Campaign for Hope Promised

Camp Hope Holds Obama to "Change" Pledge
by Mike Ferner
Determined to keep President-elect Barack Obama true to his promise of change, peace and economic justice activists kick off an 18-day outdoor vigil January 1, four blocks from the Illinois Senator’s home in Chicago. Camp Hope, headquartered in the Windy City’s Drexel Square Park, seeks to have Obama swiftly enact eight initiatives on issues he supported during his campaign.

A Thursday, 1:00 pm news conference will feature ministers, a Chicago City Alderman, a 25 year-old father facing deportation after living in the U.S. for 17 years and the mother of Tomas Young, a paraplegic Iraq war veteran featured in the movie, "Body of War."
 
 
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Gaza: Summoning Minimal Decency in America

A Hundred Eyes for an Eye  
by Norman Solomon     
Israelis and Arabs “feel that only force can assure justice,” I. F. Stone noted soon after the Six Day War in 1967. And he wrote:

“A certain moral imbecility marks all ethnocentric movements. The Others are always either less than human, and thus their interests may be ignored, or more than human and therefore so dangerous that it is right to destroy them.”

The closing days of 2008 have heightened the Israeli government’s stature as a mighty practitioner of the moral imbecility that Stone described.

Israel’s airstrikes “have killed at least 270 people so far, injured more than 1,000, many of them seriously, and many remain buried under the rubble so the death toll will likely rise,” Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies pointed out on Sunday (Dec. 28), two days into Israel’s attack. “This catastrophic impact was known and inevitable, and far outweighs any claim of self-defense or protection of Israeli civilians.” She mentioned that “the one Israeli killed by a Palestinian rocket attack on Saturday after the Israeli assault began was the first such casualty in more than a year.”
 
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No Place but Gaza

No Place to Run, No Place to Hide
by William Bowles
So much has been written about the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip and by people with a far greater understanding of the reality of it than I, nevertheless I feel impelled to put pen to paper not only about our collective indifference to the wholesale slaughter being carried out in the name of the ‘chosen people’ but to the media’s ‘coverage’ that has been nothing short of scandalous and especially the BBC’s.

Here is part of the BBC’s latest ‘account’ of the slaughter unleashed on the prison that is the Gaza Strip,

“Israeli air raids have pounded the Gaza Strip for a third day, hitting key sites linked to militant group Hamas.
“Gaza's interior ministry and Islamic University were the latest targets.

“Hamas says 312 Palestinians have died since Saturday, of which the UN says 57 were civilians. In Israel, a second person was killed by a militant rocket.

“Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was not fighting the people of Gaza but was in "a war to the bitter end" with Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007.” — ‘Israel strikes key Hamas offices’, BBC Website, 29 December, 2008.

It’s worth unpacking this travesty of ‘news’ reporting starting with the opening sentence. As the BBC knows only too well the Gaza Strip is the most densely populated area on the planet, thus “hitting key sites linked to Hamas’ is not only impossible but as Hamas is the democratically elected government of (what’s left of) Palestine, any and all public buildings are per se “key sites’ as the destruction of the Islamic University demonstrates.

But note that the BBC also refers to the democratically elected government as one “which has ruled Gaza since 2007”.
 
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Gaza: Ceasefire Now

Gaza: Ceasefire Now
by www.avaaz.org
Dear friends; the Gaza crisis has exploded -- put your name to our emergency petition demanding a ceasefire. We'll deliver it immediately to the UN Security Council, the Arab League, the US and other world leaders!
Take Action Now

As we watch the Gaza bloodshed with horror, appalled at how the crisis is spiraling further out of control, one thing is clear -- this violence will only lead to further civilian suffering and an escalation of the conflict.

There must be another way. Over 280 are dead so far in the Gaza Strip and hundreds more injured -- rockets are striking Ashdod deep inside Israel for the very first time, and the sides are mobilising for invasion. A global outcry has begun, but it'll take more than words -- the immediate violence won't end, nor will wider peace be secured, without firm action from the international community.

