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Israel Crosses 'Red-Line' with Criticism of Obama and Kerry

by Oui Mon Jul 28th, 2014 at 06:22:17 PM EST

Israel was undertaking an "appropriate and legitimate effort" to defend itself but the consequences were of deep concern, Kerry said. President Obama made it clear: "Israel has a right to defend itself."

US fuming over Israeli criticism of Kerry

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration pushed back strongly at a torrent of Israeli criticism over Secretary of State John Kerry's latest bid to secure a cease-fire with Hamas, accusing some in Israel of launching a "misinformation campaign" against the top American diplomat.

"It's simply not the way partners and allies treat each other," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Her comments were echoed by the White House, where National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the U.S. was "dismayed" by mischaracterizations of Kerry's efforts. Israeli media reports have cast Kerry as seeking a cease-fire that is more favorable to Hamas and being dismissive of key Israeli concerns.

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Rice Attempts to Quell Concerns Over US-Israel Relations (Arutz Sheva)

Kerry himself, in a speech to the Center for American Progress, noted the criticism but did not give ground.

Poll: 86.5% of Israelis oppose cease-fire

Continued below the fold ...

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Climate Change and Geotherapy: Two Conferences, Two Workshops, and Another Chance

by gmoke Sun Jul 27th, 2014 at 07:33:38 PM EST

I've been going to public lectures on climate change at Harvard, MIT, and other places since at least 1980.  Lately I've been thinking that I have yet to hear an ecologist talk about the subject.  I've seen climatologists, atmospheric chemists, atmospheric physicists, glaciologists, rocket scientists (thanks, S Fred Singer), oceanographers, and geologists address the subject.  But I can't recall hearing an ecologist talk about climate change and ecological systems.  This becomes even more frustrating to me when I attend a lecture on geoengineering.  In the last couple of years, a joint Harvard and MIT group has been meeting to discuss this topic and the enormous intellectual effort devoted to rather simplistic solutions to complex systems problems is astonishing to me, especially since there seems to be such a great reluctance to engage on the systems issues.

Recently, some friends and colleagues have begun trying to remedy the situation, focusing on the global carbon cycle and, in particular, soil carbon.  Part of this is through the work of Allan Savory and his practice of Holistic Management in relation to livestock grazing patterns.  Another part is through the work of Tom Goreau protecting and, in some cases, restoring coral reefs.  Through their efforts, this year's Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference will have an extensive "Soil Carbon and Climate Track" introducing practicing farmers to ways in which their daily work can sequester carbon from the atmosphere for years, decades, and even centuries, becoming an important tool in diminishing climate change and, just possibly, reversing it.

A few weeks later, the NOFA Massachusetts chapter will host two day-long workshops with Dr. Christine Jones, an Australian soil biologist, on "Practical Options for Food Production Resilience in an Increasingly Variable Climate."  One workshop will be in the Boston area and the other will be in Western Massachusetts.

Lastly and certainly not least, they are organizing a conference at Tufts University at the end of November on "Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming."  Not only will the conference bring together experts from all over the world to talk about ecosystem solutions to confront climate change and global warming but it is also designed to start a global conversation and network to begin practicing these systemic solutions, sharing what works and understanding what doesn't and why.

This is a development I have long waited for and will participate in as much as I can.

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Estonia Celebrates Annual Waffen SS Division Heroes

by Oui Sat Jul 26th, 2014 at 10:55:24 AM EST

h/t Fran @MoA  - she provided the link to this story here and also here. Of course it got no coverage in the western media of anti-Russian propaganda. Here is a news source from Estonia ...

Politsei kaitseb veterane Sinimägedel [Police will protect veterans Sinimägedel]

Ida-Virumaal avati Sinimägede muuseum - 2008 [Ida-Viru County Museum opened in the Blue Mountains - 2008]

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Source: Vaivara Sinimägede Muuseum on the border of civilization.

In the Shadow of the Bronze Soldier

In May, 2007, I wrote a paper on the nostalgia for the Nazi-era collaborators in the Baltic States, especially as manifested in Estonia by the ex-prime minister, revisionist historian and Milton Friedman prize-winner, Mart Laar. [Interesting representation on the selection committe for the award: i.a. Anne Applebaum. Damn, she gets around between the Orange Revolution and marrying Polands neocon FM Radek Sikorski. He became British citizen and war correspondent in Angola and Afghanistan (1986-89) reporting from the partizan side.  - Oui]

Since Mr Laar acts as an adviser to the Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, as well as a propagandist on his behalf in the American media, it seemed appropriate to republish the paper, In the Shadow of the Bronze Soldier: Estonia Removes Red Army Memorials and Restores SS Graves.

