Mud and Hope in South Hebron

26 June, 2010 — The Only Democracy?


Ezra Nawi, after a day in the mud

Bi’r el-’Id — There’s a strange beauty in the viscous black mud that comes up from the depths of the earth, from the bottom, or somewhere near the bottom, of the well we are cleaning in Bi’r al-’Id. Bucket after bucket of it, lifted by pulley from down below, straggles to the surface, where we unload it and pour it out on the rocky escarpment. Its texture changes remarkably over the long morning hours from a watery top layer to heavy, shiny dark loam to a granular, sticky brown. It has a strong smell, like the sulphurous mud from the Dead Sea (not very far away) that people smear over their bodies for healing. Yehuda says the Palestinians of Bi’r al-’Id should bottle it and sell it at the airport: “Sacred Mud from the Sacred Desert.” There’s no end to it. The buckets go down and up, down and up, heavier each time; the rope attached to the pulley is now caked solid with mud, and the escarpment has turned into a mire. Amiel, Dolev, and Danny are down in the dark recesses, filling the buckets alongside Haj Isma’il. Suddenly Ezra arrives—he was released from jail only a few days ago—and immediately lowers himself, like Spider Man, down the shaft. You can’t stop him. When they emerge hours later, they are black troglodytes, covered with mud from head to toe; and we, too, working the buckets above ground, are splattered, encrusted, soaked.

When I said goodbye to Amiel almost five months ago, he said, “We will meet in the spring, and when you get back, things will be the same here, just a little worse.” But actually in some ways they’re a lot worse. The continuing struggles against the occupation, on the ground in the territories, take their usual grim course, but inside Israel hardly a day passes without some new and sickening jolt.

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IHH Report on the Killings on board the Mavi Marmara

29 June, 2010 – Free Gaza

On May 31, 2010, the six ships reached 75 miles away from the coast of Israel. We constantly reiterated that we were traveling in peace and carrying nothing but humanitarian and construction aid to the people of Gaza. At around 3:00 am, the battleships were still following us along with nearly 30 zodiacs that surrounded the flotilla in international waters.

At 4:10 am, messages from the ship, Define stated, “Mavi Marmara, all of the boats and ships are approaching you.” Shortly after, when most of the participants were performing their morning prayers, pursuit boats carring masked, armed soldiers came alongside the boats. At least 10 Israeli soldiers were in every boat. As they tried to get onboard, they began shooting. Then we heard sounds that were similar to gas bombs. The third sound was the constant sound of machine gun fire. At the same time, military helicpters full of armed soldiers rappeled down, shooting as they descended.

This operation was hostile from the very beginning, directed towards killing and killing as many as possible. Israeli soldiers did not open fire on the ships as a warning. They opened fire to kill. The first two people on board were shot in the head, killing them instantly.

Download the Report (PDF)

Live from Planet Norte: Totalitarian democracy and the politics of plunder By Joe Bageant

27 June, 2010 — Joe Bageant, Winchester, Virginia

Starting with the Homeland Security probe at Washington’s Reagan Airport, arrival back in the United States resembles an alien abduction to a planet of bright lights, strange beings and incomprehensible behavior. The featureless mysophobic landscape of DC’s Virginia suburbs seems to indicate that homogenuity and sterility are the native religions. Especially after spending eight months in Mexico’s pungent atmosphere of funky, sensual open air markets, rotting vegetation, smoking street food grills, sweat, agave nectar and ghost orchids.

The uniformity on Planet Norte is striking. Each person is a unit, installed in life support boxes in the suburbs and cities; all are fed, clothed by the same closed-loop corporate industrial system. Everywhere you look, inhabitants are plugged in at the brainstem to screens downloading their state approved daily consciousness updates. iPods, Blackberries, notebook computers, monitors in cubicles, and the ubiquitous TV screens in lobbies, bars, waiting rooms, even in taxicabs, mentally knead the public brain and condition its reactions to non-Americaness. Which may be defined as anything that does not come from of Washington, DC, Microsoft or Wal-Mart.

For such a big country, the “American experience” is extremely narrow and provincial, leaving its people with approximately the same comprehension of the outside world as an oyster bed. Yet there is that relentless busyness of Nortenians. That sort of constant movement that indicates all parties are busy-busy-busy, but offers no clue as to just what they are busy at.

