What’s so Funny about Outsourcing? By John Feffer

26 October, 2010 — Foreign Policy in Focus

What were NBC executives thinking? The unemployment rate remains near double digits, and many Americans have simply stopped looking for work. And what does the network premier this fall but a sitcom called Outsourced about an American manager sent to run a call center in India. The jokes revolve around funny names, unappetizing food, Sikh turbans, arranged marriages. “It’s hard to know what a normal smell is here and what isn’t,” says Todd Dempsy, the culturally insensitive manager played by Ben Rappaport, in last week’s “Touched by an Anglo” episode. And there’s indeed something fishy about a show that capitalizes on U.S. jobs going overseas during an economic downturn.

On the other hand, Outsourced introduces American viewers to bhangra music and lots of Indian faces. It makes fun of the inanities of American culture (bachelorette parties, pimping cars, fake vomit). The acting is pretty good, including the very funny Sacha Dhawan and Anisha Nagarajan. An inter-cultural romance beckons on the horizon. There’s even the occasionally pointed comment, such as the assistant manager Rajiv’s aside to his American boss that “this country is just a cash register to you.”

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Why France Matters Here Too By Rick Wolff

26 October, 2010 — MRZine

For many weeks now, the historic social change sweeping across France has drawn increasing attention globally.  It should.  A genuine, mass democratic upsurge has surprised all those who thought, hoped, or feared that such things could no longer happen in countries like France or the US.  Millions of French people — in left political parties, church, and student groups — have accepted and cheered on the leadership of a unified trade union movement.  They have recomposed and reinserted a powerful left into French politics.  They are profoundly challenging President Sarkozy, his conservative political allies in both houses of the French legislature, and the entire twenty-five-year neo-liberal drift of economics and politics in France.  Along the way, they have demonstrated a strength and cohesion that renders the existing French right an annoying small noise in comparison.

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Kids in Firing Line: Israeli soldiers on ‘Human Shield’ trial

25 October, 2010 — RT.com

Two Israeli soldiers, convicted of using a Palestinian a child as a human shield, face a prison sentence of up to three years. It’s the first time there’s been a conviction since Tel Aviv re-inforced a ban on using civilians in combat against their will. RT’s Paula Slier met the boy whose life was in the firing line.

Information Clearing House Newsletter 25 October, 2010: The Shaming of America

25 October, 2010 — ICH

Torture, Killing, Children Shot


How the US Tried to Keep it all Quiet


Reports by Emily Dugan, Nina Lakhani, David Randall, Victoria Richards and Rachel Shields


Today, seven and a half years on from the order to invade, the largest leak in history has shown, far more than has been hitherto known, just what was unleashed by that declaration of war. The Iraqi security services tortured hundreds, and the US military watched, noted and emailed, but rarely intervened. Continue

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Statewatch News Online, 26 October 2010 (19/10)

Home page: http://www.statewatch.org/
e-mail: office@statewatch.org

  1. EU:  European Commission: Data protection proposals
  2. EU-GREECE: EU sends border guards to Greece
  3. UK:  New rights to protect Britons abroad
  4. European Commission: Report on third country nationals and trafficking
  5. European Parliament: Strengthening democratic scrutiny over EU external affairs
  6. EU: Rightwing parties plan opposition to EU centralisation and immigration
  7. USA: Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC): Documents Reveal Far-reaching DHS Biometrics Program
  8. UK: Parliamentary  report:  Terrorist Asset-Freezing Bill
  9. EU: IRR: Full list of deaths during deportations from Europe
  10. GREECE: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture  report
  11. EU: Directive on the mandatory retention of communications data
  14. EU:  The fiction of migration control policies – Voluntary return programmes
  15. UK: Coalition government: National Security Strategy
  16. EU: European Commission report on internal borders
  17. EU: Council of the European Union: drawing up non-legislative guidelines to extend its “returns” policy
  18. UK: IDENTITY CARD BILL: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights report

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VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 25 October, 2010: Ancient Mosque Vandalized by Rightist Israelis in Nazareth Area

25 October, 2010 — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Israel Hands 231 Orders Targeting Arab Homes In Jerusalem
IMEMC – 25 Oct 2010 – Tuesday October 26, 2010 – 00:34, Local sources in Jerusalem reported Monday that the Israeli Authorities handed on Monday 231 demolition orders targeting Arab and Palestinian homes in several neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.

