White House Protest Corps


Tel-Aviv school principal to face Knesset Committee over his outspoken views against the occupation.
June 21, 2010, 7:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,
Press release June 20, 2010
Tomorrow June 21, Tel-Aviv school principal to face Knesset Committee over his outspoken views against the occupation. The following article, translated from Ynet speaks for itself

How I was summoned to the Knesset/ by Ram Cohen
On Monday, June 21, I am to appear before the Knesset Education Committee and the Minister of Education, Mr. Gideon Saar, following my unequivocal words to my students, condemning the 43 year-old occupation and rule over the life of the Palestinian people.

A school principal should have a clear and unequivocal moral position about any subject and issue on the agenda of Israeli society. A principal is not an educational clerk. A principal must have, for example, something to say about the deportation of the children of migrant workers, trafficking in women, the separation fence, the withdrawal from Gaza, minimum wage law, settlers attacking Palestinian villagers to exact a `price tag`, the removal of Arabs from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, the siege on Gaza, corruption in government, or the relations of religion and state.

Full text: http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=40651

כך זומנתי לכנסת / רם כהן
ביום שני ה-21 ביוני זומנתי להופיע בפני ועדת החינוך של הכנסת ושר החינוך מר גדעון סער, בעקבות דבריי החד משמעיים בפני התלמידים בגנות הכיבוש והשליטה בחיי העם הפלסטיני זה 43 שנים.

מנהל בית ספר צריך להחזיק בעמדה מוסרית, ברורה וחד משמעית לגבי כל נושא ועניין הנמצאים על סדר יומה של החברה הישראלית, הוא איננו פקיד חינוך. כך למשל צריך שתהיה לו אמירה אודות גירוש ילדי העובדים הזרים, סחר בנשים, גדר ההפרדה, הנסיגה מעזה, חוק שכר מינימום, “תג מחיר”, סילוק ערבים מבתיהם בשיח’ ג’ראח, המצור על עזה, שחיתות שלטונית, שאלות דת ומדינה ועוד.

קראו עוד
http://www.mynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3907144,00.html


American Media Failure Again: Israeli Raid Coverage

American Media Failure Again

Israeli Raid Coverage

By LINN WASHINGTON, Jr.

http://www.counterpunch.org/washington06152010.html

An American art student loses an eye when struck in the face by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli Defense Force (IDF) personnel breaking up a demonstration in the occupied West Bank which itself is a protest against the deadly commando raid on the Free Gaza flotilla.

No, you didn’t miss U.S. news media coverage of this IDF attack on 21-year-old Emily Henchowicz, a student at Cooper Union in New York City who was standing with a group of foreigners during that demonstration near a checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

You didn’t miss it because the mainstream media in the U.S. ignored it.
Apparently news of Henchowicz’s maiming was not news deemed worthy enough for print in the New York Times or Washington Post or meriting broadcast network/cable news attention.

It’s no surprise that the avowedly right-wing FOX ignored this incident, but the liberal-leaning MSNBC ignored this story also.

The blackout of this partial blinding of an American citizen darkens the already black eye the mainstream American news media has giving itself by its crimped coverage of the deadly Israeli raid on that flotilla attempting to bring humanitarian supplies to the Israeli-besieged Gaza and of the international fallout in the wake of that illegal raid.

The same major U.S. newspapers that found space during the two weeks after that May 31st assault in international waters for over 1,200 articles about the Tea Party or that “movement’s” darling du jour Rand Paul, carried only 58 references to the American-born teen killed during that raid, according to a review of articles in the LexisNexis database of U.S. newspapers and wires.

So, what would explain why the fatal shooting of Troy, NY-born Furkan Dogan’s merits only one-ninth of the 500+ article coverage devoted to prattle from Sarah Palin, all of which was published during that same two week post-raid period?

Maybe it’s the fact that the 19-year-old Dogan, who had dual US/Turkish citizenship, lived the last 17-years of his short life in Turkey. Did his “Turkishness” trump the news that autopsy results showed the young Dogan had died from multiple gun shots including four shots to the head, one of them from the back?

Or maybe this minimalist coverage of Dogan’s death, as documented by a Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) anylisis, results from the fact that much of the “U.S. press coverage takes Israeli government claims at face value…”

If FAIR’s criticism that the media exhibited a lack of “skepticism” toward Israeli government spin is on target, maybe media managers simply embraced Israeli government claims that their crack commandos only boarded the Mavi Marmara armed with paint-ball guns and small caliber pistols, and then concluded that perhaps Dogan must have died either from gunfire from his fellow peace activists, or that he had shot himself four times in the head?

FAIR cited a Washington Post editorial as an “appalling” example of the U.S. news media’s penchant for reporting on the Israeli assault exclusively through Israel’s eyes.

That Post editorial characterized participants in the flotilla as a “motley collection,” deserving no sympathy due to their ulterior motive on “provoking a confrontation.”

