Friday, September 11, 2009

Secrets and laws

MEPs should remember that their primary loyalty is to the people who elected them - they must cast aside the EU's secret legislative process

As the European parliament (EP) begins its new term major questions hang over the lack of transparency and accountability of its legislative process. In the previous five-year term (2004-2009) over 80% of new measures were agreed behind closed doors in secret "trilogue" sessions, meetings between the Council of the European Union (the 27 governments), the EP and the European Commission.

Codecision is the EU legislative process which requires the EP and the council to agree on the final text. In the parliament there are four stages to the procedure.

Trilogues were originally intended to cover uncontroversial and complex technical measures but they are now used to negotiate the vast majority of new measures going through the EU. Meetings take place before the parliament adopts its formal first reading opinion and the council adopts its "common position".

During these negotiations the parliament is represented by its rapporteur and the shadow rapporteurs (from other political groups). Documents discussed in the trilogue meetings are not published and after agreement is reached the parliament's committees and full plenary sessions cannot change as much as a dot or comma. Surely we must acknowledge that open parliamentary sessions cannot have a meaningful debate if the "deal" has already been agreed.

In the last five-year term 69.5% of the parliament's business were concluded at first reading. 11.8% were approved without amendment by early second reading agreements (also settled in secret trilogues), just 12.8% went through the classical second reading votes. This process of course suits the council (the EU governments). It likes cosy meetings where governments can negotiate and seal a secret deal that cannot be overturned by open debate in the parliament.

The council's view on access to first and second reading documents was summed up by Hubert Legal, of the council legal service, when he appeared before the House of Lords select committee on the EU in June.

During ongoing legislative procedures there is not a general right for the public to access documents if the fact of giving access would undermine the institutional decision-making process.

Legal goes on to say that when "the procedure is completed" (ie: the measure is agreed) public access is given. Thus the public and civil society have no right to know what is being discussed before it is adopted. Just think of the uproar if a national parliament behaved in this fashion. Imagine a government publishing a bill, then negotiating in secret with other parties, before presenting the full parliament with as a fait accompli.

The council of the European Union, with the tacit support of the European parliament, seems intent on trying to justify a process of decision-making reminiscent of colonial times. Do they truly consider it dangerous for the people to know what is being decided in their name?

First reading trilogue "deals" are held in secret, no records (minutes) are released. The process removes meaningful debate, disagreements, options, votes in committee meetings and the plenary sessions – both of which are open and the documents discussed are publicly accessible. The practice pre-empts a wider debate in parliament, the media and society at large. Respect for the European Parliament has never been more fragile, the June elections saw the voter turnout drop to its lowest ever number, just 43% voted.

It is a problem that is set to deepen even further unless the European parliament casts aside "inter-institutional loyalty" to the council and remembers that its primary loyalty is to the people who elected it.

Source: The Guardian

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Paranoia over paedophilia

By demonising adults who photograph children in public spaces and banning cameras from school plays, we pervert childhood

An ugly incident marred this year's International Birdman competition. As thousands watched human-powered flying machines being launched from Worthing pier, a man took some photographs of children on the promenade west of the Lido.

Fortunately a concerned citizen spotted him and alerted one of the event's stewards, who immediately called the police. They were on the spot within seconds, according to Sharon Clarke, Worthing's town centre manager. "What it showed was that with everyone working together, things can be stopped immediately," a reassuring thought for the anxious readers of the Sussex-wide evening paper, The Argus, which led its front page on the outrage.

Officers arrested the offender and seized his camera. They then contacted Suffolk police, who searched the man's home in Ipswich and took away computer data. So far, there seems no reason to suppose that anything untoward was found, but a Home Office laboratory is to conduct an in-depth examination of the material that was impounded.

Now, Worthing police are working to establish how many innocent people at the event may have been traumatised by the affair. Sergeant Maurice Fisher has applauded the public spirit of the vigilant bystander without whose actions "it is very likely this would have gone without intervention".

Perhaps we should all be grateful that in broken Britain it's still possible to find a community whose law enforcement agents, civic officers, local media and ordinary citizens can pull together to rebuff an evil threatening their wellbeing. However, on an inside page of the very edition that chronicled the drama in Worthing, the Argus lamented that Sussex police are now swamped by burdens on their time that prevent them from attending to "what really matters to taxpayers". Might some of the latter be wondering if their county force has got its priorities right?

The ability to take pictures in public places was once a highly regarded English liberty. It's not clear how the children photographed on Worthing's prom would have been harmed by their unwitting experience.

Once, people who found youngsters attractive would have been thought the better for it. Images of Cupids and Ganymedes beguiled our predecessors for centuries. Even during our own strangely prurient millennium, Lewis Carroll's photographs of the girl immortalised in Alice in Wonderland were thought worth saving for the nation.

Let's suppose the worst, however. Let's take the case of a mackintoshed outdoor snapper who is indeed sexually attracted to children and intends to salivate over his snaps. Surely it's better that he should concentrate on his own pictures of unconcerned subjects, rather than download images perhaps secured at the price of real abuse. Maybe taking photos is the way he diverts his desires from more dangerous activities. Certainly people like him will need some way of managing their inclinations. Bang them up as much as you like, but eventually they will still have to re-enter society and live alongside your children.

But unfortunately paranoia over photography is not limited to Worthing. Earlier this summer, a Devon primary school banned parents from taking photos of their children on sports day. The chair of the parent teacher association explained: "It is all to do with the pictures getting into the wrong hands, and the school has to follow its own code of conduct." Cameras are now routinely forbidden at nativity plays.

We are tainting our relationship with our children, perverting their attitude to adults and, perhaps, actually fostering paedophile abuse. Why?

Source: The Guardian

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Faked DNA evidence torpedoes certainty

For two decades the police and Home Office have insisted that DNA evidence is 100% reliable and that the frantic acquisition of DNA samples from innocent people, as well those convicted of a crime, will make Britain a safer place. But today, on the 25th anniversary of Sir Alec Jeffrey's discovery of the genetic fingerprint, its worth examining important new research from Israel which proves that DNA evidence can be manipulated and that DNA samples may be fabricated. A disturbing possibility for those whose DNA profiles are kept on the police national DNA database.

It is difficult to underestimate the significance of the research by Dr Dan Frumkin and others, published in Forensic Science International Genetics. For one thing it sinks the argument made by Tony Blair and Jack Straw that Britain should opt for a database of everyone's DNA.

Frumkin's team showed that:

• DNA samples of blood and saliva from a person can be manufactured from someone else's body fluids.

• Access to a DNA database is all that would be needed to construct a sample of a person's DNA. No tissue or fluids are necessary.

• Using some of the techniques the team developed, a trace of person's DNA might be acquired and turned into saliva sample which could be submitted to a genetic testing company in order to discover ancestry or extremely private information about inherited vulnerability to diseases.

Speaking to the New York Times, Frumkin said: "You can just engineer a crime scene. Any biology undergraduate could perform this." The paper reported that the authors of the paper,

"took blood from a woman and centrifuged it to remove the white cells, which contain DNA. To the remaining red cells they added DNA that had been amplified from a man's hair.
Since red cells do not contain DNA, all of the genetic material in the blood sample was from the man. The authors sent it to a leading American forensics laboratory, which analysed it as if it were a normal sample of a man's blood."

Frumkin is founder of Nucleix, a Tel Aviv based company which makes much of a authentication technique for assessing whether DNA evidence been fabricated. Clearly he has an interest in selling this kit but this makes his research no less important.

John M Butler, leader of the Human Identity testing project at America's National Institute of Standards and Technology told the New York Times "he was impressed by how well the Frumkin team had fabricated DNA profiles but added, 'I think your average criminal wouldn't be able to something like that.'"

