Two Obamas, Two Classes of Children. By Ralph Nader

Art by Naji al Ali

Via: The Nader Page.

An Associated Press photograph brought the horror of little children lying dead outside of their home to an American Audience. At least 10 Afghan children and some of their mothers were struck down by an airstrike on their extended family household by order of President Barack Obama. He probably decided on what his aides describe as the routine weekly “Terror Tuesday” at the White House. On that day, Mr. Obama typically receives the advice about which “militants” should live or die thousands of miles away from drones or aircraft. Even if households far from war zones are often destroyed in clear violation of the laws of war, the president is not deterred.

These Obama airstrikes are launched knowing that very often there is “collateral damage,” that is a form of “so sorry terrorism.” How can the president explain the vaporization of a dozen pre-teen Afghan boys collecting firewood for their families on a hillside? The local spotter-informants must have been disoriented by all those $100 bills in rewards. Imagine a direct strike killing and injuring scores of people in a funeral procession following a previous fatal strike that was the occasion of this processional mourning. Remember the December 2009 Obama strike on an alleged al-Qaida training camp in Yemen, using tomahawk missiles and – get this – cluster bombs, that killed 14 women and 21 children. Again and again “so sorry terrorism” ravages family households far from the battlefields. Continue reading

Truths, Facts and Facts on the Ground. By Joseph Massad

With Obama’s visit to the Israeli apartheid state, it is important to point out the old lies about Palestine that Obama and Netanyahu insist are “facts”.

This article originally appeared on english.aljazeera.net on 27 October 2011.

Much of the international support that Israel receives is based on several lies it tells and re-tells as “facts”.

In 1991, negotiations started officially and unofficially between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (and the Palestinians associated with it) and the Israeli government. At the time, Israel had occupied the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip for the previous 24 years.

Today, 20 years later, Israel and President Obama insist that the only way to bring about peace, and presumably end the Occupation, is to continue with negotiations. It is unclear if what Obama and Israel are claiming is that Israel needs 24 years of negotiations in order to end its 24-year occupation of Palestinian land, so that by the time the occupation ends, it will have lasted for 48 years.

This of course is the optimistic reading of the Israeli and US positions; the reality of the negotiations and what they aim to achieve, however, is far more insidious.

The negotiations have been based on specific goals to end certain aspects of the Israeli relationship to the Palestinians, namely some of the parts introduced since the 1967 war and the occupation, and the beginning of exclusive Jewish colonial settlement of these territories.But what always remains outside the purview of negotiations is the very core of the Palestinian-Israeli relationship, which the Palestinians are told cannot be part of any negotiations.

These off-limits core issues include what has happened since 1947-1948, including the expulsion of 760,000 Palestinians, the destruction of their cities and towns, the confiscation and destruction of their property, the introduction of discriminatory laws that legalise Jewish racial, colonial and religious privilege and deny Palestinian citizens of Israel equal rights and reject the right of the expelled refugees to return.

Yet, this core, which the Israelis summarise as Israel’s right to be, and to be recognised as, a “Jewish” state, is what is always invoked by the Israelis themselves as central to beginning and ending the negotiations successfully and which the Palestinians, the Israelis insist, refuse to discuss.

But the core issues of the question of the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis have always been based on the agonistic historical, geographic and political claims of the Palestinian people and the Zionist movement.

While the Palestinians have always based their claims on verifiable facts and truths that the international community agreed upon and recognised, Israel has always based its claims on facts on the ground that it created by force and which parts of the international community would only recognise as “legitimate”, retroactively.

How is one then to sift through these competing notions of truths and facts on the one hand, and facts on the ground, on the other? Continue reading

Obama’s Latest Monsanto Pick, Elena Kagan. By Rady Ananda

Via: Dissident Voice.

Mark of the Beast

First, we spit out our coffee over President Obama’s appointments of former Monsanto goon Michael Taylor as Food Safety [sic] Czar and ‘biotech governor of the year’ Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. Then we choked on our grits when he made Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddiqui, the US Ag Trade Representative. Now, the real food movement has completely lost its appetite with Obama’s nomination of Monsanto defender, Elena Kagan, to the US Supreme Court.

