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Articles Archives - July 2011
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011
House Broke Its Own Rules to Pass Palestinian-bashing Resolution
Lara Friedman, Palestine Note 7/12/2011
      Last week the House voted to suspend the rules and pass H. Res. 268, a resolution strongly backed by AIPAC and others right-of-center Jewish organizations (and strongly opposed by APN). H. Res. 268 slams the Palestinians for seeking international recognition, for taking their case to the UN, and for seeking national reconciliation - and threatens them with punishment if they don't desist. I reported in my Round-Up for Americans for Peace Now last week that this vote was unusual, given that since taking control of the House in midterm elections, House Republican leaders have "virtually ended the longstanding practice of bringing non-binding, symbolic resolutions to the floor under suspension of the rules" (in contrast to past Congresses where the practice was rampant). The Washington Post even reported on this change. A perceptive reader pointed me to this May 2011 story in the Hill reporting that the ban in the 112th Congress against symbolic resolutions was so absolute that the House leaders didn't allow a resolution honoring the military mission that assassinated Osama bin Laden.
     When I wrote about this in the Round-Up I didn't know for certain exactly how many non-binding resolutions had been brought to the floor on the suspension calendar in the 112th Congress, so I couldn't say exactly how unusual last week's vote on H. Res. 268 was.
     Now, I can say (because now I know)*. It was not just unusual - it was an entirely unique exception. A total of six non-binding resolutions have been brought to the floor and passed under suspension of the rules in the 112th Congress. Five of them dealt with Congressional business: authorizing the use of Congressional facilities for an event (S. Con. Res. 16 & S. Con. Res. 2); authorizing acceptance of a statue for placement in the U.S. Capitol (H. Con. Res. 27); authorizing the award of a Congressional medal of honor (H. Res. 49); and reducing the authorized salaries and expenses of Congressional offices for 2011 and 2012 (H. Res. 22).
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Israeli Press Mum on Murdoch
Marsha B. Cohen,  7/12/2011
      On July 10, Anshel Pfeffer, a columnist for Israel’s reputedly most liberal news site, Haaretz, wrote a straightforward, if scathing, news article about the accusations being levied against media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Pfeffer’s acerbic piece, aptly headlined “Shameful Journalism Puts Murdoch’s U.K. Empire at Risk,” like others making the front pages of newspapers and websites around the world, criticized the shady news gathering techniques engaged in by News of the World, a British division of Murdoch’s News International:
     "No one is coming out of this story looking good. Not the reporters and the editors of the News of the World newspaper, who hired a private detective to “hack” into the mobile phone messages of the subjects of their investigations – actors, celebrities, footballers, but also families who lost soldiers in wars and victims of murder. Certainly not the top brass of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, who pushed the Sunday tabloid into the murky depths of the journalism swamp, chasing down sensationalist headlines and higher sales.
     "The power of the News International empire – which in Britain controls not just the tabloid with the biggest circulation, The Sun, but also “institutional” papers The Times and Sunday Times, as well as the BSkyB satellite television channels – was so extensive that, when the police caught a glimpse of the phone hacking affair more than five years ago, a decision was made that there were more important issues to investigate."
     Pfeffer’s piece was yanked off the Haaretz English website after less than 24 hours, where many older pieces often linger for days, even weeks. Equally noteworthy is that the article is now very difficult to locate in the Haaretz archives. Querying the Haaretz website search box for “Murdoch” or “Pfeffer,” the default “sort by relevance” results bury Pfeffer’s article about Murdoch, which can be located easily only if searching by date.
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Quartet Meeting Produces Nothing, Highlighting American Failures
Mitchell Plitnick, Lobelog, Palestine Note 7/12/2011
      The anticipated meeting of the Middle East Quartet (the United States, Russian Federation, United Nations and European Union) took place Monday. The result was what has become pretty standard for Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy and peacemaking: nothing.
     The Quartet is incapable of doing anything unless the US can do something, and the US refuses to take any action outside the realm of “direct negotiations between” the Israelis and Palestinians. The goal of this meeting was to try to come up with a formula that would bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to the table.
     The failure to come up with that formula led to the Quartet ending the meeting without a statement. There was simply nothing to say.
     The Europeans pushed for this meeting, which the US had hoped to postpone to gain more time to bring the Palestinians back to the table. Perhaps it was the American inability to do that which prompted the EU’s insistence; that’s certainly fair speculation.
     The framework the Obama Administration presented, according to Ha’aretz, was one where territorial discussions would begin from the 1967 borders and include mutually agreed territorial exchanges, and that Israel would get recognition as the “national home of the Jewish people.”
     The Netanyahu government would want much stronger wording for the “Jewish character” of Israel, wording which would clearly bar any return of Palestinian refugees and at least imply the ability to privilege Jews in Israel legally. That would be their price for “conceding” to base talks on the 1967 borders. -- See also: Source
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"Dignity" ship remains destined for Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 13 Jul 2011 - Begoña Astigarraga The Electronic Intifada The French vessel Dignité-al Karama is the only boat from the Freedom Flotilla II now sailing for Gaza in an attempt to break the maritime siege imposed by Israel.more