Simon Wiesenthal Center accuses Lithuania of glorifying pro-Nazi leader

Continued below the fold ...

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Time for Europe to get real

by Frank Schnittger Sat Jul 26th, 2014 at 03:04:09 AM EST

298 mostly European civilians lost their lives when a civilian airliner was apparently shot down by a sophisticated homing missile available only to the most advanced armies in the world and fired from an area controlled by Ukrainian insurgents. Such weapons had allegedly been previously used to shoot down Ukrainian military aircraft. Whether it was operated by Ukrainian insurgents, Russian "advisers", or regular Russian troops, is almost immaterial: Putin and the Russian federation are almost certainly ultimately responsible. And yet European leaders do little but wring their hands and complain about the chaotic crash scene investigation and the recovery of bodies and personal effects.

No one expects European leaders to go to war with a nuclear power like Russia over such a provocation - but the repeated mincing of words by Obama and his Nato allies is nothing short of embarrassing. Well might Putin et al obfuscate until the outcry dies down.  But isn't it about time that the EU took some concerted action?  How about a strategic EU energy policy and plan to reduce all dependence on Russian gas within 10 years to zero by building a European supergrid powered from largely sustainable sources?

The problem with most forms of sustainable energy is that they require very large amounts of capital upfront, reasonable interest rates, and guaranteed feed in tariffs to be economically viable.  This is problematic at a time when many EU states - particularly those at the periphery are over-borrowed and under huge pressure to reduce Sovereign and private indebtedness. But how about making such capital available through the European Investment Bank for EU Commission approved projects?  

Irish and Scottish wind, wave and tidal turbines allied to eastern European and Mediterranean solar farms could make up a huge amount of the energy deficit created by a progressive reduction in Russian energy imports, whilst at the same time providing a much needed boost to investment and employment starved peripheral EU economies.  Would it be too much to ask the EU to be proactive and actually take the lead in such a continent wide project?  Would it be too much to ask for the EU to actually have a continent wide energy policy?

front-paged by afew

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The Dutch Have Gone Mad [More Mad]

by Oui Fri Jul 25th, 2014 at 04:41:35 PM EST

BREAKING NEWS: Mayor of Dutch Town threatens Putin's daughter because of MH-17.

One sees a slow process of nations moving towards another war, is this what my dad felt when he undertook an adventurous bike ride through Rhineland, passed through Mannheim, Strasburg and Freiburg into Basel Switzerland in 1935. He wasn't at ease from his analysis of radio broadcasts. Just like my interest to listen and watch the propaganda from all sides, I see my dad late at night with his ear to a Philips short-wave radio and dial from one station to the next. He listened to all major capitals in the western world.

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During the German occupation 1940-45, radios were forbidden, so my dad took it apart and stored in a small space of the stairs. (Erres/Philips model 1946)

Shortly before the German invasion and occupation of Holland, he was drafted during a general mobilization of Dutch forces and served as a guard at the Moerdijkbrug over a main water artery. One of the crucial spots of a defense line along the length of the Rhine and its arteries.

Mayor of Dutch Town threatens Putin's daughter because of MH-17

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Gaza

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jul 25th, 2014 at 07:22:01 AM EST

I haven't written about Gaza because some things are just too evil for human comprehension.  Who uses flechette and white phosphorous shells on civilian populations? Flechette shells available here at Ammo To Go at a reduced price of $21.95...

When listening to Netanyahu It is difficult to comprehend the enormity of the irony that the people on whom the Holocaust was perpetrated are now engaging in similar genocide themselves, and doing so with a self-righteous pomposity that beggars belief.

When you look at the map below, who can doubt the central thesis of my diary Israel/Palestine: One state or two? written almost 7 years ago (that a separate Palestinian State is no longer viable)?

But seven years on we are no closer to a political settlement in the region, and have, if anything, moved further away. Maybe those writers and religious seers  who predicted Armageddon have a point, at least as far as the chosen land and people are concerned. "Those whom the God's seek to destroy, they first make mad" (Sophocles, Antigone).

