NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

A 36-year veteran of America’s Intelligence Community, William Binney resigned from his position as Director for Global Communications Intelligence (COMINT) at the National Security Agency (NSA) and blew the whistle, after discovering that his efforts to protect the privacy and security of Americans were being undermined by those above him in the chain of command.

The NSA data-monitoring program which Binney and his team had developed — codenamed ThinThread — was being aimed not at foreign targets as intended, but at Americans (codenamed as Stellar Wind); destroying privacy in the US and around the world. Binney voices his call to action for the billions of individuals whose rights are currently being violated.

William Binney speaks out in this feature-length interview with Tragedy and Hope’s Richard Grove, focused on the topic of the ever-growing Big Brother Mass Surveillance State in America.

Israeli Apartheid Week

The 13th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week will take place all around the world between March – April 2017.

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international series of events that seeks to raise awareness of Israel’s settler-colonial project and apartheid system over the Palestinian people and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Inspired by the popular resistance across historic Palestine and struggles worldwide, IAW 2016 included a wide range of events, from lectures, film screenings, cultural performances, BDS actions, to postering in metro stations, setting up apartheid walls on campuses, and many more. These actions took place in more than 225 cities across the world.

This year (2017) will mark 100 years of Palestinian resistance against settler colonialism, since the inception of the Balfour Declaration. IAW will be an opportunity to reflect on this resistance and further advance BDS campaigns for the continued growth and impact of the movement. Despite all the legislative attacks on BDS internationally, IAW and the BDS movement continue to build linkages and solidarity with other struggles to achieve freedom, justice, and equality.

Israeli Apartheid Week is organised by an international network of grassroots solidarity groups, unions and activists. Organising IAW events on your campus or in your city is easy. Register now to receive an info pack full of ideas and inspiration and to be able to promote your events on IAW’s website.

 

 

Sign the European Citizens Initiative to #StopGlyphosate

Along with multiple citizens’ movements and civil society organisations from all over Europe, the People’s Awareness Network supports the European Citizens Initiative to #StopGlyphosate.

Please sign the petition at the bottom of this page

What is glyphosate?

It is the most widely used herbicide in the world, produced by Monsanto – despite having been classified as a probable carcinogen by the WHO and heavily damages the ecosystem. These substances residues pollute both soil and groundwater and have been detected in our food, in the water we drink, and in our bodies.

What is ECI?

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a people’s tool to ask the European Commission to make proposal for or to directly amend European laws. The Commission will be obliged to consider the request if at least one million signatures are collected in at least seven member states.

What is the #StopGlyphosate Initiative calling for?

  • Revoke the authorization of glyphosate use in all member states
  • Reform EU procedures for the approval of pesticides which must be based solely on independent published studies commissioned by the competent public authorities and not by manufacturing companies
  • Set required reduction targets of pesticides use in EU member countries

Is a future without pesticides possible?

A new model of agriculture that is based on ecological methods is compatible with both nutritional and environmental needs. This calls for political choices to move in this direction, both at the European and local level.

Please sign the European Citizens’ Initiative to ban glyphosate to put pressure on European institutions to stop the use of glyphosate in Europe as a matter of urgency for the sake of both the planet’s and our health.

For more information on the ECI, its objectives and supporters, visit https://stopglyphosate.org/

A Short History of the Colonization of Palestine

Myth: Israel was a land without a people for a people without a land.

History: Arab people have lived in Palestine for thousands of years. Who are the indigenous people of Palestine? All of them speak Arabic. They are mainly Sunni Muslim. There are a minority of Christians, Shiite Muslims, Jews, and Druze. European Jewish settlers began to steadily arrive in 1882 but there was never anything other than an overwhelming Arab majority until a few weeks before the “Nakba” (Arabic word for catastrophe) otherwise known as the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

nakba

Myth: The state of Israel had to be created as a response to the Holocaust.

History: Zionism is a kind of European colonialism that began in the late 1800’s long before the Holocaust in Europe. Zionism’s goal is and has always been to establish a Jewish state on land already inhabited by an indigenous Palestinian people. Zionism
as a colonial project was explained by Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky, one of its chief architects, in 1923:

“We can talk as much as we want about our good intentions but they understand as well as we what is not good for them. They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie…Thus we conclude that we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Zionist colonization even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. Thus colonization, can therefore continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population-an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is in toto our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy.”

Nothing in Zionist policy toward Arabs has changed, but the language that is used to talk about these policies has.

Myth: Israelis just want to live in security and peace with their Arab neighbors.

History: In 1923, it was possible to talk openly about getting rid of the native population. Today the code words of “peace” and “security” are really a call for the end of Palestinian resistance to Zionist colonialism and genocide. Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall” has become a real Wall in Palestine which has the purpose of stealing more land from Palestinian people and destroying potential resistance to settlement by socially controlling Palestinian people. How did this happen?

