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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Journal Archives

Whistleblower Snowden Escapes Arrest In Hong Kong Thanks To US Errors

Edward Snowden was five hours into his flight from Hong Kong, having already been served one of two hot meals, when news of his departure to Moscow began to electrify media organisations all over the world.

The Hong Kong authorities waited until Snowden was safely out of Chinese airspace before sending out a short press release that confirmed the intelligence whistle-blower had been allowed to leave on Aeroflot flight SU213, bound for Russia.

The 30-year-old had not been stopped on his way to Chek Lap Kok airport, and was allowed to slip away on a hot and humid morning, despite American demands that he be arrested and extradited to face trial for espionage offences.

The reason?

The Americans had mucked up the legal paperwork, the authorities claimed in a statement released at 4.05pm local time.



Clinton's Got It Wrong: Our Freedom is Our Right, Not Your Choice

Everyone has had a similar experience. There is some maintenance problem in your home that you have put off repairing for a while. In the back of your mind, you know that leaving it as is might cause greater problems in the future. A friendly handyman looked at it and told you that maybe you can push it a few more years but you will certainly have to confront it at some point. Perhaps fixing it at the moment is too costly; maybe it just takes too much effort. Ultimately, you know it can’t stay like this forever but as long as the consequences seem distant into the future, the more you’re likely to put it off.

Maybe you’ll get around to it one day, maybe you won’t.

U.S. singer Barbra Streisand, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend Peres's 90th birthday celebrations in Jerusalem, on June 18, 2013. (Jim Hollander / AFP / Getty Images)

Yet this is precisely how the rights and freedoms of Palestinians are dealt with.

It is a narrative that has been repeated many times by high profile American officials. Mostly recently, we heard this from former President Bill Clinton who earlier this week spoke at an event honoring Israeli President Shimon Peres. The Times of Israel reported on Clinton’s remarks:

“The longer the Palestinian conflict remained unsolved,” he said, “the more acute the demographic challenge would become for Israel. […] No matter how many settlers you put out there, the Palestinians are having more babies than the Israelis as a whole… You’ve got an existential question to answer.”

Put aside for a moment the very racist notion of paranoid baby counting and consider the overall framing. The freedom of millions of Palestinians living under the yoke of Israel’s military occupation is portrayed as a matter that Israel should resolve because eventually they may be dealing with a larger problem: having to accept Palestinians as equals. Palestinian rights are reduced to an Israeli prerogative.



Iran's Election Spoils Neocons' Plans For A New War

By David Horsey
June 21, 2013, 7:00 a.m.
The election of Hassan Rowhani as president of Iran is good news for Americans, except for the neoconservative hawks who brought us the war in Iraq and have been especially eager for another military adventure in Iran.

In Iranian terms, Rowhani is a moderate. In the Iranian media, he is called the “diplomat sheikh” and the “sheikh of hope.” In his initial news conference after the election, Rowhani said he would work to build trust between Iran and the United States, Britain and other Western powers with the goal of lifting the international sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

Those sanctions exist, of course, because, under Rowhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran has been surreptitiously moving toward building nuclear weapons. For the neocons, Ahmadinejad was a perfect foil. His histrionics and rabid anti-Israel rhetoric showed that he was a man not to be trusted with nukes and a man with whom sanctions and diplomacy would have little influence. In the neocon analysis, military action was the only viable option.

Neoconservative think tanks, such as Project for the New American Century, and thinkers, such as Bill Kristol, have been agitating for at least a preemptive air strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. They will now argue that not much has really changed because the Iranian president’s powers are sharply limited by the hard-core Islamist mullahs who are the ultimate power in Teheran.

They are right about who is ultimately in charge, but even the mullahs must take public opinion into account. Rowhani won an outright majority against five conservative candidates, and that gives him significant leverage. There is a war for the soul of Iran going on and the dark side lost this one particularly significant battle.



