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:

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:

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: 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:

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:

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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