The Psychological Implosion of Our Soldiers By Dahr Jamail

7 December 2009 — t r u t h o u t | Report

US Army Specialist Lateef Al-Saraji, a decorated combat veteran, came back from the occupation of Iraq with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Saraji joined the military because he wanted to serve his country. He served well as a linguist and translator working under secret clearance with military intelligence, according to a letter of recommendation written by his commander following his tour in Iraq, “This letter is to inform you of my endorsement of SPC Alsaraji’s superlative performance and vital contributions to the command during our recent 15-month extended combat tour in Iraq.” Saraji is also a three-year trustee with American Legion Post 42 in Gatesville, Texas.

PTSD is often routed in one event, but more often, with the two ongoing occupations, it is rooted in multiple traumatizing events. While in Iraq, Saraji was horrified by discovering headless bodies of suspected spies caught by the Iraqi resistance, which were thrown in a canal near the building where he was based “so we would see them. I still have nightmares over the bodies in the water, all blue and foul-smelling,” he wrote of his experience.

When he got back to the US, it took him several months to get an appointment with a counselor on his base, who then referred him to an off-base psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with severe PTSD.

Continue reading

Sign the Petition – Britain Must Implement the Goldstone Report

7 December, 2009 — Palestine Solidarity Campaign

One year since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, raining bombs on 1.5 million Palestinians, killing over 1400 and wounding over 5,000, the Israeli government has tightened its blockade on Gaza, creating a dire humanitarian disaster. Appallingly, the British government abstained on the votes at the UN on the Goldstone Report, which called for an end to the blockade, and for war criminals to be brought to justice.

Please sign the petition here calling on the British government to implement the Goldstone Report – we will be presenting the petition to Gordon Brown in January.

To follow the Convoy to Gaza

Live map of the route:

On Facebook:


Read the messages of support:

Video of the send-off Sunday 6 December:

One year since the Beginning of the Attacks on Gaza

Protest Outside the Israeli Embassy
End the Siege on Gaza

Sunday 27 December 2009 – 3pm
High Street Kensington, W8, London (High St Kensington Underground)
Called by PSC, BMI, CND and STW

Supported by: Amos Trust, Communication Workers Union, Fire Brigades Union, Friends of Al Aqsa, Friends of Lebanon, Greater London UNISON, The Green Party, ICAHD UK, Jewish Socialists’ Group, Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, Palestinian Return Centre, The Peace Cycle, Public and Commercial Services Union, Thompsons Solicitors.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people. PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!

Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Tel:   020 7700 6192
Fax:  020 7609 7779


6 December, 2009 — Media Channel

I came to the Congo in search of its future and instead found myself marching down memory lane. On Thursday we went to the Museum of Beaux Arts, really a school for teaching sculpture, a subject close to me because my late dad sculpted in stone and wood as a hobby.

But there, surrounding the ageing art deco building, were statues of Congo’s history of agony—large almost socialist realist renderings of soldiers carrying the wounded, or falling on the battlefield.

Even an art school cannot ignore the history around it. The curator told me that it is only recently that art students have been allowed to do work of social commentary.

On Friday, we passed a public monument alongside a well-traveled highway. It was for someone who took decades to be resuscitated as a national hero, the country’s first post-independence prime minister later assassinated with CIA help in 1961.

His name: Patrice Lumumba. Continue reading

Aid will arrive in the Gaza Strip on 27 December

7 December, 2009

British Member of Parliament George Galloway left the UK on Sunday with a convoy of humanitarian aid and will arrive in the Gaza Strip on 27 December, according to the de facto government’s director of the anti-siege committee, Hamdi Sha’ath.

Galloway’s Lifeline 3 convoy is expected to arrive with a consignment of 200 vehicles carrying humanitarian aid on 27 December, to mark the first anniversary of Israel’s devastating assault on the Gaza Strip last winter.

Meanwhile, Sha’ath announced that 30 European MPs are expected to arrive in Gaza by mid January 2010, travelling from Britain to France, Italy, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt before arriving at the Rafah border crossing into the Gaza Strip.

The European MPs will fly to Egypt on 15 January 2010 and are expected to be in Gaza the next day, Sha’ath added.

Various appointments have been made for the visiting EU MPs, including meetings with John Ging, director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, Palestinian lawmakers, NGOs and with the families who have lost relatives to Israeli attacks, in addition to visiting hospitals and areas destroyed by Israel’s Operation Cast Led, Sha’ath said.An international aid convoy is scheduled to take humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip from London, marking the first year anniversary of Israel’s three week war against Gazans.

The Viva Palestina convoy of 250 vehicles will deliver medical, humanitarian and educational aid to Palestinians who are suffering a long-running Israeli blockade on their territory since Hamas took control of the region in June 2007.

