Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune Caught in Collusion to Aid Israel's Propaganda War

To the Editors of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune:

In the story, "Israeli Military Says Gaza Pullout Complete," the Los Angeles Times printed that U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon "called rocket attacks against Israel 'appalling and unacceptable.'" This is not only misleading, it is completely false. The Los Angeles Times further attempted to mislead its readers on the front page article, "UN Chief Tours Gaza Strip, Israeli Town," by repeating Ban's alleged statement. Of course, this goes further, as a story in the Chicago Tribune parrots the UN Chief misquote. A more reliable source has fully quoted Ban as saying:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen only a fraction of the damage. This is shocking and alarming. This is heartbreaking scenes which I have seen, and I am deeply grieved by what I have seen today. I’m just appalled. I’m not able to describe how I’m feeling, having seen this site of the bombing of the United Nations compound. Everyone is now smelling this burning still. It is still burning. This, an outrageous and totally unacceptable attack against the United Nations."

Ban was referring to the destruction of the United Nations headquarters last week, set ablaze when Israel attacked it, destroying hundreds of tons of food and aid, badly needed by the refugees caught between Hamas and Israel. In fact, Ban has called for the attack on the UN headquarters to be investigated as a possible war crime.

But it seems likely that both organizations already knew this.

It is one thing to be Pro-Israel. It is another to omit facts and distort the words of a UN leader to help propagate the notion that Israel has been fully justified in its assault on Gaza. In referring to the New York Times and the London Times, it is clear that the Los Angeles Times and its parent company, the Chicago Tribune, are quite alone in their foray into fiction. The fact that two different writers for two different papers owned by the same company, have misquoted the UN Secretary identically, suggests that the Chigaco Tribune, et. al is not reporting the news as it happens, but rather, is acting on an agenda. All speculation aside, I demand that the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune each print a retraction to include Ban's full statement, as well as an apology to your readers, to UN Secretary General Ban and to the victims of the Gaza massacre, a massacre for which your organizations have offered tacit support through the publication of such misleading stories.

Update: The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune might have been following an AP feed when they printed their stories. The Associated Press also misrepresented Ban Ki-moon's statement as a condemnation of Hamas' attacks on Israel:

"Ban later visited the rocket-scarred Israeli town of Sderot, where he called the Hamas' attacks over the last eight years against Israeli residents 'appalling and unacceptable.'"

This would be the third time in as many months that the AP has been exposed for mis-stating facts in pursuit of an agenda.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Open Letter: a Call for Israeli and Palestinian Insubordination

I've written my Senators and representative so many times about Gaza that I swear, I've gone into syndication with them. No response. Is this thing on? Hello-oooooooooo?! Nothing. And did you hear? Over 1100 Palestinians dead--mostly children--and Hillary Clinton says there aren't going to be any talks with Hamas. In other words, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Change, my rosey red kiester.

I cannot be silent as these destructive forces--forces that I sponsor with my taxes--continue to massacre innocent people. Between Israel and Hamas, the Jews and Palestinians are just public relations poker chips. And just like Wall Street, what Israel and Hamas gamble with doesn't belong to them in the first place. Most people in Israel aren't soldiers or fighters or guerrillas or spies or terrorists. They're just people getting blown to pieces because the megalomaniacal cowards don't have the balls to stand toe to toe with each other and settle their differences.

And while Hamas fires rockets into populated areas of southern Israel; their aim sucks: they Israeli body count is at thirteen, ten of whom were soldiers, and four of those killed by friendly fire. Israel, with full US backing is using Gaza as a military laboratory, testing out DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) bombs, which has the unique function of dismembering people without leaving any shrapnel in them. Oh, and did I mention it causes cancer? It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "dropping a DIME," eh?

So smoke 'em if you got 'em, kids! Lung cancer will be a pleasant death by comparison--not that you're gonna live that long. And for those of you that haven't been killed by the bombs, did we mention that the Israelis are unveiling--just in time for the Oscars--the latest and greatest in chemical peels, white phosphorus! Because while most chemical peels only get rid of the epidermis layer, making your skin look fresh and new, white phosphorus burns through all of your skin--and then it keeps going, burning your skin off, right down to the bone! My, won't you be a sight on the red carpet--not the one in Hollywood, of course, but the one stained with the blood of your enemies as well as your friends.

I have some advice for the soldiers, fighters, guerrillas and lieutenants who are carrying out these atrocities: stop. The precedent set at Nuremberg in 1945 gives you the right to refuse to obey orders that make you complicit in war crimes.

I would advise you to use that loophole before it gets used on you.

Update: Since the cease-fire began, the death toll in Gaza has risen to over 1,300. According to the New York Times, that number includes 104 women and 410 children and is expected to continue rising as more bodies are discovered. The Western media has done everything it can to sanitize Israel's ethnic cleansing of Gaza, if not bury it outright.

