The Israeli military's top lawyer on Monday closed an investigation into alleged misconduct during the recent three-week war in Gaza, concluding that charges made by graduates of a military preparation school were "based on hearsay" and had been "purposely exaggerated."
The iconic photograph of the Falling Man at the World Trade Centre was "the defining image" of that day. I see his 10-second journey as also a symbol of 7+ years of the "War on Terror;" as an archetype that resounds throughout the history of humankind.
I think of other famous falling symbols: the rebellious fallen angel thrown out of heaven because he tempted humans "to sin or commit evil deeds," representing "a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment." I think of Icarus ,who flew too close to the sun and, with burnt wings, fell into the sea. I think of Virgil leading Dante through the circles of hell in The Divine Comedy. I think of The Fall by Albert Camus,about a "man's confessions that reveal his "perception of justice and his own downfall." I think of the painter, Georg Bacelich , and his stunning paintings of a falling man.
Barack Obama was elected as the "heroic" saviour. Stories of heroism can serve as moral examples. But Obama has a problem: his rhetoric is a contradiction of reality. Obama is a good lawyer, a good debater. Debaters are taught to be able to support both sides of a story equally well. Obama's double-speak statements reveal the military, political and "intelligence" schisms within the White House. The contradictory mood music coing out of Washington remind me of The Lyre Bird whose sweet callings are interspersed with chain saws and sirens.
The results are not encouraging. Defense contracts are numerous; surveillance is omnipresent; police state mentality and laws have infected Israel and the United Kingdom. Illegalities (torture, rendition, eg.) are not prosecuted and continue. Terrorism remains a focus of the a government rampant with Human Rights war crimes. The American jobless public, under a pall during the "War on Terror," have transfered their anger to rebelling against economic injustice. We all mourn "Paradise Lost". Until America's Augean Stables are cleansed and purified, the Falling Man will continue to fall.
The United States deployed two missile-interceptor ships from South Korea on Monday, a military spokesman said, days ahead of a North Korean rocket launch widely seen as a long-range missile test that violates U.N. sanctions. The launch presents the first significant challenge by the prickly state to U.S. President Barack Obama, who will discuss Pyongyang's intentions with global leaders including Chinese President Hu Jintao this week at the G20 summit in London.
The US military has aroused intense condemnation from the international community over its mistreatment and abuse of Iraqi prisoners some of whom incarcerated without any charges. In May 2004, leaked pictures of the notorious Abu-Ghraib prison scandal showed US military personnel in Baghdad subjecting Iraqi detainees to humiliating and degrading treatment, thus triggering an international outcry against the human rights violations. Abu-Ghraib prison is located on the western outskirts of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
An attack on a police training school near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has left around 22 people killed and more than 50 others wounded. The incident took place early on Monday when gunmen in police uniform broke into Manawan police training school outside Lahore and attacked recruits with hand grenades and random gunfire, Press TV correspondent reported, adding 20 people have so far lost their lives in the attack. Following the incident, Pakistan's elite squad was called to the scene and the area was cordoned off by the police. The Guardian: Gunmen storm Pakistan police academy (Video). PressTV: Pakistani police arrest Lahore attackers. The Independent: Pakistani commandos end academy siege.
American influence in former Soviet countries could make or break Obama administration's new Afghan-Pakistan strategy. The road passes a shimmering green mountain pasture, then dips steeply to a new US-built bridge. Across the languid Panj river is Afghanistan and the dusty northern town of Kunduz. On this side is Tajikistan, Afghanistan's impoverished Central Asian neighbour.
Prepared behind the backs of the American people and with contempt for anti-war opinion expressed in the presidential election, Obama's plan calls for replicating in Afghanistan Bush's military "surge" in Iraq and launching military strikes at will in Pakistan. It confirms that Obama's candidacy was not a move towards peace, but the expression of a struggle inside the American ruling elite over the strategic priorities of US imperialism. Obama served as the front man for those who believed the Pentagon had focused too much attention on Iraq and that the main target of military violence should be Central Asia. Kenny's Sideshow: Obama on Afghanistan and Pakistan - Lies and Propaganda. Guerilla News: Obama's War: Has the "peace movement" become part of the war machine? AntiWar: Obama: Pakistan to Be Held ‘Much More Accountable’. WaPo: Obama Says He Is Sharpening "Focus" of War in Afghanistan.
[Al Jazeera.net] In this week's show we hear how Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of war crimes for it's unlawful use of white phosphorous. Mike Kirsch a town in the US where white phosphorous is manufactured and shows locals the true human cost of the weapon. Survivors of the war in Gaza take legal action and we meet a mother burnt by white phosphorous who tells her story. Part 2
Haaretz, on 17 March 2009, has an article by Bradley Burston, entitled THE RACIST ISRAELI FASCIST IN ME Burston refers to people who ask about the Israelis: "What is with these blights on the backside of humanity? A vast war machine pretending to be a tiny country, a mobilized citizenry sterilized of morality, drained of compassion, bereft of conscience, bestial in war, imperial in ambition, Goliathized in its marriage of high tech and high explosive; incorrigibly bigoted bullying simpletons, little more than racists who vote for racists, fascists who fall for fascists, an embarrassment to the West, an embarrassment to the Jews, an embarrassment, at root, to the progressive individual who asks the question."