Acknowledging that the Israeli raid was “misguided and badly executed,” this editorial in one of the nation’s major newspapers (a paper that did not report on the blinding of Emily Henchowicz) took a pro-Israeli perspective, inferring that calls for an international investigation into the flotilla raid could potentially become part of a campaign to “de-legitimize the Jewish State.” Such language is a talking-point lifted straight from the Israeli government and its American lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Irrespective of the sympathy many Americans have for Israel, the Ethics Code of America’s Society of Professional Journalists states that journalists should: support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

Any fair-and-balanced report on the flotilla raid would have to have to include the perspective of flotilla participant and Israel Parliament member Hanin Zoabi, an Israeli-Arab, which ran in an AP article, and which was thus available to virtually every news editor in the country. In that AP story, which ran on June 10, she said, “The Israeli military is like a rapist that gets scratched and then blames the victim…Israel acts like a bull.”

According to a LexisNexis review condcted three days later, Zoabi’s words had still not been published in any major American newspaper.

Many American journalists – like many Americans – may feel Israel is justified in taking military actions in its professed self-defense, even as other Americans might consider those actions to be war crimes. Yet the point remains that support for the Israeli position does not justify suppression by the media of information integral to the story that conflicts with that position. At that point, the “news” becomes simply propaganda.

As George Curry, columnist for the BlackPressUSA site, noted in a recent article about the FAIR analysis, “For years, Palestinians have been unable to get their side fairly reported in the U.S. media and the latest international incident is yet another example.”

The critiques of Curry, FAIR and many others about the pro-Israeli/anti-Palestinian slant in America’s news media echoes a decades-old finding about news media failings to adequately cover race-related matters in the United States.
America’s news media have “not communicated to the majority of their audience – which is white – a sense of the degradation, misery, and hopelessness of living in the ghetto,” stated the March 1968 report of the Kerner Commission, which examined the causes of urban riots during the 1960s.

The Kerner Commission’s examination of news media practices criticized exclusionary coverage that consistently failed to provide context critical for a full understandings of race-related issues.

“If what the white American reads in the newspapers or sees on television conditions his expectations of what is ordinary and normal in the larger society, he will neither understand nor accept the black American,” the Kerner Report noted, concluding that slanted news coverage had “contributed to the black-white schism in this country.”

Slanted coverage on Palestinian issues similarly deprives Americans of the context needed to understand the complicated controversy that keeps the Middle East volatile and keeps America as a primary target of terrorists.

While accounts of that blinding injury to Emily Henchowicz are available in the blogosphere, the Inter Press Service is the only major U.S. news organization listed in the LexisNexis database to carry a story specifically reporting on the incident.

A June 1, 2010 IPS report from Ramallah stated that Henchowicz “…appeared to be deliberately targeted when a teargas canister was fired at her head, causing her to lose an eye.”

That same IPS article included context about IDF personnel regularly violating regulations barring firing those powerful gas canisters directly at protestors…violations that have produced in a number of deaths and serious injuries.

That Society of Professional Journalists Ethics Code urges journalists to “Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it’s unpopular to do so.”

The failure of many American media organizations to adhere to SPJ Code provisions produces the dynamic of: text without context is pretext.

LINN WASHINGTON is a founding member of the new independent collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper ThisCantBeHappening.net. His work, and that of colleagues John Grant, Dave Lindorff and Charles Young, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net



Sept 10, 2001: US pulls the plug on Muslim websites

US pulls the plug on Muslim websites

Islamic groups have condemned a government crackdown on a Texan telecoms company as part of a “witch-hunt”, writes Brian Whitaker

Five hundred websites – many of them with an Arab or Muslim connection – crashed last Wednesday when an anti-terrorism taskforce raided InfoCom Corporation in Texas.

The 80-strong taskforce that descended upon the IT company included FBI agents, Secret Service agents, Diplomatic Security agents, tax inspectors, immigration officials, customs officials, department of commerce officials and computer experts.

Three days later, they were still busy inside the building, reportedly copying every hard disc they could find. InfoCom hosts websites for numerous clients in the Middle East, including al-Jazeera (the satellite TV station), al-Sharq (a daily newspaper in Qatar), and Birzeit (the Palestinian university on the West Bank).

It also hosts sites for several Muslim organisations in the United States, among them the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Students Association, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.

In addition, InfoCom is the registered owner of “.iq” – the internet country code for Iraq.

A coalition of American Muslim groups immediately denounced the raid as part of an “anti-Muslim witch-hunt” promoted by the Israeli lobby in the United States.

Mahdi Bray, political adviser to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said: “We have deep concerns that this once again is an attempt to rush to judgment and to marginalise the American Muslim community. There is a pattern of bias that often permeates all of these types of investigations.”

The FBI, meanwhile, insisted the search had nothing to do with religion or Middle East politics. “This is a criminal investigation, not a political investigation,” a spokeswoman said. “We’re hoping to find evidence of criminal activity.”

Several Muslim groups have linked the raid to an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on August 13. Written by Daniel Pipes, director of the foreign policy research institute in Philadelphia, it called on the US to “support Israel in rolling back the forces of terror” by shutting down websites belonging to the Islamic Association for Palestine and the Holy Land Foundation.

“The federal authorities should use the tools it already has in closing down these websites and organisations,” the article said.

Daniel Pipes appears regularly in the US media, where he is regarded as an authority on the Middle East. Arab-Americans, on the other hand, regard him as a Muslim-basher and a staunch supporter of Israel.

In one magazine article Pipes wrote: “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene… All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”

In 1995, after the Oklahoma bombing (for which former war hero Timothy McVeigh was eventually executed) Pipes wasted no time in pinning the blame on Muslim extremists. He told USA Today: “People need to understand that this is just the beginning. The fundamentalists are on the upsurge, and they make it very clear that they are targeting us. They are absolutely obsessed with us.”

