The Real News Network – Attack on Syria cover up

21 October, 2009 — The Real News Network

Erlich: The US massacre at Al-Sukkariya, Syria in 2008 was a clear violation of international law

Drones and international law

Reese Erlich is a best-selling book author and freelance journalist who writes regularly for the Dallas Morning News, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Radio and National Public Radio. He has won numerous journalism awards, including the prestigious Peabody (shared with others).

Note: Erlich and Coyote s full article can be found  on

Latest Chapter in the Case of the Cuban Five: U.S. Justice as a Political Weapon By Michael Collins

18 October, 2009 — North American Congress on Latin America

The decision by a Miami court on Tuesday October 13 to reduce Antonio Guererro’s life sentence to 22 years imprisonment is the latest chapter in the ongoing legal battle to free a group of men known as the Cuban Five. Largely anonymous in the United States yet celebrities in their native Cuba, their conviction symbolizes the fraught relationship that exists between the two countries. The re-sentencing is the result of a decision taken last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which stated that the court in Miami, where the original trial was held, may have erred when it imposed sentences on three of the five men. The hearing takes place at a time when many Cubans and Americans have high hopes for improved diplomacy between their nations.

The case of the Cuban Five is inextricably linked to the ongoing standoff between Havana and Washington. In the early 1990s, the Cuban government sent a group of men known as The Wasp Network to the United States to infiltrate anti-Castro organizations, which had been operating from Miami with apparent impunity since the 1960s. After these anti-Castro organizations orchestrated the bombings of Cuban hotels and the shooting down of a Cuban passenger aircraft near Barbados in 1976, the Cuban government decided to take covert actions, believing that the United States was not interested in helping prevent more attacks.

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The Plot Thickens: Honduran Coup Regime and Landowning Elites Enlist the Support of Foreign Paramilitaries By Reed M. Kurtz

21 October, 2009 — North American Congress on Latin America

Even more evidence has come to light regarding the desperation and disregard for human rights of the Honduran coup regime and its elite backers. On Friday, October 9 a United Nations human rights panel issued a warning concerning the presence of contracted foreign paramilitary forces operating inside the troubled country. According to the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, an estimated 40 members of the infamous United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) have been hired by wealthy Honduran landowners to defend themselves ‘from further violence between supporters of the de facto government and those of the deposed President Manuel Zelaya.’

As Zelaya’s Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas notes, it is widely believed that these mercenaries are being used to ‘do the dirty jobs that the armed forces refuse to do.’ In addition, the panel established direct links between President Roberto Micheletti’s coup-installed government and foreign paramilitaries, stating that an additional group of 120 hired soldiers from several countries throughout the region had been created to provide support for the coup regime. This report confirms allegations made by the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo back in September.

Noting that Honduras is a signatory to the international convention against the use of mercenaries, the panel, comprised of a diverse array of security and human rights experts, expressed its deep concern and called upon the Honduran golpistas to take action against the use of paramilitaries inside Honduran territory. In response, Micheletti rejected the allegations, denying any recruitment of paramilitaries for protection.

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A Postal Strike In Britain Is The War At Home By John Pilger

21 October, 2009 — Information Clearing

The postal workers’ struggle is as vital for democracy as any national event in recent years. The campaign against them is part of a historic shift from the last vestiges of political democracy in Britain to a corporate world of insecurity and war. If the privateers running the Post Office are allowed to win, the regression that now touches all lives bar the wealthy will quicken its pace. A third of British children now live in low-income or impoverished families. One in five young people is denied hope of a decent job or education.

And now the Brown government is to mount a “fire sale” of public assets and services worth £16bn. Unmatched since Margaret Thatcher’s transfer of public wealth to a new gross elite, the sale, or theft, will include the Channel Tunnel rail link, bridges, the student loan bank, school playing fields, libraries and public housing estates. The plunder of the National Health Service and public education is already under way.

The common thread is adherence to the demands of an opulent, sub-criminal minority exposed by the 2008 collapse of Wall Street and of the City of London, now rescued with hundreds of billions in public money and still unregulated with a single stringent condition imposed by the government. Goldman Sachs, which enjoys a personal connection with the Prime Minister, is to give employees record average individual pay and bonus packages of £500,000. The Financial Times now offers a service called How to Spend It.