Butler has a touching faith in the honesty of America's police, one that I suggest we would be unwise to imitate here. Police officers in the past have been tempted to "fit up" those they believe guilty of a crime. It is easy to imagine how DNA might, in the future, be manufactured to gain a rock solid conviction against a person who was proving inconvenient to the authorities. We may chose to doubt that this will ever happen but legislators must allow for the possibility. Whatever the advances we celebrate today the actual anniversary of the Jeffrey's discovery – it is vital to absorb that DNA evidence is not fool proof.

Campaigners for a universal national DNA database, which would contain the samples of everyone in the country, will claim that Frumkin's techniques allow a court to know when DNA has been manufactured. True, but the important point is that genetic science is developing far faster than the comprehension of politicians. How long will it take before someone develops a means of manufacturing an individual's DNA without leaving a chemical trace? A few months ago the idea of artificially making a unique genetic profile was unthinkable; now a relatively simply process has blown this assumption out of the water.

There are now 800,000 innocent people – about a fifth of the total number of profiles – whose DNA is held on the British database. According to Jeffrey, this is a de facto breach of "their genetic privacy". The European court agrees but leaving the important principle of innocence aside, it is absolutely imperative that people begin to understand that our cavalier attitude to our genetic essence today, could lead to problems and abuse in the future. Look how far we have come in 25 years; imagine what someone's genetic profile will tell us about them in another 25 years.

Like so many complicated technical and moral issues, the use and abuse of DNA needs the engagement of legislators who have the credentials to square up to the new science. But look at both front benches, you won't find many scientists, or moral philosophers for that matter.

Source: The Guardian

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History is the propaganda of the victors. Accordingly, Germany’s Adolf Hitler has been assigned total blame for starting World War II in Europe, history’s deadliest conflict in which 50 million died.
Interestingly, the 70th anniversary of World War II has reopened old wounds and ignited an ugly battle of words between Russia and its unloving neighbors, Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic states. The latter two accuse Moscow of having stabbed them in the back in 1939 by becoming a partner with Nazi Germany.
The European parliamentary assembly (OSCE) recently held the USSR and Germany `equally responsible for World War II.’ After 70 years, it’s about time.
`A flat-out lie,’ angrily retorted Russia’s president, Dimitry Medvedev. The war cost the Soviet Union 25 million dead. Russians are quite right in believing that they, not the US and British Empire, defeated Hitler’s Germany. Russians fought with incredible heroism, suffered unthinkably casualties and damage, and ground Nazi Germany into dust. The Allies played an important but comparatively far less important role in Europe against an already defeated and ruined Germany.
Underlining Moscow’s worrying rehabilitation of Stalin, Medvedev claims the Soviet dictator saved Europe from Hitler and rejects all attempts to equate him with Hitler.
But the facts say differently. Stalin was an even worse mass murderer than Hitler by a factor of three or four. Stalin was also a much cleverer strategist, war leader and diplomat than Hitler, who stumbled into a war that Germany could not possibly win and for which it was woefully unprepared.
Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin admitted the 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact that partitioned Poland between Germany and the USSR, handed the Baltic states and Romania’s Bessarabia to the Soviets, was `immoral.’
But Putin correctly asserted that the 1938 Munich Pact signed by Britain and France with Hitler that returned Czechoslovakia’s ethnic German Sudaten region to German-Austrian ownership was equally immoral. He reminded Poland of its unsavory role in carving up bleeding Czechoslovakia. He blasted East European critics as `collaborators with Fascism.’
Interestingly, we know that Hitler was determined to undue the pernicious effects of the post-World War I `peace’ treaties that cruelly dismembered the German Reich, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. He was set on restoring the 1914 borders.
But it is little understood that Stalin was also bent on historic and geographic rectification. He sought to erase the effects of the 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, imposed on defeated, revolution-torn Russia by the German-led Central Powers.
The draconian treaty tore away a quarter of Russia’s population and industry, and vast swathes of Russian-ruled territory: Poland, the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine, Crimea, Bessarabia and Finland. Like Hitler, Stalin was determined to regain lost territories. This he largely did from 1920-1939. The 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the final act in the restoration of the old Russian Tsarist Empire.
A fascinating book, `The Chief Culprit’ by Viktor Suvorov (US Naval Institute Press), the pseudonym of a defector from Soviet military intelligence GRU, makes explosive new revelations about Stalin’s role in igniting World War II. My old friends at KGB despise the GRU. But it was GRU that got 2-3 high level agents into Franklin Roosevelt’s White House and shaped America’s wartime foreign policy.
Suvorov’s argument is simple. Stalin cleverly lured Hitler into war by offering to divide Poland. This act, Stalin knew, would prompt Britain and France to declare war on Germany. Stalin expected to pick up the pieces.
Stalin also knew Germany was no match for the USSR. Hitler had only 3,332 tanks, most of them light vehicles armed with machine guns or 20mm cannon. Contrary to our images of a motorized blitzkrieg, 75% of German transport was horse-drawn (think how much hay and how many hay wagons are needed to feed 750,000 horses.) The Wehrmacht had no winter uniforms. The German High Command expected to win the war against Russia in only three months – before winter set in.
Most important, Germany had no raw materials save coal. Its sole sources of oil were Romania and Russia. Germany had only enough oil for a two-month campaign against the Soviet Union. It had no motor lubricants suitable for Russia’s -20 to -30 F winter weather.
From digging in GRU files, Suvarov asserts that in the spring of 1941, Stalin was poised to launch 170 divisions, 24,000 tanks and thousands of warplanes in a surprise blitzkrieg against Western Europe, supported by mountains of munitions and more reserve armies from Asia and the Far East. The first target was Ploesti, Romania, Germany’s sole source of oil. Germany was also Italy’s sole source of oil. Losing Ploesti would have knocked both Axis powers out of the war.
The Red Army and Air Force were deployed in vulnerable offensive formations hard on the new German-Soviet border. Stalin ordered all 1,000 plus defensive casemates of the formidable Stalin Line defending the USSR’s western border destroyed.
But Hitler struck first. Learning of the Soviet threat, Hitler secretly massed his armies and attacked on 22 June, 1941. Operation Barbarossa caught the Russians flat-footed: warplanes on the ground, tanks on rail cars, munitions in the open. Soviet ground forces were quickly enveloped, cut off and destroyed in vast numbers. Had they been positioned in defensive deployments behind the Stalin Line, this rout would not have happened.
Soviet propaganda later tried to cover up Stalin’s plan to attack Europe, claiming his forces were outmoded and unprepared, and generals incompetent. This view still prevails today.
Not so, claims Suvarov. His view will infuriate mainstream historians. I poured through Suvarov’s meticulous military analysis. To me, as a veteran military analyst, his figures appear to confirm that Stalin was just about to attack when Hitler pre-empted him.
By 1945, Stalin’s Red Army had taken half of Europe. But, contends Suvarov, had Hitler not attacked first in 1941, Stalin’s thirty-million man army, backed by mammoth industrial production, would have overwhelmed all of Europe in a 1941 surprise blitz.
Suvarov’s unstated conclusion: Hitler saved Western Europe from Stalin. He asserts, less convincingly, that Hitler’s offensive into Russia led to the inevitably downfall of the Soviet Union in 1991 – and the real end of WWII.
In the author’s view, if Poland had given back German-populated Danzig to Germany, war might have been avoided. The British Empire collapsed because of its fatal decision to go to war with Germany in 1939 over Poland, a nation it could not possibly defend.
All this is grand heresy. We need to clear away the lingering clouds of wartime propaganda and begin understanding what really happened.

