A State of all its Citizens: an interview with Jamal Zahalka

http://www.zcommunications.org/a-state-of-all-its-citizens-by-jamal-zahalka

Jamal Zahalka is a member of the Israeli Knesset as part of the Balad Party list that includes Wasil Taha and Azmi Bishara. He was in Toronto delivering the keynote address at Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of Toronto on February 16, 2007. His talk, “Debunking the Myth of Israeli Democracy”, discussed discrimination against Palestinians living inside Israel. I interviewed him the following day in Toronto.

Continue reading “A State of all its Citizens: an interview with Jamal Zahalka”

Peter Hallward!

The best analysis of the 2004 coup in Haiti, in my opinion, was by Peter Hallward’s “Option Zero in Haiti” in New Left Review. That article anchored my own analysis of what happened in Haiti and I found it immensely helpful in all the work I did. I thought there was a need for a longer analysis and I set about writing one in 2005. Other things intervened and I didn’t end up completing it, and I was very excited to learn that Peter Hallward’s book, “Damming the Flood”, will be coming out soon. That is a book I am really looking forward to getting, the more so because the concluding chapter has come out already and I got a great deal out of that. And still more so because of his interview with Aristide, in which every question I would have wanted to ask Aristide is asked, and answered extremely well. I wrote him to tell him so over email, but I realized that doing so wouldn’t encourage others to read it quite as well as posting it here, so I’m doing that too.

Africa and Gates-keeping

I have been, over the past year or so, making a slow conversion to free software. It started when I interviewed Richard Stallman and tried to get ZNet moving in the direction of free software, along with some help from my friend Tarek. It’s been a long process and I don’t want to minimize the difficulties, but I have decided to aim for full conversion once Windows Vista replaces Windows XP to the point that XP is no longer supported (I’m typing this from an XP machine). I had decided this a while ago, and then I saw an excellent article by Raj Patel called “Tunnel Vista”. The article is available at an excellent site – looks like a blog and is, I note, done in drupal, a free software content management system that this blog will soon be converting to – called “Stuffed and Starved” about our food system.

Raj connects the behavior of the Gates’ in their philanthropy with Africa and their corporate behavior as Microsoft. I’ve been thinking about Africa recently. I’ve been reading about Sudan and Darfur, and that got me thinking about the Congo, and that got me thinking about AIDS. The common thread that runs through Africa’s problems, to my mind, is that the whole continent has been stripped of its sovereignty. Its independent development, its economies, and its governments, have all been destroyed and undermined. The serious problems its people face, they aren’t able to solve, because all the levers of control are outside of their control. The idea that a continent of so many peoples is to depend on philanthropy for vaccinations at all is really angering. Anyway, please read Raj’s piece, and check out Stuffed and Starved.

Enjoying my chorus of one…

One trick of writing on the internet: if you want feedback, leave your email at the bottom of the article, and if you don’t, don’t. Sometimes you forget, as I did with my open letter to Mitch Potter. His reply to me, you’ll recall, was basically to remind me that he has a larger audience than I do (“Enjoy your chorus of one”) thanks to his employer, Torstar, being somewhat larger than ZNet or killingtrain.com, and also to remind me of a further constraint on fair coverage (“those of us on print deadlines”). When you’re on deadlines, it’s easier to go to the sources in the rolodex, and if you’re in Israel/Palestine, those are think-tanks close to the state and military officials.

In any case I forgot to put my email at the bottom which means that people who wanted to write to me had to look it up. Not hard, in my case, at all, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the feedback over the past few days:

I just read your Open Letter. Solid, hard-hitting piece of work.
Impressive. Damn.

*

Brilliant. Thank you.

*

I just wanted to say that I’ve been keeping up on reading your work, and I’m glad that you’ve been keeping up with writing it. Your open letter to Mitch Potter was particularly strong, and it’s nice to see people on our side sticking to their position like you did.

*

I just finished reading an email I received containing a letter you wrote to Mitch Potter. All I can say is well done and more power to you!!

One hopes that the rest of the citizens of the world will play a more active role in an effort to expose the truth… because we (the Palestinians) are not valued as equals when it comes to the dispersal of humanity from the western world, any reports that humanise our cause are all but buried, but those that glorify any act of resistance, thus leading to any harm whatsoever to the Israelis, is plastered across the news bulletins of the world. Keep up the great work!

This is more feedback than I usually get. I think people have been frustrated by subtler and cruder patterns of racism that they take in over long periods of time watching “liberal” media, so the chance to see it named and exposed is vindicating.

A good book I read a year or so ago is called “The Genocide Machine in Canada”. One of the strategic principles the authors advocate is confronting individuals with the consequences of what they do and support. Feelings will get hurt in this process, and the individuals may not change their minds. But it is still an important part of trying to honestly face these problems and our participation in them.

My reply to Mitch Potter

My reply to Mitch Potter’s letter (see two blog posts ago) is published at ZNet.

I sent it to him, and he replied quickly, saying:

> You take months to compose what those of us on print deadlines do
> daily and you manage only to add “lazy” to my glossary of sins?
>
> Pathetic.
>
> Enjoy your chorus of one.
>
> Mitch Potter

I replied simply:

Good to read that you got it, even if you didn’t read it.

Cheers Mitch.

-J.

He replied:

Read it. Wounded by it. Have no intention of engaging further as you seem only interested in selectively distorting the spirit of my work to inflict further pain.

You are off-base in branding me racist. If you knew me you would soon come to understand how wrong you are.

Mitch Potter

I replied to that, too, saying that I had set out to wound, out of frustration at not being able to do anything to change the imbalance of the situation and its misrepresentation. I also acknowledged that I didn’t think he was a racist in the sense of hating a group of people and being a bigot against them, but that he, like I, participated in a system that leads to their suppression and ongoing destruction, and that we’re going along with it, not doing enough to fight it. I also worried that I may have personalized it too much, such that the wider points about the bias in the coverage and the patterns and frames for the discussion of Israel/Palestine have may have gotten lost.

I suppose that is the end of my interaction with Mitch Potter.

My article is below.

Dear Mitch Potter,

It has been some time since you wrote me on September 10, 2006, in response to my blog post at killingtrain.com of July 28, 2006. You wrote me with serious concerns that I had maligned your reputation – attaching, in your words, a slur to your name, and doing so “cavalierly”. I should have replied sooner, and for that I apologize.

I cannot, however, apologize for what I called you, “a truly disgusting racist”. In fact, going over your work over the past six months, I have to add that you are lazy, a liar, and a cliché-ridden writer.

I looked at your work on the Israel/Palestine conflict, including the Lebanon war but excluding solely domestic issues in Israel, from June 29 2006 to December 18 2006. That is 44 stories.

If the stories are an indication, you were in the region from June 29 – July 25, then again from September 2-September 16, again from October 30 – December 18. During that six month period you filed 4 stories from Gaza and 4 from Ramallah. You filed one from Pesagot Settlement in the West Bank and another from Haifa. You filed the other 34 stories from Jerusalem. If, as you suggest, it was premature to call you a truly disgusting racist after reading one story in which you liken Palestinians to rodents, perhaps we can agree that 44 stories (over 80,000 words) is enough to start to discern patterns.

