31 Dec 2008

Happy New Year from the Falls Rd

Had this from Haim.

Thanks Haim.

Excellent blog with lots of articles from Haim here.

Happy New Year folks, lets have another year with less blood than this one.

good point by the way from one commentator here

ann arky has left a new comment on your post "another eye witness report from Gaza: please copy ...":

Israel is nothing without US money and arms and the US's permission to use the weapons. What Israel does, point the finger at the US.
ann arky www.radicalglasgow.me.uk

Richard Seymour is the best blogger I can find for information on the massacre.

Amira Hass, in a powerful article for Ha'aretz, writes:

This isn't the time to speak of ethics, but of precise intelligence. Whoever gave the instructions to send 100 of our planes, piloted by the best of our boys, to bomb and strafe enemy targets in Gaza is familiar with the many schools adjacent to those targets - especially police stations. He also knew that at exactly 11:30 A.M. on Saturday, during the surprise assault on the enemy, all the children of the Strip would be in the streets - half just having finished the morning shift at school, the others en route to the afternoon shift.

This is an important insight. Israel's control of the situation is immense. They have detailed intelligence, sattelite imagery (which they like to show off at press conferences), sophisticated guidance technology, etc. It has planned this assault for months in advance, and its leadership is ostentatiously proud of how all the branches of military and intelligence, from Shin Bet to the Southern Command, have gelled in this attack. If an assault on major public facilities is timed to coincide with children being in the streets, this is not accidental: it is intended to leave a number of children lying in their own blood, and terrorise others.

More from Richard here

Activist super glue BBC in Gaza protest

This is just in from Colin, thanks Colin...more here
Tuesday December 30th
Undercurrents filmed a dramatic direct action protest today in Cardiff. Just after 2pm, three protesters walked into the lobby of the BBC Wales headquarters and two super-glued themselves to glass security doors.

While one activist handed out leaflets, frustrated reporters were prevented from leaving or entering the main BBC News building.

Draped in a Palestinian flag, campaigner Bob Cotterell said
‘We have super-glued our skin to the main doors of the BBC in protest at the irresponsible reporting of the Middle East issue by the public broadcaster.

He continued to say
‘The Middle East is a sticky situation but if the public has any hope of understanding both sides, then we need the BBC to give the full, rather than partial, facts.

The protesters are upset that the reporting of the Israeli F-16 aerial bombings does not put them in any real context.

Fellow activist D Murphy said while glued to the gate
'While we hear about rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, we rarely hear that this is Palestinian land stolen by Israel. '

She continued
'Since Saturday, Israel has killed more than 350 civilians in response to the repeatedly reported 4 deaths amongst the Israelis. The hugely disproportionate response by the Israel is not highlighted.'

Four Police cars arrived at the scene with sirens and lights flashing. All journalists were ejected from the BBC building and the main entrance was blocked off with metal barriers.

The protesters complained that the BBC has chosen to name Hamas as a ‘Militant Organisation’ rather its rightful term of ‘Government’, omitting that in January 2006, with a huge majority, Hamas was democratically elected to govern the people of Palestine.

Wrapped in a Palestinian flag, she added:
‘We do not hear that Israel has violated more United Nations resolutions than any other country, and today it is collectively punishing the ordinary people of Gaza breaking Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention.’

They have asked people to fax, phone or e-mail the BBC and urge them to review their reporting of the Middle East and 'not make the situation even worse'.

The activists continued to say
‘We are calling upon the BBC management to revise every news report before broadcast to ensure that the language used to report the attacks is responsible and fair. We ask that wider context is given for viewers to understand the issues on a deeper level.’

The 'Glue Two' are a part of the group who previously locked themselves inside Cardiff Castle to highlight the 50th anniversary of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

Video images of the protest are available from Undercurrents

Obama's dinosaur problem

The Bible very clearly says that homosexuality is a sin.

I've heard it asked, "Isn't being homosexual something that a person is physically born with?" First of all, there are absolutely no facts to support this claim. From time to time studies have been reported in the news that seemed to indicate this, but every one of these studies has proven to be wrong. Secondly, even if some physical difference were discovered, it would be no excuse for sin. We know that some people can develop a stronger physical addiction to alcohol than others, but that's obviously no excuse for living an alcoholic lifestyle.

Finally, a word about being judgmental. It's not judgmental to say that what the Bible calls a sin is a sin, that's just telling the truth. Not being willing to talk to someone caught up in sin, or not believing that they can be forgiven, or thinking that you are not just as much in need of Jesus as they are ... that's being judgmental.

Because membership in a church is an outgrowth of accepting the Lordship and leadership of Jesus in one’s life, someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at a member at Saddleback Church. That does not mean they cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives.
This is from Rick Warren's Saddleback Church

So looks like Obama is at one with the Pope on this issue!

Yes, Obama as predicted is to have evangelical pastor Rick Warren to officiate at his inauguration on the 20th of January.

Obama presidency is set to be Bill Clinton's third term if you believe some commentators, like Clinton Obama certainly seems to be into 'triangulation'. 'Triangulation' involves a 'liberal' trying to appeal to the right and seems to involve all sorts of confusion.

Rick Warren is the perfect pastor for a 'triangulator', he is head of the fastest growing evangelical church in the US, has written best selling life improvement books but has made noises about protecting the environment, promoting social equality and fighting AIDS. Just what Obama wants a liberal evangelical.

However its all starting to fall apart, Warren opposed gay marriage and shockingly compared gay marriage to incest and pedophilia.

His 'progressive' church also holds that women should do the biding of men:
wifely submission is official doctrine: The church Web site tells women to defer to the husband's "leadership" even when he's wrong on important issues, such as finances. Nevermind if she's an accountant and he flunked long division, or if she wants to beef up the kids' college fund and he wants to buy shares in the Brooklyn Bridge. The godly answer is supposed to be "yes, dear." Is elevating this male chauvinist how Obama thanks women, who gave him more than half his votes?

He has also proclaimed that the Iranian President should be executed. I dread to think what he has said about Chavez and Castro.

Most bizarrely he does not seem to believe in evolution and has argued that there is evidence that dinosaurs are described in Genesis and that dinosaurs coexisted with human beings.

Obama has also put a load of neo-con Friedmanite economists in charge, Laurence Summers is one example.

Previously, Summers was chief economist for the World Bank, imposing the gospel of neoliberalism in less developed countries. Summers was notorious for a memo he signed that argued poor countries in Africa were "vastly UNDER-polluted," and that "the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable."

Well lets all sing 'things can only get better'

Thanks to Deleware Libertarian for digging all this up...here's the Saddleback position on dinosaurs!

The Bible tells in Genesis 1 that God made the world in seven days, and that he made all of the animals on the fifth day and the sixth day. All of the animals were created at the same time, so they all walked the earth at the same time. I know that the pictures we all grew up with in the movies were that dinosaurs roamed a lifeless, volcanic planet. Remember these are just pictures drawn by someone today! The Bible's picture is that dinosaurs and man lived together on the earth, an earth that was filled with vegetation and beauty.

What happened to the dinosaurs? The scientific record lets us know that they obviously became extinct through some kind of cataclysmic event on the earth. Many scientists theorize that this may have been an asteroid striking the earth, while many Christians wonder if this event could have been the worldwide flood in Noah's day. No one can know for certain what this event was.

Although it cannot be stated with certainty, it appears that dinosaurs may have actually been mentioned in the Bible. The Bible uses names like "behemoth" and "tannin." Behemoth means kingly, gigantic beasts. Tannin is a term that includes dragon-like animals and the great sea creatures such as whales, giant squid, and marine reptiles like the plesiosaurs that may have become extinct. The Bible's best description of a dinosaur-like animal is in Job chapter 40. We don't know for certain if these are actually dinosaurs or are some other large creatures that became extinct.

This should not sound so strange. After all, God tells us that he created all the land animals on the sixth day of creation, the same day that he created mankind. Man and dinosaurs lived at the same time. There was never a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth. From the very beginning of creation, God gave man dominion over all that was made, even over the dinosaurs.

