Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Media as corporate prostitution

Gordon Campbell proves once again why he is one of the best commentators in NZ, a recent column by him gives an eye opening reality check of mainstream news media…

Gordon Campbell asks whether TVNZ and TV3 should be tutoring the spin merchants
Should shepherds be in the business of selling the secrets of how they guard their flocks? I know, that’s an awkward and not particularly accurate analogy - but it was the one that came to mind when considering a two day conference called MediaBiz-09 due to be held at the Sky City Convention Centre in mid February. Here’s how the ads go :

“The nightly news - a friend or a foe to your organisation? At Media Biz 09 a stunning line-up of professionals will share the secrets of getting your message across positively, in all forms of the media. Media Biz 09 brings you Mark Sainsbury, Mike McRoberts, Kevin Milne, Fran O’Sullivan and the country’s top consumer affairs media law and communications experts.

…if the news media are giving coporates the opportunity (at over $2000 per person for the conference) to show them how to manipulate the willing news media into twisting negative stories about those corporates into positive stories, why should the rest of us trust anything those bastions of media tell us? Shouldn’t we be deeply concerned that the mainstream media are actively touting for influence in the news?

Bad Brains

Bad Brains_teaser

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All About Eve

Bette Davis, the original

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Last Auction Hero

Tim DeChristopher is an economics student at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He had just finished his last final exam before winter break. One of the exam questions was: If the oil and gas companies are the only ones who bid on public lands, are the true costs of oil and gas exploitation reflected in the prices paid?

DeChristopher was inspired. He finished the exam, threw on his red parka and went off to the controversial Bureau of Land Management land auction that the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance called “the Bush administration’s last great gift to the oil and gas industry.” Instead of joining the protest outside, he registered as a bidder, then bought 22,000 acres of public land. That is, he successfully bid on the public properties, located near the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dinosaur National Monument, and other pristine areas. The price tag: more than $1.7 million.

“Once I started buying up every parcel, they understood pretty clearly what was going on … they stopped the auction, and some federal agents came in and took me out. I guess there was a lot of chaos, and they didn’t really know how to proceed at that point.”

Patrick Shea, a former BLM director, is representing DeChristopher. Shea told the Deseret News: “What Tim did was in the best tradition of civil disobedience, he did this without causing any physical or material harm. His purpose was to draw attention to the illegitimacy and immorality of the process.”

There is a long tradition of disrupting land development in Utah. In his memoir, “Desert Solitaire,” Edward Abbey, the writer and activist, wrote: “Wilderness. The word itself is music... we scarcely know what we mean by the term, though the sound of it draws all whose nerves and emotions have not yet been irreparably stunned, deadened, numbed by the caterwauling of commerce, the sweating scramble for profit and domination.”

New form of slavery in Lebanon - maid for sale

Beirut: An Ethiopian housemaid lies bandaged in a government hospital after falling from a 12th floor balcony. She says her Lebanese employer pushed her off. "Madam asked me to hang the clothes. Then she came and pushed me from behind," the 25-year-old woman said. Too frightened to let her name be published, she said her employer had frequently threatened and abused her. "Madam would tell me, 'I will spill hot oil on you', so I hid the oil. She would take a knife and threaten to kill me. She would beat me with shoes, pull my hair to the floor," the injured woman said, her face still bruised a month later.

According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), nearly every week one of an estimated 200,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon dies. Suicide, falling while trying to escape their employer and untreated illness are the main causes of death. The employers are rarely prosecuted.
Live-in housemaids are like fixtures for well-off Lebanese families for years. They often do everything from heavy housework to nannying and helping with children's homework. Many get no days off, work for up to 18 hours and are locked indoors. Employers, who routinely confiscate their passports to deter them from running away, promise to pay maids $150 to $250 a month depending on their nationalities. But many employers don't pay as agreed. Some verbally and physically abuse their workers.
Women from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Ethiopia migrate to Lebanon legally, but often find themselves in conditions of forced labor, through unlawful withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threats, and physical or sexual assault. During the armed conflict in July 2006, Sri Lankan domestic workers reported being restricted from leaving the country by their employers.
Sri Lankan women are usually recruited to work overseas by local agents who promise riches in exchange for jobs abroad. Those who respond to the offer are then required to pay a fee to the local agent -- up to $500, an overwhelming sum for most. At the other end of the labor migration chain are various Lebanese agencies constituting an unregulated -- and highly lucrative -- industry. At a cost ranging from $1,500 to $3,000, a Lebanese family can "buy" a Sri Lankan maid whose monthly salary will range from $100 to $150. The agency draws up a contract committing the maid to her employer for two or three years. Since the contract and negotiations are in Arabic, the Sri Lankan woman usually has little understanding of what she has committed herself to. The contract stipulates that the agency's responsibility for the woman expires after three months. The employer and the employee must then resolve any problems. If a dissatisfied employer brings the maid back to the agency, she will likely be beaten to render her "obedient."

Many abused women feel they have no choice but to escape. "Running away' evokes the era of slavery," said lawyer Mirella Abdel Sater. "You leave your job, but you run away only when enslaved." (…) Many employers report runaway maids to the police as thieves in order to track them down. "The employer cannot report that their maid has run away. It is not illegal for her to do so," Abdel Sater explained, "so they tell the police she stole something."
The police have not been helpful to Sri Lankan maids escaping abusive employers. Many police officers have demonstrated blatant racism when it comes to protecting foreign women seeking their assistance. "I had a case in which a Sri Lankan maid was raped by her employer," said Abdel Sater. "I immediately sent her to the police. When she got there, however, she learned that they already had a warrant for her arrest because her employer had accused her of theft.