The strong language (“truly disgusting racist”) came to mind for two reasons after reading your article (“After Hamas, another Somalia?”, July 9, 2006). First, because I knew instantly upon reading it that you would never liken Israelis to rodents, nor indeed to any other kind of animal, and you did not ever do so in any of the 44 stories I read, though you did use many disparaging terms to describe Palestinians and Lebanese (I’ll return to that below). Second, and more importantly, because your flippant use of language throughout your reporting obscures Israel’s genocidal policies towards the Palestinians.

Disgusting racism: Obscuring the disparity, causes, and consequences

“Genocidal” is another strong word. It means, according to the UN Genocide Convention, attempts to destroy a group of people. Most people only accept the definition if it also includes attempts to physically destroy a group, not just to culturally destroy them and displace them. With the whole world, starting with Canada, assisting in Israel’s starvation of the Palestinians, while Israel casually (should I say “cavalierly”?) kills dozens of Palestinians every week, and given the direction of Israel’s political and military changes, I think the label genocidal applies. So does Ilan Pappe, a historian at Haifa University, and one of the diverse Israeli expert sources that are readily available that you don’t speak to, favouring a homogeneous group of military and strategic studies experts from think-tanks close to the state.

You were in Gaza in July 2006. To get there you would have had to go through various checkpoints and fortified walls, something most Palestinians are not allowed to do. You were in a place where, by now, probably the majority of children are chronically malnourished and will suffer long-term developmental problems because of it. The two references to Gaza’s children that I found in your stories, though, were as follows. First, you noted how, because Israel had destroyed all the electricity supply in Gaza, that “entrepreneurial street kids who normally can be found hawking gum yesterday switched to candles at Gaza City intersections” (“The war of nerves in Gaza”, June 30, 2006). Second, that after Israeli planes flew over Gaza to create sonic booms (a story I will return to) you could hear children crying, which was “hardly surprising, given that half of the territory’s 1.4 million Palestinians are 15 or younger.” (“Sonic onslaught in Gaza”, July 1, 2006)

At any time, you could have looked around and seen what some (no one you would talk to, perhaps) call the Apartheid Wall but which you referred to, when you wrote about it (before July 2006), as the “separation barrier” or the “security barrier”. Does being Middle East Bureau Chief mean you have some say over the selection of graphics? Could you have published maps of the wall and the checkpoints, the cantonization of the West Bank, the locations of the artillery strikes in Gaza, or the cluster bombs in Lebanon? Could you have published them alongside the locations where all the Qassams or Katyushas landed in Israel? Could you have published the lists and numbers of casualties on both sides?

All this might have given your readers a better chance to understand what Israel is doing. And what Israel is doing is controlling every detail of Palestinian life, including such details as whether a person will live or die, watch their child or parent live or die, be taken off to prison to be tortured, watch their child or parent be taken, be allowed to leave their home, be allowed to leave their town through a massive gate in the massive wall, be allowed to see a loved one, be allowed to see a doctor, have food or fuel or medicine. These details are missing from your stories. So is the agenda behind them missing, which is to take the land of the Palestinians, remove them from it, and destroy those who resist. Both the details and the agenda are things you are in a position to know. The consequences are so serious for so many (starving, murdered, terrorized) people that presenting the conflict as if there is parity, the way you do in some stories, or from the point of view of Israel, the way you do in others, is not innocent deception, but complicity in a major, ongoing crime. That is what is truly disgusting about what you have done.

Human rights organizations document the disparity. According to B’Tselem, from the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000 to the end of January 2007, Palestinians had killed 1020 Israelis, 704 of whom were civilians, 119 of whom were children. According to the PCHR, up until September 2006, when you sent me your email, Israel had killed 3859 Palestinians, 3069 of whom were unarmed, 724 of whom were children. It had completely demolished 2831 Palestinian homes and partially destroyed 2427. It had leveled 37 square kilometers (an area 10% the size of Gaza) and destroyed 677 industrial facilities.

You also must know that the disparity has grown in recent years. For the period during which I looked at your work (July 2006 – December 2006), Israeli forces killed 479 Palestinians, wounded 1650, and arrested 1570. By contrast, Palestinians killed 4 Israeli security personnel and 2 Israeli civilians.

In your two stories on Louise Arbour’s visit to the region on November 22 and 23, you framed the issue in a way that assumed parity even as you reported massive disparity, with paragraphs like: “As Qassams keep falling (eight more yesterday, landing without causing injury) and Israel Defense Forces operations against Palestinian rocket-launchers in Gaza intensify (five dead yesterday, two of them civilians) Arbour diagnoses the violent stalemate as an acute ‘protection-of-civilians deficit,’” and “One day after decrying ‘massive’ Israeli violations of human rights against Palestinian civilians, Canadian Louise Arbour got a close-up view of Israeli suffering yesterday”. Here you made sure to put the word “massive” in quotes, perhaps to ensure that you not be seen calling Israeli human rights violations “massive” (what would be “massive” in your opinion, I wonder?). You separated Arbour’s words from your own when she was calling Israeli human rights violations “massive”, but you were willing to paraphrase her giving advice to the victims: “To paraphrase Arbour’s approach, a different message to the Palestinians might be, ‘Behave like a state. Be legal. Respect and enforce the law, including international law against rocket attacks on civilians.’” How you or Arbour thinks that imprisoned Palestinians suffering periodic massacres who starve at the whim of an occupying power that periodically massacres them can “behave like a state” is unclear – but a lack of clarity about the situation is precisely what your stories induce. But the worst line in your stories on Arbour is your approving introduction to Arbour’s most repulsive statements: “in that spirit, she is not about to be drawn into debate about the uneven death toll of the continuing violence.” Mitch, the uneven death toll matters. It matters on its own merits, and it matters as a clue to the causes, effects, and possibilities for a solution to the conflict. Your presentation, your endorsement, of Arbour’s cowardly refusal to “be drawn into debate” about this basic and fundamental point, helps obscure clear thinking and understanding about what is being done to the Palestinians.

Presenting massive disparity in victimization and crimes as if there is parity helps the victimizers. Helping victimizers who are conducting a campaign of massacre and ethnic cleansing is disgusting racism.

Disgusting racism: The partisan use of language

Another element of your racism comes from your use of language.

You likened Palestinians to rodents, something I cannot let you off the hook for even when you accompany it with quotations from sociologists. Not when you never used any animal analogies about Israelis, and never would.

You describe the Palestinian capture of an Israeli tank gunner by saying they “seized” him (September 12 and November 9). But the 1019 people Israel seized to take off to prisons, many of whom were children, many of whom were tortured, were “arrested” or “detained”, never “seized”.

Further on your use of the word “seized”, you use it elsewhere to make reactions to Israel’s aggression and destruction sound opportunistic. Hizbollah “seized” the leadership (July 16, quoting Buttu) and “seized” the moment (July 14). Indeed, when Israeli shelling killed 7 members of the same family, Palestinians “seized on” this, too, to end a ceasefire (how awful of them to treat the massacre of a family as a sign of the end of a ceasefire).

When you describe Palestinians’ Qassam rockets, which you know and have stated are militarily ineffective and basically a gesture of defiance, you describe them as a “scourge” (November 26) and a “blight” (November 28). You never used such words for Israeli shelling, bombing, and gunfire, which regularly kill dozens of people. These you usually describe as “errant” (November 10 and November 23), although once, and only once, you used the world “horrific” (November 13) to describe the massacre of 19 people by shellfire you elsewhere called “errant”.