It is unlikely, however, that the FBI could have obtained a warrant to search InfoCom on the basis of Daniel Pipes’s remarks in the Wall Street Journal. They would have to demonstrate “probable cause” to a judge, but in this case the reasons may never be known because the judge ordered the warrant to be sealed.

InfoCom’s lawyer, Mark Enoch, said that whatever the company was suspected of, the FBI had “bad information”; InfoCom was innocent of any wrongdoing.

According to the New York Times, citing unnamed government officials, the purpose of the search was to discover whether InfoCom has any links to the militant Palestinian organisation, Hamas.

Under an anti-terrorism law introduced in 1996, it is illegal in the US to provide “material support” for Hamas or other organisations on the state department’s banned list. Although Israeli sympathisers in the US have been clamouring for prosecutions, there have been no major cases so far and some lawyers question whether the 1996 law is constitutional.

Just across the road from InfoCom’s offices, in Richardson on the outskirts of Dallas, is the headquarters of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). Apart from their physical proximity, InfoCom and HLF are intimately connected through two brothers: Ghassan and Bayan Elashi. The Elashis are of Palestinian origin and of a religious disposition. Ghassan is chairman of HLF and vice-president (marketing) of InfoCom.

InfoCom is a small but apparently successful company with a global business in computers, networking, telecommunications and internet services. Established in 1982, it moved to the area of Texas known as “Telecom Corridor” nine years ago. Its business in the Middle East has been expanding largely because of its expertise in Arabic-language databases. It recently won a contract in Jordan for a website where people can buy and sell cars.

Asked about the company’s ownership of “.iq”, the Iraqi national internet address, Ghassan Elashi said: “We were one of the pioneers of the internet at a time when all the upper domain names were available for everyone. We searched the lists and found Iraq was available for registration.”

To avoid any trouble over sanctions, InfoCom informed the state department that it had registered “.iq”, Elashi said. The state department replied with a “ridiculous” list of restrictions which mean that the company has never been able to make use of the Iraqi domain.

He said he had no idea what the task force was looking for in raiding InfoCom’s offices, though the staff were giving them full cooperation. He added: “Over the last four to five weeks we have experienced some unusual hacking – mostly by pro-Israeli hackers.”

The HLF, on the other side of the street, is a tax-exempt charity established in 1989. Most of its efforts are focused on helping Palestinians in Jordan, Lebanon and the occupied territories, but it has also sent humanitarian aid to Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya, as well as earthquake relief to Turkey and flood relief to Mozambique.

According to its website, the HLF has provided sponsorship for more than 1,800 Palestinian orphans and 450 families living in refugee camps. It has funded several medical projects, including Dar al-Salam hospital in Gaza, al-Razi hospital in Jenin, al-Ahli hospital in Hebron and a rehabilitation center for the handicapped located in Amman, Jordan. In Lebanon, it provided safe water supplies for 72,000 refugees in the Palestinian camps.

For several years the HLF has been the target of attacks by Israeli sympathisers. A letter sent to news organisations by New York senator Charles Schumer accused it of “raising millions of dollars for the Palestinian cause in the Middle East, some of which has been knowingly channelled to support the families of Hamas terrorists.”

A more specific claim, mentioned on the website of a Jewish organisation, the Anti-Defamation League, is that it has provided “monthly stipends to the families of terrorist suicide bombers in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza”.

The evidence against the HLF presented by the League in a 1998 press release was somewhat tenuous. It said that Israel had banned a Jerusalem-based organisation called the Holy Land Foundation (which it described as the “apparent counterpart” of the Texas charity) on the grounds that it was a front for Hamas.

Also, the League said, the Texas-based Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) had urged its members to send donations to the HLF. The League noted that the IAP had also “distributed official Hamas literature in the United States” and that its fundraising letter described the Palestinian struggle as “jihad” – “a term regularly used by Hamas”.

More recently, HLF and several other Muslim charities have become the target of a $600m (£409m) lawsuit by the parents of David Boim, an Israeli-American student who was shot dead in the West Bank in 1996. Using the 1996 anti-terrorism law, the family are claiming compensation from the charities, alleging that they provided “material support” to Hamas and were therefore responsible for David’s death.

Ghassan Elashi dismisses all these allegations. “The Holy Land Foundation is as clean as crystal water,” he says. “We have never been bothered by any government agencies.”

But to the alarm of America’s Arab and Muslim minorities, there are signs that the climate may be changing. Assistant New York state attorney general Karen Goldman has recently been pressing for a tax audit of HLF to “enforce the laws applicable to exempt organisations”. Another Muslim charity, the Islamic African Relief Agency, is engaged in a legal dispute with the state department after it revoked US aid grants worth $4.2m.

It is, of course, a duty of governments to ensure that charities maintain financial probity. The concern is that some charities may be getting singled out for discriminatory reasons.

The catch-all nature of the 1996 law against providing “material support” to banned organisations is also arousing controversy. “It makes any support whatever a crime,” one Arab-American said last week. “Simply giving blankets to the wrong kind of hospital could be a violation of the law.”