Source: Eric Margolis

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New Jewish Organ Theft Gang Busted

New Jewish Organ Theft Gang Busted

New reports have surfaced on the arrest of yet another Jewish organ trading gang in the United States involved in the abduction of Algerian children.

Dr. Mustafa Khayatti, the head of the Algerian National Committee for the Development of Health Research, revealed on Sunday that the New York city police have arrested members of a Jewish gang who abducted Algerian children for their organs.

Khayatti said the arrests came after Interpol found that children in western Algeria were abducted and taken to Morocco to have their kidneys harvested.

Their organs were later trafficked to the United States and Israel and sold for $20,000 to $100,000 each.

The group is said to be connected to Israeli rabbi Levi Rosenbaum, who was recently arrested in New Jersey for direct involvement in importing human organs.

Following Rosenbaum's arrest, US authorities detained some 44 others, including rabbis and mayors in New Jersey, who were prosecuted for money laundering and human organs trade.

Last month, a report published in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, accused Israeli soldiers of kidnapping Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip for their organs, indicating a possible link between the Israeli military and the mafia of human organs detected in the US.

Some Arab countries have called for an international inquiry into the allegations.

(Press TV)

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Zionism for Dummies

What hangs in the balance is whether Palestinians will be eliminated as a people.

By William James Martin

In pondering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I have found that very few people actually have a basic understanding of the conflict nor could they define it in even rough approximating terms.

Thus one sometines hears that it is all about Arab/Palestinian ‘terrorism’ and suicide bombings and the ultimate goal of the terrorists-Palestinians is to ‘push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive” and that their motives are those of anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews. Those who hold this view see the conflict as one of the survival of the Jewish state amid a sea of irrational hatred.

That is the view of the Zionists, and the one they would like for the world to accept.
One also hears that the conflict is a religious one between Jews and Arabs and that it has been continuous for ‘thousands of years’.

Neither is correct.

The first Palestinian suicide bombing occurred in 1994, 40 days after the massacre by the Brooklyn native Baruch Goldstein of 29 praying Muslims at the Al Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron. The ’67 War and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip was 25 years old at that time. Thus an entire generation of Palestinians had grown to maturity knowing nothing but occupation before the first suicide bomber struck.

The phrase, “push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive”, can be traced to a 1961 speech to the Knesset delivered by Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. This apparently was the first use of this phrase by a significant political personality, and thus, for all intents and purposes, the phrase has a Jewish and not an Arab origin. The propagation of this emotional phrase throughout the Israeli-Palestinian debate has its source the Israeli Prime Minister himself. (See 'Who is Pushing Whom into the Sea'?)

The view that the conflict is religious and that it has been ongoing for thousands of years is inaccurate. For approximately 2000 years Jews and Arabs enjoyed a harmonious relation, and for four hundred years up until World War I, as citizens of the Ottoman empire with equal rights. Indeed, Jews enjoyed high government position within the Ottoman Empire.

Change occurred in 1896 with the publication of Theodore Herzl’s book, The Jewish State, in which Herzl propounded the idea of inevitability, immutability, permanence, and omnipresence of anti-Semitism and argued that the only solution was a separate state for Jews.

Herzl’s understanding of the inevitability of anti-Semitism was possibly self fulfilling, for rather that opposing anti-Semitism in the first half of the 20th century, the Zionists found common cause with Hitler, Eichmann and the Nazis and used anti-Semitism and Nazism as a means of achieving their end which was the establishment of a Jewish state. The two reactionary movements shared the view that German Jews were living there as a ‘foreign race’ and that the racial divide was essential to maintain. (Historian Lenny Brenner has written three excellent books on the Zionists-Nazi collaboration.) The Zionist’s use of Nazism involved, among other things, the blocking of avenues of escape to other countries of Europe’s Jews and diverting them to Palestine, even as the death trains began to roll in Europe. The rise of Nazism and Hitler to power was never, or almost never, opposed by the Zionist prior to the establishment of Israel.

History might have been very different had the Zionists component of Jewry opposed Nazism and there might never have been a Holocaust. And there might never have been a state of Israel, as many of the Zionists well understood.

Lenni Brenner puts it:

… of all of the active Jewish opponents of the boycott idea [of Nazi Germany], the most important was the world Zionists Organization (WZO). It not only bought German wares; it sold them, and even sought out new customers for Hitler and his industrialist backers.

The WZO saw Hitler’s victory in much the same way as its German affiliate, the ZVfD [the German Zionist Organization]: not primarily as a defeat for all Jewry, but as positive proof of the bankruptcy of assimilation and liberalism.’ [Brenner, Zionism in the Age of Dictators]

Zionist collaboration with the Nazis, as well as with the Fascists and Mussolini is a deep and extensive topic and must be abandoned here.

Though a region of Argentina as well as Ethiopia were considered by Herzl, Palestine was the site for which there was the greatest consensus. Of the indigenous Palestinians, of which there were about a million at the time living in Palestine, he said:

“[We shall] spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.”

Thus the concept of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionism was introduced.

It is not rocket science. If you want to create a state exclusively of European Jews in the heart of the Middle East, you must first get rid of the Arabs.

Herzl went on the found the World Zionists Organization, whose intent was to establish a Jewish state in Palestine and to make itself into proto-government from which the actual state government would seamlessly emerge upon the establishment of the Jewish state.

Though the world seems not to understand the intent of the Zionist program, there was no misunderstanding among the Zionists themselves.

In his 1923 book, The Iron Wall, Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder to the “Revisionists” wing of Zionism, wrote:

"There can be no discussion of voluntary reconciliation between the Arabs, not now and not in the foreseeable future. All well-meaning people, with the exception of those blind from birth, understood long ago the complete impossibility of arriving at a voluntary agreement with the Arabs of Palestine for the transformation of Palestine from an Arab country to a country with a Jewish majority.

"Any native people view their country as their national home, of which they will be the complete masters. They will never voluntarily allow a new master. So it is for the Arabs. Compromisers among us try to convince us that the Arabs are some kind of fools who can be tricked with hidden formulations of our basic goals. I flatly refuse to accept this view of the Palestinian Arabs.

"The Palestinians will struggle in this way until there is hardly a spark of matters not what kind of words we use to explain our colonization. Colonization has its own integral and inescapable meaning understood by every Jew and every Arab. Colonization has only one goal. This is in the nature of things. To change that nature is impossible. It has been necessary to carry on colonization against the will of the Palestinian Arabs and the same conditions exist now.

"A voluntary agreement is inconceivable. All colonization, even the most restricted, must continue in defiance of the will of the native population. Therefore, it can continue and develop only under the shield of force which comprises an Iron Wall which the local population can never break through. This is our Arab policy. To formulate it any other way would be hypocrisy.

“Whether through the Balfour Declaration or the Mandate, external force is a necessity for the establishing in the country conditions of rule and defense through which the local population, regardless of what it wishes, will be deprived of the possibility of impeding our colonization, administratively or physically. Force must play its role – with strength and without indulgence. In this, there are no meaningful differences between our militarists and our vegetarians. One prefers an Iron Wall of Jewish bayonets; the other an Iron Wall of English bayonets.

“If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for that land,… . Or else? Or else, give up your colonization, for without an armed force which will render physically impossible any attempt to destroy or prevent this colonization, colonization is impossible. Zionism is a colonization adventure and there fore it stands or it falls by the question of armed force. It is important to speak Hebrew but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot – or else I am through with playing at colonization.

"To the hackneyed reproach that this point is unethical, I answer – absolutely untrue. This is our ethic. There is no other ethic. As long as there is the faintest spark of hope for the Arabs to impede us, they will not sell these hopes – not for any sweet words not for any tasty morsel. Because this (the Palestinians) is not a rabble but a people, a living people. And no people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions, except when there is no hope left, until we have removed every opening visible in the Iron Wall."