Today, we're launching an emergency campaign which will be delivered to the UN Security Council and key world powers, urging them to act to ensure an immediate ceasefire and address the growing humanitarian crisis -- only with robust international oversight and action can civilians on all sides be protected and real steps be taken toward a wider peace. Follow this link now to sign the emergency petition and send it to everyone you know:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace/?cl=161499207&v=2605
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May We No Longer Be Silent

May We No Longer Be Silent
by Paul Craig Roberts
The title of my article comes from the sermon of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington DC, John Bryson Chane, delivered on October 5, 2008, at St. Columba Church. The bishop’s eyes were opened to Israel’s persecution of Palestinians by his recent trip to Palestine. In his sermon he called on “politicians seeking the highest office in [our] land” to find the courage to “speak out and condemn violations of human rights and religious freedom denied to Palestinian Christians and Muslims” by the state of Israel.

Bishop Chane’s courage was to no avail. As Justin Raimondo reported (Antiwar.com, 27 December), when America’s new leader of “change” was informed of Israel’s massive air attack on the Gaza Ghetto, an area of 139 square miles where Israel confines 1.4 million Arabs and tightly controls the inflow of all resources--food, medicine, water, energy--America’s president-elect Obama had “no comment.”

According to the Jerusalem Post (26 December), “at 11:30 a.m., more than 50 fighter jets and attack helicopters swept into Gazan airspace and dropped more than 100 bombs on 50 targets. . . . Thirty minutes later, a second wave of 60 jets and helicopters struck at 60 targets . . . More than 170 targets were hit by IAF aircraft throughout the day. At least 230 Gazans were killed and over 780 were wounded . . .”

As I write, news reports are that Israel is sending tanks and infantry reinforcements in preparation for a ground invasion of Gaza.
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Two More Dead: Canadian Soldiers Leave Afghanistan

Two More Dead: Canadian Soldiers Leave Afghanistan
by C. L. Cook
Following fast a young soldier killed there Friday, Canadian Forces lost two more Saturday in Afghanistan.
 
Sgt. Gregory John Kruse. (DND)  
 
Friday, outside Kandahar City, Private Michael Freeman was killed in a roadside bomb blast. Saturday, Warrant Officer, Gaetan Roberge, Sergeant, Gregory Kruse, and two unnamed Afghani soldiers died while attempting to disarm another roadside bomb.
 
Their death brings to thirty-two the number of Canadians killed so far in 2008, with nine of the 106 total killed since 2001 coming in December.
 
 
State broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) reported the tearful ramp ceremony for the veteran campaigners. 
 
Canada's defense minister, Peter MacKay, who attended Saturday's ramp service for Private Freeman and accompanied the remains home on an army transport plane, said;
"When you lose your life, you lose everything, and we're so ever grateful and ever mindful of the degree of commitment our soldiers have serving our country." 
 
 
Warrant Officer Gaetan Joseph Roberge (DND)
 
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Gaza's Untold Story

Gaza: The Untold Story
by Ramzy Baroud
It’s incomprehensible that a region such as the Gaza Strip, so rich with history, so saturated with defiance, can be reduced to a few blurbs, sound bites and reductionist assumptions, convenient but deceptive, vacant of any relevant meaning, or even true analytical value.

The fact is that there is more to the Gaza Strip than 1.5 million hungry Palestinians, who are supposedly paying the price for Hamas’s militancy, or Israel’s ‘collective punishment’ whichever way the media decide to brand the problem.

More importantly, Gaza’s existence since time immemorial must not be juxtaposed with its proximity to Israel, failure or success in ‘providing’ a tiny Israeli town - itself built on conquered land that was seen only 60 years ago as part of the Gaza province - with its need for security. It’s this very expectation that made the killing and wounding of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza a price worth paying, in the callous eyes of many.

These unrealistic expectations and disregard of important history will continue to be costly, and will only serve the purpose of those interested in swift generalizations.
 
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Is Israel Viable?

