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Flying While Arab

February 26, 2010

I once met an Egyptian guy on a plane from Philadelphia to Minneapolis. He turned to me and said, “they let you carry that on?” I was puzzled as I had no carry-on baggage. “The water bottle,” he explained. “They would never let me carry anything like that. We call it FWA,” he said, “flying while Arab.”

Apparently, just as the Israeli government is cracking down on human-rights activists, NGO workers and travellers to Israel suspected of being friendly to Palestinians, the US government decided to join the abuse by arresting college student Nick George. Nick had some Arabic-language flash-cards in his backpack. Apparently, this makes him a threat to security.

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Forced to Admit…

February 23, 2009

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“The Obama administration should immediately suspend U.S. military aid to Israel,” Smart said.Much of the key equipment used by the IDF in the Gaza bombing campaign is produced in the United States, including the F-16 fighter and Apache AH-64 helicopter.

Many of the controversial weapons used in the campaign, such as white phosphorus shells and flechettes, also originate in the United States.

http://www.metimes.com/International/2009/02/26/amnesty_slams_hamas_israel_for_war_crimes/7193/

Even after the start of the current conflict and reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza, U.S. authorities continued to authorize large shipments of U.S. munitions, including white phosphorus munitions, to Israel. 

Amnesty International researchers found fragments and components from munitions used by the Israeli Army — many U.S.-made — littering school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people’s homes. They included artillery and tank shells, mortar fins and remnants from Hellfire and other airborne missiles, large F-16 delivered bombs, and still-smoldering, highly incendiary white phosphorus remains.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/israel/occupied-palestinian-territories/investigate-misuse-of-us-weapons-in-gaza/page.do?id=1641009

According to Article 16 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, “A State which aids or assists another State in the commission of an internationally wrongful act by the latter is internationally responsible for doing so if: (a) that State does so with knowledge of the circumstances of the internationally wrongful act; and (b) the act would be internationally wrongful if committed by that State.”

http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/silence-is-betrayal/

 

Medea Benjamin, in this article for AlterNet, tells us that “Compassion, the greatest virtue in all major religions, is the basic human emotion prompted by the suffering of others, and it triggers a desire to alleviate that suffering.” After seeing the photo that accompanies this essay, after remembering the voices of the many, many apathetic, misguided or ideologically subservient members of the American Congress, the Israeli news network and our own president, I am not quite so sure. 

Visiting Gaza filled me with unbearable sadness. Unlike the primitive weapons of Hamas, the Israelis had so many sophisticated ways to murder, maim and destroy-unmanned drones, F-16s dropping “smart bombs” that miss, Apache helicopters launching missiles, tanks firing from the ground, ships shelling Gaza from the sea. So many horrific weapons stamped with Made in the USA. 

http://www.alternet.org/audits/127675?page=2

 

The line, “Who could describe, even in words set free? ” is from Dante’s The Inferno.