Land Grab 4 September 2007Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, Israel/AIPAC, The Battle for New Orleans, WAR!.
BRUSSELS, Sep 1 (IPS) – Trade between the European Union and Israel should be halted in protest at human rights violations in the Palestinian territories, a United Nations conference has heard.
Under a so-called association agreement, Israel currently enjoys free trade in industrial goods, and preferential treatment of farm produce entering the European Union.
Luisa Morgantini, a vice-president of the European Parliament, said that her institution has called for this agreement to be suspended. So far, however, these calls have been rejected by EU governments and by the Union’s executive, the European Commission.
This is despite how Article 2 of the agreement, which entered into force in 2000, commits both sides to respect human rights.
Morgantini was speaking at a UN conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Brussels (30-31 August). She argued that the EU has made “a lot of mistakes” in its handling of relations with the Middle East, particularly over the last year.
It was wrong, she said, for the Union to suspend direct aid to the Palestinian Authority in 2006, when the Islamist party Hamas swept to victory in parliamentary elections that the Union officially considered as fair and democratic.
She denounced, too, the EU’s decision to focus its support on the West Bank rather than Gaza. “As Europeans, we have to push not to divide but to unite the Palestinian people,” she said. “Our policy is sometimes exactly the opposite of this.”
She also voiced unease about how the EU has since 2005 been operating a border assistance mission in Rafah, the sole connection point between Gaza and the outside world.
The crossing has been largely closed by Israeli forces since Hamas seized control of Gaza in June, with the EU staff involved in the assistance mission taking no action to lift restrictions on the movement of Palestinians.
Eoin Murray from the Irish anti-poverty organization Trocaire said that the EU has become “a subcontractor for the occupation” of Palestine and that the Union’s Rafah mission should be abandoned.
Each morning, he told IPS, the members of the EU mission travel to a point beside the crossing known to Palestinians as Karim Abu Salam, and to Israelis as Kerin Shalom. “The Israelis then say that they can’t come in for security reasons,” he said. “And the EU just accepts that.” [snip]
May the calls for sanctions and sanity persist.
It looks like the Democracy NOW! program to day is nearly all New Orleans..
snip from one segment, the voice of experience, an old time SNCC guy, Mississippi organiser at 18 in 1961:
AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think the equivalent is here now in New Orleans?
CURTIS MUHAMMAD: I think public school education is one. We proved that in New Orleans before Katrina. I think public school education is a mass consensus in America. And I think you can organize around it, and parents and students would take risk on that question. I really do.
I also think that genocide is growing to be one, and I think that the enslaved men and black male children between fourteen and twenty-five — every mother have lost a child to the slave trade of the prison-industrial complex, and I think that the movement ignores it, because they never saw that black males were at the bottom of oppression, because our oppression has been defined by other than our own community. But if you ask the average black mother, “My children don’t get educated, and my boys are going to jail.”
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of the charter schools and the firing of all the teachers after the hurricane?
CURTIS MUHAMMAD: I think it’s another form of slavery. It’s another way to isolate the very poor and the very dire, so that genocide is possible. I think we are involved in a genocidal mode in this country for particularly young black males right now, and I think very poor black folks are very vulnerable to it. So I think this hurricane was an opportunity to do it. They just missed it.
I think we need a whole re-education in this country. We didn’t — we missed it when we watched the automation of the cotton picker thirty or forty years ago. We missed the fact that three, four, five million people were still on cotton plantations and tobacco plantations and sugarcane plantations who had been there since slavery, never reading, never writing, knowing nothing about society, was dumped all at once, within one-and-a-half decades, into the major cities of the country.
Something like one-fifth of our population had just come off the plantations in 1965, ’70. And those are they who are the super poor, who are uneducated, that this country do not want to invest in educating. I mean, there’s some stuff going on among us that we just have not taken the time to look at.
AMY GOODMAN: Housing, who do you believe in New Orleans is designing this experiment on privatization? There’s a T-shirt at the tribunal that says something like “Don’t believe the hype. It’s not redevelopment” — let’s see if I can get it exactly. “It’s not redevelopment that is slow, so-called, here” — let me get it exactly.
“Don’t believe the hype. Gulf Coast recovery is not ‘slow.’ It’s a privatization scheme that takes away our homes, schools, hospitals and human rights.”
Do you agree with that?
CURTIS MUHAMMAD: You know, this thing is so big, Amy, that I’m really nervous about grabbing a little piece of something to agree or disagree with, because it’s such a massive, broad scheme.
Since you do a lot of investigative stuff, you need to look at the shipbuilding contracts and where they are right now and look at the number of them that’s coming to shipyards along this coast of New Orleans and look at the new shipyards being constructed. You need to look at the oil find in the Gulf, that was equivalent to some of the biggest oil finds in the Middle East, and the development that has happened since that find, the number of new rigs that have been built right out on the Gulf Coast. And then we need to think about what is the plan for the mouth of the Mississippi moving up in this city that is host to the —
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of the candidates coming in on the anniversary of Katrina? I think Barack Obama came, and Hillary Clinton. I think John Edwards was here. Well, of course, President Bush. Alberto Gonzales said it was one of the high points of his career, was New Orleans and the Katrina time, because of the level of cooperation.
