July 31, 2006

Wealth Gap and Guillotines

I told a friend, "Did you know that the top 1% of wealthy Americans hold 33.4% of all US wealth?" She said, "It doesn't surprise me."

I continued, "And the bottom 90% hold less than one-third of the wealth. That means the top 10% hold over two-thirds of the wealth."

Her quip? "Makes ya think of guillotines doesn't it? I mean, we've just replaced the titles of nobility."

July 30, 2006

Remember Qana 1996 and 2006 - GRAPHIC

It was only a matter of time that the Israelis would do something to catch the World's attention. In April 1996, it was Qana. In July 2006, it appears to be Qana, again. 56 dead in one building, mostly women and children, who were too afraid to evacuate by roads that have been targeted by Isreal.

An AP reporter writes, "Heightening the anger were memories of a 1996 Israeli artillery bombardment that hit a U.N. base in Qana, killing more than 100 Lebanese who had taken refuge from fighting. That attack sparked an international outcry that forced a halt to an Israeli offensive."

Qana Video, 1996

Right: Headless remains of an infant killed by the Israeli attack on the UN compound in Qana, 1996.

Excerpt of text by Robert Fisk associated with the 1996 Qana video:

"One of the UN soldiers who saw the video being made says that neither he nor his colleagues understood in the first few seconds what was happening at Qana. "We know the Israelis are perfect in their accuracy. The previous day, when Katyushas had been fired a couple of miles away, we saw the Israeli return fire come back on the launch site with complete accuracy. We felt so safe about the Israeli artillery that we never went indoors when shells flew over.

"They knew we were here and so they never hit us. So we didn't even wear flak jackets when there were shell warnings. The Israelis knew what they were doing. And then we saw Qana and by the end, none of us believed it was an accident. Yes, the Israelis knew what they were doing. What do you think the drone' was for?"

It is at times like these that poetry is the only way to speak:

Face of Qana

The face of Qana
Pale, like that of Jesus
and the sea breeze of April…
Rains of blood.. and tears..

They entered Qana stepping on our charred bodies
Raising a Nazi flag
in the lands of the South
and rehearsing its stormy chapters
Hitler cremated them in the gas chambers
and they came after him to burn us
Hitler kicked them out of Eastern Europe
and they kicked us out of our lands

They entered Qana
Like hungry wolves
Putting to fire the house of the Messiah
Stepping on the dress of Hussain
and the dear land of the South

Blasted Wheat, Olive-trees and Tobacco
and the melodies of the nightingale
Blasted Cadmus in his bark
Blasted sea and the gulls
Blasted even hospitals
even nursing moms
and schoolboys
Blasted the beauty of the Southern women
and murdered the gardens of the honeyed eyes

We saw the tears in Ali's eyes
We heard his voice as he prayed
under the rain of bloody skies

Who ever will write about the history of Qana
Will inscribe in his parchments
This was the second Karbala

Qana unveiled what was hidden
We saw America
Wearing the old coat of a Jewish Rabbi
Leading the slaughter
Blasting our children for no reason
Blasting our wives for no reason
Blasting our trees for no reason
Blasting our thoughts for no reason
Has it been decreed in her constitution,
She, America, mistress of the world,
In Hebrew .. that she should humble us al-Arab?

Has it been decreed that each time a ruler in America
wants to win the presidency that he should kill us ..
We al Arab?

We waited for one Arab to come
pull this thorny prick from our necks
We waited for single Qureishite
A single Hashemite
A single Don Quixote
A single local hero, for whom they did not shave the moustache
We waited for a Khalid .. Tariq .. or Antara
We were eaten chatter (while engaged in vain talk)
They sent a fax
We read its text
after paying tribute
and the end of the slaughter

What does Israel fear from our cries?
What does she fear from our faxes?
The Jihad of the fax is the weakest of Jihads
It is a single text we write
for all the martyrs who left
and all the martyrs those who will come

What does Israel fear from Ibn al-Muqaffa'?
Jarir and .. Farazdaq?
And Khansa throwing her poems at the gates of the cemetery
What does she fear if we burn tires
Sign communiqu├ęs
And destroy shops
And she knows that we have never been kings of war
But were kings of chatters

What does Israel fear
from the beating of the drums
the tearing of clothes
and the scratching of cheeks
What does she fear
when she hears
the stories of `Ad and Thamud?