In the U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report (June 2008) this issue has been summarized as follows:
“The Government of Lebanon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Nevertheless, Lebanon is placed on Tier 2 for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking over the previous year, particularly in the area of law enforcement against trafficking of domestic workers for forced labor and trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. Although it reported 17 prosecutions last year, the government failed to convict or criminally punish anyone for trafficking offenses, despite ample evidence of conditions of forced labor. In addition, the government continued to lack victim protection services or a formal system to ensure that victims are not punished.”

Even if rights groups persuade the Lebanese government to improve the legal framework for domestic workers, they face a tougher task in changing attitudes among many Lebanese who refer to their maids openly in conversation as "slaves" or "liars and thieves". "The way a large number of Lebanese deal with them is like a new slavery," said HRW's senior researcher Nadim Houry.

Human right groups now hope for an increased public awareness about this topic that might enhance the pressure on Lebanon’s government and encourage its population to end the abuse of housemaids. For further info please see:
(This video summarises the whole issue quite well.)

sources/ further reading:

Milk Trailer - a previous election victory

"Can two men reproduce?"
"No, but god knows we keep trying..."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama sworn in: We are all Americans!

I predicted that the wildcard campaign of Obama would become President right at the beginning of the democratic nomination process because I believe we are a planet of human beings needing soul, many of us desire peace and justice for all and his articulation of the promise of democracy breeds a hope that does speak to the better angels of our nature. To watch a black man in a nation built by slaves with Hussein as a middle name during the war on terrorism become President is as much a victory to the people of America as it is to his immense talents as an orator and visionary leader. The excitement of the democratic promise fulfilled became globally contagious and for the first time, with the swearing in of Obama as President of the United States of America, we are all Americans!


Martin Luther King Jr may now rest in peace on the mountaintop as his dream has become our reality, what a beautiful moment in history.

The real work starts tomorrow.

The end of Bush – 8 years of incompetent horror and bankrupt intellectualism

He’s gone, there is a God, a Jesus, a Buddha, an Allah and a Vishnu. This easily manipulated imbecile with the intellectual capacity of a drunk child holding an Ak-47, who was so embarrassingly impressed and in awe of neo-con fantasies has finally left, his reign against reason has ended. His support of torture has ended, his support of an illegal war based on a pack of lies that has killed over a million Iraqi’s is over, his war against global warming science is over, his radical Christian nonsense towards celibacy as State policy has ended, his war against stem cell research is over, his many, many, many, many mistakes in Post-Iraq are over, his unregulated handling of the economy is over, his despicable Guantanamo Bay is over, his you’re with me or against me madness is over, Abu Ghraib is over, his war crime buddies Rumsfeld and Cheney are over, his secret CIA prisons and waterboarding are over, his blank cheque to Israel is over, his milking of Sept 11 is over, his attempts to re-write the powers of President and spying on Americans is over, his theft of the 2000 election has ended, his fear mongering has finished and his infantile attempts at justifying the whole stinking mess of his 8 stinking years has ended.

And not a fucking second too early. May history damn him for his lack of mental capacity and may history damn him for nearly destroying the dream of America to lead by example and for destroying the moral leadership of the West by eroding human rights with the pretense of protecting democracy and freedom. He has left America a much worse place than September 11 ever could and is lucky he’s not being dragged in front of a war crimes tribunal.

Good riddance to such bad rubbish.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Zionist Puppets

Hack your brain

"Do you ever want to change the way you see the world? Wouldn't it be fun to hallucinate on your lunch break? Although we typically associate such phenomena with powerful drugs like LSD or mescaline, it's easy to fling open the doors of perception without them: All it takes is a basic understanding of how the mind works.

The first thing to know is that the mind isn't a mirror, or even a passive observer of reality. Much of what we think of as being out there actually comes from in here, and is a byproduct of how the brain processes sensation. In recent years scientists have come up with a number of simple tricks that expose the artifice of our senses, so that we end up perceiving what we know isn't real - tweaking the cortex to produce something uncannily like hallucinations. Perhaps we hear the voice of someone who is no longer alive, or feel as if our nose is suddenly 3 feet long".

Infographic - Text by Johan Lehrer, graphics by Javier Zarracina

End of the line trailer

I have my reservations about the potential tone of this flick, I personally don't think the sea belongs to us and don't blame people when they see this kinda media as high-brow, ironic, eco fear-mongering either. But I'm pretty into this issue of late as a learner and have to say discussing the epic abuse of any resource is always a good idea.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sun Ra

Israel ends its holocaust of disaster in Gaza one day before Obama sworn in (just as predicted)