30 Dec 2008

Greens challenge Obama to press Israel to comply with international law

• Greens challenge Obama to press Israel to comply with international law and end the illegal occupation of Gaza and other Palestinian lands

The Green Party of the United States calls for an immediate end to Israel’s bombing attacks on Gaza, which in the past four days has already caused at least 364 deaths, including Palestinian women and children, with hundreds more wounded.

“It’s clear that President Bush gave a green light for Israel’s massive and disproportionate display of force. The Green Party demands that the US seek a bilateral ceasefire, with immediate pressure on Israel to stop the bombardment and end the occupation,” said Rosa Clemente, the Green Party’s 2008 candidate for Vice President of the United States (http://www.rosaclemente.com).

Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party’s 2008 presidential candidate, had joined the Free Gaza Group (http://www.freegaza.org) on the SS Dignity, which sailed from Cyprus to deliver three tons of medicine and humanitarian aid to Gaza in defiance of an Israeli blockade. Ms. McKinney was safe after Israeli gunboats attempted to intercept the Dignity last night and one gunboat illegally rammed the vessel in international waters, 90 miles off the Gaza coast (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/30/israel-gaza-aid-ship). Despite damage sustained in the encounter, the Dignity has docked safely in Lebanon and Ms. McKinney is on her way to Beirut.

In an interview on CNN (http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/12/30/am.lebanon.aid.boat.mckinney.cnn), Cynthia McKinney said, “What we have gone through pales in comparison to what the people of the Gaza Strip are suffering.” Ms. McKinney is challenging President-elect Barack Obama to condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

Greens noted that Hamas, the target of Israel’s aerial bombardment, was democratically elected in 2006, and that Israel and the US have been trying to remove Hamas from power, especially by attempting to spark a civil war between Hamas and Fatah.

Since its election, Hamas has repeatedly offered to talk with Israel, but Israel has rejected all such overtures. Hamas had observed a five-month truce that was broken on November 4 when Israeli Defense Forces killed five Palestinians. In retaliation, Hamas responded with missiles which over the last month have injured one Israeli and caused property damage. The Green Party categorically condemns all violence visited on unarmed civilians.

“Palestinians are living under an occupation that has continued despite numerous UN directives ordering Israel to withdraw. Israel’s latest lethal assault will only intensify the crisis and inflict further suffering on the Palestinian people. Two thirds of Gazans are refugees — some doubly so, from 1948 and 1967 — and all Gaza residents are living in conditions comparable to a medieval siege. Israel must comply with international law and ends its illegal military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, dismantle the illegal separation wall, make restitution to Palestinians whose lands have been seized, and recognize the Palestinian right of return. If President Obama wants to make history by resolving the Middle East conflict, he must press Israel to take these steps,” said Hajja Romi Elnagar, Louisiana Green and member of the Green Party’s International Committee (http://www.gp.org/committees/intl).

“The current assumption in the US media that this is a symmetrical conflict between equals is as absurd as the claim that Israel’s bombs are not threatening women and children. Israel is the world’s fourth most powerful military nation, a nuclear power that enjoys support from the US, while Palestinians are impoverished, with many living without electricity, water, food, and medicine for weeks,” said Ms. Elnagar.

As a result of the Israeli blockade, 80% of Gazans live on less than two dollars a day. Unemployment hovers at 50-60% in Gaza, with only 195 factories, reduced from 3,900 in 2005. Israel has barred the delivery of UN relief to Gazans.

The Green Party has called for an end to US military aid to Israel and supports the movement for international boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until Israel ends the occupation, obeys international law (including Geneva Conventions and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and guarantees full human rights for Palestinians. The party supports efforts by Palestinian and Israeli peace groups towards a nonviolent negotiated resolution to the conflict.

The Green Party also endorses complete regional (and, ultimately, global) nuclear disarmament to remove the threat of a nuclear exchange in the Middle East and Asia. Greens have expressed concern that Barack Obama will bow to demands from AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbies and maintain the Clinton and Bush administrations’ uncritical support for Israel’s military objectives and human rights violations.

Green Party leader attacked by Israel

Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney on the aid mission has urged President-Elect Barack Obama to denounce violence against Palestinians.
Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, (D) Georgia: “There’s a need for people in the U.S. to understand that every piece of rubble there in that strip of land is caused by U.S. weapons.“

The big news is that Cynthia McKinney the former Green Party candidate for President has been on the peace boat which was heading for Gaza, when it was rammed by the Israelis.

Its been forced to dock in the Lebanon....here is Cynthia's interview with CNN.

Cynthia has had incredible abuse and while some green bloggers have largely ignored the appalling Irish Green Party they have been quick to criticise Cynthia, guess what Cynthia puts her ideals into action. Here is a reference by the way to the USS Liberty incident that Cynthia has noted in her CNN interview.

By the way this is how you get to be a Green Party leader, you show leadership, take unpopular positions because they are morally right and put yourself if necessary in danger..very impressive stuff from Cynthia.

You won't see Obama rushing to stop the bloodshed in Gaza.

Some more detail from the BBC

The organisation sent out an urgent statement on Tuesday saying the vessel had been surrounded by at least six Israeli military ships.

"They are firing live ammunition around the Dignity, and one of the warships has rammed the civilian craft causing an unknown amount of damage," said the statement.

"We heard heavy gunfire in the background before all contact was lost with the Dignity."

The boat was eventually able to reach the Lebanese port of Tyre, where it was greeted by a flotilla of fishing boats.

Heavy damage was clearly visible along one side but there were no reports of any injuries.

The Dignity's captain, Denis Healey, told reporters in Tyre they had been attacked "without any warning, any provocation, or anything".

"There were two other gunboats on our portside with search lights shining at us, distracting us, while a third boat came from ahead and rammed us," he said.

Another crew member, British doctor David Halpin, described hearing "the most almighty three bangs" and said he thought he was going to die.

Here are some more snippets from Israel...

It is Israel that plunged Gaza into its present condition. The disengagement of 2005 was unilateral, refusing any role to the PA and leaving the field open for the Hamas takeover. The responsibility for what is now occurring in Gaza rests, therefore, almost exclusively on Israel. Perhaps Molten Lead will end, indeed, in an "improved" cease-fire. Perhaps we shall soon see the Hamas leadership in Cairo again. But a renewal of calm will result in no solution. What solution can there be as long as the Territories continue to sink in corruption, poverty and despair? How long will it take until a new calm gives way to another massacre?

And how long can Israeli society go on living as an Occupier? How long until the country's internal social gaps, together with the ever worsening conflict, land a blow many times worse than rockets from Gaza? The basic problem isn't Hamas. It is the nationalist consensus of Israel's political parties, which have prodded the present transitional government to carry out this massacre, whose only real purpose is to continue putting off the price of peace.

argues Challenge, a socialist magazine from Isreal.

Had this from a member of the Green Movement as a comment:

We (The Israel Green Movement) are currently working on our position paper on the latest violence. We are a broad based party ranging from the far left to the center (on security issues and the Israel-Palestine conflict), so these things take time. In the meantime, those interested are referred to Gershom Baskin's piece in the Jerusalem Post today.http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230456521592&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Latest protest details from PCS

Join the protests and take action to stop the massacre in Gaza!

PSC would like to thank the thousands of people who came out to protest outside the Israeli embassy in London, and across the UK, to call for an end to the killing and an end to the siege of the people of Gaza.

Please join the protests and demonstrations over the next few days (please check our website www.palestinecampaign.org for latest events)


Tuesday 30 December, 2pm to 4pm outside Israeli Embassy, Kensington High Street, London, W4. Nearest tube Kensingston High Street (turn right out of tube station and walk along the main road.

Wednesday 31 December, 2pm - 4pm outside Israeli Embassy

Thursday 1 January 2pm - 4pm outside Israeli Embassy

Friday 2 January 2pm - 4 pm. Outside the Egyptian Embassy, 26 South Audley Street, London, W1K 1DW. Call for Egypt to open the border immediately.