Email
brian.whitaker@guardian.co.uk

Related special reports
Israel & the Middle East
Iraq
George Bush’s America

Other articles
More articles by Brian Whitaker

Useful links
InfoCom Corporation
Holy Land Foundation
Anti-Defamation League
Al-bab.com (Brian Whitaker’s website)



Israel plans to send bill to Palestinians over boycotts
June 14, 2010, 1:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Catrina Stewart, The Independent
11 June 2010

What do The Pixies, Elvis Costello, and Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, have in common? A cursory glance might suggest not much yet all have deeply irked Israel.

When Mr Fayyad first embarked on a door-to-door campaign to persuade Palestinians to shun all products made by Jewish settlers, the Israeli public simply shrugged. But when veteran crooner Costello peered into his conscience and pulled a scheduled appearance in Tel Aviv, Israelis sat up and took notice.


Jewish settler in Hebron throws wine at Palestinian Muslimah

Embattled and increasingly isolated, a group of politicians are now proposing a bill that would outlaw boycotts against the Jewish State, both homegrown and international.

Should the proposal gain traction in its current form, it would force boycotters to pay compensation to settlers who claim their business had suffered. It would also affect foreign citizens calling for a boycott of Israel, potentially barring them from Israel for 10 years.

The Land of Israel, a right-wing parliamentary lobby group committed to Jewish settlement of the West Bank, submitted the bill with the support of 25 politicians from right wing and centrist parties. If approved, it could theoretically force the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay thousands of dollars in compensation to Jewish businesses affected by the Fayyad-led boycott campaign, a scenario that would likely spark furious reaction from Palestinians.

The move comes amid a growing global backlash against Israeli policies, which has intensified since Israel launched its bloody raid on a Turkish-led humanitarian convoy trying to breach the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Even before the flotilla affair, a campaign to persuade artists and authors to protest what they describe as an illegal and oppressive military occupation of the Palestinian territories was gaining ground. “Merely having your name added to a concert may be interpreted as a political act… and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent,” Costello said in a statement prior to the raid.

After last week’s deadly raid on the flotilla, US rock band The Pixies cancelled their gig. Several other bands have followed suit, prompting Israeli music promoter Shuki Weiss to complain that performers are waging a form of “cultural terrorism”.

Human rights activists, meanwhile, decried efforts by politicians to alienate those critical of Israel with new legislation. “We have wild right-wing politicians presenting wild demagogic bills … which create a very nasty public atmosphere,” said Adam Keller, spokesman for Gush Shalom, an Israeli NGO that has joined calls for a boycott of settler-made goods. “If this is passed into law, it would mean a total breakdown between Israel and the PA.”

Israel has condemned Mr Fayyad’s boycott campaign as harmful to the fragile peace process, and Israeli settler leaders have urged the government to respond with harsh retaliatory measures.

Should the proposal gain traction in its current form, it would force boycotters to pay compensation to settlers who claim their business had suffered. It would also affect foreign citizens calling for a boycott of Israel, potentially barring them from Israel for 10 years.

But activists said attempts to muzzle peace activists would make the movement stronger. “No Knesset laws can stop this tide of non-violent, morally consistent struggle for justice, self determination, equality and freedom,” political activist Omar Barghouti said in a statement.

Mr Fayyad, an economist by training, has provided the boycott campaign with fresh impetus in recent weeks, putting it at the heart of a peaceful resistance movement aimed at winning over international support. The boycott calls for Palestinians to shun all products made in the Jewish settlements, most of which sit on expropriated Palestinian farmland and are regarded as illegal under international law.

The PA has also barred Palestinians from working in the settlements as of the end of this year, an unpopular move only slightly eased by the promise of a $50m “dignity” fund designed to help workers make the transition. The PA has threatened those who fail to comply with fines.

The Jewish settlements, which sit atop the West Bank hills, have long been a thorn in the side of the peace process. Palestinians have maintained that as long as Jews are grabbing Palestinian land in the West Bank, Israel cannot be committed to a two-state solution.

“If I… were a Palestinian, I would certainly join the boycott that is being imposed on the settlements and their products,” wrote Yossi Sarid, a commentator in liberal Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. “After all, it would not be human to expect me to buy my tombstone from people who were determined to bury my hopes for a good life and independence.”

Israeli Minister of Minority Affairs, Avishay Braverman, who is responsible for Israel’s Arab population, said the boycott was a diversion from the pressing need for direct peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. US-sponsored efforts have brought both sides back to talks, but not in the same room.

“This boycott will have no real impact on Israel, but will harm Palestinian workers,” said Mr Braverman, a former World Bank economist. What it will do “is create a more general boycott on Israel that will harm relations between Israel and the Palestinians”.

And not everyone is moved, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Diana Krall, who is married to Costello, are still scheduled to perform in Israel later this year.

Meanwhile, authors Margaret Atwood and Amitav Ghosh, the joint recipients of an Israeli literary award, have bristled at calls from activists to refuse the prize, with Atwood describing cultural boycotts as “a form of censorship”.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-plans-to-send-bill-to-palestinians-over-boycotts-1997295.html



NOW AVAILABLE: Full 60-minute footage smuggled from Mavi Marmara

NOW AVAILABLE: Full 60-minute footage smuggled from Mavi Marmara

June 11, 2010

MEDIA ALERT:

JUST RELEASED: ONE HOUR OF FOOTAGE FROM MAVI MARMARA
Footage taken aboard largest ship in Gaza Freedom Flotilla in hour before and during raid by Israeli military

New York, NY—

A full hour of raw footage taken aboard the Mavi Marmara in the hour leading up to and during the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla has just been made available to view at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwsMJmvS0AY

The footage is also available for download at: http://tinyurl.com/flotilla-footage/

Despite the Israeli government’s efforts to confiscate all of the footage taken during the attack, CULTURES OF RESISTANCE filmmaker Iara Lee was able to smuggle one hour of footage back to the United States and is releasing it raw to the public today.

