Saturday, August 05, 2006

Update from the Grand River, August 5th

This is Six Nations spokesperson Hazel Hill's latest update from the Grand River.

August 5, 2006

Thanks for being patient about updates! I've had a few e-mails wondering what's happening and I have been trying for a few days to get to it. First of all, Nya Weh Kowah! to all of you who have continued to get the word out to other people, countries, and organizations. The support keeps growing! Our commUNITY friends group has posted the billboard size World Map of Supporters at the front gate entrance and its looking good. They've still a few places to add, and mark the supporters but it does show the world that the Haudenesonne/Six Nations are not alone.

As far as updates with respect to negotiations, there is not much to say. The main negotiating table has established 4 side tables to cover areas that are just getting in the way of the main reason we are all here, the land! The four tables are Consultation, Archaeology/Landscaping, Douglas Creek/Plank Road and Education. The side table dealing with education is one that was established because of all of the racism that is being displayed. It doesn't stop.

There are still some of our people who continue to try and support our neighbours and shop in Caledonia, but the treatment of some of them seriously lends to question why. As far as economics, Caledonia business has been supported from the government right from the beginning so I don't see why they are so concerned. They got their money. After all, that is their only concern. And the government was very quick to give it. What did they have to wait, a couple of months? As a matter of fact, according to the CCA (Caledonia Citizens Alliance) minutes, they were assured that they would get their money and that the Six Nations WOULD NOT GET ANYTHING. Of course they had to let things quiet down and make it look like they were these poor victims of a society who tolerates violence and "domestic terrorism" (their latest description of our reclamation); but they did as they were told, and got exactly what they were promised. Doesn't surprise me none.

As a matter of fact, it is exactly what the people have been saying all along. Canada doesn't give two cents to the Onkwehonweh people because it cannot afford to. If they give a dime, then they have to acknowledge all of the wrongs they have committed and as I’ve stated before, Canada doesn't print enough to pay the Onkwehonweh what it owes them. They don't even print enough to pay just the Six Nations let alone all of the Onkwehonweh Territories.

Imagine what will happen to their so-called country if they had to settle all of their land claims. That is the bottom line. They can't. And my gut is telling me they have no intention of doing so. While they continue to play the political games of divide and conquer, they are dragging this thing out and pacifying the neighbourhood at the same time. Course, by the sounds of it, the Crown is negotiating more with CCA then they are with our people. Even Ramsay has met with them, and he hasn't even made any attempt to meet with Six Nations. The "stakeholders" as they like to call it. People with an interest in the land.

First of all, Caledonia are NOT stakeholders, nor do they have an interest in the land. It is not theirs. It is ours. And while the politicians keep backpedaling over statements they make and the media gets a hold of them more or less giving Caledonia the impression that it is theirs and they have no intention of just giving it back to us, and oh by the way, even if it is theirs, WE'LL help them decide what to do with it.

Well, I've got news for the Crowns Canadian government. Re-examine the Two Row! Pretty sure that it say's we will travel the river of life SIDE BY SIDE, that our relationship was based on that of BROTHERS not as FATHER AND SON, and wait a minute, you were suppose to STAY OUT of the governance of our people!!!!!! And you've got the nerve to tell us that we are jeopardizing the whole structure of the Canadian Justice System! Take a look at what you TRIED to do to our GOVERNMENT. And yes, it is a government. The Haudenesonne are the ORIGINAL LEAGUE OF NATIONS, and we are taking our rightful place back uniting all of the Onkwehonweh Nations of the World. And if the Crown wishes an audience, then it must follow protocol and direct your concern through the governor general. It's time we started reminding the Crown that there are processes and protocol to be followed.

The whole mentality of the Crown is that they have some ideology in their head that they have to treat us as children. That came from that Indian Act! We are not their children, and quite frankly, they don't get a say in what we do with our land. I am tired of that whole mentality. They have been slowly trying to get our communities turned in to quaint little municipalities for a very long time now, and its time our people woke up to that fact. Many of our people have seen this coming for the last 50 years. More recently in the last 10 but it's here. One of our Royianne mentioned it the other day and he is right on! We've got all of the makings of a municipality. Even got the blue numbers where they've started gathering the information and all of the data from lands, to determine the size of your property and the amount of taxes you should/would be paying to help offset the expenses of roads etc. I remember the day those blue number's came in and my husband walked straight out and pulled it out of the ground. Then every time we were asked for our blue number and we said we didn't have one, they said you have to have one. You need it for the 911 calls of course. Didn't stop our emergency/police before from finding out where you were before they put them up. And then there is the schools who need them (here come the school taxes), and of course the administrative office needs it for housing, sewers etc. sound familiar?

Now mind you, the CCA believes that we don't pay any taxes and we just get our free cheques every month. Still waiting for mine, Marie! But that is the mentality of many 'canadians'. They don't understand nor do they even try to understand the REALITY of the situation. They believe that since the Haldimand is dated 1784, it's old news and doesn't have any legal status anymore. If that's the case, neither does their Constitution Act of Canada, nor their Royal Proclamation or any of the other treaties that have been established and we're right back to the time of first contact, and you know what, we've re-considered, it's time to go back where YOU came from, because you've proven you can't be trusted and you're intentions were not honourable.

Oh, and for all of you who keep saying that Canada is the land of freedom, get a grip! It is a land of occupied terrorism. Against the Onkwehonweh! The true title holders. The only difference in this war and the others that Bush and Harper are sending their children in to be killed at, is that this war is more subtle. I've said it before and I’ll say it again, we've been at war since they've killed the Peacemaker only ours is a spiritual war. We're trying to maintain Peace.........what is it you're trying to maintain Canada? Your USURPED authority to steal and enforce your laws on our people?

Speaking of which, Justice Marshall is rendering his decision on Tuesday with respect to the people not abiding by his original ruling that we are in 'contempt' of a court order. And conveniently enough the Crown's representatives have taken a 'short break' in negotiations and are not coming back to the table until the 23rd of August. Maybe their break is to give the courts and the opp time to take action. Nothing would surprise me! The OPP have assured the CCA that once things quiet down, they will make the arrests. They are 'shelving' the charges right now, “but when things calm down and they have more things settled then the OPP will come in with the other charges. Until then people will think charges won't be laid at all (other than the ones related to the April 20th incident)".

Of course when they say people, they mean Six Nations, there are no charges pending for the Caledonia citizens who are blatantly displaying their racism and hate crimes toward our people, nor are there any charges pending for those who "swarmed" and damaged the elderly man's vehicle on the May 24th weekend. No, he got charged! Then they keep claiming our men 'swarmed' the poor elderly couple, but did they tell you that the poor couple intentionally drove at and hit one of our men! And never mind the idiots who continually try to come into the camp to incite violence, if we respond to protect, it is we who get charged. So the "justice system" is really the "JustUS" system, meaning "justthem".

And while Toby Barrett goes around trying to compare attempted murder of a Buffalo Police Officer with the situation that happened on June 9th with no mention of the TRUTH on how that whole situation played out, including the fact that the officer did more physical damage to himself by jumping out of a moving vehicle and that we do have WITNESSES to state that FACT, the propaganda campaign continues.

Meantime, our supporters from other territories are still working hard at getting the attention of the rest of those occupying our territory along the grand. Good work Kanienkehaka Women who stopped the hydro development windmill project at the head of the river! I think we need to keep getting that message out all over Canada. As long as they continue to use their stall tactics on how NOT to deal with natives (what page are we on in their little book now?), we need to keep the pressure up just as well. Maybe it's time to start asking our supporters to take action. We've given in every step of the way, and haven't gotten a thing out of it. The people said it wouldn't be enough to remove the barricades and it wasn't. Now they want us off the land. They want the flags down. They're angry because the government offered the Burtch lands, lands in Cayuga Township and Townsend and yet, they haven't produced any so what exactly did we get? Oh yeah, we got to plant beans. I hope they are magic beans!