Assemble 12:30pm Along Embankment, by Embankment tube station, LONDON WC2 - Nearest tube Embankment or Charing Cross


Saturday 3 January 12 noon. Outside Lloyds TSB St Vincent Street then assemble for demo at Blytheswood Square 2pm


Saturday 3 January 12 noon. Foot of the Mound, Princes Street


Centre, opposite the Hippodrome, Tuesday - Friday 5.00 - 6.00 and Saturday 2.00 - 4.00.


Wednesday 31 December New Year Vigil. Nye Bevan Statue, Queen Street


Saturday 3 January 11am, Guildhall Square

Organised by Portsmouth Network for a Just Settlement of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and Portsmouth Stop the War Coalition


Saturday 3 January, 11am. Queen Victoria Square.


Tuesday 30th December 5pm - Cornmarket Street, near Carfax

Organised by Oxford PSC


Vigil Tuesday 30 December 5pm outside BBC Oxford road, Manchester.

Vigil to be held every night until Israel's criminal attacks cease.


Stop the Massacre in Gaza ! End the Siege Now!
Assemble: 12 noon on Cavendish St, All Saints Park on Oxford Rd. Manchester
(further down from the BBC) March around the city for a final rally


Saturday 3rd January: Assemble at 12 noon: Outside Sheffield Town Hall


4.30-6pm Tuesday 30th December
Outside Leeds Art Gallery, Headrow, Leeds
Please join us - bring candles in jars to light the event.


Wednesday 31st December, 2008.

12.30 - 3.30pm, Broad Street (opposite Oracle shopping centre), Reading, Berks.

Vigil and mass leaflet against Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Bring a candle and a placard if you can.


Sat 3rd Jan - 12 to 2pm Grey’s Monument in Newcastle

Organised by PSC, Stop the War Coalition & the University Friends of Palestine


Wed 31st December 2-4pm Church St Liverpool

Saturday 3rd January 12-2pm St Lukes Church - top of Bold St. Liverpool

Organised by Liverpool Friends of Palestine


Saturday 3rd. January - 3pm Vigil in Harold Place, Hastings

Hastings Against War


Protest has been called for Saturday 3rd January 1pm, at St. Sampson's Square in York.

We hope to follow this with a march through town. Please bring banners, flags and placards. Organised by York PSC.


Vigil/Potest12.00 noon - 1pm Saturday 3rd Jan outside St Peter Mancroft Church in the Millenium Library Square

Norwich PSC and Norwich STWC


Saturday 3rd Jan - 12 noon at Tunbridge Wells shopping precinct

Called by Wealden progressive movement and stop the war coalition Tunbridge wells

*** Action alert ***

Write to your MP urging them to insist that Prime Minister Gordon Brown acts to ensure:

* An immediate end to Israel's military assault on Gaza
* An immediate end to the blockade and siege on Gaza
* An end to Israel's violations of international law
* An end to Israeli occupation


Boycott Israeli Goods - Join the protests – Take Action Now!



The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people. PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Tel: 020 7700 6192
Fax: 020 7609 7779

Email: info@palestinecampaign.org

Web: www.palestinecampaign.org

Burn baby Burn!

We feel that every month that goes by there is more research that incinerators are not the way forward."

This latest research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health analysed all births in Cumbria between 1956 and 1993.

During this period there were almost 245,000 births.

Out of these, 3,234 were stillborn and 1,569 had congenial abnormalities.

The study found that mothers living near incinerators had a 17% higher risk of giving birth to babies with spina bifida.

However, the reports authors have stressed the study does not provide conclusive evidence into the effects of living near an incinerator.

Well I must admit I have been writing more for Morning Star, Socialist Resistance and Green World, of late, than RP but once edited an issue of Red Pepper on green politics with some nice imput from Frieder Otto Wolf and Darren Johnson.

Anyway this is about the waste mountain and the incinerator menace from the latest Red Pepper...spread the word before the skies burn.

Up in smoke

Derek Wall looks at the many dangers of burning our waste

Britain is facing a rubbish crisis. Behind the tabloid stories of ‘bin wars’ and fines for children dropping crisps lurks a more sinister reality. Unless local authorities meet strict European Union targets for reducing the amount of rubbish going into landfill, they face fines that could rival the Icelandic bank losses as a source of financial pain for council tax payers. Their answer, apparently, is to build incinerators: new euphemistically-named ‘energy from waste’ centres are marching across the UK. There are now 19 incinerators in the country, up from 12 a year ago. Twenty-two more are going through the planning process at the moment – but within a few years virtually every borough in Britain could have one.

Britain produces 29 million tonnes of municipal waste a year, and the Local Government Association says it costs between £80 and £100 to dispose of each tonne. This loss of resources means that more forests are cut down, more mines are driven into fragile habitats, more oil is used to make plastic that is thrown away. Pollutants from landfill, including dioxins, create toxic conditions in water courses, while the pollution from transporting the rubbish is another environmental ill. Methane emitted by decaying waste is a major greenhouse gas, and although it disappears more rapidly from the atmosphere, it is around 20 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2.

Waste of money

The EU Landfill Directive means that each local authority must reduce the amount of biodegradable waste that is put in landfill by 75 per cent of the 1998 figure by 2010, then a further 50 per cent by 2013 and another 35 per cent by 2020. Authorities that miss the first target will be fined £7 million each, and a recent report by the Audit Commission has urged local councils to build incinerators to avoid the risk of such fines. But even without the prospect of fines, the practice of landfill is costly.

Landfill tax is £32 a tonne at present and due to increase to £48 by 2010. So incineration has been put forward to fill the gap, repackaged as a ‘green’ way of producing energy from burning waste and avoiding the pollution associated with landfill. However much we recycle, it is argued by the pro-burning lobby, some waste will always be left over. EU policy, to its credit, is firmly anti-dumping, but is burning the solution?

Incinerators take years to build and can cost hundreds of millions of pounds. They are generally funded by private finance initiative (PFI) schemes. Many such projects have risen sharply in cost with the ongoing financial crisis, and local authorities are finding it difficult to borrow the money from banks to complete them. A £4.4 billion PFI project in Manchester, for example, is currently in crisis because the private companies behind the scheme are short of a couple of hundred million.

Local authorities are signing long-term contracts – as long as 25 years – with the incinerator projects, with the paradoxical outcome that they have to keep on feeding them waste. If the amount of rubbish is reduced the incinerators will lack financial viability, so incinerator building locks us into a system that is based not on reducing waste but producing more. This is one reason why Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London and London’s Green Party MEP Jean Lambert campaigned so vigorously against the expansion of incinerator projects in the capital.

Health hazards

Health effects are also a very serious worry. While modern incinerators are less likely to produce dioxins if properly run, there is much evidence to suggest that they are not always run with enough care. The incinerator operators in Edmonton, north London, have been fined for breaching health and safety legislation. Without very careful monitoring, a new generation of incinerators is likely to commit similar breaches on a national scale. Dioxins have traditionally been a worry, but the major concern now is about pm minus 10 particles. Although these are unknown to most people – even those active in the Green Party or environmental movements – they have the potential to create a health crisis.

I first became seriously concerned about pm minus 10s after reading Bjorn Lomborg’s book The Sceptical Environmentalist. Lomborg is famously critical of claims made by environmentalists and views market-based economic growth as creating an ever-cleaner planet. Yet in his chapter on air pollution, he notes the ill effects of pm-10s. If even a sceptic like him is worried, the rest of us should be terrified.

Mb-10s are tiny microscopic particles produced by incinerators, difficult to monitor because they are so small, and many experts view them as deadly. Their size means they have the potential to get into the human body and do real damage, and we know that incinerators can spread these particles over a 15-mile radius. Several reports note increases in health problems, including genetic defects, among people who live close to incinerators. Incinerators have also been linked to increased infant mortality, heart disease and cancer. The ash left over from incineration is toxic and risks being blown around during disposal.

So incinerators are costly, damage the environment and health and produce far less energy than they promise. But there is a huge incinerator lobby in the UK that has the ear of government and major political parties. Waste has been big business in the UK ever since Thatcher launched her crusade to privatise local authority services in the 1980s. The name badges for delegates at the last Conservative Party conference were stamped with the logo of Sita, one of Britain’s biggest waste companies, which has an interest in incinerators.