The ‘Revisionists’ advocated the revision of the British Mandate for Palestine to include the east bank of the Jordan, now the state of Jordan, as well as the west bank, the Jordan River forming the eastern boundary of the mandate at that time. The ‘Revisionist’ transformed over time into the present day Lukud party, the right wing party of Menachem Begin, who regarded Zabotinsky as his model and philosophical father, of Yitzchak Shamir, who became the leader of the Revisionists at the time of Zabotinsky’s death, of Ariel Sharon, and of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Thus in 1937, Ben Gurion stated:

“The compulsory transfer of Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Jewish state could give us something which we never had, even when we stood on our own feet during the days of the First and Second Temple.”

And in a letter to his son, also in 1937, he stated:

“We must expel the Arabs and take their places and if we have to use force, to guarantee our own right to settle in those places then we have force at our disposal.”

And in early 1948 Ben Gurion wrote in his War Diary,

"During the assault we must be ready to strike the decisive blow; that is, either to destroy the towns or expel its inhabitants so our people can replace them."

And in February 1948, Ben Gurion told Yoseph Weitz, director of the settlement of the Jewish National Fund and head of the official Transfer Committee of 1948:

“The war will give us land. The concept of 'ours' and 'not ours' are peace concepts, only, in war they lose their whole meaning.”

And in 1940, Joseph Weitz, who was head of land purchasing for the World Jewish Organization, and head of one of several ‘transfer committees’ (committees to study ways of transferring the Arabs from Palestine) wrote:

“Between ourselves it must be clear that here is no room for both peoples together in this country. We shall not achieve our goal if the Arabs are in this country. There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries – all of them. Not one village, not one tribe, should be left.”

And in 1983, Raphael Eytan, then chief of staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, said,

“We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel …Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours….When we have settled the land, all the Arab will be able to do will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”

Exactly why the indigenous people of Palestine do not have right to live on the land of their and their ancestors births, or why the colonial European Jews have this right, Mr. Eytan is silent.

And in 2002. Moshe Yaalon, chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Force, said,

“The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”

Between the time that Israel declared itself a state in May of 1948 and the summer of 2005, Israel killed 50,000 Palestinians, according to Israeli Historian Ilan Pappe. And since October of 2000, Israel has killed 6348 Palestinians, according to the web site, “If American Knew”. The latter figure averages to about 2 Palestinians killed per day by Israel (1.932, by my calculation.)

One thing is certain: Israel is not the victim, as it is constantly screaming, but the victimizer.

What then is the conflict all about? What is the theme that runs through the entire history of Zionism?
It is about the ongoing program of Zionism to destroy the Palestinians as a people and to assume possession of their ancestral land.

There are Zionists who would settle for a two state solution and a withdrawal of the Israel presence to the 1967 borders allowing a mini-Palestinian state on the remaining 22% of Palestine. But the reality on the ground is that Israel has expanded beyond the point of retreat with 300,000 settlers in the West Bank, 183,000 in East Jerusalem, as of this writing, with 200 or more settlements in the West Bank some twice the size of Manhattan containing their own, schools, universities, shopping malls and the billions of dollars of invested infrastructure, both private and public, and a segregated, for-Jews-only, highway system, 300 miles long, cutting up the West Bank with Palestinians imprisoned between these disjoint concrete and asphalt barriers.

But whatever the views of these moderate Zionists, who call for contraction to the ’67 borders, the dynamics of Israel is and has always been expansion. The centrifugal forces pushing the expansion are multivaried and complicated. They are religious, they are military, they are for want of security, they are from want of power for its own sake, but they are persistent and they have an entire century of momentum and a century of Zionism on the move.

What the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is all about then is the destruction of the Palestinian people and their evacuation and the complete takeover of Palestine to the Jordan River by the Jewish state. And what hangs win the balance is whether or not the Palestinians will be destroyed and eliminated as a people with a distinct culture and history and with an attachment to the land of their birth and their parent’s and ancestor’s births.

- William James Martin teaches in the Department of Mathematics at the University of New Orleans. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

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The Prohibition of Holocaust Denial

Joseph P. Bellinger

"Once any idea is expressed…no matter how repugnant it may be to some persons or, simply to everybody, it must never be erased by the Government.” – Kurt Vonnegut

On 8 July, 1981, the sovereign nation of Israel became the very first country in the world to specifically outlaw “Holocaust denial.” The Israeli Knesset passed the bill, entitled “Denial of Holocaust [Prohibition Law], 5746-1986 by majority vote thereby setting a precedent which subsequently influenced European legislators to follow in suit.

The Israeli law stipulates that “A person who, in writing or by word of mouth, publishes any statement denying or diminishing the proportions of acts committed in the period of the Nazi regime which are crimes against the Jewish people or crimes against humanity, with intent to defend the perpetrators of those acts or to express sympathy or identification with them, shall be liable to imprisonment for five years.”1

This law was recently strengthened by a controversial bill introduced into the Knesset by MK Aryeh Eldad of the National Union Party on 20 July, 2004, which in theory enables the state of Israel to demand the extradition of any ‘Holocaust denier’ anywhere in the world to face prosecution in Israel. Critics of the law opined that the bill might never have gathered enough support to pass muster in the Knesset were it not for the unswerving support of former Israeli Justice Minister and Holocaust survivor Yosef ‘Tommy’ Lapid. Expressing his satisfaction with the bill to a journalist representing the widely read Israeli newspaper Am Haaretz, Lapid averred that denial of the Holocaust “is a clearly neo-Nazi crime. Anyone involved in this belongs to the group of criminals whom our arm must reach anywhere in the world. This is essential even if the law remains declarative. We will not hunt them, but they should know that they are on our list of criminals…What I want is that if a Holocaust denier publishes a book in England, he will be considered a criminal in Israel.” Lapid concluded the interview by expressing his joy and ‘satisfaction’ that Holocaust deniers will now be added to Israel’s list of criminals.2

As of November, 2006, twelve European countries have followed Israel’s precedent - Spain, Romania, Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Poland, France, Switzerland, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Czech Republic have all enacted similar legislation which legally proscribes any person from questioning the mainstream version of the Holocaust under pain of prosecution. Aside from widely publicized high profile cases, it is impossible to definitively state the number of innominate victims who have fallen under the punitive arm of Holocaust denial legislation since these laws were first enacted. It has been estimated that over 58,000 individuals in Germany alone have been prosecuted for various thought crimes during the period 1994 – 1999. During the course of one year, [1999], Germany’s aggressive policy of enforcing these repressive laws accounted for 11,248 convictions. Of this number, 8,968 cases were ‘right-wing’ violations, 1,015 were categorized as “leftist,” and the remaining 1,525 cases primarily involved foreigners or other non-German related issues.3

Further complicating matters is the fact that human rights organizations ostensibly committed to monitoring governmental violations of basic human rights, such as Amnesty International, routinely ignore and distance themselves from the plight of convicted ‘Holocaust deniers’ who continue to languish in Cimmerian gaols throughout the continent of Europe. Publicly branded as ‘Holocaust deniers,’ dissident historians are thus relegated to the status of outcasts, “neo-Nazis,” outlaws and pariahs, exposed to public contempt by an unsympathetic media and “politically correct” politicians.