We are in national comma
We did not receive
Since the times of conquest
a single mail

We are a people of made of dough
The more Israel increases in her killing and terrorism
the more we increase in idleness and coldness

A Smothering Dominion
A regional dialect that increases in ugliness
and a green union that grows in isolation
Summer trees, growing barren
And borders .. whenever the whim strikes
erase other borders

Israel should slaughter us, and why not?
She should erase Hisham, Ziyad and ar-Rashid, and why not?
[Why not?] and the Banu Taghlab lusting after their women
[Why not?] and Banu Mazen lusting after their slave boys
[Why not?] and Banu Adnan dropping their trousers to their knees
debating .. necking and .. the lips!

What should Israel fear from some of al-Arab
When they became Yehuda???

by Nizar Qabbani
1923-1998, written in 1996

425 and Selective Morality

Israel, and the World "ignored this earlier Security Council resolution [425] demanding that they [Israel] remove themselves from South Lebanon for 20 years, that’s called selective morality."

- Edward Peck: Former U.S. Chief of Mission in Iraq and ambassador to Mauritania. He served as deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan Administration.

See transcript of inteview with Edward Peck, July 28, 2006

Brief Bio on E. Peck

July 23, 2006

Lebanon Damage Report 2006

Updated August 28, 2008

Expanded Reports: To minimize clutter on this page I've expanded several subject areas, listed and linked immediately below.

Damage to Villages by District (a work-in-progress)

Damage to Roads and Bridges

Impacts of Cluster Munitions (Includes a link to US Prohibitions on Israeli use of cluster munitions).

See Location Map of Lebanon below

The Number of Attacks:

Citing a variety of sources, the Amnesty International reports Israel’s air force carried out more than 7,000 air attacks, while the navy had fired 2,500 shells (known to be very inaccurate). (This does not count artillary, mortars, tank shells, grenades, and other munitions). [57]

Killed:

At least 1,191 Lebanese were killed, most are civilians, about a third were children according to the Lebanese government. More continue to die due to encounters with unexploded munitions. [57][39][66 10-27-06 Report] See "Special Concerns" and footnote [6] for specific cases.

Wounded:

4,409 civilians wounded, according to the Lebanese government. More continue to die due to encounters with unexploded munitions. [57][39][66 10-27-06 Report]

Displaced:

About 970,000 Lebanese fled their homes in the fighting, about one-quarter of the population.[57] About 200,000 remained displaced as of October 27, 2006[66].

Special Concerns:

Seige of an Entire Country: By cutting off all modes of transport into Lebanon, and thus life-supporting supplies, Israel is establishing a seige, which is a form of collective punishment. [45] The blockade continues after the cessation of major hostilities.

Phosphorus Weapons: On Saturday July 15, in their attack on villages in the Arqoub area in the South, Israel made use of phosphorus weapons. [9][15] (July 18, 24)

Cluster Bombs: Between the August 12 cease fire, and Sept. 9 the United Nations (UNICEF) reports that 14 civilians have been killed by unexploded ordinance (UXO), and 66 have been injured.[66] As of Sept. 9, 2006 the UN Mine Action Coordination Center had identified 450 cluster bomb sites. Nearly 15,000 unexploded bomblets had been destroyed. Some villages report being 90% inaccessible due to contamination with UXO. [66] As of December 29, 2006 the UN had received reports of at least 200 UXO incidents. [66] SEE Expanded Report

Update, August, 2008: Since the war ended, twenty-seven civilians and thirteen bomb disposal experts have been killed. Over 200 civilians have also been injured by the unexploded ordnance.

New Land Mines Laid by Israel:
The United Nations has reported that four deminers, two British and a Bosnian were seriously wounded, and a Lebanese expert slightly hurt, at the weekend when they stepped on mines. The incidents near the village of Deir Mimas were the "first evidence we have that the Israeli forces laid new mines in south Lebanon in 2006."