None of this is accountable to the public, whose view was expressed at the last election in 2005: New Labour won with the support of barely a fifth of the British adult population. For every five people who voted Labour, eight did not vote at all. This was not apathy, as the media pretend, but a strike by the public – like the postal workers are today on strike. The issues are broadly the same: the bullying and hypocrisy of contagious, undemocratic power.

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PCHR Release English Version of ‘Targeted Civilians: A PCHR Report on the Israeli Military Offensive against the Gaza Strip (27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009)’

22 October, 2009 — PCHR: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Today, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) releases the English-language version of ‘Targeted Civilians: A PCHR Report on the Israeli Military Offensive against the Gaza Strip (27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009)’.

This report comprehensively documents the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed, and over 5,300 injured. The overwhelming majority of those killed and injured were civilians. Attention is also paid to the extensive destruction of civilian object, including homes, and the damage inflicted on industry, agriculture, and the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip.

The report is available for download here.

Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893
29 Omer El Mukhtar St.,
El Remal,
PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
E-mail:, Webpage

Medical Aid for Palestine Annual Review 2008-09

map-25.jpgIntroduction from CEO – Steven James
Looking back over the events of the past year one cannot help but focus on the continuing humanitarian disaster in Gaza, exacerbated by the military incursion, which caused so much death and destruction. The timing was extremely poignant for MAP, since it coincided with the start of our 25th anniversary. It is indeed a sad indictment that our work in the region still remains so crucial 25 years on from our origins in the aftermath of the massacre at Sabra and Shatila.

Our response to the crisis was highly commended,not just on the ground in Gaza with our immediate delivery of surgical kits to the hospitals and blood donation facilities, followed up by hygiene and nutrition kits to children and logistical support for the supply of medicines; but also by the round-the clock,support given by our staff in Ramallah and London. Thanks to the tremendous response we received from our supporters, we have also been able to undertake several longer term programmes,necessary to improve the health and welfare of Palestinians in Gaza.

Elsewhere in the region we continued to strengthen our commitment to health development for the most vulnerable sectors of society. In Lebanon, where Palestinian refugees continue to survive in overcrowded camps, our Maternal and Child Health programme in Nahr al-Bared camp has shown enormous success in helping young mothers by providing regular home visits and midwifery training.

While in the West Bank, which still suffers from hundreds of checkpoints and barriers, our activities have ranged from improving healthcare services for women in the most neglected areas of the Hebron governorate; to providing a network of mobile outreach clinics for marginalised Bedouin communities along the Jordan valley; to building the capacity of health providers through certified training by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

This year has also witnessed the establishment of a structured Advocacy and Communications department within MAP, leading to the subsequent support of the Institute of Community and Public Health in Ramallah and the successful publication of the Lancet reviews and the workshops and conferences. These will provide a platform for our ongoing work over the coming year.

Our level of programme activity has increased throughout the year, and is poised to increase further over the coming year. This has only been possible due to the generosity of our supporters, and the commitment and dedication of our staff, trustees, patrons and President, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC.

My thanks to you all.

Steven James
Chief Executive

Download the PDF of  MAP’s Annual Review 2008-09 here:

Today is the Anniversary of the Maiden Voyage of THE DIGNITY By Greta Berlin

22 October, 2009

ssdignity-2.jpgA year ago, our boat, the DIGNITY, made her first voyage to Gaza. She was a beautiful white and silver yacht, donated by people who believed in the Free Gaza movement after our first successful voyage in August. On board were dignitaries such as Mairead Maquire, the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner from Ireland and Mustafa Barghouti, President of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (MP).

It was to be our second trip to Gaza, one postponed for a month, because we didn’t have the proper vessel to go in the fall until the week before we were leaving. The DIGNITY shined in the autumn sun as we got ready to go at dusk that day.

Four physicians were also on board to access the medical situation in Gaza.

We had made a decision after the first voyage to ask Al Jazeera to come with us on every trip, and they were there with cameras, a reporter and a camerman. They have been on board reporting through storms, sea sickness, and dangers from Israel for every trip since.