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We Share Their Moral Values ... Israel

by Oui Thu Jul 24th, 2014 at 07:51:05 PM EST

BREAKING NEWS: UN staff killed in attack on UN-run school in Gaza: Ban Ki-moon

Both nations are morally bankrupt. The U.S. has their school of the Americas with training in death squads and torture. This has been known especially after the investigation and report by the Church Commission.

After 9/11 devastation Ariel Sharon and George Bush joined forces to pronounce an all-out War On Terror (WOT)TM. This was not just on the enemy that attacked New York, Pennsylvania and Washington but included Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah. The neocons created their war of civilizations and we stood by and let it happen. See all the Islamophobes funded and supported by the terror state Israel and its minions.

I wasn't surprised that the U.N. school with civilians was targeted. This happens in every battle Israel engages with its neighbors, so it's planned and not by accident. It's part of political and military strategy. Netanyahu was pissed at the United Nations and SG Ban Ki-moon for his condemnation of the number of civilian deaths in Gaza.

    Netanyahu directly responded to Ban regarding the two-state solution option, saying that Hamas is just another manifestation of violent, Islamic extremist organizations like ISIS, al-Qaida, Hezbollah or Boko Haram. Hamas's grievance, he said, "is that we exist. They don't want a two state solution. They don't want any solution."

The UNHRC decided to start an investigation into war crimes in Gaza by both Hamas and the IDF. Much to the disgust of Netanyahu, his master Ariel Sharon knew hoe to react. The vicious attack on civilians was a 'price-tag' for U.N. interference. I watched war criminal Bibi Netanyahu after Ban Ki-moon spoke at the press-conference, he was f*cking mad. All he spouted was war rhetoric, he was possessed.

Gaza War: Bringing Out the Worst in Israeli Misogyny, Racism

Continued below the fold ...

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On the culture of non-peer-reviewed research dissemination

by Migeru Thu Jul 24th, 2014 at 04:36:38 AM EST

"why do people submit drafts that have already been posted on Arxiv to peer-reviewed journals then?"
This may be a cultural issue and it helps to know where the arXiv comes from.

Originally posted in the Voice of the Researchers forum

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Do we want free movement of capital in Europe?

by Migeru Thu Jul 24th, 2014 at 01:52:29 AM EST

In the discussion of Britain's EU exit initiated by Frank, Cyrille challenges me repeatedly on free movement of capital:

I think the "four freedoms" should apply as widely as possible so, on that basis, it would be a bad thing if the UK were to leave the EU.
That is a consistent view, ...

[b]ut I had been under the impression that you were no fan of the free movement of capital -certainly an unrestricted one.

Well, touche
Unfettered cross-border capital flows are a bad idea. Just look at the financial crises of the last 30 years, worldwide.
So, do we want free movement of capital? More below the fold.

front-paged by afew

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Shrapnel Damage of Cockpit MH-17 Devastating

by Oui Wed Jul 23rd, 2014 at 02:37:53 PM EST

Pretty devastating footage, the missile warhead with fragmentation shrapnel must have exploded right underneath cockpit at front side of plane - photo.  [port front of cockpit = left side]

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Crash site in Donetsk district near village of Shakhtars'k

This is a Malaysian Boeing 777 at Schiphol airport.

Posted earlier @MoA - No Evidence - Administration's MH17 Case Against Russia Falls Apart.

Interesting, FT Europe explains photo thus: MH17 crash: FT photo shows signs of damage from missile strike.

A Buk missile is with proximity fuse, gets within 30 meters of target and triggers a high fragmentation explosive. Another missile in Ukrainian possession is the S-300 which does most damage as it explodes upon impact. This will destroy the plane just about instantly with no chance of survival. A few days earlier, the anti-Kiev forces downed an Antonov military transport plane. Eight crew members bailed out to safety with a parachute. Quite a difference. The two recorders can provide substantial data to verify what happened in milliseconds after impact.

The Dutch take over the crash investigation of shot-down Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17

(WAN) - The Dutch Safety Board [OvV - Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid] took over formal responsibility for the air crash investigation from Ukraine yesterday evening (July 22). The two black boxes have since arrived in the United Kingdom [Farnborough], where they are currently being read out and analyzed by a team of international specialists. The on-site investigation in Ukraine is currently in full swing. Although investigators still do not have safe access to the crash site, work to gather and analyse data from various sources is underway in bothKiev and the Netherlands.