Israeli Caveats On Confiscation Of 80 Acres Of Palestinian Farmlands

Nablus: June 23 -- (BNA)-- Israeli occupation authorities today handed caveats over to a number of Palestinian citizens regarding its confiscation of 80 acres of farmlands east of Nablus.

The Palestinian News Agency (WAFA) quoted the official in charge of the settlements dossier in east of the West Bank, Ghassan Douglass, as saying that the Israeli occupation handed registered-mail letters to Palestinian landlords notifying them Israel has confiscated 80 acres of Palestinian farmlands in Al-Azeb area between Rowayjib and Aorta in east Nablus.



“Next Time We Will Pray In Jerusalem”–Activists Demonstrate At Apartheid Checkpoint...

“Next Time We Will Pray In Jerusalem” – Activists Demonstrate At Apartheid Checkpoint Blocking Access To Occupied Jerusalem

22nd June 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Khalil Team | Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine

In the morning of June 22nd, Palestinian, international and Israeli activists marched to the Israeli occupation military checkpoint blocking the West Bank from Jerusalem. Upon reaching the Israeli occupation roadblock, they were stopped by soldiers who violently prevented them from passing through the checkpoint. In reaction, the Palestinian activists prayed at the checkpoint, demonstrating their right to both freedom of movement within their own land, and freedom to worship in Jerusalem.

The activists arrived on the Bethlehem road, driving towards the military checkpoint separating south West Bank from Jerusalem. Around fifty meters from the checkpoint, they exited vehicles and marched towards the occupied land on the other side of the checkpoint manned by Israeli occupation military. The activists wore kuffiyehs and carried Palestinian flags, carrying a sign reading “Our land is our right”, “Free”, “Justice.”

Demonstrators were immediately confronted by Israeli occupation military personnel, who refused them passage through the checkpoint and tried to push them back. Palestinian activists were grabbed violently by soldiers, who pulled at their clothes and shoved them out of the road and away from the area.

However, activists refused to back down and instead chanted slogans and spoke about their right to freely enter occupied Jerusalem. An Israeli occupation police car and several military jeeps arrived to further repress the nonviolent demonstration. The violence from the soldiers continued and escalated when activists were threatened with pepper spray. In reaction to this, the Palestinian protesters began praying on the Bethlehem side of the checkpoint.



Mofaz: US Troops In Jordan A Message To Syria's Assad

By JPOST.COM STAFF06/22/2013 12:50

Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz said Saturday that the US decision to leave hundreds of American troops in Jordan is a direct message to Syrian President Bashar Assad: "We are here and we can intervene."

Speaking at a cultural event in the South Sharon Regional Council, Mofaz said that "in Syria the governing apparatus is disintegrating. There is a clash between world powers, between Sunnis and Shi'ites, and, of course, Iran is involved up to its neck."

Mofaz stated that, with Russia threatening to arm Assad, the Americans cannot "sit on the sideline with their hands tied."

He added: "The fact that there are American forces in Jordan signals that the US is interested in deterring the Syrians and the Assad regime, and is prepared to take further steps in the future."


Congressman Says ‘Princesses: Long Island’ Promotes Antisemitism

"Casey's miserable." A shot from "Princesses: Long Island."

On a Saturday night full of news about “Slab that pork chop with some butter” queen Paula Deen being shoved off the Food Network for using the N word, a new show named “Princesses: Long Island” is under attack for portraying young Jewish American women as empty headed shopaholics with a minor in blasphemy.

The show chronicles six young women living at home with their parents on Long Island. The show follows the group as they go out looking for husbands, and their family interactions.

How Jewish are they? Well, the first installment was titled “You Had Me at Shalom,” aired June 2, 2013 (that’s 5773), “Chanel sits down with her modern Orthodox family for a Shabbat dinner, where she is reminded that it’s time for her to get married. Amanda goes on a date with her older boyfriend Jeff, and attempts to keep her mother from inviting herself. Ashlee and her father go get manicures and pedicures. Later, Amanda meets up with Joey to go shopping for her 30th birthday celebration dress. Erica invites the girls over for her pool party — where drama seems to erupt.”

