Israeli blockade ‘forces Palestinians to search rubbish dumps for food’

UN fears irreversible damage is being done in Gaza as new statistics reveal the level of deprivation

Impoverished Palestinians on the Gaza Strip are being forced to scavenge for food on rubbish dumps to survive as Israel’s economic blockade risks causing irreversible damage, according to international observers.

Figures released last week by the UN Relief and Works Agency reveal that the economic blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza in July last year has had a devastating impact on the local population. Large numbers of Palestinians are unable to afford the high prices of food being smuggled through the Hamas-controlled tunnels to the Strip from Egypt and last week were confronted with the suspension of UN food and cash distribution as a result of the siege.

The figures collected by the UN agency show that 51.8% – an “unprecedentedly high” number of Gaza’s 1.5 million population – are now living below the poverty line. The agency announced last week that it had been forced to stop distributing food rations to the 750,000 people in need and had also suspended cash distributions to 94,000 of the most disadvantaged who were unable to afford the high prices being asked for smuggled food.

“Things have been getting worse and worse,” said Chris Gunness of the agency yesterday. “It is the first time we have been seeing people picking through the rubbish like this looking for things to eat. Things are particularly bad in Gaza City where the population is most dense.

Read moreIsraeli blockade ‘forces Palestinians to search rubbish dumps for food’

Hundreds of Greek protesters clash with police

Riot police clash with demonstrators during riots outside the Athens Polytechnic December 20, 2008. Greek demonstrators threw petrol bombs at finance ministry offices and torched two cars in central Athens on Saturday as anti-government protests entered a third week since police shot dead a teenager.Reuters
Riot police clash with demonstrators during riots outside the Athens Polytechnic December 20, 2008. Greek demonstrators threw petrol bombs at finance ministry offices and torched two cars in central …

ATHENS, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Hundreds of Greek youths fought running battles with police in Athens late on Saturday as anti-government protests entered a third week since police shot dead a teenager.

Students threw stones and petrol bombs at riot police outside university buildings late into the night after a vigil to mark the Dec. 6 killing of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos turned violent.

Police blocked surrounding roads and fired teargas at the youths, who sheltered in the university campus which police are banned from entering. A group of anxious mothers waited outside to escort their children from the building.

“There are more than 600 students and they’re running in and out of the university, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails,” said a police official, who asked not to be named. No injuries were reported.

Across the country, hundreds of schools and several university campuses remain occupied by students. In the northern city of Thessaloniki, demonstrators briefly occupied a radio station and a cinema.

Read moreHundreds of Greek protesters clash with police

Greek Syndrome is catching as youth take to streets


Protesters clash with police in Athens on Thursday

Europe exists, it appears. If Greek students sneeze, or catch a whiff of tear-gas, young people take to the streets in France and now Sweden. Yesterday, masked youths threw two firebombs at the French Institute in Athens. Windows were smashed but the building was not seriously damaged. Then youths spray-painted two slogans on the building. One said, “Spark in Athens. Fire in Paris. Insurrection is coming”. The other read, “France, Greece, uprising everywhere”.

It was a calculated and violent attempt to link disparate youth protest movements. Links between protests in Greece and France – and, to a lesser degree, unrest in Sweden – may seem tenuous, even non-existent. But social and political ailments and their symptoms transmit as rapidly as influenza in the television, internet and text-message age.

Read moreGreek Syndrome is catching as youth take to streets

Shocking study finds most will torture if ordered

How “shocking”!?
Human beings have killed each other by the millions on this planet because they were ordered to do so.



A U.S. soldeir walks between cells at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad in a 2004 photo. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some things never change. Scientists said on Friday they had replicated an experiment in which people obediently delivered painful shocks to others if encouraged to do so by authority figures.

Seventy percent of volunteers continued to administer electrical shocks — or at least they believed they were doing so — even after an actor claimed they were painful, Jerry Burger of Santa Clara University in California found.