So Israel ends its holocaust of disaster in Gaza one day before Obama is sworn in as President just as we predicted last week because this massacre was never about glorified skyrockets that steer like a drunk cow that have killed only 15 Israeli’s since 2000, which when put in context is less than 1% of Israeli drink driving deaths – no this war was just like the Lebanon war in 2006, it was pre-planned and the Israeli’s used an excuse (kidnapped soldiers, skyrocket attacks, full moon – take your pick) to wage an unjust war for political advantage. Obama ends the 8 year blank cheque of the Bush administration and Israel desperately wanted to put one last blow in during the power vacuum, and what a dirty blow it was. 1203 Palestinians killed, 410 of them children and 5300 maimed to 13 Israeli deaths, 10 being soldiers, 5 of whom were actually killed by their own army – BUT FUCK THAT SHIT FOLKS THE REAL STORY IS AN ISRAELI WOMAN WHO COULDN’T GET A COFFEE IN INVERCARGILL. The Parliament blown up, the university blown up, 3 UN compounds bombed killing 40, a UN food and medicine warehouse bombed with phosphorous shells to make the desperately needed medicine and food supplies burn and a UN school bombed with a tank shell that killed two children – BUT FUCK THAT SHIT FOLKS THE REAL STORY IS AN ISRAELI WOMAN WHO COULDN’T GET A COFFEE IN INVERCARGILL. The use of incendiary weapons like phosphorous shells against civilians is a war crime, so is attempting bulldoze houses with civilians in them, so is killing civilians attempting to flee using white flags and so is shooting at ambulances – BUT FUCK THAT SHIT FOLKS THE REAL STORY IS AN ISRAELI WOMAN WHO COULDN’T GET A COFFEE IN INVERCARGILL. It took Intissar Hamoudah 20 years to conceive her son Faress and a bombardment killed him in her arms – BUT FUCK THAT SHIT FOLKS THE REAL STORY IS AN ISRAELI WOMAN WHO COULDN’T GET A COFFEE IN INVERCARGILL. Palestinian Dr Izzedine Aboul Aish was live on Israeli TV when an Israeli tank shell struck murdering his 3 daughters and a neice, he sobbed and sobbed and sobbed weeping “My God, my girls, can’t anybody get to us please”, because the IDF were blocking ambulances from going to him – BUT FUCK THAT SHIT FOLKS THE REAL STORY IS AN ISRAELI WOMAN WHO COULDN’T GET A COFFEE IN INVERCARGILL.

We are only now seeing the total holocaust of destruction that has been wrought on Gaza as the gagging censorship of the media is finally lifted and just as with the Lebanon war, the Israeli apologists who claim self-defense against resistance from occupation will go quietly silent as we see the actual result of Israel’s war crimes.

What a disgusting and despicable little episode in Israeli history, they and their apologists should be ashamed of themselves but at least now it's over that Israeli woman will be able to get her fucking coffee in Invercargill eh folks?


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Romanian quiz show host loses it on air

Presenter Adela Lupse from Oradea in western Romania started screaming at the camera, smashed the phone on the ground and then jumped up and down on it before grounding the phone under her foot.

At the same time she screamed repeatedly at the camera "I want the phone to ring now. Now. Call me now."

Angry TV bosses fired her after the outburst on TV station National TV.
But Lupse, who has been the show's presenter for three years, said: "Maybe I was a bit over the top but I wanted to get people to call - there is a lot of pressure to get people to call in with the correct answer. It was a bad day."

But Romanian TV watchdog the National Audiovisual Council of Romania failed to see the funny side and fined the station £1,089 (5,000 RON) for the outburst that showed "unjustified violence".

It also ruled that the show be given an X rating and only broadcast after 10pm.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Something a lil light - Dj Z-Trip...

Thought some of you Mentaldetoxer's might enjoy this...
He gave up playing at Obama's inauguration party to be here in NZ this week...
Check out his free OBAMA MIX, available on his website:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

No Maori Flag on Harbour Bridge for Waitangi Day (how’s that ‘mana enhancing’ relationship going?)

Maori flag on bridge call a stunt – Henare
National MP Tau Henare has dismissed Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples' plea to fly the Maori flag above the Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day as an attempt to court free publicity. Mr Henare said he had little time for the idea, which Dr Sharples plans to ask National ministers to support as a symbol of the new direction the party is taking in its support arrangement with the Maori Party.

The Maori Party joined the mACTional coalition, not because National wanted to wrap itself in camouflage to make it’s hard right Daddy State agenda look moderate, oh no, the Maori Party joined the National Party because it would create a ‘Mana enhancing’ relationship. So in the spirit of that ‘mana enhancing’ relationship one would have thought the beige Obama, John Key, would have leapt at the chance to build that ‘mana enhancing’ relationship especially since John Key forced the Maori Party to vote in tax cuts that help the wealthy, raise truancy fines to $3000, pack rape the select committee process to ram through medieval law and order legislation and force through the right to sack, one would’ve thought that John Key surely would be happy to give the Maori Party some symbolic crumbs after all of that, but apparently not.

The Maori Party is already being told where to sit on the Parliamentary bus by the land of the wrong white crowd brigade of nACTional, how long will they put up with this bullshit?

Cops kill an unarmed man on camera at Bart Station and the fuckers get away with it

I never had much difficulty believing that American soldiers had willingly tortured Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison because I look at the way the American’s treat their own citizens. If cops can shoot a handcuffed man in the back while 2 officers are already holding him down in public, then they are easily capable of treating anyone as appallingly as they did when they murdered Oscar Grant in cold blood.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The right to resist

What Israel are really trying to do in Gaza is destroy the right to resist. Behind the claim of self-defense what is Israel defending itself from? Resistance, resistance to an occupation, not only does Israel demand the right to occupy, they also demand the right to destroy any resistance to their occupation.

