Tuesday, March 03, 2009

One step forward

Although catastrophe reigns in Gaza and little aid has made it through (two steps back), there’s been one step forward: $4.48 billion has been raised to rebuild Gaza (when they’ll be able to remains a mystery), BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) has made an impact, protest has increased, and the Israel Lobby has lost some leverage.

On the last point, Charles Freeman has been appointed chairman of the National Intelligence Council, the organisation which produces National Intelligence Estimates, the summaries from 16 different agencies which presidents base many decisions on. Charles Freeman is well qualified for the job, yet a furor has erupted, simply because he has criticised Israeli policy in the past. The Lobby in their entrenched position, however, continue to find success: they pressured Obama to boycott the World Conference Against Racism (Durban II). (Meowma’ blog has the full collection of the above photos which compare Nazi photos with Israeli ones.)

In the Gulf, a $9 million gold Mercedes now cruises through Abu Dhabi. On the other side of the Arabian Peninsula, Johann Hari argues that European ships have been dumping nuclear waste of the coast of Somalia which, coupled with widespread poverty, has ensured local support for pirates. 

Directly west, it seems justice can be found on the Ivory Coast: a trio of RUF leaders were convicted of a majority of the charges against them. Hopefully they will get stiff sentences for the horror they inflicted on Sierra Leone’s population (Blood Diamond recounts some of this horror). Regarding Ghana, The Black Stilt (my review) has a good display of t-shirts and textiles as part of a campaign to raise money for the Heavenly Home Academy.

As Gitmo gets decommissioned, some prisoners have been repatriated. Binyam Mohamed has returned to Britain with numerous physical and mental injuries. Barbara Ehrenreich has claimed that the reason he was sent there in the first place was that he had clicked on her website which provides a satirical account for constructing an atomic bomb. Brandon Neely, a former Guantanamo guard, has recounted the horrors inflicted there in an interview with Almerindo Ojeda.


Lastly, the Massachusetts Law School at Andover has planned a conference to build the foundation necessary to successfully prosecute George Bush and other prominent officials. In a bold move, Obama has released Bush’s secret anti-terror memos, which claimed that the U.S. military could search and seize terror suspects on American soil without warrants. For more Bushit watch this video:

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