16 June, 2010 — Global Research – Future FastForward
Global Research Editor’s Note
Matthias Chang, a distinguished Malysian barrister, former private secretary to the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. Acting on behalf of the Perdana Global Peace Organization, Matthias Chang was one of the key architects of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. An unbending commitment to the causes of peace, justice and non violence combined with unusual organizational capabilities is the driving force behind Matthias Chang.
Michel Chossudovsky, Editor of Global Research, 16 June 2010
Sailing on MV Rachel Corrie has changed my life and my perspective on many issues that I hold dear. I am humbled by the experience and have learned so much from everyone on board the ship.
MV Rachel Corrie was previously known and registered as MV Linda, a 43-year old cargo vessel abandoned by her owners. Her crew was left in a lurch when the owners failed to pay their wages for over a year. The crew took her to the port of Dundalk in Ireland for refuge.
Rejected and in disrepair, she was dying of neglect. She had much to offer but no one cared.
On the 22nd January 2010, I received a letter from the solicitors for the Free Gaza Movement that she has been identified as a potential cargo ship to bring aid to Gaza and preparations were made to purchase her.
I was elated, as it was only six months ago that like-minded activists from the Free Gaza Movement and the Perdana Global Peace Organisation, headed by the fourth prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad gathered in Cyprus to explore the suggestion that a flotilla of cargo ships and passenger boats would be more effective in breaking the horrendous blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza than despatching a single boat as had been the previous missions organised by the Free Gaza Movement. Within three weeks, we were able to raise, with the assistance of the wife of the prime minister of Malaysia, the sum of RM1.5 million and a month later another sum of RM90,000 to purchase aid for the Palestinians. The monies were sufficient to buy a cargo ship and two passenger boats. The flotilla became a reality. The rest as they say is history.
17 June, 2010 — The B u l l e t Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 371
When police in Jamaica launched a bloody assault in May on poor neighbourhoods in the country’s capital city, news outlets in Canada responded with an ignorance and insensitivity that is all too common in their coverage of the Caribbean islands. As with Haiti, Jamaica is portrayed as incomprehensibly violent and not quite civilized.
Canada’s national broadcaster aired a 20-minute story on its morning radio newsmagazine, The Current, on May 28. Neither the host nor the two guests she interviewed sounded the slightest concern when she explained in her introduction that 73 people had been killed to date by the police assault. In fact, both guests welcomed the police action. “It was long overdue,” they chimed. “Criminal gangs in Jamaica have become too powerful.”
Astonishingly, one of the guests, Philip Mascoll, a former reporter for the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest distribution daily newspaper, said that Canadians should prepare for similar police action in poor housing projects in Toronto!
He prefaced his comment by saying, “People are going to hate me for saying this, but….” If the program host was fazed, she didn’t indicate.
Dr. Peniel Joseph: Peoples Historian or Establishment Courtier? Part One of Two
Helping us explain the lineup of the social forces that impact our individual and collective lives is the job of people’s intellectuals. Selling us clever marketing constructs is the job of intellectuals in the service of empire. But what would a loyal and disciplined servant of the establishment look like, if his aim was to pretend to be a people’s intellectual?
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Western corporate media’s antennae are super-sensitive to atrocities committed against children – except when their own countries are the perpetrators. The deaths of tens of thousands – even millions – of children by bombings and blockades and other mega-aggressions are treated as non-events, while the alleged beheading of one seven-year-old by the Taliban makes international headlines. A genuine concern for the world’s children requires that “we must first acknowledge our own nation’s history of violence.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“No one deserved rejection by Black voters more than Artur Davis,” the caricature of a right-wing Black congressman who lost his bid for governor by a landslide. Davis “decided he could win tons of white votes in Alabama by blatantly giving Blacks the finger.” But then he extended a digit to Obama, master of a game Davis was ill-equipped to play.
Click here to listen to this BA Radio commentary.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Reformists won control of the teachers union in the town where Barack Obama became a fan of corporate schooling: Chicago. The new union leadership seems prepared to confront privatization and high stakes testing head on. The tests measure the accumulated results of deprivation, not academics, said Karen Lewis: “Class sizes rose, schools were closed. Then standardized tests…measured that slow death by starvation.”
Click here to listen to this BA Radio commentary.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
So many Black American entertainers and luminaries flocked to the World Cup opening ceremonies in South Africa, one veteran activist was prompted to remark that “these folks are crossing the picket line.” It is a line that separates South Africa’s poor Black majority from the real beneficiaries of the “gold” – “the soccer elites of FIFA, the elites of domestic and international corporate capital and the political elites who are making billions and who will be benefiting at the expense of the poor.”
Click here to hear this BA Radio commentary.
Nader: Proposition 14 Has Killed “Free Elections” in California
The passage of Prop 14 in California last week, Ralph Nader explains to BAR, locks down the electoral process for everyone but celebrities and the wealthiest business-backed candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties. It’s the end of free elections in California.
Rwanda Regime is “Dictatorship, a Totalitarian State,” Says Colleague of Jailed American Lawyer
With Rwanda now a close ally of the US in East Africa, raising fact and evidence-based questions on the Rwandan genocide story can earn you prison or worse in that unhappy land, says Christian Davenport, a young black professor of Peace Studies at Notre Dame who has conducted research in Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Northern Ireland, Turkey and beyond. The “Hotel Rwanda” story doesn’t begin to tell the whole tale of what went on in Rwanda in those days, Davenport tells BAR.
Black Exclusion From Juries is Endemic in the U.S.