In the Morning Star (26 October 2008), Solomon Hughes noted: ‘The company’s name runs all around the lanyards, so Tory delegates’ necks will be “branded” Sita. This is embarrassing for Conservative shadow Cornwall minister Mark Prisk and Conservative candidate for St Austell and Newquay Caroline Righton. Last month, they jointly presented a petition to Gordon Brown against a Cornish waste incinerator being built by Sita.’

And it’s not just the Tories. The t-shirts worn by the stewards at Labour’s Manchester conference were also marked with the Sita logo, and the company paid £30,000 for ‘advice’ to former Labour chief whip Hilary Armstrong. But Sita is not unique. Waste is big business – and there is no profit in no waste. Like virtually all other areas of British policy making, the agenda is shaped largely behind closed doors by corporate interests. Ultimately, capitalism thrives on waste: the more we throw away, and the faster we buy replacements, the better.

Zero waste

There is an alternative. Local campaigns can defeat incineration. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have been fighting the incinerator menace for more than a decade. There is a national anti-incineration network that is bringing grassroots campaigners together. The Green Party, along with Ken Livingstone, has a proud history of fighting incinerators. The Socialist Party is currently running an impressive campaign against a new north London waste plan based on burning. Social movements can win if they make noise, start fighting early, use legal means and embarrass councillors who support the toxic incinerator alternative. There are a number of very useful research, campaigning and legal resources that activists can use (see box).

The alternative to landfill and incineration is zero waste. Why recycle when goods can be made to last longer and be repaired more easily, and over-packaging can be outlawed? Zero waste is about producing less waste in the first place. In San Francisco the Green Party has managed to ban traditional plastic bags. EU directives are already making corporations deal with the consequences of waste, although the British government often opposes such progressive moves.

There are a number of clean technologies for dealing with the waste we throw away. A Greenpeace report on the subject, Zero Waste, argues that kerbside collection could be extended to the whole of Britain to make it easier to recycle where appropriate. Something like 45 per cent of the waste we produce domestically is from food, which is shocking in itself – and, given that decaying food produces methane, it is also a source of climate change. Food waste could be collected in sealed units and be put through anaerobic digesters to be used as a source of energy.

The right kind of waste policy could contribute massively to a low-carbon economy. It will require a political struggle, but without real pressure we could easily slip into a Britain where most of our waste is incinerated, with devastating financial, environmental and health consequences. n

Useful links

Socialist Party report on incinerators http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/519/3740 Greenpeace incinerator resources http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/tags/incineration?page=6

Friends of the Earth resources http://community.foe.co.uk/campaigns/waste/incineration

UK anti-incinerator network http://www.ukwin.org.uk

Medical report on incinerators http://www.ecomed.org.uk/pub_waste.php

What the BBC did not tell you

This is from Richard Seymour's excellent blog, he is also of course author of 'The Liberal Defence of Murder'....a title that says it all about events over the last few days and the response from many 'liberals'.

Richard notes today:

Well, apparently, "the element of surprise" was amplified by the fact that Israel attacked during a 48-hour truce brokered with Hamas. There is a bit of evil, Machiavellan genius in this: break one truce, blame the other side for breaking it, then promise to honour another truce, then use the interval provided to launch a devastating series of attacks - and then blame the other side for having brought it on themselves with some feeble rocket fire. Olmert now says he won't even talk about a ceasefire, and intends to pursue Hamas with an "iron fist". And when he's done pulverising Gaza, he will explain, poker-faced, that he regrets he has no partner for peace.

He is the target of a lot of hate from the hardline Zionists....I would not be surprised to see his home being attacked by Israeli jets...well hey he is an ally of Palestine and a very effective one.

Last night Israeli aircrafts targeted more than 20 places in Gaza city, let alone other areas. Let me tell you what I knew from those bombings:
1- A thirds attack on my neighbour the former preventive security department. One missile did not explode and fall in front of my apartment building just meters from the ambulance station.
2- Two major building were leveled to the floor at the Islamic University of Gaza. One building was main laboratories and the other was lecture rooms buildings. Each building was 4 floors high and a basement.
3- A home next to the home of Ismael Haniyeh at the Beach refugee camp was leveled to the ground by attack from air and sea simultaneously.
4- Two mosques were leveled to the ground by air raids. 10 people died inside, among them were five daughters of Anwar Balousha as they might have took refuge is the mosque as their home was unsafe! So far, six mosques have been demolished
5- A building for passport department at the ministry of interior was put down this morning.
6- The building of the Ministry of Culture was leveled to the floors this morning.
7- A building for the Prime Minster's office was totally demolished in an air raid.
8- The main building of Civil Administration has been totally demolished.
9- Several attack were executed on places that I did not know and the local media could not cover. I saw helicopter launching their attacks at night.
10- Jabalia youth sports center (UNRWA facility) was hit directly from the air.
11- An empty house near Sarayya government center was demolished by air raid.
12- A moving vehicle was targeted and destroyed killing two men and a child in Zaitoun neighbourhood.
13- Two sister in the high school were returning home from school died together by air bombing.
14- Several police stations were hit again.
15- Journalists and reporters were officially informed by Israel to stay in their places and offices otherwise they will be targeted. This is to stop media coverage of what is taking place in Gaza.
16- Two hospitals were targeted. Fata hospital is still new and did not start working but hit from air, another small private hospital, Al-Weaam in Tel el-Hawwa was targeted as well!
17- Biet Hanoun municipality building was destroyed last night.
18- Rafah governorate building was demolished last night.
19- Rafah municipality building was targeted last night.
20- Hashash neighbourhood in Rafah was attacked twice last night. Each time with two missiles. The second hit demolished 15 adjacent homes. Many people died in the attack.
21- A playground in zaitoun neighbourhood was hit by a missile.
22- Israeli aircraft targeted 40 tunnels at the Rafah border, destroying all of them.
23- Beach Camp police station was totally destroyed.
24- The palace of the former Egyptian governor of Gaza was totally destroyed from air and sea missiles!

Prof. Abdelwahed
Department of English
Faculty of Arts & Humanities
Al-Azhar University of Gaza

29 Dec 2008

Chavez government condemns Gaza massacre

I thought this was a good one for the Harry's place readers who come along here every now and again.

Venezuela Condemns “Criminal” Israeli Attack
December 29th 2008, by Erik Sperling - Venezuelanalysis.com

Carora, December 29, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)— Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry condemned the Israeli bombing of Gaza in a statement released Saturday, expressing its “profound indignation” over the “criminal attack,” and urged the Israeli government to adhere to the United Nations Charter.

The Venezuelan government affirmed its “solidarity with the Palestinian people,” and called for “the governments of the world who desire peace and justice to raise their voices against this aggression.”

A number of world leaders and governments have since criticized the Israeli attacks, including the European Union, Russia, China, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

“The only accomplice to this attack has been the government of the United States,” Venezuela’s statement continued, calling the US support for Israel latest military action the “icing on the cake of the outgoing criminal [Bush] administration,” whose rule has been “filled with violence and characterized worldwide by its continued disrespect of human rights.”

United States officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, blamed the violence exclusively on the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

The Israeli bombing has caused the death of over 320 Palestinians, including over 51 civilians according to a “conservative and rising” estimate by a United Nations aid agency, while attacks launched on Israel from Gaza killed one Israeli civilian.

Protests in Caracas against Gaza “genocide”

Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Israeli embassy on Sunday, in opposition to what one speaker referred to as “genocide” by the Israeli “occupation forces.”

The protests will continue Monday morning in front of the embassy, according to a rally organizer, Hindu Anderi, in statements broadcast on regional news network Telesur.

Anderi, a Palestinian human rights activist, thanked the Venezuelan government for its position on the conflict, but demanded concrete action, saying “solidarity needs to mean taking measures that will affect Israel economically and politically, because otherwise the condition of the Palestinian people will not change.”

No more blood!