And you gotta check out the CaledoniaWakeUp website. Apparently they like to spread the bs so thick the environmentalists are looking at charging them with polluting the Grand! And they've dubbed me Hazel (Hamburger) Hill, which if you've seen the movie, they're intentions are no different. Kill everyone who gets in the way. Again I have news for the Crown. You will not take this Hill!!!! You might be able to kill me, but you will never kill the spirit of the Onkwehonweh.

Hazel E. Hill

(c) August 6, 2006

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40,000 US Troops Have Deserted Since 2000

Since 2000, about 40,000 troops from all branches of the military have deserted. Those who help war resisters say desertion is more prevalent than the military has admitted. "They lied in Vietnam with the amount of opposition to the war and they’re lying now," said Eric Seitz, an attorney who represents Army Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to the war in Iraq.

Read more about it here (Truthout).

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Iran Says Oil May Hit $100/Barrel

Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian said on Friday global crude oil prices could touch $100 a barrel on geopolitical tension and soaring winter demand.
Adding to worries over supplies, an Iraqi pipeline carrying crude from the country's northern oilfields to Turkey's Ceyhan port was bombed on Monday, pushing back the planned restart of exports along the route.

Now isn't this just what we want to hear?

Read about it here. (Truthout)

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Sketchy Thoughts: [Three Way Fight] Defending My Enemy's Enemy

"Question to the U.S. left and anti-war movement about the current war in Lebanon: If we want Israel to fail in its stated objective to destroy Hezbollah, does that mean we want Hezbollah to win?"...writes Matthew Lyons in this thought-provoking article posted on Sketchy Thoughts.

Read full article and Kersplebedeb's following commentary here:
Sketchy Thoughts: [Three Way Fight] Defending My Enemy's Enemy

Iraq Dispatches: A City Lives On With Its Ill-Fated Charm

"Beirut is on a precipice...", writes Dahr Jamail in this report from Lebanon. He writes about the civil war through the seventies and eighties that ripped Beirut apart, after which a shaky peace had emerged, only to be shattered once again by Israel's bombs.

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** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website **
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A City Lives On With Its Ill-Fated Charm

*Inter Press Service*
Dahr Jamail

*BEIRUT, Aug 5 (IPS) - The poster on the corniche near the American University campus in Beirut has become justly well known. It shows a Muslim woman in full black abaya walking next to a slender woman in a bikini. Together, they're the face of Beirut.*

Again this weekend Israeli jets bombed the Muslim areas of Beirut, 'Hezbollah strongholds' as Israel sees them. It also bombed a bridge in the Christian area of the city in recent days. But attacks on a Christian area are rare; Beirut is not quite one in getting shattered.

This has been a city with two faces, Christian and Muslim. The distinction between the two has not always been that sharp. Beirut at its most charming merges the two entirely. But it is in that division that Beirut has found its troubles, and also overcome them.

It's the conflict between Christian and Muslim groups that ripped Beirut apart over years of civil war through the seventies and eighties. It was ignited when a militant group of Christian right-wingers massacred all 27 Palestinian passengers in a bus Apr.. 13, 1975. Reprisal killings followed, setting off a spiral of violence that continued 17 years.

Beirut was before then a city that had merged two faces, even two worlds. The West gave it the title 'Paris of the Orient'. Its white villas with those red tiled roofs sent well-heeled shoppers to the chic shopping districts downtown. It was a city on holiday.

Beirut drew Westerners who could ski on Mount Lebanon overlooking the city by day, and drive down to a seafood feast on the warmth of its beaches by the crystal blue Mediterranean in the evening. Odd, how this little country of less than four million has managed to include so many contrasts.

Western influence has been strong on a large middle class. Many parents have traditionally sent their children to the West for higher education. Many young Lebanese married abroad, and carry two passports. And in turn their children are often raised both in Lebanon and the West.

Over time, that became more the pattern for the Christian than the Muslim population. And among Muslims, Shias have grown to almost 60 percent of the Lebanese population now. With the growth of Shias came the rise of the Hezbollah to counter the Israeli threats from the south.

Within the country religious groups began to splinter in the early seventies. Sunni and Shia Muslims, displaced Palestinians, Maronite Christians, Druze groups, all began to go their different ways; they often found themselves in the way of others, and others in theirs. The bus massacre only gave this explosive mix the ignition.

Syrian intervention, followed by an Israeli invasion in March 1978 brought yet more killing. It reached a point where several countries including France and the United States had to send in peacekeepers. But they too became targets; in 1983 220 U.S. marines and 21 other servicemen were killed in their barracks in Beirut in a terrorist attack. The peacekeeping forces withdrew.

The civil war claimed 18,000 lives in Beirut alone.

The Taif Accord, signed in Taif in Saudi Arabia Oct. 22, 1989, reduced some of the disproportionately high power that Maronite Christians held, and provided for a Cabinet divided equally between Christians and Muslims. But that arrangement still did not make room enough for the growing power of the Shias. At the same time the government could do little to counter Israeli threats.

The Hezbollah that rose in the eighties proceeded to become a militant power stronger than the Lebanese military. The Hezbollah were the ones preparing to take on Israel.

But even so, after a couple of years of the signing of the Taif agreement, peace had become fairly stable. Trade picked up, and tourism began to flourish as it had in the Beirut of the years between World War II and the early seventies. Israel continued to occupy portions of southern Lebanon, but the people of Beirut began to wipe off the dust, and began to rebuild.

That was until the new destruction began last month, that has made about a quarter of the population refugees in their own country. The Shatila camp too has become a refugee camp again. This is where Israel-backed Christian militiamen killed close to a thousand Palestinian refugees in 1982.

Once again Lebanon has fallen just as it had begun to rise again. Before this round of Israeli bombing of Beirut began Jul. 12, you could pass a shelled building, with its walls pockmarked by shrapnel and bullets from the civil war days, standing next to a gleaming shopping centre with workers polishing the glass for the perfect shine. The new bombing is providing more such contrasts. You can still pass villas and fashionable restaurants, not far from the born again Shatila refugee camp.

Old Mercedes taxis, many more than 30 years old, belch out black smoke as they get overtaken by new Mercedes cars driven by chic young Lebanese on the roads that are still motorable. That contrast Beirut has lived with. The new one between the destruction of southern Beirut and the rebuilt smartness of central and Christian Beirut will be a lot harder to bridge.

Beirut still boasts some of the finest restaurants around the Mediterranean. And it has exported its traditional salads, rice and lamb dishes and its kebabs and hummus around the world. But it lives with 20 percent unemployment. The old civil war drove capital away from the city; the new one is likely to drive back much that had come in after the Taif agreement.

It's the Shia population shattered most. Through these days of destruction, Hamra, a ten-minute drive from the southern districts where most of the Shia population live, presents a face of life as usual. Joggers are doing their rounds at the coast as usual, shops remain open, the streets are clogged with traffic. Israel has chosen with some care the face of Lebanon that it has picked to bomb.

Hamra remains pleasant, but under the cloud of war. The waves of tourists have been replaced by a trickle of journalists. Electricity supply is sporadic, queues for petrol are lengthening. Beirut - and Hamra too - are on a precipice. The way down from the cliffs this time may not end with seafood on the Mediterranean coast.

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the DahrJamailIraq website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media. Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

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Iraq Dispatches: Black Beaches in Lebanon

In this dispatch, independent American journalist Dahr Jamail is looking at the black, sludge-filled beaches of Lebanon and talking to the dejected fishermen, whose livelihood is now gone. All up and down Lebanon's previously beautiful, picturesque coastline, oil has choked the harbours and covers this area of the Meditarrean. This environmental disaster was caused by Israel's air strikes on oil storage tanks at the electrical plant in El-Jiye.

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Black Beaches in Lebanon

July 29, 2006

Towards the beginning of the war, Israeli air strikes target five of the six oil storage tanks at the electrical plant in El-Jiye city. El-Jiye is a small coastal city roughly 20 miles south of Beirut. The prevailing winds blow towards the north, up the coast, so this translates into most of the coast of Lebanon north of that city now being smeared with 50,000 tons of fuel oil.

On Friday my photographer friend Raoul, a British photographer named Mark and I headed up to the coastal city of Byblos to see how the fishermen there and local tourist economy were holding up. I'd seen some of the footage of the oil choked boat harbor in Byblos, and wanted to see it for myself.