The first priorities will be to gather information from the crash site, analyse the black boxes and coordinate the international team. Ultimately, the air crash investigation should offer victims families and the international community a clear and comprehensive overview of the causes and course of the crash.

With the Dutch Safety Board now heading the investigation, the international investigation team will have more freedom to go about its tasks unhindered. The Dutch Safety Board is also responsible for coordinating all participating investigators and investigation teams from the countries involved (Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The international team currently consists of 24 investigators. A total of four Dutch Safety Board investigators are currently operating inUkraine.

OvV presentation: Turkish Airways Boeing 737-800 crash at Schiphol Airport Amsterdam - 2009 [pdf]

Comments >> (7 comments)

Through MIT's Nuclear Goggles

by gmoke Mon Jul 21st, 2014 at 01:12:41 PM EST

Switzerland came to the Boston area a week or so ago.  There was a conversation with one of the political leaders of the country, Doris Leuthard, Councillor of the Swiss Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications, at MIT on "Future Energy Supply and Security in Switzerland" and the next day a seminar on Watt d'Or, the Swiss award for the best energy projects in the country (http://www.bfe.admin.ch/org/00483/00638/?lang=en), at Northeastern University to celebrate the opening of an exhibit that will stay up at Northeastern's International Village until September.

I attended both events and learned quite a few exciting ideas from the Swiss and, inadvertently, something more about the limitations of MIT's view of the energy future.

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Far Away, So Far Away

by afew Mon Jul 21st, 2014 at 02:58:26 AM EST

Over the weekend, two pro-Palestinian demonstrations in France (banned because of previous attacks on synagogues, official reason) began peacefully and ended in violent street fighting.

French president François Hollande alluded to the situation yesterday, when decorating documentalists of WWII deportation and murder of Jews in France Beate and Serge Klarsfeld with the Légion d'Honneur. Here is what he had to say about the current situation in France (emphasis mine):

Hollande refuse tout acte «qui puisse faire ressurgir l'antisémitisme» - Libération

«La République, c'est la capacité de vivre ensemble, de regarder son histoire et en même temps d'être toujours prêts à défendre les valeurs démocratiques, de ne pas se laisser entraîner par des querelles qui sont trop loin d'ici pour être importées, de ne pas se laisser emporter par les déflagrations du monde», a-t-il dit. Il faut, a-t-il ajouté, «faire en sorte que ne soit toléré aucun acte, aucune parole qui puisse faire ressurgir l'antisémitisme et le racisme».

The Republic means being able to live together, to be aware of its history and be always ready at the same time to defend democratic values, not to let ourselves be caught up in quarrels that are too far away from here to be imported, to not get carried away by the explosions of the world ... act so that no deed, no word be tolerated that might bring back antisemitism and racism.

François Hollande does not know that Palestine is not far away, that what is happening there is in every French living-room. He does not know that Israel's war crimes against the people of Gaza are right there on France's doorstep. He does not know that the country he presides is a Mediterranean country. He is ignorant of the ethnic and cultural origins of a large proportion of unemployed young people in France, of their historical and family links to other Mediterranean countries, of the fact that the rise of anti-Jewish sentiment among them is fuelled, precisely, by Israel's oppression of the Palestinians. He does not know that the death of boys playing on the beach at one end of Mare Nostrum washes up on the beaches of Marseille. He therefore fails to "be aware of (the French Republic's) history", and he wishfully believes that incantatory nonsense will suffice to lay the ghosts of the past while he turns his head away from the monsters of the present. By this appalling little speech he has gained his place among the pusillanimous European leaders who averted their eyes from Nazism until it was too late, and thus played a large part in permitting the genocide that followed - and which was exactly the subjacent theme of the ceremony at which he pronounced these words.

If you hear the echo of Neville Chamberlain on Czechoslovakia:

Neville Chamberlain - Wikiquote

a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing
 

you have finer-tuned hearing than François Hollande, though you win no prizes, it really isn't hard.