Atty Jacqueline Jones-Peace outlines how the how Blacks are rejected from juries for reasons ranging from appearing “arrogant,” to having a goatee. Atty. One prosecutor rejected a Black juror because he “shucked and jived when he walked,” according to a study of eight southern states done by the Equal Justice Initiative,
NAACP Legal Defense Fund: Prison-Based Gerrymandering Resembles “3/5s Man” Rule
LDF attorney Dale Ho told BAR “the parallels between prison-based gerrymandering and the three-fifths compromise are strong and eerie.” The practice counts prison inmates as “residents” of the jurisdiction in which they are incarcerated, rather than their home cities.
by Sikivu Hutchinson
Enormous pressures push African Americans to embrace a Black “hyper-religiosity” – or, at least, to profess to it – despite the fact that “the proliferation of storefront churches in urban black communities is a symptom of economic underdevelopment.” However, “a growing segment” maintains that “morality is defined by just deeds, fairness, equality and respect for difference; not by how blusteringly one claims to adhere to ‘Godly’ principles.”
Cultural Extinction: Louisiana’s Coastal Communities Fear They May Never Recover
by Jordan Flaherty
Even before the latest catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, Big Energy had laid waste to Black and Native American communities along the coast. At least five all-Black towns were wiped from the face of the earth by corporate pollution, and the last redoubt of the Pointe-au-Chien tribe is under petrochemical assault. “It doesn’t matter how much money they give you, if we don’t have our shrimp, fish, crabs and oysters,” said one bayou native.
by Bill Quigley, Audrey Stewart and Davida Finger
White prosecutors in a rural Mississippi county won’t rest until they send Curtis Flowers to prison for life. Flowers faces his sixth trail for the same murder – unprecedented in the history of the United States – after five previous trials ended in hung juries or overturned convictions. The Mississippi Supreme described one of the trials as the worst case of racial discrimination it had ever seen.
by George Shirley
Please, don’t stop the music. That’s the theme sounded by a host of Detroit citizens, as budget cutters move to shut down most of the Motor City’s public school music program. Under the new regime, only students with high test scores would be eligible to take part in music programs. “A musical education is not meant to be elitist,” says Dr. George Shirley. “This is the message we must pound incessantly into the awareness of bottom-liners tasked with reducing education to a robotic exercise devoid of creativity and imagination.”
Political Prisoners: What Will We Do About It?
by Kwasi Anokye
Americans – including some African Americans – rant about political prisoners held in countries they cannot even identify on a map, yet seem oblivious to the fact that fellow Americans languish in U.S. prisons for political reasons. Others know full well the plight of political prisoners, but fear to be associated with them, or despair that they will ever be freed.
16 June, 2010 — Middle East Report Online
Jonathan Cook is a journalist based in Nazareth. He is author of Blood and Religion (2006), Israel and the Clash of Civilizations (2008) and Disappearing Palestine (2008).
For background on tensions between Palestinians in Israel and the state, see Peter Lagerquist, ‘Recipe for a Riot: Parsing Israel’s Yom Kippur Upheavals,’ Middle East Report Online (November 2008).
For background on the October 2000 events, see Jonathan Cook, ‘Impunity on Both Sides of the Green Line,’ Middle East Report Online, November 23, 2005.
For background on Azmi Bishara’s case, see Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, ‘They’re Hounding Bishara Because He’s Right,’ Middle East Report 243 (Summer 2007).
Order the issue via a secure server at www.merip.org.
The first reports of Israel’s May 31 commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla surfaced among the country’s 1.4 million Palestinian citizens alongside rumors that Sheikh Ra’id Salah, head of the radical northern wing of the Islamic Movement of Israel, had been shot dead on the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara. Salah is alive, but at the time his demise seemed confirmed when it emerged that large numbers of police had been drafted into northern Israel, where most of the Palestinian minority lives, in expectation of widespread violence.
At the first spontaneous demonstrations in the north, participants expressed shock that Israel had killed international peace activists in international waters — a rumored number of 20 dead later dropped to nine. But in a community used to intermittent bouts of extreme violence from Israel’s security forces, few seemed to doubt that the order might have been given to execute Salah. The sheikh, who has repeatedly been arrested and is facing a series of trials, has long been public enemy number one among Israeli Jews for his campaign to protect the Haram al-Sharif from what he regards as an attempted Israeli takeover. The Haram al-Sharif is a compound of mosques in the Old City of Jerusalem that includes al-Aqsa and is believed by Jews to be built over two ancient Jewish temples. Half-jokingly, a protester in Nazareth wondered aloud whether a military commander had overheard the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ask: ‘Who will rid me of this turbulent sheikh?’
Breaking the Siege of Gaza
The flotilla, which was attacked more than 60 miles off Israel’s coast early in the morning, was not the first to bear aid for Gaza, but it was the first to include a delegation of Palestinian leaders from inside Israel. Palestinians are roughly one fifth of Israel’s population. Most of the main Israeli-Palestinian political factions and institutions were included: Salah and his counterpart in the Islamic Movement’s more moderate southern wing, Sheikh Hamad Abu Da‘bas; Muhammad Zaydan, head of the Higher Follow-Up Committee, the umbrella body dominated by local mayors; and Hanin Zu‘bi, a first-term member of the parliament, the Knesset, from the nationalist Tajammu‘ party (Balad in Hebrew). Alongside them was Lubna Masarwa, a resident of Kafr Qara‘ in northern Israel and an activist with the Free Gaza Movement, which organized the aid convoy.