Sunday, September 6, 2009

Israelis demand censorship of newspaper in Spain

Israel's Ambassador to Spain, Rafi Shotz, this week sent a letter to the editor of the Spanish-language daily "El Mundo" requesting that he drop the upcoming publication of an interview with British Holocaust-denier David Irving.

In return, the paper printed Shotz's letter, emitting a line where the ambassador referred to the interview as "cheap, sensational propaganda." The editor also wrote a response to the letter, in which he referred to Shotz's standing on the matter as "extreme and stubborn."

Shotz writes "the unfortunate decision to interview the criminal Irving cannot be justified in the name of freedom of expression; it only reflects the lack of ethics on your part, your disregard for your readers, to the other interviewees and, obviously, to the newspaper itself."

Shotz added that the decision to print the Irving interview "puts the words of accredited historians and intellectuals at the same level as those of a falsified criminal charlatan, who received a prison sentence in Austria."

El Mundo stated that they are printing the interview with Irving because it will contribute relevant information to the public and will not incite criminal acts. The letter will be part of a special collection of articles written to mark seventy years since the outbreak of World War II. The series will also include an article by the director of Yad Vashem, Avner Shilo.

Following public criticism of the decision to print the article, El Mundo has announced that alongside Irving's article, they will print an article saying they refute all Holocaust denial.

Irving served nearly a year in Austrian prison for denying the Holocaust, a crime under Austrian law. In the late nineties he lost a libel lawsuit against a U.S. professor who published a book referring to him as a Holocaust denier.

Next week, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Mortinos is scheduled to visit Israel, and the El Mundo article is expected to be a matter of debate.

The controversy over the El Mundo article comes in the wake of a diplomatic storm between Israel and Sweden over an article in the Swedish tabloid "Aftonbladet" that claimed that Israel Defense Forces troops kill Palestinians in order to steal their organs.

Source: On The Contrary

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It's a great day for freedom of speech

Yesterday, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal did something its never done in its 32-year history. It acquitted somebody of "hate speech" charges. Until now, the tribunal had a 100% conviction rate.

In a 107-page ruling, tribunal member Athanasios Hadjis didn't just throw out the case against Marc Lemire, he threw out the law, too, calling it an infringement of the free speech guarantees of the Charter of Rights.

Hadjis is no wild-eyed civil libertarian. In the recent past, he himself has convicted people under this same law. And, before Jean Chretien appointed him to the tribunal, Hadjis was the boss of one of Montreal's largest multicultural lobby groups, which thrived on ethnic identity politics. But even Hadjis has had enough of the human rights industry and their fetish for political correctness. He ruled that allowing Canadian citizens to express offensive ideas is preferable to living under a government that prosecutes people for expressing those ideas.

Tell Congress: Our money comes with strings attached!

Despite President Barack Obama's very clear position against Israel's blockade on Gaza and continued settlement expansion, Israel continues to forbid humanitarian assistance from entering Gaza and expand its West Bank settlements. We are asking Congress, why is Israel being rewarded with almost 3 billion dollars in aid when it ignores American policies and continues to use our money to build settlements and maintain the blockade of Gaza? Shouldn't our aid come with strings attached?

Source: Jewish Voice For Peace

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Hate-speech law violates Charter rights, tribunal rules

A federal law governing hate speech violates Canadians' charter rights to freedom of expression, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled.

The development could give more ammunition to those who complain that the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which refers cases to the tribunal, is engaging in censorship by attempting to restrict what people say on the Internet.

The decision, released in Ottawa Wednesday, also seems to call into question whether the tribunal should be involved at all in policing online content through Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

“This case raises questions about the substance of the law itself,” said Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. “This will only build the momentum for another examination of how we approach this.”

At issue was a complaint lodged with the tribunal against Marc Lemire, webmaster of Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman alleged that the messages posted on the site were discriminatory and exposed minority groups to “hatred and contempt,” key language under Section 13 of the law.

Mr. Lemire responded by requesting that the law be “declared inoperative” because it is inconsistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Tribunal member Athanasios Hadjis agreed. He wrote in the ruling that the law was originally intended to be “remedial, preventative and conciliatory in nature,” rather than a means to hand out penalties.

Section 13 defines it as “discriminatory” for an individual or group “to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated … any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” based on characteristics such as race, religion, sexual orientation, and so on.

Advocates call the law a necessary control on hate speech in an age where the Internet makes the spread of messages easier and faster. Opponents say it's censorship and has no place in a free society.

