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Injustice Continues: Leonard Peltier Again Denied Parole
US & International Personnel losses in Iraq &Afghanistan; Costs of the 2 Wars to US
Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq: 4,667
Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 1,453
Cost of War in Iraq
Cost of War in Afghanistan
The cost in your community
flickr: DEATH FROM THIS WINDOW/DOORS OF GUANTANAMO--Essays, Links, Video-- US use of Torture
flickr: DEATH FROM THIS WINDOW/DOORS OF GUANTANAMO
VISUAL POETRY/MAIL ART CALL Cracking World’s Walls & Codes Concrete & Virtual
VISUAL POETRY/MAIL ART CALL
No Sieges, Tortures, Starvation & Surveillance
GAZA-GUANTANAMO-ABU GHRAIB—THE GLOBE
Deadline/Fecha Limite: SinsLimite/ongoing
Size: No limit/Sin Limite
No Limit on Number of Works sent
No Limit on Number of Times New Works Are Sent
Documentation: on my blog
David Baptiste Chirot
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Miss Universe Visits Guantanamo: 'A Loooot Of Fun!'
Miss Universe Visits Guantanamo: 'A Loooot Of Fun!'
The current 'Miss Universe' Dayana Mendoza (formerly Miss Venezuela) and 'Miss America' Crystal Stewart visited US troops stationed in Guantanamo Bay on March 20th, the New York Times reports. Here's Mendoza's account of the visit from her pageant blog last Friday. She says the trip "was a loooot of fun!"
This week, Guantánamo!!! It was an incredible experience...All the guys from the Army were amazing with us. We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting. We took a ride with the Marines around the land to see the division of Gitmo and Cuba while they were informed us with a little bit of history.
The water in Guantánamo Bay is soooo beautiful! It was unbelievable, we were able to enjoy it for at least an hour. We went to the glass beach, and realized the name of it comes from the little pieces of broken glass from hundred of years ago. It is pretty to see all the colors shining with the sun. That day we met a beautiful lady named Rebeca who does wonders with the glasses from the beach. She creates jewelry with it and of course I bought a necklace from her that will remind me of Guantánamo Bay :)
I didn't want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Remember how the swine flu was a pandemic that
was supposed to destroy the world as we know it?
I guess it didn't happen.
Why are we not surprised.
Turns out that the deadly swine flu was
weaker than the normal flu and the biggest
health danger was from the vaccine.
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From: Elsewhereness <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, Dec 25, 2009 at 6:36 PM
Subject: MERRY CHRISTMAS
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUBARAK FROM THE GAZA FREEDOM MARCH--Sabbah Report Daily Newsletter - Sabbah Report
- OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUBARAK FROM THE GAZA FREEDOM MARCH
- Christopher Dickey (Newsweek): What Would Jesus Do in Gaza?
- Gaza: Not Immune To Swine Flu (H1N1)
- Reject the Christmas Style of a War Criminal President Who Said "Jesus Is My Lord"
Posted: 25 Dec 2009 01:19 PM PST
December 26, 2009
Dear President Mubarak;
We, representing 1,362 individuals from 43 countries arriving in Cairo to participate in the Gaza Freedom March, are pleading to the Egyptians and your reputation for hospitality.
We are peacemakers. We have not come to Egypt to create trouble or cause conflict. On the contrary. We have come because we believe that all people — including the Palestinians of Gaza — should have access to the resources they need to live in dignity. We have gathered in Egypt because we believed that you would welcome and support our noble goal and help us reach Gaza through your land.
As individuals who believe in justice and human rights, we have spent our hard-earned, and sometimes scarce, resources to buy plane tickets, book hotel rooms and secure transportation only to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza living under a crushing Israeli blockade.
We have raised tens of thousands of dollars for medical aid, school supplies and winter clothing for the children of Gaza. But we realize that in addition to material aid, the Palestinians of Gaza need moral support. We came to offer that support on the difficult anniversary of an invasion that brought them so much suffering.
The idea of the Gaza Freedom March-a nonviolent march to the Israeli Erez crossing– emerged during one of our trips to Gaza in May, a trip that was kindly facilitated by the Egyptian government. Ever since the idea emerged, we have been talking to your government through your embassies overseas and directly with your Foreign Ministries. Your representatives have been kind and supportive. We were asked to furnish information about all the participants-passports, dates of birth, occupations-which we have done in good faith. We have answered every question, met every request. For months we have been working under the assumption that your government would facilitate our passage, as it has done on so many other occasions. We waited and waited for an answer.