Comments >> (17 comments)

Pulled NBC Reporter Reassigned to Gaza after Protest

by Oui Sat Jul 19th, 2014 at 06:03:02 AM EST

In Afghanistan and Iraq we shoot to kill those pesky Al Jazeera reporters, in Egypt coup-president Sisi imprisons local Al Jazeera reporters 7-10 years for mingling with Islamists in Sinai and Msulim Brotherhood leaders, in the United States anno 2014 we just remove them for 'security sake' from the frontlines in Gaza. When Israeli NGO Monitors, MEMRI propaganda or CAMERA reports or IDF insist those journalists are risking Israeli lives. Nationalist fury after the succes of a film about Palestinian plight, nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Film. IDF Soldiers Demand Prosecution of 5 Broken Cameras Director for Incitement.

Don't ever refer to Israeli scum as 'scum' while on camera, it'll get you fired - CNN correspondent Diana Magnay  removed after she refers to Israelis as 'scum'.

NBC Reportedly Pulls Reporter Who Witnessed Child Deaths From Gaza

(Business Insider) - NBC News has pulled Ayman Mohyeldin from Gaza after the veteran journalist personally witnessed the death of four Palestinian boys.

"Mohyeldin's reporting has been far more balanced and even-handed than the standard pro-Israel coverage that dominates establishment American press coverage; his reports have provided context to the conflict that is missing from most American reports and he avoids adopting Israeli government talking points as truth. As a result, neocon and 'pro-Israel' websites have repeatedly attacked him as a 'Hamas spokesman' and spouting 'pro-Hamas rants'."

The Gawker
Talkimg Points Memo

 

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    Facebook 'photo' of NBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin - join the protest
    of Israel's continuoous murder of Palestinians as the world watches

    "Thank you to everyone's support over the past few days," Mohyeldin wrote on his Facebook page. "I'm returning to Gaza to report. Proud of NBC's continued commitment to cover the Palestinian side of this story."

NBC News Correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin Returning To Gaza

Continued below the fold ...

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Setting the stage for British withdrawal

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jul 16th, 2014 at 05:49:41 AM EST

Jean-Claude Juncker has now been formally elected at President of the European Commission by a 422 to 250 vote in the European Parliament.  Most Prime Ministers in Europe can only dream of such a wide margin of victory.  That vote follows on from his 26 to 2 vote victory in the European Council (made up of national heads of government). And Yet Nigel Farage, leader of England's UKIP, can only rage at the undemocratic nature of his election.  

It is ironic that the most vehement objections to Juncker's election have come from the UK - a country which has a whole House of Parliament made up of unelected Lords and which has just nominated one of that number  - Lord Hill - to be Britain's next member of the Commission.  It seems democracy only becomes an issue when you don't get your own man appointed through some kind of back room deal. The UK's ignorance of and contempt for EU institutions has now come to bite it severely in the back-side.  

Cameron's influence in the EU is now at an all time low and will not be helped by his replacement of Foreign Secretary William Hague by the Eurosceptic Philip Hammond in a Government reshuffle which also sees a number of other prominent Eurosceptics promoted. When this is combined with the UK's likely loss of Baroness Ashton's (another ex-member of the House of Lords) post of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, it looks as if the stage is being set for an ever more distant relationship between the EU and UK.

Why anyone in the EU (apart from Ireland) should now be bothered about anything Cameron has to do or say is beyond me. Should Scotland vote for Independence another barrier to England going it's own way and departing the EU will have been removed. Northern Ireland's constitutional status will again be destabilized, and who knows how that will play out - possibly for the better - but it could be a long and painful process. Cameron could yet be known as the Prime Minister who led England to the break-up of the UK. Certainly the EU will not be weakened by his antics.

Comments >> (61 comments)

Israel Exacerbating Settler Violence with Gag Orders

by Oui Sun Jul 6th, 2014 at 05:03:01 AM EST

Both Economy Minister Bennett and FM Liberman are inciting hatred and violence between Jews and Arabs. Last night, judeo-fascists were roaming the streets of Jerusalem chanting derogatory slogans against Arabs calling for their removal from the Jewish state. The results were beatings and more attempted kidnapping of Palestinian youth from East Jerusalem.

Former Shin Bet Chief Diskin: Delusional government brought us to this security deterioration

(Ynet News) - The escalation of violence in the territories, Jerusalem and the triangle (of Arab towns in central Israel) are the direct result of the policies of the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin wrote late Friday in a harshly critical Facebook post.