“What we found is validation of the same argument — if you put people into certain situations, they will act in surprising, and maybe often even disturbing, ways,” Burger said in a telephone interview. “This research is still relevant.”

Burger was replicating an experiment published in 1961 by Yale University professor Stanley Milgram, in which volunteers were asked to deliver electric “shocks” to other people if they answered certain questions incorrectly.

Milgram found that, after hearing an actor cry out in pain at 150 volts, 82.5 percent of participants continued administering shocks, most to the maximum 450 volts.

The experiment surprised psychologists and no one has tried to replicate it because of the distress suffered by many of the volunteers who believed they were shocking another person.

“When you hear the man scream and say, ‘let me out, I can’t stand it,’ that is the point when the real stress that people criticized Milgram for kicked in,” Burger said.

“It was a very, very, very stressful experience for many of the participants. That is the reason no one can ethically replicate the experiment today.”

Read moreShocking study finds most will torture if ordered

Paul Craig Roberts: Are You Ready to Face the Facts About Israel?

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS:
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.

“On October 21 (1948) the Government of Israel took a decision that was to have a lasting and divisive effect on the rights and status of those Arabs who lived within its borders: the official establishment of military government in the areas where most of the inhabitants were Arabs.”
Martin Gilbert, Israel: A History

I had given up on finding an American with a moral conscience and the courage to go with it and was on the verge of retiring my keyboard when I met the Rev. Thomas L. Are.

Rev. Are is a Presbyterian pastor who used to tell his Atlanta, Georgia, congregation: “I am a Zionist.” Like most Americans, Rev. Are had been seduced by Israeli propaganda and helped to spread the propaganda among his congregation.

Around 1990 Rev. Are had an awakening for which he credits the Christian Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem and author Marc Ellis, co-editor of the book, Beyond Occupation.

Realizing that his ignorance of the situation on the ground had made him complicit in great crimes, Rev. Are wrote a book hoping to save others from his mistake and perhaps in part to make amends, Israeli Peace/Palestinian Justice, published in Canada in 1994.

Rev. Are researched his subject and wrote a brave book. Keep in mind that 1994 was long prior to Walt and Mearsheimer’s recent book, which exposed the power of the Israel Lobby and its ability to control the explanation Americans receive about the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Read morePaul Craig Roberts: Are You Ready to Face the Facts About Israel?

Goldman Sachs Slashes Average Pay 45% to only $363,654, Cuts 2500 Jobs

Maybe we can help those poor guys by throwing another $ 10 billion of taxpayers’ money at them, so that the bonuses for next year are secured too.
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Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. eliminated 2,500 jobs in the fourth quarter and slashed average pay per worker 45 percent to $363,654 as the firm posted the first quarterly loss since going public almost a decade ago.

Expenses for compensation and benefits fell 46 percent to $10.9 billion from a record $20.2 billion in 2007, the New York- based company said in a statement today. That provides an average $363,654 for each of the firm’s 30,067 employees, down from $661,490 for each of the 30,522 people employed last year.

Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and six deputies agreed to forgo their year-end bonuses after the firm converted to a bank-holding company and accepted $10 billion from the government to help it survive a financial crisis that eliminated three smaller rivals. The firm’s bonus pool, estimated at 60 percent of total compensation, dropped to $6.56 billion or an average $218,193 per employee this year.

Read moreGoldman Sachs Slashes Average Pay 45% to only $363,654, Cuts 2500 Jobs

Homelessness rising as economy slides


A homeless man smokes a cigarette on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood in this January 27, 2006 file photo. Homelessness and demand for emergency food are rising in the United States as the economy founders, a report said on Friday, and homeless advocates cautioned many cities were not equipped for the increase. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

BOSTON (Reuters) – Homelessness and demand for emergency food are rising in the United States as the economy founders, a report said on Friday, and homeless advocates cautioned many cities were not equipped for the increase.

A survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed that 19 of 25 cities saw an increase in homelessness in the 12 months to October, while four reported a drop and two cities lacked enough data for conclusive results.

On average, the cities in the survey saw a 12 percent rise in homelessness, the report said. Although the results do not cover all U.S. cities, homeless advocates said they were in line with anecdotal evidence nationwide.

Homeless advocates say families are flooding homeless shelters across the United States in numbers not seen for years, camping out in motels or staying with friends and relatives following foreclosures on tens of thousands of homes during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Read moreHomelessness rising as economy slides

Afghans Rape Children On Canadian Military Base

Such atrocities are ‘normal’ on planet earth: Pakistani women buried alive for choosing husbands
Human beings do net respect themselves, they do not respect others and they do not respect their planet.
This is the perfect recipe for the ultimate disaster.
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Dec 14, 2008 04:30 AM
Source: The Star

Chaplain says senior officer aware of rape by Afghans

Soldier recalls cries from boy brought onto Canadian base

The boy was no more than 12. He wore a wig, lipstick and perfume and was dressed in a flowing robe when an Afghan interpreter escorted him to the entrance of the Canadian base in remote Afghanistan.

It was June 2006 and it was one of Tyrel Braaten’s first days at Forward Operating Base Wilson, about 30 kilometres outside Kandahar.

Braaten watched as the local interpreter, who worked for the Canadians, ushered the boy through the security checkpoint and led him inside a nearby building.

The bombardier was bewildered. He asked another interpreter standing next to him who the boy was. The interpreter shrugged that the boy was one of “the bitches.”

“I said, `What do you mean?’ and he made the motion with his hips, like you know,” said Braaten, 24. “I remember saying, `Are we on Mars? Does this s— go on all the time?'”

The native of Saskatchewan is the latest soldier to come forward alleging in detail how young Afghan boys during his tour in Afghanistan in 2006 were regularly sodomized by Afghan interpreters and soldiers working alongside Canadian soldiers.

For the past four months, the Canadian Forces’ National Investigation Service, an arm’s-length military investigatory body with the power to lay criminal charges, has been probing claims that Canadian commanding officers ignored the complaints of lower-ranking soldiers about the alleged rapes.

Some soldiers have told military chaplains and medical personnel that they were instructed to disregard the sodomy because of a “cultural difference” between Canada and Afghanistan.

In a new development, Maj. Kevin Klein, a high-ranking chaplain, told the Star that a senior officer confided to him in 2007 that his soldiers were struggling to cope with the rapes. Klein has told his story to NIS investigators.

Read moreAfghans Rape Children On Canadian Military Base

Gaza families eat grass as Israel locks border

Before you read The Times article below consider also the following articles:

A human rights crime in Gaza by Ex-President Jimmy Carter.

Carter says Israel has arsenal of 150 nuclear weapons:
Carter also condemned Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip as “one of the greatest human rights crimes now existing on Earth,” according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.
Carter said in reference to the situation of Palestinians in Gaza that, “There is no reason to treat these people this way.”

Gaza: A modern concentration camp run by Israel:
Gaza is being forced to pump 77 tonnes of untreated or partially treated sewage out to sea daily due to the Israeli blockade of the coastal territory. The fear is that some of this is creeping back into drinking water.
“The health of Gaza’s 1.5 million people is at risk,” Mahmoud Daher, from the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) told IPS.
The results revealed that three areas in Gaza and one area in the Rafah governorate (30.8 percent) are polluted with human faeces (Faecal Coliform) and animal faeces (Faecal Streptococcus), and three areas in Gaza city (23.1 percent) are polluted with animal faeces.

Hungry Gazans Resort to Animal Feed as U.N. Blasts Israel:
GAZA CITY, Gaza — Half of Gaza’s bakeries have closed down and the other half have resorted to animal feed to produce bread as Israel’s complete blockade of the coastal territory enters its 19th day.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon alarmed at the escalating humanitarian crisis called incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week and demanded that he lift the blockade.

