30 August 2014

Reappearing the disappeared of Operation Condor

Al Jazeera

In September 1976, ten high school students were kidnapped in the city of La Plata, Argentina, in an operation coordinated by Argentine police and military intelligence. All were between the ages of 16 and 18.

Secretly imprisoned in abominable conditions, the ten were subjected to torture and abuse. Four were eventually released - following years of torment - while the other six make up but a small fraction of the estimated 30,000 persons disappeared during the Argentine military junta's so-called "Dirty War" of 1976-1983.

What, pray tell, were the magnificent crimes that merited such punishment? It's quite simple: The leftist inclinations of these ten individuals made them a clear threat to the public order. Transgressions included agitating for reduced bus fare for students.

The apocalyptic threat was hardly confined to La Plata.Operation Condor - a collaborative effort of right-wing dictatorships in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay to combat the communist menace allegedly imperilling the hemisphere - lasted from the 1970s until the early 1980s and dispensed with some 80,000 people .

Anyone with less than far-right convictions was fair game, while dissent was criminalised but made inevitable by the state's own criminal behaviour. Human disposal methods included dropping sedated victims from airplanes into the sea. READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA.

28 August 2014

Fighting Palestinian flower-terror

Middle East Eye

In his seminal book Orientalism, published in 1979, the late Edward Said describes the portrayal of Arabs in Western films and television: “[T]he Arab is associated either with lechery or bloodthirsty dishonesty. He appears as an oversexed degenerate, capable, it is true, of cleverly devious intrigues, but essentially sadistic, treacherous, low.”
Elsewhere in the manuscript, Said documents common stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims as “hordes of hated barbarians,” “camel-riding, terroristic, hook-nosed, venal lechers,” purveyors of “licentious” and “dangerous sex,” “neurotic sexual being[s].”
Little progress, it seems, has been made since the 1970s - though the Israelis have managed to obtain honorary Western status despite the small matter of their geographical location. The formidably Orientalist website of the Israeli-American organisation Learn and Return (also known as Learn and Live) exposes the latest incarnation of the Arabs’ treacherous sexuality: “a new terrorism fought with roses instead of guns.”
According to Learn and Return’s calculations, “[m]ore than 1000 [Jewish] girls a year are trapped in Arab villages,” lured in with “gifts and flattery” by “Arab men, often pretending to be Jewish.” (For a mere $1000 donation, you can sponsor the rescue of one girl.)
As evidence of the alarming trend, the site directs us to a 2012 “Knesset Report on the Welfare of the Child” - which in addition to not being an official report also happens not to corroborate the organisation’s claims.
Anxious to find out more about flower-based terror, I did what any normal person would do: set up a fake email address and contacted Learn and Return with a concern about Jewish women being kidnapped to the Gaza Strip for use as human shields. READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.

27 August 2014



In a scene near the beginning of David Burr Gerard’s acclaimed debut novel Short Century, journalist Arthur Hunt attends the assassination-by-drone-strike of "Little Brother," a dictator in a Muslim-African country referred to only as REDACTED. A 1960s leftist-turned-warmongering scribe, Hunt is invited to press the "kill" button by Sheila, a CIA source who has just given him an erection.
“The very model of the modern moral warrior, every inch of her," he recounts. "I imagined lifting her up on to her control panel, spreading her legs, and pushing her clit into the button before impaling her on the joystick, all while I readied my sleepy dick.”
The obliteration of Little Brother ends up taking out a burqa-clad civilian, but Hunt gives the collateral damage a feminist spin, congratulating himself for freeing other, still-breathing women in burqas from the grasp of tyranny. His support for imperial bloodletting doesn’t simply emerge from the humanitarian depths of his soul, however: he’s seeking atonement for a past incestuous relationship with his sister.
It may be a novel, but it's more than just fiction. READ MORE AT VICE.