Is Israel Viable?
by C. L. Cook
In the winter of 2001, while the ruins of the World Trade Center still smoldered in New York City, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, adjunct to the United Nations and chaired by Canada, issued a controversial position paper that came to be known as 'The Responsibility to Protect.'

The R2P is a doctrine that seeks to "justify" third party interventions within sovereign states that are deemed "failed," that is to say the national government no longer possesses either the will or ability to safeguard the basic rights of the citizenry.

In the post-9/11 world, R2P as a philosophy has been embraced by the United States and its allies as a conveniently placed stepping-stone towards the "regime change" brought to Iraq in 2003, and later attempted by the Israeli Defense Force in Lebanon in 2006. It has also been suggested as a necessary means to protect the citizenry of Zimbabwe and the Sudan, and might be, in a stretch, used to legitimize the ongoing U.S.-assisted overthrow of the Islamic Courts in Somalia.
 
In fact, in its short life on the diplomatic radar screen R2P has exclusively referred to the rescue of "developing" state nationals, but as crises follow crises in "first" world nations, it may be time to challenge its limited definition of "failure" and what it means to successfully protect the rights and safety of a nation's polity.
 
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The Week Before the Year That’s Coming

Interregnum: The Week Before the Year That’s Coming
by Danny Schechter (Author of Plunder)
This is the time of the interregnum, the week between Christmas and the New Year, in the period between the end of the Bush disaster and the beginning of the Obama ascendancy.

It is a quiet time, a slow week (except for wars and coups, of course)  and a moment for reflection before we cheer more for the passing of the last year then the coming of the next. The Zogby Poll found, “Americans are overwhelming glad to say goodbye to 2008 but are somewhat unsure of the future. Americans are guardedly optimistic about 2009, but just as many feel that the coming year will be worse or the same as 2008.”
 
 
 
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Israel's Murder Rampage Caught on Tape

Israel's Murder Rampage Caught on Tape
by C. L. Cook - (Al Jazeera - unsanctioned)
This is some of the horror. Interestingly, the reporter suggests, as do the IDF perpetrators,  the victims are in fact responsible for their suffering. 
[In contravention of our policy of publishing only that which has been specifically sanctioned to us by the producers, PFP is featuring this without sanction due to the nature of the emergency unfolding - ed.]
 




  
 
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Unpardonable: Yes We Can UnPardon War Criminals

Yes We Can UnPardon War Criminals
by David Swanson
Dear President Elect Obama; on his third day in office President Grant revoked two pardons that had been granted by President Andrew Johnson. President Nixon also undid a pardon that had been granted by President Lyndon Johnson. There may be other examples of this, as these two have somewhat accidentally come up in a discussion focused on numerous examples of presidents undoing pardons that they had themselves granted, something the current president did last week. (See http://pardonpower.com ). In 2001, President George W. Bush's lawyers advised him that he could undo a pardon that President Clinton had granted.

Much of the discussion of this history of revoking pardons deals with the question of whether a pardon can still be revoked after actually reaching the hands of the pardonee, or after various other obscure lines are crossed in the process of issuing and enforcing of the pardon. If President Bush issues blanket pardons to dozens of criminals in his administration for crimes that he himself authorized, he will probably -- with the exception of Libby -- not even name them, much less initiate any processes through which they are each formally notified of the pardons. He will be pardoning people of crimes they have not yet been charged with, so the question of timing is something you are unlikely to have to worry about (except perhaps with Libby).
 
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PROTEST ISRAELI WAR CRIMES - Vancouver

PROTEST ISRAELI WAR CRIMES
by vancouver.gazaprotest
Please come out rain, snow or shine to demonstrate your outrage and our collective humanity in response to the latest massacre of Palestinians. At least 200 Palestinians have been killed and over 800 injured in the latest Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, while the threat for further bloodshed still hands heavily as air strikes continue. This is the single largest massacre in Gaza since Israel illegally occupied Gaza in 1967, many among the dead are civilians and the numbers keeps mounting.


Monday December 29th @ Noon
US Consulate (1075 West Pender)
Gather on HASTINGS side (corner Thurlow)

vancouver.gazaprotest@gmail.com


 
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