Attacks on relief and medical operations: “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) yesterday reiterated its 13 July appeal to both parties involved in the conflict in Lebanon to “respect humanitarian volunteers and workers and the Red Cross and Red Crescent symbols. This call follows an attack on Tuesday by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on a convoy of ambulances and trucks, sent by the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent (UAERC), on the road between Damascus and Beirut.” [10]

Attacks on Fleeing Refugees: Israel urges civilians to leave an area, but maintained a conflicting policy of attacking all moving vehicles. See: "Civilian Vehicles and Convoys" below. Also see notes [6]

UN Observer Post Attack July 26: The observer post has been manned by the UN for many years and is well marked. Israel shelled the post for several hours and is reported to have finally used targeted munitions. Israel commanders received direct communications from the observer post at least 10 times over several hours urging the shelling to stop. The UN Secretary General is on record indicating his belief that the attack was deliberate.

Qana Apartment Attack, July 30: 1am sustained attack killed up to 54 civilians, Lebanese officials say. Human Rights Watch says it has confirmed 28 dead in that attack and 13 people missing. [36]

Qaa Orchard Attack, August 4: Israeli air strike hit a farm near Qaa, close to the Syrian border in the Bekaa Valley where orchard workers, mostly Syrian Kurds, were taking lunch. 33 people were killed and 20 wounded. 23 of the killed were Syrian including 6 women. [36] ([42] updated after some died of their wounds).

Civilian Infrastructure:


“The top U.N. humanitarian official, touring Beirut, said billions of dollars will be needed to repair damage” [5] (July 23)

Homes & Residential Buildings:More than 130,000 private homes damaged or destroyed according to the Lebanese government. [64]

Roads & Bridges: Road & bridge bombings are very common, followed by repairs and re-bombings, making it difficult to inventory. A summary with a link to a more detailed assessment (See Also "Civilian Vehicles and Convoys").

More than 94 roads as of August 11 [48]. 38 main roads cut off within first week of the conflict.[2]
71 bridges have been destroyed [27][36][48][56]
72 overpasses [27]

SEE More Detailed Report & Images

Airports:
Beirut International Airport, runways, fuel depot (at least 4 separate strikes), radars, parking lot, access tunnel, two access bridges [2][12][8][28]
Qaleiat Airport in North Lebanon, runways [2][27]

“In an unusual deal that the United States helped broker, a runway at the Beirut airport was repaired long enough to enable six planes -- one carrying former Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Nakati -- to take off. Israeli forces soon after bombed the runway again.” [12] (July 15)

Ports:

The three main sea ports of Beirut, Tripoli and Jamil Gemayel, severly damaged [2] (July 18)

Utilities:
Widespread electricity outages across Southern Lebanon have disabled water pumps resulting in significant health risks.
Water-processing plant in Yurin
Fuel storage tank at the Jiyeh power plant, Beirut [11] (July 14)
Jiyeh power plant itself, Beirut [13] (July 16)
Zahrani power plant south of Beirut [12] (July 15)
Electricity generator in Sibline has been damaged [28] (July 21)
11 Reservoir dams were destroyed and 20 damaged [27][66 Sept. 12 report]
Sewage plant, Dair al-Zahrani [27]
6,800 water storage tanks destroyed in 40 villages in Majayoun and Bent Jbail districts affecting 45,000 people. [66 10-27-06 report]

August 11, Electricity was out in Tyre and Sidon, after Israeli warplanes struck transformers at power plants in both coastal cities. An official said it could be 10 days before power was restored [50]

Food Storage Facilities and Supermarkets:
Grain silo in Beirut Port [9] July 18
Detergent and foodstuffs warehouse for Procter & Gamble, Choueifat [28] (July 21)
Supermarkets in many villages were targeted, suggesting Israel's intent to drive civilians out of villages by destroying their food source [65]