The photo is from todays demonstration in London...I found it together with a report on this personal blog:

The BBC says we clashed with police after storming a barrier - that is an outright lie. The truth is that we were exercising our right to peacefully protest when the police decided they’d had enough of us and started pushing against us. They formed a human wall and pushed as hard as they could so we were forced back, away from the other protesters, away from the embassy. They pushed even though many of us were peacefully sitting down (think a Ghandi-esque sit-in), they pushed even though there were small children and people in wheelchairs. They pushed against us so that we struggled to stay upright and unhurt, tripping over each other as we stood up or moved backwards. They pushed against us, and they brought the one piece of ugly to the whole afternoon

On to how you can support the protest...had this five minutes ago from the PSC

PSC thanks the thousands of people who came out to demonstrate yesterday and today outside the Israeli embassy in London, and across the UK, to call for an end to the killing and an end to the siege of the people of Gaza.

Please join the protests and demonstrations over the next few days (please check our website www.palestinecampaign.org for latest events):


Tuesday 30 December, 2 - 4pm outside Israeli Embassy, Kensington High Street, London, W4. Nearest tube Kensingston High Street (turn right out of tube station and walk along the main road.

Wednesday 31 December, 2 - 4pm outside Israeli Embassy

Thursday 1 January 2 - 4pm outside Israeli Embassy

Friday 2 January 2 - 4 pm. Outside the Egyptian Embassy, . 26 South Street, London, W1K 1DW. Call for Egypt to open the border immediately.

SATURDAY 3 JANUARY. DEMONSTRATION AND RALLY. Assemble 2pm Parliament Square, W1. Nearest tube Westminster


Saturday 3 January 12 noon. Outside Lloyds TSB St Vincent Street then assemble for demo at Blytheswood Square 2pm


Saturday 3 January 12 noon. Foot of the Mound, Princes Street


Centre, opposite the Hippodrome, Tuesday - Friday 5.00 - 6.00 and Saturday 3.00 - 4.00.


Tuesday 30 December 12 to 1pm. outside Cardiff Market/ St John's Church, the Hayes

Wednesday 31 December New Year Vigil. Nye Bevan Statue, Queen Street


Tuesday 30 December 12 noon, Market Square


Tuesday 30 December 12 to 2pm, West Quay Entrance, High Street


Saturday 3 January 11am, Guildhall Square

Organised by Portsmouth Network for a Just Settlement of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and Portsmouth Stop the War Coalition


Saturday 3 January, 11am. Queen Victoria Square.

Action alert

Write to your MP urging them to insist that Prime Minister Gordon Brown acts to ensure:

* An immediate end to Israel's military assault on Gaza
* An immediate end to the blockade and siege on Gaza
* An end to Israel's violations of international law
* An end to Israeli occupation

Boycott Israeli Goods

Join the protests


Banksy on the Christmas story

Green Party urges Britain to offer asylum to the Baghdad shoe-thrower

Iraqi shoe-thrower – offer him asylum

Torture and prosecution condemned

Green Party urges Britain to offer asylum to the Baghdad shoe-thrower

London, UK – 29 December 2008

"The Green Party calls on the British government to condemn the
torture and prosecution of the Baghdad shoe-thrower, Muntadar
al-Zaidi, and to demand his immediate release and the dropping of all
charges against him. If Mr al-Zaidi feels it is no longer safe for him
to remain in Iraq, we urge Gordon Brown to offer him political asylum
in the UK," said Peter Tatchell, the human rights spokesperson for the
Green Party of England and Wales, and the party's parliamentary
candidate for Oxford East.

"The overthrow of Saddam Hussein was supposed to usher in a new era of
democracy and human rights. The torture and prosecution of the
shoe-thrower is an ugly revival of the abuses that existed under the
Baathist dictatorship. It is not what we expect in post-Saddam Iraq,"
added Mr Tatchell.

Mr al-Zaidi is due to stand trial in Baghdad on Wednesday 31 December.

Meanwhile, to express his support for the shoe-thrower, Norwich Green
councillor Rupert Read, the Green Party's lead candidate for the
Eastern Region in the June 2009 European Parliament elections, has
posted a pair of his old shoes, one each to Gordon Brown and George
Bush, and posted a video of his doing so on the internet:


Peter Tatchell explained why the Green Party is backing the shoe-thrower:

"Mr al-Zaidi's protest was a courageous, symbolic gesture to challenge
the US President's illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, the mass
civilian casualties caused by the war, the use of torture by US
military forces and the US attempt to rip off Iraq's oil wealth.

"His heroic action was in the fine traditions of the young men who
burned their draft cards to protest against the US war in Vietnam and
of the Black Power salutes by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968
Mexico Olympics in protest at the racist discrimination suffered by

"Mr al-Zaidi's did not physically harm anyone or cause any damage –
only embarrassment to President Bush and the Iraqi Prime Minister,
Nouri al-Maliki. Causing embarrassment should not be a crime. To
prosecute him for this protest is petty and disproportionate;
unbefitting Iraq's new democracy," said Mr Tatchell.

There is evidence that Mr al-Zaidi has been beaten in the face by
prison guards, and his brother says that Muntadar has lost a tooth,
has had ribs broken and has been burned with cigarettes.


Mr al-Zaidi could face between five and 15 years in prison, under
draconian Iraqi laws that echo Saddam Hussein's repressive tyranny.

Cllr. Read explained why he posted his shoes to the British Prime
Minister and the US President:

"I thought this was a good way to highlight my support for the
show-thrower and to remind the government of its duty to defend human
rights in Iraq. Maybe if enough of us do this and protest in other
ways, then the spotlight of publicity will shame the governments of
Iraq, Britain and the US into treating this courageous protester more
fairly and humanely."

"Al-Zaidi's trial starts on 31 December. Let's keep this man, with
whom so many of us sympathise, out of prison. The charges against him
should be dropped. Given the physical brutality he has already
suffered, Muntadar deserves his immediate freedom," said Cllr. Read.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell – 0207 403 1790

Councillor Rupert Read - 01603 219294


Donations are requested to help Peter Tatchell's campaigns promoting
human rights, democracy and global justice. Peter is unpaid and
receives no grants. He depends on donations from friends and

Please make cheques payable to: "Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund".

Send to: PTHRF, PO Box 35253, London E1 4YF

To download a donation form or a standing order mandate, go to
Donations at: www.tatchellrightsfund.org

For information about Peter Tatchell's campaigns: www.petertatchell.net

Gaza massacre over 300 killed - Emergency Protests today


Monday 29 December 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Protest opposite Israeli Embassy W8 - Kensington High Street. Nearest tube: High Street Kensington. From station turn right.

Protests organised and supported by PSC, Palestine Return Centre (PRC), Palestinian Forum of Britain (PFB), British Muslim Initiative (BMI), Stop the War, Friends of al Aqsa, Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), Respect, Islamic Human Rights Commission, Association of the Palestinian Community in Britain (APC), Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP), Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG), Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), Haldane Society


Monday 29 December, 5.00 pm, outside Zavvi, Waterstones, High Street, Birminham City Centre (near the bull in the Bull Ring Centre)


Monday 29 December 4-5pm, outside Central Library


Monday 29 December 12 - 2pm St Sampsons Square, please come for all or part of our vigil


Monday 29 December, 4pm, outside Town Hall


Monday 29 December 2pm, Centenary Square. We will provide leaflets please bring placards, banners etc or bring with you marker pens and large size paper.

Tuesday 30 Dec


Tuesday 30 December 12 to 1pm. Nye Bevan Statue, Queen Street

Saturday 3 Jan


Saturday 3 January 11am, Guildhall Square

Organised by Portsmouth Network for a Just Settlement of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and Portsmouth Stop the War Coalition

Report from Israel

I came across this very pessimistic but interesting report from Israel on Dave Broder's blog. Dave used to be a member of the Alliance for Workers Liberty but fell out with them after AWL leader Sean Matgamna is said to have defended Israel's right to bomb Iran.

Well hurrah for the Hadash Party and the Anarchists against the wall in Israel, Gush Shalom, Rabbis for Human Rights and the Shministim.

Depressingly the Israeli Green Parties don't seem to be at the cutting edge of the peace movement(?), I can't find any statements from either of them against the assault on Gaza but would be happy to blog them if they exist.

