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May 2013

Azmi Bishara on Syria

The subtitled last few minutes of a Jazeera Arabic interview with the great Palestinian thinker, in which Azmi expresses his disgust with those who fail to recognise the incredible revolutionary spirit of the Syrian people.  “The Syrian people are the ones who turned out to be strong!” he exclaims. “An admirable, heroic, great people! In the face of planes and tanks and artillery. I salute the people of al-Qusair! … This is what we ought to be impressed by!”



from here

Israeli electric car company, promoted as progressive, dies

This is a clas­sic case of main­stream jour­nal­ists, so keen to pro­mote Pro­gres­sive and Green Is­rael, shilling for Is­raeli elec­tric cor­po­ra­tion Bet­ter Place. The fact that mem­bers of its board had trou­bling human rights records and it op­er­ated in the oc­cu­pied West Bank was con­ve­niently ig­nored.

Now news that will sad­den no­body ex­cept in­di­vid­u­als who be­lieve that find­ing al­ter­na­tives to fos­sil fuels should not in­volve con­sid­er­ing human rights of Pales­tini­ans (via New York Times):

The vi­sion was am­bi­tious. Bet­ter Place, an elec­tric ve­hi­cle in­fra­struc­ture com­pany, un­veiled plans more than five years ago to pi­o­neer a sys­tem of quick-ser­vice bat­tery swap­ping sta­tions across Is­rael to en­able un­lim­ited travel.

The com­pany’s founder pre­dicted that 100,000 elec­tric cars would be on the roads here by 2010.

But on Sun­day, Bet­ter Place an­nounced that its ven­ture, a flag­ship en­ter­prise of Is­rael’s image as a start-up hub, was com­ing to an end.

Dan Cohen, the com­pany’s third chief ex­ec­u­tive, said in a state­ment that fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties had left the com­pany no op­tion but to file for liq­ui­da­tion in a dis­trict court and to re­quest the ap­point­ment of a pro­vi­sional re­ceiver “to find the best way to min­i­mize the dam­age to its em­ploy­ees, cus­tomers and cred­i­tors.”

The an­nounce­ment fol­lowed a string of set­backs in the emerg­ing elec­tric car mar­ket. Fisker, a car­maker, is in fi­nan­cial dis­tress; A123 Sys­tems, a bat­tery sup­plier for Fisker, and, more re­cently, Coda Hold­ings, an­other car­maker, filed for bank­ruptcy. Tesla, the promi­nent car man­u­fac­turer, has had suc­cess, though, re­pay­ing its gov­ern­ment loan last week after a suc­cess­ful sale of new shares.

Is­rael had been con­sid­ered a per­fect test­ing ground for Bet­ter Place’s green pro­ject, given the coun­try’s small size and high gaso­line prices. The elec­tric car fit into Is­raeli dreams of re­duc­ing oil de­pen­dency; the ini­tia­tive gained the sup­port of the gov­ern­ment and was em­braced by Shi­mon Peres, the pres­i­dent of Is­rael. Pres­i­dent Obama, dur­ing his March visit here, praised the Is­raelis’ in­no­v­a­tive spirit, men­tion­ing elec­tric cars as one of sev­eral ex­am­ples.

Yet the pro­ject was hob­bled by prob­lems and de­lays, and the com­pany’s idea failed to gain trac­tion, with fewer than 1,000 cars on the road in Is­rael and an­other few hun­dred in Den­mark.

Mr. Cohen said on Sun­day that the vi­sion and the model had been right, but that the pace of mar­ket pen­e­tra­tion had not lived up to ex­pec­ta­tions. With­out a large in­jec­tion of cash, he said, Bet­ter Place was un­able to con­tinue its op­er­a­tions.

“This is a very sad day for all of us,” Mr. Cohen added. “The com­pany brought with it a vi­sion that swept along many peo­ple here and around the world.”

About $850 mil­lion in pri­vate cap­i­tal has been in­vested in the com­pany, which has 350 em­ploy­ees in Is­rael. The largest share­holder, with about 30 per­cent of the stock, was the Is­rael Cor­po­ra­tion, a large hold­ing com­pany that fo­cuses on chem­i­cals, en­ergy, ship­ping and trans­porta­tion. The cor­po­ra­tion’s de­ci­sion not to in­vest fur­ther in Bet­ter Place led to the mo­tion for re­ceiver­ship.

