‘Liberating’ Iraqis, Limb by Limb

Via: Al-Ahram Weekly.

Ten years after the invasion, more evidence has been emerging of the US use of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, writes Felicity Arbuthnot

US War Crimes in Iraq

War Criminals Bush and Blair

War Criminals: George Bush and Tony Blair

War Criminal Rumsfeld

War Criminal: Donald Rumsfeld

“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths… I mean, it’s not relevant, so why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” — Former US first lady Barbara Bush, 18 March 2003

In these days of the 10th anniversary of the illegal US-led invasion and near destruction of Iraq, answers are owed not only to the dead, but also to the cancer-stricken, the deformed, their parents, their siblings and all Iraqis. These people were left with a land poisoned by depleted uranium in 1991, the burden building over 12 more years of (illegal) US and UK bombings and then the enormity of 2003.

The victims in the Iraqi city of Fallujah have rightly come under medical and media scrutiny since the US military onslaught of April and November 2004, but throughout Iraq there have been no reports of areas that have been unaffected.

Activist Dahr Jamail writes from Fallujah that “official Iraqi government statistics show that prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991 the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and by 2005 it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.”

“As shocking as these statistics are, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases, the actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest.” Jamail also mentions the “dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births… particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred,” like in Fallujah. Continue reading

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The US-NATO Race for Syria’s Black Gold. By Manlio Dinucci

Art by Naji al-Ali

Via: Global Research.

Syria’s proven oil reserves, amounting to 2.5 billion barrels

Syria’s proven oil reserves, amounting to 2.5 billion barrels, are greater than those of all neighboring countries except Iraq: according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s estimation of its oil reserves. This makes Syria one of the largest producers and exporters of crude oil in the Middle East.

The country also has large reserves of natural gas, hitherto used for domestic consumption, especially for conversion to gas-fired power plants. But there is a problem, the U.S agency reported that since 1964 the license for the exploration and exploitation of mineral deposits has been reserved for Syrian government agencies. Until 201O an annual income of more than $ 4 billion was procured from the export of oil, particularly to Europe. But things are changing with the war. Continue reading

Land Day: Celebrate Resistance and Intensify BDS

Art by Naji al-Ali

On March 30, Palestinians will commemorate Land day, a day in 1976 when Israeli Occupation forces shot and killed six young Palestinian “citizens” of the Israeli apartheid state. These brave youth were among thousands protesting the Israeli occupation state’s expropriation of Palestinian land. Today, we continue to celebrate Palestinian resistance to the ongoing land expropriation, colonization, occupation and apartheid.

Thirty-seven years after the first Land Day demonstrations, the Israeli occupation state continues its expropriation and colonization of Palestinian land. It continues to expand its illegal colonial settlements in West Bank, occupied Palestine, forcing Palestinians from their land. Palestinians also face dispossession and displacement inside the Israeli apartheid in the 1948 occupied Palestine.

For international supporters of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality, Land Day is an opportunity to develop campaigns for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli apartheid, particularly campaigns targeting the Jewish National Fund (JNF), agribusinesses and companies operating in illegal colonial settlements, all of which play a vital role in the continued theft of Palestinian land, resources and properties.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) invites people of conscience across the world to join us in marking Land Day by highlighting BDS as an effective form of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.

At a time when the Israeli occupation state is facing unprecedented levels of pressure over its continued colonization of Palestinian land and quickly losing the international support upon which it depends, let us work together to intensify our collective efforts to hold the Israeli apartheid regime and its supporters accountable.

BDS National Committee

If you are planning BDS activities to mark Land Day, please send in the details to info@BDSmovement.net

* This is an edited version of the BNC‘s statement. See the original here.

** See also the Land Day’s posters on The Palestine Poster Project Archives.

Land Day

9/11 with Samir Amin

Via: MRZine.