The new Green Movement which looks likely to have seats in the Knesset is left leaning but does not seem, if it opposes the current assault, to be making this position public. Does have at least one Arab citizen on its list and generally looks to be doing positive work but hey peace and justice are the big issues if the flames in the Middle East are to be put out.

israel-palestine: the chauvinist onslaught
29 12 2008

Our comrade Shlomo Anker reports from Tel Aviv, Israel on the escalation of the conflict in Gaza and the response of the Israeli left and peace movements as well as Arab organisations.

The situation in Israel and Palestine has made everyone become more nationalist. The right-wing Jewish parties in Israel are gaining more support and the Arabic citizens of Israel are extremely angry, and they relate strongly to the suffering of the people in Gaza.

Within the Jewish community the majority support the Army, and the establishment Left (Labour Party) is part of the Government who is in charge of the massacres during the war. Ehud Barak, the Defence Minister is from the Labour Party. Within the Labour rank-and-file there are those who are unhappy with the Government but not even one member is opposing the action in Gaza. The Social Democratic Party (Meretz) and Peace Now, who are anti-occupation, not in the government and whom have a very left-wing rank and file are silent. They tend to only demonstrate against the settlers and the far-right and never challenge the state.

The only opposition in the Jewish community has come from members of the Chadash Party (Communist) and Anarchists Against the Wall. In Tel-Aviv a very lively demonstration took place with 300 people with 5 getting arrested.

The main opposition within Israel’s borders has come from the 1.2 million Arab citizens of Israel. However, these demonstrations have not had a left-wing tone. The demonstrations have been called to protest against what is going on in Gaza, but the mood of the protestors and chants at the demonstrations have been mostly right-wing and are extremely nationalist. In the city of Haifa, where the Communist Party is strong, 300 people a day are demonstrating, mainly shouting slogans saying “Palestine is Arabic” and other slogans relating to “re-conquering” the country. In the smaller Israeli-Arab villages where the Balad Party (Arab Nationalist) and the Islamic Movement are popular the slogans have been even more aggressive, including “We Will Defeat the Jews” and “Death to the Jews.” Slogans saying “End the Occupation” and” Stop the Violence in Gaza” are heard, but in general, these are less popular than the more “militant” calls.

All in all, the mood of the country is nationalist, and even liberal voices are almost dead, with people just tending to stick by their ethnic tribe and having mistrust and fear of the other. Racial fighting between young Jews and Arabs (all working-class) broke out a few months ago in the northern town of Akko. Predictions are that a third Intafada will lead to more racial tension and the chance of working-class solidarity is completely dead and the chance of a race war is far more likely.

28 Dec 2008

Green Party urges end to Israeli air assault ruling out of Israeli ground attack

Green Party urges end to Israeli air assault ruling out of Israeli ground attack

Green MEP Caroline Lucas calls for suspension of EU Israeli association agreement

London, UK – 28 December 2008

The Green Party has today demanded an end to Israeli air assaults on GAZA, and for both sides to stop the escalating violence in the region.

Green Party leader and Member of the European Parliament, Caroline Lucas, said, "The Israeli action is clearly counterproductive to the prospects for peace. The population of GAZA is already suffering from the Israeli blockade, which has accelerated their decline into even greater hunger and poverty. Casualties among the civilian population only serve to make people more angry and sow the seeds for further violence."

The United Nations office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories published a report on 17 December highlighting the plight of people living in GAZA as a result of the Israeli blockade.


Dr Lucas also called upon EU leaders to consider suspending the EU Israel association agreement in the light of ongoing human rights abuses.

Further information:

Green Party Press Office - 0207 561 0282

another eye witness report from Gaza: please copy and paste widely

This came throught as a comment at Socialist Unity, I am blogging a lot today and a lot of other peoples stuff but it is important to provide eye witness accounts of the assault on ordinary people at bus stops in Gaza:

My friend Safa has asked us to distribute this widely, she just wrote it on Facebook for us:

It was just before noon when I heard the first explosion. I rushed to my window, barely did I get there and look out when I was pushed back by the force and air pressure of another explosion. For a few moments I didn’t understand, then I realized that Israeli promises of a wide-scale offensive against the Gaza Strip had materialized. Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzpi Livni’s statements following a meeting with Egyptian President Hussni Mubarak the day before yesterday had not been empty threats after all.

What followed seems pretty much surreal at this point. Never had we imagined anything like this. It all happened so fast but the amount of death and destruction is inconceivable, even to me and I’m in the middle of it and a few hours have passed already passed.

6 locations were hit during the air raid on Gaza city. The images are probably not broadcasted in US media. There are piles and piles of bodies in the locations that were hit. As you look at them you can see that a few of the young men are still alive, someone lifts a hand here, and another raise his head there. They probably died within moments because their bodies are burned, most have lost limbs, some have their guts hanging out and they’re all lying in pools of blood. Outside my home, (which is close to the 2 largest universities in Gaza) a missile fell on a large group of young men, university students, they’d been warned not to stand in groups, it makes them an easy target, but they were waiting for buses to take them home. 7 were killed, 4 students and 3 of our neighbors kids, young men who were from the same family (Rayes) and were best friends. As I’m writing this I can hear a funeral procession go by outside, I looked out the window a moment ago and it was the 3 Rayes boys, They spent all their time together when they were alive, they died together and now their sharing the same funeral together. Nothing could stop my 14 year old brother from rushing out to see the bodies of his friends laying in the street after they were killed. He hasn’t spoken a word since.

What did Olmert mean when he stated that WE the people of Gaza weren’t the enemy, that it was Hamas and the Islamic Jihad who were being targeted? Was that statement made to infuriate us out of out state of shock, to pacify any feelings of rage and revenge? To mock us?? Were the scores of children on their way home from school and who are now among the dead and the injured Hamas militants? A little further down my street about half an hour after the first strike 3 schoolgirls happened to be passing by one of the locations when a missile struck the Preventative Security Headquarters building. The girls bodies were torn into pieces and covered the street from one side to the other.

In all the locations people are going through the dead terrified of recognizing a family member among them. The streets are strewn with their bodies, their arms, legs, feet, some with shoes and some without. The city is in a state of alarm, panic and confusion, cell phones aren’t working, hospitals and morgues are backed up and some of the dead are still lying in the streets with their families gathered around them, kissing their faces, holding on to them. Outside the destroyed buildings old men are kneeling on the floor weeping. Their slim hopes of finding their sons still alive vanished after taking one look at what had become of their office buildings.

And even after the dead are identified, doctors are having a hard time gathering the right body parts in order to hand them over to their families. The hospital hallways look like a slaughterhouse. It’s truly worse than any horror movie you could ever imagine. The floor is filled with blood, the injured are propped up against the walls or laid down on the floor side by side with the dead. Doctors are working frantically and people with injuries that aren’t life threatening are sent home. A relative of mine was injured by a flying piece of glass from her living room window, she had deep cut right down the middle of her face. She was sent home, too many people needed medical attention more urgently. Her husband, a dentist, took her to his clinic and sewed up her face using local anesthesia

200 people dead in today’s air raid. That means 200 funeral processions, a few today, most of them tomorrow probably. To think that yesterday these families were worried about food and heat and electricity. At this point I think they -actually all of us- would gladly have Hamas sign off every last basic right we’ve been calling for the last few months forever if it could have stopped this from ever having happened.

The bombing was very close to my home. Most of my extended family live in the area. My family is ok, but 2 of my uncles’ homes were damaged,

We can rest easy, Gazans can mourn tonight. Israel is said to have promised not to wage any more air raids for now. People suspect that the next step will be targeted killings, which will inevitably means scores more of innocent bystanders whose fate has already been sealed.

This doesn’t even begin to tell the story on any level. Just flashes of thing that happened today that are going through my head

Ken Livingstone calls for halt to military attacks on Gaza

thanks Ken, incidentally will be posting up Caroline Lucas's response to the likely land invasion of Gaza when she sends it out.

Also Gush Shalom have condemned the attacks and accuse Israel of breaking the ceasefire.