Meanwhile, time was getting short and we had to start organizing. Travel over the Christmas season is not easy in the countries where many of us live. Tickets have to be purchased weeks, if not months, in advance. This is what all 1,362 individuals did. They spent their own funds or raised money from their communities to pay their way. Add to this the priceless time, effort and sacrifice by all these people to be away from their homes and loved ones during their festive season.
In Gaza, civil society groups–students, unions, women, farmers, refugee groups–have been working nonstop for months to organize the march. They have organized workshops, concerts, press conferences, endless meetings–all of this with their own scarce resources. They have been buoyed by the anticipated presence of so many global citizens coming to support their just cause.
If the Egyptian government decides to prevent the Gaza Freedom March, all this work and cost is lost.
And that's not all. It is practically impossible, this late in the game, to stop all these people from travelling to Egypt, even if we wanted to. Moreover, most have no plans in Egypt other than to arrive at a predetermined meeting point to head together to the Gaza border. If these plans are cancelled there will be a lot of unjustified suffering for the Palestinians of Gaza and over a thousand internationals who had nothing in mind but noble intentions.
We plead to you to let the Gaza Freedom March continue so that we can join the Palestinians of Gaza to march together on December 31, 2009.
We are truly hopeful that we will receive a positive response from you and thank you for your assistance.
Tighe Barry, Gaza Freedom March coordinator
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUBARAK FROM THE GAZA FREEDOM MARCH is a post from: Sabbah Report. Get Daily Newsletter, follow on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
Posted: 25 Dec 2009 04:53 AM PST
Palestinian children stand in line in front of a priest holding an effigy of 'baby Jesus' during Christmas eve mass in Gaza's Der Latin church December 24, 2009. Less than 100 Gazans gathered in the church to take part in the celebrations. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
Obama talks about love while justifying wars, but in the Middle East, neither works.
Maybe it seems beside the point, even on the eve of Christmas, to ask ourselves what would Jesus do in the Holy Land today. The narrow confines of Gaza, Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria are places where God's love was long ago supplanted by war for land and ill will among men. It has been a year now since the bloody and fruitless Israeli effort to crush Hamas in what amounts to a massive prison for a million people. Peacemakers in the Middle East are rarely blessed, and often reviled; just ask special envoy George Mitchell. And the truth rarely sets anyone free, as proved most recently by the fact-filled United Nations report by South African Judge Richard Goldstone, which was dissed by Washington and dismissed by Israel.
But given that it's Barack Obama who's president of the United States, the Jesus question has a relevance today it wouldn't have had even a year ago. No, Obama is not the messiah. I'm not saying that. But Obama actually uses the word love in a way that Jesus would have understood. So while the question of what Christ might do in today's Holy Land is hypothetical, the question of what Obama will do is not. And some of his most cherished ideas about peace, love, and understanding could be put to the test Dec. 31 when activists are hoping to stage a massive Gaza Freedom March.
The choice would seem to be a clear one between the policies of terror, occupation, corrosive combat, and cynical politics that we've seen for so long from both the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, or policies of civil disobedience and sweet reason, which is what Obama says he wants. But don't expect to hear much about that march when it happens, if it happens at all. Egypt as well as Israel may make it impossible for foreign peace activists to join the marchers in Gaza. Protests come and go in the Palestinian territories, but only blood normally draws media attention and even then, not much.
Palestinian children play on the ruins of houses destroyed during the three-week offensive Israel launched last year, in Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on Christmas Eve December 24, 2009. December 27 marks one year since the start of a three-week offensive Israel launched in Gaza during which more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
Perhaps the only hope that a massive nonviolent march will have to make an impact is if Obama himself takes note. But since Cairo, he has been stymied by hardball politics in Israel. Thus in June Obama flatly stated that the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements, which sounded tough. But he quickly discovered that Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu didn't really give a damn what Obama accepts. After much hand wringing, Washington finally coaxed Netanyahu into announcing a partial temporary freeze on some new apartment blocks and houses on the West Bank, but construction of public buildings and projects already begun goes right ahead.