After a nice drive up the highway north to Byblos, (there is much more traffic on the roads now that most of the air strikes have let up in the area north of Beirut), we arrived to find the harbor nearly completely filled with oil.

"What a disaster, this is heartbreaking," muttered Raoul while Mark and I stood by and nodded our disgust.

Byblos is a seaside city whose economy is heavily reliant on fishing and tourism. The city dates from the 5th millennium B.C. and it is believed that the linear alphabet originated there.

We spread out and took photos of the sludge filled harbor, an odd scene as the setting was so beautiful. Date palm fronds ruffled in the sea breeze as they stood amongst harbor-view restaurants with flags from various Arab countries fluttering. The salty air from the sea would have been nice, if it wasn't for the tinged oily residue smell that by the end of our visit left me with a headache.

The bottoms of most of the boats, at water line, looked like a bad graffiti artist with too many cans of jet-black spray paint went on a rampage during the night. Ropes which tied the boats to the dock lifted up and down as boats shifted in the waves. As they stretched tight, rivulets of oil dripped from them back into the oil-covered water. It was so thick it looked like you could walk on it to pick up the garbage
which was trapped in the oil.

After about an hour we decided to take a lunch at one of the empty restaurants. While the photographers carried on their work, I went to one of these and found three men sitting at a table smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, and staring at the harbor.

"The Lebanese government definitely does not have the capability to clean this up," Nabil Baz, the restaurant owner said to me after I introduced myself as a journalist. After ordering me a coffee, he said, "I heard we were going to get some help from Kuwait, but I don't know how true this is or when they might start the cleanup process."

The occasional local strolled by on the sidewalk beneath us; otherwise the harbor was empty, along with the empty fishing boats bobbing in the sludge, their tubs of nets sitting idle.

Nabil, while talking with me, would periodically look out over the harbor and shake his head, take a drag from his cigarette, then return to our discussion. As bad as the scene was, he believed the main problem for the fishermen, rather than the oil spill, was the Israeli naval blockade of Lebanon which has prevented any boat traffic to leave the coast for any reason.

"No fishermen are able to work at all," he said, "I have no idea how our community will recover from this. We are going to need some serious help."

Since the bombing of El-Jiye, a huge black smoke plume has been visible even from areas in northern Lebanon, beyond Byblos. The smoke varies between blowing up the coast or into the nearby mountains. From Byblos it appeared as a faint grey smudge across the sky, just off the coast. But that was only because on that day the wind was blowing more inland - so down in Beirut the plume was going towards the mountains.

Joseph Chaloub, a 55 year-old fisherman who has fished from the Byblos harbor his entire life, sat with us. He said that his greatest concern now was the lack of a cleanup operation.

"The problem is there is no cleanup, along with the Israeli blockade," he said while pointing to the nearby Mediterranean, "Otherwise we could fish and survive. Now, it's a catastrophe that people have lost their livelihood."

In addition to the fishing industry, the overall economy of Byblos, like so many other cities in Lebanon who rely heavily on tourism for their survival, has ground to a near standstill.

"Everything is down now, only the local markets and the refugees are keeping our economy going," a local banker named Tony Ashar who was sitting with us added, "Also there is no US currency in our banks to give to people when they want to make a withdrawal."

Ashar explained that since Israeli warplanes bombed Beirut International Airport, the influx of US dollars to Lebanese banks, which rely on the currency for travelers since the value of the Lebanese currency is fluid and low, has come to a complete halt.

"We usually have US currency flown in, but now there's a big concern that we may have to limit the amount of US dollars we can give out," he continued, "So that makes it difficult for people to travel, which is a big problem since so many people are leaving the country now."

I should add that the Lebanese immigration authorities are working 18 hours a day and issuing an average of 5,000 passports per day, as the flow of people out of Lebanon continues. Foreign nationals are still being loaded onto ships from the port of Beirut to be whisked to safety on nearby Cypress.

Mohamad Yasouk, an information technology engineer who was also sitting at the table, said that he didn't believe the already weak economy of Lebanon could survive much longer if the war continued more than two more weeks.

"With the oil spill and the war, all of the tourists are gone," he said, "I came to Byblos from south Beirut since my home was bombed." He turned and pointed a short ways up the coast and added, "Yet even here two nights ago the Israelis bombed an Army radar nearby. The same one they bombed two weeks ago."

Nabil, while forlornly staring at the sludge filled harbor and empty sidewalks again, said that this was what Byblos looked like in the middle of winter. "The tourists are afraid because of the war, then the few who are left here don't want to eat the fish, even though the fish are caught further to the north and brought here. So our main economy is gone now."

After our meal we drove back to Beirut. I'd been to the tourist beaches here a few days ago - to take photos of the flotillas of oil washing up on the empty beaches, which are usually jammed with tourists this time of year.

Pools of oil sloshed up with the waves, staining the beach and rocks. A group of Palestinian fishermen who used to fish the coast near the capital city sat staring at the waves as the sun began to set in late afternoon.

Several of them were sitting around in a small beach hut with a palm frond roof. They too were staring at the sea, as if to wish the oil away, and the Israeli naval blockade, so they could do their work. Instead of working their nets and earning money by selling fresh sea bass to the local markets and restaurants, the darkly tanned men were sitting around drinking strong Arabic coffee and smoking too many

"If we tried to fish, the Israelis would kill us," said one of them who told me his name was Hafez. "Besides, nobody would eat the fish anyway even if we could fish. Now we wait for a miracle, something to take this oil away and stop this war."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the DahrJamailIraq website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media. Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

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Iraq Dispatches: Images from Lebanon

In this latest dispatch from Dahr Jamail, you will see pictures he took of the different aspects of the conflict in Lebanon.

This is the first of several dispatches from Dahr in a couple of days. I was beginning to worry about his well-being, so I'm glad to have finally heard from my friend, the intrepid journalist.

His subsequent dispatches of today are republished in my next few posts.

As always, they are republished with the kind permission of Dahr.

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website **
** Website by **

August 05, 2006

Images from Lebanon

I have taken many photographs of different aspects of the conflict in Lebanon.

To view:
Israeli Air Strikes Targeting Lebanese Red Cross
Click here

To view:
Scenes from Shelter in Qana where on July 30, Israeli air strikes killed over 60 civilians, 37 of whom were children, as they slept in a shelter.
Click here

To view:
Views of villages and roads in southern Lebanon which have been hit by Israeli air strikes. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
Targets destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Sidon, and on highway between Sidon and Beirut. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
Wounded Lebanese civilians, many in critical condition, crowd hospitals in Sidon. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
Israeli air strikes destroyed 5 of 6 oil storage tanks at electrical plant in El-Jiye, leaving much of Lebanon's coast covered in oil, including the ancient harbor at Byblos.
Click here

To view:
Images of destruction south of Beirut, as well as inside Beirut, from Israeli air raids. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
As Israeli air strikes continue, wounded Lebanese arrive at hospitals in Beirut. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
Israeli bombings of oil storage tanks near the coast, along with an Hezbollah attack against an Israeli warship have left Beirut's beaches covered in oil.
Click here

To view:
Approximately 75% of southern Beirut has been damaged or destroyed by a massive Israeli air assault. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
Lebanese refugees from southern Beirut and southern Lebanon, fleeing Israeli bombs, now living in Parks in central Beirut. July 2006.
Click here

To view:
Refugees from Lebanon clog the northern border with Syria, as they flee for their lives from indiscriminate Israeli bombing of their country, July 2006.
Click here

To view:
As Israel invades Lebanon, tens of thousands of people jam the border with Syria to escape the bloodshed in July 2006.
Click here

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the DahrJamailIraq website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media. Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

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Pérez Esquivel on working toward Global Peace

"It is necessary that peoples take up social, cultural, political and spiritual resistance through mobilization, non-cooperation with violence and injustice, that they join forces with other peoples and denounce those responsible for the domination and the pain that afflicts all humanity." -- Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

The following essay was written by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, sent from Buenos Aires on August 1, 2006. In this compelling piece, Esquivel makes an impassioned plea for peace and cogent suggestions toward stopping the cycle of violence that perpetuate conflict. War profiteers make obscene amounts of money on the blood of innocents. Churches, global institutions, writers, artists, and indeed sane people everywhere, must join together to mobilise for a stop to this insanity!

