred and ferocity to that endured by the Jews in Nazi Germany.
 
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Killing Them Where They Hide: Israel Targets U.N. School Havens in Gaza

Killing Them Where They Hide: Israel Targets U.N. School Havens in Gaza
by C. L. Cook
If there was any doubt Israel's latest campaign of death and horror visited against the refugee populations of the Gaza ghetto was anything other than a war of extermination, this latest outrage should dispel finally that.
 
Palestinian child among scores seeking shelter at U.N.-run School

Thousands of Gazans have fled their homes, many at the telephoned advice of the Israeli Defense Forces themselves, this being Israel's version of humanitarian warfare - ringing up victims before bombing their homes. Where does a walled-in population run when their homes are being bombed and strafed and run over by tanks?

For many Gazans the answer was the United Nations-run schools. They sought shelter there, but if they believed there they would find haven, the Israeli Defense Forces proved them wrong today, (though to be fair, Israel's IDF has a record of repeatedly targeting the U.N. in Palestine and Lebanon).
 
The message Israel would send the Palestinians, if not the world, is; "We will kill you where you hide."
 
[Pacific Free Press apologizes for our recent down time, but reassure it was absolutely unavoidable. Since this article was penned, (Jan. 5, 2008) Israel charged the bombing of the U.N.-sponsored school was in retaliation for mortars and/or rockets fired from the grounds. The IDF released video of purported attackers on school grounds they now admit were not taken from the U.N. School. - ed]


Below unsanctioned video from Al Jazeera's Mosaic program, found at Link TV here.
 
 
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Bill Richardson is Caught Out: Looking Over America's Second-Most Corrupt State

Bill Richardson - Kissinger-American
by Greg Palast
Bill Richardson is out:  Caught with his hand, if not exactly in the cookie jar, at least you could say his sticky finger were near it.  I'm not surprised.

For years I've been investigating the second-most corrupt state in the USA (after Alaska). I like to check in on the enchanted state with my bud Santiago Juárez.
 
Henry Kissinger and Bill Richardson

I knew it was not a polite question, but it was really bugging me, so I asked HIM, “Exactly how does a Mexican get the name William Richardson?”

Governor Richardson’s dad, Santiago explained, was a Citibank executive assigned to Mexico City. There he met Governor Bill’s mom, and—milagro!—a Mexican-American was born. Richardson gets big mileage out of his mother’s heritage, and that makes him, legitimately, a Mexican-American, a politically useful designation. But it’s just as legitimate to say that Richardson is a Citibank-American. But Governor Richardson is more than that.
 
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Blogger at the National Press Club

The Revenge of the Blogger at the National Press Club
By Christopher Ketcham
Anyone who has worked in the free market of ideas instinctively hates Washington, DC.   That’s because there is no free market in DC, for ideas or for anything else.  It’s a small-minded town on a hypertrophic scale, a Southern town gone Napoleonic, which is to say it’s backward and inbred and beady-eyed and paranoid while ruling over an empire. 
 
Hanging around with sources in Washington reminded me of the creeps I used to know as a teenager on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, another kind of Appalachia with money.  I remember with special disgust a guy named Sean M., who had a 14-inch penis and would wander about at parties slapping his dick on people’s shoulders – you’d notice the crotch stink first, then the weight of the object.  Then the cackle as it was pulled away.  Sean, who was fat and bespectacled, went on to consume much cocaine with his parents’ cash card, and he was probably recently running a piece of Bear Stearns with his dick in his mouth.
 
 
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Helping Palestine

Helping Palestine
by Zatoun
The week's events in Gaza have overshadowed whatever joy or peace one can have at this special time of year.  However the resounding demonstrations around the world have helped give us some relief from helplessness.   Apart from these acts of public outcry at the terrible suffering in Gaza, we in North America feel powerless, without means to oppose the moral bankruptcy of bombing densely-populated areas with impunity or our governments who positively approve of it with similar disregard for civilians and ongoing suffering.

Zatoun has been sent direct donations for Gaza and received inquiries for organizations able to lend immediate aid in this most recent crisis.  Zatoun is not setup to accept funds for emergency humanitarian aid and has no means to get them to Gaza, quickly and efficiently.  Zatoun's work is of a different kind with a long time horizon.  One that has to do with trees, farmers and livelihoods - things that grow slowly and build enduring roots for genuine understanding towards peace.
 
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A Few Days in Hyde Park, A Lifetime in the Empire

A Few Days in Hyde Park, A Lifetime in the Empire
by Mike Ferner
Chicago - Standing outside for five days in the Windy City under skies of lead and the thermometer below freezing provides an opportunity to make certain observations. Standing three blocks from the home of the next president of the United States the day he leaves for a new home in Washington, D.C….well you can’t help but observe certain things.