23 August 2014

Pavlov in Israel

Middle East Eye

Imagine your news intake was restricted to Israeli media outlets and Zionist-friendly international ones. You’d most likely develop the notion that a life intermittently punctuated by air raid sirens is by far the worst fate to befall anyone on the planet.
The fact that the siren alerts never correspond to much in terms of human casualties or property damage is inconsequential. According to Israeli-dictated reality, living with annoying background noises is far more difficult than, say, living under indiscriminate bombardment.
As was the case with previous Israeli assaults on the Gaza Strip, the essentially unilateral slaughter currently taking place has been accompanied by a steady stream of articles and other media output detailing the unique suffering of the inhabitants of Israel. READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.

21 August 2014

Peru's dangerous environmental regression

Al Jazeera America

This December, Peru will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, during which representatives from 194 countries will convene in Lima to set the stage for a comprehensive international climate change agreement in 2015. The agreement would succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on carbon emission reductions, which is set to expire in 2020.
Ironically, in the run-up to the conference, Peru has substantially pared domestic environmental regulations — arguing that this is necessary to attract investment. The Associated Press summarizes the terms of a new law enacted by Peruvian President Ollanta Humala in July:
The law … strips Peru’s six-year-old Environment Ministry of jurisdiction over air, soil and water quality standards, as well as its ability to set limits for harmful substances. It also eliminates the ministry’s power to establish nature reserves exempt from mining and oil drilling.
Also, the measure slashes fines for environmental violations, limits the duration of environmental impact assessments and enhances tax incentives for mining corporations. READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA AMERICA.

20 August 2014

Introducing the Deathright Program

Since the year 2000, the Taglit-Birthright Israel program has brought over 400,000 young Jewish people on 10-day, all-expenses paid trips to the Holy Land. The requirements for being young and Jewish involve being between the ages of 18 and 26 and having at least one Jewish grandparent.
To briefly illustrate the injustice of the arrangement: among the multitude of trip veterans is a former acquaintance of mine who was adopted into a mind-bogglingly wealthy part-Jewish family and was therefore deemed more deserving of a “birthright” and a funded trip than Palestinians literally born in the territory in question.
The point of the program is to cultivate a love affair between the Jewish state and members of the global Jewish community whose enthusiasm for Israel may not be sufficiently fanatical. This is often done by encouraging individual amorous relationships and hook-ups between participants on the excursion, which has led to a boost in Jewish “inmarriages” and in some cases immigration to Israel.
As journalist Kiera Feldman noted in her 2011 exposé for The Nation, titled “The Romance of Birthright Israel”: “Many groups pass a night in a fake Bedouin tent, where participants sleep crowded together, a setup conducive to first kisses.” READ MORE AT TeleSUR ENGLISH.

19 August 2014

Oh empty land, where art thou?

Middle East Eye

As we all know, the old Zionist canard that Palestine was “a land without people” greatly facilitated the usurpation of said land by the state of Israel.
A new version of this mantra has now been introduced by ex-Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, who regularly volunteers his expertise in criminal law to defend Israel’s war crimes. Recent efforts include hallucinating a plot by Hamas “to kill and kidnap” 57 Israeli babies and children.
In an article for the Gatestone Institute this month, Dershowitz put forth the theory that the Gaza Strip in fact encompasses a great deal of land without people. Titled “The empty spaces of Gaza”, the article begins:
“How many times have you heard on television or read in the media that the Gaza Strip is ‘the most densely populated area in the world’? Repeating this statement, however, does not make it true.”
This, of course, is a classic case of Dershowitzian projection; after all, repeating a million times that Israel only targets terrorists doesn’t change the fact that it regularly slaughters civilians. Dershowitz invites readers to explore the empty spaces of Gaza: “Just look at Google Earth, or this population density map.”
Never mind that the population density map to which he links comes complete with the explanation that Gaza is “one of the most densely populated tracts of land in the world”. READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.

