31 October 2014


Euthanasia campaigner Nitschke investigated over more deaths


Julie-Anne Davies

Dr Philip Nitschke, who now faces a police investigation and expulsion by the Australian Medical Association, having already been suspended by the Medical Board of Australia in July. Photo: David Mariuz
Embattled euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke is being investigated by police in every Australian state over his possible role in nearly 20 deaths in the past three years, all of them apparently suicides.
The latest investigation, by Victoria Police, concerns the death of a 55-year-old Geelong man who allegedly killed himself using a do-it-yourself kit bought though a company affiliated with Exit International, the pro-euthanasia organisation founded by Dr Nitschke. 
All of the deaths being investigated involved the use of the two suicide methods promoted by Dr Nitschke, the lethal drug, Nembutal or a nitrogen inhalant device.
A number of coronial inquests are already under way into the deaths.

A Fairfax investigation has found that Victoria Police have obtained a warrant to search the Telstra records of the Geelong man, Ross Currie, prior to his death in the remote Otway National Park on May 25.
Police believe that emails between Mr Currie and Exit International, Dr Nitschke and Mad Dog Brewing, the company which markets the nitrogen inhalent equipment, will provide some insight into Mr Currie's mental state prior to his death.
It can also be revealed that Dr Nitschke faces expulsion by the Australian Medical Association when its Northern Territory branch Council meets in November, after a move to suspend him last month failed after an error in the paperwork.
Dr Nitschke, who was suspended by the Medical Board of Australia in July, said "attacks" on his character were "coming from everywhere".
"I have received a smattering of letters of support from doctors, some very senior but watching this avalanche rain down, I don't know if I'm going to survive this," he told The Sunday Age.
The decision to suspend Dr Nitschke using the board's emergency powers to  "protect  public health and safety" came after he admitted in an interview with the ABC that he had supported a 45-year-old Perth man, Nigel Brayley, in his decision to commit suicide, despite knowing the man was not terminally ill.
The AMA has cited the same "adverse event", saying Dr Nitschke's "professional behaviour … was not consistent with the high professional and ethical standards for the Australian medical profession promoted by the AMA."
In other developments, documents obtained by The Sunday Age reveal there are currently five separate medical board investigations, one dating as far back as 2011, into Dr Nitschke's conduct.
The complainants are:
  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration's principal medical adviser, Dr Megan Keaney, alleged Dr Nitschke attempted to import the banned euthanasia drug Nembutal into Australia;
  • An anti-euthanasia advocate, Paul Russell, alleged Dr Nitschke had developed and marketed a nitrogen delivery system for the sole purpose of assisting suicide;
  • A Melbourne woman, Judith Taylor, who complained to the board after her 26-year-old son, Lucas, committed suicide using Nembutal after buying Dr Nitschke's euthanasia book, The Peaceful Pill Handbook. She is understood to have claimed that an online forum curated by Exit International encouraged her son to take his life;
  • A West Australian pain specialist, Dr Mark Schutze, lodged a complaint against Dr Nitschke after he addressed a meeting of medical and nursing staff earlier this year at Perth's Charles Gairdner Hospital;
  • The board, in its most recent – and ongoing – investigation, which led to Nitschke's suspension, concerns the circumstances surrounding Nigel Bayley's death as well as Dr Nitschke's general advocacy for the rights of people to commit suicide even if not terminally ill.  
Dr Nitschke has won the first round in his legal fight against the suspension, arguing successfully to have his appeal this November moved from South Australia to the Northern Territory.
The hearing, before a five-member panel, is set down for five days and is shaping up to be a test case on the idea of "rational suicide", whereby a person does not have to be severely depressed to make the decision to kill themselves.
It is rare for the board to use its special emergency powers to suspend a health practitioner. It is believed that there are only 11 reported cases where this power has been used. And, in all but one, the issue concerned doctors acting inappropriately with their patients, for example in cases of sexual assault, drug use or lack of surgical skill.
A spokeswoman for the board said it could not comment on "ongoing matters, as it will not compromise patient safety or the integrity of current investigations."
The Victorian Coroner would notcomment on how many Exit-related investigations are under way, but it is understood that in 2012 – the last public reporting period – there were eight assisted suicide inquiries, and Fairfax Media is aware of at least four more Exit-related deaths in Victoria being investigated now.
Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling SANE Helpline 1800 18 7263; Lifeline 131 114; Salvo Crisis Line (02) 8736 3295; beyondblue 1300 22 46 36