Three Weeks in September is a forthcoming documentary film that deals with the deadly health effects, emotional issues, and financial burdens that are now plaguing tens of thousands of 9/11 First Responders.
In the days and weeks that followed the terrible events of September 11th, 2001, thousands of volunteers from across the United States descended upon Ground Zero to volunteer in the search of "The Pile". Reassured that the air quality was safe by both the Federal Government through statements issued by the EPA, and the Government of New York City, these brave men and women toiled night and day in the toxic fumes of the rubble. Now seven years later, most of them are sick, many of them are dying, and too many are already dead. To add insult to their injuries, many have found themselves having to fight for the medical treatments they now need to battle their afflictions. Amid a mass of bureaucratic red tape and corporate policy roadblocks, these forgotten heroes are living the 9/11 nightmare daily.
[WikiPedia:] Asbestos is known to have toxicity. The inhalation of toxic asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses, including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis (also called pneumoconiosis). Since the mid 1980s, many uses of asbestos have been banned in several countries.
[WikiPedia:] The dust from the collapsed towers was "wildly toxic", according to air pollution expert and University of California Davis Professor Emeritus Thomas Cahill. The thousands of tons of toxic debris resulting from the collapse of the Twin Towers consisted of more than 2,500 contaminants, more specifically: 50% non-fibrous material and construction debris; 40% glass and other fibers; 9.2% cellulose; and 0.8% of the extremely toxic carcinogen asbestos, as well as detectable amounts of lead, and mercury.
[9-11 Research:] Towers' Destruction 'Solved' Asbestos Problem. The Twin Towers had large amounts of asbestos fireproofing which would have necessitated costly removal had they remained standing. The exact amount and distribution of the asbestos in the Towers remains unclear, like other details of the buildings' construction and history, but the evidence suggests that the cost of its removal may have rivaled the value of the buildings themselves.
The former vice-president fears being held to account on torture and is lashing out. The documents detailed horrifying CIA practices that the Red Cross unequivocally called torture – shoving prisoners in tiny, air-tight coffins, waterboarding, beatings, sleep deprivation, stress positions: all the techniques we have now come to know almost by heart. And torture is a war crime. War crimes have no statute of limitations and are among the most serious crimes of which one can be accused. This is what Cheney is desperate to avoid. It is unclear whether he will actually ever be prosecuted, but the facts of his record will wend their way inexorably into the sunlight. That means he could become a pariah.
Pervez Musharraf said on Sunday no outside party had any right to cross the border into Pakistan, adding serious notice must be taken of any such actions. Speaking to media at Islamabad airport before leaving for China on a 10-day visit, the former president rejected all allegations against the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), a private TV channel reported. “The ISI protects and projects Pakistan’s national interests,” he said. The whole nation should defend the ISI, he added.
Why you'll be paying for the occupation for years to come, withdrawal or not. With last week's announced escalation of the war in Afghanistan, including an Iraq-like "surge" replete with 4,000 more U.S. troops and a sizable increase in private contractors, President Barack Obama blew the lid off of any lingering perceptions that he somehow represents a significant change in how the U.S. conducts its foreign policy. In the meantime, more reports have emerged that bolster suspicions that Obama's Iraq policy is but a downsized version of Bush's and that a total withdrawal of U.S. forces is not on the horizon.
Palestinians and their supporters around the world are organizing protests, demonstrations, teach-ins and actions on Palestinian Land Day, which has also been declared the 'Global Day for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel'.
A legal battle being waged by Palestinian families to stop the takeover of their neighbourhood in East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers has received a major fillip from the recent souring of relations between Israel and Turkey.
The uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story, writes Christopher Booker. If there is one scientist who knows more about sea levels than anyone else in the world it is the Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel Mörner, formerly chairman of the INQUA International Commission on Sea Level Change. And the uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner, who for 35 years has been using every known scientific method to study sea levels all over the globe, is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story. Despite fluctuations down as well as up, "the sea is not rising," he says. "It hasn't risen in 50 years." If there is any rise this century it will "not be more than 10cm (four inches), with an uncertainty of plus or minus 10cm". And quite apart from examining the hard evidence, he says, the elementary laws of physics (latent heat needed to melt ice) tell us that the apocalypse conjured up by Al Gore and Co could not possibly come about.
Decision to cancel festival 'another devastating blow' for Spanish bullfighters. Spain's economic woes have bitten into the heart of the nation with one small town voting at the weekend to scrap its annual bullfighting festival to save public money. The festival in Manzanares El Real, north of Madrid, is held in August. Residents decided in a referendum that the four-fay fiesta would not feature bulls this year. Dedicated aficionados fighting to uphold their bullfighting traditions were furious. The town's vote is bound to have an impact on the nationwide debate about the ethics of bullfighting. As Spain's bullfight season shifts into top gear, anti-taurine campaigners and cash-strapped authorities are likely to question whether the huge sums spent annually on the "national fiesta" amount to wasteful extravagance during the economic crisis.
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