In his lengthy comment, Diskin wrote that the rapid deterioration in the security situation has shattered the Israeli leadership's "illusion that Israel's frustrated Arab citizens will not at the end of the day take to the streets over the lack of response to their problems and the containment of the Palestinians in the West Bank, and will not react despite their frustration and the worsening economic situation."

This illusion, Diskin said, "worked perfectly for as long as the defense establishment succeeded in providing impressive calm in the defense arena. The rapid deterioration in the security situation was not only down to the brutal murders of Naftali, Eyal and Gil-Ad, but first and foremost it is the result of the illusion that the government's stagnation in every area was really keeping the situation in deep freeze."

Diskin, who headed the Shin Bet for six years, went on to define the various "illusions" that he says the government is propagating.

"The illusion that 'price tag' attacks are just a few slogans on the walls and not really racism; the illusion that everything can be solved with a little more force; the illusion that the Palestinians will just accept all that we are doing in the West Bank and not respond, despite their rage, frustration and worsening economic situation; the illusion that the international community will not impose sanctions on us; that Israel's frustrated Arab citizens will not ultimately take to the streets over the lack of treatment of their problems; and the Israeli public will keep submissively accepting the government's incompetent response to the social gaps that its policies have only worsened, when corruption continues to eat away at all that is good, and so on and so on."

Diskin concluded with a grave warning that there could still be worse to come.  

h/t Elizabeth Tsurkov @Tel Aviv U.

Interview Prof. Leibowitz: "There are Judeo-Nazis."

Continued below the fold ...

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Founding Fathers and God Given Rights of Palestinians

by Oui Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 04:29:24 PM EST

Americans need to Answer: When Will Palestinians get their Fourth of July?

(Informed Comment) - The Palestinians do not have any of these rights, whether God wants them to or not. They were successively ethnically cleansed from their homeland of Palestine by militant Jewish settlers. (There were no Jews in Palestine to speak of as recently as 1800; Bonaparte found about 3,000 I think; Palestine was inhabited by Muslim and Christian Palestinians and as late as 1939 the British mandatory authorities envisaged a Palestinian state in 1949). Some 750,000 were expelled with no compensation and their land and property usurped in 1948. More tens of thousands were displaced in 1967. Their numbers have grown. Some 20 percent of Israel is remnants of the original Palestinian inhabitants, some 1.6 million persons. They are second class citizens in many ways.

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Palestinian refugee Shaher Alkhateeb, 73, who witnessed what the Palestinians call the "Nakba," or "catastrophe," poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural depicting a prisoner jailed in Israel, in Kalandia refugee camp, between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

But the some 4 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza, and the several hundred thousand living in Lebanese refugee camps [and Syria, Jordan], are living lives the opposite of the ones Jefferson declared natural. They are stateless. In the West Bank they live under Israeli military rule; there are a few civil institutions, but all of these can be over-ruled by the whim of the Israeli army. Palestinians do not control their land, water or air. In Gaza, the Israelis have put them under siege, including the children and non-combatants in general. They aren't allowed to export virtually anything they produce. They have no port or airport (both bombed by Israel). They suffer from massive unemployment and even malnutrition. The Israelis have placed the Palestinians of Gaza in a huge open-air concentration camp. With American and European help.

...
So the Palestinians do not have a right to life. They have no liberty at all as the US founding generation conceived it. And they certainly have no right to pursue happiness. Their lives are constrained and made difficult by deliberate actions of Israeli officials and officers and armed squatters on their land who torment them. The Declaration of Independence insists that people have a right to elect their government.

U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

Today I received an email notice from Lisa Pease (@BooMan aka Real History Lisa) about her new article.

Continued below the fold ...

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EC Public Consultation: TTIP Investment Rules [UPDATE]

by afew Wed Jul 2nd, 2014 at 08:35:05 AM EST

The European Commission is running a consultation on the investment parts of the TTIP.

The relevant document is here.

It looks, as EC consultations go, fairly open. Apart from the overall assessment (C), there are 12 questions. Each can be answered by freely-written text of up to 4,000 characters inc. spaces. Respondents are not obliged to answer all questions.

If we want to do something on this, we have little time, the deadline is 6 July.

Perhaps best to focus on what seem to us to be major questions. At a rough and ready guess, I'd say they'd be:

Question 1: Scope

Question 3: Fair and equitable treatment

Question 4: Expropriation

Question 5: The right to regulate

Question 6: Transparency

but YMMV.

