Friday, February 29, 2008

Isn't this terrorism?

Talk to Hamas

[The following appears as an ad in Haaretz, today Feb. 29, 2008]

64% of the Israeli public already agree:

We must talk with Hamas about a

Cease Fire!

No Qassams! No targeted assassinations! No mortar shells! No incursions! No blockade!

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

A jihad for love

A ground breaking documentary has just screened at the Sydney Mardi Gras:

"Chop off their heads and throw them off a mountain," someone suggests. "Cut off their arses," says another. These are some of the reactions to homosexuality within Islam depicted in the documentary A Jihad For Love. In some parts of the world, those responses are made manifest as beatings, imprisonment, and even the death penalty.

And yet the film opens with some words from the Koran which are part of the Muslim call to prayer. It is a remarkably traditional invitation into this intimate study of the lives of gay and lesbian Muslims.

10,000 Palestinians held by Israel

The EU MPs held a public hearing which was chaired by Hélène Flautre (Greens/EFA, FR), and heard from Al Ajrami and Fadwa Ibrahim, the wife of Barghouthi and also heard from Anat Barsella of B'Tselem (the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories). The MP’s criticized Israel for not sending a representative to the haring. Israel is currently holding captive more than 10.000 Palestinians including 300 children and 100 women, in addition to 40 legislators.

IMEMC reports on Palestinian kidnap victims.

Friday, February 15, 2008

China and that obvious double standard

The Times yesterday reported that Steven Spielberg will no longer participate in the Beijing Olympics on account of China’s relationship with Sudan. Your story noted that “China is believed to be able to wield special influence with the Islamic government in Sudan because it buys some 40 per cent of the country’s oil exports while selling it weapons and defending Khartoum in the UN Security Council.”

Steven Spielberg is to be commended for taking this courageous, moral stance. But can we expect to see similar condemnation of Israel by Mr Spielberg for its continued murderous blockade and bombing of the Gaza Strip and annexation of the occupied West Bank? Can we expect that the next Times report on the United States’s relationship with Israel will be couched in the same terms as were used to describe China’s relationship with Sudan? Somehow I fail to expect to read something like this in your newspaper:

“The United States is believed to be able to wield special influence with the Jewish government of Israel because it provides billions in economic aid to the country while selling further billions in weapons and defends Tel Aviv in the UN Security Council.”

Mind you, one need not exclusively cite the United States's special relationship with Israel. There are several other examples (Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc). But the US/Israel relationship is the greatest of unmentionables, so I mention it here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Death of a butcher

And while we're talking about John Pilger, it's worth noting his piece on the death of Suharto - one of the worst criminals, and staunchest allies of the West, during the 20th century:

Here lies a clue as to why Suharto, unlike Saddam Hussein, died not on the gallows but surrounded by the finest medical team his secret billions could buy. Ralph McGehee, a senior CIA operations officer in the 1960s, describes the terror of Suharto's takeover in 1965-6 as "the model operation" for the US-backed coup that got rid of Salvador Allende in Chile seven years later. "The CIA forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders," he wrote, "[just like] what happened in Indonesia in 1965." The US embassy in Jakarta supplied Suharto with a "zap list" of Indonesian Communist party members and crossed off the names when they were killed or captured. Roland Challis, BBC south-east Asia correspondent at the time, told me how the British government was secretly involved in this slaughter. "British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops down the Malacca Straits so they could take part in the terrible holocaust," he said. "I and other correspondents were unaware of this at the time ... There was a deal, you see."

The deal was that Indonesia under Suharto would offer up what Richard Nixon had called "the richest hoard of natural resources, the greatest prize in south-east Asia". In November 1967 the greatest prize was handed out at a remarkable three-day conference sponsored by the Time-Life Corporation in Geneva. Led by David Rockefeller, all the corporate giants were represented: the major oil companies and banks, General Motors, Imperial Chemical Industries, British American Tobacco, Siemens, US Steel and many others. Across the table sat Suharto's US-trained economists who agreed to the corporate takeover of their country, sector by sector. The Freeport company got a mountain of copper in West Papua. A US/European consortium got the nickel. The giant Alcoa company got the biggest slice of Indonesia's bauxite. America, Japanese and French companies got the tropical forests of Sumatra. When the plunder was complete, President Lyndon Johnson sent his congratulations on "a magnificent story of opportunity seen and promise awakened". Thirty years later, with the genocide in East Timor also complete, the World Bank described the Suharto dictatorship as a "model pupil".


Today, I'm proud to be an Australian again.
(Although John Pilger reminds why we ought not get carried away)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Join the protest against Israel's siege of Gaza

Outside 10 Downing Street, London, tomorrow Saturday 9 February 2008, 4-6pm.

(More information available at the Palestine Solidarity Campgain website).