By far your most disgraceful use of language comes from the story (July 1) in which you make light of Israeli sonic booms to terrorize Gaza’s population, already starving in the dark. This is so repugnant that readers might not believe it unless quoted at length:

“Then, two teeth-rattling whumps course through your body at thousandth-of-a-second intervals, packing so colossal a wallop they simply defy description. Whump-whump. You, my friend, have just been carpet-boomed. Something in the neighbourhood of 139 decibels of wakey-wakey courtesy of your friendly, neighbourhood Israeli F-16 warplane… How to explain the oomph of a sonic boom in Toronto terms? Say that someone chops down the CN Tower and it lands beside your head. Say they chop down a second CN Tower and it lands on the other side a nanosecond later. And say that, at the very moment of impact, a cardiac surgical team shouts, “Charging to 120 – Clear!” and proceeds to defibrillate your torso…You laugh at the alarm clock on the bedside table, and your earlier worries you might sleep through its ring. Not to worry. Another F-16 should be by in an hour or so. And another after that.”

“Wakey-wakey”, “Oomph”, “Whump-whump”, “boom-boom”, and “carpet-boomed”, are how you write about the threatening actions of an air force that destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure, dropped 500-pound bombs into crowded apartment complexes, and has killed hundreds of people in the very zone from where you wrote your clever quips.

Compare this story to your piece on people in Haifa on July 15, who were going through “fretful days” because Hizbollah’s rockets, which you had described as “terrifying” (July 14) had fallen on them. You celebrated the “resilience of the thriving port city” and the “resilience” of its mayor. I saw no references to Palestinian “resilience” in the 44 stories of yours that I read. Nor did I see any reference to Israel’s sonic booms, to say nothing of its artillery and bombing attacks, being “terrifying”.

As for the mayor of Haifa, who in your eyes exemplifies Haifa’s resilience, you quote him saying about the Palestinians and Lebanese that “now we have the right to take them hostage. We have the right to destroy them.” You let this pass without comment, but you referred to Nasrallah’s speeches (July 16) as “invective rich” and “counterfactual bluster”.

On July 22, you explained an alliance between Hamas and Hizbollah by using a “timeworn Arabic adage, ‘Me and my brother against my cousin.’ What the Hamas-Hezbollah dynamic augurs now is the possibility of a religious realignment that could introduce the other half of that parable: ‘Me and my cousin against the world.’ Or, if not the world, Israel.“ Would it ever occur to you to explain Israeli politics or alliances by reference to timeworn Hebrew adages, or would that seem to you to be anti-semitic? It would, to me.

In the same story of July 22 you demonstrated your mind-reading capacities: “Hezbollah, with its daily shower of random rocket fire into northern Israeli towns and cities, is clearly intent upon killing civilians.” I saw no statement from you about what Israel’s intent was in all the massacres of civilians that have occurred while you have written about the conflict. As you may know (but haven’t yet reported that I saw), estimates of deaths in the Israel-Lebanon war of 2006 are that Israel killed over 1100 Lebanese, most of whom were civilians, and that Hizbollah killed 119 Israeli soldiers and 43 Israeli civilians. And yet, even now, I bet you are willing to stand behind your statement that Hizbollah was “intent on killing civilians” but that Israel was not. You are willing to impute motives and intent to some, but not others.

These are all signs of racism, and they are disgusting.

Laziness, lies, and clichés

It would be too much to expect you to cover the carnage proportionately by reporting on Palestinian suffering 80 times as much as Israeli suffering (of course 80 times underestimates the disparity, since Israelis control every detail of Palestinian life and use that control to abuse, humiliate, and degrade at whim). But rather than fail to capture this incredible disparity, you inverted the relationship and gave a disproportionate voice to the victimizers. In your 44 stories, you used about 170 sources. 100 of these were Israeli, 39 were Palestinian, and 31 were other (Lebanese, US, or European). To say you used 39 Palestinian sources overstates the case: You used two sources (Diana Buttu and Saeb Erekat) 3 times each, and another (Ghassan Khatib) twice: all three of these are on the same negotiating team and members of the same political faction. You have about a half-dozen other sources (businessmen Sam Bahour and Ali Abu Shahla, academics Naji Shurab and Nader Izzat Said, mental health spokesman Marwan Diab), and another half-dozen “man-on-the-street” interviews. The rest of the Palestinian voices in your articles come second-hand, from television or other media.

Your list of Israeli contacts seems much more impressive, by contrast, particularly in think tanks and universities. The majority of your stories, even on Palestinian questions, are anchored by analysts at Israeli think tanks (Shalem Center, Jaffee Center, Reut Center), by Israeli analysts writing in newspapers (Alex Fishman in Yediot Aharonot), or Israeli academics (at Tel Aviv University or the Hebrew University in Jerusalem). Most of your stories follow a predictable pattern: Some news reported from wire services or media, followed by some analysis by an Israeli columnist in Ma’ariv or Yediot Aharonot, concluding with some analysis by an Israeli expert at a think-tank or university. Recent stories following this pattern are December 18, December 15, December 1, and November 28. Your recourse to Israeli experts and Palestinians close to President Abbas, and the absence of government officials from Hamas, leads to an especially unbalanced view of the fighting in Gaza between Hamas and Fatah. Do you consider yourself to be part of the boycott against the government the Palestinians elected? You frequently mention how Hamas is supported by various Muslim countries, but I didn’t see (I may have missed) references to the supply of cash and weapons to Fatah in Gaza by the US. In the context of starvation, that supply and support makes the conflict in Gaza more of a proxy war than a civil war. But that perspective, widely understood by many Palestinians and Israelis, people both inside and outside the region, is unavailable to your readers. Because of you. At best, this is laziness. Regardless of cause, it has serious consequences.

Though most of your lies are by omission and were discussed above, the article by Daniel Freeman-Maloy, which I referred to in my original blog post shows one direct lie:

“On June 30… Potter made the following assertion: ‘Despite five days of international headlines there has been but a single death – that of kidnapped 18-year-old Israeli hitchhiker Eliyahu Asheri.’”

Freeman-Maloy pointed out that two children aged 2 and 17 had been killed on June 28 at Khan Yunis by unexploded shells. The New York Times caught these deaths, though you didn’t. On June 22, Israeli special forces assassinated a member of the al-Aqsa Martys Brigades in Ramallah. In the week June 22-28, Israeli forces wounded 6 Palestinians, including 3 children, according to PCHR. Asserting a single death was dishonest, given how much violence had been meted out to Palestinians over the summer. Not correcting it in light of information makes it a lie, the worse because several Palestinians were killed even as Canadians were reading your story of a single death.

As for your use of clichés, I have already pointed out how your story of July 1 made light of the terror of Israel’s sonic booms. But your writing is replete with clichés, of Palestinians “enflamed” with “militant rhetoric”, of Hizbollah “well-armed, well-trained and well-acquainted with the promise of martyrdom” conducting an “unprovoked kidnap raid”, of Hamas “sworn to Israel’s destruction”, of Israeli soldiers “getting their boots dirty”, Israelis worrying about “a thousand pound gorilla of a question”. All these clichés, and this is but a small sample, have the same effect: debasing the gravity of the situation, defiling and dehumanizing the victims, and confusing readers as to causes and possible solutions.

Why bother?