DoDo and eurogreen have replied willing on this. Who else can join in, at whatever level? (Expert knowledge appreciated, if only in short, brilliant bursts).

Update [2014-7-7 3:27:52 by afew]: The submitted document (pdf) is available on site files here.

Comments >> (48 comments)

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment

by gmoke Tue Jul 1st, 2014 at 10:39:17 PM EST

I spent the Christmas weekend of 2010 with Henri Cartier-Bresson, watching the few documentaries he made and a few documentaries about him.  I've always liked his photographs, who could not?  His idea of capturing the decisive moment and his success in that make his black and white photos immediate and living.  In one documentary, he is shown photographing a street market in Paris, dancing to capture that instant when something, anything happens.  He is thin and dapper in his suit and as graceful as Fred Astaire.

His impatience with being called an artist and his work art resonates with me.  For him, the camera is an extension of his eye and the geometry of the image is what makes it work:
"The greatest joy for me is geometry, that means a structure.  You can go shooting for shapes or patterns and all this but it's a sensuous pleasure an intellectual pleasure at the same time, to have everything in the right place.  It's a recognition of an order which is in front of you."  When eye, heart, and mind are aligned in the shot, he has what reveals, what remains. His refusal to use light meters and flashes, his respect for the subjects of his regard is more than admirable;  it is necessary for the quality of his work and shines through it.

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Barracude-like Policy of Likud On Palestinian Land - Some Blowback

by Oui Tue Jul 1st, 2014 at 05:06:30 PM EST

During the search for three Israel teens kidnapped near Hebron, the IDF shot and killed nine Palestinians, razed homes, performed intrusive searches and jailed over 400 Palestinians. Some bloggers saw the IDF action as one of vengeance towards Hamas for its proposed union with the Palestinian Authority of Abbas. Netanyahu and his ministers did all possible to undermine and sabotage Kerry's effort in peace talks. President Obama refused to sanction Israel for its intransigence. The terror of the state of Israel continues.

Peace Talks and Zionist Optimism ... Gush Etzion and Palestinian Land - April 14, 2014

(Haaretz) - With the stroke of a pen, Israel seized control of 984 dunams of territory in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon declared the area "state land." The terrain would be more aptly defined as contested territory, since it surrounds private Palestinian lands, which will now become enclaves that are inaccessible to the owners.

The area also includes the illegal outpost Netiv Ha'avot, home to Ze'ev Hever, secretary of Amana, an organization that primarily builds illegal outposts in the West Bank. It's likely that this outpost will be "laundered" as well, and along with the settlements Neve Daniel, Elazar and Alon Shvut, Netiv Ha'avot will see significant expansion.

Ya'alon's outstretched arm did not stop in Gush Etzion. On the eve of Passover, he allowed Hebron settlers to inhabit the so-called "House of Contention," in the wake of the High Court of Justice's rejection of the petition by the home's former owners and ruling that the sale of the building to a Jewish investor was legal.

The Forward: Israel Grabs More Palestinian Land

In the Deaths of 3 Israeli Teens, Likud Policies are also Implicated

(Informed Comment) - If the Likud really wants an end to such incidents, then it should negotiate in good faith to bring about the kind of Palestinian state that could actually police Palestinian lives. Instead, Mr. Netanyahu, despite public denials, wants to make a Palestinian state forever impossible, because he sees it as a danger to his brand of Iron Wall Zionism, which is aggressive and expansionist and Jewish-supremacist. Netanyahu did everything he could to torpedo Secretary of State John Kerry's peace process. One side-effect of statelessness is lawlessness. Netanyahu is actively choosing it.

Likewise, the Likud Party (and its coalition partners, some more barracuda-like than even the Likud itself) is dedicated to a vast project of stealing Palestinian land and resources on the West Bank. They are building beehives of colonies, which are solely Jewish and racist in character, excluding the native Palestinians from dwellings built on their own territory. The intended end game here of people like Avigdor Lieberman is likely that once a majority of the population in the West Bank is Israeli, an incident like the one that just took place will be used as a pretext to simply chase all the Palestinians out to Jordan or Egypt and then lock them out of their own country- i.e. a repeat of what was done in 1948.