In 1917, in the Balfour Declaration, the British government promised to support the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine when there were already Palestinian people living on this land. Between 1919 and 1936, the ruling British supported taking the land of tens of thousands of “fellahin” ( Palestinian villagers) and giving it to European Zionist settlers. In response to the unfair transfer of Palestinian land to settlers, Palestinians resisted and called for a general strike from 1936 to 1939 accompanied by boycotts of all British and Zionist institutions. The strike was met with extreme physical force and resulted in a popular uprising. The uprising was eventually crushed, and the British imprisoned 5,000 Palestinians, executed 148 people and demolished 5,000 homes.

At the end of 1947, Zionists had acquired only 6.59% of the total land mass of Palestine. That year, the UN, which had an interest in cultivating Western European settlement in Palestine, voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state. Palestinians and Arab states rejected this (at this time Jewish people would gain over 54% of the land by UN partition).

disappearing-palestineIn 1948, Joseph Weitz , director of the Jewish National Land Fund and head of
the 3rd “Transfer Committee” stated “ [we] must direct our war towards the removal of as many Arabs as possible from boundaries of our state.”

Between 1947 and 1949, there were 45 reported massacres including the Yehida Massacre, Al-Sheikh Massacre, Beit Daras Massacre, Dahmesh Massacre, and the better known Deir Yassin Massacre in which more than 250 people were murdered (25 pregnant women were bayoneted in the abdomen and 52 children were beheaded) as well as the Dawayma Massacre in which 100 people were killed, including children who were murdered by fracturing their heads with sticks.

In 1948, 935,000 Palestinians (85% of the indigenous population of Palestine at that time) were forced off their land, in some cases at gunpoint, in other cases through massacres or threats of massacres like the massacre at Deir Yassin. As a result, 530 of an estimated 550 total villages were completely destroyed or depopulated. Over 78% of Palestinian land was confiscated for the establishment of a state for Jewish people. The “state of Israel” was established in May, 1948 and the colonial system put in place by the British was transferred to the new Zionist settler state.

Myth: Israel is a democracy.

History: A variety of racist laws were passed soon after the “state of Israel” was established. The Law of Return in 1950 grants the right of immigration to Jews born anywhere in the world. Non-Jewish native born Palestinians who fled the massacres in 1947 and 1948 are in most cases prevented from returning. The Absentee Property Law of the same year designated the personal property of Palestinians who fled during the terror campaign of 1948 as “absentee property” and this property was placed within the power of the Custodian of Absentee Property who would distribute this land to Jewish settlers. Palestinians’ capacity to have any personal property or wages was abolished during the first decade of this “democracy.”

Since the 1950’s, nationality and identity laws have defined a “Jewish nationality” with special privileges above the “Arab nationality” who is subject to a special regime of “security.” The Transfer of Property Law of 1950 and the Land Acquisition Act of 1953 accomplished the transfer of confiscated Palestinian villages and private property to the Development Authority for Jewish settlement. These Israeli laws of the 1950’s resemble Apartheid South Africa’s Natives Land Act of 1913 and the Native Urban Areas Act of 1923.

In 1967, the remainder of Palestine was invaded and occupied by the Zionists and another 350, 000 Palestinians fled or were expelled. In the 1970’s, the “Judaization of the Galilee” (the term Zionists use to describe the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from this area for exclusively Jewish settlement) followed the same pattern of settlement familiar throughout historic Palestine:

  • the confiscation of agricultural and grazing land in the areas surrounding Palestinian population centers;
  • the freezing of growth in Palestinian villages by denying building and planning rights;
  • the systematic demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses
  • planned Jewish settlement aimed at breaking up the territorial continuity of Palestinian areas;
  • the denial of access to basic services such as water (and the theft of that water); and
  • policies aimed at preventing Palestinian economic subsistence and forcing dependence on settlers.

Through the “peace negotiations” of Oslo, the Geneva Accords, and the Road Map, Zionists have pursued a policy of stealing more land and striking genuine resistance to colonial settlement with crushing force.

Myth: The problem is an age old conflict between religious groups.

History: It is a conflict between the indigenous Palestinian people and the Europeans who came with guns to steal their land and resources. Zionism is a racist ideology with the aim of ethnically cleansing Palestine of its native population through systematic methods. The Palestinian people themselves are of multiple religions—all have suffered from Zionist racism and brutality.

The myth of “religious conflict” is central in propagating the notion that “dialogue” between “Israelis” and Palestinians can resolve “the conflict” and that people need to develop “an understanding” of one another. It is meant to undercut any discussion about the reality — a racist regime that continues to colonize indigenous land. This myth asks Palestinians to “put the past behind them” and build “a shared future” with the people who continue to murder their families, steal their land and destroy their homes. It implies that Palestinians should concede their basic rights, dignity and homeland.

Myth: Palestinian resistance fighters are extremist, anti-Semitic, and do not want to live in peace.