As usual, we were frantically working on passenger lists, supplies and media work until the very last minute. Osama Q. and I (we were the designated land team) watched piles of boxes loaded on board, taking up most of the cabin space below. Although we took medicine and medical equipment with us, we knew they were only token supplies. Our mission was about breaking Israel’s siege of the sea. Our mission was about telling the world that Palestinians didn’t need hand-outs, they needed their civil and human rights. We have always been a human rights organization, not a humanitarian organization, but we took what we could.

As the vessel steamed out past the breakwall in Larnaca, then took a right turn and headed to sea, I cried. Twenty-seven passengers and crew were going at last. We had promised the people of Gaza that we would return, and we were keeping our promise. Israel, as they did the first time, continued to threaten us, but decided at the last minute they would ignore this voyage as they did the first one, hoping we might be satisfied and go away. They didn’t realize a year ago, that we would not stop coming to Gaza.

Three more voyages were successful, taking parliamentarians, physicians, activists and Palestinians to Gaza. Former Representative Cynthia McKinney named her American initiative “The DIGNITY” in honor of our boat.

When the Israeli navy deliberately and viciously attacked the DIGNITY on December 30, 2008, ramming her three times in her side, the boat was so sturdy and the captain so expert, she didn’t sink with all lost at sea. She struggled into port in Lebanon but was never the same. Like a wounded racehorse that ultimately dies of its injuries, she sank in a storm off the coast of Cyprus in May 2009.

So today, on the anniversary of her maiden voyage, the Free Gaza movement wants to assure those of you who have supported us for over three years, that we will return to Gaza We will not stop returning until the 1.5 million people there have the right to their own sea lanes without interference from Israel.

Stay tuned for our next voyage. We are coming back.

[See the interview with Cynthia McKinney onboard the Dignity]

The JFK Assassination: New York Times Acknowledges CIA Deceptions By Peter Dale Scott

21 October, 2009 — Global Research

The New York Times, on October 17, published a page-one story by Scott Shane about the CIA’s defiance of a court order to release documents pertaining to the John F. Kennedy assassination, in its so-called Joannides file. George Joannides was the CIA case officer for a Cuban exile group that made headlines in 1963 by its public engagements with Lee Harvey Oswald, just a few weeks before Oswald allegedly killed Kennedy. For over six years a former Washington Post reporter, Jefferson Morley, has been suing the CIA for the release of these documents. [1]

Sometimes the way that a news item is reported can be more newsworthy than the item itself. A notorious example was the 1971 publication of the Pentagon Papers (documents far too detailed for most people to read) on the front page of the New York Times.

The October 17 Times story was another such example. It revealed, perhaps for the first time in any major U.S. newspaper, that the CIA has been deceiving the public about its own relationship to the JFK assassination.

On the Kennedy assassination, the deceptions began in 1964 with the Warren Commission. The C.I.A. hid its schemes to kill Fidel Castro and its ties to the anti-Castro Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil, or Cuban Student Directorate, which received $50,000 a month in C.I.A. support during 1963.

In August 1963, Oswald visited a New Orleans shop owned by a directorate official, feigning sympathy with the group’s goal of ousting Mr. Castro. A few days later, directorate members found Oswald handing out pro-Castro pamphlets and got into a brawl with him. Later that month, he debated the anti-Castro Cubans on a local radio station.

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22 October, 2009 — Press Release Blair War Crimes Foundation

Noam Chomsky, Bruce Kent, Baroness Jenny Tonge, Naji Haraj , John Pilger, Haifa Zangana and 3,346 other citizens have today on Thursday 22 October 2009 asked the United Nations General Assembly to uphold the United Nations Charter, The Geneva and Hague Conventions, and The Rome Statute of International Criminal Court and to charge Anthony Charles Lynton Blair with War Crimes in connection with the Iraq War of 2003.

Peter Brierley, whose son was killed in Iraq, said on 9 October to Blair after the St Pauls service “you have blood on your hands”…and there is an awful lot of blood, and a catastrophic rise in birth deformities and cancers among the population of Iraq since 2003. As Lord Norman Tebbit said, Blair is “like a vine bearing poisonous fruit, and I see these fruit everywhere”. If our Charters, which were fought for by so many, are not upheld today, they will not be worth the paper they are written on, and torture, rendition, hooding, cable ties, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, and smashed homes will be the order of the day.

BWCF – Blair War Crimes Foundation

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