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May 2010

Polly on David Laws

How odd that his relished life goal was to cast people out of work. An extremely fine goal actually, the source of all economic and social advance. Anybody, everybody, who automates a routine task, whether it be weeding turnips, catching mice or etching circuit boards is deliberately casting people out of work. And it is that exact casting out of work which allows civilisation to advance: no...

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There’s No Whitewashing This: Israel’s Attack of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Israeli Navy Intercepts Peace Boats Headed For Gaza.

Israel’s attack of the Gaza Freedom flotilla is an atrocity that cannot be whitewashed. The Israeli Foreign Ministry and its many propagandists have tried to spin the attack; they’ve told us how those poor pistol-toting IDF soldiers were simply trying to defend themselves, how they were attacked by a bloodthirsty mob wanting to lynch them, etc., etc., but none of it is sticking. Like Israel’s 2008-2009 assault on Gaza, this is an atrocity that the propagandists simply cannot spin. The entire world saw what happened. The entire world knows that Israel committed an evil for which there is no defense.

To review. Since June 2007, Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip, allowing just a trickle of humanitarian goods to enter the area. If you go to the website of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, you’ll read about the “[m]illions of dollars worth of international food aid” that “continually flows through the Israeli humanitarian apparatus” (“Behind the Headlines: The Israeli humanitarian lifeline to Gaza,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 May 2010). But this is propaganda, pure and simple. Yes, Israel allows some goods to enter Gaza, but it obviously doesn’t allow in enough to meet the area’s needs. Before the blockade, nearly 600 truckloads of goods were entering Gaza each day; today the number is around 100 (Locked In: The Humanitarian Impact of Two Years of Blockade on the Gaza Strip,” Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory, August 2009).

Consequently, Gaza continues to experience what can only be described as a humanitarian catastrophe. Here are a few examples from two recent UN reports:

  • “As of June 2009, a total of 46% of agricultural land in the Gaza Strip was assessed to be inaccessible or out of production owing to destruction of lands during ‘Cast Lead’ and inaccessible areas lying within the ‘security buffer zone.’ Only a limited percentage of this land has been rehabilitated due to the blockade that restricts the import of materials and equipment for rehabilitation and access to damaged areas.”
  • “Since January 2009, fishers’ access to fishing grounds has been further restricted to 3 nautical miles (nm) from the shore. This has resulted in a depletion of catches and revenues. In Gaza, the majority of profits from fishing come from sardines, however, schools of sardine pass beyond the 3 nm mark and sardine catches are down 72%. Adult fish are mostly found beyond the 3 nm limit and therefore fishing within the current zone rapidly depletes new generations of fish, with severe implications for fish life-cycles and therefore long-term fishing livelihoods” (Farming without Land, Fishing without Water: Gaza Agriculture Sector Struggles to Survive, OCHAoPt, May 2010)
  • “[R]estrictions on the import of cement make impossible the reconstruction of some 12,000 Palestinian homes damaged or destroyed by Israeli military operations in recent years, as well as a further 20,000 homes needed to accommodate natural population growth in the Gaza Strip. In the same vein, UNRWA needs to build 100 schools in Gaza to cope with population growth; the number of students in UNRVWA schools by the start of the coming academic year will have increased by 15,000 above the classroom capacity since the start of the blockade in 2007; 15 schools are needed immediately.”
  • “[A] new poverty survey conducted by UNRWA showed that the number of Palestine refugees completely unable to secure access to food and lacking the means to purchase even the most basic items, such as soap, school stationary and safe drinking water, has tripled since the imposition of the blockade in June 2007” (Impending Assistance: Challenges to Meeting the Humanitarian Needs of Palestinians, OCHAoPt, May 2010).

In response to this, the Free Gaza Movement recently organized a flotilla of eight boats to sail to Gaza to break the blockade and deliver several tons of humanitarian items, including cement, generators, water purification equipment, school notebooks, prefabricated homes, crayons, pens, pencils, footballs, basketballs, and an assortment of medical equipment, including CAT scanners, wheelchairs, and crutches (Harriet Sherwood, “Gaza aid flotilla to set sail for confrontation with Israel,” Guardian, 25 May 2010).

But Israel wasn’t about to let a bunch of peace activists diminish its “deterrence capacity,” so Saturday night, the Israeli Navy intercepted six of the flotilla’s boats and forbade them from continuing to Gaza. Unable to stop the largest boat, the Turkish Mavi Marmara, the Navy requested assistance. Israeli military helicopters soon surrounded the Mavi Marmara and commandos then rappelled down onto it. After that, Israeli officials claim that the soldiers “were attacked with clubs, metal rods and knives.” Although the exact chronology of events is still fuzzy, it’s clear that Israeli commandos, at one point or another, opened fire and ended up killing at least nine activists (Isabel Kershner, “Deadly Israeli Raid Draws Condemnation,” New York Times, 31 May 2010).