The show is “the most objectionable thing I’ve ever seen on television” and promotes stereotyping of Jews, says Democrat Congressman from New York Steve Israel. The network should show a disclaimer before every episode to say there’s nothing real about the nonfiction show, he told the AP.

Bravo said on Friday that the new series has been averaging a little more than a million viewers each episode—there have been three so far. It’s considered a success, in today’s splintered, niche broadcasting.



USDA Skeptical Of Monsanto Sabotage Claim On ‘Zombie Wheat’ Probe

It is a mystery that could cost the American farmer billions: how rogue genetically modified wheat plants turned up on a farmer’s field in Oregon.

The scientist who first discovered the renegade grain – by dipping a plastic strip into a tube of pulped plant, in order to check its genetics – believes the GM wheat could have entered America’s food supply undetected years ago, and could still be in circulation.

“There’s a lot of potential for how it could have got into the supply,” said Carol Mallory-Smith, a professor of weed sciences at Oregon State University. “It could have already been processed. It could have gone for animal feed somewhere or it could have gone for something else. It could have gone for storage.”

The Department of Agriculture, which is conducting a secretive investigation into the renegade GM wheat outbreak, maintains the GM wheat remained confined to a single 125-acre field on a single farm in eastern Oregon. Officials said there was no evidence the contaminated wheat was in the marketplace.

Monsanto, which manufactured the altered gene and conducted field trials of the GM wheat several years ago, strongly suggested in a conference call with reporters on Friday that the company was the victim of sabotage of anti-GM campaigners. Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s chief technology officer, said:

It’s fair to say there are folks who don’t like biotechnology and who would use this as an opportunity to make problems.



Paula Deen Fans Vent Outrage At Food Network For Dumping Celebrity Cook Over Past Racial Slurs

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Watching Paula Deen's cooking show was a weekend ritual for Marilynne Wilson, who says she's furious at the Food Network for dumping the comfort-food queen after she acknowledged using racial slurs in the past.

"I was shocked. I thought she'd get a fair trial," Wilson, a nurse from Jacksonville, Fla., said Saturday after stopping to buy souvenirs at the gift shop Deen owns next to her Savannah restaurant. "I think the Food Network jumped the gun."

A day after announcing that it's dropping Deen from its roster of celebrity cooks, the cable network was served heaping portions of Southern fried outrage by her fans.

Angry messages piled up Saturday on the network's Facebook page, with many Deen fans threating to change the channel for good. "So good-bye Food Network," one viewer wrote. "I hope you fold like an accordion!!!"



Russia Marks Anniversary Of Nazi Invasion As Memory And Sorrow Day

Vladimir Putin lays wreath at Tomb of Unknown Soldier

MOSCOW, June 22 (Itar-Tass) - June 22 in Russia is Memory and Sorrow Day. It was established under a presidential decree of June 8, 1996 to mark the anniversary of the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union - the beginning of what at once would be called the Great Patriotic War.

Seventy two years ago today, in the small hours of a peaceful summer Sunday, June 22 Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union without a declaration of war. Its warplanes bombed airdromes, railway stations, naval bases, army garrisons and sleeping cities 250-300 kilometers deep inside the country’s territory. The USSR had to fight against a combined force of Hitler’s Germany, Italy, Hungary, Finland and Romania.

The Soviet Union’s losses in the World War II were immeasurably heavier than those of all other countries in the anti-Hitler coalition.

The Defense Ministry has told Itar-Tass “the overall losses of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War, which lasted 1,418 days and nights, totaled 26.6 million, including 8,668,400 officers and men killed in action.”

At the moment of Nazi invasion the Red Army numbered 4.826 million. A total of 29.5 million were mobilized over the war years.


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