Most people defending Israel's disproportionate massacre use this,
“But they fired 7000 glorified steer like a drunk cow skyrockets at us”

Okay, why

”Because they hate us

Okay, why

”Because they hate Jews”

Weird huh, it’s not because Israel has forced an economic strangulation upon the people of Gaza or because of the 42 year long occupation, it’s because Palestinians are racist and hate Jewish people. It’s reminiscent of the type of reasoning American’s used when they were hit on September 11th, “Why us, why hurt us, we are such lovely people, they hate freedom and democracy”. There’s not even the attempt to understand the grievance and thus the response often ends up simply exacerbating the wound.

Hamas fire rockets at Israel because despite Gaza having no checkpoints and IDF posts, they are blockaded by the air, sea and land and it is in fact the largest open aired prison on the face of the planet and the continued occupation of the West Bank. Gaza is effectively still under occupation and they fire those glorified skyrockets that steer like a cow because they resist that occupation and the way to stop Hamas from firing rockets is to end the occupation, not increase it, not make it more bloody, not kill more people, not destroy more infrastructure, not bomb mosques, not bomb the University, not bomb the Parliament building, not bomb UN schools, not bomb civilians.

There is no military solution in Gaza.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Israel planned war with Gaza just like they did with Lebanon (history always repeats)

When Israel invaded Lebanon, they claimed it was because of two kidnapped soldiers, that was exposed as a lie by Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article which revealed that Israel had been planning the invasion for months and went to the Americans to greenlight it before they used the excuse of the kidnapped soldiers to invade and destroy much of Lebanon and drop 90% of cluster bombs on civilian targets in the final hours of the war. In that war the Israeli’s used phosphorus weapons and attacked a UN post, just like they are doing to Gaza and it also now looks like Israel has used the exact same tactics of using whatever excuse (glorified skyrockets this time) to put into action plans they took months to set up, but this time around the media manipulation by Israeli proxies in the media has been highly refined, just as this article from The Observer highlights….

Why Israel went to war in Gaza
'Are you a target if you voted for Hamas?' Last night Israel sent its ground forces across the border into Gaza as it escalated its brutal assault on Hamas. As a large-scale invasion of the Palestinian territory appears to be getting under way, Chris McGreal reports from Jerusalem on Israel's hidden strategy to persuade the world of the justice of its cause in its battle with a bitter ideological foe
Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
The Observer, Sunday 4 January 2009

It is a war on two fronts. Months ago, as Israel prepared to unleash its latest wave of desolation against Gaza, it recognised that blasting Hamas and "the infrastructure of terror", which includes police stations, homes and mosques, was a straightforward task.

Israel also understood that a parallel operation would be required to persuade the rest of the world of the justice of its cause, even as the bodies of Palestinian women and children filled the mortuaries, and to ensure that its war was seen not in terms of occupation but of the west's struggle against terror and confrontation with Iran.

After the debacle of its 2006 invasion of Lebanon - not only a military disaster for Israel, but also a political and diplomatic one - the government in Jerusalem spent months laying the groundwork at home and abroad for the assault on Gaza with quiet but energetic lobbying of foreign administrations and diplomats, particularly in Europe and parts of the Arab world.

A new information directorate was established to influence the media, with some success. And when the attack began just over a week ago, a tide of diplomats, lobby groups, bloggers and other supporters of Israel were unleashed to hammer home a handful of carefully crafted core messages intended to ensure that Israel was seen as the victim, even as its bombardment killed more than 430 Palestinians over the past week, at least a third of them civilians or policemen.

The unrelenting attack on Gaza, with an air strike every 20 minutes on average, has not stopped Hamas firing rockets that have killed four Israelis since the assault began, reaching deeper into the Jewish state than ever before and sending tens of thousands of people fleeing. Last night Israel escalated its action further, as its troops poured across Gaza's border, part of what appeared to be a significant ground invasion. And a diplomatic operation is already in full swing to justify the further cost in innocent lives that would almost certainly result.

Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the UN until a few months ago, was brought in by the Foreign Ministry to help lead the diplomatic and PR campaign. He said that the diplomatic and political groundwork has been under way for months.

"This was something that was planned long ahead," he said. "I was recruited by the foreign minister to coordinate Israel's efforts and I have never seen all parts of a very complex machinery - whether it is the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the prime minister's office, the police or the army - work in such co-ordination, being effective in sending out the message."

In briefings in Jerusalem and London, Brussels and New York, the same core messages were repeated: that Israel had no choice but to attack in response to the barrage of Hamas rockets; that the coming attack would be on "the infrastructure of terror" in Gaza and the targets principally Hamas fighters; that civilians would die, but it was because Hamas hides its fighters and weapons factories among ordinary people.

Hand in hand went a strategy to remove the issue of occupation from discussion. Gaza was freed in 2005 when the Jewish settlers and army were pulled out, the Israelis said. It could have flourished as the basis of a Palestinian state, but its inhabitants chose conflict.

Israel portrayed Hamas as part of an axis of Islamist fundamentalist evil with Iran and Hezbollah. Its actions, the Israelis said, are nothing to do with continued occupation of the West Bank, the blockade of Gaza or the Israeli military's continued killing of large numbers of Palestinians since the pullout. "Israel is part of the free world and fights extremism and terrorism. Hamas is not," the foreign minister and Kadima party leader, Tzipi Livni, said on arriving in France as part of the diplomatic offensive last week.

Earlier in the week Livni deployed the "with us or against us" rhetoric of George W Bush's war on terror. "These are the days when every individual in the region and in the world has to choose a side. And the sides have changed. No longer is it Israel on one side and the Arab world on the other," she said. "Israel chose its side the day it was established; the Jewish people chose its side during its thousands of years of existence; and the prayer for peace is the voice sounded in the synagogues."

