Scottish PSC human rights activists face political trial on same day as Palestinian citizens of Israel protest racist state

30 September, 2009

Tomorrow, Thursday Oct 1st, Edinburgh Sheriff Court SPSC campaigners in political show trial for ‘racism’

“Anyone who stands up for Palestinians is automatically accused of being ‘anti-Semitic’. I am Jewish and proud to be Honorary President of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an anti-racist group that opposes Israeli apartheid.” — Marion Woolfson

Five SPSC members are facing trial on Friday for boycotting Israeli state-sponsored cultural ambassadors, the Jerusalem Quartet. The Israeli musicians, in the words of their admirers, believe that ‘a rifle in one hand and a violin in the other is the ultimate Zionist statement.’

While Israel was carrying out what the UN’s Goldstone report describes as “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” in Gaza early this year, the Procurator Fiscal here in Edinburgh was preparing to drop the original Breach of the Peace charge in favour of new charges of “racially aggravated conduct”.

Boycott helped end South African Apartheid, and can do likewise with Israel. The TUC have now joined the STUC, and many others, in pushing for boycott of Israel until it stops its crimes.

Help us fight the move to criminalise boycott of criminal Israel. The same British authorities who support the siege of Gaza are working to stifle Israel’s critics here. The five accused are confident this trial will see the Israeli State and its British allies in the dock of the real supreme court: the court of public opinion.

Even if you can only be there for 10 minutes to show your support, please meet outside the court at 9.30am on Thursday, and stay for as little or as long as you can.

Thursday Oct 1st, 9.30am Sheriff Court, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LB Map: http://tinyurl.com/EdinburghSheriff-Court

Thursday Oct 1st: Palestinians inside Israel call General Strike in opposition to racism, incitement and discrimination

“The strike is part of the struggle of the Palestinian minority inside Israel for equal rights as we continue to face home demolitions in the Triangle and the Naqab (Negev); changing of the demography through Judaization of the Galilee and the Triangle; an increase in racial incitement; discrimination against our local authorities; new racist laws, such as the new Nakba law; hebraicizing the Arabic names of our towns and villages, with ultimate disregard of the common and historical Arabic name of these places; selling of Palestinian refugees’ properties; and an intensification of the intimidation campaigns and distortion of our national consciousness.”

High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel 28/9/2009

For more information see: http://www.arabhra.org/hra/Pages/Index.aspx?Language=2

Gaza Freedom March Scottish PSC members will be joining the Gaza Freedom March on 1 January 2010. If you would like to join us please contact:

campaign@scottishpsc.org.uk or come to the Edinburgh or Glasgow meetings next week.

Edinburgh, Tuesday 6 October, 7.30pm Friends Meeting House, Victoria Terrace

Glasgow, Wednesday 7 October, 7.30pm 31 Arlington Street, off Woodlands Road

For more information see: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=99190772271

4. Stand up for Jerusalem! Tuesday 6 October, 7.30pm Friends Meeting House, Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh Speaker: Liam O’Hare who spent some months living with Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.

“The Hannoun family are one of 27 families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem facing eviction from their homes as part of a plan to implant a new Jewish settlement in the area. The family are refugees from 1948, after being displaced from their home in Haifa during the Nakba, and currently consist of 18 people, 6 of whom are children. They have lived in Sheikh Jarrah since 1956 when the Jordanian Government and UNRWA gave them their houses as part of a project to house Palestinians forced to flee their homes.

Since 1972, when Jewish settler organizations were successful in falsely registering the land with the Israeli Land registrar, the family have suffered the stress and anxiety caused by the constant legal battles involved in fighting for the right to stay in the homes in which many of them were born.”

For more information see: http://www.standupforjerusalem.org/index.php

Liam is available to speak at meetings across Scotland – please contact us if you are interested in hosting a meeting.

US Repression of Haiti Continues

4 September, 2009 — Project Censored

The US government plans to expropriate and demolish the homes of hundreds of Haitians in the shantytown of Cité Soleil to expand the occupying UN force’s military base. The US government contractor DynCorp, a quasi-official arm of the Pentagon and the CIA, is responsible for the base expansion. The base will house the soldiers of the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH). Cité Soleil is the most bullet-ridden battleground of the foreign military occupation, which began after US Special Forces kidnapped and exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, 2004. Citizens have since been victimized by recurring massacres at the hands of MINUSTAH.