The tribunal's decision, which will likely be appealed, is not binding beyond Mr. Lemire's case. However, it moves the debate forward, said University of Windsor law professor Richard Moon.

“It creates a new situation in which all the different legal and political actors have to think about what their response is,” Prof. Moon said.

In 2008, Prof. Moon wrote a report for the CHRC about the role of Section 13 in the Internet age that said the law should be repealed. He wrote that Internet use means that “any attempt to exclude all racial or other prejudice from the public discourse would require extraordinary intervention by the state.”

But Mr. Warman, who brought the case, disagrees.

“There is no unlimited right to speech,” he said. “The fact is, this was a hate website and it attracted hate.”

Mr. Warman cited postings by a visitor to that, in a separate case, the tribunal called “as vile as one can imagine and not only discriminatory, but threatening to the victims.”

Mr. Lemire said webmasters are not responsible for content on message boards.

“It's not for the state to … decide what beliefs we can have,” he said. “People shouldn't be put through a six-year-long hearing even if they're Nazis, even if they're communists, even if they're racists.”

Bernie Farber, the CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said all hate speech is a potential trigger.

“Racist war, from the ethnic cleansing in Cambodia, to the Balkans, to Darfur, to the Holocaust, did not start in a vacuum,” he said.

“Hateful words do have an effect. … The Internet cannot and should not be a wild frontier where anything goes.”

Source: The Globe and Mail

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The Daily Suffering of Gaza Fishermen

Everyday in the news, I hear about the suffering of the Gaza fishermen: one was killed, others wounded, and the Israelis are firing on still others. And I wanted to shed a light on their pain.

I went to the main Gaza port. While I was there, I figured out how sad the sea and the fishermen are. Boats are stuck and fishermen are looking at the sea with no hope.

The Palestinian fishermen have been consistently harassed by the regular Israeli attacks on them, as they abuse the fishermen for pursuing their livelihood. Furthermore, they are prevented to work for far distances inside the sea. The allowed distance for them is just around 4.5 Km. Unfortunately, once they reach that distance, they find themselves under Israeli fire.

Around 3000 fishermen are now despondently jobless and in a real tragedy. The tragedy began with the complete blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip. The fishermen are prohibited from going to a deeper and richer area of fishing, and they have been dramatically affected with these restrictions from the Israeli navy forces. Indeed, they now have very low incomes with which to feed their families.

Ismael Kalilo is a 65-year old fisherman in Gaza City, who has spent 50 years of his life in the sea, and now lives in the Beach Camp. “I am totally satisfied to be a fisherman in Gaza, but completely exhausted by the conditions imposed on us.”

The aged fisherman is also a father of 8. I asked him how he takes care of his dependents, and how he feeds them: “No one can bear the situation that the fishermen are living with. He should go to the sea and see how much they suffer. We were peacefully fishing before the time of the siege on Gaza, as we just depended on our livelihood. We have become unable to secure even the basic needs of our life.

I asked him about his own experience regarding the Israeli navy forces. He took deep breath, then pointed at his son to tell us the story. Ahmed is 24 years old, and is also a fisherman.

“I was with my boat about a year ago at Sudania coast, north of the Gaza Strip,” he said. “With no alert and at 10 pm, I found that the Israeli ship started firing missiles toward my boat, exactly at my net. They ordered me to get back without my net. I tried to save my big net, which costs around $2000, but it was in vain. Then I found myself obliged after staying in the sea from 10am to 7am to get back home, and they took the net — including what I had fished. That even had increased our tragedy, as they took the net which we all depend on for fishing.”

“We are passing through a rough time, and we are suffering,” said Ismeal, as he took me to see the bullets still in the boats, the fishermen unable to get them repaired. “The siege has suffocated us for almost 3 years.”

Ismeal finished his interview with me, calling upon all of those people who claimed humanity, to stand beside the Palestinian people, their besieged people in Gaza, and to take responsibility for ending this daily suffering.

Source: Dissident Voice

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Here’s What Israel Is Really Costing American Taxpayers

IT IS OFTEN REPORTED THAT ISRAEL receives about $9.2 billion every year in the form of economic aid from the U.S. government, but there are many billions of dollars more in hidden costs and economic losses lurking beneath the surface. A recently published economic analysis concluded that U.S. support for the state of Israel has cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $3 trillion. About 60 percent of those costs (about $1.7 trillion) arose from the U.S. defense of the ever-expanding Israeli empire.