It was a message pumped home with receptive Arab governments, such as Egypt and Jordan, which view Hamas with hostility. "Large parts of the Muslim and Arab world realise that Hamas represents a greater danger to them even than it does to Israel. Its extremism, its fundamentalism, is a great danger to them as well," said Gillerman. "We've seen the effect of that in numerous responses, in the public statements made by [Egypt's] President Mubarak and even by [Palestinian president] Mahmoud Abbas and other Arabs. This is totally unprecedented."

Indeed, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said his government knew exactly what was coming: "The signs that Israel was determined to strike Hamas in Gaza for the past three months were clear. They practically wrote it in the sky. Unfortunately they [Hamas] served Israel the opportunity on a golden platter."

Also crucial was what was not said. Just a few months ago Livni was talking of wiping out Hamas, but that would be unpalatable to much of the outside world as a justification for the assault. So now the talk is of pressing Gaza's government to agree to a new ceasefire. Occasionally someone has got off-message. A couple of days into the assault on Gaza, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, said it would continue for "as long as it takes to dismantle Hamas completely". Infuriated Israeli officials in Jerusalem warned her that such statements could set back the diplomatic offensive.

In the first hours of the attack, Israel repeated the same messages to the wider world. Livni and the Labour defence minister, Ehud Barak, were widely quoted on international TV. The government's national information directorate sought to focus foreign media attention on the 8,500 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel over the past eight years and the 20 civilians they have killed, rather than the punishing blockade of Gaza and the 1,700 Palestinians killed in Israeli military attacks since Jewish settlers were pulled out of Gaza three years ago.

Lobby groups, such as the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (Bicom) in London and the Israel Project in America, were mobilised. They arranged briefings, conference calls and interviews. The Israeli military posted video footage on YouTube. Israeli diplomats in New York arranged a two-hour "citizens' press conference" on Twitter for thousands of people. At the same time, Israel in effect barred foreign journalists from witnessing the results of its strategy.

Livni has suggested that Israel's assault is good for the Palestinians by helping to free them from the grip of Hamas. "She's basically trying to convince me that they're doing this for my own good," said Diana Buttu, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's legal counsel and negotiator with the Israelis over the 2005 pullout from Gaza. "I've had some Israeli friends reiterate the same thing: 'You should be happy that we're rooting out Hamas. They're a problem for you, too.' I don't need her to tell me what's good for me and what's bad for me, and I don't think carrying out a massacre is good for anybody."

And when the killing started, Israel claimed that the overwhelming majority of the 400-plus killed were Hamas fighters and the buildings destroyed part of the infrastructure of terror. But about a third of the dead were policemen. Although the police force in Gaza is run by Hamas, Buttu said Israel is misrepresenting it as a terrorist organisation.

"The police force is largely used for internal law and order, traffic, the drug trade. They weren't fighters. They hit them at a graduation ceremony. Israel wants to kill anyone associated with Hamas, but where does it stop? Are you a legitimate target if you work in the civil service? Are you a legitimate target if you voted for Hamas?" she said.

Similarly, while Israel accuses Hamas of risking civilian lives by hiding the infrastructure of terror in ordinary neighbourhoods, many of the Israeli missile targets are police stations and other public buildings that are unlikely to be built anywhere else.

Israel argues that Hamas abandoned the June ceasefire that Jerusalem was prepared to continue. "Israel is the first one who wants the violence to end. We were not looking for this. There was no other option. The truce was violated by Hamas," said Livni.

However, others say that the truce was thrown into jeopardy in November when the Israeli military killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid on Gaza. The Palestinians noted that it was election day in the US, so most of the rest of the world did not notice what happened. Hamas responded by firing a wave of rockets into Israel. Six more Palestinians died in two other Israeli attacks in the following week.

"They were assaulting Gaza militarily, by sea and by air, all through the ceasefire," said Buttu. Neither did the killing of Palestinians stop. In the nearly three years since Hamas came to power, and before the latest assault on Gaza, Israel forces had killed about 1,300 people in Gaza and the West Bank. While a significant number of them were Hamas activists - and while hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by other Palestinians in fighting between Hamas and Fatah - there has been a disturbing number of civilian deaths.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights says that one in four of the victims is aged under 18. Between June 2007 and June 2008, Israeli attacks killed 68 Palestinian children and young people in Gaza. Another dozen were killed in the West Bank.

In February, an Israeli missile killed four boys, aged eight to 14, playing football in the street in Jabalia. In April, Meyasar Abu-Me'tiq and her four children, aged one to five years old, were killed when an Israeli missile hit their house as they were having breakfast. Even during the ceasefire, Israel killed 22 people in Gaza, including two children and a woman.

Perhaps crucial to the ceasefire's collapse were the differing views of what it was supposed to achieve. Israel regarded the truce as calm in return for calm. Hamas expected Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza that the latter said was a security response to the firing of Qassam rockets.

But Israel did not end the siege that was wrecking the economy and causing desperate shortages of food, fuel and medicine. Gazans concluded that the blockade was not so much about rocket attacks as punishment for voting for Hamas.

Central to the Israeli message has been that, when it pulled out its military and Jewish settlers three years ago, Gaza was offered the opportunity to prosper. "In order to create a vision of hope, we took out our forces and settlements, but instead of Gaza being the beginning of a Palestinian state, Hamas established an extreme Islamic rule," said Livni. Israeli officials argue that Hamas, and by extension the people who elected it, was more interested in hating and killing Jews than building a country.