Press release


“Halt Israel’s military attacks on Gaza”

Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London, sent the following message of support to today's protest against Israel's ongoing military attack on Gaza in which has already killed more than 200 people and is causing a humanitarian disaster:

“Israel's massive military attack on Gaza is a crime by one of the most well-armed states in the world possessing hundreds of nuclear weapons against the relatively defenceless population of Gaza.

“The response of the US government to the killing of hundreds of people has been in reality to endorse Israel’s actions. The British government has failed to demand an immediate end to the massive military action by Israel. This refusal to uphold the elementary interests of humanity by powers which could stop Israel’s attacks is based on the falsehood that there is an equivalence between the actions of the Palestinians and the actions of Israel. In reality there is no equivalence.

“The Israeli military attacks are out of any proportion to those of the Palestinians. Israel has imposed an illegal state of siege on Gaza, blockading the movement of people, goods and the supply of the most elementary humanitarian needs by the use of brute military force. No people in the world would tolerate such a situation. This is the immediate cause of the present war.

“Israel has not tolerated either democracy or self-determination for the Palestinian people. Elected Palestinian MPs are illegally held, alongside thousands of others, in Israeli prisons.

“Israel continues to not only to illegally blockade Gaza but to illegally occupy, build settlements, seize land and use military intervention in the West Bank. This treatment, too, would be unacceptable to any people in the world.

“These actions are the real causes of conflict with the Palestinians – as they would be with any people against whom they were perpetrated.

“There must be no collusion with these crimes against humanity. Israel is overwhelmingly armed and funded by the US and its crimes against the Palestinians are given diplomatic cover by the British and other European governments. Without that support the slaughter of the Palestinians and the illegal blockading the occupation of their territories could not continue.

“The US, British and other European governments should stop the pretence that anything justifies the killing of hundreds of the people of Gaza and demand an immediate halt to the massive Israeli military attacks.”


“Stop the Massacre in Gaza – Boycott Israel Now!”

Press Release

“Stop the Massacre in Gaza – Boycott Israel Now!”

Occupied Ramallah, Palestine - 27 December 2008: Today, the Israeli occupation army committed a new massacre in Gaza, causing the death and injury of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including a yet unknown number of school children who were headed home from school when the first Israeli military strikes started. This latest bloodbath, although far more ruthless than all its predecessors, is not Israel’s first. It culminates months of an Israeli siege of Gaza that should be widely condemned and prosecuted as an act of genocide against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the occupied coastal strip.

Israel seems intent to mark the end of its 60th year of existence the same way it has established itself – perpetrating massacres against the Palestinian people. In 1948, the majority of the indigenous Palestinian people were ethnically cleansed from their homes and land, partly through massacres like Deir Yassin; today, the Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are refugees, do not even have the choice to seek refuge elsewhere. Incarcerated behind ghetto walls and brought to the brink of starvation by the siege, they are easy targets for Israel’s indiscriminate bombing.

Prof. Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and international law expert at Princeton University, described Israel’s siege of Gaza last year, when it was still not comparable in its severity to the current situation, as follows:

“Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy.”

The most brutal episode of this “collective tragedy” is what we have seen today.

Israel’s war crimes and other grave violations of international law in Gaza as well as in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, could not have been perpetrated without the direct or indirect complicity of world governments, particularly the United States, the European Union, Egypt, and other Arab regimes.

While the US government has consistently sponsored, bankrolled and protected from international censure Israel’s apartheid and colonial policies against the indigenous people of Palestine, the EU was able in the past to advocate a semblance of respect for international law and universal human rights. That distinction effectively ended on December 9th, when the EU Council decided unanimously to reward Israel’s criminal disregard of international law by upgrading the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Israel clearly understood from this decision that the EU condones its actions against the Palestinians under its occupation. Palestinian civil society also got the message: the EU governments have become no less complicit in Israel’s war crimes than their US counterpart.

The large majority of world governments, particularly in the global south, share part of the blame, as well. By continuing business as usual with Israel, in trade agreements, arms deals, academic and cultural ties, diplomatic openings, they have provided the necessary background for the complicity of world powers and, consequentially, for Israel’s impunity. Furthermore, their inaction within the United Nations is inexcusable.

Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockman, President of the UN General Assembly prescribed in a recent address before the Assembly the only moral way forward for the world’s nations in dealing with Israel:

“More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a nonviolent means of pressuring South Africa to end its violations. Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations.”

Now, more than ever, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, BNC, calls upon international civil society not just to protest and condemn in diverse forms Israel’s massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violation of international law and Palestinian rights. Without sustained, effective pressure by people of conscience the world over, Israel will continue with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians, burying any prospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.

* The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) includes: Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine; General Union of Palestinian Workers; Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions; Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations’ Network (PNGO); Federation of Independent Trade Unions; Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations; Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition; Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI); General Union of Palestinian Women; Palestinian Farmers Union (PFU); Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW); Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI); National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba; Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ); Coalition for Jerusalem; and Palestinian Economic Monitor.

27 Dec 2008

Gaza bleeds

Emergency Protests

Sunday 28 December 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm and Monday 29 December 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Both protests opposite Israeli Embassy - Kensington High Street

Nearest tube: High Street Kensington

Protests organised by PSC, Palestine Return Centre (PRC), Palestinian Forum of Britain (PFB), British Muslim Initiative (BMI), Stop the War, Friends of al Aqsa, Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), Respect, Islamic Human Rights Commission.

Monitor news channels and call BBC and ITV every day to ask for accurate figures of numbers killed and injured. We will not accept Israeli spokespersons – we want Palestinian commentators.

Todays bombing of Gaza has already claimed several hundred lives, what is worse is with an Israeli General Election soon, it looks like a full scale invasion of Gaza is likely.

Blair has gone and Bush has only days to go but the fear is that as with the invasion of Lebanon, British and American leaders will tacitly support more bloodshed.

I was pretty shocked that one Israeli politican promised 'shoah' for the people of Gaza, citizens seem to be killed in large numbers by the Israeli government in their war against Hamas.

As well as flagging up the need to oppose the war I wanted to note there are some voices for sanity in Israel...I have blogged before about those conscripted who refuse to fight if fighting means the slaughter of innocent people.

I would also like to flag up Rabbis for Human Rights again....religion can be a force for good.

And there are several peace movements in Israel such as Gush Shalom

A Tel Aviv protest against the attack on Gaza took place yesterday in anticipation of today's carnage.


"Stop the Massacre in Gaza – Boycott Israel Now!"

The recent ceasefire in Gaza was deliberately broken by the Israeli army, who - while the world's attention was focused on the US election - launched a raid into Gaza on November 4th which killed six Hamas militants and deliberately provoked the rocket fire. The last thing the Israeli war makers wanted was a ceasefire. War is the only thing that Zionism's bloody leaders desire and their main efforts are finding pretexts such as the toy rockets launched from the Gaza Strip in the past 3 years.

Yet the liars of the BBC and world press have consciously presented the Israeli air strikes, not as the murderous and genocidal attacks that they are, but as a ‘retaliation’ and ‘tit for tat’.
After days preventing all supplies, Israel allowed yesterday trucks to bring food and other supplies into Gaza on Friday 26th December, but that was for only 6 hours. Even with that supply, the daily average for December 2008 was less than 5 trucks a day, down from more than 500 a day in December 2005.
The slow genocide of Gaza is gaining speed. Israel can massacre from the air without resistance, as Palestinians have no anti air weapons to defend themselves, not even shelters. For how long the world would be complacent? For how long the UK would be accomplice?
Please urgently demand David Miliband to condemn Israel and suspend ALL military agreements and collaborations, including research and purchase.


Also protest to:
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tel. +972 2 530 3111
The British Embassy in Tel Aviv
+972 3 725 1222

25 Dec 2008

Harold Pinter: Death of a prophet from Hackney

I am taking a break from the nut roast and the turkey (may be we will have a decent Doctor Who Christmas Special another year) to repost my comments on Pinter's amazing Nobel Prize Speech.

I am sorry that he has died, I used to be a Pinter sceptic but I was won over by his amazing Nobel Prize Speech and a growing interest in his amazing plays.

He died of cancer at least upstaging the Queen and the military on the BBC news today.