The Bet­ter Place model for elec­tric car use emerged from an ef­fort among man­u­fac­tur­ers and sup­pli­ers to es­tab­lish a stan­dard in­fra­struc­ture in the nascent in­dus­try.

Under terms that re­sem­bled a cell­phone plan, sub­scribers to Bet­ter Place bought their cars and paid about $350 a month to lease ac­cess to the bat­ter­ies, swap sta­tions and charge points. But only one car man­u­fac­turer, the French au­tomaker Re­nault, signed on to adapt its Flu­ence Z.E. sedan to en­able bat­tery switch­ing, lim­it­ing the cus­tomers’ choices and the com­pany’s po­ten­tial.

The bat­tery has a range of about 100 miles. For those trav­el­ing longer dis­tances, Bet­ter Place set up a net­work of switch­ing sta­tions where it promised that swap­ping a de­pleted bat­tery for a fully charged one would take about the same time as fill­ing a car with gas, so that range would no longer be an issue.

“It’s not the fu­ture of gas sta­tions; it’s the end of them,” the com­pany Web site boasted.

About three dozen switch­ing sta­tions now dot Is­rael, which is about 260 miles long from north to south, but they often look de­serted.

The com­pany was founded in Palo Alto, Calif., by Shai Agassi, an Is­raeli en­tre­pre­neur who had pre­vi­ously been a top ex­ec­u­tive at SAP, the Ger­man soft­ware com­pany. It then moved from Cal­i­for­nia to Tel Aviv.

In Oc­to­ber, Bet­ter Place said that Mr. Agassi had been suc­ceeded as its chief by Evan Thorn­ley, the com­pany’s top ex­ec­u­tive in Aus­tralia. The com­pany said Mr. Agassi would con­tinue as a board mem­ber and share­holder. Mr. Thorn­ley left after only three months, over dif­fer­ences re­gard­ing the di­rec­tion of the com­pany, ac­cord­ing to Globes , the Is­raeli busi­ness pub­li­ca­tion. He was suc­ceeded by Mr. Cohen.

In Feb­ru­ary, Bet­ter Place an­nounced that it was wind­ing down its op­er­a­tions in North Amer­ica and Aus­tralia to con­cen­trate on its core mar­kets in Den­mark and Is­rael.

Mr. Cohen said on Sun­day that the com­pany would do what it could to con­tinue to serve its cus­tomers and op­er­ate the recharg­ing net­work, until the liq­uida­tor de­cided on a course of ac­tion.

Ali Ferzat – علي فرزات – Oslo Freedom Forum 2013



Hamam Khairy

Wasfi Massarani Free Syria


Free Syria song: “We Don’t Want al-Assad’s Rule, We Want Freedom!”
“Hama: the Land of Dignity”
“Banias: they hit its men and women with bullets”
“Homs: the Land of bravery!”
“Idlib: we love nothing other than freedom!”



Free Syria Song: “Salute Syria and its Revolutionaries” […] “They [freeodm] revolutionaries opened freedom’s doors!”

Tales in a Kabul Restaurant

May 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment

by Kathy Kelly

Afghan children

Twelve children killed in the Kunar province, April 2013 (Photo credit: Namatullah Karyab for The New York Times)

May 21, 2013 – Kabul–Since 2009, Voices for Creative Nonviolence has maintained a grim record we call the “The Afghan Atrocities Update” which gives the dates, locations, numbers and names of Afghan civilians killed by NATO forces.  Even with details culled from news reports, these data can’t help but merge into one large statistic, something about terrible pain that’s worth caring about but that is happening very far away.

It’s one thing to chronicle sparse details about these U.S. led NATO attacks. It’s quite another to sit across from Afghan men as they try, having broken down in tears, to regain sufficient composure to finish telling us their stories.  Last night, at a restaurant in Kabul, I and two friends from the Afghan Peace Volunteers met with five Pashtun men from Afghanistan’s northern and eastern provinces. The men had agreed to tell us about their experiences living in areas affected by regular drone attacks, aerial bombings and night raids.  Each of them noted that they also fear Taliban threats and attacks. “What can we do,” they asked, “when both sides are targeting us?”


Jamaludeen, an emergency medical responder from Jalalabad, is a large man, with a serious yet kindly demeanor. He began our conversation by saying that he simply doesn’t understand how one human being can inflict so much harm on another. Last winter, NATO forces fired on his cousin, Rafiqullah, age 30, who was studying to be a pediatrics specialist.