BBC: Gazans despair over blockade:
“People in Gaza are waiting in lines for almost everything, and that’s if they’re lucky enough to find something to wait for,” says Bassam Nasser, 39.

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

UN suspends food distribution in Gaza

Israeli siege leads to soaring anemia in Gaza newborns

Scottish activist films Israeli navy shooting at Gaza fishermen:
A SCOTTISH human rights activist has filmed the Israeli navy firing machine guns at unarmed Palestinian fishing boats in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s secret police pressuring sick Gazans to spy for them, says report
Israel’s secret police are pressuring Palestinians in Gaza to spy on their community in exchange for urgent medical treatment, according to a report released today by an Israeli human rights organisation.

Israel launches deadly airstrike in Gaza + Hamas fires rockets at Israel after 6 killed

U.N. chief condemns Israel after Gaza clash:
GAZA (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Israel for using “excessive” force in the Gaza Strip and demanded a halt to its offensive after troops killed 61 people on the bloodiest day for Palestinians since the 1980s.

The New York Times: Making Nuclear Extermination Respectable:
On July 18, 2008 The New York Times published an article by Israeli-Jewish historian, Professor Benny Morris, advocating an Israeli nuclear-genocidal attack on Iran with the likelihood of killing 70 million Iranians – 12 times the number of Jewish victims in the Nazi holocaust:

” Iran ’s leaders would do well to rethink their gamble and suspend their nuclear program. Barring this, the best they could hope for is that Israel ’s conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities. To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland.”

Eating weeds and herbs was often the only thing that kept people alive in prison camps.

Israel turned Gaza into one big concentration camp. Why is there no help? Look who rules the world and what interests they have, then you know.
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December 14, 2008
Source: The Sunday Times

AS a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on.

“We had one meal today – khobbeizeh,” said Abu Amra, 43, showing the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. “Every day, I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg. When I find nothing, we eat this grass.”

Abu Amra and her unemployed husband have seven daughters and a son. Their tiny breeze-block house has had no furniture since they burnt the last cupboard for heat.

“I can’t remember seeing a fruit,” said Rabab, 12, who goes with her mother most mornings to scavenge. She is dressed in a tracksuit top and holed jeans, and her feet are bare.

Conditions for most of the 1.5m Gazans have deteriorated dramatically in the past month, since a truce between Israel and Hamas, the ruling Islamist party, broke down.

Read moreGaza families eat grass as Israel locks border

Greece’s riots are a sign of the economic times

“The government has tried hard not to connect what is happening with the problems of young people. The government says one boy died, his friends are angry, they over-reacted then anarchists came to join in the game. But this is not the reality.”

“Because of unemployment, a quarter of those under 25 are below the poverty line,” said Petros Linardos, an economist at the Labour Institute of the Greek trade unions. “That percentage has been increasing for the past 10 years. There is a diffused, widespread feeling that there are no prospects. This is a period when everyone is afraid of the future because of the economic crisis. There is a general feeling that things are going to get worse. And there is no real initiative from the government.”

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Greece’s riots are a sign of the economic times. Other countries should beware, says Peter Popham in Athens


Youths try to break into the Greek Interior Ministry on Thursday night

After firing 4,600 tear-gas canisters in the past week, the Greek police have nearly exhausted their stock. As they seek emergency supplies from Israel and Germany, still the petrol bombs and stones of the protesters rain down, with clashes again outside parliament yesterday.

Bringing together youths in their early twenties struggling to survive amid mass youth unemployment and schoolchildren swotting for highly competitive university exams that may not ultimately help them in a treacherous jobs market, the events of the past week could be called the first credit-crunch riots. There have been smaller-scale sympathy attacks from Moscow to Copenhagen, and economists say countries with similarly high youth unemployment problems such as Spain and Italy should prepare for unrest.

Read moreGreece’s riots are a sign of the economic times