Palestinians see it differently. Buttu says that from the day the Israelis withdrew from Gaza, they set about ensuring that it would fail economically. "When the Israelis pulled out, we expected that the Palestinians in Gaza would at least be able to lead some sort of free life. We expected that the crossing points would be open. We didn't expect that we would have to beg to allow food in," she said.

Buttu notes that even before Hamas was elected three years ago, the Israelis were already blockading Gaza. The Palestinians had to appeal to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and James Wolfensohn, the president of the World Bank, to pressure Israel to allow even a few score of trucks into Gaza each day. Israel agreed, then reneged. "This was before Hamas won the election. The whole Israeli claim is one big myth. If there wasn't already a closure policy, why did we need Rice and Wolfensohn to try to broker an agreement?" asked Buttu.

Yossi Alpher, a former official in the Mossad intelligence service and an ex-adviser on peace negotiations to the then prime minister, Ehud Barak, said the blockade of Gaza is a failed strategy that might have strengthened Hamas. "I don't think anyone can produce clear evidence that the blockade has been counterproductive, but it certainly hasn't been productive. It's very possible it's been counterproductive. It's collective punishment, humanitarian suffering. It has not caused Palestinians in Gaza to behave the way we want them to, so why do it?" he said. "I think people really believed that, if you starved Gazans, they will get Hamas to stop the attacks. It's repeating a failed policy, mindlessly."

UN 99.9% sure Israel is lying

UN rejects claim on school
THE UN has disputed claims that Hamas militants fired mortars from the Gaza school that has suffered the deadliest attack of the war with Israel.
Three shells hit Fakhura, a girls elementary school in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, at about 3pm on Tuesday (12am yesterday), according to UN Relief and Works Agency spokesman Christopher Gunness. At least 43 people were killed and 55 wounded in the school, where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge from the fighting, pushing the Palestinian death toll above 680 since the conflict began on December 27. Two people were killed when an artillery shell hit a UN school in the southern city of Khan Younis. Three people also died in an air strike on another UN school in Gaza City's Shati refugee camp in the centre of the strip.

John Ging, the top UN refugee official in Gaza, said UN staff and Palestinian families in the school compound had been screened for weapons, and he disputed Israel's claim that mortars were fired from inside. "As far as we are concerned, that is not true, but if Israel has evidence of that they need to provide it to an independent inquiry," Mr Ging said. He added: "There's nowhere safe in Gaza. Everyone here is terrorised and traumatised." Speaking after an initial investigation last night, Mr Gunness denied militants were at the school: "We are 99.9 per cent sure that there were no militants or militant activities in the school and the school compound."

Right so Israel bombs 3 UN schools and the UN are 99.9% sure that there were no mortars fired from inside the compound meaning that Israel is lying about their justification that left 30 dead. How dirty does this massacre have to get and to suggest that creating a 3 hour cease fire so Palestinians can bury their dead is ‘Humanatarian’ borders now on the Orwellian. The outright bias towards Israel by most mainstream media is eye opening.

Major mobilization for justice in Palestine this Saturday, 12noon, Aotea Square, Auckland.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Warning for anyone creative. Copyright law in NZ is about to go uneccesarily bananas.

Top 10 doublespeak definitions for the War in Gaza from the Israeli Embassy

Cease-Fire: Can’t be done, impossible, no way, how dare you even suggest it, are you friends with Mel Gibson?

Sustainable Cease-fire: We’ll give your boys another 10 days to decimate Gaza after it had just managed to recover from the last time we invaded and raped it, as long as it is sustainable.

48 Hour Ceasefire: Doh, the army has killed a lot of kids this time, we need 48 hours for the media to focus on something else so we can get back to it.

Self-defense: Taking an eye for most of your face, including blowing up your home, economic crucifixtion and group punishment. Plus burning down any of your pets homes, you never know how many pets later become Hamas agents.

Justified Response: Bringing a laser guided phosphorus bunker busting missile to a knife fight.

Hamas Target: This can be anything from bridges, apartment buildings, grain carrying trucks and Flour mills. Oh and apparently UN schools filled with children count as well.

Pathology of war: Either The Israeli self-image of rationality, self-confidence, restraint, pragmatism, and marshal moral superiority are delusions and myths, constructed to protect the Israeli psyche, manipulated by the state to keep alive the specter of existential terror in the Israeli public and to disguise the state's raison d'etre, expansion and ethnic cleansing in Palestine OR This is all about the return glorified sky rockets that have only killed 4 people.

UN Schools: Even if you’ve called our friendly 0800 ‘Your bombing me by mistake’ Israeli Defense hotline 10 times screaming for us to stop aiming at you, I’m afraid you could be a camouflaged Hamas Target. And the last thing we need when we are committing a dirty war on the flimsiest of excuses, is the international community.

UN Resolution: To be ignored and belittled and labeled as unbalanced, bordering on anti-Semitic. Put out press releases suggesting Mel Gibson wants to replace the UN Secretary General.

