Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Israel boycott campaign tours UK universities

London : The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions in the UK (ICAHD-UK) is launching a tour of British universities with Palestinian organisations next week to extend the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Professor of Anthropology Jeff Halper, co-founder of ICAHD, is joining Palestinian journalist and writer Ghada Karmi, to discuss how to achieve similar global action that helped to end the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Organisations supporting the tour include Action Palestine, Campaigning for Palestinian Rights on Campus, British Committee for Universities for Palestine (Bricup), and the Greenbelt Festival as well as Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

The tour starts next Monday at Exeter University in south-west England before moving onto Birmingham in central England, Gasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, Bradford in northern England and ending at SOAS in London on March 20.

In addition, Halper is also speaking on "Repression in Israel: what can be done?" at West Central Liberal Synagogue in the British capital.

ICAHD, which also has a branch in the US, was originally established as a non-violent, direct-action group to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in the occupied territories.

~ Source ~

Musical Innerlube: Jacqueline Mannering

Former Israeli officials in the U.S. government



Who benefits from invading and occupying Iraq? Are Americans defending U.S. national security, or the security of our colonial outpost in the Arab World? This interview discusses the neoconservative Zionist cabal of the Bush administration who beat the drums for our illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Israel intends to build civilian nuclear plants

Israel, widely believed to have nuclear weapons and possessing no oil, said on Tuesday that it intended to develop civilian nuclear plants for energy, offering to build one as a joint project with Jordan, under French supervision.

The Israeli infrastructure minister, Uzi Landau, said at a Paris conference that Israel wanted a cleaner, more reliable source of energy than the large amounts of coal now imported. He said that regional cooperation on civilian nuclear power could help bind the Middle East.

Jordan, however, said any such cooperation was premature before a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jordan, like Egypt, has been talking about building a civilian nuclear power plant for some time.

Iran, already subject to sanctions by the United Nations Security Council, insists that its nuclear program is purely for civilian purposes, but Western governments believe its intentions are military.

Still, Israel’s announcement here may further complicate efforts to get the Security Council to impose new sanctions on Iran.

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Judge Jim Gray on the six groups who benefit from drug prohibition



In 1992, Jim Gray, a conservative judge in conservative Orange County, California, held a press conference during which he recommended that we rethink our drug laws. Back then, it took a great deal of courage to suggest that the war on drugs was a failed policy.

Today, more and more Americans are coming to the realization that prohibition's costs—whether measured in lives and liberties lost or dollars wasted—far exceed any possible or claimed benefits.

Reason.tv's Paul Feine interviewed Gray about drug policy and the prospects for reform. The interview was shot by Alex Manning and edited by Hawk Jensen.

Judge Jim Gray is the author of Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs.

The fall of Greece - Yes, it really is a capitalist plot

By Diana Johnstone, Global Research

For Europe’s poorest countries, European Union membership has long held out the promise of tranquil prosperity. The current Greek financial crisis ought to dispel some of their illusions.

There are two strikingly significant levels to the current crisis. While primarily economic, the European Economic Community also claims to be a community, based on solidarity -- the sisterhood of nations and brotherhood of peoples. However, the economic deficit is nothing compared to the human deficit it exposes.

To put it simply, the Greek crisis shows what happens when a weak member of this Union is in trouble. It is the same as what happens on the world scale, where there is no such morally pretentious union perpetually congratulating itself on its devotion to human rights. The economically strong protect their own interests at the expense of the economically weak.

The crisis broke last autumn after George Papandreou’s PASOK party won elections, took office and discovered that the cupboard was bare. The Greek government had cheated to get into the EU’s euro zone in 2001 by cooking the books to cover deficits that would have disqualified it from membership in the common currency. The European Treaties capped the acceptable budget deficit at 3 per cent and public debt at 60 per cent of GDP respectively. In fact, this limit is being widely transgressed, quite openly by France. But major scandal arrived with revelations that Greece’s budget deficit reached 12.7 per cent in 2009, with a gross debt forecast for 2010 amounting to 125 per cent of GDP.