The social stigmatization normally associated with ‘Holocaust denial’ has become so pervasive and all-encompassing that only the most committed advocates of free speech will publicly risk an unfettered defense of the right to unrestricted expression of opinion for revisionist historians and independent researchers. The courageous defense of such advocates and assorted literati is especially commendatory in view of the fact that their statements of conscience are sometimes published at considerable risk to themselves and their own reputations. One of the few organizations that actively campaigns in defense of free speech issues for revisionists is the Institute for Historical Review, in Costa Mesa, California, which closely monitors the carefully orchestrated, well-organized and highly-financed attempts by special interest groups to stifle free inquiry, research and open debate.

As will presently be seen, individuals and special interest groups concerned with stifling freedom of expression constantly test, suggest, update and introduce novel and legally questionable methods designed to curtail free speech and inquiry. Additionally, a number of libraries and organizations such as Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Holocaust Visual History Foundation and the Wiener Institute of Contemporary History in London openly restrict access to their materials in respect to independent researchers unable to provide acceptable ‘credentials’ or referrals.

Nevertheless, to date jurists have been unable to unanimously agree upon a precise, legally acceptable definition of just what constitutes ‘Holocaust denial” or provide any satisfactory reason as to why an act of denial or questioning of an historical event warrants special legislative and judicial attention.

In response to the question, what is Holocaust denial, it is difficult to provide an exact definition due to the legal complexities surrounding the issue, as legislative definitions vary from country to country just as they vary from one individual to another.

Overall, current laws pertaining to Holocaust denial appear to be loosely interpreted, vaguely worded and erratically applied, each case being adapted as circumstances warrant.

In those countries which have enacted laws restricting freedom of expression, citizens live under a pervasive sword of Damocles. In the present dystopian age, a casual remark uttered in jest may lead to denunciation, arrest and prosecution in scenes reminiscent of George Orwell’s prescient novel, 1984.

Thus the term “Holocaust denier” is misleading, nebulously defined and a misnomer in view of the fact that there exists no consensus of opinion even among mainstream historians or revisionists in respect to a uniform definition of the Holocaust. Nevertheless, this elusive, nebulous definition of the Holocaust and Holocaust denial is precisely what animates and facilitates the job of prosecutors whose primary task appears to be limited to an arbitrary application of the law directed against those deemed politically undesirable.

In his Essay on Tolerance, Voltaire had written,

“For a government to have the right to punish the errors of men it is necessary that their errors must take the form of crime; they do not take the form of crime unless they disturbed society; they disturb society when they engender fanaticism; hence men must avoid fanaticism in order to deserve toleration.”4

It is precisely this logic which appears to motivate those individuals who argue for legal remedies to address the issue of ‘Holocaust denial.’ The “error” of “denying the Holocaust” is invariably defined as a ‘crime’ which ‘disturbs the public peace,’ because “deniers” are perceived as engendering ideological or racial fanaticism. That the “Holocaust” is not denied, but redefined according to the evidence or how it may be variously interpreted and applied, offers no legal loophole for those deemed to have transgressed the substance of the law. Furthermore, it is not ‘society’ in general which is disturbed, but those who seek to impose their beliefs on others by suppressing opinions with which they are at variance. It is by these means that “deniers” are deemed “unworthy of toleration.”

Among the ranks of those who advocate harsh legal measures against ‘deniers,’ any pretext will often suffice to advance their agenda. Thus, as laws are reformulated, revised and amended, stiffer penalties and charges are appended to existing law in order to snare greater numbers of ‘deniers’ within the legal net. Rather paradoxically, the legal definitions are in revision just as surely as the facts of the Holocaust are being revised by individuals falling within the orbit of legal retribution. Harsh sentences are expected to serve as a deterrent to other prospective ‘deniers.’ Out of sheer necessity, Holocaust denial laws invariably become more elastic in order to assure the maximum number of convictions with the least amount of publicity or trouble. Clearly, minatory decisions are being made in intramural ‘star chambers’ disembodied from public purview, where harsh judgments are subsequently applied and meted out to suspect individuals. Thus, in an attempt to circumvent orthodox legal procedures and avoid any possible legal ramifications, accused “deniers” are charged by prosecutors with ‘defaming the dead,’ although the laws fail to specify precisely how the dead are any more defamed than the living if the statements considered to be defamatory happen to be true and factual. In actuality, what the system seeks to punish is the perceived ‘intent’ of the accused. However, since the ‘dead’ cannot face the accused, state prosecutors and interested agencies such as the World Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League [ADL]and the British based Institute for Jewish Policy Research [IJPR] promote themselves as self-appointed proxies supposedly acting on behalf of the dead.

In respect to the latter-mentioned agency, the IJPR offers a rather formulaic assessment of Holocaust denial, opining:

“Holocaust denial is…not the expression of good faith of a legitimate interpretation of history; it is designed to engender hostility against Jews, and is insulting and offensive to Jews, other victims of the Holocaust and all who value truth and the lessons we can learn from history.”5

The definition offered by the IJPR is in fact misleading at best and begs the question, “Shouldn’t those who “value truth” also value the right of individuals to tell the truth as they perceive it, whether their views and interpretations turn out to be right or wrong over time? If it is indeed possible to ‘learn from history,’ the best preventative to repeating the mistakes of the past might consist of education, dialogue, open debate and reconciliation, but according to Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the vaunted Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, California,

“…it is not in the power of people living now to forgive…the only people who have a right to forgive are the victims, and they are not here…”6

If, in Rabbi Hier’s opinion, it is impossible for the present or any other generation to forgive, how can it ever be possible for the healing process to begin? At what point and with what living generation can the spiritually rejuvenating process of reconciliation begin, if not here and now?

Another school of thought opines that the Holocaust is so unique that it supersedes and surpasses all other historical episodes of racial or religious persecution, and as such the Holocaust is deserving of special status and recognition. The advocates of censorship vigorously defend these and similar views, perceiving revisionist historians as a threat to public order, whose research and published statements constitute “incitement to hatred.”

Rather paradoxically, it would seem that the “Holocaust deniers” have only succeeded in inciting hatred against themselves!

While penal codes may vary from nation to nation, most are based upon commonly accepted legal norms which have been universally applied from generation to generation. Holocaust denial laws, by way of contrast, are designed to punish unpopular thoughts and ideas deemed pernicious by self-appointed watchdogs for special interest groups who evidently feel that any criticism of the Holocaust by individuals whose motives are politically suspect demeans people through insensitivity.

Yet historical events are hardly a matter for the criminal courts to decide, for the revision of history is a legitimate function and exercise associated with responsible scholarly research. Moreover, even criminal law allows for the overturn of previous convictions whenever new evidence surfaces which exonerates the accused. Why, then, is only the Holocaust considered to be exempt from all normative applications of law?

In attempting to deny revisionists and “Holocaust deniers” legitimate status, denigrators conveniently attempt to equate them with racists and neo-Nazis. Marginalized and consigned to the “lunatic fringe,” revisionists struggle to achieve parity with non-suspect historians and researchers. Reminiscent of the McCarthy era, revisionists are suspected of harboring politically incorrect opinions. The fact that Holocaust denial laws purposefully target individuals prejudged as holding unorthodox political views or individuals suspected of anti-Semitic tendencies underscores the discriminatory basis for such laws. Thus, as the laws now stand, it is impossible for revisionist historians to profess their belief in the Holocaust per se, simply due to the fact that they, unlike “accepted” authors such as Arno Mayer, Raul Hilberg, Jean-Claude Pressac, Robert Jan van Pelt, etc., are considered to be politically suspect or in some way ideologically motivated. Nevertheless, it may be considered an established fact that Holocaust revisionists are not necessarily ‘Holocaust deniers.’

Although criticism of “deniers” appears to be momentarily socially acceptable, it may prove to be a daunting task for proponents of censorship to explain or justify how or why the published views of men such as Daniel Goldhagen and David Ketzer, both of whom authored polemical books in which Christianity is equated with virulent anti-Semitism, deserve to be accorded special status over and above the published writings of men like David Irving or Germar Rudolf.7 For the law to be truly equitable, it must apply equally to everyone, without favor or exemption, with none deserving of special status.