Yesterday at the United Nations, Ms. Lee presented the footage for the first time to the international press corps after the following statement:

“I want first to thank the United Nations Correspondents Association for organizing this event on such short notice.

“My name is Iara Lee. I am a dual U.S.-Brazilian citizen of Korean descent. I am a filmmaker and a human rights activist.

“I decided to join the Freedom Flotilla after going to Gaza a few months ago and seeing first hand the devastation there. After hearing the pleas of the people living in Gaza to have the blockade lifted, I felt I must do something.

“The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was on a humanitarian mission.  We expected to be deterred from delivering our aid to Gazans, but we did not expect to be attacked.

“We started filming from the moment we boarded the Mavi Marmara right through the Israeli assault on the ship. Although all of our equipment was confiscated, we managed to smuggle this footage out.

“Mine is high-definition footage of the Flotilla attack and also the only sustained footage of the ship and its passengers preceding the deadly Israeli commando raid. Watching this raw, unedited footage, you will get a sense of the mood on the ship and of the passengers on it.

“Undoubtedly, many of you will be scrutinizing it for clues to resolve the mysteries that still surround what happened that fateful night.

“During this past week the Israeli government has repeatedly alleged that these passengers — or some of them — laid a trap for Israel, duped the Israeli military, and plotted a lynching. Israel has repeatedly alleged that we were anti-Semitic Muslim fanatics connected to terrorist organizations.

“In fact, the passengers on our mission came from many countries and religious and ethnic backgrounds.  Our one common denominator was that we wanted to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza by highlighting the injustice of Israel’s blockade.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This wasn’t the ‘love boat,’ this was a flotilla of terror supporters.” Our footage will help you decide whether we were a love boat or a hate boat. You will see secular and devout passengers. You will see people at prayer and people working at their laptops.

“Was this a lynch-mob moved by hatred of Israelis or was it a cross-section of humanity moved by the plight of Gaza? Did we lay a trap for the Israeli commandos or did they unnecessarily attack us? Did we take them by surprise or did they take us by surprise?

“Do you see a premeditated ambush, or do you see some passengers using items at hand to protect themselves from an unprovoked assault by heavily armed commandos?

“You decide.”

CONTACT:

Iara Lee: iaralee@culturesofresistance.org

please cc: assistant@gg3.com for prompt reply

www.culturesofresistance.org

http://www.facebook.com/ profile.php?id=100000928581236

Posted at http://gazaflotilla.delegitimize.com/statements/activist-statements/full-60-minute-footage-smuggled-from-mavi-marmara/

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Tristan Anderson, an American nearly killed by Israeli Occupation Forces

FAQ’s ABOUT TRISTAN

Tristan was critically injured when he was shot in the head at close range with a metal high-velocity tear gas canister at the Israeli Separation Wall on March 13, 2009, while taking photos following a demonstration against the apartheid wall in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. The shooting caused severe traumatic brain injury and blindness in his right eye. Tristan, 39 years old, has not yet regained the use of the left side of his body and faces a long period of cognitive and physical rehabilitation and remains in a wheelchair. However, in the last several months he has made significant strides forward, including regaining his ability to speak.

Tristan Anderson, an American nearly killed by Israeli Occupation Forces

Tristan Anderson, an American nearly killed by Israeli Occupation Forces

from Solidarity with Tristan Anderson by friendsoftristan

(as of May 1, 2010, written by Gabby, his partner)

1- Can he talk?

Yes, Tristan started talking in early December (shortly after he ripped out his tracheotomy tube).

2- What does he say? Does he know who he is?

Tristan knows who he is and he remembers his pre-injury life. He’s maintained a lot of specialized knowledge, he tells stories, he recognizes people in pictures, he sings his favorite songs, etc. His long term memory for life before the injury is generally excellent.

3- What does his voice sound like? Is there heavy slurring? Does he have trouble formulating language?

Tristan speaks clearly but softly. We have very good communication from him, but it can be difficult to hear what he’s saying if there’s competing noise. While other cognitive functions have been impacted, Tristan’s language abilities are more or less intact. He’s maintained adult grammar and vocabulary and has not needed therapy to re-learn language.

4- How did Tristan communicate during the months before he was talking?

Before he was talking, Tristan communicated primarily with gestures and pantomime, and also by writing and spelling words out on a communication board. (Although it’s very difficult to read his handwriting, and it used to be much worse.)

In earlier days (and for a long time) Tristan had very limited and sometimes inconsistent communication, primarily with yes/no hand signals.  Besides hand signals, communication was also achieved by presenting objects or writing choices on a board and asking Tristan to point to the correct or desired one. In the bad old days, Tristan could really only handle two options at a time.

5- I hear he was in a coma.

