A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter


Hey Americans! Here’s a great reason to vote for Obama again

Posted: 20 Jun 2011

Salon’s Alex Preene shows you how:

A Republican president will most likely do what the last three Republican presidents have done: Starve the government of revenue, allow industries to capture regulators, launch pointless and bloody foreign misadventures, and threaten to gut the welfare state. I mean, all of those things might be happening now, with a Democrat, but they would happen so much worse with Mitt Romney, probably! So vote Obama again!

Remember all the Western journalists praising Fayyad in the West Bank?
Posted: 20 Jun 2011 It was an illusion, built on seemingly endless Western aid and no plan to end the Zionist occupation on Palestinian land:

For years, Fayyad’s soft talk and cheery dedication enabled policymakers throughout the world to ignore the brewing crisis. And this may be where Fayyad, despite his impressive management skills, did Palestinians a disservice.
In 2009, the incoming Obama administration was quickly lured into a set of approaches (many inherited from the Bush years) that proved their complete bankruptcy this year — ignoring Gaza and allowing its population to be squeezed hard, pretending that there was a meaningful Israeli-Palestinian negotiation process at hand, assuming that Hamas could be dealt with after the peace process and Fayyad had worked their magic, and making the paradoxical and erroneous assumption that the best way to build Palestinian institutions was to rely on a specific, virtuous individual.
Fayyad cannot be held primarily responsible for this collective self-delusion; at most, he facilitated it. And in the process he provided all actors with a breathing space that is now disappearing. Ultimately, the ones who convinced themselves he was capable of completely transforming Palestine are most responsible for squandering the brief respite his premiership offered.

More refugees globally struggling for safety
Posted: 20 Jun 2011 So our response should be compassion and understanding, not launching more wars, building more walls and increasing the anti-asylum seeker rhetoric.
Yes, I live in this world:

The number of forcibly displaced people around the world has reached a 15-year high, according to the UN high commission for refugees (UNHCR), with the vast majority languishing in poor countries ill-equipped to cater to their needs.
The UNHCR’s 2010 trends report estimated that there were 43.7 million refugees and people displaced within their country by events such as war and natural disasters at the end of last year. More than half of the total are children. The figure does not take into account the new wave of migration set in train by the upheaval of the Arab spring.
The figure breaks down into a global total of 15.4 million refugees, 27.5 million internally displaced people and a further 840,000 people waiting to be given refugee status.
The 48-page report also reveals that there has been a fall in the number of returning refugees to 197,600, the lowest in two decades. This has resulted in the number of long-term refugees in “protracted situations” making up almost half of the total of all refugees, the highest number for a decade.
The report puts the blame for this on “humanitarian crises and the political situation in a number of countries”. However, there has been a slight dip in the total number of refugees worldwide on 2009 levels.
The agency has also estimated that there are 12 million stateless people around the world.

Imagine if Palestinians admitted to killing Israelis
Posted: 19 Jun 2011 
It would be front page news globally. But instead, this storywill inevitably disappear down the memory hole:

Undercover Israeli intelligence officers appeared on national television Saturday to talk about assassinating Palestinians in a program broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10.
Oren Beaton presented a photo album of Palestinians he killed during his time as a commander of an undercover Israeli unit operating in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Beaton explained that he kept photos of his victims.
“This is a photo of a Palestinian young man called Basim Subeih who I killed. This is another young man. I shredded his body, and the photo shows the remnants of his body,” he said.
The TV program also featured an undercover agent referred to as “D”, who openly admitted killing “wanted Palestinians.”
He complained of suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and said that the state had rejected his demands for compensation.
The Channel 10 presenter appealed to the Israeli government to meet the agent’s demands.
“Those are the Shin Bet agents we only hear about and never see, and thanks to them we live safely,” she said.
The report was filmed in the Palestinian territories, and showed agents wandering around the streets of Ar-Ram in occupied East Jerusalem with handguns under their shirts, illustrating that the agents were still operating in Palestinian cities.
The agents, who speak fluent Arabic, are shown surrounded by masked Palestinian collaborators secretly deployed to the area to protect them.
The program provided previously unconfirmed details about the operational methods of undercover agents.
The report explained that officers conducted surveillance before an assassination, investigating the target’s friends and classmates.
Agents would even ask about the target’s favorite meals and habits at home, the report said.
In this way, agents would put together an image of the target’s behavior and routine.
Agent “D” said officers would then “seize the target and wait until the commander arrives to confirm his identity. Then we shoot him.”