Israel is not right by virtue of the Holocaust being wrong. I am convinced that Israel's policies of terror and ethnic cleansing in Gaza are not designed to weaken Hamas militarily, but to terrorize the Palestinian people into capitulation with Israel and their puppet, Fatah. The words "Never Again" (referring to the Holocaust) are burned into the minds of every Jewish person. Certainly , we would Never Again want to see the Jewish people subjected to such a fate. It is, perhaps the saddest irony that the state that rose from the near-annihilation of a people, wrought by the Hitlerian Apocalypse, should then go on to do the same thing to another people. The State of Israel has conducted for decades--in full view of the world--a campaign for lebensraum (living space) that the rest of the world stopped the Nazis from achieving. This has been done with the full protection and aid of the United States Government and military, including the provision of advanced weaponry, such as Apache helicopters, DIME bombs and white phosphorus.

Did Never Again mean that, as a people, the Jews would never again allow a power to rise in the world that would bring a people--
any people--to the brink of annihilation, or were they simply referring to themselves? Opinion is starkly divided on this, even among the Jews. The Nation of Israel will have to decide for itself, but it will do so with the fingers of a conscientious world pointing back to Auchwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau and then to Gaza; from a Germany at the height of its power under the Third Reich and then back to a 21st Century Israel, standing at the threshold of empire.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prime Minister Olmert Threatens Gaza with the "Israeli Iron Fist."

Iron fist? To paraphrase the line from a popular motion picture, I have heard that expression, but never before from Israel. One would think that such a term, referring to the uncompromising way that Hitler dealt with domestic dissent, would be anathema in Israeli rhetoric. But as Niccolo Machiavelli pointed out, conscience runs counter to the aims of rulers, and the State of Israel is no exception. At the State level conscience breaks down and all that was evil when it was done to us becomes necessary when dealing with an occupied people, especially one that has a sense of its own statehood. Hence, their efforts at resistance and punitive attacks on the occupying people are called "terrorism," because "resistance" is reserved for those polities that the West is sympathetic to.

The experimentation of Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) on Gazans and use of white phosphorus is reminiscent of the Hitlerian Guernica massacre, in which a Basque village was used to test the Nazi blitzkrieg (lightning war). These were the sorts of things that the Bushies accused Saddam Hussein of to justify invading a nation (something that nations allegedly never do in the 21st century).

DIME was developed by the U.S. Air Force in 2006. It is a small, powerfull explosive that explodes with such force that it rips the flesh from the body, but allegedly leaves no shrapnel, only particle metals. The Internet Edition of Dawn quoted one Norweigian medic as saying, “We have not seen the casualties affected directly by the bomb because they are normally torn to pieces and do not survive, but we have seen a number of very brutal amputations . . . without shrapnel injuries which we strongly suspect must have been caused by the DIME weapons,”

White phosphorus was developed as an obscurant to prevent enemies from using guided missile systems or tracking troop movements. White phosphorus can burn away human flesh, all the way to the bone. Al Jazeera English has reported that, according to Human Rights watch, white phosphorus is only legal if "all feasible precautions [are taken] to avoid civilian injury and loss of life." Humanitarian Rights watch has said that it believes Israel violated this tenet of international law, because Gaza is such a densely populated area. According to the Los Angeles Times, the "obscurant" destroyed a UN refugee school and more than twenty homes. "Dozens" were injured and one woman was killed; her son watched her die as the home she was in was struck by a projectile and burst into flames.

Israel is using U.S.weaponry to slaughter civilians with full U.S. backing. This isn't the fault of the Jews as the anti-Semites would have you believe, nor does it wash the blood from the hands of Hamas: their guilt for continuing rocket fire into southern Israel amid the rising deaths of Palestinian civilians is monolith. But to excuse Israel's war crimes, far in excess of the cumulative acts of terror committed previously by Hamas, because it has committed these atrocities under the guise of "fighting terrorism"is to say that we will not hold Israel and the United States to the same standard that the United States imposed on Germany at Nuremberg in 1945. But rather than expressing outrage (whether at me or at U.S. complicity in war crimes) write your senators and congressperson and demand the massacre of Gazans be stopped at once. Then paste the text of one of them as a comment.

I leave you with the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller:

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

We Know Hamas are Terrorists; what About Israel?

The death toll at the UN School in Gaza city has reached 43 with 150 wounded, according to UN relief workers. Not that it matters; Palestinian parents don't mourn their children as the rest of us do, and since Hamas allegedly violated the cease fire, the Gazan's should suck it up and take their pounding, courtesy of Israel, without complaint, right?

And do we really need to listen to those candy-ass do-gooders at the UN, or, for that matter, the bleeding hearts at Red Cross International, that had to be barred from giving aid and comfort to the Palestinians. Of course, Israel was only looking out for the welfare of the ICRC--nevermind the 12 dead bodies the Israelis were hiding; and, of course, it's hardly worth mentioning that children were found, too weak to stand beside the corpses of their mothers.

And this is where my sarcasm ends. Israel isn't special, and if they are indeed God's chosen people, then they had damned well better start acting like it. The Holocaust doesn't give them a pass to perpetrate what can only be called--in their own words--a pogrom. Nor does it bar the rest of the world from speaking out against this massacre. The excuse given by Israel that their slaughter of civilians is somehow justified because Hamas is firing rockets from civilian areas is a sorry excuse at that. Hamas is a terrorist organization--that is not in doubt. What is, given the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, is whether or not Israel, its status as a nation notwithstanding, has become a terrorist organization in its own right.