Tristan was never in a coma, but he lingered in a   “minimally responsive” state for his first six to seven months post-injury. During this time, life was almost completely dominated by medical complications and Tristan could only maintain wakefulness for a few minutes at a time. It was a horrible period with a lot of uncertainty about whether or not life would ever get better, but he pulled through it and it has.

6- What changed?

In August Tristan had two surgeries, a Cranioplasty (a reconstructive surgery on his skull) followed by a VP Shunt (to regulate the flow of Cerebrospinal Fluid in his body). Tristan started noticeably “waking up” more following the shunt surgery, then experienced a very serious infection and went septic. He was put on high doses of intravenous anti-biotics for an extremely long time. Weeks later he emerged from the fevers and started making the slow climb out of the abyss.

7- Has his personality changed? How has Tristan been most affected cognitively by the injury?

Tristan has maintained a lot of his values and knowledge base as an activist and as the person we knew, but he has been profoundly affected by the injury to his brain. Among other things, he suffers from difficulties with impulse control and short term memory retrieval that impacts everything he does all the time.

I’m afraid in answering this question that I’ll give an overly optimistic or an overly pessimistic view to the people who are reading it. At various times talking to friends, I feel that I have done both.  The fact is, it’s complicated.

Brain injury can make a person a bit of an enigma.

For instance, Tristan can legitimately play adult trivia games at a higher level than I can, but he can’t play Connect Four or other simple children’s board games because he gets too caught up in putting all the pieces in and he can’t wait his turn.

Tristan oscillates constantly between being knowledgeable and insightful to being unreasonable and child-like. There is never a time that I am unaware of his injury.

8-  What parts of his body and brain were injured on March 13, 2009?

Tristan was shot in the forehead above his right eye and was primarily injured in the right frontal lobe of his brain. He also suffered injury due to hemorrhaging and swelling during his first week in the ICU which very nearly took his life and did more damage. These secondary injuries caused significant harm to the right temporal lobe and to other areas of his brain.

Tristan was also blinded in the right eye and the orbit (the bone surrounding this eye) was smashed to pieces. He is classified as having had a “severe” traumatic brain injury.

9- How has he been affected physically?

Tristan is hemiplegic. He is not completely paralyzed but has almost no movement at all in his left arm and left leg. This is particularly difficult for him because he was left handed.

Tristan is also still recovering from the extensive damage done to his body by the months of being mostly bed-ridden and immobilized.

10- Will he walk again?

Tristan is in a wheelchair. Recently we’ve been seeing some movement come back in his left hip, and his physical therapist feels optimistic that given proper therapy, he will be able to regain some ability to walk. However, she has warned that this may take years of work.

11- What is daily life like for you guys at the Rehabilitation Center?

On a good busy day, the mornings are a flurry of activity as Tristan moves between physical, speech and occupational therapy appointments.  We squeeze in two meals and hopefully have time leftover for exercises and practice on a Standing Frame (a supported structure in the physical therapy room that lets Tristan’s body get used to standing again.)  Sometimes we also use a recumbent style stationary exercise bike that Tristan can peddle actively using his right leg and passively with his left.

In the early afternoon Tristan goes back to bed and rests for about two hours.  He typically gets up about 4:00 or 4:30 and goes on a long walk with his father, then comes back and eats dinner. He eats a lot of variations on rice and beans and vegetables and a lot of different kinds of soups.

After dinner we figure out what to do with the rest of the evening.  Sometimes Tristan works with a computer.  Other times we play card games, board games, stuff like that.  We try to get him used to operating his wheel chair for himself. Sometimes we work him pretty hard, other times we just hang out.  We read to each other a lot, including some of Tristan’s old writings.

We try to keep him company here and do something in between “work” and “play” in the free time we have. Mike, Nancy, and I have no lives at all. We’re here at the hospital pretty much all the time.

12- Does he ever get out of the hospital?

Not very often, but sometimes. We try to get out on the weekends.

13- How is he handling this emotionally?

For better or worse, Tristan has never heavily grieved over his injury. He is very aware of ways that the injury has affected him physically, but less aware or accepting of the cognitive repercussions.

In the last several months we’ve seen him slowly start to get more in touch with his feelings, and I believe this will continue to develop with time.

14- Are you still seeing improvement in his abilities?

Yes.

15- Is he still in critical condition?

No, at this point, Tristan is in the post-acute stage of his injury. He’s living in a hospital because he gets rehabilitation there.

16- Is he pretty much independent now or does he need a lot of help?

He needs a lot of help.

17- What’s happening with the court cases?

There are two court cases, a criminal case and a civil case.

As of now, the Israeli Police who investigated Tristan’s shooting have closed the case without bringing criminal charges against anyone involved. The investigation has been widely criticized as a sham, and we are appealing this decision.

(There was a misleading article published by Ha’aretz entitled “State to Re-investigate Wounding of U.S. Activist”, which was spread all over the internet and gave the false impression that the Israeli state was re-opening Tristan’s case. In fact all that happened is that our lawyers submitted an appeal and the other side is legally obliged to accept our paperwork, so they did. That’s it.)

Besides the criminal case, there is also a civil case which Tristan’s family is bringing against the Israeli military to help cover the lifetime of medical expenses, lost wages, and continuing care that Tristan will need. We have been warned that the civil case is likely to take years before coming to fruition. (Rachel Corries’ civil case, filed in 2005, first made it in to court here about a month and a half ago, which is appalling.)