DynCorp’s $5 million contracts include expansion of the principal base, the rebuilding of the Cité Soleil police station and two other militarized outposts, as well as training support and procurement of equipment.

According to Cité Soleil mayor Charles Joseph and a DynCorp foreman at the site, the State Department’s US Agency for International Development (USAID) provides funding for the base expansion—a very unorthodox use of development aid.

Lawyer Evel Fanfan, the president of the Association of University Graduates Motivatd For A Haiti With Rights (AUMOHD), says that about 155 buildings would be razed as the base expansion moves forward. As of March 2009, eighty homes have been demolished. Most of the buildings targeted are homes, but one is a church.

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Haitian Narration By Burleigh Hendrickson

22 September, 2009 — Monthly Review

Laurent Dubois. Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005. 384 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-674-01304-9; $20.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-674-01826-6

Laurent Dubois’s Avengers of the New World builds on a body of Caribbean scholarship that has been torn between trying to place Haiti’s independence from France into the larger context of late eighteenth-century transatlantic revolution and giving voice to revolutionaries whose histories are not always captured in the archives. Dubois credits such figures as C. L. R. James (Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution [1938; repr. 1989]) and Aimé Césaire (Toussaint Louverture: la Révolution française et le problème coloniale [1960]) for providing inspiration for this gripping narrative, which transcends their anti-imperialist political projects. James’s and Césaire’s works on the Haitian Revolution tend to heroize Toussaint Louverture, often overlooking his fleeting allegiances to both Royalism and the French Revolution, as well as the militaristic brutality he exercised over former slaves in order to ensure the persistence of the plantation system. Against all odds, “slaves became citizens in the empire that had enslaved them,” and Dubois’s goal for this book is to tell “the story of their dramatic struggle for freedom” (p. 2). While Dubois’s account of Louverture balances out more overtly politicized narratives of the Haitian Revolution, it is difficult at times to make out clearly articulated arguments. Readers who seek a traditional historiographic background outlining how this work fits into recent trends in the field may be sorely disappointed; however, Dubois’s gift for artful storytelling and his creative interpretations of French-weighted sources have breathed life into the tales of revolutionary slaves and free coloreds whose histories have been overshadowed in much of the extant work on the Atlantic world.

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On Board with Free Gaza…

29 September, 2009 —Free Gaza Movement

Dear friends of Free Gaza,

A little over a year ago, two small fishing boats from the Free Gaza Movement landed in the port of Gaza challenging Israel’s siege on 1.5 million Palestinians. Since then, people from around the world have joined us in affirming the importance and indeed the necessity of nonviolent direct action to challenge injustice. Recently, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed launched a fund to help support the efforts of the Free Gaza Movement to break Israel’s illegal blockade. First Lady of Malaysia, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor also pledged her support.

From Nobel laureates to parliamentarians and UN officials, thousands are hearing our message: when our governments are impotent in the face of massive human rights abuses, we, the citizens of the world must act!

We would like to introduce to you to some of the amazing people that have joined our voluntary Board of Advisors, representing an impressive diversity of background and experience. The list also includes some of the people on our Gaza Advisory Council (which is still growing).

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William Blum: Anti-Empire Report, Number 74 Ridding the world of the sickness of pacifism

29 September, 2009 — Anti-Empire Report, Number 74

Picture the scene: Afghanistan, two hijacked tankers filled with highly inflammable fuel, surrounded by a crowd of Afghans eager to syphon off some for free … What’s the last thing you want to do? Right — drop bombs on the tankers. That’s what a German military commander signaled an American drone airplane to do September 4. Kaboom!! At least 100 human beings incinerated. This incident has led to a lot of controversy in Germany, for Article 26 of Germany’s post-war Grundgesetz (Basic Law/Constitution) states: ‘Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression, shall be unconstitutional. They shall be made a criminal offense.’

But NATO (aka the United States) can take satisfaction in the fact that the Germans have put their silly pacifism aside and acted like real men, trained military killers; although prior to this incident the Germans had engaged in some aerial and ground combat, there hadn’t been such a dramatic and publicized taking of civilian lives. Deutschland now has more than 4,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, the third largest contingent in the country after the US and Britain, and at home they’ve just finished building a monument to fallen members of the Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces), founded in 1955; 38 members (so far) have surrendered their young lives in Afghanistan.