Communications:
Antenna in Tripoli port belonging to the maritime operations room [2] (July 18)
Antenna owned by MTC mobile phone company in Dahr al-Baidar. [2] (July 18)
Lighthouse in Beirut near American University hit at least twice. [16][46] (7/15, 8/9)
Television transmitters at Terbol, north of Beirut, for Lebanese Broadcasting Company, and Future TV. [25] (July 22)
Cell Phone transmitters at Terbol, north of Beirut. [26] (July 26)

Commercial:
Textile factory in the border town of al-Manara [5] July 23
Factory producing prefabricated houses near the highway to Damascus [5] July 23
The country's largest dairy farm, Liban Lait [8] July 19
Paper mill [8] (July 19)
Packaging firm and [8] (July 19)
Pharmaceutical plant almost completely destroyed [8] (July 19)
Plastics factory in Tyre almost completely destroyed [8] (July 19)
Two plastics factories in the South and one in the Bekaa extensive damage [8] (July 19)
Tissue paper factory in Sidon almost completely destroyed [8][28] (July 19)
Tissue paper factory in Bekka [27]
Bottle factory in Bekka [17]
Medical supply company in Beirut's southern suburbs (might be same as Pharmaceutical plant)
Warehouse $10 million in consumer merchandise, Rafik Hariri International Airport [8] (July 19)
Warplanes struck a large construction materials factory south of Baalbek. [38]
About 150 businesses reported by the BBC [27]
See Gas Stations

Public Buildings:
Of 400 health facilities surveyed by the World Health Organization, 12 were totally damaged, 38 severly damaged with the most damage in Bent Jbail, followed by Marjayoun, Nabatiye, and the southern suburbs of Beirut. [66] Sept. 6

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the conflict destroyed 50 to 90 percent of the government and public buildings in 39 villages in the Bent Jbail district. [66] Aug. 23, Report 26

Hospital destroyed, Mayss al-Jabal [2][28] (July 18)
Hospital hit, Nabatiyeh [28]
Hospital hit, southern suburbs of Beirut [28]
Air strikes destroyed the three-storey Dar al-Hikmah hospital in Baalbek [59][60] (Aug 2)
Several schools in Kounin destroyed [2] (July 18)
School for the deaf "leveled" [43] (Likely the Al-Hadi Institution for the blind and deaf in Ghobeiry, Beirut).

"Up to 50 schools in south Lebanon were completely destroyed as a result of the conflict. In addition there are as many as 300 other schools which suffered major damage," Simon Ingram, spokesman for UNICEF. [61]

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the conflict destroyed 50 to 90 percent of the government and public buildings in 39 villages in the Bent Jbail district. (See August 23 United States Government Situation Report ref [66]).

Civilian Vehicles & Convoys:

There have been numerous reports. A few examples follow.

Israel hit a convoy of refugees, Associated Press reports on July 23. [14]
An Israeli missile also hit two [clearly marked] Red Cross ambulances late Sunday in the southern Lebanese town of Qana, killing one person and seriously wounding two others, a Red Cross official said. [15] (July 24)

Israeli missiles hit a convoy near the town of. Three trucks, clearly marked as a relief operation, containing supplies of medicines, vegetable oil, sugar and rice were damaged or destroyed, as well as four passenger vehicles. [28]

Two trucks with water drilling equipment destroyed in Ashrafiyeh, Beirut. [28]

The bodies of nine Lebanese civilians, including three children and their parents in a car hit by a missle, were found along Maarub-Dardghia road near Tyre July 28. [29]

Religious Buildings:
Church in Rmeish severely damaged [2] (July 18)
Mosque in Tiri severely damaged [2] (July 18)
Mosque in Sidon destroyed (photo: Dahr Jamail)[51]

Gas Stations & Fuel Centers:
Fuel containers in Jiyye destroyed [2] (July 18)
Fuel depot at Beruit International Airport [8] (July 22)
Gas storage tank in the northern neighborhood of Dawra [19] (July 17)
12 service stations destroyed as of July 18 [4]
17 fuel stores reported as of July 21 [28]
4 gas stores reported as of July 21 [28]
Two petrol stations in Baalebeck were targeted and set on fire [34] Aug 1