International condemnation: To be shrugged off with the same disdain the United States showed the world when it invaded Iraq. Suggest Mel Gibson has something to do with it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

‘Proportional’ response

Casualties rise in Gaza offensive
Casualties have been pouring into over-stretched hospitals in the Gaza Strip as Israel presses on with its offensive against Palestinian militant groups.
The Palestinian health ministry said 90 people, mostly civilians and including 26 children, had been killed since Israeli forces went in on Saturday. Dr Khamis al-Essi, an emergency doctor at Gaza's biggest hospital, al-Shifa, said they were struggling to cope with the huge numbers of casualties. He said they had received "all sorts of casualties, from shattered bodies, beheaded individuals and patients with superficial cuts and lacerations". "Most of the injuries affected civilians, especially women and children," he told the BBC. Among the dead was a family of seven killed by an Israeli air strike in a refugee camp east of Gaza City, health officials said. Dr Essi said many families were in need of ambulances, but medical workers were struggling to reach casualties because they were being shot at.

Let’s be clear, I think we can all appreciate the fear these rocket attacks create on the Israeli psyche. For a race who have been as despicably persecuted throughout history to live under the constant fear of a sky rocket dropping on their head and killing them with all the sirens going and the reminders that stress creates for those old enough to have been effected by the Holocaust, all shivering together in bomb shelters must all add up to be a very daunting and frightening experience.

But that daunting and frightening experience in no way justifies the Israeli response, especially when Israel has been so responsible for creating the righteous grievance with their 42 year brutal occupation of what are now the largest open aired prisons on the face of the planet. Glorified sky rockets that steer like a drunk cow and which have only killed 4 people (or 15 TOTAL prior to this massacre) is a problem that can be solved by ending the economic strangulation Israel imposed upon Gaza because Hamas won a democratic election and start a serious dialogue about lifting air, sea and land blockades on Gaza AND start immediate withdrawal from the West Bank. The solution to glorified skyrockets that steer like a drunk cow IS NOT the American made laser guided Hellfire missile’s fired into one of the most densely populated regions on Earth, all that does is create more fury and radicalizes even more young Palestinians, Israeli aggression simply exacerbates the horror story that is Gaza and serves only to create another generation of suicide bombers.

The attempt to redefine the word ‘disproportionate’ by Israel and her proxies in the media is so intellectually bankrupt it would be funny if so much Palestinian blood wasn’t bathing most of downtown Gaza. You cannot hold the high ground when you arrive at a blunt knife fight with a fully automatic machine gun, the attempt to paint the victim as the aggressor is the same thinking that blames women for being raped because she’s wearing make up and is the same reasoning that attempts to justify putting a tank shell through a child for throwing stones at armored vehicles.

There is no military solution in Gaza and those choosing to defend this need to reflect beyond their partisan bias to see where the real suffering is occurring.

CYF’s paintjob a whitewash or we don’t really care either way?

Cradle to early grave
More than 350 children and young people whose safety or welfare had been brought to Child, Youth and Family's attention have died since 2000.
Children's commissioner Cindy Kiro says many of the deaths were preventable. Some died from suicide, abuse, assaults by parents or caregivers, neglect and shootings. Most died from natural causes, medical complications or accidents, including vehicle crashes, fires, falls and drownings. Last year, Dr Kiro carried out a review of the deaths and she criticised CYF social workers for not focusing enough on at-risk children. The review found "gaps" in information provided to her office and triggered a new focus on neglect by parents and caregivers. Dr Kiro said she was frustrated by the significant number of preventable child deaths through violence, neglect, injury or suicide.

Remember when CYF’s used to be called CYP’s – they changed the name because so many children had died under CYP’s that it was felt a name change was necessary so that the reputation of dead babies didn’t become a complete PR disaster. Changing the name unfortunately hasn’t done jack shit because the reality is that we have a social infrastructure deeply damaged the last time National were in power and only slowly rebuilt by Labour in it’s 9 year term, with National back in power again and opting for tax cuts that favour the wealthy as opposed to extra money for CYF’s workers suggests the current work load won’t be going down anytime soon. The number of reported cases of potential child abuse jumped from 40,939 notifications in 2004 to 89,461 last year and talking with my friends who work in the sector, they each have many cases on all of their desks that demand immediate intervention but with such a lack of support services like where you send the kids and making sure those environments are safe (a lot of the time they are not) won’t go away right when there is extra demand for those services. The reality is that despite all the media heat child abuse creates we are utterly deaf to the call for extra resources to save these kids.

There is no humanitarian crises in Gaza – yeah right.

Gaza humanitarian crisis deepens
Aid agencies say the already fragile humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated dramatically since Israel began its military offensive.
Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza for the past 18 months, allowing little more than humanitarian basics into the coastal territory. Health, energy and water infrastructure were already close to breaking point before the fighting broke out.
Israel has stopped maintaining, as it did for the first week of the operation, that there is "no humanitarian crisis" in the territory.
It now says it is working with international organisations to solve humanitarian problems. But it says Hamas is responsible for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and is "holding the people hostage" by targeting Israeli civilians. On Monday, UN humanitarian coordinator Max Gaylard said: "Large numbers of people, including many children, are hungry, they are cold and without ready access to medical facilities, without access to electricity and running water, above all they are terrified - that by any measure is a humanitarian crisis."

Of all the things that Israel have tried to use to defend the indefensible, their claim that there is no humanitarian crises in Gaza is surely the most audacious. The economic strangulation Israel has put Gaza under since the people of Gaza had the temerity of electing a political party that Israel and the US didn’t like (which is funny for two countries that bray so much about democracy), the people of Gaza have been slowly crushed in conditions that after a 4 decade brutal occupation were already crippling. Let’s look at the facts…

Some 750,000 people - half Gaza's population - are dependent on food hand-outs from the UN relief agency, Unrwa. In December, it had to suspend distribution at times because it ran out of flour after Israel closed the border crossings into Gaza repeatedly.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been attempting to co-ordinate safe passage with the Israelis, but says in many cases this has not been possible or has taken too long.
"Basically people are dying while they're waiting," said spokeswoman Sophie-Anne Bonefeld.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is trying to get 1,000 doses of tetanus vaccine through the crossings because, according to its information, there is none left in Gaza.