At this time in particular, with the raging conflict in the Middle East, his words are timely, and we would do well to pay heed.

My thanks to Jordan Bishop for sending his translated version to the Peace-1 group.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

Nobel Peace Prize, 1980

Buenos Aires, August 1, 2006

The human race has been shaken by the increase in wars and armed conflicts, the incessant increase in irrationality, irrationality that believes that violence is a solution. All that this has achieved to date is to increase the number of deaths, of bloodshed among peoples, while governments and those in power try to justify the unjustifiable. For some, war is a business whose cost is on the backs of peoples, those who undergo death, pain and suffering.

Israel has ignored the General Assembly of the United Nations and other international organisms, to the tune of forty-six resolutions; with total and absolute impunability , upheld and protected by the United States which, while exercising their right of veto , to impede resolutions that condemned Israel for their attacks and oppression against the Palestinian people, Lebanon and other Arab nations.

The pride of power has led them to inflict greater violence without measuring the consequences. They are following one way streets and employing means that justify their ends. The price of "collateral damage" has no importance in the face of the killing of children, women, young people and defenceless old people. And they want the world to believe that they are the victims rather than victimizers.

The escalating violence unleashed by the United States and Israel in the Middle East, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan , have been marked by the atrocities committed in the prisons of Abu Ghraib and in the US military base in Guantánamo, Cuba. They have inflicted torture, cruel and degrading treatment, condemned by the United Nations , in violation of humanitarian and international law. Israel has justified and used torture to achieve their ends. International law has been pulverized.

It is necessary that the international community put and end to the barbarisms, to the massacres. We must say, one again, that we do not justify violent action from any quarter. We must condemn every kind of terrorism: that of clandestine groups and state terrorism. We must clearly uphold the right of peoples to exist, to sovereignty, to life and freedom.

Let us add our voices to thousands of other voices: ENOUGH OF WAR!

In Israel, in Palestine and in the world, citizens are mobilizing to demand a stop to the violence, to open a dialogue that may permit a solution to the serious problems that affect the Middle East: Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Thomas Merton said: "Power has nothing to do with peace. The more that military power increases, the more it destroys and the more it violates peace."

Look at what this world has achieved. It has lost balance, lost the capacity to realize that war is a tragedy for everyone. It is urgent to disarm armed reason, to recognize that nothing can be gained by opposing each violent action with a larger one, but that we must develop the capacity to meet the other, to respect the other.

If this does not happen, the victors of any band are defeated and become victims of their own violence and stupidity. And the defeated will look for revenge for their own frustrations. No one will achieve peace and the wounds remain open for generations without healing. More than fifty years of war between Israel and Palestine have failed to bring any good for these peoples; all that has been achieved is to sow destruction, poverty, pain and death.

Those in government surround themselves with guards and sophisticated equipment to protect themselves and they are always safe from the bombs and attacks that justify massacres against the other. Thus they encourage the troops so that they will go on killing.

They employ violence and the justification of words, words empty of real content. They make long speeches that they themselves do not believe in. Meanwhile the number of deaths increases, and human beings become an abstraction. How many died today? How many civilians, how many soldiers, how many children, women, youths and old people will die today? What is it like to wait for the "intelligent bomb" that will destroy them in five minutes, an hour, a second? What is the price of all this madness? How do we compare the value of a life and the price of a bomb? What is the price of a tank or a fighter plane?

Do our leaders, our war lords, know that more than thirty-five thousand children die of hunger every day, according to a report of the FAO? How many hospitals, schools, programs for life could be financed for the price of just one of these engines of death?

For the powerful lords of war, business is business, death produces dividends, the "intelligent bombs" kill more and kill better, the tanks and fighter planes destroy more, destroy better. Who are these merchants of death who get rich on the blood of peoples?

It is urgent that we react. Words are not enough. The pain and death produced by the war continue, in the fact of the irresponsability of governments that unleash violence and then do not know know to contain it or avoid it.

War is born in the minds of men and it is necessary to disarm armed consciousness, it is necessary to find other ways to resolve conflicts.

It is necessary to change the course of events through collective action, developing solidarity among peoples.

It is necessary that intellectuals, artists, educators wake up, clear away the dust and put into practice thought and action, some coherence between what is said and what is done. Only thus will they be believable, only thus can they contribute to inspire the efforts of many others, to stop the madness of war and bring about Peace.

We must mobilize workers, youths, men and women who call for another world that is possible.

How will they learn, the peoples of Israel and Palestine, to live together as brothers and not as enemies? When will they stop killing each otherf? This is what they have done to date and they have achieved absolutely nothing, except to justify the horror in the name of human stupidity.

The Churches must get together, at an ecumenical and world scale, to pray and to act, without sectarian divisions or fundamentalisms. Pray to the God of Life for an immediate cessation of violence.

It is necessary to increase the possibilities of dialogue, of consensus, of agreemnts that respect the rights of each people. We need the political will and the taking of decisions, something that demands courage. We must send into exile the fears and the fatalisms, the cowardice hidden behind canons and rifles, tanks and aircraft, things that do not allow them to see beyond their own small-minded and petty interests.

It is necessary that peoples take up social, cultural, political and spiritual resistance through mobilization, non-cooperation with violence and injustice, that they join forces with other peoples and denounce those responsible for the domination and the pain that afflicts all humanity.

The United Nations, and the international organizations have been neutralized and pushed aside by the political interests of the big powers such as the United States and Great Britain. In the first article of the Declaration of the United Nations Organization it says: "We the peoples of the World." We have to stand up and march towards new horizons of life and not of death. In the face of everything, this is the hope.


Rapid translation by Jordan Bishop, Ottawa

From the Servicio Informative "Alai-amlatina."

Agencia Latinoamericana de Information - ALAI


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Join in commemorating the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

Sunday August 6, and/or

Wednesday, August 9, at Nathan Phillips Square

(the site is the Peace Garden in front of New City Hall)


A thirty-minute program starting at 6 pm during the IRIE Music Festival at Nathan Phillips Square on Sunday August 6 will feature dub poet Clifton Joseph, the Yakudo Traditional Japanese Drummers, the reading of the Toronto Peace Message from Mayor David Miller, and the reading of the Peace Message from Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba by a granddaughter of a Hiroshima survivor.

On Wednesday August 9, the Nagasaki commemoration will take place near the Peace Garden on Nathan Phillips Square from 6:30 to 9 pm
with Phyllis Creighton as MC. The program begins with Origami paper cranes folding and storytelling for children, the Yakudo Drummers, the reading of the Toronto Peace Message and the Peace Message from Nagasaki Mayor Iccho Itoh, featured speaker Mel Hurtig*, Shakuhachi bamboo flute playing by Bonchiku Hoshi, a reading of Kurihara Sadako's poem, "Bring Forth New Life," and Yusuke Tanaka singing "Don't Let It Happen Again". There will also be announcements from Mayors for Peace and a declaration from recent World Peace Forum in Vancouver. Dub poet Clifton Joseph, student Yuki Otsuji and the Raging Grannies will also contribute to the program. The evening closes with a Lantern Ceremony accompanied by bamboo flute playing by Bonchiku Hoshi.

* Mel Hurtig is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has been awarded honourary degrees by six Canadian universities. Among his many other awards and honours are the Lester B. Pearson Man of the Year Peace Award, the Speaker of the Year Award, the Royal Society of Canada's Centenary Medal, and, on two occasions, the Canadian Book Publisher of the Year award. He has been the National Chairman of the Committee for an Independent Canada, and is the founder and former Chairman of the Council of Canadians. Mel Hurtig also founded and published The Canadian Encyclopedia. He is the author of several bestsellers, and his latest book Rushing to Armageddon: The Shocking Truth About Canada, Missile Defence and Star Wars, was termed by the Globe and Mail "perhaps the most important book published in Canada this year."