“A suicide bomber had apparently blown himself up near the airport.  My cousin and two other men were riding in a car on a road leading to the airport.  It was 6:15 AM.  When they’d realized that NATO helicopters and tanks were firing missiles, they had left their car and huddled on the roadside, but they were easily seen. A missile exploded near them, seriously wounding Rafiqullah and another passenger, while killing their driver, Hayatullah.”

Hayatullah, our friend told us, was an older man, about 45 years old, who left behind a wife, two boys and one daughter.

Although badly wounded, Rafiqullah and his fellow passenger could still speak. A U.S. tank arrived and they began pleading with the NATO soldiers to take them to the hospital.  “I am a doctor,” said Rafiqullah’s fellow passenger, a medical student named Siraj Ahmad.  “Please save me!”  But the soldiers handcuffed the two wounded young men and awaited a decision about what to do next.  Rafiqullah died there, by the side of the road. Still handcuffed, Siraj Ahmad was taken, not to a hospital, but to the airport, perhaps to await evacuation. That was where he died.   He was aged 35 and had four daughters. Rafiqullah, aged 30, leaves three small girls behind.

And Jamaludeen knows that those girls, in one sense are lucky.  Four years ago, he tried to bring first aid as an early responder to a wedding party attacked by NATO forces.  Only he couldn’t, because there were no survivors. 54 people were killed, all of them (except for the bridegroom) women and children.  “It was like hell,” said Dr. Jamaludeen.  “I saw little shoes, covered with blood, along with pieces of clothing and musical instruments.  It was very, very terrible to me. The NATO soldiers knew these people were not a threat.”


Kocji, who makes a living doing manual laborer, is from a village of 400 families.  His story took place three weeks ago.  It started with a telephoned warning that Taliban forces had entered the Surkh Rod district of Jalalabad, which is where his village is located.  That day, at about 10:00 p.m., NATO forces entered his village en masse.  Some soldiers landed on rooftops and slid expertly to the ground on rope ladders.  When they entered homes, they would lock women and children in one room while they beat the men, shouting questions as the women and children screamed to be released.  On this raid, no one was killed, and no one was taken away.  It turned out that NATO troops had acted on a false report and discovered their error quickly.   False reports are a constant risk. – In any village some families will feud with each other, and NATO troops can be brought into those feuds, unwittingly and very easily, and sometimes with deadly consequences. Kocji objects to NATO forces ordering attacks without first asking more questions and trying to find out whether or not the report is valid.  He’d been warned of a threat from one direction, but the threats actually come from all sides.


Rizwad, a student from the Pech district of the Kunar province, spoke next.

Twenty-five days ago, between 3 and 4 a.m., twelve children were collecting firewood in the mountains not far from his village.  The children were between 7 and 8 years old.  Rizwad actually saw the fighter plane flying overhead towards the mountains.  When it reached them, it fired on the twelve children, leaving no survivors.  Rizwad’s 8 year old cousin, Nasrullah, a schoolboy in the third grade, was among the dead that morning.

The twelve children belonged to eight families from the same village.  When the villagers found the bloodied and dismembered bodies of their children, they gathered together to demand from the provincial government some reason as to why NATO forces had killed them.  “It was a mistake,” they were told.

“It is impossible for the people to talk with the U.S. military,” says Rizwad.  “Our own government tries to calm us down by saying they will look into the matter.”


Riazullah from Chapria Marnu spoke next.   Fifteen days previously, three famers in Riazullah’s area had been working to irrigate their wheat field.  It was early afternoon, about 3:30 p.m.  One of the men was only eighteen – he had been married for five months.  The other two farmers were in their mid-forties.  Their names were Shams Ulrahman, Khadeem and Miragah, and Miragah’s two little daughters were with them.

Eleven NATO tanks arrived.  One tank fired missiles which killed the three men and the two little girls. “What can we do?” asked Riazullah.  “We are caught between the Taliban and the internationals. Our local government does not help us.”