In January 2007 I wrote in this report about how the US was pushing Germany in this direction; that circumstances at that time indicated that Washington might be losing patience with the pace of Germany’s submission to the empire’s needs. Germany declined to send troops to Iraq and sent only non-combat forces to Afghanistan, not quite good enough for the Pentagon warriors and their NATO allies. Germany’s leading news magazine, Der Spiegel, reported the following:

At a meeting in Washington, Bush administration officials, speaking in the context of Afghanistan, berated Karsten Voigt, German government representative for German-American relations: ‘You concentrate on rebuilding and peacekeeping, but the unpleasant things you leave to us.’ … ‘The Germans have to learn to kill.’

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Cuban Embargo: The President’s Words Versus His Performance: One More Prong of His Presidency Shifting Towards the Democratic Centrist Wing of the Party By Research Associate Sophia Weeks

28 September, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

President Obama has not taken any decisive steps to veer away from Washington’s benighted, near half-century trade embargo against Cuba. By refusing to take advantage of the opportunity to reject a longstanding and morally-bankrupt policy, which has achieved very few successes and which has been based on hypocrisy, double standards, and inconsistencies, President Obama has turned his back on the possibility of a new beginning for U.S. policy towards Latin America based on constructive engagement. At this point, Obama is sadly not the U.S. president bringing ‘change’ to the hemisphere as millions of North and South Americans had hoped. Rather, he has failed to fulfill his own foreign policy objective of reaching out to Washington’s unforgiving foes like the Castro brothers. The courage and political wisdom necessary to call for the termination of the embargo and new beginnings has proven devoid of stamina, replaced by a timorous approach composed of weak probes and minimal actions. It appears that the President does not wear the face of change for those who had reason to hope it would come about.

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US Army Prisoners Isolated, Denied Right to Legal Counsel By Dahr Jamail

28 September, 2009 — T r u t h o u t

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The military's treatment of Army prisoners is "part of a broader pattern the military has of just throwing people in jail and not letting them talk to their attorneys, not let visitors come, and this is outrageous. In the civilian world even murderers get visits from their friends," according to civil defense attorney James Branum. (Photo: hiro chang / flickr)

Afghanistan war resister Travis Bishop has been held largely “incommunicado” in the Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Bishop, who is being held by the military as a “prisoner of conscience,” according to Amnesty International, was transported to Fort Lewis on September 9 to serve a 12-month sentence in the Regional Correctional Facility. He had refused orders to deploy to Afghanistan based on his religious beliefs, and had filed for Conscientious Objector (CO) status.

Bishop, who served a 13-month deployment to Iraq and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, was court marshaled by the Army for his refusal to deploy to Afghanistan. Given that he had already filed for CO status, many local observers called his sentencing a “politically driven prosecution.”

By holding Bishop incommunicado, the military violated Bishop’s legal right to counsel, a violation of the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, according to his civil defense attorney James Branum.

The Sixth Amendment is the part of the Bill of Rights that sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions in federal courts, and reads, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”

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Everything You Know About Iran Is A Myth By Lawrence of Cyberia

27 September, 2009 – Information Clearing House

There are some terms that people in Islamic and Western countries should never say to each other, because they confuse and inflame more than they clarify. The most obvious ones would be ‘jihad’, ‘crusade’ and ‘great satan’. All of them are used in somewhat innocuous ways by the people who utter them, but mean something completely different – and much more inflammatory – to foreign ears.

I would like to propose a topical addition to the list of words that should never be used, and that would be ‘myth’. Specifically when it is used in the context in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Egyptian Brotherhood leader Mohammed Mehdi Akef have mentioned it in recent months, i.e. to speak of ‘the myth of the Holocaust’ (Egyptian Islamists deny Holocaust; BBC News, 23 Dec 2005) . They know what they mean by the phrase, and I know what they mean, but if they think that most people over here are going to hear it and respond with anything more profound than ‘Holocaust deniers!’ then they are deeply ignorant of how central is the Holocaust in U.S. perceptions of the Middle East, how superficial is the U.S. public discourse on relations with the Muslim world, and how much that discourse is framed by those who are pushing for a ‘clash of civilizations’ and who are currently fixated on finding a justification to bring about regime change in Iran.