Standing up against Chinese repression; release Ai Weiwei
Posted: 19 Jun 2011 
I’m proud to have signed the following statement, just released publicly, that asks the Chinese regime to release famed artist Ai Weiwei:

This is an open letter from members of the Australian creative community to the Chinese Ambassador in Australia about the disappearance of artist and activist Ai Weiwei
To Chen Yuming, Chinese Ambassador to Australia,
We write to you today in relation to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
As you may know Ai was detained on 3 April 2011 at Beijing airport by Chinese police. His studio was then sealed off and his staff and wife interrogated. All this occurred without any given reasons or charges lain.
When on 7 April the Chinese ministry announced that he had been arrested for alleged economic crimes no proof was given and no official charge made.
His studio was then searched again and on 9 April his accountant, driver Zhang Jingsong and studio partner Liu Zhenggang disappeared. Ai Weiwei’s assistant Wen Tao has also been missing since Ai’s arrest on 3 April.
It has now been 39 days since the disappearance of Ai. 9 May was the date that Ai should have been released unless there is an official charge. No official notifications have been given regarding his whereabouts or reason for detainment.
The EU and US have protested Ai’s detention and the international arts community has rallied behind his cause. The international Council of Museums has collected more than 90,000 signatures and countless petitions have been organised.
We are deeply concerned about the kidnapping and disappearance of Ai Weiwei and his colleagues. We call on the Chinese government to carry out fair and open legal proceedings.
We believe the arrest of Ai Weiwei represents a watershed. His arrest came days after his Twitter comments about the Jasmine revolution and the arrest of such a high profile figure in China spreads the concern of human rights, freedom of speech and artistic expression.
We the creative community of Australia as friends and neighbours of China call for the immediate release of Ai Weiwei.
John Connell, author and filmmaker
Jane Campion, filmmaker
David Malouf, author
Lisa Havilah, director, Carriageworks
John Maynard, filmmaker
Chrissy Sharpe, director, The Wheeler Centre
Bridget Iken, filmmaker
Delia Falconer, writer
Natalie Wood, fashion designer
Professor Stuart Rees AM, director, Sydney Peace Foundation
Duncan Graham, playwright
Anna Schwartz, gallery owner
William Yang, photographer
Tony Ayers, filmmaker
Jeff Sparrow, writer, editor Overland literary journal
Tom Zubrycki, filmmaker
Gabrielle Carey, author
Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist and author
Debra Adelaide, vice president, PEN Sydney
Robyn Martin-Weber, art consultant
Paola Morabito, filmmaker
Professor Wendy Bacon, University of Technology, Sydney
Jodie Passmore, filmmaker
Ben Ferris, director, Sydney film school
Annette Shun Wah, writer, actor, producer
Dr. Nicholas Ng, composer
Kevina Jo Smith, artist
Benjamin Law, writer
Mark Bradshaw, composer
Professor Rónán McDonald, Australian Ireland Fund Chair of Modern Irish Studies
Helen Bowden, producer
Mark Walkley, author
Xu Wang, artist
Daniel Stricker, musician/label manager
Helen Fitzgerald, art director
Kirin J Callinan, musician
Jenna Price, journalist and academic
Danielle Zorbas, producer
Billy Maynard, photographer
Larin Sullivan, filmmaker
Vivian Huynh, copywriter/musician
Jack Jeweller, curator and writer
Jiao Chen, filmmaker
Chi Vu, writer director
Tom Cho, author
Benedict Andrews, theatre director
Andrew Santamaria, musician and environmental engineer.
Tristan Ceddia, publisher
Rebecca Conroy, director billandgeorge
Hana Shimada, artist
Jonathan Zawada, designer/artist
Amelia Groom, author
Robert Milne, publisher
Matthew Hopkins, artist
Charlie Sofo, artist
Jeff Yiu, photgrapher
Caterina Scardino, stylist
Brami Jegan, activist
Russell Smith, lecturer ANU
Hugo O’Connor, producer
Sam Bryant, filmmaker
Dr Tseen Khoo, grant developer
Cinnamon van Reyk, museum curator
Brent Clough, broadcaster
Dr Simone Lazaroo, writer, senior lecturer, Murdoch University
Nicole Bearman, producer, cultural programs and events
Luke Bacon, composer
Trischelle Roberts, musician
Miska Mandic, musician
Morry Schwartz, publisher
Kath Shleper, filmmaker
Sammi Ibrahem, www.shoah.org.uk


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