Oslo was a chance for Obama to set things straight: either he believes in the power of nonviolent protest to affect the future of peace in the Middle East or he does not. But as he made his pitch to the Europeans to send more NATO troops to the "just war" in Afghanistan, he wandered away from his old theme in the Middle East. The belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it, Obama said. A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism—it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
Fair enough. But few conflicts are as clear-cut as the fight against the SS or Osama bin Laden.
I kept wondering when Obama, this admirer of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, would pay more than lip service to their greatness and get down to the core question of peace among Arabs and Jews. In today's wars, many more civilians are killed than soldiers; the seeds of future conflict are sown, economies are wrecked, civil societies torn asunder, refugees amassed, children scarred, he said in Oslo. And nowhere is that truer than in Gaza. But Obama did not mention Gaza.
The American president called on all nations, strong and weak alike, to abide by international standards that govern the use of force, but there was no reference to the many detailed allegations in the Goldstone report and elsewhere charging that Israel and Hamas both committed war crimes.
A Palestinian Christian woman holds her baby in the Deir Al Latin Catholic Church after the Christmas Mass, in Gaza City, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009. AP Photo/Khalil Hamra
I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation, said Obama. But he was talking about Iran and North Korea, Burma and Zimbabwe. He did not say the United States should engage with Hamas, and he did not encourage the Israelis to do so.
In a ringing phrase, Obama declared no holy war can ever be a just war. For if you truly believe that you are carrying out divine will, then there is no need for restraint, no need to spare the pregnant mother, or the medic, or the Red Cross worker, or even a person of one's own faith. Such a warped view of religion is not just incompatible with the concept of peace, but I believe it's incompatible with the very purpose of faith—for the one rule that lies at the heart of ever major religion is that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. But was Obama talking about radical Israeli settlers in the West Bank or the Israeli forces blowing apart factories, farmlands, and private homes in Gaza a year ago? Or for that matter Hamas? He didn't mention them.
Adhering to the law of love has always been the core struggle of human nature, said Obama as he moved toward the end of his speech, using without reservation that word that is at the core of the Gospels. And Obama called on us to reach out for that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls. But the only specific reference to the Holy Land that he offered was a passing remark that the conflict between Arabs and Jews seems to harden.
No, I don't know what Jesus would do, but I know what Obama should do. He can embrace the most important finding of the Goldstone report, which is essentially a call for Israel and Hamas to embrace a process of truth and reconciliation similar to the process that helped to heal the wounds of apartheid. (Thus far, the State Department has been claiming the report is actually an obstacle to peace.) And Obama should use his moral authority, while there's some left, to open the way for peaceful protest in Gaza, instead of allowing Israel and Egypt to shut it down. When the president visited a Boys and Girls Club in snowy Washington the other day, he told the kids that what the birth of baby Jesus "symbolizes for people all around the world is the possibility of peace and people treating each other with respect." It's time Obama worked harder to apply that principle in the part of the world where Baby Jesus was born.
* A distinguished journalist and author, Christopher Dickey currently serves as Newsweek's Paris bureau chief and Middle East regional editor. He reports on European politics, economy, society and new technologies, as well as developing stories throughout North Africa, the Near East and the Persian Gulf.
Christopher Dickey (Newsweek): What Would Jesus Do in Gaza? is a post from: Sabbah Report. Get Daily Newsletter, follow on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
Posted: 25 Dec 2009 02:08 AM PST
Their sense of assurance ended on December 6th when the first swine flu patient died in Gaza. People here were over whelmed with mixed feelings of fear blended with shock.
This death hit them hard because at that time the virus was not talked about as much in other places in the world and the number of swine flu fatalities was decreasing.
With this death came the news that occupied Gaza could suffer even more.
Given the lack of medicine, the dense population, a general lack of information, inadequate ill-equipped hospitals, no professional quarantine spaces are available, and not being able to evacuate from the strip for treatment has led Gazans to think that any patient of H1N1 will automatically die.
After the first death announcement on December 6, bad news started to flow like the dirty water canals.