My original intention was to look at all of your work since the second intifada began. But I had neither the time nor the stomach for such an exercise, so instead I confined myself to the 44 stories you filed on Israel/Palestine over the past 6 months. I think we both know this was a fruitless exercise on my part in any case. Each of the things I pointed out, you will minimize, rationalize, or find some excuse for. I could tell you how to do your job better. I could give you lists of people, Palestinians and Israelis, you could interview to diversify your sources considerably, facts and arguments you could read, ideas you could expose yourself to so that you could decide where you stood and report both the range of views and justify honestly why you hold yours.

But we both know what would happen if you were fair: if you interviewed a more diverse set of sources, conveyed the massive disparities and the power interests at work, and showed something other than contempt for the lives and thoughts of Palestinians. We know that a person who was fair would not sit long as Middle East Bureau Chief for the Toronto Star, but would face pressure for being, in your words, “overempathetic to the plight of Palestinians” (Interesting that you used “plight” in your email to me. In the past six months you used the word “plight” three times, always to describe Israelis – air force commander Halutz, Israel in general, and tank gunner Shalit, never to describe Palestinians). That pressure would eventually cost such a person his or her job. And whatever you have done with it, no doubt it is a comfortable and interesting job. In the society we’re in, to get and keep such a job requires either overt or covert partisanship for the powerful. Your reporting is a mix of both, and neither you nor our society are going to change any time soon. My hope is not for you, then, but for your readers. I hope that some of them realize that going to you for information on the Israel/Palestine conflict is a good way to be deceived and confused, and that there are far better sources.

Sincerely,

Justin Podur

Amu the Film

Last night I went to the preview screening of the Toronto opening of Amu the Film. It was a treat because the director, Shonali Bose, and the producer were there for Q & A afterwards. It is actually a very clever political film because it is very strong and honest as a film and the politics are not at all contrived. The opposite is true, in fact: the politics are conveyed through a very human story that is also a very political story.

I won’t get into the plot or spoil it, since it is a suspense film and a detective story. But this is a good place to talk about the politics of this political film.

This is a detective story in which the detectives are a couple of youths. No state-sponsored police piecing together the story here, and that stands to reason, because it is the state that is the criminal. The political events the characters deal with, decades later, are the pogroms against Sikhs that took place in New Delhi in 1984 after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The film is an indictment of the state, because the pogroms that occurred could not have occurred without the active organization of the state. Politicians provided electoral lists and organized mobs to pull Sikhs out of their homes and kill them. Police stood by or participated in the killing. And decades later there has been no justice. Instead, the killers and organizers walk in impunity, after thousands of people were killed.

Impunity, Bose understands, is a recipe for the repetition of atrocities. And a very similar pattern of state-organized terror and massacre occurred in Mumbai in 1992-1993 after activists from the Hindu right party destroyed the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya. The Mumbai riots altered the demography of the city and set the stage for bombings and brutal gang violence that continues today, and is documented remarkably in Suketu Mehta’s book on Mumbai, ‘Maximum City’.

It happened again in Gujarat in February 2002, just about five years ago now, starting with the burning of a train and culminating in a series of massacres of several thousand. One of the most searing political essays ever written is Arundhati Roy’s article on this Gujarat pogrom. Bose refers to this, again cleverly and subtly, in Amu.

Bose leaves no doubt that these events were not ‘communal riots’ between religious communities, but state-orchestrated terrorism serving very specific political agendas. She has another message as well, and that is a celebration of the courage of the people who resisted, who hid people from the killers, who risked their own lives to save others. This kind of courage was rampant in India in these moments, and Bose’s film celebrates some of those who showed it. Finally, by putting the film out there, Bose is making her own attempt to fight impunity, to prevent us from forgetting who committed these atrocities and who they served. India will continue to be distorted by this kind of violence until the truth, and justice, are served. Bose’s film is a step in that direction, and she has had no favours from the Indian authorities in taking that step. The censors cut parts of her film, and whether people see the film or not will depend on grassroots efforts. Watch it, get others to watch it, discuss it.

An Open Letter to Mitch Potter, on Truly Disgusting Racism

http://www.zcommunications.org/an-open-letter-to-mitch-potter-on-truly-disgusting-racism-by-justin-podur

Dear Mitch Potter,

It has been some time since you wrote me on September 10, 2006, in response to my blog post at killingtrain.com of July 28, 2006. You wrote me with serious concerns that I had maligned your reputation – attaching, in your words, a slur to your name, and doing so “cavalierly”. I should have replied sooner, and for that I apologize.

Continue reading “An Open Letter to Mitch Potter, on Truly Disgusting Racism”

An Open Letter to Mitch Potter, on Truly Disgusting Racism

published in znet feb 13/07

Dear Mitch Potter,

It has been some time since you wrote me on September 10, 2006, in response to my blog post at killingtrain.com of July 28, 2006. You wrote me with serious concerns that I had maligned your reputation – attaching, in your words, a slur to your name, and doing so “cavalierly”. I should have replied sooner, and for that I apologize.

I cannot, however, apologize for what I called you, “a truly disgusting racist”. In fact, going over your work over the past six months, I have to add that you are lazy, a liar, and a cliché-ridden writer.

I looked at your work on the Israel/Palestine conflict, including the Lebanon war but excluding solely domestic issues in Israel, from June 29 2006 to December 18 2006. That is 44 stories.

If the stories are an indication, you were in the region from June 29 – July 25, then again from September 2-September 16, again from October 30 – December 18. During that six month period you filed 4 stories from Gaza and 4 from Ramallah. You filed one from Pesagot Settlement in the West Bank and another from Haifa. You filed the other 34 stories from Jerusalem. If, as you suggest, it was premature to call you a truly disgusting racist after reading one story in which you liken Palestinians to rodents, perhaps we can agree that 44 stories (over 80,000 words) is enough to start to discern patterns.

The strong language (“truly disgusting racist”) came to mind for two reasons after reading your article (“After Hamas, another Somalia?”, July 9, 2006). First, because I knew instantly upon reading it that you would never liken Israelis to rodents, nor indeed to any other kind of animal, and you did not ever do so in any of the 44 stories I read, though you did use many disparaging terms to describe Palestinians and Lebanese (I’ll return to that below). Second, and more importantly, because your flippant use of language throughout your reporting obscures Israel’s genocidal policies towards the Palestinians.

Disgusting racism: Obscuring the disparity, causes, and consequences

“Genocidal” is another strong word. It means, according to the UN Genocide Convention, attempts to destroy a group of people. Most people only accept the definition if it also includes attempts to physically destroy a group, not just to culturally destroy them and displace them. With the whole world, starting with Canada, assisting in Israel’s starvation of the Palestinians, while Israel casually (should I say “cavalierly”?) kills dozens of Palestinians every week, and given the direction of Israel’s political and military changes, I think the label genocidal applies. So does Ilan Pappe, a historian at Haifa University, and one of the diverse Israeli expert sources that are readily available that you don’t speak to, favouring a homogeneous group of military and strategic studies experts from think-tanks close to the state.