His plays were bleak beautiful bits of micro politics, the power in family, the oppression of roles but like his mentor Beckett, when needed he could in act in powerful fashion for justice.

This is something I posted in June 2006...a remarkable man!

Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay.

The ravages of Pinter's battle with cancer are staring you in the face as he sits wheelchair-bound, and every word he speaks sounds as if it comes from the grave, deep and rasping. The combination of frailty and tenacity is terribly moving.
(Independent, 22/10/2006)

The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity - the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons - is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.
Pinter Nobel speech.

I have just had the pleasure of watching the dvd of Harold Pinter Nobel speech.

I am a bit of a Pinter sceptic or I was. Firstly, I go to left events, I am seen as on the 'left', there is a family or families of radicals, leftists, progressives...but the big idea that we are wrecking the planet and wrecking us because of our economic system, that the economy cannot grow for ever and that humanity is a mere tool for the economic system...isnt quite what the left are about, they like everybody are against bad things and for good things. Left is good, right is bad...however the edge sometimes is not quite on the blade.

Pinter is part of this left(s) that does not always talk to my central concerns.

Also I remember Pinter rolling up at Red Pepper events, Lady Antonia Fraser in tow (was she in furs I forget) and making ranty speeches...impressed, I suppose my expectations were too high but I was not.

Yet his Nobel speech is wonderful, you can read it here

or watch a free video on screen here
or order the DVD here.

The Stage noted Yesterday’s news that Sir Harold Pinter has just added to his accomplishments by being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature received a blissful moment of the simultaneously absurd and embarrassing that could have been lifted from one of his plays, when – according to the Evening Standard – “A Sky News presenter announced at 12.01pm that Harold Pinter had died, before correcting herself, after a Pinteresque pause, and saying that he had in fact won a Nobel Prize”.

Pinter dissects the USA, not just Bush, but the US political establishment...the greatest salesman, he calls them...fermenting coups...supporting every post WWII right wing regime. He dissects with clarity and appropriate aggression, beautiful to behold.

He is beautiful, very sick with cancer, in a chair, clothed in a blanket...a Beckett character, delivering a monologue on truth.

He argues that we need to smash the mirror of the spin doctors and find the truth, the mirrow we must smash is the mirror that stops us seeing the truth of a world running on principles that are utterly inappropriate.

Watched the Caretaker and was surprised that this bizarre piece of Beckett theatre was based on true events, read about Pinter and Beckett, read all the rave rewiews of his performance of 'Krapp's Last Tape'. 'This is the most courageous, remorseless performance you will see', etc.

There is a debate about Beckett and the political, Beckett of course did his bit for the French Resistence.

There is no debate about the vital nature of Pinter's politics, yes smash the mirror.

Krapp's last tape is apparently going out on BBC 4, I look forward to it. Beckett, is the greatest master of the 20th century, a discipline to watch his work, a practice..

Here is a bit of the nobel speech

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, 'the American people', as in the sentence, 'I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.'

It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.

24 Dec 2008

Gay sex = ecology

I am not sure I would personally go for the population card here but more sex I suspect keeps us happy and away from over consumption, any way Peter makes some important points about the pope here!

Pope is wrong on "gay threat" to human survival

Gay sexuality is a part of human ecology London UK – 23 December 2008

"By choosing to highlight homosexuality instead of hunger, war and homelessness, the Pope has lost his moral bearings and sense of priorities." said Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights group OutRage! He was responding the Pope's bizarre claim that saving humanity from homosexual and transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. "Free market capitalism, and its culture of greed and consumerism, is a far greater threat to the ecological survival of our planet than homosexuality or transsexuality," added Mr Tatchell, who is also the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East. "Is the Pope ignorant or malevolent? "The suggestion that gay people are a threat to human survival is absurd and dangerous. It is poisonous propaganda that will give comfort and succour to queer-bashers everywhere.

"Homosexuality is a part of human ecology. It has existed in all cultures in every epoch. At a time of global over-population, by not having children gay couples contribute to population stabilisation and thereby reduce pressure on over-strained natural resources. We are an ecological asset to humanity. "The Vatican's continued rejection of a modern scientific understanding of homosexuality is a throw-back to the Dark Ages. It defies rationality and compassion. "Why is Benedict so obsessed with gay sex? He seems to talk about it all the time, issuing an almost weekly tirade of denunciations that borders on a compulsive disorder. "This prejudice is par for the course. The Vatican recently opposed aUnited Nations statement condemning homophobic violence and the criminalisation of same-sex relations.

"Without gay priests and bishops, the Catholic Church could barely function. At least a third of the clergy are gay, which makes this latest outburst by the Pope totally hypocritical. If Benedict objects so strongly to homosexuality, why does he surround himself with gayadvisors and Vatican officials?" queried Mr Tatchell.

The Catechism, which sets out the basic doctrines of the Roman Church denounces same-sex relationships as a "grave depravity" and"intrinsically disordered." It also states that lesbian and gay relationships are "contrary to natural law ... and do not proceed from genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."

Various other Papal pronouncements condemn homosexuality as a deep-seated personality disorder and psychological flaw; variously condemning same-sex acts as "grave sins….objectively disordered….(and)intrinsically immoral." Even people who have a gay orientation but abstain totally from sex are condemned by the Pope as possessing a"tendency towards an intrinsic moral evil."

"Despite the fact that 40 million people are infected worldwide with HIV, the Pope condemns safer sex and condoms. He has turned his back on a proven method of stopping virus transmission, and instead promoted the lie that condoms have tiny holes that HIV can pass through. This irresponsible scare-mongering is tantamount to complicity with the needless deaths of millions of people who have died because they had unsafe sex," added Mr Tatchell.

23 Dec 2008

Nasty pontiff stirs up hatred against rainforest dwellers

In short order he begins to realize how culturally determined his own values are, and sees with great clarity how much the Teduray can teach him about gender equality, tolerance for difference, including homosexuality, and generosity and cooperation.By turns funny, tender, and gripping, Wisdom from a Rainforest honors the Teduray's legacy and helps us see how much we can learn from a way of life so different from our own.

The Teduray are just one examples but there are many other gay friendly rainforest groups and Native American love of cross dressing, homosexuality and institutionalised alternative sexuality, upset moralistic Christians so much they had to send them blankets full of the plague ...sad to see this prejudice still going on today.

Well I am going to say the obvious but it needs saying anyway. The Pope is promoting hate, in just the same way as the BNP or a wahbist Muslim of the worst kind. If you condemn homosexuality as 'unnatural', you encourage just a little, may be a lot, of gay bashing and intolerance.

Several members of my family are Catholics and yes I like cathedrals and liberation theology as much as everyone else but the papacy is a bucket of sweating excrement if you ask me.

The Papacy turns Christ's teachings on their head by turning the church into the realm of Caesar, I don't want to appear all Ian Paisley here though...guess what there are protestant homophobes as well.

Tolerance seems to be part of the teaching of Christ, I believe he hung out with prostitutes and sought those who were oppressed and didn't moralise too much to them about their personal behaviour.

Surely the idea of a deity obsessed with who we do or do not sleep with is, well an obscenity.

Arguments from nature can be a little suspect, watches, the internet and cake are not natural but social....none are innately evil.

Nature is diverse, I could list nearly as many examples of homosexuality in nature as I could of gay popes....there is an argument to say that homosexuality is ecologically vital, sexuality is social as well as natural.

Essentially we have the spectacle of a man in a dress, apparently a celibate, criticising all of us who have indulged in non procreative sex, everything from oral pleasure to masturbation is a sin for this man.

Shockingly the Dalai Lama has come out with similar sentiments.

Anyway that's enought of my seasonal posting on religious 'leaders', they may have diverse theology but too many of them are more concerned with fucking than the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, ecological meltdown, war, injustice.

Have a look at the novel 'Memories of a gnostic dwarf' if you want the real dope on the popes.

Don't get me started on the Catholic Church's appalling record of child abuse or the attraction of some popes to men in tight fitting uniforms back in the last century.

STOP PRESS: assuming this to be her real site a 'controversial' Conservative councillor is backing the Pope, how will Cameron's new people friendly Tory Party react?


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