Five of Unrwa's 18 medical clinics have closed because of the fighting.

The UN said on Sunday that all of Gaza City's hospitals had been without mains electricity for 48 hours.

The UN says a million people in Gaza are without electricity. The territory's only power plant, which supplies much of Gaza City, shut down on 30 December because it ran out of industrial diesel fuel.

A delivery of 215,000 litres of industrial diesel were transferred into Gaza on 5 January - about 10% of what the Supreme Court has set as a minimum weekly level to be allowed through under the blockade.

The UN estimated on 5 January that 250,000 people did not have access to running water.

According to Gaza's water utility body, 48 of the territory's 130 wells are not working at all due to lack of power and damage to the pipes, while another 45 are operating partially.

I’m sorry, but this adds up to a humanitarian crises that will only further radicalize Palestinians and for Israel to try and deny that horror and their own role in creating this humanitarian crises is in itself another indication of how little trust you can put into Israel’s intentions. There is no military solution to this and we are witnessing a massacre.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Police set to step up hacking of home PCs

Here's what's going down overseas...
check it out...

Predictions 2009:

TVNZ7 will get sold, Rodneys Razor gang will slash and burn while the slash and burn is spun as moderate, John Key to stop weekly press conferences once the really hard questions start in the media, Jeannette Fitzsimons will step down from the co-leader position of the Greens, Afghanistan will become worse and worse and NZ will be asked to send more ground troops which John Key will and we will lose our first soldier in this conflict, fighting will breakout between the Turks and Kurds as tensions mount over Kurdish desires to seize northern oilfields, Chinese abuse of African countries they are raping for resources will become a bigger issue, Zimbabwe will collapse and become the first of many new failed states in 2009, many more breakthroughs in genetic medicine, Helen Clark will take a job with the UN, the CERN particle collider will prove string theory correct and we will have 11 new dimensions to add to our Universe, global warming will speed up more ice melt throughout the year, climate deniers will continue to muddy the waters with quack science and slow any change to confront pollution, as Oil continues to plummet because of the massive down turn in the economy Russia, Venezuela and China will find it hard to justify their oppressive regimes without the cash to prop up their economies, the economic meltdown will be harder than anything we've ever faced (Volvo went from 41 970 orders in 2007 to 115 in 2008), unemployment will rise to 10% as an influx of NZers from Australia gallop back to NZ as Australia's economy collapses from a lack of Chinese prosperity, Protests in NZ will get a lot more violent, we will see our first death from the 'safe' Taser.

Boycott Israel

Disgusted by what Israel is doing? There's an easy way to show your disgust at a regime that justifies murder from the launching of glorified skyrockets that steer like a drunk cow, never buy anything that Israel produces, here's a 'Boycott Israel' link - we wouldn't buy anything from the old South Africa, why buy anything from Israel?

The Milky Way

A new mosaic of infrared images taken using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope gives astronomers a new perspective on our home galaxy. The panoramic view spans 130° along the Milky Way and runs through 13 constellations, from Vulpecula to Centaurus

The Milky Way's center shows up in unprecedented detail in this composite of two galactic-plane surveys from the Spitzer Space Telescope. This view is a small portion of a 800,000 image, 4-billion-pixel mosaic created by combining the GLIMPSE and MIPSGAL surveys. Stars show up as blue, hot gas is green, and warm dust shows up as red. The galactic center is the brightest spot (center)

This artist's rendering illustrates the observing ranges of GLIMPSE as it might appear if viewed from above our Milky Way galaxy. In this rendering, green represents the area captured in the GLIMPSE observations and the yellow dot indicated the location of our solar system. The red slice represents the 9 degrees of sky portrayed in the first panoramic image release from GLIMPSE.

"This majestic view taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope tells an untold story of life and death in the Eagle nebula, an industrious star-making factory located 7,000 light-years away in the Serpens constellation. The image shows the region's entire network of turbulent clouds and newborn stars in infrared light.

The color green denotes cooler towers and fields of dust, including the three famous space pillars, dubbed the "Pillars of Creation," which were photographed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in 1995 (see inset). But it is the color red that speaks of the drama taking place in this region. Red represents hotter dust thought to have been warmed by the explosion of a massive star about 8,000 to 9,000 years ago. Since light from the Eagle nebula takes 7,000 years to reach us, this "supernova" explosion would have appeared as an oddly bright star in our skies about 1,000 to 2,000 years ago.

According to astronomers' estimations, the explosion's blast wave would have spread outward and toppled the three pillars about 6,000 years ago (which means we wouldn't witness the destruction for another 1,000 years or so). The blast wave would have crumbled the mighty towers, exposing newborn stars that were buried inside, and triggering the birth of new ones. If a star did blow up in this region, it is probably located among the other massive stars in the upper left portion of the image. Its blast wave might have already caused a third generation of stars to spring from the wreckage of the busted pillars.

This image is a composite of infrared light detected by Spitzer's infrared array camera and multiband imaging photometer. Blue is 4.5-micron light; green is 8-micron light; and red is 24-micron light".