28 October 2014


A life released by euthanasia

Nick Miller

Europe Correspondent

Belgian prisoner Frank Van Den Bleeken attending a hearing to determine if he will be allowed to be euthanised,
"My life has now absolutely no meaning. They may as well put a flower pot here."
For many years, Frank van den Bleeken has spent 23 hours of every day in a Belgian prison cell, roughly 2 metres by 5 metres.
The 50-year-old has had a long time to come to terms with his terrible crimes. He raped and killed a 19-year-old woman, Christiane Remacle, strangling her with her own stocking in an Antwerp forest in 1989.
It was not his first crime – he was first imprisoned at 21 for sexual offences. And it was not his last – when released from prison seven years later he attacked three people within weeks – one an 11-year-old girl. After that he was locked up indefinitely.
By his own admission, there is no chance of rehabilitation.
"I am a danger to society," he confessed in a recent documentary. He recognises the evil within him, and has no desire to re-enter the world.
Indeed, he wants to leave it. And any day now, he will – assisted by doctors under Belgium's controversial, world-leading euthanasia laws.
Last week van den Bleeken won a three-year legal battle to allow him to choose that option – leaving prison for a hospital where he will spend his last 48 hours before a doctor administers a fatal drug.
But some people – even leading euthanasia advocates – worry that his case is a sign euthanasia in Belgium has gone too far. Already made uncomfortable by a 27% year-on-year rise in reported euthanasia cases, they fear that too many of those were "borderline" and did not pass the strict tests required by law for physician-assisted death.
Until now, van den Bleeken has not been allowed to die. He has been on suicide watch  since he said in a TV interview that he was considering killing himself – he is monitored every 15 minutes to ensure that he doesn't have the chance. 
But in that interview van den Bleeken expressed his frustration with the life he was forced to continue living. 
"What am I supposed to do? What's the point in sitting here until the end of time and rotting away? I'd rather be euthanised," he said.
"I am a human being, and regardless of what I've done, I remain a human being. So yes, give me euthanasia."
Someone who commits a sexual crime should be given help, he complained, not just locked up – which does not help the person, the society or the victims.
He has a point – Belgium's penal system is notoriously bad for inmates with mental disorders, who are held in old, overcrowded and understaffed prison wings.
His lawyer, Jos Vander Velpen, said two prominent psychiatrists had confirmed that his client was "suffering in an unbearable, enduring way and that his mental condition can never be treated properly". 
 "It's a medical question that is very, very, very delicate and very difficult," he told the Globe and Mail.
"I could never say that euthanasia is a good option because it's the end of life, but it has to be a humane life."
For four years he had felt he "couldn't stand to live like this any longer and could no longer accept the pain".
 "He knows he could live for another 30 years – he's in a good state physically – but in his mind he is very much dead," he told the Mirror.
Journalist Dirk Leestmans, who has been following van den Bleeken's story for years and first met him more than a decade ago, wrote last year that van den Bleeken has only  left the prison once – for his mother's funeral.
"Should we just respect the request of a man who says he has unbearable psychological suffering and therefore wants to end his life?" Leestmans wrote.
"Sometimes I am happy to be a journalist… because my job is to ask the question, not give the answer."
But one person to give a firm "no" to that question was, surprisingly, the man nicknamed Belgium's "Dr Death" – Dr Wim Distelmans, co-chairman of the commission set up to examine every case of assisted suicide.
The commission is supposed to refer cases to prosecutors if the proper legal hurdles have not been cleared – although in the 12 years that euthanasia has been legal in Belgium, not one case has been referred.
But Dr Distelmans was quoted in the Sunday Times predicting that van den Bleeken's case could be the first.
Dr Distelmans performed the world's first double euthanasia for twin brothers – Marc and Eddy Verbessem were born deaf, and learned at the age of 45 they were going blind. He said that caused "unbearable psychological suffering" for them.
And he also helped Nathan, born Nancy Verhelst, 44, after a botched sex change operation left her feeling like "a monster".
But  Dr Distelmans says the test of "unbearable suffering" should not and could not stretch to the experience of van den Bleeken – and he told the prisoner that himself, visiting him several times, assessing his case, then refusing his request to perform euthanasia.
"It is a failure of the system if euthanasia is allowed instead of therapy," he said.
Van den Bleeken found another physician who agreed to give the lethal injection.
 Dr Distelmans told De Standaard he knew 15 more prisoners who wanted euthanasia.
Belgium and the Netherlands legalised euthanasia in 2002, and Luxembourg in 2009. Switzerland has allowed assisted suicide (where the patient administers the lethal drug) since 1942.
While euthanasia numbers in the Netherlands have risen only slightly, in the last few years they have risen remarkably in Belgium. Last year the country logged a record 1800 cases, double that of six years before.
Dr Kenneth Chambaere is a researcher with the End-of-life Care Research Group at University of Brussels. The group runs a big project interviewing doctors after every end-of-life decision, and it is hoped that, once they crunch the data, they might get some answers on why the numbers are rising so quickly.
"The question is, of course, whether it is actually from people getting used to the application of the law and the procedure for euthanasia or whether it's expanding boundaries," Dr Chambaere said. "That's a question I don't have an answer for."
Their research has quelled some fears, showing that legalised euthanasia has dramatically reduced the numbers of "unrequested killing" – the medical shortening of life without proper consent. And it has not resulted in the separation of euthanasia from palliative care: instead, the two work together.
However, Dr Chambaere said, his group often hears complaints that the body set up to control and monitor euthanasia does not have the means or resources to do so properly. The review committee works from reports written by the doctors themselves – and they have no oversight of the estimate 5% of cases not reported to them.
"We do see some outlier cases, such as people who are not actually terminally ill, or people who are really depressed for a large number of years … are receiving euthanasia," he said. "This is a very delicate point in Belgium."
The group has also heard that some people with advanced dementia were receiving euthanasia – even though this should not be possible under the legal tests, which require conscious, mentally competent consent by the patient.
"These are borderline cases which we are seeing now. We saw them in the past also, but not in these numbers."
Criticism is building that the law is becoming more and more loosely interpreted, he said.
"Some terms that are used can be interpreted such as 'suffering unbearably'. What is unbearable? Some physicians will say 'I have to see that for myself' Other physicians will say 'no, this is a subjective thing, I cannot interfere with that. If the patient says he is suffering unbearably then I have to believe him'."
But it's important to keep perspective, Dr Chambaere said. Around 85% of all patients receiving euthanasia are still terminal cancer patients.

