RIP Yesterday’s News Story

Amazing how important news stories can easily be buried down under other seemingly important stories. The implications of the Senate committee report on EIT by the CIA was just picking up steam when the story on the hacking of SONY Entertainment’s Network broke. This was allegedly state sponsored hacking by North Korea over the release of the Movie The Interview.

All the hullabaloo about the hacking, decision to not release and then release meant that the USA is back in the books of being the defender of free speech and human rights. The torture report needed to take a back seat while the Koreans were taught a lesson in the name of national security!

What?

I understand if it doesn’t make sense. But it had to cover up the firestorm that the CIA report was kicking up. Through the years since 9/11 details of the US’s exceptionalism in its war on terror are available sprinkled throughout the internet. Zero accountability on those who carry out unbelievably ill conceived attacks and programs with impunity.
The actions of so called radicals taking place across the world especially Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the ME in general weren’t created in a vacuum. They are results of years of oppression from many quarters which were cloaked and sold to the masses in the guise of country, religion and democracy.

This article by Tom Engelhardt summarises the the three key take homes from the war on terror that has in no way reduced the terror in the world but served to increase it

http://www.salon.com/2014/12/26/if_the_senate_issued_a_report_on_americas_drone_program_partner/

1. Whatever grim actions are the focus of debate at the moment, take it for granted that they don’t “work” because nothing connected to the war on terror has worked

2. In national security and war terms, only one thing has “worked” in these years and that’s the national security state itself

3. Nothing Washington did could ever qualify as a “war crime” or even a straightforward crime because, in national security terms, our wartime capital has become a crime-free zone

Oxfam Relief Efforts in Uttarakand

Recent rains in Uttarakand have created widespread damage in the region with entire villages being washed away and thousands of people still stranded. The Indian army and other agencies are coordinating relief efforts while certain politicians are taking this as an opportunity for one upmanship.

Below is a quick picture I came up with, after a conversation with the Oxfam India representative in Bangalore. The email conversation along with details of operations on the ground and contact details are included here. Oxfam is currently providing relief services in terms of food and blankets at the moment along with help from people experienced in disaster management through their local partners.

Uttarakand Damage

Uttarakand Damage

The scope of their work will extend to providing shelter, health, hygiene and water services. Due to difficulties in transporting material from other parts of India, Oxfam is accepting monetary donations only (tax exemptible) and sourcing required materials from nearby locations. You can choose to blame this person or that or you can contribute in your own small way to helping out people.

Donate at http://www.oxfamindia.org (give them a call to get your tax exemption certificate). Go to the website for more details.

Gaza : If the dead could speak

This is something I wrote for the people in Gaza. Take Heart my brothers and Sisters – Your Lord shall never forsake you.

Al Jazeera ReportsThe death toll has crossed 100 people in Gaza with over 800 injured. During this period, more than 500 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel, killing three people and injuring dozens.

“Gaza is about 25 miles long and 5 miles wide. Its population is 1.6 million people, and nearly half of those are children. Their food, water, and energy supply are all controlled by Israel. This isn’t a war. This is shooting fish in a barrel.” – Somewhere on FB

If the dead could speak

If the dead could speak what would they say

What are the stories of those passed away

Who would want to come back and

Who would want to stay.

 

War on terror, terrorists or the Pillar of defence

Out to get those who intimidate them

The mighty aren’t really that mighty if they

Fear the sling shots of those whose rights they took away

 

A single soul is equal to all of humanity

So don’t take a life away but those who build

empires  now don’t care about

how many lives have been wiped away

 

Fathers, mothers and even children aren’t safe

when “targeted strikes” kill everyone in its wake

How blind are those who believe the lies that says

killing pregnant women in self defense is okay 

 

Let every oppressor know there is a witness over him

Let them know His names –  the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith,

the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior.

The One who has promised darkness to the oppressor on a Mighty Day

 

He expelled from fortresses those who thought

They would never go away and those stronger in strength

He caused winds to blow them away

yet His Mercy Encompasses even the oppressors who pray

 

Don’t think those who die in His way are forgotten

For they Rejoice in the bounty of their Lord and no fear is upon them

Yet our hand cringes at action, the mouth dries at speech

Maybe then it is we who are dead and not they.

 

If the dead could speak what would they say

What are the stories of those passed away

Who would want to come back and

Who would want to stay.

– – –

Below are 5 out of 10 facts about Gaza posted in this Huffpost article

1) “PRISON CAMP”

David Cameron once referred to Gaza as a “prison camp” and “some sort of open-air prison”. 1.7million Palestinians are crammed into just 140 square miles; Gaza is one of the most crowded places on earth.

Israel, despite withdrawing its troops and settlers from the Strip in 2005, continues to control its airspace, territorial waters and border crossings (with the exception, of course, of Gaza’s land border with Egypt).

2) (UN)FAIR FIGHT

Remember: according to the Israeli human-rights group B’Tselem, in the last major conflict between Israel and Hamas – ‘Operation Cast Lead’ which kicked off in December 2008 – 762 Palestinian civilians were killed, including more than 300 children, compared to three (yes, three!) Israeli civilians.

We seem to be seeing a similar imbalance in bloodshed this time round: “More Palestinians were killed in Gaza [on Wednesday] than Israelis have been killed by projectile fire from Gaza in the past three years,” wrote Palestinian-American activist Yousef Munayyer on the Daily Beast website.

3) “COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT”

Why do they hate us, ask ordinary Israelis? Well, Gaza has been under siege since January 2006, after its residents dared to elect a Hamas goverment in free and fair elections. The subsequent economic blockade imposed upon the Strip by the Israeli government at one stage prevented the residents of Gaza from importing, among other things, coriander, ginger, nutmeg and, even, newspapers.

Most international lawyers, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), consider the blockade to be illegal under international humanitarian law; in 2009, a UN panel, led by distinguished South African judge and self-confessed Zionist Richard Goldstone, accused Israel of imposing “a blockade which amounted to collective punishment”.

4) “ON A DIET”

In 2006, Dov Weissglass, the then chief of staff to Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon summed up his government’s approach to Gaza and its residents when he confessed: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

A rhetorical flourish? Not quite: in 2008, Israeli defence officials in charge of restricting food and supplies from entering Gaza went so far “as to calculate how many calories would be needed to avert a humanitarian disaster in the impoverished Palestinian territory, according to a… declassified military document.”

5) STUNTED GROWTH

Some 10% of children under five in the Gaza Strip have had their growth stunted due to prolonged exposure to malnutrition. “Stunting (chronic malnutrition) is not improving and may be deteriorating,” concluded the World Health Organisation in May of this year.

Richard Falk has a more in depth look at the situation including policy failures and media hypocrisy here