The convoys will depart from London on Sunday to pass through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

They are scheduled to enter Gaza on Dec. 27 after heading through Syria, Jordan and north along the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.

The trip marks the first-year anniversary of Israel’s three week invasion of the Gaza Strip during which at least 1,350 Palestinians were killed.

Vive Palestina has been founded by British lawmaker George Galloway who has already delivered two convoys of aid to the Gaza Strip this year.

Ireland To Gaza Update

7 December, 2009

After 6 months of fundraising, 4 teams from all across Ireland will leave on Saturday December 5th, to travel 4,000 miles to Gaza, to deliver Ambulances and Humanitarian aid to the stricken region.

In Tyrone, Galway, Dublin, Derry & Cork, volunteers have been working flat out fundraising, and raising awareness of the plight of the people in Gaza. Together, they will bring 2 ambulances, a mini bus, and a truck filled with over 10 tonne of humanitarian aid.

They will travel to London where they will join up with the “Viva Palestina Convoy“, organised and led by George Galloway MP. Over 100 vehicles will leave on Sunday December 6th, and will travel through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and reach the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza for December 27th.

December 27th marks the 1st anniversary of the attack on Gaza, which left over 1,400 people dead, and over 5,000 injured. The situation in Gaza is as bad today as it was the day the bombs stopped falling in January. The Gaza Strip is still sealed; homes, businesses, hospitals, schools and mosques still lie in rubble; and fundamental supplies are in severe shortage, as Israel continues to restrict the entry of basic goods such as fuel, medical equipment, oxygen, baby formula, paper, books, and construction materials.

Leaving from Derry will be 4 volunteers and an ambulance filled with medical aid.
Another ambulance laden with aid will leave from Cork, along with 4 volunteers.
From Galway, a mini bus loaded with medical aid will also undertake this mammoth journey.
From Tyrone, a truck loaded with medical, building, and sporting supplies will join in this incredible journey.

Each and every person will be giving up their time freely to undertake this incredible journey, and not only will they spend 3 weeks on the road, but they will be away from their family and friends for Christmas.

Tyrone man David Callendar, outlined his reasons for travelling when he said:

“What happened in Gaza in Jan 2009 was a war crime and the ongoing blockade of Gaza by Israel, the United States and Egypt is a crime. The people taking part in these crimes should be brought to justice, and not 20 years from now, when we finally have leaders with integrity and compassion. We have to make changes now.

“I was at a demonstration in Palestine 2 years ago and I saw a young boy of about 7 or 8 holding a sign that said “Where is the world?” This is a very common question in Palestine, and for me, being part of the “Viva Palestina Convoy” makes that little boy’s sign bigger, brighter and louder. The events in Gaza have highlighted the lack of co-ordination and capacity of not only Irish charities and groups, but international ones as well. I believe that our convoy will be the only physical aid going to Gaza from Ireland this year, apart from the individual effort of my fellow Tyrone man, John Hurson.

“I find this completely shocking, and feel that this issue needs to addressed as a matter of urgency.” I would like to thank all the people and children who have supported me and made the trip possible I would also like to thank Mariead Maguire and all her friends at “Peace People” for all their support.”

This will be the 2nd overland convoy of aid organised by “Viva Palestina”, the 1st having successfully delivered 125 vehicles loaded with essential humanitarian aid in March of this year. Among them, was a truck filled with aid driven by Tyrone man, John Hurson.

The aid he brought has been the only Irish aid to reach Gaza this year. Not only did John deliver essential aid, but he has since set up the 1st GAA club in Gaza.

The club has Professor Noam Chomsky and GAA legend Peter Canavan as presidents, and as part of the aid travelling on this convoy, the GAA have donated goalposts, jerseys, and training video’s for the children in Gaza who have taken up the sport of Gaelic games.

For any further information, please feel free to contact John Hurson:

John: 07875 396335.

CSRC Project-First Workshop: “The Roots of the Economic Crisis: Critical Perspectives” – Part 1

29 October, 2009 — Left Streamed

Facilitator: Carlo Fanelli.

This workshop explores alternative interpretations of the current economic crisis. The presentations are from organized labour, community activists and academics. The focus of this workshop is critical engagement, discussion and debate. Questions addressed include: How have various perspectives analyzed and understood the roots of the current economic crisis? Is there something fundamentally unsound about the current political-economic structure? Is the current crisis to be located within a set of recently established policies, or better understood over the long-term historical development of capitalism? How have the policy prescriptions and ideological rationales shifted over the years? And, more ambitiously, where do we go from here?

Andrew Jackson — is the National Director, Social and Economic Policy, with the Canadian Labour Congress.
Toby Sanger — is a Senior Economist with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Justin Paulson — is assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Carleton University.