26 October 2014


Shakespeare got it right on so many fronts - in fact if he had lived in the 21st century he would have been able to spend his old age saying "I told you so!".

His play, Julius Caesar, has the right quote for the Whitlam years:

"The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;".

Failure on East Timor

The Age – letters - 241014

Gough Whitlam's record in power is not without fault. Foremost was his failure to support a just resolution of the Indonesian takeover of East Timor when he had the opportunity. Mr Whitlam sometimes claimed to justify his failure to act in 1975 because of his preoccupation with domestic issues. But he lost any chance of influencing events in East Timor much earlier when he met president Suharto in 1974 and supported Indonesia's takeover of Timor. He had the chance to at least insist on a peaceful process, surely essential given Suharto's brutal record, but said nothing.
In the almost four decades after the Indonesian military invasion, Mr Whitlam never deviated from his support for its control of East Timor, with scarcely a word about its appalling human rights abuses there. The nearest he came to criticism was suggesting Indonesia “overplayed its hand” at the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in Dili. I was a witness to that massacre, and my travelling companion, an Australian university student, was one of those killed. How could Mr Whitlam, steeped in the rule of law and human rights values, so diminish the gravity of that event? Yes, Mr Whitlam was a great Australian. But we need to acknowledge his whole record, not just the parts we find most palatable.
Bob Muntz, Ascot Vale


This article by John Pilger in Counterpunch

 on 23 October 2014 on what the USA and the UK

 did to Australia to get rid of gough whitlam

 is a fascinating horror story, but must be

 read to help everybody to understand what

 happened when a legally and legitimately

 elected australian government was kicked

 out because of its actions in attempting to

 expose the horrors of these countries to

 the outside world.