An innovative idea that seems to be gaining momentum throughout the world media is that a sovereign nation is ‘outside the family of respectable nations’ if it fails to adopt Holocaust Denial laws or expresses solidarity with nations where such laws are already a fait accompli. For example, Holocaust Denial is routinely used as a pretext for inciting public hostility and contempt toward the nation of Iran and its recently re-elected President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Thus, at the present moment, any revision or repeal of Holocaust Denial laws seems out of the question as more countries fall meekly into line with the majority nations, enacting laws designed to punish, ostracize and relegate skeptics to the ‘lunatic fringe’ of society. The recent violent attack upon the Holocaust Museum in Washington by a crazed sociopathic personality merely adds fuel to the existing fire. Moreover, legislators appear to be of the opinion that enactment of such laws provides ‘legitimate status’ to nations desiring recognition, and/or ‘parity’ with the great powers of the occident. Cynics, on the other hand, perceive their performance in more prosaic terms as jumping on the bandwagon.

Concomitantly, organizations supposedly dedicated to safeguarding human rights consistently refuse to serve as advocates for persecuted revisionists or free thinkers. The right to be able to think freely and express one’s thoughts without fear of retribution has been irretrievably compromised. If the current and dangerous trend continues, there will not exist one square inch of free soil among the western nations where an individual accused of violating the nebulous ‘Holocaust Denial’ laws will find refuge or elude the heavy arm of retribution. Free-thinkers will have ‘nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide.’ In ages past, the Catholic Church served as a place of sanctuary for those unjustly branded by an intolerant society, but even this boon has been effectively neutralized. The widely publicized ostracism of Bishop Williamson underscores the enormous pressure that is being placed on the Pope and the Vatican as it struggles to defend itself against a formidable array of relentless critics who unscrupulously accuse it of being the ideological precursor of ‘Naziism,’ the author of ‘theological anti-Semitism,’ and ‘refusing to save the Jews of Europe from extermination.’ Thus, compassion and mercy have been neutralized to feed the Holocaustian Moloch.

The subject of Holocaust Denial continues to permeate and suffuse nearly every organ comprising the body politic of the Western world, and nary a day passes by without this topic being raised somewhere in the international media as it increasingly assumes inordinate world-wide significance with world-wide consequences and repercussions, It has, in fact, become an international obsession - an unhealthy fixation in a visibly hurting and ailing society tremulously awaiting the coup de grace to our civil liberties.

  1. The full text of the law is published in Sefer HaChukkim, Number 1187 of Tammuz 9, 5746 (July 16, 1986), page 196.
  2., November 4, 2004. “The long arms of Rabbi Elyashiv and of the Knesset,” Shahar Ilan – Haaretz (Israel).
  3. Journal of Historical Review, Issue: May/June 2000, Vol. 19, Number 3, p. 7.
  6. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, “Editor’s Column,” Response-The Wiesenthal Center’s World Report, May, 1990, Vol. 11, No. 2, p. 2.
  7. Daniel Goldhagen’s two books, Hitler’s Willing Executioners, published in 1997, and A Moral Reckoning: the role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and its unfulfilled duty to repair, published in 2004, have been deemed by many critics to have crossed the line of what is considered to be responsible historiography. Similarly, David Kertzer’s The Pope’s against the Jews: the Vatican’s role in the rise of modern anti-Semitism, published in 2001, prompted similar criticisms.
Source: Inconvenient History
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Tutu to Haaretz: Arabs paying the price of the Holocaust

"The lesson that Israel must learn from the Holocaust is that it can never get security through fences, walls and guns," Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa told Haaretz Thursday.

Commenting on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement in Germany Thursday that the lesson of the Holocaust is that Israel should always defend itself, Tutu noted that "in South Africa, they tried to get security from the barrel of a gun. They never got it. They got security when the human rights of all were recognized and respected."

The Nobel Prize laureate spoke to Haaretz in Jerusalem as the organization The Elders concluded its tour of Israel and the West Bank. He said the West was consumed with guilt and regret toward Israel because of the Holocaust, "as it should be."

"But who pays the penance? The penance is being paid by the Arabs, by the Palestinians. I once met a German ambassador who said Germany is guilty of two wrongs. One was what they did to the Jews. And now the suffering of the Palestinians."

He also slammed Jewish organizations in the United States, saying they intimidate anyone who criticizes the occupation and rush to accuse these critics of anti-Semitism. Tutu recalled how such organizations pressured U.S. universities to cancel his appearances on their campuses.

"That is unfortunate, because my own positions are actually derived from the Torah. You know God created you in God's image. And we have a God who is always biased in favor of the oppressed."

Tutu also commented on the call by Ben-Gurion University professor Neve Gordon to apply selective sanctions on Israel.

"I always say to people that sanctions were important in the South African case for several reasons. We had a sports boycott, and since we are a sports-mad country, it hit ordinary people. It was one of the most psychologically powerful instruments.

"Secondly, it actually did hit the pocket of the South African government. I mean, when we had the arms embargo and the economic boycott."

He said that when F.W. de Klerk became president he telephoned congratulations. "The very first thing he said to me was 'well now will you call off sanctions?' Although they kept saying, oh well, these things don't affect us at all. That was not true.

"And another important reason was that it gave hope to our people that the world cared. You know. That this was a form of identification."

Earlier in the day, Tutu and the rest of the delegation visited the village of Bil'in, where protests against the separation fence, built in part on the village's land, take place every week.

"We used to take our children in Swaziland and had to go through border checkpoints in South Africa and face almost the same conduct, where you're at the mercy of a police officer. They can decide when they're going to process you and they can turn you back for something inconsequential. But on the other hand, we didn't have collective punishment. We didn't have the demolition of homes because of the suspicion that one of the members of the household might or might not be a terrorist."

He said the activists in Bil'in reminded him of Ghandi, who managed to overthrow British rule in India by nonviolent means, and Martin Luther King, Jr., who took up the struggle of a black woman who was too tired to go to the back of a segregated bus.

He stressed his belief that no situation was hopeless, praising the success of the Northern Irish peace process. The process was mediated by Senator George Mitchell, who now serves as the special U.S. envoy to the Middle East.

Asked about the controversy in Petah Tikva, where several elementary schools have refused to receive Ethiopian school children, Tutu said that "I hope that your society will evolve."

Source: Haaretz News Jerusalem
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Churchill: a liability to the free world

‘Churchill was more a liability than an asset to the free world’. That was the motion defended, on September 3rd, by Patrick Buchanan, Norman Stone and Nigel Knight at the Methodist Central Hall Westminster.

Buchanan, Stone and Knight failed to convince the 1,700-strong audience. However, they had to a large degree already failed before the debate began. Prior to the debate, a mere 118 voted in favour of the motion; 1167 voted against; and 422 ‘did not know’. Their arguments convinced just 63 people, with 181 votes against the motion in the aftermath of the debate, and the majority of those who did not know were swayed by the opposition. At the end of the evening, 1194 voted against the motion and just 34 still ‘did not know’.