Environmental:

An oil slick caused by Israeli bombing of the Jiyyeh power station now covers 80km (50 miles) of coast. [33]See: United Nations Environmental Program (photo: Dahr Jamail)

Lebanese Military: (Not of Hizbullah)
Lebanese Army posts struck in Jounieh, Amsheet, Sidon, Batroun and Abdeh.
A Lebanese soldier was killed in another strike on an army post south of Beirut [41]
Military vehicles struck in Haret Hreik.
Israeli jets struck several radar targets in Lebanon over the weekend. [18] (July 17)
Eight Lebanese soldiers were killed when Israeli aircraft attacked a small fishing port at Abdeh in northern Lebanon near a highway leading to Syria. [19] (July 17)
Rayak military airport runways disabled
Radars at the Rayak airport
An air raid on a Lebanese army barracks in the Jamhour area east of Beirut killed 11 Lebanese soldiers, including four officers, and wounded 30. (July 18) [52]
Israel struck a military base at Kfarchima in southern Beirut. At least 11 soldiers were killed in an engineering unit and 35 were wounded. [21] (July 19)

Other:

Headquarters for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLO) in eastern Lebanon, which isn't responsible for Hizbullah [12] (July 15)

Economic Damage: Billions of dollars lost due to lost tourism, stock market closed, businesses loosing orders, capital flight from banks.

Detailed Daily Accounts:
Lebanon Updates
SAMIDOUN: See Day by Day

Images You Won't See in Western Corporate Media:
Indymedia Images


Israeli Bombs:
.
.
.


Israeli Target... what's left of a woman
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Oil Spill Reaches Syria, August 8, 2006


Sources:

[1] Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, quoted in SF Chronicle
“ Civilian Toll Raises Questions: Israel, criticized for killing hundreds of Lebanese, says Hezbollah stores missiles in residences” by Anna Badkhen

[2] Internal Security Forces' directorate general, reported by the Daily Star of Lebanon
Web Link

[3] Same source as [2]
More than 100 homes and residential buildings destroyed in the areas of Tyre, Aita al-Shaab, Rmeish, Houla, Sarifa, Braachit, Shahour, Borayqeh, Shehabieh, Doueir, Aaba, Majadel, Dabaal, Jbeil, Ain Mezreb, Ghandourieh, Haret Hreik, Baalbek, Khiam, Dibbine, Marjayoun, Kfar Shuba, Bint Jbeil, Aitaroun, Tibnin, Maaroub, Kounin, Blida, Kfar Hammam, Meis al-Jabal, Jabal al-Batm, and Abbassieh.

[4]Same source as [2]
12 service stations in Bir Abed, Khiam, Ain Ibl, Moseileh, Rmeileh, Houla, Hesbe, Tyre, Kfar Kila, and Douris.

[5] Associated Press July 23, 2006, KATHY GANNON
Web Link

[6] Specific cases of injured and killed:
A member of the U.N. observer team in south Lebanon, Italian Capt. Roberto Punzo was wounded by guerrilla fire (the second observer injured). [5] July 23

Fleeing refugees, including women and children, were cut down on a road adjacent to the Lebanese-Israeli border in an airstrike as they left the village of Marwaheen. The bodies of several children, one headless, were sprawled on the ground. Police said 15 were killed in the afternoon attack and an Associated Press photographer counted 12 bodies in the two cars. [16] (July 15)

At least three civilians were killed when another Israeli airstrike hit a bridge near the Syrian border, cutting the last land link on the main road to Syria and its capital, Damascus. [16] (July 15)

Eight Canadians of Lebanese origin, all members of the same family, were killed by an Israeli strike on their village in the south where they'd come for a summer visit. [17] (July 16)

In the southern port of Tyre, an Israeli missile tore of the top of a 12-story building, killing at least nine. [17] (July 16)

A missile hit a minibus, killing 12 civilians as they were driving through the seaside town of Rmeileh, south of Beirut. [18] (July 17)