16 August 2014

Mission imprecision: the unexploded ordnance war

Middle East Eye

In September of 2006, Haaretz quoted the head of an Israeli Army rocket unit on his military’s performance during the recent 34-day war on Lebanon: “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs.”
As the article explains, the United Nations estimated at the time that approximately 40 percent of cluster rounds fired by Israel had failed to explode. This is why, despite intensive and ongoing cleanup efforts by Lebanese and international organisations, we still continue to see headlines like: “18-year-old Lebanese killed by Israeli cluster bomb.”
The Lebanese in this particular case was a shepherd who stepped on an unexploded bomb on a farm in south Lebanon, but aside from shepherds and farmers, other popular casualties of belatedly exploding munitions include sheep, goats, and children who often mistake the deadly items for toys.
Haaretz also quoted the response of the Israeli military spokesperson to the allegation that Israel had violated international law by saturating Lebanon with cluster bombs: “International law does not include a sweeping prohibition of the use of cluster bombs.” READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.

10 August 2014

What the Gaza Slaughter and the U.S. Border Crisis Have in Common


When my friend and I used to hitchhike around Mexico some years ago, truck drivers would occasionally ask to see our passports to verify that we were not Latin Americans trying to smuggle ourselves into the United States. Aside from improvised passport control, obstacles to travel were quite minimal, and the worst thing that ever happened was that I was once trampled by a small bull after drinking too much tequila and deciding to participate in a village bullfight.
Obviously, things aren’t so easy for a lot of folks transiting Mexico. Earlier this year, Amnesty International reported that as many as 20,000 Central American migrants are abducted in the country annually while en route to the U.S. border, often riding atop trains. As many as six out of 10 migrant women are raped.
Crossing the desert into the U.S. on foot, an untold number of migrants perish from dehydration and exposure to the elements. Additional hazards occur in the form of right-wing vigilante groups that have taken it upon themselves to augment the anti-immigrant services offered by the Homeland Security Department. READ MORE AT ALTERNET.

05 August 2014

No Cocoa Pebbles for Corpses

TeleSUR English

On the first day of August, The Times of Israel published a blog post advocating for the genocide of Palestinians.
People complained and the post was deleted. According to a Jerusalem Post article that has now also inexplicably disappeared, the Times editors had declared themselves “angry and appalled” by the post and sworn that they would “not countenance blog posts that incite violence or criminal acts.”
Judging from Israeli media content since the debut of Operation Protective Edge last month, it’s perfectly fine to cheerlead for Israel’s genocidal policies—you just shouldn’t use the G-word itself.
The Times has meanwhile restored its reputation as a source of sophisticated and considerate commentary with the publication yesterday of a blog post titled “Does this war make me look fat?
The essay has emerged from the brain of Brooklyn native Rachel Weinstein, who now resides in Israel and is the cofounder of a Facebook weight support group called “Honey, I Ate The Fridge.” READ MORE AT TeleSUR ENGLISH.

02 August 2014

What we talk about when we talk about genocide

Middle East Eye

On 1 August, a Times of Israel blog entry titled “When Genocide is Permissible”  suddenly disappeared from the website. The Jerusalem Post explains that the entry had “provoked an avalanche of criticism and outrage on social media, prompting the news outlet to dismiss its author,” Yochanan Gordon, son of the founder of the New York-based 5 Towns Jewish Times, where the problematic dispatch also ran. The elder Gordon recently objected to the notion that there are “innocent civilians” in Gaza.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, it seems. In his own post, Gordon junior suggests that all Palestinians maintain terror tunnels and store rocket launchers in their homes, and deftly converts the call for genocide into a he-started-it kind of a thing: “We are at war with an enemy whose charter calls for the annihilation of our people.”
Never mind Gordon’s own assessments regarding the enemy’s “propensity to lie” and the fact that “falsehood and deceit is [sic] part of the very fabric of who they are and that will never change.” READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.