140,000 Japanese were killed in the first American atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. In Nagasaki 74,000 were killed and another 75,000 injured on August 9, 1945 when the U.S. dropped the second atomic bomb on that city.

Further info? Call Michael Nevin (416-463-9163), or Anton Wagner (416-863-1209)

Friday, August 04, 2006

History TV: "The Bomber's Dream", August 7th

Here's something to consider for communications and events you may be planning around the anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings this week-end.

The Bomber's Dream, a film by Barry Stevens.

It's a feature length look at the very controversial practice of bombing civilians, in history and in the present. The film has a somewhat personal touch, as Barry Stevens's family "more or less bombed each other" in the second world war. The film deals with the development of the law and ethics of war, and an international legal regime to stop our very worst capabilities. It's not a happy film, but there is hope.

The film airs on History TV on Aug. 7th (between the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.) People should check for local broadcast times.

A press release follows.

Fergus Watt
WFM - Canada




Documentary airs Monday, August 7,

8pm ET/5 pm PT with a repeat at 12am ET/9 pm PT

(July 11, 2006) Nothing epitomizes the brutality of modern warfare like aerial bombing. By the end of World War II, bombing had erased the old distinction between soldiers and civilians. Air power has given the USA and the West their unprecedented dominance. Yet rarely has television told this story. THE BOMBER'S DREAM is a landmark, feature-length film that takes a hard look at the hidden history of the most significant military innovation of the past century.

The documentary is a highlight of Bombardier Week on History Television, and airs the day after Hiroshima Day on Monday, August 7, 8pm ET/5 pm PT with a repeat at 12am ET/9 pm PT.

Award-winning Canadian filmmaker Barry Stevens weaves history and a present-day detective story into a visually arresting and personal journey into the heart of desire for ultimate military power. THE BOMBER¹S DREAM addresses the heated moral controversy of aerial bombing and looks at a recent high-tech air strike that went tragically wrong, resulting in the first-ever lawsuit by the victims against those who bombed them.

For British-born Stevens, the film reflects both his boyhood dream of becoming an RAF pilot and a deep family divide. His mother, whose earliest memory was of a German Zeppelin bombing during World War I, survived the London blitz of the next war. But he also had German cousins fighting for the Nazis, one of whom recounts his British bombing raids as an ace Luftwaffe pilot.

"What prompted me to look at bombing," says Stevens, "was that knowledge of my family bombing each other and the sense that no other form of warfare is so impersonal, for the warrior, and yet so devastating and so immediate for ordinary people. Our history with bombing ­ especially the way we beat the Germans and the Japanese by bombing the heart of their cities ­ somehow is rarely examined. When it has been, it's been one-sided, either praising, for instance, the awesome power of the F15 on the right, or making pleas for victims of war on the left. I tried to make a film that gave the whole picture from above and below."

Stevens interviews people who do the bombing, and others who have been bombed, as well as historians, ethicists, and a U.S. Air Force lawyer who decides whether a target is legal. Among those taking part are Swedish historian Sven Lindqvist; Noble Frankland, the official historian of Bomber Command; and Michael Walzer, the world¹s leading ethicist on Just War theory.

The emotional core is the story of Vesna Milenkovich who lost her daughter Sanya during a 1999 NATO air strike on a bridge in the small Serbian town of Varvarin. Milenkovich joins other injured townspeople to seek justice in a foreign court. While the legal battle continues, Stevens seeks to find out who made the decision to attack the bridge, how and why. In doing so, he traces the story of how we both developed our capacity for total destruction and tried to rein it in with laws like the Geneva Conventions. After many attempts, Stevens tracks down and confronts the Kosovo war's commander, Gen. Wesley Clark, a 2004 U.S. presidential nominee.

"Iraq and Afghanistan were where bombing started, the British were bombing there over 85 years ago," says Stevens. "Now we are back there, but are actually able to target a truck in Kandahar from a joystick in Las Vegas. Does that make us more callous, or more careful?"

A writer, director, and producer of many documentaries, Barry Stevens is perhaps best known for Offspring (2001), describing his search for the sperm donor who was his biological father, and for his 200 or so half-siblings. It was sold to about 40 countries and nominated for an International Emmy, and received the Donald Brittain Gemini for best social documentary, and other honors. Stevens also became an advocate against the anonymity of sperm donors. His writing awards include Geminis for Gerrie & Louise, (1997 International Emmy for Best Documentary) and The Diary of Evelyn Lau (featuring the screen debut of Sandra Oh).


This is the latest update from about the real cost of gasoline in the U.S. and who's to blame for the escalating gas prices, how to get extra gas mileage, the new Fords, the growing popularity of hybrids, and more gasoline-automobile-related news. Very interesting...


August 2, 2006: Eight dollars a gallon is the real cost to the U.S. for gasoline when you take into account all of the hidden costs, including military expenditures in the Middle East, according to an expert cited in the Chicago Tribune's fascinating "Oil Safari" story ... Who's to blame for high gas prices? According to an analysis by the Associated Press, oil companies are responsible for more of the problem than they are owning up to ... Toyota continues its vehicle sales climb in the United States, beating Ford for the first month ever. Don't look for Ford's fortunes to turn around any time soon based on what they are rolling out for 2007 ... Won't pick-up truck drivers keep buying gas-hog vehicles no matter what? Not necessarily. One survey shows that over 50 percent of truck drivers planning to buy a vehicle in the next six months are considering switching to a regular car or even a hybrid! ... It's a(nother) gas! Some drivers are borrowing a page from NASCAR drivers and getting a little extra mileage by filling their car tires with nitrogen instead of air ...

Tomgram: Judith Coburn on Flunking Counterinsurgency 101

On the April day in 2003 when American troops first pushed into Baghdad, historian Marilyn Young noted a strange phenomenon. In a single rush, the Vietnam War vocabulary had returned to our media. She promptly dubbed Iraq, "Vietnam on crack cocaine."

It's true that, for a while, the administration played an eerie opposites game, spending much of its PR time avoiding any whiff of Vietnam terminology. "Body bags" were renamed (and the homecoming dead hidden from the cameras); "body counts" were excised from the official military vocabulary -- or as General Tommy Franks, commander of our Afghan War, put it in 2002: "I don't believe you have heard me or anyone else in our leadership talk about the presence of 1,000 bodies out there, or in fact how many have been recovered… You know we don't do body counts" (except privately, of course).

But that was then, this is now. Here we are, well into the second term of Bush's Vietnam-on-crack-cocaine, Global-War-on-Terror policies. Significantly more time has passed, as Newsweek's Michael Hirsh recently pointed out, than it took the U.S. to win World War II in the Pacific:

"We are now nearly five years into a war against a group that was said to contain no more then 500 to 1,000 terrorists at the start (in case anyone's counting, 1,776 days have now passed since 9/11; that is more than a full year longer than the time between Pearl Harbor and the surrender of Japan, which was 1,347 days). The war just grows and grows. And now Lebanon, too, is part of it."

And, as if giving up in its titanic struggle against the undead of our Vietnam experience, the Bush administration is now openly recycling in ever more chaotic, violent, and disastrous Iraq ancient, failed Vietnam-era policies. It's enough to give old-timers that Post-Traumatic-Stress-Syndrome feeling, as Vietnam-era war correspondent Judith Coburn explains vividly below.

Of course, we all know that Iraq is not Vietnam -- and not just because of the lack of jungle or the different language. But here's one difference between the two eras that is perhaps worth a little more attention:

In Vietnam, the U.S. military, the mightiest force then on the planet, was fought to a draw and defeated politically by a remarkably unified Vietnamese national resistance movement led by North Vietnamese communists, but with a powerful southern guerrilla element. The guerrillas in the south were backed by the North Vietnamese (and, as the war went on, by enormous chunks of the North Vietnamese military); North Vietnam was supplied with weaponry and massive support by a superpower, the Soviet Union, and a regional power, emerging Communist China.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Human Shields: Shielding the Truth

The writer of this article disputes Israel's claim that Hezbollah resistance fighters are using civilians as human shields in justifying their attacks on Qana and the high Lebanese civilian casualties in its war on that country.