The local community read the press release of the Gazan Ministry of Health which stated:
Gaza is at risk because of returning pilgrims from Mecca where Muslims from around the world have gone to finish their pilgrimage rituals may have caught the virus. In addition, many foreigners enter Gaza either to work here in one of the countless NGOs or to show the support.
People here started to panic as they searched for any information on how to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus – how to fight it and how to kill it.
Merchants stepped in to help people get their prevention tools, but in fact they were benefiting from the panic and ignorance – a general lack of information about the virus.
Gazans were offered various remedies such as anise and Spanish garlic. Within days, anise vanished from Gaza due to the demand.
With pharmacies here promoting Spanish garlic as "H1N1's most powerful prevention tool," the panic and ignorance continued.
A few days ago we woke up to the most shocking alleged news: it is now said that swine flu has been in Gaza for at least the last six months and Gazans were not informed.
Sources here began to confirm that indeed many infants and children have died in the past six months and they were diagnosed with "weirdly powerful flu" or "weirdly powerful pneumonia" without looking further and digging deeper in the cases and the truth was left untold.
We didn't know whether this virus spread was covered up – or our health officials could not grasp its meaning without developed medical and diagnostic tools here in Gaza.
We do know that the first death was discovered only when the family persisted on performing a very detailed autopsy in which the virus infection was suspected and found, triggering the whole H1N1 frenzy here.
People at first stayed in their homes to avoid going out in public, but slowly the panic is disappearing and life is returning to normal in Gaza.
Not completely normal because life in Gaza has not been normal for decades. That does not mean people are not afraid anymore, but now they know more. They can move on with what is left of their lives, taking their precautions.
It is hard for us to believe that swine flu is now in Gaza. But we are coping. Most infected patients here have now stabilized.
The good news for us all is that the H1N1 virus is ultimately nothing but a regular flu that we can both prevent and fight. We will overcome this health epidemic as we have overcome all other adversities.
* Omar Ghraieb is a Palestinian reporter/journalist/writer/peace seeker living in Gaza and trying to shed a light on what happens there.
Posted: 25 Dec 2009 01:14 AM PST
Apparently, President Obama as so many U.S. presidents before him, has no fear of God as he holds the teaching of Jesus impractical, not worth implementing, and certainly not possible for him to follow as U.S. President. Obama stressed this as he preached the necessity of wars, during his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
But to a president who believes the teaching of Jesus impractical because "there is evil in the world" that a Commander-In-Chief is compelled to destroy even by murdering the children nearby, Noam Chomsky gives secular military advice:
"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
The children's bodies pile up in five Muslim nations where lives are taken by U.S. military personnel, hailed as heroes every day during the Christmas season by patriotic TV news anchors. Conglomerate owned media personalities are perhaps the most basic war criminals of all, deviously presenting themselves as sensitive, caring and humane in character. They facilitate the acceptance of war during Christmas more than all year long.
To the families, friends, country folk, and relating Muslims all over the world who poignantly mourn the children massacred by U.S. forces in five Islamic countries (as well as by a U.S. ally in a sixth), the ubiquitous figure of America's Santa Claus on TV must seem to be repulsive if not the devil himself.
There are, however, millions of devout Americans, including many dressed as Santa Claus who feel crushed by the photos of collaterally murdered children they consider as their own. They, in their hearts, will not be celebrating a Merry Christmas regardless of outside appearances.
President Obama has dismissed the efficacy of Jesus' teaching along with that of Martin Luther King and Gandhi. Will there be rage for the apostasy of Obama and eventually for those who enthusiastically carry out immoral homicidal commands with impunity and in pathetic ignorance of the law – any law, whether of God or Nature.
Even before being installed into office, Obama started off with a withering silence of complicity and support for the massacre of children in Gaza. Then came the Predator Drone Hellfire bombing massacres in Pakistan as his first contribution to the long history of U.S. presidential criminality. Simultaneously, a merciless ever increasing toll of poor dead children in Afghanistan, and continuing intermittent bombing for the children in Somalia. This week, as a Christmas present to Mars, the God of War, the massacre of children in Yemen.
How many, who have already experienced American Christmas while Americans were killing Koreans in Korea, or Laotians in Laos, Vietnamese in Vietnam, Cambodians in Cambodia, Iraqis in Iraq, or Afghanis in Afghanistan, don't want to, yet once again, turn their heads away from the blood on America's hands and hypocritically celebrate merrily the birth of Jesus?