Nine members of the same family were killed when a bomb hit their house in the village of Aitaroun. [21] (July 19)

21 civilians were killed and 30 wounded in an air strike against the southern village of Srifa, 20 miles north of port of Tyre, when 10 houses were bombed. [22] (July 19)

A Lebanese photographer the magazine Al-Jaras, Layal Nejim, 23, became the first journalist to die in the fighting when an Israeli missile hit near her taxi in southern Lebanon. [5] (July 23)

An Israeli airstrike hit a United Nations post in southern Lebanon late Tuesday, killing at least two (make that 4) of the agency's observers. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was "deeply distressed" by the "apparently deliberate" strike. [20] (July 25)

An Israeli airstrike killed at least 56 people, including at least 34 children, in a southern Lebanese village Sunday, the Lebanese Red Cross said. It was the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting. Lebanese security officials put the toll at 57 dead. Security officials said the toll rose dramatically after 18 people from two families were found in a single room of the building, where dozens of people had been taking refuge from the fighting. [30]

Warplanes returned to the capital midday and sent missiles into Chiah, a south Beirut neighborhood where at least 41 people were killed in a strike Monday (Aug 7). [44]

Israeli missiles slammed into the southern Lebanon village of Rachaf, about 10 miles from the Israeli border, killing at least 15 civilians, security officials said. [47]

The death toll continued to rise after the August 7 cease fire when, on August 16, rescue workers pulled 32 bodies from the rubble in the southern town of Srifa, target of some of Israel's heaviest bombardment in the 34-day conflict. [53]

[7] Associated Press, July 22, 2006. Among the civilian deaths are 8 Canadians, 2 Kuwaiti nationals, 1 Iraqi, 1 Sri Lankan, 1 Jordanian. Web Link

[8] Daily Star of Lebanon, July 19, 2006
Web Link

[9] Daily Star of Lebanon, July 18, 2006
Web Link

[10] IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit.

[11] BBC, July 14, 2006
Web Link

[12] CNN, July 15, 2006
Web Link

[13] CNN, July 16, 2006
Web Link

[14] Associated Press, LEE KEATH July 24, 1006
Web Link

[15] CNN, July 25, 2006
Web Link

[16] Associated Press, July 15, 2006 SAM F. GHATTAS
Web Link

[17] Associated Press, July 16, 2006 Hamza Hendawi And Lee Keath Web Link

[18] New York Times, July 17, 2006 STEVEN ERLANGER and JAD MOUAWAD
Web Link

[19] ABC News (AP See Also [17]), July 17, 2006
Web Link

[20] CNN July 25, 2006
Web Link

[21] Associated Press, RAVI NESSMAN, via New York Sun, July 19, 2006
Web Link

[22] New York Times, July 19, 2006 JAD MOUAWAD and STEVEN ERLANGER
Web Link

[23] CNN July 27, 2006
Web Link

[24] Reuters, Nadim Ladki, July 27, 2006
Web Link

[25] ABC "World News Saturday," July 22.

[26] Associated Press, SAM F. GHATTAS, July 26.
Web Link

[27] BBC, "Lebanon Damage Report"
Web Link

[28] Guardian Unlimited, damage inventory, Brian Whitaker July 21, 2006
Web Link

[29] CNN, July 29, 2006
Web Link

[30] Associated Press, KATHY GANNON, July 30, 2006
Web Link

[31] Associated Press, KATHY GANNON, July 30, 2006
Web Link

[32] Reuters, Alaa Shahine, July 31, 2006
Web Link

[33] BBC, Richard Black, July 21, 2006
Web Link

[34] BBC, August 2, 2006
Web Link

[35] CNN, August 1, 2006
Web Link

[36] Reuters, Lin Noueihed, August 4, 2006
Web LINK

[37] Interview on DemocracyNow with Amy Goodman July 31, 2006. "Just a few days ago we documented an attack on the village of Blida, in which the Israelis used cluster munitions." Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch in Beirut.
Web LINK