You were in Gaza in July 2006. To get there you would have had to go through various checkpoints and fortified walls, something most Palestinians are not allowed to do. You were in a place where, by now, probably the majority of children are chronically malnourished and will suffer long-term developmental problems because of it. The two references to Gaza’s children that I found in your stories, though, were as follows. First, you noted how, because Israel had destroyed all the electricity supply in Gaza, that “entrepreneurial street kids who normally can be found hawking gum yesterday switched to candles at Gaza City intersections” (“The war of nerves in Gaza”, June 30, 2006). Second, that after Israeli planes flew over Gaza to create sonic booms (a story I will return to) you could hear children crying, which was “hardly surprising, given that half of the territory’s 1.4 million Palestinians are 15 or younger.” (“Sonic onslaught in Gaza”, July 1, 2006)

At any time, you could have looked around and seen what some (no one you would talk to, perhaps) call the Apartheid Wall but which you referred to, when you wrote about it (before July 2006), as the “separation barrier” or the “security barrier”. Does being Middle East Bureau Chief mean you have some say over the selection of graphics? Could you have published maps of the wall and the checkpoints, the cantonization of the West Bank, the locations of the artillery strikes in Gaza, or the cluster bombs in Lebanon? Could you have published them alongside the locations where all the Qassams or Katyushas landed in Israel? Could you have published the lists and numbers of casualties on both sides?

All this might have given your readers a better chance to understand what Israel is doing. And what Israel is doing is controlling every detail of Palestinian life, including such details as whether a person will live or die, watch their child or parent live or die, be taken off to prison to be tortured, watch their child or parent be taken, be allowed to leave their home, be allowed to leave their town through a massive gate in the massive wall, be allowed to see a loved one, be allowed to see a doctor, have food or fuel or medicine. These details are missing from your stories. So is the agenda behind them missing, which is to take the land of the Palestinians, remove them from it, and destroy those who resist. Both the details and the agenda are things you are in a position to know. The consequences are so serious for so many (starving, murdered, terrorized) people that presenting the conflict as if there is parity, the way you do in some stories, or from the point of view of Israel, the way you do in others, is not innocent deception, but complicity in a major, ongoing crime. That is what is truly disgusting about what you have done.

Human rights organizations document the disparity. According to B’Tselem, from the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000 to the end of January 2007, Palestinians had killed 1020 Israelis, 704 of whom were civilians, 119 of whom were children. According to the PCHR, up until September 2006, when you sent me your email, Israel had killed 3859 Palestinians, 3069 of whom were unarmed, 724 of whom were children. It had completely demolished 2831 Palestinian homes and partially destroyed 2427. It had leveled 37 square kilometers (an area 10% the size of Gaza) and destroyed 677 industrial facilities.

You also must know that the disparity has grown in recent years. For the period during which I looked at your work (July 2006 – December 2006), Israeli forces killed 479 Palestinians, wounded 1650, and arrested 1570. By contrast, Palestinians killed 4 Israeli security personnel and 2 Israeli civilians.

In your two stories on Louise Arbour’s visit to the region on November 22 and 23, you framed the issue in a way that assumed parity even as you reported massive disparity, with paragraphs like: “As Qassams keep falling (eight more yesterday, landing without causing injury) and Israel Defense Forces operations against Palestinian rocket-launchers in Gaza intensify (five dead yesterday, two of them civilians) Arbour diagnoses the violent stalemate as an acute ‘protection-of-civilians deficit,’” and “One day after decrying ‘massive’ Israeli violations of human rights against Palestinian civilians, Canadian Louise Arbour got a close-up view of Israeli suffering yesterday”. Here you made sure to put the word “massive” in quotes, perhaps to ensure that you not be seen calling Israeli human rights violations “massive” (what would be “massive” in your opinion, I wonder?). You separated Arbour’s words from your own when she was calling Israeli human rights violations “massive”, but you were willing to paraphrase her giving advice to the victims: “To paraphrase Arbour’s approach, a different message to the Palestinians might be, ‘Behave like a state. Be legal. Respect and enforce the law, including international law against rocket attacks on civilians.’” How you or Arbour thinks that imprisoned Palestinians suffering periodic massacres who starve at the whim of an occupying power that periodically massacres them can “behave like a state” is unclear – but a lack of clarity about the situation is precisely what your stories induce. But the worst line in your stories on Arbour is your approving introduction to Arbour’s most repulsive statements: “in that spirit, she is not about to be drawn into debate about the uneven death toll of the continuing violence.” Mitch, the uneven death toll matters. It matters on its own merits, and it matters as a clue to the causes, effects, and possibilities for a solution to the conflict. Your presentation, your endorsement, of Arbour’s cowardly refusal to “be drawn into debate” about this basic and fundamental point, helps obscure clear thinking and understanding about what is being done to the Palestinians.

Presenting massive disparity in victimization and crimes as if there is parity helps the victimizers. Helping victimizers who are conducting a campaign of massacre and ethnic cleansing is disgusting racism.

Disgusting racism: The partisan use of language

Another element of your racism comes from your use of language.

You likened Palestinians to rodents, something I cannot let you off the hook for even when you accompany it with quotations from sociologists. Not when you never used any animal analogies about Israelis, and never would.

You describe the Palestinian capture of an Israeli tank gunner by saying they “seized” him (September 12 and November 9). But the 1019 people Israel seized to take off to prisons, many of whom were children, many of whom were tortured, were “arrested” or “detained”, never “seized”.

Further on your use of the word “seized”, you use it elsewhere to make reactions to Israel’s aggression and destruction sound opportunistic. Hizbollah “seized” the leadership (July 16, quoting Buttu) and “seized” the moment (July 14). Indeed, when Israeli shelling killed 7 members of the same family, Palestinians “seized on” this, too, to end a ceasefire (how awful of them to treat the massacre of a family as a sign of the end of a ceasefire).

When you describe Palestinians’ Qassam rockets, which you know and have stated are militarily ineffective and basically a gesture of defiance, you describe them as a “scourge” (November 26) and a “blight” (November 28). You never used such words for Israeli shelling, bombing, and gunfire, which regularly kill dozens of people. These you usually describe as “errant” (November 10 and November 23), although once, and only once, you used the world “horrific” (November 13) to describe the massacre of 19 people by shellfire you elsewhere called “errant”.

By far your most disgraceful use of language comes from the story (July 1) in which you make light of Israeli sonic booms to terrorize Gaza’s population, already starving in the dark. This is so repugnant that readers might not believe it unless quoted at length:

“Then, two teeth-rattling whumps course through your body at thousandth-of-a-second intervals, packing so colossal a wallop they simply defy description. Whump-whump. You, my friend, have just been carpet-boomed. Something in the neighbourhood of 139 decibels of wakey-wakey courtesy of your friendly, neighbourhood Israeli F-16 warplane… How to explain the oomph of a sonic boom in Toronto terms? Say that someone chops down the CN Tower and it lands beside your head. Say they chop down a second CN Tower and it lands on the other side a nanosecond later. And say that, at the very moment of impact, a cardiac surgical team shouts, “Charging to 120 – Clear!” and proceeds to defibrillate your torso…You laugh at the alarm clock on the bedside table, and your earlier worries you might sleep through its ring. Not to worry. Another F-16 should be by in an hour or so. And another after that.”

“Wakey-wakey”, “Oomph”, “Whump-whump”, “boom-boom”, and “carpet-boomed”, are how you write about the threatening actions of an air force that destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure, dropped 500-pound bombs into crowded apartment complexes, and has killed hundreds of people in the very zone from where you wrote your clever quips.