Everyone knows what a myth is, right? It’s just a fairytale; an unlikely, invented story featuring toga-clad heroes of the ancient past. So when Ahmadinejad and Akef talk of the ‘myth of the Holocaust’ they are simply – as the BBC suggests in the report I linked to above – saying that the Holocaust never really happened, and can be written off as Holocaust deniers. Except that that’s not what a ‘myth’ is. (And I must be getting old, because I actually remember the days when any reporter employed by the BBC would have known the meaning of the word, and made some effort to render it accurately).

Let me tell you what a ‘myth’ really is.

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Gaza and the Goldstone Report: Your urgent action needed today

From a Human Rights advocate in Gaza:


Dear All,
Please consider taking these urgent actions and forwarding to all of your contacts. Unless the UN Human Rights Council endorses the findings and the recommendations of the independent UN Fact Finding Mission which found that the Israeli military perpetrated serious international law violations during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza (over 1400 people killed including over 350 children) the perpetrators of these crimes will not be held to account, and undoubtedly further invasions will be carried out which destroy the lives of countless more civilians. The UN Human Rights is meeting in two days (Tuesday 29th September) so this appeal is urgent.

Best wishes,
Sara

ACTION 1: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Gaza: Your urgent action needed today

Dear Supporter,

There is a real danger that the best chance for accountability and justice for civilians in Gaza and Israel could be lost in the next few days – we need as many people as possible to email David Miliband right now to prevent this from happening.

An independent UN fact-finding mission into the Gaza conflict has just published its findings. This major report outlines powerful evidence of war crimes and other violations of international law on both sides, consistent with the results of Amnesty’s own investigations. And the UK Government is reviewing it right now.

The UN Human Rights Council will debate the report next Tuesday (29 September), when a vote will be taken on how its recommendations should be acted upon.

Alarmingly, we understand that the UK Government (a member of the council) is not planning to support key recommendations, which Amnesty believe offer the best chance of ensuring justice and accountability, as a well as a deterrent to future conflicts. Instead, they appear to be taking a lead from the US Government in dismissing the findings.

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Video: Africom or Africon? Part 1

27 September , 2009

A reorganization of the U.S. command structure and another military imposition

In this four-part series, Rageh Omaar travels across Africa, investigating the consequences of US involvement in the region. In this first part, he investigates the genesis of Africom, the US military command for Africa which was launched in October 2008, and asks whether Barack Obama can turn US-African relations in a new direction.

Big Brother “Fusion Centers” Part of US Domestic Intelligence and Surveillance Apparatus By Tom Burghardtf

Mammoth Budget: $75 Billion, 200,000 Operatives

26 September, 2009 – Global ResearchAntifascist Calling…

Fusion Centers Will Have Access to Classified Military Intelligence

Speaking at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club September 15, Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, disclosed that the current annual budget for the 16 agency U.S. “Intelligence Community” (IC) clocks-in at $75 billion and employs some 200,000 operatives world-wide, including private contractors.

In unveiling an unclassified version of the National Intelligence Strategy (NIS), Blair asserts he is seeking to break down “this old distinction between military and nonmilitary intelligence,” stating that the “traditional fault line” separating secretive military programs from overall intelligence activities “is no longer relevant.”

As if to emphasize the sweeping nature of Blair’s remarks, Federal Computer Week reported September 17 that “some non-federal officials with the necessary clearances who work at intelligence fusion centers around the country will soon have limited access to classified terrorism-related information that resides in the Defense Department’s classified network.” According to the publication:

Under the program, authorized state, local or tribal officials will be able to access pre-approved data on the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network. However, they won’t have the ability to upload data or edit existing content, officials said. They also will not have access to all classified information, only the information that federal officials make available to them.

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Honduran Coup Regime Mocks UN Security Council with Embassy Attacks By Al Giordano

25 September, 2009 — The Field

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After today’s emergency session of the United Nations Security Council in New York, US Ambassador Susan Rice emerged to read a warning to the Honduras coup regime:

‘We condemn acts of intimidation against the Brazilian embassy and call upon the de facto government of Honduras to cease harassing the Brazilian embassy.’

The wording is unequivocal. After investigating the claims (and the de facto regime’s denials) of constant technological and chemical attacks on the diplomatic seat in Tegucigalpa, and illegal impediment of ingress and egress to and from the embassy, where legitimate President Manuel Zelaya and at least 85 aides, supporters and some members of the news media are sheltered, the UN Security Council has concluded that said harassment i s real and it is ongoing.

If the coup regime believed that its use of chemical and sonic devices would render its attacks less visible, it has already lost that gamble.

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