18- What is the basis of your appeal to re-open the criminal case?

The investigation into Tristan’s shooting is a perfect illustration of why the police and the army can not be trusted to investigate themselves.

The investigators, for instance, never even bothered to go to the scene where the shooting took place. No physical evidence was ever collected.

Additionally, eye witnesses uniformly testified that the shots were fired from a nearby hill. Even though the military has confirmed that indeed there were Border Police armed with high velocity tear gas positioned on that hill, the entire investigation into Tristan’s shooting relates instead to the irrelevant conduct of an irrelevant squad of Border Police positioned on the other side of town.

To date, the Border Police on the hill where the shots were fired have never been questioned.

19- Is there anything we can do to help demand justice for Tristan?

We are demanding that the criminal case against the Border Police involved in Tristan’s shooting be re-opened immediately and a meaningful investigation begun.

Friends are urged to contact Barbara Lee, Tristan’s representative in Congress (202-225-2661) or to picket their local Israeli Consulate,

(http://www.israelemb.org/israeli-consulate-in-usa.htm) demanding that Israel take full responsibility for Tristan’s shooting.

We also recognize that during the time that we’ve been here in the hospital with Tristan, two other activists have died at demonstrations against the Wall. Their names were Basem Abu Rahme and Yousef ‘Akil’ Tsadik Srour. Basem was killed while screaming to soldiers that this was a non-violent demonstration and telling them to stop shooting at a woman protester who’d been injured. Akil died coming to the aid of a sixteen year old boy who’d been shot in the spine.

To date, Israel has killed 23 people to build their Wall, and seriously wounded many more, including Ehab Fadel Barghouthi (age 14), shot in the head at a demonstration several weeks ago.

Putting finishing touches on this document, I learn that Ahmad Sliman Salem Dib, age 19, was shot to death just days ago on the 28th of April, at a demonstration against land seizure in Gaza.

Demanding Justice for Tristan is also demanding justice for them, and recognizing the role of the United States government in war and occupation around the world.

20- Will Tristan make a full recovery?  Do the doctors have any kind of long term projection?

There is no long term projection.  As long as he’s still doing better, no one can tell how far he’ll go.  But the fact is, you can’t just shoot somebody in the head and then take it back.  Dead brain tissue stays dead, but the human mind can learn to compensate.

The most common metaphor I’ve heard to describe brain injury rehabilitation is this: You’re traveling down the road and the highway is blocked.  The question is: can you find a way to get to where you’re going using the back roads?  People who are successful at brain injury rehabilitation form new pathways and find them.

21- When do you think he will be ready to come home?

This is also the question that Tristan asks all the time. We expect to fly back in to California some time in the summer of 2010.

Tristan will move in with his parents and live with them in their small rural town. He will continue his rehabilitation on an out-patient basis from there. We plan to also set up a satellite home for him in the Bay Area and move back and forth.

My hope is that friends and family will accept Tristan for his abilities and disabilities, and find ways to welcome him back home.

For anyone inspired, there will be a lot of work to do.

We are accepting monetary donations through this website. Also, we’re starting a Welcome Tristan listserve for logistical coordination of accessibility projects and bright ideas.  To subscribe send a blank email to friendsoftristan+subscribe@googlegroups.com



Fidel Castro: The empire and lies
Reflections of Fidel Castro

(Taken from CubaDebate)

I was left with no alternative other than to write two “Reflections” on Iran and Korea, which explain the imminent danger of war with the use of nuclear weapons. I have also expressed the opinion that one of them could be overcome if China decided to veto the resolution that the United States is promoting in the United Nations Security Council. The other is dependent on factors that escape any possibility of control, due to the fanatical conduct of the state of Israel, converted by the United States into its current condition as a strong nuclear power, which does not accept any control whatsoever on the part of the superpower.

In June 1953, when the first United States intervention to crush the Islamic Revolution in defense of its own interests and those of its close ally the United Kingdom took place, which resulted in Mohammed Reza Pahlevi assuming power, Israel was a small state that had not yet seized almost all of Palestinian territory, part of Syria and more than a small part of neighboring Jordan, defended up until then by the Arab Legion, of which not a trace remained.

Today the hundreds of rockets with nuclear warheads, supported by the most modern aircraft supplied by the United States, are threatening the security of all the states of the region, Arab and non-Arab, Muslim and non-Muslim, that are in the reach of the wide radius of action of Israeli missiles, which could fall within a few meters of their objectives.

Last Sunday, May 30, when I wrote the Reflection “The Empire and drugs,” the brutal attack on the flotilla transporting provisions, medicines and other items for the one and a half million Palestinians besieged in a small fragment of what was their own homeland for thousands of years, had not yet taken place.

The vast majority of people invest their time in and struggle to confront the necessities that life imposes upon them, including food, the right to recreation and study, and other vital problems of their closest family members; they do not have time to search for information about what is happening on the planet. They can be found anywhere, with noble expressions on their face, trusting that others will take charge of finding solutions to the problems overwhelming them. They are capable of rejoicing and laughing. Thus, they bring happiness to those of us who have the privilege of observing with equanimity the realities threatening us all.