Compare this story to your piece on people in Haifa on July 15, who were going through “fretful days” because Hizbollah’s rockets, which you had described as “terrifying” (July 14) had fallen on them. You celebrated the “resilience of the thriving port city” and the “resilience” of its mayor. I saw no references to Palestinian “resilience” in the 44 stories of yours that I read. Nor did I see any reference to Israel’s sonic booms, to say nothing of its artillery and bombing attacks, being “terrifying”.

As for the mayor of Haifa, who in your eyes exemplifies Haifa’s resilience, you quote him saying about the Palestinians and Lebanese that “now we have the right to take them hostage. We have the right to destroy them.” You let this pass without comment, but you referred to Nasrallah’s speeches (July 16) as “invective rich” and “counterfactual bluster”.

On July 22, you explained an alliance between Hamas and Hizbollah by using a “timeworn Arabic adage, ‘Me and my brother against my cousin.’ What the Hamas-Hezbollah dynamic augurs now is the possibility of a religious realignment that could introduce the other half of that parable: ‘Me and my cousin against the world.’ Or, if not the world, Israel.“ Would it ever occur to you to explain Israeli politics or alliances by reference to timeworn Hebrew adages, or would that seem to you to be anti-semitic? It would, to me.

In the same story of July 22 you demonstrated your mind-reading capacities: “Hezbollah, with its daily shower of random rocket fire into northern Israeli towns and cities, is clearly intent upon killing civilians.” I saw no statement from you about what Israel’s intent was in all the massacres of civilians that have occurred while you have written about the conflict. As you may know (but haven’t yet reported that I saw), estimates of deaths in the Israel-Lebanon war of 2006 are that Israel killed over 1100 Lebanese, most of whom were civilians, and that Hizbollah killed 119 Israeli soldiers and 43 Israeli civilians. And yet, even now, I bet you are willing to stand behind your statement that Hizbollah was “intent on killing civilians” but that Israel was not. You are willing to impute motives and intent to some, but not others.

These are all signs of racism, and they are disgusting.

Laziness, lies, and clichés

It would be too much to expect you to cover the carnage proportionately by reporting on Palestinian suffering 80 times as much as Israeli suffering (of course 80 times underestimates the disparity, since Israelis control every detail of Palestinian life and use that control to abuse, humiliate, and degrade at whim). But rather than fail to capture this incredible disparity, you inverted the relationship and gave a disproportionate voice to the victimizers. In your 44 stories, you used about 170 sources. 100 of these were Israeli, 39 were Palestinian, and 31 were other (Lebanese, US, or European). To say you used 39 Palestinian sources overstates the case: You used two sources (Diana Buttu and Saeb Erekat) 3 times each, and another (Ghassan Khatib) twice: all three of these are on the same negotiating team and members of the same political faction. You have about a half-dozen other sources (businessmen Sam Bahour and Ali Abu Shahla, academics Naji Shurab and Nader Izzat Said, mental health spokesman Marwan Diab), and another half-dozen “man-on-the-street” interviews. The rest of the Palestinian voices in your articles come second-hand, from television or other media.

Your list of Israeli contacts seems much more impressive, by contrast, particularly in think tanks and universities. The majority of your stories, even on Palestinian questions, are anchored by analysts at Israeli think tanks (Shalem Center, Jaffee Center, Reut Center), by Israeli analysts writing in newspapers (Alex Fishman in Yediot Aharonot), or Israeli academics (at Tel Aviv University or the Hebrew University in Jerusalem). Most of your stories follow a predictable pattern: Some news reported from wire services or media, followed by some analysis by an Israeli columnist in Ma’ariv or Yediot Aharonot, concluding with some analysis by an Israeli expert at a think-tank or university. Recent stories following this pattern are December 18, December 15, December 1, and November 28. Your recourse to Israeli experts and Palestinians close to President Abbas, and the absence of government officials from Hamas, leads to an especially unbalanced view of the fighting in Gaza between Hamas and Fatah. Do you consider yourself to be part of the boycott against the government the Palestinians elected? You frequently mention how Hamas is supported by various Muslim countries, but I didn’t see (I may have missed) references to the supply of cash and weapons to Fatah in Gaza by the US. In the context of starvation, that supply and support makes the conflict in Gaza more of a proxy war than a civil war. But that perspective, widely understood by many Palestinians and Israelis, people both inside and outside the region, is unavailable to your readers. Because of you. At best, this is laziness. Regardless of cause, it has serious consequences.

Though most of your lies are by omission and were discussed above, the article by Daniel Freeman-Maloy, which I referred to in my original blog post shows one direct lie:

“On June 30… Potter made the following assertion: ‘Despite five days of international headlines there has been but a single death – that of kidnapped 18-year-old Israeli hitchhiker Eliyahu Asheri.’”

Freeman-Maloy pointed out that two children aged 2 and 17 had been killed on June 28 at Khan Yunis by unexploded shells. The New York Times caught these deaths, though you didn’t. On June 22, Israeli special forces assassinated a member of the al-Aqsa Martys Brigades in Ramallah. In the week June 22-28, Israeli forces wounded 6 Palestinians, including 3 children, according to PCHR. Asserting a single death was dishonest, given how much violence had been meted out to Palestinians over the summer. Not correcting it in light of information makes it a lie, the worse because several Palestinians were killed even as Canadians were reading your story of a single death.

As for your use of clichés, I have already pointed out how your story of July 1 made light of the terror of Israel’s sonic booms. But your writing is replete with clichés, of Palestinians “enflamed” with “militant rhetoric”, of Hizbollah “well-armed, well-trained and well-acquainted with the promise of martyrdom” conducting an “unprovoked kidnap raid”, of Hamas “sworn to Israel’s destruction”, of Israeli soldiers “getting their boots dirty”, Israelis worrying about “a thousand pound gorilla of a question”. All these clichés, and this is but a small sample, have the same effect: debasing the gravity of the situation, defiling and dehumanizing the victims, and confusing readers as to causes and possible solutions.

Why bother?

My original intention was to look at all of your work since the second intifada began. But I had neither the time nor the stomach for such an exercise, so instead I confined myself to the 44 stories you filed on Israel/Palestine over the past 6 months. I think we both know this was a fruitless exercise on my part in any case. Each of the things I pointed out, you will minimize, rationalize, or find some excuse for. I could tell you how to do your job better. I could give you lists of people, Palestinians and Israelis, you could interview to diversify your sources considerably, facts and arguments you could read, ideas you could expose yourself to so that you could decide where you stood and report both the range of views and justify honestly why you hold yours.

But we both know what would happen if you were fair: if you interviewed a more diverse set of sources, conveyed the massive disparities and the power interests at work, and showed something other than contempt for the lives and thoughts of Palestinians. We know that a person who was fair would not sit long as Middle East Bureau Chief for the Toronto Star, but would face pressure for being, in your words, “overempathetic to the plight of Palestinians” (Interesting that you used “plight” in your email to me. In the past six months you used the word “plight” three times, always to describe Israelis – air force commander Halutz, Israel in general, and tank gunner Shalit, never to describe Palestinians). That pressure would eventually cost such a person his or her job. And whatever you have done with it, no doubt it is a comfortable and interesting job. In the society we’re in, to get and keep such a job requires either overt or covert partisanship for the powerful. Your reporting is a mix of both, and neither you nor our society are going to change any time soon. My hope is not for you, then, but for your readers. I hope that some of them realize that going to you for information on the Israel/Palestine conflict is a good way to be deceived and confused, and that there are far better sources.