Support for the empire comes to $1.8 trillion, including special trade advantages, preferential contracts, or aid buried in other accounts.

In addition to the financial outlay, U.S. aid to Israel costs some 275,000 American jobs each year. The trade-aid imbalance with Israel is between $6 billion and $10 billion. The largest single element in the costs has been the series of oil-supply crises that have accompanied the Israeli-Arab wars and the construction of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. These have cost the U.S. $1.5 trillion, excluding the additional costs incurred since 2001.

The cost of supporting Israel increased drastically after the 1973 Israeli-Arab war. U.S. support for Israel during that war resulted in additional costs for the American taxpayer of between $750 billion and $1 trillion. When Israel was losing the war, President Richard Nixon stepped in to supply the Jewish state with U.S. weapons. Nixon’s intervention triggered the Arab oil embargo, which cost the U.S. as much as $600 billion in lost GDP and another $450 billion in higher oil import costs.

The 1973 oil crisis cost the U.S. economy no less than $900 billion, and probably as much as $1.2 trillion. As a result of the oil embargo the U.S. government created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to “insulate Israel and the U.S. against the wielding of a future Arab “oil weapon.”

The billion-barrel SPR has cost taxpayers more than $134 billion so far. Making things worse, Israel gets “first call” on any oil available to the U.S. if Israel’s oil supply is stopped, according to an oil supply guarantee, which former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger provided Israel in 1975. The $3 trillion figure is actually too low, as it does not include the increased costs incurred during the year-long buildup to the ongoing wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, in which Israel plays a significant covert role.

The higher oil prices incurred as a result of the Anglo-American campaign against Iraq were absorbed by taxpayers. Israel also has many hidden costs to the taxpayer. “Loans” made to Israel by the U.S. government invariably wind up being paid by the American taxpayer as does the interest on the money to Israel. Thus, it is reasonable to consider all government loans to Israel the same as grants. Israel has received over $42 billion in waived loans.

Source: American Free Press
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Gathering Discusses Breaking Bankers' Hold on World

ROUGEMONT, Quebec, Canada, Sept. 4 – Here at the 70th anniversary of the Congress of the Pilgrims of Saint Michael near Montreal, real monetary reform is being discussed today through Monday, Sept. 7, with representatives from Poland, Argentina, Madagascar, Africa’s Ivory Coast and other locales telling attendees that the death grip that private central banks have over nations can and must be broken. “Can” is the operative word, as attendees see it.

To liberate people from this far-reaching, sustained villainy, participants from these nations and from the U.S. and Canada agree that what’s called “social credit” is the answer—because it means money would be a societal creation brought into existence debt-free, instead of keeping the ruinous arrangement used for many decades that obligates governments to, in essence, buy money from central banks.

The current bind means that the very lifeblood of economic activity lies in the hands of secretive banking interests to whom all the benefits of money and credit creation flow, resulting in chronic poverty even in nations rich in natural resources. If every other major political problem, plot and scandal are the tentacles of the “octopus” of global control, then central banking is the head and brain.

Social credit, or national credit (which is given others names locally regarding grassroots efforts to test the mechanics of the system and help people learn it) means that grassroots efforts would lead, from the bottom up, toward national policies to make national governments the sovereign in terms of creating money and credit as an extension of the people. Central banks could no longer be the “snake-oil concessionaire” selling currency to nations in exchange for government bonds (which obligates the people to the huge debt created in the exchange).

The social dividend that is part of the social credit proposal would provide the peoples of nations with individual non-welfare income to supplement what they earn working, and the job markets would be liberated from debt and provide much more work anyway, backers say. And something called the compensated discount would ensure both stable prices and sufficient business income.

Notably, to explain more of the key details, this writer will focus on one of the Congress’s central participants, former Swiss banker Francois De Siebenthal, who said he turned down overtures to join the shadowy Bilderberg Group and decided to forgo central banking job promotion and advocate real reforms instead.

“We can start to liberate ourselves and others that have so much violence in their countries,” said guest speaker Rodrigo Velasquez during preliminary speeches Friday in preparation for the official start of the Congress on Saturday. Velasquez, whose home is in Colombia, referred to the chronic shortage of purchasing power afflicting the peoples of many nations, which tempts them to plunder rather than work when gainful employment is elusive.

Source: American Free Press

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