Of course, European leaders got together to declare solidarity. But their speeches were designed not so much to reassure the increasingly angry and desperate Greek people as to soothe “the markets” – the real hidden almighty gods of the European Union. The markets, like the ancient gods, have a great old time tormenting mere mortals in trouble, so their response to the Greek problem was naturally to rush to profit from it. For instance, when Greece is obliged to issue new bonds this year, the markets can blithely demand that Greece double its interest rates, on grounds of increased “risk” that Greece won’t pay, thus making it that much harder for Greece to pay. Such is the logic of the free market.

What the EU leaders meant by “solidarity” in their appeal to the gods was not that they were going to pour public money into Greece, as they poured it into their troubled banks, but that they intended to squeeze the money owed the banks out of the Greek people.

The squeezing is to take the forms made familiar over the past disastrous decades by the International Monetary Fund: the Greek state is enjoined to cut public expenses, which means firing public employees, cutting their overall earnings, delaying retirement, economizing on health care, raising taxes, and incidentally probably raising the jobless rate from 9.6 per cent to around 16 per cent, all with the glorious aim of bringing the deficit down to 8.7 per cent this year and thus appeasing the invisible gods of the market.

This just might propitiate both the gods and German leaders, who above all want to maintain the value of the euro. The financial markets will no doubt grab their pound of flesh in the form of increased interest rates, while the Greeks are bled by IMF-style “shock treatment”.

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In praise of Slack

From the Church of the SubGenius...



Archival evidence of Mexico's human rights crimes: The case of Aleida Gallangos

Washington, DC, March 9, 2010 - A Mexican human rights activist who was orphaned in infancy when her parents disappeared at the hands of government forces filed a petition before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) yesterday, drawing on dozens of declassified U.S. and Mexican documents as evidence. Aleida Gallangos Vargas--whose case became widely known in 2004 when she tracked down her long-lost brother through intelligence records found in Mexico's national archives--joined with her paternal grandmother to charge the State with responsibility for the secret detention and disappearance in 1975 of her parents, Roberto Antonio Gallangos Cruz and Carmen Vargas Pérez, among other family members. Today the National Security Archive is posting a selection of the documents being used in the case, obtained by the Archive through the Freedom of Information Act and from the Mexican government.

Aleida was two years old when her parents were captured; she was rescued by a friend of her parents who himself was killed by security forces in 1976. Aleida was adopted by his family and renamed Luz Alba Gorostiola Herrera. Aleida's brother Lucio Antonio, who was three when Roberto Antonio and Carmen disappeared, was taken by members of the government death squad that raided their home in June 1975; shortly afterwards he was delivered to an orphanage and in February 1976 was adopted by a couple and christened Juan Carlos Hernández Valadez. The two children grew up in separate lives knowing nothing of their true identities or of their relationship.

The history of the Gallangos-Vargas family emerged in 2001 when a magazine published an interview with Roberto Antonio's mother, Quirina Cruz Calvo, along with photographs of the disappeared couple and their two small children. Aleida's adoptive family recognized Luz Alba's face in the pictures and Aleida was reunited with her grandmother. She spent the next several years piecing together the circumstances of the Mexican government's role in abducting and secretly detaining her parents. Using government records that had been located by the office of the Special Prosecutor assigned to investigate past political crimes, Aleida managed to track down her brother in the United States in 2004, 29 years after their separation.

The records Aleida used to find Lucio Antonio--along with dozens more obtained by the National Security Archive through requests to the Mexican and U.S. governments--now serve as critical evidence in the case brought by Aleida on March 8 before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

The Inter-American system has been an important venue for victims and activists seeking recourse from the Mexican government for state-sponsored human rights crimes committed during the 1960s-80s. On November 23, 2009, the Inter-American Human Rights Court issued a landmark decision, finding Mexico responsible for the illegal detention and disappearance of Rosendo Radilla, a schoolteacher and social activist stopped at a military checkpoint in Atoyac, Guerrero on August 25, 1974. Radilla--known for his songs of social protest and his admiration of Lucio Cabañas, the popular guerrilla leader from Guerrero--was disappeared at the height of the State's extralegal counterinsurgency campaign against rebels and their supporters in southern Mexico in the early 1970s [see NSA briefing book on Lucio Cabañas, and the Dawn of the Dirty War]. The 2009 ruling marked the first Inter-American decision against Mexico for abuses committed during the "dirty war." The court ordered the government to pay reparations to the family members for the years of suffering inflicted as a result of the crime.

~ more... ~

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