In December 2009, in her capacity as Solicitor General, Kagan intervened in the first case on which SCOTUS will rule involving genetically modified crops, Monsanto v Geertson Seed. She defended Monsanto’s fight to contaminate the environment with its GM alfalfa, not the American people’s right to safe feed and a protected environment.

The lower court ruled that “contamination of organic and conventional alfalfa crops with the genetically engineered gene has occurred and defendants acknowledge as much. Such contamination is irreparable environmental harm.”

That other fields, not those of Geertson Seed, et al., had been contaminated does not bother Kagan. “The district court failed to find either that respondents had suffered or were likely to suffer irreparable harm…”

This flies in the face of reality. The biotech industry has admitted it cannot prevent contamination of natural fields. When Bayer CropScience contaminated nearly a third of the US rice supply with its GM version, its defense lawyers told jurors that “Bayer’s containment protocols were equal to or exceeded industry standards when the test rice escaped into the general supplies.” Continue reading

The Language of Zionism. By Joseph Massad

palestine loss land

Via: Al Ahram Weekly.

The reason for the ongoing “violence” in Israel and Palestine is not on account of Israeli colonialism at all but rather a direct result of mistranslation. Joseph Massad provides an abridged lexicon of Zionist terminology

“Colonialism is peace; anti-colonialism is war.” This is the unalterable equation that successive Israeli governments insist must determine the basis of all current and future relations between Israeli Jews and the Palestinians. Indeed, the deployment of the rhetoric of peace between Palestinians and Israeli Jews since the 1970s has been contingent on whether the Palestinians would acquiesce in this formula or insist on resisting it. The Oslo Accords were in large measure a ratification of this formula by the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Nonetheless, Palestinian resistance, violent and non- violent, to understanding “colonialism as peace” never fully subsided, even as the Palestinian Authority insisted that it become the law of the land.

The deployment of the rhetoric of peace however was more than anything else a deployment of the rhetoric of the “peace process.” In his book about the peace process, William Quandt traces the history of this deployment:

“Sometime in the mid-1970s the term peace process began to be widely used to describe the American-led efforts to bring about a negotiated peace between Israel and its neighbors. The phrase stuck, and ever since it has been synonymous with the gradual, step-by-step approach to resolving one of the world’s most difficult conflicts. In the years since 1967 the emphasis in Washington has shifted from the spelling out of the ingredients of ‘peace’ to the ‘process’ of getting there… The United States has provided both a sense of direction and a mechanism. That, at its best, is what the peace process has been about. At worst, it has been little more than a slogan used to mask the marking of time.”

I disagree partly with Quandt’s conclusion, mostly because the “peace process” since 1993 has been a mask for nothing short of Israeli colonial settlement and attempts by the Palestinian people to resist it and by the Palestinian Authority to coexist with it. Continue reading

Bully Tactics In Full Swing Against Iran. By Peter Eyre

Cartoon Khalil Bendib

Via: The Palestine Telegraph.

Five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have now joined forces against Iran. China and Russia had previously resisted taking action against Iran have now joined forces with Britain, France, Germany and the United States.

This looks so much like the build up to the invasion of Iraq with harder sanctions on the horizon and followed with what could inevitably be military action.

Doesn’t it appear strange that we also saw this same build up in Pakistan and India with the US spearheading pressure to stop both those nations from gaining Nuclear Weapons? What gives these elite five the right to dictate what another country should or should not do and yet is continues to turn a blind eye on the Israeli Nuclear Programme that already has its own nuclear arsenal.

We have the two leaders of the pack highlighting their concerns in respective press releases with the following headlines: “Brown says sanctions next if Iran doesn’t respond” and “Obama warns Iran of consequences.” It is obvious that both the US and UK are heading for a showdown and really do want a conflict with Iran. I guess its time for the price of oil to go up and for the US to increase its arms sale.

Last year the The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has affirmed in a report that Israel has a ‘sizeable’ nuclear arsenal. The report stated that Israel was considered to be a “de facto nuclear power with an advanced and sizeable arsenal,” even though the regime had never itself acknowledged openly its nuclear-weapons status. I continue to ask the same question over and over again, why doesn’t the Security Council impose sanctions on Israel? Why doesn’t the Security Council make the same threats of possible military action against Israel? It is obvious that Israel represents an informal extension to NATO and that the US needs such a major military presence right in the heart of the Arab League. Continue reading