Buchanan, Stone and Knight condemned Churchill’s economic policies as Chancellor of the Exchequer (from November 1924 to June 1929), his military strategy during the Second World War and the British bombing of German cities in 1945 and blamed him for the loss of the British Empire. According to Nigel Knight, Churchill’s decision to reintroduce the Gold Standard in 1925 severely weakened the British economy, which was consequently hit even harder by the Great Depression. The effects of the Great Depression, in turn, hampered British rearmament and meant that Britain was inadequately armed at the time of the outbreak of the Second World War. Knight also criticised Churchill’s military tactics of delay and dispersion, partly blaming him for the 10 million losses in the last year of the war. When the British army was victorious, at El Alamein for example, he attributed the victory to Montgomery rather than to Churchill, explaining that the British only won because Montgomery refused to follow Churchill’s proposed strategy. Norman Stone accused Churchill of losing the British Empire. Buchanan went so far as to blame Churchill for the outbreak of the Second World War, arguing that he should have instead sought to compromise with Hitler by dividing Europe into spheres of influence. Finally, Buchanan claimed that, at the Yalta conference in 1945, Churchill had given his ‘benediction’ to the Stalinist regime and had supported over 40 years of repressive rule in Eastern Europe.

However, their arguments lacked coherence and consisted above all of a list of individual mistakes which Churchill had allegedly made throughout his 64-year-long political career. Buchanan, Stone and Knight's only consistent argument was that Churchill’s achievements were a myth.

Churchill is indeed, on the whole, viewed as a hero in popular imagination. His statue on Parliament Square alone, just a few metres outside the Methodist Central Hall, is testimony to his heroic legacy. In the shadow of his statue and mythical place in popular imagination, Buchanan, Knight and Stone’s task to persuade the audience that Churchill was, above all, a liability to the free world was almost impossible.

Nevertheless, it seems highly unlikely that this myth was built on thin air alone and just a few of the opposition’s arguments were enough to reassure me that Churchill’s reputation was indeed built on solid foundations. Andrew Roberts, Anthony Beevor and Richard Overy all acknowledged that Churchill made mistakes over the course of his 64-year-long career. However, in Roberts’ words, placed in the wider context of his career and of the time, these mistakes were mere ‘pimples’. Although Churchill’s military tactics of dispersion may not have been entirely effective, they were in keeping with a strong British military tradition and, until the United States entered the war, Britain did not have the necessary forces for a more ‘full-on’ attack.

Above all, one of Churchill’s main strengths was his ability to take advice. His plans for El Alamein may not have been realistic; however, he was able to take advice from Montgomery and the battle was ultimately won. Britain was not a dictatorship and Churchill was not the sole decision maker. In this respect the debate seemed almost pointless: Churchill was not, and could not be, the only person to blame or to praise. Richard Overy described him as ‘largely a spectator’. Roberts, Beevor and Overy all agreed that Churchill was a ‘champion to the free world’ (Roberts) and issues of liberty and freedom formed the core of his set of values and beliefs. Churchill was, and remained throughout his career, a defender of the rule of law and of parliamentary government.

He reaffirmed the necessity to fight for justice and freedom at the end of his last major speech in the House of Commons in March 1955:
‘The day may dawn when fair play, love for one's fellow men, respect for justice
and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth triumphant from
the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never
weary, never despair.’

For Paul Addison’s view on the ‘Churchill Question’ read, Makers of the Twentieth Century: Churchill
For an insight into how Churchill dealt with his political rivals, read our article Churchill and his War Rivals
For information about his attitude to black peoples, read our article Churchill and Black Africa
In Churchill as Chronicler: The Narvik Episode 1940, Piers Mackesy suggests that Churchill was particularly skilled at writing his own version of history. He explains how Churchill made his father, General Mackesy, the scapegoat for the allied failure to recapture Norway in 1940.

Source: History Today
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C.U. policies could limit free speech

by Dani Neuharth-Keusch

The Cornell Daily Sun

Student activism is a long-standing tradition at Cornell, and the University's creed pledges full and equal protection of students' rights; but there is a devil in the details.

Cornell's policies on harassment, tolerance, respect and civility contain so-called speech codes - "Trojan horses" embedded within University guidelines that limit the scope of free speech on campus.

William Creeley, director of legal and public advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, addressed this topic, and the overlying issue of students' First Amendment rights, yesterday evening in Goldwin Smith Hall. "There's a discrepancy," he said. "They promise with one hand and take away with the other."

Cornell's commitment to free expression is clear: "Because it is a special kind of community, whose purpose is the discovery of truth through the practice of free inquiry, a university has an essential dependence on a commitment to the values of unintimidated speech," University policy states. "To curb speech on the grounds that an invited speaker is noxious, that a cause is evil or that such ideas will offend some listeners is therefore inconsistent with a university's purpose."

Yet, Cornell received a "red light" rating from FIRE on the grounds that it "has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech."

"Most universities maintain policies that limit free speech on campus," Creeley said. "The numbers really are shocking." 67 percent of private universities and 77 percent of public institutions have unconstitutional speech codes.

Public universities, as government entities, are bound by the First Amendment. Private institutions draft their own codes of conduct that students must comply with upon matriculation.

Though Cornell is openly in favor of student expression, harassment violations under University policy like "making bias-motivated jokes or statements" are not included in protected speech. This stipulation, among others, could be easily stretched.

"They would not and do not match up to strict legal standard," Creeley said. "If you tell a joke from The Daily Show to your fellow student you are engaging in bias-motivated jokes or statements. Is an administrator necessarily going to punish a student for that? Perhaps not. The problem is that Cornell gives them the discrepancy to do so."

"You put your academic career in the hands of an administrator who may not be inclined to agree with you and he has a policy to back him up," Creeley said.

Though administrators currently do not appear to be taking liberal advantage of the loopholes in Cornell's policy, they would be complying with University codes if they chose to.

The legal basis for university policies that interfere with the freedom of speech is the freedom of assembly. Private institutions have a constitutional right to establish a university under a specific creed.

Konstantin Drabkin '11 stressed the importance of free expression, even when one's views are in the minority. "[We] have the right to the freedom of speech," Drabkin said. "Professors are going to tell you things you don't believe. ... It can be difficult when you're sitting in a lecture of 300 people to raise your hand and speak for your beliefs, but that's what you've got to do."

Creeley responded that generally professors are entitled to their own opinions but these opinions cannot influence a professor to lower a student's grade because of his or her own biases.

"We believe in students being strong enough to participate in the rough-and-tumble of democracy," Creeley said. "We have a saying at FIRE: If you go through four years of college and you're never offended by something, you should ask for your money back."

FIRE is non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. They coordinate legislation in defense of freedom of speech, due process, legal equality, religious liberty and sanctity of conscience.

"We really practice what we preach and that's what makes us unique," Creeley said.

FIRE is broad in its representation, defending groups as diametrically opposed as evangelical Christian organizations and the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The great thing about free speech is that sooner or later everyone's free speech gets challenged, no matter what side of the political spectrum you're on."

Details about the University's FIRE rating can be found at

Source: FIRE

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Bucknell's Oppression of Free Speech in Today's Issue of 'Human Events'

When will Bucknell University realize that trying to suppress free speech is one of the best ways to help the speakers get their message out? Human Events is the latest publication to shine the light of shame on Bucknell's frequent actions to shut down the expression of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC). The article, coauthored by FIRE Program Officer Peter Bonilla and BUCC President Travis Eaione, describes how Bucknell administrators flouted its commitment to free speech and bent its policies out of shape in order to shut down BUCC's satirical "affirmative action bake sale" and BUCC's distribution of "Obama stimulus dollars" in protest of government spending on the federal economic stimulus.

FIRE takes no position on the social, economic, and political issues that BUCC was protesting, but we have brought all our resources to bear on exposing Bucknell's outrageous violations of freedom of expression. Peter and Travis do a wonderful job describing what happened after BUCC's bake sale was shut down over a technicality:

BUCC dutifully reapplied to hold the bake sale again, taking special care to get the paperwork exactly right. This time, however, [Dean Gerald] Commerford said that the bake sale violated Bucknell's discrimination policies — even with optional, satirical pricing — and that BUCC would never, ever be able to hold such an event at Bucknell. In a conversation BUCC recorded, Commerford said, "It's a political issue, ok; it needs to be debated in its proper forum, ok, and not on the public property on the campus."