The extremely strange fabrication that North Korea had sunk the South Korean Cheonan corvette – designed with cutting-edge technology, endowed with a wide-ranging sonar system and underwater acoustic sensors – in waters opposite its coast, blamed North Korea for the appalling act that cost the lives of 40 South Korean marines and inflicted dozens of injuries.

It was not easy for me to unravel the problem. On the one hand, there was no explanation as to how it was possible for any government, however much authority it enjoys, to utilize command mechanisms to give orders to torpedo an ensign ship. On the other hand, I did not believe for one second the version that it was Kim Jong II who gave that order.

I lacked the elements needed to reach a conclusion, but I was sure that China would veto a draft resolution in the Security Council to sanction North Korea. On the other hand, I was in no doubt whatsoever that the United States is unable to avoid the use of nuclear weapons on the part of the incontrollable government of Israel.

Late in the evening of June 1 the veil over what really happened began to lift.

At 10:30 p.m. I listened to the content of an acute analysis by the journalist Walter Martínez, who produces the sterling “Dossier” program on Venezuelan television. He came to the conclusion that the United States had made each part of Korea believe what each side was affirming about the other, with the objective of solving the problem of the return of the territory occupied by the Okinawa base, as demanded by the new Japanese leader, reflecting the wishes of the country. His party gained enormous backing in the elections due to that promise of his to secure the [U.S.] withdrawal from the military base installed there which, for more than 65 years, has been a dagger thrust in the heart of Japan, now a developed and rich country.

Via Global Research the really amazing details of what happened have come out, thanks to an article by Wayne Madsen, an investigative journalist working in Washington DC, who circulated information from intelligence sources on the Wayne Madsen Report website.

Those sources, he affirmed,

“…suspect that the March attack on the South Korean Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette, the Cheonan, was a false flag attack designed to appear as coming from North Korea.”

“One of the main purposes for increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula was to apply pressure on Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to reverse course on moving the U.S. Marine Corps base off Okinawa. Hatoyama has admitted that the tensions over the sinking of the Cheonan played a large part in his decision to allow the U.S. Marines to remain on Okinawa. Hatoyama’s decision has resulted in a split in the ruling center-left coalition government, a development welcome in Washington, with Mizuho Fukushima, the Social Democratic Party leader threatening to bolt the coalition over the Okinawa reversal.

“The Cheonan was sunk near Baengnyeong Island, a westernmost spot that is far from the South Korean coast, but opposite the North Korean coast. The island is heavily militarized and within artillery fire range of North Korean coastal defenses, which lie across a narrow channel.

“The Cheonan, an ASW corvette, was decked out with state-of-the-art sonar, plus it was operating in waters with extensive hydrophone sonar arrays and acoustic underwater sensors. There is no South Korean sonar or audio evidence of a torpedo, submarine or mini-sub in the area. Since there is next to no shipping in the channel, the sea was silent at the time of the sinking.

“However, Baengnyeong Island hosts a joint U.S-South Korea military intelligence base and the U.S. Navy SEALS operate out of the base. In addition, four U.S. Navy ships were in the area, part of the joint U.S-South Korean Exercise Foal Eagle, during the sinking of the Cheonan. An investigation of the suspect torpedo’s metallic and chemical fingerprints show it to be of German manufacture. There are suspicions that the U.S. Navy SEALS maintains a sampling of European torpedoes for sake of plausible deniability for false flag attacks. Also, Berlin does not sell torpedoes to North Korea, however, Germany does maintain a close joint submarine and submarine weapons development program with Israel.

“The presence of the USNS Salvor, one of the participants in Foal Eagle, so close to Baengnyeong Island during the sinking of the South Korean corvette also raises questions.

“The Salvor, a civilian Navy salvage ship, which participated in mine laying activities for the Thai Marines in the Gulf of Thailand in 2006, was present near the time of the blast with a complement of 12 deep sea divers.

“Beijing, satisfied with North Korea’s Kim Jong Il’s claim of innocence after a hurried train trip from Pyongyang to Beijing, suspects the U.S. Navy’s role in the Cheonan’s sinking, with particular suspicion on the role of the Salvor. The suspicions are as follows:

  1. “The Salvor engaged in a seabed mine-installation operation, in other words, attaching horizontally fired anti-submarine mines on the sea floor in the channel.
  2. “The Salvor was doing routine inspection and maintenance on seabed mines, and put them into an electronic active mode (hair trigger release) as part of the inspection program.
  3. “A SEALS diver attached a magnetic mine to the Cheonan, as part of a covert program aimed at influencing public opinion in South Korea, Japan and China.

“The Korean peninsula tensions have conveniently overshadowed all other agenda items on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visits to Beijing and Seoul.”

Thus, in an amazingly easy way, the United States managed to solve an important problem: to liquidate the National Unity government of the Democratic Party of Yukio Hatoyama, but at an extremely high cost:

  1. It deeply offended its South Korea allies.
  2. It highlighted the skill and rapidity with which its adversary Kim Jong Il acted.
  3. It emphasized the prestige of the Chinese power, whose president, with full moral authority, moved personally and sent China’s principal leaders to converse with Emperor Akihito, the Prime Minister and other eminent Japanese figures.

Political leaders and world opinion have proof of the cynicism and total lack of scruples that characterize the imperial policy of the United States.

Fidel Castro Ruz
June 3, 2010,
11:16 a.m.

Translated by Granma International

Cuba Debate via Granma