It should be fairly obvious that if you take adolescents into the middle of the Palestinian West Bank and steal Palestinian land and build houses on it and shoot at Palestinians trying to harvest their crops nearby and bulldoze down their homes or dig tube wells so deep as to cause the Palestinian wells to run dry- if you engage in this settler-colonial enterprise, then you are exposing those adolescents you drag with you into it to danger.

Pappe's discomfort with history of Zionism

... their bodies were found near the town of Halhul, just north of Hebron.

UPDATE: A 911 call was made by one of the teens but the border military did not react, assuming the call was a prank. Today the audio tape was released and the evidence indicates the teens were shot within minutes of their call, as gunshots rang out on the tape.

The three victims were hastily buried under rocks near the spot they were last seen hitchhiking, within a 10 minutes drive. It became clear Israel has meant there should be collective punishment for these murders. A Dutch female journalist attempted to balance a discussion about the Palestinian deaths, she was heckled and accused of being an anti-semitic.

Helpless against the might of the state: Rabbi Ascherman replies to a friend of Carmel

March 14, 2014 - The Bedouin village of Umm el-Kheir is just a stone's throw away from the Carmel settlement in the South Hebron Hills. Its residents live in huts and tents in abject poverty, without water hook-ups or electricity, while the residents of Carmel enjoy an existence resembling life in the suburbs of any Western country.

For a number of years, the shepherds of Umm el-Kheir have struggled against the settlers of Carmel who claim that part of Umm el-Kheir sits on the Jewish settlement. Recently, tensions came to the surface again as settlers planted trees on a ridge- a tactic used in the past to "claim"  their land. The trees were uprooted and as a result, the village shepherds were collectively punished by blocked access to their pastures. Additionally, Carmel settlers physically attempted to prevent the flocks from passing.

RHR has advocated for the rights of Bedouin at Umm el Kheir for years; recently, Rabbi Ascherman received an email from a friend of the Carmel settlement inquiring into the uprooting of the trees planted by the settlers on Tu B'Shevat. Their correspondence appears below ...

Reply in letter dated January 31, 2014:

    "You must, however, forgive me for the blunt way in which I am going to write. As much as I oppose the uprooting of trees, I am aware of a full and long history of events in which the residents of Carmel and their supporters have abused the residents of Umm el-Kheir, who are helpless against the might of the State, including last Friday (January 17 2014).

    I must say clearly and unequivocally that Carmel uses trees as soldiers against Umm el-Kheir. The residents of Carmel filed a development plan for the settlement according to which the ridge where the trees were planted is designated to become a site for massive building. Not one of these trees was intended to grow to maturity so that it could provide shade or yield fruit. They are there only to prevent the residents of Umm el-Kheir from accessing the area until the bulldozers arrive to level the hill so that Carmel can build a new neighborhood.

    I believe that it is wrong to plant seedlings there, and all the more so when there is still a legal dispute in court about the ownership of this ridge."

Israel mourns the loss of three bright teens, students at a Yeshiva school whose lives were cut short. When will violence stop and will the Israëli cabinet members have the courage to meet PA president Abbas for peace talks. As Haaretz wrote today:

    "There are a lot of loose ends, but one thing is clear: When Israel refuses to
    pay the price of peace, it can't avoid paying the price of no peace."

Continued below the fold ...

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Juncker: A triumph for European Democracy?

by Frank Schnittger Mon Jun 30th, 2014 at 03:23:45 AM EST

So. Juncker was the duly elected Spitzenkandidat for the post of President of the European Commission for the EPP, the party which won the most seats in the European Parliament elections. He subsequently gained the support of 26 out of 28 Heads of Government and State on the European Council.  And yet British Tories rage at the undemocratic nature of his election. Apparently he is an old school European who doesn't represent the will of the people as reflected in the outcome of the elections.  

Except he does.  This is the first time that voters could directly influence the choice of European Commission President with their vote.  The fact that many voters knew little of the Spitzenkandidat system is neither here nor there. People vote for a party for a variety of reasons, and not always because they like the party leader. Most Prime Ministers are not directly elected by the whole electorate either. Junker has greater democratic legitimacy than any candidate Cameron or a group of cronies on the Council could have come up with, and it is telling that they couldn't even come up with an alternative candidate:  Martin Shultz, Spitzenkandidat for the Socialists & Democrats, the second largest grouping in the Parliament would have been even more unacceptable to them.

front-paged by afew

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