Bucknell is certainly no "marketplace of ideas" like universities are supposed to be. Commerford insists that BUCC may never raise any kind of discussion on affirmative action unless it occurs in exactly the time, place and manner that Bucknell dictates. By controlling the forum, Bucknell is trying to control the message, too. Affirmative action, it seems, may not be the subject of spontaneous debate at Bucknell.

Peter and Travis add:

It is a sad day when universities use speech codes and other means to make student debate less free on campus than on the public sidewalk. It is even worse when they do so selectively, as Bucknell has done with its singling out of conservative speech for censorship.

Perhaps worst of all, however, is the condescension that Bucknell has shown its own students by deciding they just aren't adult enough to openly debate important issues. Are we really to believe that the students of this well-regarded university are so brittle that they must be protected from such upsetting controversies?

Indeed, Bucknell administrators made quite a mess of interpreting the "Sales and Solicitation" policy in order to find ways to shut down BUCC's expression. When administrator Judith Mickanis was asked about shutting down the distribution of Obama stimulus dollars, she wrote:

I said that consistently permission was needed to hand out anything from Bibles to other matter. You just can't hand things out without approval. ... [G]roups can solicit only from behind tables, not out in the open like they were doing.

That's right: according to her, students were not allowed to distribute any literature of any kind to other students in one of the most public areas of campus—except with prior permission, and certainly not "out in the open"! Bucknell made such a hash of the policy that recently it changed the name of the policy to "Sales and Promotions." (Stay tuned for more on the revisions to the policy.) We have yet to see whether Bucknell students will once again be allowed to engage in one of America's oldest free speech traditions "out in the open."

Bucknell is on FIRE's Red Alert list because it is truly one of the worst universities in the country when it comes to oppressing speech. (See FIRE's full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" issue.) Peter and Travis conclude:

Bucknell is getting a new president next year, and BUCC plans to keep engaging students on issues that affect them. In the meantime, citizens who care about freedom of speech should join the many alumni and others who have written President Mitchell at urging him to truly level the playing field for conservatives on campus.

Thanks to Human Events for running the article. Now it's up to Bucknell to start behaving like a true marketplace of ideas—and up to us to keep pressing Bucknell to do so.

Source: FIRE

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Israel’s Arab Citizens Call General Strike

The increasingly harsh political climate in Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government has prompted the leadership of the country’s 1.3 million Arab citizens to call the first general strike in several years.

The one-day stoppage is due to take place on October 1, a date heavy with symbolism because it marks the anniversary of another general strike, in 2000 at the start of the second intifada, when 13 Arab demonstrators were shot dead by Israeli police.

The Arab leadership said it was responding to a string of what it called “racist” government measures that cast the Arab minority, a fifth of the population, as enemies of the state.

“In recent months, there has been a parallel situation of racist policies in the parliament and greater condoning of violence towards Arab citizens by the police and courts,” said Jafar Farah, the head of Mossawa, an Arab advocacy group in Israel. “This attitude is feeding down to the streets.”

Confrontations between the country’s Arab minority and Mr Netanyahu’s coalition, formed in the spring, surfaced almost immediately over a set of controversial legal measures.

The proposed bills outlawed the commemoration of the “nakba”, or catastrophe, the word used by Palestinians for their dispossession in 1948; required citizens to swear loyalty to Israel as a Zionist state; and banned political demands for ending Israel’s status as a Jewish state. Following widespread outcries, the bills were either watered down or dropped.

But simmering tensions came to a boil again late last month when the education minister, Gideon Saar, presented educational reforms to mark the start of the new school year.

He confirmed plans to drop the word “nakba” from Arabic textbooks and announced his intention to launch classes on Jewish heritage and Zionism. He also said he would tie future budgets for schools to their success in persuading pupils to perform military or national service.

Arab citizens are generally exempted from military service, although officials have recently been trying to push civilian national service in its place.

Mohammed Barakeh, an Arab member of the parliament, denounced the linking of budgets to national service, saying that Mr Saar “must understand that he is the education minister, not the defence minister”.

The separate Arab education system is in need of thousands of more classrooms and is massively underfunded – up to nine times more is spent on a Jewish pupil than an Arab one, according to surveys. Research published by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem last month showed that Jewish schools received five times more than Arab schools for special education classes.

Mr Netanyau, who accompanied Mr Saar on a tour of schools last week, appeared to give his approval to the proposed reforms: “We advocate education that stresses values, Zionism and a love of the land.”

Mr Barakeh also accused government ministers of competing to promote measures hostile to the Arab minority. “Anyone seeking fame finds it in racist whims against Arabs – the ministers of infrastructure, education, transportation, whoever.”

Mr Barakeh was referring to a raft of recent proposals.

Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister and leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, announced last month that training for the diplomatic service would be open only to candidates who had completed national service.

Of the foreign ministry’s 980 employees only 15 are Arab, a pattern reflected across the civil service sector according to Sikkuy, a rights and coexistence organisation.

The housing minister, Ariel Atias, has demanded communal segregation between Jewish and Arab citizens and instituted a drive to make the Galilee, where most Arab citizens live, “more Jewish”.

The interior minister, Eli Yishai, has approved a wave of house demolitions, most controversially in the Arab town of Umm al Fahm in Wadi Ara, where a commercial district has been twice bulldozed in recent weeks.

The transport minister, Israel Katz, has insisted that road signs include placenames only as they are spelt in Hebrew, thereby erasing the Arabic names of communities such as Jerusalem, Jaffa and Nazareth.

Arab legislators have come under repeated verbal attack from members of the government. Last month, the infrastructures minister, Uzi Landau, refused to meet Taleb al Sana, the head of the United Arab List party, on parliamentary business, justifying the decision on the grounds that Arab MPs were “working constantly here and abroad to delegitimise Israel as a Jewish state”.

Shortly afterwards, Mr al Sana and his colleague Ahmed Tibi, the deputy speaker of parliament, attended Fatah’s congress in Bethlehem, prompting Mr Lieberman to declare: “Our central problem is not the Palestinians, but Ahmed Tibi and his ilk – they are more dangerous than Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad combined.”

Mr Tibi responded: “When Lieberman, the foreign minister, says that, ordinary Israelis understand that he is calling for me to be killed as a terrorist. It is the most dangerous incitement.”

Israel’s annual Democracy Index poll, published last month, showed that 53 per cent of Israeli Jews supported moves to encourage Arab citizens to leave.

Mr Farah said the strike date had been selected to coincide with the anniversary of the deaths of 13 Arab citizens in October 2000 to highlight both the failure to prosecute any of the policemen involved and the continuing official condoning of violence against Arab citizens by police and Jewish citizens.

Some 27 Arab citizens have been killed by the police in unexplained circumstances since the October deaths, Mr Farah said, with only one conviction. Last week, Shahar Mizrahi, an undercover officer, was given a 15-month sentence for shooting Mahmoud Ghanaim in the head from point-blank range. The judge called Mizrahi’s actions “reckless”.

This week, in another controversial case, Shai Dromi, a Negev rancher, received six months community service after shooting dead a Bedouin intruder, Khaled al Atrash, as the latter fled.

Mr Farah said the regard in which Arab citizens were held by the government was illustrated by a comment from the public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, in June. During an inspection of police officers working undercover as drug addicts, the minister praised one for looking like a “real dirty Arab”.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan's website.

Source: Dissident Voice

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