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Starving Healthcare A Forum on Health, Poverty and Privatization

19 June, 2010 Toronto — Left Streamed

Part 1:

  • Colin Leys is honorary professor of politics at Goldsmiths College London and editor of the 2010 Socialist Register.

Part 2:

Strategic culture foundation online magazine latest publications from 20-26 June, 2010

Strategic culture foundation online magazine latest publications from 20-26 June, 2010

Poland Conditioned to Counter Germany and Russia
“Europe is increasingly reluctant to pay with the lives of its people for the oil the US plans to extract from Iraq or for the hunt for the US-invented Al Qaeda. Having been instrumental in bringing down the iron curtain between Europe and the USSR, Washington is now trying to rebuild the iron curtain between Europe and Russia and thus to impose – in the form of strategic partnership – the roles of US satellites on the European countries. In this respect, the US plans and Poland’s phobias combine seamlessly…”

Russia Reacts To New UN Sanctions On Iran
“Many observers pointed at the fact that President Obama`s peace-loving statements during his election campaign and later at Cairo University do not comply with Washington’s official position… The Middle East security in the years to come greatly depends on the way cooperation between Russia, the US and Iran develops further…”

Russia and the XXI Century Geopolitical Challenges. On the Eve of President D. Medvedev’s Visit to the US
“Russia gained enormous foreign-politics experience across the world in the imperial epoch and in the Soviet era. Assessing the Russian-US relations over the past year from the standpoint of this experience, one readily concludes that the highlight for the period of time has been Washington’s offer to press the reset button. No doubt, there are profound reasons why the US wants its relations with Russia reset… Like all things in the world, the global political climate tends to be fluid, but geopolitical landscapes do persist. On the whole, the contours of the Eurasian geopolitical landscape remain unchanged, and a special place in it belongs to Russia…”

Russia – Latin America: the union of solidarity and pragmatism
“No doubt that Medvedev will have to withstand the strong pressure from Obama concerning “the anti-American character of the Russian-Venezuelan relations”. The words that a liberal politician and dictator Chavez cannot not have anything in common will definitely be said. It is not excluded, that it will be directly recommended to the Russian guest to scale down all the programs of its military technical cooperation with Venezuela. We expect Obama to assure Medvedev that the US will appreciate this step and the doors of the WTO will be opened wide for Russia…”

“Nobody But We!”. On President D. Medvedev’s Visit to the US
“Russian President D. Medvedev will travel to the US on June 22-24. The visit will include a Silicon Valley tour and talks in Washington aimed at boosting the cooperation between Russia and the US in the innovations and high tech sector… These days, Russia is facing the modernization challenge… It should be realized with utmost clarity that the US or any other country are not going to help modernize Russia. Russia’s main modernization strategy – and likely the only one – should sound as the motto of its air-born special forces: “Nobody but We!”…”

Rafe MAIR (Canada)
What if the wheels fall off the EU bus?
“I don’t say that the wheels are going to fall off but observe that they are pretty wobbly these days, forcing this question – what if the Union does disintegrate? What if the glue which has kept Europe making cars not tanks stops sticking?..”

Escalation in Karabakh in the Context of President D. Medvedev’s Visit to the US and the Coming “Battle Over Iran”
“Regardless of its outcome, a new round of fighting in Karabakh would result in the complete expulsion of Russia from the South Caucasus, become a logical outgrowth of the US anti-Iranian politics, and be a prologue to a major war in the Middle East…”

Aleksandr SHUSTOV
Kyrgyzstan: waiting for new riots
“Kyrgyzstan is waiting for new riots believed to take place ahead of the national referendum on constitution scheduled for 27-th of June. This time, tensions are expected to hit the northern parts of Kyrgyzstan. The authorities have tightened security in the region, with special task forces blocking all roads leading to the country and inspecting vehicles…”

June 26 – the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
“In Russia 50% of confiscated drugs are imported drugs. There are five main routes of drug trafficking to Russia: the Baltic route – from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Scandinavian countries and Russia’s Kaliningrad region; the Western route – from Ukraine and Belarus; the Caucasian route – from Georgia and Azerbaijan; the Central-Asian route – from Afghanistan and Pakistan with transit via Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan; the Far East route – from China. The drug addiction environment in Russia is aggravating…”