Human Shields: Shielding the Truth

- Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi*, Arab Media Watch, July 31, 2006 -

During Israel's 2006 onslaught and invasion of Lebanon, Israeli spokespeople and British media figures have increasingly blamed the high number of Lebanese civilian casualties on Hezbollah using them as "human shields." The group has stringently denied this.

Israeli commentator Amos Oz, in a 20 July opinion piece in the Evening Standard, used the term "human sandbags." His claim was run in a front-page news story in the paper, with the huge headline 'The Human Sandbags.' He was the only source in the article, and there was no attempt to ask human rights groups, journalists or Lebanese officials to verify whether this very serious allegation is true.

A day later, I was interviewed on radio with former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy, who repeated this claim, as did regular columnist Frederick Forsyth in the 28 July edition of the Daily Express, and Leo McKinstry in the Sun on 31 July.

Israel and its sympathisers have been using this excuse for the killing of Lebanese civilians even more since the bombing on 30 July of a four-story residential building in Qana, killing dozens, mainly women and children.

However, reporters at the scene said they had seen no Hezbollah fighters or action at the time, none of the bodies recovered have been militants, rescue workers have found no weapons in the building that was struck, and Human Rights Watch said that "Israel has not presented any evidence to show that Hezbollah was present in or around the building that was struck at the time of the attack." This scenario has been repeated many times during Israel's attacks.

HRW says responsibility for the "appalling" Qana attack "rests squarely with the Israeli military," calling it "the latest product of an indiscriminate bombing campaign that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have waged in Lebanon." Executive Director Kenneth Roth says the attack "suggests that the Israeli military is treating southern Lebanon as a free-fire zone."[1]

"The concept of 'free-fire' zones is incompatible with international humanitarian law," says Irene Khan, Amnesty International's secretary general. "The attack in Qana is symptomatic of the way in which this conflict has been fought to date and indicates either that Israel is failing to take necessary precautions to spare civilians or that it has intentionally launched a disproportionate attack on civilians."[2]
Furthermore, AMW has spoken to numerous sources on the ground in Lebanon, including several international human rights organisations (Amnesty, Save the Children, Oxfam, HRW and Unicef), British journalists (from the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror and the Guardian), the Lebanese ambassador in London and a professor at the American University of Beirut, and none have seen any evidence to back the claim that Hezbollah is using civilians as human shields.
HRW Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert describes Israel's claim as "a convenient excuse...[O]ur investigations have not found evidence to support Israeli allegations that Hizbullah are intentionally endangering Lebanese civilians by systematically fighting from civilian positions...[T]ime and again villagers tell us that Hizbullah is fighting from the hills. Meanwhile, the homes hit by Israel have only civilians in them."[3]

A source at Oxfam described the allegation as "nonsense" by "the Israeli propaganda machine" to create "very dodgy journalism." Independent correspondent Robert Fisk, who lives in Lebanon and has reported from the country for more than 20 years, called it "bullshit." A reporter for the Daily Telegraph, a newspaper known for its pro-Israeli editorial policy, called it "total and utter rubbish," "completely retarded," "a whole lot of crap" and "simply not true." Another Telegraph reporter described the claim as "absolutely wrong." The Lebanese ambassador described it as "really stupid," and Professor Omar Nashabe called it "incorrect," "inadequate" and "baseless."

The sources said such allegations were nothing new. "This came up previously during the occupation of the south of Lebanon," said Nicole Choueiry, Amnesty's press officer for the Middle East and North Africa.

This is "the usual thing they say about Hezbollah," said Donatella Rivera, Amnesty's researcher on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. "It's a very old story. Israel has been saying that about Gaza and Palestine in general forever, so it's a broken record."

Fisk said: "There's a general lie going around that Arabs don't love their children, that they want to sacrifice them, the idea being that all Arabs are basically savages and awful people. The generic thing is to make the Arabs uncaring of their own children, and that they are basically animals. It's part of the beastialisation of Arabs, and this sounds like the same thing."

Sources poured scorn on the idea that Lebanese civilians were unfortunate collateral damage as Israel bombed areas from where Hezbollah were firing rockets.
"Israel has pinpoint accuracy," said a Telegraph reporter.

"Israel has one of the most advanced technological armies in the world, with equipment that can allow it to pinpoint the exact target or location they want," said Nashabe. "This means they're fully responsible for where their bombs land. They have the advanced technology, whereas Hezbollah doesn't. If you look statistically, the Israeli army has bombarded more civilian targets than the resistance has."
Fisk added: "How do you explain that the air force that uses pinpoint and surgical precision manages to kill so many children, young women and old people? The only way you can explain it, other than you don't fucking care, is to say 'oh well, they were being used as human shields by animals like Hezbollah.'"

Sources said the idea of the Lebanese group using civilians as human shields is absurd considering it draws most of its support from people in the areas it is based.
"A lot of these people support Hezbollah because they live in the south and it's the only group that has ever helped them," said a Telegraph reporter. "It has built schools and hospitals while no one paid any attention to them from the central government. If Hezbollah was using people as human shields, it wouldn't get their support."

Fisk said: "Most of them are with their own children. Why would they use them as human shields?"

Nashabe reiterated this sentiment: "Hezbollah are part of the population. They wouldn't hide behind their own children or family."

HRW states that even if Hezbollah were to locate military targets in populated areas, "Israel must refrain from launching any attack that may be expected to cause excessive civilian loss in comparison to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. That is, a violation by Hezbollah in this regard does not justify Israeli forces ignoring the civilian consequences of a planned attack. The intentional launch of an attack in an area without regard to the civilian consequences or in the knowledge that the harm to civilians would be disproportionately high compared to any definite military benefit to be achieved would be a serious violation of international humanitarian law, and a war crime.

"In any event, the presence of a Hezbollah commander or military facility in a populated area never justifies attacking the area as such rather than the particular military target. It is a prohibited indiscriminate attack, and a war crime, to treat an entire area as a military target instead of attacking the particular military facilities or personnel within that area."[4]

Amnesty reiterates this, saying that "international humanitarian law makes it clear that even if one side is shielding itself behind civilians, such an abuse does not release the Parties to the conflict from their legal obligations with respect to the civilian population and civilians."[5]

Moreover, it is truly ironic that the accuser is long known to use human shields itself, which is a war crime. "Hezbollah aren't known to use human shields, whereas the Israelis are," said an Oxfam source. "They have a history as long as my arm."
Israel has been accused numerous times by internationally respected human rights organisations of using Palestinians as shields during the current uprising against occupation, most recently by Oxfam and Israel's B'Tselem on 21 July 2006, though this was not reported by the media.[6][7]

Fisk said he personally saw Israelis use Lebanese as human shields during their 1980s invasion, "by forcing them to sit in front of their armoured vehicles as they were going into the streets. So for human shields, the experts are the Israelis."
Rivera concludes: "Ultimately, the fact is the children are being killed by Israeli bombs."


* Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi is the Arab Media Watch chairman.

VIGIL and PEACE RALLY in Hamilton this Friday!


Friday, August 4th, 7:00 p.m.
Inside Hamilton City Hall
For the victims at Qana in Lebanon

How can we allow this to go on?

A vigil for the Qana Massacre and a rally will be held calling on all elected representatives in the Hamilton area to endorse an immediate ceasefire.

Please join us Friday to add to the growing number of Canadians asking their government to join the overwhelming majority of the world in calling for peace.

The November 16 Coalition, the Muslim Association of Hamilton, the Hamilton Islamic Centre, and others have drafted some additional proposals to discuss with the federal government, including endorsing the Canadian Arab Federation and New Democratic Party's call for an immediate recall of Parliament for an emergency debate about the Lebanese situation. They are also calling for an end to the Harper-Bush war agenda, the end of the boycott of Al-Jazeera by the CRTC, the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon and Palestine, re-instating aid to the Palestinian Authority, and immediate assistance for the reconstruction of Lebanon.

Come out and support the just cause of peace!