CURTIS MUHAMMAD: You know, I mean, poor people have all — this is — poor people have always been the — what’s the word? — the –
AMY GOODMAN: “Backdrop”?
CURTIS MUHAMMAD: Yeah, for political poo-poo. You know, they show up at our picnics in an election year and talk about how they’re going to do this for us and put chickens in our pot and cars in our garages, and jobs, and they always promise this poo-poo. But then, what’s so ugly about this, what’s so ugly about New Orleans, I mean, we have recorded close to 6,000 people that died. We think that was a real intentional attempt to wipe out 100,000 black folks right here with Hurricane Katrina. And here’s all these thousands of people using these poor people to pick their stuff up and stand tall and look like somebody, and nothing changes. You walked around this town. The Ninth Ward ain’t changed. Public housing ain’t changed. Ain’t nobody doing nothing for no poor people.
The housing going on, so they took care to elect — they’re doing something down there for, what, the musicians. You saw that. They’re doing something for the homeowners. You see that down there by the levee, what the town community is called, back there behind the Ninth Ward, and they call it Ninth Ward, what –
AMY GOODMAN: Holy Cross.
CURTIS MUHAMMAD: Holy Cross community, you see this kind of construction going on. You see the Garden District downtown, the casinos, the hotels, you see it. It’s not a secret. And so, people come here and say, “Oh, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do” — and then we still poor, we still got nothing, still got no help.
And you know what? When I travel around the country people think that folks are doing stuff for poor people in New Orleans. That’s what’s so weird. I was just in Europe. People in England said they were surprised that poor people ain’t got no houses. They thought — I was down in Latin America. People thought we weren’t catching hell. In some kind of way they are able to project this feeling that everything is OK in New Orleans. You know, people like me get accused of being a conspiracy theorist or something, but this is stuff people can see. They literally have no intentions, by evidence, of bringing poor black folks back to this city.
From the close, on Ray Nagin:
AMY GOODMAN: What about Ray Nagin, the Mayor?
CURTIS MUHAMMAD: That’s another long story. You’ve got to deal with the fact that we were the slaves of masters from England, from France, and from Spanish, to understand that. You’d have to understand the apartheid of the white light-skinned Creole, dark-skinned Creole and the black folk. The reality of New Orleans is a cast that was institutionalized by the Spanish that other people honored, and we still in it. Ray’s heritage is the islands, so his heritage is part of the Creole heritage. This town has never been politically run by anybody else other than Creoles. We don’t like to talk about it. We like to be cool.
But part of the problem here is we have a serious apartheid. I mean, local, state and national governments were in an agreement to allow those 100,000 people to die, and Ray Nagin was the mayor. I don’t back off of that. And we had 278 buses upstairs on the sixth floor of the damn city parking lot that could have driven people out of this town. I’m sorry. Ray can’t do that to me. He was in agreement.
And nowhere else in history has every arm of the government agreed to let something like that happen. Even slavery, everybody wasn’t in agreement. But on this one, the local, state and national governments had agreement to just let them people sit here.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think the whole thing can happen again?
CURTIS MUHAMMAD: Yes, I do. I really do. But they will be much better at painting the picture. There won’t be nobody like me looking at it, I bet you. It can happen again.
It’s all connected.
Snippet from the Friday show on the Danziger Bridge killings:
DR. ROMELL MADISON: OK. My brothers were seeking help to get to safety on the east side of the Danziger Bridge by officers on the west side, and it hadn’t flooded, so they had refuge there. But they didn’t have food or water, so they would go to the east side, where everyone was being picked up to be brought to safety to the dome and to the Convention Center.
On the day of September 4th, there was a family at the foot of the bridge, a husband, wife, daughter, three small kids and a teenager. During that time they were on the bridge, they noticed a rental truck, a moving van-type-sized truck, about a mid-sized van. It pulled up where the family was. They exited the truck. About seven men exited the truck, and they opened fire on the family at the foot of the bridge. One individual was killed. Everyone was wounded, but one of the children. The children’s ages were from fourteen to nineteen.
After seeing that, they started retreating back to the westbound side of the Danziger Bridge back toward my office again. And at that point the police officers opened fire on them. They wounded my brother Ronald in the back twice. My brother Lance was able to get him to the other side of the bridge and put him on the grass, and then he ran for help. When he did return, he was relieved to find the National Guard and the state police, and he was telling them what happened.
At that point, the police officers walked up, and then they finally disclosed that they were police, because when they originally got out of the van, they were dressed in shorts, T-shirts, just plain shirts. They never identified themselves as being police. And to see them open fire on a small group of individuals, African American individuals, at the foot of the bridge, they just figured they were out to, you know, go hunting and shooting and killing people.
It’s open season.