History: Palestinian people are fighting for their survival as a people against racism and genocide. Just as a New African should not be expected to make peace with a white racist, it is absurd to think that Palestinians should be motivated to make peace with their oppressors while Zionist colonizers still occupy Palestinian land. Palestinians have been legitimately resisting racism, colonization, and genocide since the 1920’s to the present day by any means necessary: general strikes, demonstrations, periods of non-cooperation, boycotts of Israeli Products and services, refusal to obey military orders, refusal to vacate land confiscated for settlers, tax revolt, armed struggle, and martyrdom operations (called “suicide bombing” by Zionists).

Any form of resistance to the settlement program has been consistently met with
severe and brutal repression: aerial bombardment, military checkpoints, the “Iron Fist” policy of crushing the bones of Palestinian children’s hands, collective punishment, torture and mass detention (over 600, 000 Palestinians have been detained since 1967). Zionist propaganda blames resistance fighters for increased repression against the Palestinian people. In reality, Palestinian resistance is the only barrier stopping the Zionists from completely fulfilling their mission to annihilate the Palestinian people as a whole.

Source: New England Committee to Defend Palestine

 

Did the US Use Depleted Uranium Munitions in Syria?

In 2015 US Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman John Moore said the US didn’t use depleted uranium munitions in Syria. An article published in Foreign Policy, quoting US CENTCOM spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques suggests otherwise.

In 2015 US Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman John Moore dismissed allegations that the United States uses or will use depleted uranium munitions in Syria saying: “U.S. and coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.”

However, an article published in Foreign Affairs on February 14, 2017, authored by Samuel Oakford, casts serious doubts about the truthfulness of Moore. In his article entitled “The United States Used Depleted Uranium in Syria”, Samuel Oakford notes: “U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques told Airwars and Foreign Policy that 5,265 armor-piercing 30 mm rounds containing depleted uranium (DU) were shot from Air Force A-10 fixed-wing aircraft on Nov. 16 and Nov. 22, 2015, destroying about 350 vehicles in the country’s eastern desert.”

The United States used depleted uranium munitions during the so-called Second Gulf War in Iraq in 2003. nsnbc international spoke with medical staff in Fallujah, Iraq in 2012. The consensus among medical doctors at Fallujah’s main hospital is that the incidence and prevalence of serious congenital malformations is so high that doctors and nurses recommend newly-wed couples to consider not to have children. One of the MDs nsnbc spoke with in 2012 said “Before the war people used to ask ´is it a boy or a girl` now they are only asking ´is it normal`”.

The statement made by US CENTCOM’s Major Josh Jaques, has several serious implications. The least serious implication is the admittance that the USA, arguably, violated international law by carrying out air strikes in Syria without a mandate from the UN Security Council or permission from the Syrian government. It’s “the least serious” implication because intelligence suggests that the USA has an informal agreement with Syria and Russia not to target trops of the Syrian Arab Army.

There does not exist any binding international treaty that the USA has signed, that explicitly prohibits the use of depleted uranium munitions. Depleted uranium munitions are, however, covered by other treaties and conventions which prohibit the use of indiscriminate weapons.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) recognized the principle of distinction as one of the two cardinal principles contained in the texts constituting the fabric of humanitarian law. As a consequence of the requirement to distinguish at all times between combatants and military objectives on the one hand, and civilians and civilian objects on the other hand, it is prohibited under international humanitarian law to launch indiscriminate attacks.

Indiscriminate attacks include those ‘which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective’ or ‘the effects of which cannot be limited as required by international humanitarian law’ and which ‘consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction’.

Clearly, the use of depleted uranium munitions is covered by international and humanitarian law. The pulverized or vaporized uranium oxide lingers around targeted vehicles for considerable time. Dust particles are disseminated throughout the environment and can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion. Once dissolved in the blood stream some of the depleted uranium (DU) will be excreted through the kidneys where it can cause chemical damage. Some of the DU particles will remain in the body, especially in the bones, where it remains as a long-term source of alpha, beta, as well as gamma radiation, irradiating surrounding tissue.

DNA damages caused by the irradiation can lead to cancer and congenital malformations. Several animal studies have confirmed that DU is spread to multiple organs in the body and induces transgenerational genomic damage. The is, DU does not merely indiscriminately target one generations but future, yet unborn generations. A survey performed in Fallujah in 2010 found that the overall cancer rate in the time after the 2003 war had increased four-fold compared to standard rates in the Jordanian or the Middle Eastern Cancer Registries.

Childhood cancer had increased 12-fold, while leukemia rates had increased 38-fold. Another survey performed in 2010 found that 14.7 % of all babies born in Fallujah had birth defects. A follow-up study found significantly higher uranium levels in the hair of moth­ers of children diagnosed with congenital anomalies than in control populations (0.18 ppm vs. 0.04 ppm).

Uncertainties and contradictory statements about the use of depleted uranium munitions in Syria clearly warrant a full and independent investigation and a renewed debate how to “enforce” the ban on the use of indiscriminate weapons and how to “prosecute” those within a chain of command” who are responsible for their use.

Source: nsnbc international 19.02.2017