[38] Associated Press, SAM F. GHATTAS, August 7, 2006
Web LINK

[39] Wikipedia Casualties of 2006 Israel-Lebanon Conflict, which sources BBC, ITAR-TASS.
Web LINK

[40] Reuters, August 3, 2006.
Web LINK

[41] Reuters, August 4, 2006.
Web LINK

[42] Reuters, August 6, 2006.
Web LINK

[43] Flashpoints, WPFW, Dennis Burnstein interview of Bilal El-Amine, Aug 8.
Web LINK

[44] Associated Press, CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA, August 11, 2006
Web LINK

[45] CNN, August 4, 2006
Web LINK

[46] Flashpoints, WPFW, Dennis Burnstein interview of Bilal El-Amine, Aug 9.
Web LINK

[47] Associated Press, LAUREN FRAYER and SAM F. GHATTAS, August 12, 2006.
Web LINK

[48] Lebanese Government via map made available from www.lebanonmaps.org.

[49] Associated Press, Zeina Karam, August 14, 2006
Web LINK

[50] Associated Press, August 12, 2006
Web LINK

[51] Dahr Jamail, indpendent journalist.
Photo Gallery

[52] Reuters, July 18, 2006
Web LINK

[53] Associated Press, SAM F. GHATTAS, July 17, 2006. Web LINK

[54] Associated Press, Seven R. Hurst, August 15, 2006. Web LINK

[55] Reuters, August 18, 2006. Web LINK

[56] Associated Press, SAM F. GHATTAS, August 20, 2006. Web LINK

[57] New York Times, John Kifner, "Human Rights Group Accuses Israel of War Crimes," August 24, 2006.Web LINK

[58] DemocracyNow!, Ana Nogueira, August 23, 2006. web LINK

[60] Associated Press, August 2, 2006. Web LINK

[61] AFP, August 25, 2006. Web LINK

[62] DemocracyNow!, August 30, 2006. web LINK

[63] DemocracyNow!, August 25, 2006. Web LINK

[64] DemocracyNow!, September 1, 2006. Web LINK

[65] DemocracyNow!, Amnesty International interview, August 23, 2006. Web LINK

[66] United States Government Situation Report, Lebanon Humanitarian Emergency, USAID citing various source, Index of reports by date.
Web LINK to Index of All Situation Reports

[67] Reuters, "UN says Israel laid anti-personnel mines in Lebanon" November 28, 2006 Web LINK

[68] DemocracyNow! Headlines, "Shortage of Funding Halts Mine Sweeping in Lebanon"
August, 25, 2008.

Ignorance of the Law is no Excuse

We've all heard, or experienced, a similar story. Someone commits a traffic violation or other legal infraction. The person honestly didn't know that they were breaking a law. The police officer and court system says, "Sorry. You're guilty. Ignorance of the law is not a legitimate excuse."

Recently, Human Rights Watch released a report documenting the sanctioned torture of detainees by the US Military. AP Article According to the AP article, "A Pentagon spokesman, Cmdr. Greg Hicks, said the military is reviewing its procedures regarding detainees following a Supreme Court ruling that the Geneva Conventions should apply in the conflict with al-Qaida."

It sounds like the military and political establishment are gearing up to say, "Oh. We didn't know that the Geneva Conventions applied. Now that we know, we'll follow them, but you can't blame us for our past actions."

Sorry, "Ignorantia juris non excusat," latin for ignorance of law is no excuse, is a long standing maxum that applies in this case.

More Information:

Human Rights Watch Press Release

Human Rights Watch 53-page Report by John Sifton, “No Blood, No Foul: Soldiers’ Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq”

Update:

Once we had laws that made it OK to own slaves. Now Congress has passed a law to make it OK, retrospectively, to violate the Geneva Conventions. (The Military Commissions Act signed into law October 17, 2006.)

I can't understand how they can legislate themselves out of this one. It's like a fox gets caught in the hen house. Then the fox puts on a chicken suit while the farmer is standing there and pretends he isn't a fox.

July 15, 2006

Democracy School Seeking Enrollment: Spring 2007

What's Democracy School?