Sincerely,

Justin Podur


Mitch Potter’s letter:

Sept 10, 2006

Mr. Podur,

Whatever you may think of my work, how in good conscience do you come to brand me “a truly disgusting racist” in a public forum?

I have been called many things in my time in the Middle East — in fact, the dominant thrust of my critics after nearly five years of reporting from the region is that I am overempathetic to the plight of Palestinians. But “truly disgusting racist” is an altogether new low.

You completely misunderstand the intent of the phrase “lemming-like,” which in fact was written to remind readers of the terribly mismatched battles in Gaza, battles that I have written about repeatedly since 2002. It goes like this: whenever an Israeli armoured column so much as nudges the edge of a refugee camp, lightly armed gunmen from Izzidine al-Qassam Brigades, Al Aksa Martyr Brigades and as many as a half-dozen other groups at any given time pour forth to their almost certain death.

I have asked Palestinian militant leaders many times why they pursue this particularly self-defeating strategy of confronting Israeli tanks, when these very same groups have demonstrated a greater military sophistication in the planning and execution of certain other attacks, such as the June 24 tunnel-born raid that resulted in the capture of Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

The answer is that the reaction is by rote. Or, rather, lemming-like. When tanks are on the doorstep, emotion takes over, and many Palestinian fighters launch themselves spontaneously into the losing end of a decidedly unfair fight. Some Israeli military officials, in fact, have been quoted as calling these engagements “unfair” in Israel’s favour for that very reason.

According to sociologists I have spoken to and quoted extensively from Gaza (Google my article the “Lost Boys of Gaza” for context) the impulse is somehow connected to feelings of powerlessness. In other words, Palestinian fighters are drawn out not by the promise of certain death, but rather, the subconscious need to feel they are somehow taking control of a situation that has left their entire community powerless.

Sociologists also say a similar impulse contributes to the high casuality rate among Palestinian boys. In Palestinian society, as in the broader society of the Arab world, the father is the traditional symbol of power and authority. Yet many of the boys of Gaza appear to be turning away from their helpless fathers and instead identify more with the “father figure” of armed gunmen in their streets, who are the only ones to demonstrate strength. There are many terrible ways that children die by Israeli weaponry. But one of them, I believe, includes the fact that the children are drawn to being with the militants in the streets.

It is sick. And the sickness, in my view, is one of the by-products of multiple generations of Israeli occupation.

The reality of daily print journalism is that not every story comes replete with the context it deserves. There is neither the space nor the time. And the story you cite on your Blog could have benefited from more.

That said, I have written dozens of lengthy, contextual reports from Gaza, the West Bank and many points beyond that have an afterlife on the Web. I challenge you to find even one to support the slur you so cavalierly attach to my name.

Sincerely,

Mitch Potter

Middle East Bureau Chief

Toronto Star of Canada

From Mitch Potter

In response to my blog post of July 28, 2006, in which I called him a “truly disgusting racist”, Mitch Potter, the Middle East Bureau Chief of the Toronto Star, wrote the below to me on September 10, 2006 (last year).

I prepared a reply which I will post tomorrow, but I thought I would post his letter to me here first.

(I also watched the preview screening of Amu, which I’ll try to get a review of up soon.)

Mitch Potter’s letter to me:

Mr. Podur,

Continue reading “From Mitch Potter”

The new generation of paramilitaries

Things are moving fast in Colombia. I’ll try to get some things out here over the next few days.

I noted a few days ago that one of the key witnesses in the current Salvatore Mancuso hearings, Yolanda Izquierdo, was murdered. Just a little later, President Alvaro Uribe Velez threatened former members of M-19, a guerrilla group that went into politics at tremendous cost to themselves (many, many of them were murdered, many others imprisoned, and so on, while the people who killed them are free as can be, uninvestigated and unpunished), by calling them “Terrorists dressed as civilians”. Uribe was taking a desperate shot because his own links to paramilitaries are being uncovered.

A couple of days after Uribe’s “terrorists dressed as civilians” comment, various members of social organizations, unions, and alternative media folks received death threats signed by the next generation of paramilitaries, a group calling themselves the “Black Eagles”. So, we have one group of paramilitaries confessing, “demobilizing”, and “reintegrating” into society – giving them the opportunity to openly infiltrate every part of society – and another group “rearming” and eagerly taking up the slack.

I’ve republished the threat email below, thanks to the colombia support network, and the original in spanish below that. You’ll note it uses the exact same language as Uribe used.

CSN ‘s Note: In the past several days, Senator Gustavo Petro of the Polo Democratico Party, the alternative opposition party whose Presidential candidate finished second in the 2006 elections with 2.6 million votes, has been presenting information uncovered showing the links between the illegal paramilitary forces and Colombian political figures in Antioquia state, and suggesting a debate on this. Among the persons mentioned as collaborating with the paramilitaries is Santiago Uribe Velez, who is a brother of President Alvaro Uribe Velez. The following anonymous message, which has been circulated widely in Colombia since it appeared yesterday, contains clear threats directed at Senator Petro and the Polo Democratico. The Polo uses the color yellow as its identifying color. The reference to yellow in the message is, therefore, a threat against Polo party members. Note the reference to U.S. support of President Uribe¹s policies as a guarantee for the paramilitaries¹ proposed murder campaign.

Please write to your Congressional Representative and Senators to express your serious concern about these threats, and write to President Bush and Secretary of State Rice to tell them you want the U.S. government to make clear to President Uribe that it expects President Uribe to investigate these threats, prosecute those responsible for them, and provide protection for Senator Petro and other leaders and members of the Polo Democratico. Any future U.S. aid to Colombia should be conditioned upon the Uribe government providing these protections and permitting the revelations by Senator Petro and others to go forward.

ANONYMOUS MESSAGE FROM PARAMILITARIES CIRCULATED IN COLOMBIA ON FEBRUARY 6, 2007
³Communique to all those servile kneeling persons camouflaged as civilians²
³Colombia free of communists, armed political arm of the Ex-AUC²
³Fronts: Capital, Central, Sur, Caribe,Llanos, Nororiente, Nueva Generacion, Aguilas Negras ( Capital, Central, Caribbean, Plains, Northeast, New Generation, Black Eagles)
³We identify ourselves with the security policy of President Alvaro Uribe Velez; we are with him until the final victory over the communists disguised and camouflaged as civilians who continue to serve the insurgency of the FARC. We are one step away from realizing the greatest dream of our president, which is the consolidation of the communitarian state and the new political-administrative division of Colombia. This is the best agreement which we have been able to achieve since the meetings of Ralito. Up to the present we have carried on a campaign of cleaning out all of the social slag who are said to call themselves defenders of human rights, social leaders, labor union leaders, politicized ex-guerrillas, and clearly headed by an insignificant group of poor quality lawyers who say that they are going to bring the president to judgment for his past, as if we were not also aware of the dirty past which all of them together have.

We are undertaking from this moment a frontal war to the death against all those who hide behind their cover of façade, NGO¹s, rebel daily newspapers, tiny offices, houses of ³protection² of false democrats. We will go to their houses, buildings, offices, universities, we are going to haul them out publicly before the media so that the country can see the small class of person who awaits them if they change the course of the policy of security.

From this moment on we are going to apply the death penalty to the traitors of the fatherland, those who spend their time seeking asylum because they are scared t death in their country, shameless sons of bitches who turn their backs on their people, who steal the monies which come from other countries to these NGO¹s to serve the community, foundations camouflaged as benefactors who are nothing more than thieves of the future of our country.