The most powerful weapon is our humanity
Electronic Intifada: 13 Jul 2011 - Dina Elmuti The Electronic Intifada As she exits Palestine, Dina Elmuti reflects on the oppressive apparatus that surrounds her, and on the growing global struggle to break through it with something stronger, our humanity.more

How Greece abandoned Palestine
Electronic Intifada: 13 Jul 2011 - David Cronin The Electronic Intifada No doubt, Greece’s refusal to allow the Freedom Flotilla II to set sail for Gaza was partly the result of pressure — and possibly even financial blackmail — from the US and Israel. Nonetheless, it was not an isolated occurrence but the logical consequence of a process that was already underway. David Cronin analyzes for The Electronic Intifada.more

Murder of Arrigoni Still Shrouded in Mystery
Palestine Chronicle: 13 Jul 2011 - By Nicola LoFoco Three months have passed since April 15, 2011, that damned day when Vittorio Arrigoni’s life was ripped away from us at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. The truth surrounding his disappearance and the reasons of who and why anyone would have wanted his death are still to be unveiled. Hamas authorities continue to keep three commando members of the group who allegedly executed and organized the kidnapping of the Italian volunteer and have yet to disclose the results of the interrogations and developments of the investigations. Why wasn’t the 30 hour ultimatum respected? Why does the video shown by the kidnappers last only 25 seconds? We saw Vittorio’s bloodied face and taped up eyes being held up by the arm of one of the terrorists, yet as we have seen unfortunately in the past, when a group of terrorists kidnap someone, the appeal is made by the...more

Confused Strategy: How the PA Sold Out Palestinian Unity
Palestine Chronicle: 13 Jul 2011 - By Ramzy Baroud If you happen to be a Palestinian government employee, chances are you will receive only half your usual salary this month. The other half will only be available when international donors find it in their hearts to make up for the huge shortage of funds currently facing the Palestinian Authority (PA). With a deficit standing at around $640 million, the PA government of Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad is experiencing one of its worst ever financial crises. However, the Palestinian economy is not a real economy by universally recognized standards. It survives largely on handouts by donor countries. These funds have spared Israel much of its financial responsibility as an occupying power under the stipulations of the Fourth Geneva Convention. They have also propped up a Palestinian leadership that tries to secure its own survival by serving the interests of major donors. The funds, however, are now drying...more

Demented Colossus
Dissident Voice: 13 Jul 2011 - Once unchained—like a voracious predator — the U.S. War Machine is monomaniacal, hyper-focused, relentless in its purpose.  (Quite literally in the case of the predator-drone, a particularly frightening, even uncanny, bringer of mayhem and death.)  Like those robots designed to repair and rebuild themselves, but on a vastly greater scale, the Machine becomes self-driven and self-perpetuating, a mindless Juggernaut of  “Apache” helicopter-gunships, “Hellfire” missiles, incendiary munitions.  Once set in motion—under the cloak of NATO or some other “coalition”—the Machine immediately goes into hyper-drive: thousands of air “sorties,” “operations,” night raids, bombings, burnings, “surgical” strikes (by very blunt, bloody instruments).  A deranged Colossus, wheeling and staggering and lumbering about, crushing villages, pulverizing “targets,” burning children—all rationalized, in delusional terms, as mere “collateral damage.” Once it invades, the Machine seeks-and-destroys the enemy.  And who is the enemy?  Those who resist (“insurgents”), those who may resist, those who may be secretly planning to...more

The Power of Protest Tactics: ‘Just Do It’
Dissident Voice: 13 Jul 2011 - Non-violent direct action is not the most glamorous occupation in the world. Unpaid overtime, long hours, maligned by a biased mainstream media, widely misunderstood by the middle classes and opposed by a heavy state apparatus, who could be blamed for thinking environmental activism to be a mugs game. But when the audience at a London preview of ‘ Just Do It: A Tale of Modern Day Outlaws ’ was asked if they had been inspired to take up direct action after watching the film, many hands waved in the air. The documentary follows the exploits of climate activists in the UK during the run up to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009, giving an unprecedented insight into the passion and motives of those who risk arrest in the name of environmental justice. Focusing on six different individuals within the movement, filmmaker Emily James submerged herself in the networks of...more

Trial Brings Attention to Corruption in the New Orleans Police Department
Dissident Voice: 13 Jul 2011 - In New Orleans’ federal courthouse, five police officers are currently facing charges of killing unarmed Black civilians and conspiring for more than four years to cover-up their crime. The trial, brought by the US Department of Justice, has gripped the city, and daily coverage in local media has focused attention on a deeply troubled department that still has a long way to go before it can regain the trust of residents. The charges stem from an incident on New Orleans’ Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005, just days after Hurricane Katrina. Police officers, who apparently had misheard a distress call on their radios, piled into a Budget rental truck and sped to the scene. When they arrived, they came out shooting. James Brisette, a 17-year-old described by friends as nerdy and studious, and Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man with the mental capacity of an 8-year-old, were killed. Four others were...more

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