No! Damn the macabre commercial shopping encouragement and partying on the graves of millions beloved by Jesus' "Who so loved the world."
Damn the insanity of all this inhuman mega extermination in formerly colonized nations in undeclared and unwinnable wars.
Damn these ongoing wars now during the 2009 birth observance of Jesus, who Obama had the temerity and pretended sincerity of calling "my Lord and Saviour" as he laid out his plans to bomb Pakistan and increase war in Afghanistan.
Historically U.S. Presidents, going against Jesus at Christmastime, taking the lives of their planetary brother's and sister's children, have been able to escape legal justice and paying for their crimes in this lifetime. But should Obama come to be indicted in court, under the laws of the Nuremberg Crimes Against Humanity Tribunal, condemnation and punishment might be swift.
"According to the standards of the Nuremberg Trials, every American president since World War II could be convicted as a war criminal and hung." Noam Chomsky
Jesus' birthday is an appropriate time to damn the bombing of innocents for lies and oil. Damn another Christmas style of turning our heads away from the daily body counts and new graves of our brothers and sisters and children and fathers and mothers in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Somalia and Yemen where Obama heartlessly bombs those that had nothing to do with 9/11, as the president knows full well.
Men, women and children are cut down, blown up by the thousands. Americans exchange presents and gaze at their Christmas trees carefully avoiding talk of both the baby Jesus and the babies Americans go on killing in their very own countries, usually in their very own villages, often in their own homes while sleeping.
The most galling and bitterest travesty to swallow, during the traditional cruel pretense of forgetting U.S. victims at Christmastime under the presidency of another phony American warrior president, is the self-professed impotence of the clergy which by profession is charged with making Christmas spiritually meaningful and actively charitable.
* Jay Janson is a musician and writer, who has lived and worked on all the continents and whose articles on media have been published in China, Italy, England and the US, and now resides in New York City.
Reject the Christmas Style of a War Criminal President Who Said "Jesus Is My Lord" is a post from: Sabbah Report. Get Daily Newsletter, follow on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
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From Alaska to Greater Yellowstone, our treasured wolves face brutal
air and ground attacks aimed at slaughtering entire wolf families.
With your compassionate year-end tax-deductible donation, 2010 can be the year we end the Palin-championed aerial wolf killing in Alaska and restore life-saving federal protections to Greater Yellowstone wolves.
Help us reach our goal of recruiting 2010 new donors and raising $200,000 by December 31st to make 2010 a safer year for our wolves and other endangered wildlife.
Alaska's cruel wolf-killing from airplanes and helicopters rages on as Palin-appointed officials target more than 100 wolves statewide for this season's body count.
And in Idaho, a hail of bullets from a hovering helicopter wiped out most of the Basin Butte wolf pack, including several 7-8 month-old pups. State and federal agencies are targeting 25 other wolf families -- including the beloved Timberline pack, named after a Boise high school -- for the same awful fate.
You can help save our remaining wolves with your year-end tax-deductible donation.
The Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act -- legislation to END Alaska's vicious aerial gunning program -- has gained growing support and momentum in Congress. We have 126 cosponsors in the House and 7 in the Senate, including the bill's powerful sponsor, Dianne Feinstein of California. With your caring help we'll pass the PAW Act in 2010.
We're again fighting in court to restore federal protections for northern Rockies wolves. When the Bush administration took away protections for wolves, we went to court -- and we won. We're once again in court -- and the judge has already indicated we're likely to win again. Make 2010 the year we restore life saving protections for our wolves yet another time.
Defenders is a results-driven organization. And we don't quit. We cannot fail -- or more wolf families will be killed and more endangered animals will face extinction.
Ring in the New Year for Wildlife. Please help us reach our goal of raising $200,000 and recruiting 2010 new supporters before midnight on December 31st.
Thank you for your caring support -- and Happy New Year!
P.S. It's too late for more than 1,000 wolves in Alaska and hundreds in the Greater Yellowstone and northern Rockies region. Help us save the remaining animals. We'll carefully put your tax-deductible contribution to work right away. Please make your donation on our secure website -- it's safe, quick and easy. You can also call 1-800-385-9712 to contribute by phone.
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