Friday, August 4
7:00 pm
Council Chambers,
Hamilton City Hall

Participants in this rally include:

The Muslim Association of Hamilton
The November 16 Coalition
David Cohen, Peace Activist and former Dundas City Councillor
The Justice and Peace Commission of the Hamilton Diocese
Bill Ferguson, President of the Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council
The Hamilton District Labour Council
Hamilton Islamic Centre, 1510 Upper Gage
The Canadian Peace Alliance
The Canadian Arab Federation
The Niagara Coalition for Peace
Niagara Palestinian Association

Call Peter at (905)-902-2507 for more information

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ICFTU Condemns Qana Killings

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) condemned the killings in Qana by Israeli bombs and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the start of a serious dialogue involving all parties in the conflict:


ICFTU Condemns Qana Killings 1/8/2006

Brussels, 31 July 2006 (ICFTU OnLine): The ICFTU today condemned the killing on Sunday of 54 civilians, including at least 30 children, in an attack by the Israeli airforce on the Lebanese town of Qana. Once again, innocent civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict. Most of the 750 Lebanese who have been killed were civilians, and as many as 900,000 Lebanese are now believed to have been displaced from their homes. At least 18 Israeli civilians have lost their lives.

The tragedy of Qana underlines the urgency of an immediate and total ceasefire, and the start of serious dialogue involving the parties to the conflict. The international community must ensure, without any delay, that the United Nations has the necessary mandate and support to enable it to carry out peace-building, diplomatic and humanitarian action as set out in the ICFTU/WCL statement on the crisis in the Middle East of July 25.

The ICFTU represents 155 million workers in 241 affiliated organizations in 156 countries and territories: ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions: For more information, please contact the ICFTU Press Department on +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 621 018.

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions(ICFTU)
Boulevard du Roi Albert II 5, B1, B-1210 Brussels, Belgium. For more information please contact ICFTU Press on: +32 (2) 224 0232 -

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NDP: 'Recall Parl't over government's failure to call for immediate ceasefire in Mideast

Canada's New Democratic Party is calling on PM Harper to reconvene Parliament if his government refuses to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East.

Published on NDP (
Created 2006-08-02 12:56

Recall Parliament over government’s failure to call for immediate ceasefire in Mideast

NDP Leader Jack Layton and NDP Foreign Affairs and International Development Critic Alexa McDonough (Halifax) today called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reconvene Parliament if his government refuses to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East. Yesterday the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development passed a motion that called on the government to, “urge an immediate ceasefire by all parties across the Lebanese-Israeli border as expressed by the blue line.”

“Canada must join the rest of the global community in demanding an immediate ceasefire,” said Layton. “The killing must stop.

“This country has long-standing commitments to an even-handed approach to international law, to humanitarian law and to negotiated solutions. This government’s actions have cut us loose from our Canadian moorings to say ‘ready aye, ready’ to the Bush administration regardless of how the majority of Canadians wish to see their government act. “

“History has shown us that there is no military solution in the Middle East,” said McDonough, “and that means we must support an immediate ceasefire so that conditions can be created to produce a negotiated lasting peace in the region.

“Instead, yesterday we heard Minister MacKay dance around the issue rather than show true leadership in this crucial moment. We saw Lebanese Canadians who came to the committee to demand answers from this government as to why it remains mute in the face of on-going bombardment of their families, turned away and unable to testify.”

“After the deaths of Canadians, including a UN peacekeeper, the tragedy at Qana, and with civilian casualties continuing to rise on both sides, if this Prime Minister continues to ignore the will of the committee and deny the call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, Parliament should be recalled,” said Layton.

© 2006 New Democratic Party, all rights reserved. Authorized by the registered agent for Canada's NDP.

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CBC Documentary Special: Hiroshima, August 4-7th


Thursday August 4, 2005 at 8pm on CBC-TV
repeating Sunday August 7, 2005 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld
repeating Monday August 7, 2006 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld

HIROSHIMA (120 minutes)
It was the defining moment of the 20th Century - the scientific, technological, military, and political gamble of the world's first atomic attack. This drama-documentary attempts to do what no other film has done before - to show what it is like to live through a nuclear explosion, millisecond by millisecond. Set in the three weeks from the first test explosion in New Mexico to the eventual dropping of the bomb, the action takes viewers into the room where the crucial political decisions are made; on board the Enola Gay on her fateful voyage; inside the bomb as it explodes; and on the streets of Hiroshima when disaster strikes.

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Amnesty International Action: 'Ceasefire: No more war crimes'

Ceasefire: No more war crimes

Red Cross paramedics carry body of Lebanese man recovered from the rubble of a building destroyed by Israeli air strike, Qana, near Tyre, Lebanon
Red Cross paramedics carry body of Lebanese man recovered from the rubble of a building destroyed by Israeli air strike, Qana, near Tyre, Lebanon
© AP GraphicsBank

Civilians have been targeted in Lebanon by the Israeli Defence Forces and in northern Israel by Hizbullah leaving hundreds dead.

After weeks of fighting, bombs and rockets continue to fall indiscriminately on women, children, ambulances, rescue workers and other innocent victims of this escalating conflict. These deliberate attacks violate international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes.

Only an immediate, full and effective ceasefire will protect civilians on both sides, but calls for the warring parties to obey the laws of war and protect civilians have fallen on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, governments that could exert their influence to end the crisis have chosen instead to prioritize their own political and military interests over innocent lives of civilians.

We, the international community, are not powerless in the face of this crisis. We must stand up together to protect the lives of civilians and to ensure no more war crimes are commited.

What can you do? Take action now!

1. Join Amnesty International in our Ceasefire vigil on Monday 7th August

  • We call for a ceasefire;
  • We demand that all governments stop the supply of arms to the conflict; and
  • We stand in solidarity with the victims and survivors on both sides of the Israel/Lebanon conflict.
Attend or organize a vigil in your community.

Here are some tips on how to organize your vigil, or contact your local AI section to find out about events in your country.

2. Spread the word about this conflict
We will keep posting information and actions on this conflict on so link to our pages!

Amnesty International: 'Israel: IDF inquiry into Qana a whitewash'

In this latest news release, Amnesty International is calling for an urgent dispatch of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) to investigate the Qana air-missile attack, stating that the investigation carried out by the Israeli Defence Force was "clearly inadequate":

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International
News Flash
3 August 2006

Israel: IDF inquiry into Qana a whitewash

The investigation carried out by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) into the air-missile attack on Qana was clearly inadequate and reinforces the need for the urgent dispatch of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC).

"We cannot allow any investigation into the events in Qana to be a whitewash. What is needed here is an independent investigation which can look at all credible reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law taking place in this conflict. Any investigation needs the capacity to cross borders and talk to survivors of the attack as well as to the forces involved," said Kate Gilmore, Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International.

"It is not enough that the Israeli army investigates themselves. Israel has a history of either not investigating civilian deaths, or conducting similarly flawed inquiries."

The results of the IDF investigation state that the IDF "operated according to information that the building was not inhabited by civilians". Yet survivors of the attack interviewed by Amnesty International researchers in Qana shortly after the bombing, stated that they had been in the building for some two weeks and that their presence must have been known to Israeli forces whose surveillance drones frequently flew over the village.

Amnesty International declared that issuing warnings to the civilian population to leave the area does not absolve Israel of their responsibilities under customary international humanitarian law. Intentionally launching a disproportionate or indiscriminate attack, or intentionally directing attacks at civilians or civilian objects is a war crime. Amnesty International stated that the concept of ‘free-fire’ zones is incompatible with international humanitarian law.

Note to editors
Amnesty International is calling on the parties to agree for the urgent dispatch of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC), established under Article 90 of Protocol I relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I ), to investigate incidents where serious violations of the Geneva Conventions and the Protocol are alleged to have taken place. Scrutiny by the IHFFC will be essential to establish the facts independently and authoritatively. It can also act as a deterrent against further abuses by the parties to the conflict.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Israel's Dependency on the Drug of Militarism

In this article, Robert Scheer writes that those who unconditionally support Israel, right or wrong, from Bush on through Congress and the media, actually betray the security of the Jewish state. "They are enablers who have encouraged Israel's dependency on the drug of militarism as a false escape from the difficult accommodations needed to bring peace to the Middle East."