Hamas Minister: “We Will Liberate Akka And Haifa”
IMEMC – 25 Oct 2010 – Monday October 25, 2010 – 23:28, Israeli sources reported that Hamas Interior Minister at the dissolved government in Gaza, Fathi Hammad, stated that Hamas will liberate Akka and Haifa, and that armies from different parts of the world will join this effort.

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The mathematics of strangulation of Gaza By Jesse Bacon

26 October, 2010 — The Only Democracy?

When the specifics of Israel’s siege of Gaza came to light, it appeared almost random in its insanity and cruelty. The famous example is the prohibiting of pasta while allowing rice, all the while claiming this was somehow ensuring Israel’s security. Well wonder no longer. Through the heroic efforts of Gisha, whose work we feature regularly here on The Only Democracy?, the actual policy has been released. It turns out there is a detailed series of charts and formulae that look like someone attempted to translate the lectures of Glenn Beck into public policy. In the driest of terms, it represents a calculus of human misery, equations of despair that add up to the starvation of Gazans and a protracted conflict.

Here is Gisha’s summary of the revealed policy, with my annotations.

“Policy of Deliberate Reduction”
The documents reveal that the state approved “a policy of deliberate reduction” for basic goods in the Gaza Strip (section h.4, page 5*). Thus, for example, Israel restricted the supply of fuel needed for the power plant, disrupting the supply of electricity and water. The state set a “lower warning line” (section g.2, page 5) to give advance warning of expected shortages in a particular item, but at the same time approved ignoring that warning, if the good in question was subject to a policy of “deliberate reduction“. Moreover, the state set an “upper red line” above which even basic humanitarian items could be blocked, even if they were in demand (section g.1, page 5). The state claimed in a cover letter to Gisha that in practice, it had not authorized reduction of “basic goods” below the “lower warning line”, but it did not define what these “basic goods” were (page 2).

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Lawyers establish Flotilla Justice Group to coordinate legal action on behalf of flotilla victims

25 October, 2010 — Gaza Friends Doha, Qatar

International legal experts and lawyers representing victims of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla today announced the establishment of the “Flotilla Justice Group.” The announcement came at the conclusion of a two-day meeting held on 23 and 24 October, aimed at coordinating legal actions to hold Israel accountable for its 31 May 2010 attack on the Freedom Flotilla. The meeting, hosted by the Doha-based Al Fakhoora campaign, brought together 70 representatives from 20 countries, to follow up on work that began at the first lawyers’ meeting held in Istanbul on 15 July.

The international advocacy groups, legal and media experts, and lawyers in attendance met in a number of workshops to devise a comprehensive strategy for national, regional and international legal action, inter-organizational coordination, and media mobilization. “The Flotilla Justice Group” will serve as a coordination mechanism for facilitating communication and the exchange of information between lawyers working on behalf of flotilla victims around the world.

Bettahar Boudjellal, a Qatar-based international human rights expert, said, “Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla breached international, human rights and humanitarian law. Our efforts to unify the legal actions through a designated coordination apparatus will allow us to collectively bring the State of Israel to justice. More importantly, it will serve as a foundation for responding to Israel’s future violations.”

The conference workshops were led by prominent personalities within the growing movement to end Israel’s strangulation of Gaza as well as its persistent human rights violations throughout the occupied Palestinian territory. Participants in the meeting included representatives from the following countries: Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Canada, Egypt, France, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Palestine, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Yemen.

“The creation of the Flotilla Justice Group is a vital step forward on the road to holding Israel accountable for its attack on our flotilla, and their ongoing abuse of the Palestinian people” said the Freedom Flotilla organizers.

Organizations and firms participating in the conference included: the Turkish ?nsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ?nsani Yard?m Vakf? (IHH), the Free Gaza Movement, European Campaign to End Siege on Gaza (ECESG), Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU), the Elmadag Law Firm from Turkey, Mazlumdar — the Turkish Human Rights Association, the UK-based Hickman and Rose law firm, Ship to Gaza – Greece, Ship to Gaza – Sweden, Indonesian Muslims’ Lawyer Team, the Muslim Lawyers Association of South Africa, and others.


Fakhoora is an international campaign which aims to secure the freedom to learn for Palestinian students in Gaza and the West Bank. The campaign is named after a United Nations girls’ prep school in Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp that was the scene of an attack by Israeli tank shells on January 6, 2009.