A Video Conference Moderated by Biju Mathew

“Libya is something very different from what happened in Egypt and Tunisia. It was not a pacific demonstration of people.  It was, from the very start, armed groups against other armed groups, the regime. I’m not at all defending Gaddafi, but what is very specific of the case of Libya is that the so-called opposition, armed from the first minute, called NATO to their rescue. The target here . . . is not only oil, because they already have control of this oil, but more importantly water, the immense water resources of Libya. . . . And a third is to establish in Libya permanent US military bases, in order for AFRICOM, which is still based in Stuttgart, Germany, to be based in Africa. That is a direct menace against Egypt, against Algeria, . . . and against the countries of the African Sahel.” — Samir Amin

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYLSrAQC width=”550″ height=”442″]

Samir Amin is a Marxist economist. This video conference, moderated by Biju Mathew, was sponsored by Brecht Forum on 11 September 2011. The text above is an edited partial transcript of the conference.

A Follow Up on My Fifth Grade Essay: Education at Gunpoint. By Ramzy Baroud

Via: The Palestine Chronicle.

Problems facing education in Palestine have compounded to unforeseen levels.

I recall the first sentence of my fifth grade essay on ‘Education and Youth’. Written with the occasional aid of my father, and dotted with clichés, it might have read something like this:

“Youth is the backbone of any nation, and education is essential to arm the youth with the knowledge they need to lead their societies toward change, progress and prosperity.”

The grayish blue pencil I used to write my essay with was one of several items handed annually by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff to refugee children in many schools scattered throughout the Gaza Strip. My Arabic teacher was Abu Kamal al-Hanafi, a wonderful man with a terrible temper, who was also the Imam of the local mosque. My classroom had exactly 62 students. My desk was as old as the Israeli occupation of Gaza, if not older. The roof was filled with holes, creating an exciting spectacle as birds flew in and out, often nesting in available spaces. Watching these scenes made the brutish Arabic grammar lessons bearable, and eased the fear caused by Abu Kamal’s bouts of anger and the occasional Israeli gunfire in and around the refugee camp.

While the introduction to my “Education and Youth” essay was clichéd and I may not have known what many of the terms actually meant, its overriding sentiment remains as true for me now as it ever was.

I remembered my essay as I read about the first World Education Forum (WEF) in Palestine, which took place in several regions throughout historic Palestine, including Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jaffa, Bethlehem and the Gaza Strip. Those who were denied access by Israeli authorities had their own conference in Lebanon. The event, which started on October 28, lasted four days.

The problems faced by the education system in Palestine were difficult enough during my childhood. Now they have compounded to unforeseen levels, with the educational sector divided between two educational ministries in Gaza and the West Bank, the former under Israeli siege and the latter under military occupation. Were it not for UNRWA, the already severe obstacles would have become completely insurmountable long ago. But today even UNRWA is struggling with depleting funds and political haggling between competing Palestinian authorities and an ever atrocious Israeli occupation. Continue reading

Bush At Large. By Ralph Nader

Wanted for War Crimes. Photo by: Benjamin Solah

Via: The Nader Page.

George W. Bush is on a roll—a money roll with a $7 million advance for his book Decision Points and a rehabilitation roll to paint his war crimes as justifiable mass-slaughter and torture.

His carefully chosen interviewers—NBC’s Matt Lauer and Oprah Winfrey—agreed to a safe pre-taping to avoid demonstrations and tough questions. Requests for him to speak are pouring in from business conventions and other rich assemblages willing to pay $200,000 for “the Decider’s” banalities. This is “Shrub’s” month in the sun.
In his first week of book promotion, he was asked about anything he would have done had he known then what he knew now—especially regarding Iraq and its encircled dictator. Well, he deplored receiving “false intelligence” about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction which was one of several false claims he fed the American people before invading Iraq in 2003. But he has no regrets, saying that “the world was undoubtedly safer with Saddam gone.”

But was it safer for over a million Iraqis who lost their lives due to the invasion, over 4 million refugees, 4500 American soldiers lost, 1100 amputees, tens of thousands injured, sick and tens of thousands more GIs coming back with trauma to lost jobs, broken families and permanent damage to their health.

Was it worth a trillion dollars to blow apart the country of Iraq and incur many more enemies? Was it worth starting a war paid for by a massive debt handed to our children so that George W. and Dick Cheney could give themselves and their rich buddies a massive tax cut? Ex-presidents possess self-excusing delusions, but this is non compos mentis run amuck. Continue reading