The world doesn’t seem to ask many questions about Afghan civilians whose lives are cut short by NATO or Taliban forces. Genuinely concerned U.S. friends say they can’t really make sense of our list – news stories merge into one large abstraction, into statistics, into “collateral damage,” in a way that comparable (if much smaller and less frequent) attacks on U.S. civilians do not.   People here in Afghanistan naturally don’t see themselves as a statistic; they wonder why the NATO soldiers treat civilians as battlefield foes at the slightest hint of opposition or danger; why the U.S. soldiers and drones kill unarmed suspects on anonymous tips when people around the world know suspects deserve safety and a trial, innocent until proven guilty.

“All of us keep asking why the internationals kill us,” said Jamaludeen.  “One reason seems to be that they don’t differentiate between people.  The soldiers fear any bearded Afghan who wears a turban and traditional clothes. But why would they kill children?  It seems they have a mission.  They are told to go and get the Taliban.  When they go out in their planes and their tanks and their helicopters, they need to be killing, and then they can report that they have completed their mission.”

These are the stories being told here.  NATO and its constituent nations may have other accounts to give of themselves, but they aren’t telling them very convincingly, or well.  The stories told by bomb blasts or by shouting home-invading soldiers drown out other competing sentiments and seem to represent all that the U.S./NATO occupiers ever came here to say.  We who live in countries that support NATO, that tolerate this occupation, bear responsibility to hear the tales told by Afghans who are trapped by our war of choice.  These tales are part of our history now, and this history isn’t popular in Afghanistan. It doesn’t play well when the U.S. and NATO forces state that we came here because of terrorism, because of a toll in lost civilian lives already exceeded in Afghanistan during just the first three months of a decade-long war – that we came in pious concern over precious stories that should not be cut short.

– Kathy Kelly, (, co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence  She is living in Kabul for the month of May as a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers (

source : PULSE

Google ‘Knows When You’re Home’



Google Now: Next phase of technology giant’s takeover of your entire life

Paul Joseph Watson
May 16, 2013

Google makes Big Brother look like an amateur.

Google has devised yet another ingenious way of convincing people to hand over their real-time location data, by offering location specific “reminders” as part of its Google Now feature.

During the company’s Google I/O conference for developers in San Francisco yesterday, it was announced that Google Now, the voice-recognizing search product, will soon be available on desktop computers and will network seamlessly with mobile devices.

Google Now enables users to perform Internet searches by speaking to their computers, but it also allows Google to provide both time and location specific reminders that function via GPS technology.

“For example, you can, from your desktop at work, tell Google Now: “Remind me to take out the garbage when I get home,” and when it senses through your smartphone that you are back at home, Google Now will send you a reminder,” reports Business Insider.

The program will also access your calendar to give you warnings about heavy traffic before you set off on your journey.

Another Google Now feature will provide recommendations on activities to do based on your current location and previous habits. A new Google tool called Activity Recognition will also know if you’re “walking, driving, or biking.”

If all this sounds completely invasive, Orwellian and ultimately annoying as hell, then that’s because it is – not for the transhumanist trendies who don’t find Eric Schmidt’s dream of swallowing nano-bots every morning and sending his robotic clone to social functions completely horrific – but for those of us who still want to retain some essence of privacy and basic humanity.

We are already glued to our smart phones that buzz and beep with every text message, email, Facebook comment or Twitter response. Now Google will not only distract us with things that just happened, but what we forgot should have happened, and what is set to happen in the future.

Studies already confirm that social media outlets like Facebook are only making people more depressed, while the Internet is literally re-wiring our brains as our ability to concentrate is eviscerated by constant distractions and the inability to absorb information more lengthy than a 2 minute YouTube clip or a 140 character Twitter post.

With the onset of Google Glass, all of this will be virtually glued to your head as you live in an augmented reality where you are constantly plugged into the matrix.

Where is all this leading? A 2008 Washington Post article envisaged a future dominated by “Google LifeServices,” where the entirety of people’s work and leisure time would be housed under one Google building, allowing them access to “work pods,” entertainment, shopping and socializing for one monthly subscription fee all under one roof, and all under the watchful gaze of Big Brother Google.

As Daniel Taylor writes, “The global elite are pushing the globe toward a dystopic future in which all aspects of life are in some way managed by their interests,” a “hybrid age” where “mega coporations will provide advanced technology to their constituents and thus gain loyalty.”

Google Now represents the next step towards this technocratic vision of a life full of convenience and clinical efficiency, relying on computers to do your thinking for you as man increasingly merges with machine, losing a little piece of his humanity every day in the process.


Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for and Prison He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.


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