Those who mindlessly support Israel, right or wrong, from President Bush on through the cheerleaders in Congress and the media, betray the security of the Jewish state. They are enablers who have encouraged Israel's dependency on the drug of militarism as a false escape from the difficult accommodations needed to bring peace to the Middle East.

For too many pundits and politicians, bombing just seems so much simpler -- until, as happened in Qana, Lebanon, on Sunday, those bombs blow up to your nation's disgrace, slaughtering scores of innocents, whose only crime was to be in the crossfire. The alternative to such excessive violence--an authentic peace process--had been supported by every American president since Harry Truman. Yet it was abruptly abandoned, indeed ridiculed, by the Bush administration, which bizarrely believes it can re-create the Middle East in a more U.S.-friendly form. The president has framed this process with a simplistic good-versus-evil template, which has the Christian West and Jewish Israel on an unnecessary collision course with the Muslim world.

Israel foolishly jumped at the tempting opportunity presented by Bush, who believes all the complex issues dividing the Middle East can be neatly summarized as the choosing of sides in a playground game called "the post-9/11 war on terror."

Read full article here (The Nation).

That would put Canada's present government under Stephen Harper on the list of "enablers"...

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Iraq Dispatches: "You reach a place where you look at life like it'snothing."

After reading this report by Dahr Jamail from war-torn Lebanon, I am more than ever fearful for the safety of my friend, this intrepid journalist. Dahr has just returned to Beirut from the bombed-out wreckage that was Qana, and tells of the feelings of anger and anguish expressed by Red Cross workers who are sifting through the rubble for human remains. They are visibly shaken as they recount pulling children's body parts from the rubble, and of the numerous times they were prevented from rushing to help survivors because of Iraeli bomb attacks over their clearly-marked vehicles. For the first time, utter hopelessness and desolation is voiced by these erstwhile seasoned, dedicated Red Cross workers.

The sheer horror does not leave journalist unfazed either. They too are feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the savagery. It is difficult to remain objective and impartial when observing such destruction. Once vibrant villages and towns are now deserted ghost-towns, where only a few dogs, cats and wandering goats remain among the blasted, charred buildings. A Dutch photographer friend of Dahr could not take the emotional pain of it all, and decided to return to Holland. Dahr himself is having a difficult time doing his interviews with survivors and Red Cross workers, while absorbing the death and destruction around him. His pain is palpable, and real. It leaps from the pages of his reports. Dahr has been to Iraq and seen the horrors of war there, yet it is the images of the dead children of Qana that will be indelibly etched into his psyche...

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website **
** Website by **

"You reach a place where you look at life like it's nothing."

Mother Jones Website
News: Daily Dispatches from the War-Torn Lebanese Capital
By Dahr Jamail

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Walking into the scene of the massacre yesterday in Qana felt like entering a bottomless pit of despair. A black whole of sadness, regardless of the fact that the bodies of the women, 37 young children, the elderly, and what few men were there had been removed.

Mohammad Zatar, the 32-year-old Lebanese Red Cross volunteer I spoke with down in Tyre, after we'd been to Qana, described the scene and the feelings better than I can.

"I worked to rescue people after the first Qana massacre in 1996," he told me as we stood in front of the Red Cross headquarters. "But this one was so much worse. It was the ages. So many baby kids, unlike last time. Four months to 12 years. Only six adult bodies! Only 8 injured survivors. The rest -- all kids. There were no scratches on the bodies because they were all buried in the rubble. It was a bad scene."

He told me he used to be gung-ho. That he'd always worked to be the first on the scene, take the big risks. But yesterday he shook his head often while we talked.

"This makes you feel so pessimistic," he continued, "You reach a place where you look at life like it's nothing. I've cried and cried and cried, all because of the babies. This is the worst."

Israeli jets roared overhead in the afternoon heat, the thumps of their distant bombs audible during the lulls of the crystal blue waves that crashed upon the nearby beach.

"We entered the place, and we could only use our fingertips," he said, holding up his hands to underscore his point. "Your fingers. You had to use all your senses. When I found a tip of a finger poking up through the rubble, I would start to shake like I was shocked by electricity, because I knew it was another child. I'm still shocked."

He told me of his three year-old girl. "I can't sleep, I keep checking her in her bed to make sure she's still alive. I go in and just hold her. I pick her up and hug her. Just to touch her and hold her and feel her breathing. And now while I must keep working, every 20 minutes I'm calling her. This has shattered me. I was never scared before, but now I am."

He saw me looking inside the headquarters at several of the other volunteers as they stood around. All of them seemed to move in slow motion, tired, lost.

"If you look in the eyes of all the rescue workers here, you see the sadness, the badness of war," he said, then held my eyes for a very long time. We just stared at each other.

I gave him a firm handshake and put my left hand on his shoulder. I wanted to give him a hug, but didn't want to embarrass him. Instead I told him, "Thank you for what you do. Please take care of yourself Mohammad."

I traveled to Qana and Tyre with my friend Urban, a Swedish-Iraqi journalist. He and I were unable to work today. We had plans to interview refugees in Beirut who've been arriving by the thousands from the south, and just agreed after lunch to wait until tomorrow. We're both shattered.

My photographer friend from Holland, Raoul, also went to Tyre yesterday. He sits downstairs at his computer. "I'm so tired, I feel like I can't continue here so I'll leave tomorrow," he told me. "How do you say it, in English, when there is no more room for any more feelings?"

Yesterday's trip was difficult, driving through so many empty villages atop the rolling, rocky hills of southern Lebanon. Like small ghost towns, inhabited by unattended dogs, cats, and the odd wandering herd of goats. One blasted building, shop, house after another. We followed small paths swept through the rubble of the streets, around the larger chunks of concrete, to make our way through and out, then on to the next village to repeat the process.

In Qana I spoke with two men, residents there who'd dug through the rubble of the shelter to look for their loved ones, only to find them dead. One of the men lost his parents. His mother was 64, his father 70. The second man, Masen, lost his 75-year-old uncle, and his aunt, who was 70.

"They bombed it twice," he said, "After the first bomb we heard the screams of the women and children. And moaning. Then a minute later they bombed it again. After that we heard no more screams. Only more bombs around the area."

Down at the Red Cross afterwards, I also interviewed Kassem Shaulan. He was in an ambulance hit by an air strike. He pointed out the hole from the rocket--an inverted flower of blooming metal, straight down the cross-section of the cross painted in red atop the white ambulance. He still couldn’t hear well, his vision was blurred, and he had several scars and stitches.

"We had an old man in the back on a stretcher whose leg was blown off," he told me, "And a young child who is now in a coma."

The ambulance near them was hit by an air strike as well--severely injuring everyone in it. Kassam told me that it took them three times to reach Qana after the shelter was bombed. "We got the call at 5 a.m. and had to turn back because three bombs barely missed our ambulance," he said, "Then, the second time, we were bombed and they missed again. So that is why we weren't able to reach there until 9 a.m. So most likely people died because the Israelis kept us away."

Driving home we had one of our few moments of levity of the day. A frazzled looking young British man, covered in dust and sweat and wearing shorts and ruffled shirt, drove up to our car on a motor scooter.

We were heading back towards Sidon from Tyre through plantations of banana trees. "Hi," he said. After we replied, "hello" he smiled and continued, "Oh great--you speak English. Can you tell me, which way is it to Tyre?"

We pointed behind us and drove on as he revved his little engine and continued south. Urban and I looked at each other, he smiled, and I said, "What in the hell was that?" We both laughed.

"Maybe he's a tourist who rented his scooter in Beirut," I suggested. Urban replied, "He may as well ask, 'Hey guys, can you tell me which way the war is?'"

Most of the drive we were quiet. Just driving, and watching the magnificent changing of colors just before sunset. The nearby hills to the east bathed in orange. The green palm fronds seemed to glow, thanking the sun for the light. The turquoise waters of the Mediterranean shimmered as the afternoon breeze began to pick up.

Just driving.

And trying to take deep breaths.

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the DahrJamailIraq website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media. Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

(Dahr Jamail's dispatches from the Middle East are republished on this site with the kind permission of the journalist.)

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