The weekend-long workshop of lectures and discussion, to be conducted in Maryland, explores why democratic self-governance is impossible when corporations wield constitutional rights that deny people's rights. Participants discuss ways to be part of the multi-generational struggle to take away corporate "rights", much in the way people struggled to take away the "right" to own slaves.

The workshop covers the history of people's movements and corporate power. It covers case histories and ways in which local communities have challenged corporate "rights" and taken stpes to protect themselves from corporate harms. Instructor, Thomas Linzy, is an attorney from Pennsylvania who has helped local townships write ordinaces that challenge corporate power. He shares his first-hand experiences challenging the roots of corporate power, and explains how typcial citizens can take part.

* Included with Democracy School are a 190-page notebook of background reading material, and a copy of Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy a book of history and strategy.

* 3-Day Weekend Session (See Curriculum below)

* Date: Likely in January 2007

* Snacks and group meals are provided

* Location, in Maryland, is to be determined (check back to this site or E-mail me to be on my "interest list" gdaeman@yahoo.com).

* The cost is about $275 (final cost depends on how many people participate... Help Get The Word Out to Reduce the Cost!)

* If you're curious, and want to be considered, NO OBLIGATIONS, Contact gdaeman@yahoo.com

Curriculum

Day 1, Evening (Friday)

* Introductions of Attendees
* Discussion:
... o "What is Our Concept of Democracy?"
... o "What is Our History of Regulatory Activism?"
... o "Does Our Work Vindicate Our Concept of Democracy?"
* How We Got Here: A Brief Overview of the School and the Evolution of
POCLAD/CELDF

Day 2, All Day and Evening (Saturday w/ dinner)


* The Historical Role and Nature of Corporations in the United States
* The Role of Corporate Charters
* The Conferral of Corporate Constitutional Rights
* A History of Peoples' Movements in the United States
... o The American Revolution
... o The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution
... o The Anti-Federalists
... o The Populists
... o The Abolitionists and the Fourteenth Amendment
... o Womens' Rights and the Nineteenth Amendment
... o The Labor Movement
* What Have We Learned from These Movements?
* Common Theories, Strategies, and Actions
... o Theory of the Constitution
... o Theory of the Corporation
... o Theory of Democracy
* Building on the Lessons of Prior Movements
* Building New Models of Organizing
* The "Single Issue: Model: From Reframing to Winning"
* Driving into Local Governing Arenas
* Challenging and Contesting Corporations
... o Contesting Government Actions Empowering Corporations to Usurp Community Control From Reframing to Drawing the Corporate Response To Building New Constituencies To Winning
... o Altering the Odds: Directly Challenging Corporate Rights
... o The Porter Township, Clarion County Experience: Eliminating Legal Privileges Claimed by Corporations

Day 3, Morning (Sunday)

* Building the Connections Amongst All Single Issues
* Our History of Collaterally Challenging Illegitimate Corporate Authority
* Breakout: Reframing Single Issues by Rethinking Several Issues
* An Exploration of Jurisdictions and Arenas
* Other Constituencies
* Critical Mass: Doing it Together and Building a Movement
* This is the Work: Groups Across the United States Applying New Models
* Discussion: How Do We Make Real the Promises of Democracy?

What's after Democracy School?

Democracy Schools are not an end in themselves -- they are part of a growing movement to challenge corporate control of government and establishing more genuine self-governance in this country. Schools are just one step in brininging people together ot move communities to rights-based organizing.

There are a number of next steps to take, depending on local circumstances. One is to send speakers into the community, or sponsor more Democracy Schools, to educate others on rights-based organizing. Another is to develop strategies and tactics to defend against imminent or existing corporate harms. Organize a self-led, 10-session "Corporate Study Group" to read and discuss Materials on Challenging Corporate Power. Finally, see the many clever approaches used in other local communities referenced below, particualarly by CELDF and DUHC.

More Information About the Subject and Movement:

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF): Applying the principles in Pennsylvania.

Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) The founding thinkers of the movement.

Democracy Unlimited of Humbolt County: One of the leading communities in this multi-generational struggle.