According to Israeli officials, “two violent activists” stole pistols from some of commandos “and apparently opened fire on the soldiers as evident [sic] by the empty pistol magazines. As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces first employed riot dispersal means, followed by live fire” (“IDF forces met with pre-planned violence when attempting to board flotilla,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 31 May 2010). But this account is contradicted by some of the ship’s passengers, who “said the troops opened fire as soon as they stormed the convoy.” Moreover, a reporter traveling with the activists “said that a white surrender flag was raised from the ship and there was no live fire coming from the passengers” (“Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet,” Al Jazeera English, 31 May 2010).

Whatever the case, it’s important to keep a couple things in mind. First, the ship didn’t contain Scud missiles or nuclear warheads intended for Hamas—but humanitarian goods, things like cement, school notebooks, crayons, wheelchairs, and crutches. Second, the incident took place in international waters. “Israeli Military spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: ‘This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves’” (ibid.). So Israeli soldiers had no right whatsoever to board the ship, and the activists had every right to defend themselves, just as each of us would have the right to defend ourselves if someone intruded into one of our homes.

Like I said, there’s no whitewashing what happened. The propagandists will keep trying, and consequently they’ll keep making asses of themselves. Because the facts speak for themselves.

I’ll be writing more about this in the next day or so.

What happens when we get angry?

When we get angry, the heart rate, arterial tension and testosterone production increases, cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases, and the left hemisphere of the brain becomes more stimulated. This is indicated by a new investigation that analyzes the changes in the brain's cardiovascular, hormonal and asymmetric activation response when we get angry. Advertisement: read more

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Green Book changes and BOGOF

Cor blimey Guvnor! What a weekend, and I'm not talking about the (non-political) weather! Should anyone be wondering why I have not posted since Friday, especially given the Coalition's first major crisis leading to a resignation, it's because I was enjoying the real world where politics is secondary and thought I'd wait until now before providing my jaded and irreverent view, so here goes. What...

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Molly’sBlog 2010-05-31 21:19:00

CONSUMER AFFAIRS:BOTTLED WATER “BUGS” ME: The world is full of scams. One only has to look at American religious TV to get examples that are so blatant that it’s a wonder anybody falls for them. But most people aren’t theologians. Neither are the…

Continue reading at Molly'sBlog …

C4SS May Fund Drive

Well here it is--the moment I'm sure you've all been waiting for. The Center for a Stateless Society is raising funds for the month of May to pay all us writers for what we've already done.

The good news (great news!) is that there's currently $220 coming in automatically through the true fans system (i.e. the monthly PayPal subscription option). With $220 of the $1455 monthly budget (around 15%) now funded automatically, that leaves $1235 for May. If enough people subscribe for a modest monthly subscription (just a few dozen people choosing the $10 or $25 option would put us over the top), it's quite conceivable you'll never have to read any more of these blegs. Imagine if Jerry Lewis had a Chipin subscription option and promised he'd go away forever if enough people cooperated! The MDA would be funded through the year 3000.

In the meantime, though, we've got $1140 left to raise (I see we're up to $95 in contributions). So if you value the work we're doing at C4SS and have the means to do so, we'd certainly appreciate anything you can throw our way (just go here to contribute or do so with the Chipin widget to the left).

Or (again) you can just go here to select a subscription option for some amount you'll hardly even miss every month, and then just smugly sit back and ignore future begathons.

At C4SS: The Proprietary Content Industry’s Strange Sympathies

Fuck Yeah Anarchism: Simos Seisidis is an anarchist arrested on May 3d by police in Athens….

Fuck Yeah Anarchism: Simos Seisidis is an anarchist arrested on May 3d by police in Athens....:...

Barack Obama: Liar, Warlord, and Corporate Shill

Stephen Lendman on why it’s time to IMPEACH Obama (Note 1: Earlier, I posted the Obama bisexual story that claims that Obama’s history suggests someone who could easily be targeted for blackmail or other forms of arm-twisting. BP has been one of Obama’s biggest contributors, giving more to him than to any other candidate in the [...]

alan turing fue un genio de verdad. hollyhandro: (via…

alan turing fue un genio de verdad.


(via fuckyeahlgbt)

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