Hyde Park, where the Obama family lives(d) on Chicago’s south side, is a study in contrasts. Victorian and turn-of-the-century estates, broad tree-lined boulevards and the University of Chicago occupy one end of the spectrum; vacant commercial lots and takeaway restaurants that don’t sell coffee to better discourage the homeless from hanging out, occupy the other. More women wore fur coats -- some pristine and some clearly threadbare -- than I’ve ever seen.
 
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Canada: Israel's "Unshakable" Supporter

Israel Continues to get Unshakable Support from Harper
by Linda McQuaig
On Israel's 60th anniversary last April, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised Canada's "unshakable" support for Israel. At the time, this struck me as odd. It would be understandable for a prime minister to offer Canada's "unshakable" support for principles democracy, the rule of law, human rights, etc. But for a country?
 
A country is led by a government, and a government is always fallible. Why would Canada promise its unqualified support for any country? Such unqualified support is particularly problematic when the country is locked in a bitter struggle with millions of people whose land it has held under military occupation for more than forty years.

The problematic nature of Harper's promise has taken on a new dimension with Israel's intense bombing of the Gaza Strip, which has left more than 400 Palestinians dead.
 


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Canada's Cowardice in the Face of Gaza Crisis

Canada's Cowardice in the Face of Gaza Crisis
by C. L. Cook
Canada's minister of foreign affairs released a terse, four-sentence statement of his government's position on the disaster unfolding in Gaza.
 
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon's message is included in full below, but suffice to say, Canada finds no fault in the actions of the nation it "unshakably" supports, Israel.
 
As it did during Israel's illegal invasion of Lebanon in 2006, the government of Canada has refused to recognize the Israeli Defense Forces' mass killings of civilians and the destruction of a "country's" infrastructure as criminal acts deserving prosecution, provided for in international jurisprudence.
 
This cannot be surprising, as Canada has supported fully the Israeli blockade of Gaza that nation announced following the successful election of Hamas in 2006. 
 
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Shelter Crisis: For a Want of Dignity

Shelter Crisis: For a Want of Dignity
by Chris Johnson
So the basic news coming out of our last meeting is we are planning a 'consulta' to meet with people on the street and people at risk of being homeless who might be the potential users/operators of a temporary shelter encampment. This will happen at one or two locations accessible to the street community, as well as involve some one on one contact and possibly include some video and written testimony from various people.

The goal with this consulta is to determine how many people would be interested in being involved in a project where we work together to create some temporary emergency housing as an alternative to the conventional shelter system, as well as getting the input of the people in need of this housing as to what it should look like. So it's yet another study of sorts, but at the same time, we're not just asking people what they want and need. We'll be working together to create something right away. Sort of proactive research.

A proper process for involving people in the design and operation of emergency shelter (or most poverty related things for that matter) is something that everyone agrees is lacking. I've been thinking that if we can broaden it in some way to also have it function as a general survey regarding the needs and ideas of people experiencing poverty, it would have value far beyond our project. That's something we can talk about at our next meeting, which is a meeting of the working group putting the consulta together, this coming Monday, 4pm at Camas. The next general meeting is the following Monday.
 
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War Crime du Jour: Israel Deploys White Phosphorus Shells

War Crime du Jour: Israel Deploys White Phosphorus Shells
by C. L. Cook
When regarding the Christmas massacre conducted against the captive population of Palestine by the Israeli army in the name of the people of Israel's security, one is left to wonder: How deeply into Israel's vast arsenal must the IDF dig before the world's leaders act?
 
Do we wait until the nuclear option is put on the table? "Bunker busters" are already deployed; cluster bombs and the usual array of missiles, bombs, and bullets rained down on civilians and the civilian infrastructure. Hospitals, universities, police stations, mosques, and apartment blocks. Have we missed anything?
 
Today, picture proof of Israel's further degradation.
 
 
 
 
The first image is of a white phosphorus test shell;
the second was taken in Gaza yesterday. 
 
 
 
A shell fired by the Israeli military explodes in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday,
as seen from the Israeli side of the border with Gaza. (Bernat Armangue/Associated Press)
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What the UN Should be Doing About Israeli Aggression

Invasion of Gaza: The UN Security Council fails - the UN General Assembly must act
by Joan Russow (PhD) Global Compliance Research Project
The UNSC again fails to prevent the scourge of war. The United Nations will only function if the UN Security Council is disbanded and the UN General Assembly, which represents the sovereign equality of states, convenes an emergency session, under the Uniting for Peace Resolution, and calls for an immediate cease-fire, and/or seeks a stay, through the International Court of Justice.
 
NOTE: Imbalance in reporting on Weekends: Heinbecker calls Hamas air-strikes against Israel WAR CRIMES, but does not refer to what Israel is doing as a war crime.
 
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