Therefore, it is our reason for this new crusade, which we will carry out hand in hand with the national army and the armed forces of Colombia, to cleanse ourselves of what crap is left in the house.

Our immediate military objective is the execution of the disguised communists who hide themselves in the Polo Democratico, NGO¹s which ³protect² kneeling in a servile way the FARC, and those new revolting bolivarian movements which have begun to transcend our sovereignty and betray the democratically elected government in Colombia. NO MORE WITH YOU CAROUSING (parranda) SONS OF BITCHES.

The only dignified way out which they have is LEAVING THE COUNTRY. We will not permit them to continue with their actions of supposed democracy, since we know well that what they are hiding is the last strategy which is left to the FARC for taking powerŠof course with the petrodollars of Chavez and his communist ideology of crap. THEY CANNOT.

The North American people at the head of their present government know very well that you will not be the future of our country. We can count upon the military and technical support which will guarantee us a sweeping victory over the insurgents and their servile supporters (arrodillados).

Everyone should know that behind each one of those who say they are defenders of human rights, social leaders and poor quality lawyers, camouflaged journalists, and every ex-guerrilla who believes he is untouchable, after (de xada) there will be one of our commandos following his actions day and night, and his ties with the FARC, the ELN, and any other little group which may appear.

We will uncover them before the country and the world, showing the falsity which is hidden behind these ³innocent² little faces.

We will judge them in accord with their actions, massacring them in public squares so that the people will recognize the social justice which these traitors to the country deserve.

We will do away with you through your families, your children and your loved ones who will give their lives thanks to your dirty, cowardly acts, which you do not face up to, and for that reason your families will pay dearly for your error.

As far as the poor lawyers such as those of the collective and other NGO¹s and ex-guerrillas of the Polo who say they are going to judge the president, we warn them that these risky actions will cost them blood.

Now they will see what awaits them, these idle sons of bitches.

Tuesday, February 13ŠA yellow one is in sight!!!!!!!!!

Could it be that they will dare to meet and judge the president.

You now have your time up!

Death to the kneeling supporters of the FARC camouflaged as civilians

Death to false leaders, defenders and poor quality persons

Out of Colombia disguised communists

Total war to cleanse Colombia

Colombia Forever Free!!!!! !!!!!!

——-

COMUNICADO A TODOS LOS ARRODILLADOS SERVILES CAMUFLADOS DE CIVIL

COLOMBIA LIBRE DE COMUNISTAS BRAZO POLITICO ARMADO DE LAS EX-AUC

FRENTES CAPITAL CENTRAL SUR CARIBE LLANOS NORORIENTE NUEVA GENERACION AGUILAS NEGRAS

Nos identificamos con la politica de seguridad del presidente Alvaro Uribe Velez, estamos con el hasta la victoria final sobre los comunistas disfraszdos y los camuflados de civil que siguen sirviendo a la insurgencia de las FARC, estamos a un paso de conseguir el mayor sueño de nuestro presidente que es la consolidación del estado comunitario y la nueva division politicoadministrativa de Colombia, ese es el mejor acuerdo que hemos podido realizar desde los encuentros de ralito, hasta el momento hemos liberado una campaña de limpieza de toda esa escoria social que dicen llamarse defensores de los derechos humanos, lideres sociales, sindicalistas, exquerrilleros politizados, y claro encabezados por un grupo insignificante de abogaduchos de pacotilla que dicen van a llevar al presidente a juicio por su pasado, como si ya no supieramos tambien ese puerco pasado que estos todos en conjunto ocupan.

Libraremos desde este momento una guerra frontal a sangre y fuego contra todos esos que se esconden tras sus guaridas de fachada, ongs, diarios rebeldes, oficinitas, casas de “proteccion” de falsos demócratas, iremos a sus casa, edificios, oficinas, universidades,les vamos a sacar públicamente ante los medios para que el pais vea la clasesita de gentuza que les espera si cambian el rumbo de la politica de seguirad,
Vamos a aplicar desde este momento la pena de muerte a los traidores a la patria, aquellos que la pasan pidiendo asilo por que se cagan de miedo en su pais, sinvergüenzas hijueputas que le dan la espalda a su gente, que se roban los dineros que de otros paises llegan a esas ongs para servir a la comunidad, fundaciones camufladas de benefactores que no son otra cosa mas que ladrones del futuro de nuestra patria.
Por eso es nuestra razon de esta nueva cruzada que haremos de la mano con el ejercito nacional y las fuerzas armadas de Colombia, limpiaremos lo que queda de mierda en la casa,

Nuestro objetivo militar inmediato es la ejecución de los comunistas disfrasados que se esconden en el polo democratico, ongs que “protegen” arrodillados serviles a las FARC, y esos nuevos movimientos revoltosos bolivarianos que han empezado a transcender nuestra soberania y traicionan al gobierno elegido democráticamente en Colombia. NO MAS CON USTEDES PARRANDA DE HIJUESPUTAS

La unica salida digna que tienen es el DESTIERRO , no permitiremos que continuen con sus acciones de supuesta democracia cuando ya bien sabemos que lo que esconden es la ultima estrategia que les queda a las FARC para tomarse el poder ….claro con la ayuda del los petrodólares de chavez y su ideología comunista de la mierda, NO PODRAN

El pueblo norteamericano en cabeza de su gobierno actual saben muy bien que Ustedes no seran el futuro de nuestra patria, contamos con el apoyo militar y tecnico que nos garantizara una victoria contundente sobre los insurgentes y sus serviles arrodillados,

Deben saber todos ustedes que tras de cada uno de aquellos que dicen ser defensores del derecho humano, lideres sociales y abogaduchos de pacotilla, periodistas camuflados, y todo exguerrillero que se crea intocable, tras de xada uno habra un comando de los nuestros siguiendo dia y noche sus acciones, sus nexos con las FARC, el eln, y cualquier otro grupito que aparezca,
Los desnudaremos ante el pais y el mundo, mostrando la falsedad que esconden tras de esas “inocentes “ caritas.
Les juzgaremos conforme a las acciones masacrandoles en plazas publicas para que el pueblo conozca la justicia social que se merecen los traidores a la patria,

Acabaremos con Ustedes por medio de sus familias, sus hijos y seres queridos daran su vida por culpa de sus actos sucios, cobardes que no dan la cara y por eso sus famitas pagaran caro su error.

En cuanto a los abogaduchos esos del colectivo y otra ongs y los exguerrilleros del polo que dicen que van a juzgar al presidente, les advertimos que tales atrevimientos les costaran sangre,

ya veran lo que les espera hijueputas sin oficio.

Martes 13 de Febrero……..Un amarillo esta en la mira!!!!!!!!!

Sera que se atreve a sesionar y enjuiciar al presidente,

Usted ya tiene su tiempo listo!

MUERTE A LOS CAMUFLADOS DE CIVIL ARRODILLADOS A LAS FARC

MUERTE A LIDERES FALSOS DEFENSORES Y PACOTILLAS

FUERA DE COLOMBIA LOS COMUNISTAS DISFRASADOS

SANGRE Y FUEGO PARA LIMPIAR A COLOMBIA

COLOMBIA LIBRE POR SIEMPRE!!!!!!!!!!!