OCTOBER 23, 2014 counterpunch
How America and Britain Crushed the Government of Their "Ally" Australia

The Forgotten Coup

Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.
Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.
Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth.
Latin Americans will recognise the audacity and danger of  this “breaking free” in a country whose establishment was welded to great, external power. Australians had served every British imperial adventure since the Boxer rebellion was crushed in China. In the 1960s, Australia pleaded to join the US in its invasion of Vietnam, then provided “black teams” to be run by the CIA. US diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington’s informants during the Whitlam years.
Whitlam knew the risk he was taking. The day after his election, he ordered that his staff should not be “vetted or harassed” by the Australian security organisation, ASIO – then, as now, tied to Anglo-American intelligence. When his ministers publicly condemned the US bombing of Vietnam as “corrupt and barbaric”, a CIA station officer in Saigon said: “We were told the Australians might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators.”
Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.
Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House. … a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”
Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”.
Kerr was not only the Queen’s man, he had long-standing  ties to Anglo-American intelligence. He was an enthusiastic member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, described by Jonathan Kwitny of theWall Street Journal in his book, ‘The Crimes of Patriots‘, as, “an elite, invitation-only group… exposed in Congress as being founded, funded and generally run by the CIA”. The CIA “paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige… Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money”.
When Whitlam was re-elected for a second term, in 1974, the White House sent Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, sinister figure who worked in the shadows of America’s “deep state”. Known as the “coupmaster”, he had played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia – which cost up to a million lives. One of his first speeches in Australia was to the Australian Institute of Directors – described by an alarmed member of the audience as “an incitement to the country’s business leaders to rise against the government”.
The Americans and British worked together. In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 was operating against his government. “The Brits were actually de-coding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In the 1980s, senior CIA officers revealed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield. A deputy director of the CIA said: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”
On 10 November, 1975, Whitlam was shown a top secret telex message sourced to Theodore Shackley, the notorious head of the CIA’s East Asia Division, who had helped run the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile two years earlier.
Shackley’s message was read to Whitlam. It said that the prime minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country. The day before, Kerr had visited the headquarters of the Defence Signals Directorate, Australia’s NSA where he was briefed on the “security crisis”.
On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.
John Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com

24 October 2014


When I left South Africa and came to Australia in 1978, I knew I was leaving behind one of the most repressive and reactionary states one could be living in and hoped I would be going to one which had become liberalised over time and had less restrictive policies applied to its citizens. It was a police state and had a murderous government which was out of control.

How naive can one be?

That was then - 1978 - this is now - 2014 - and what do we have? The indigenous people of Australia are treated worse than South Africa's indigenous populations in 300 years of white occupation and laws regulating them in the parts of the country where they should be living with land rights and able to build societies for themselves where they have education, health, employment, hosing and other aspects of modern societies are denied them and their rates of incarceration and deaths in custody are worse than South Africa in any period of white domination.

The vast majority of Australians are racist, sexist, homophobic, reactionary, bigoted, ignorant about the indigenous peoples living - largely hidden from view and denied basic human rights which are considered the norm in such affluent societies as this - and incarcerated with the brutality of police states.

Australian treatment of asylum seekers by both major parties in the federal parliament is human rights abuse writ large and is based to a certain extent on racist values - them and us! Imagine fleeing in terror from your country of origin because of horrors being perpetrated in them with wars being nurtured by the United States of America and those countries supporting this most powerful country in the world - at the moment - and then, after exposing yourself and you family and friends to unspeakable suffering in your attempts to find asylum in a country where you will find safety and security, you end up in Manus or Nauru in concentration camps which are living hells and no better - and in some respects - worse than - where you fled from in the first instance! Ou tof the frying pan and into the furnace of hell might be an apt sort of description!

Now think of where it all started - the zionist movement and its fight for somewhere for Jews to be safe from anti-semitism after the appalling events of 19th and 20 century Europe, and you find the most anti-semitic of countries - the USA and the UK - working hard to establish and maintain a zionist homeland at the expense of the homeland of other peoples whose land it is, and they become the equivalent Jews of the 21st century to be ruthlessly oppressed and subjected to genocidal treatment by the zionists and the USA and allies. In the mean time, most Jews in the world live in other countries rather than in Israel! A complete irony!


It is difficult to know where to start at a time when a state election is almost upon us and the two major parties - or if you look at it from a left/right perspective, and we then have one party with a right wing and an ultra-right wing - and you know you can't vote for what they represent and you wonder who you will be able to vote for, and you thought maybe the Greens provided an alternative which would be viable and then the following:

Philip Nitschke slams 'shut-out by Senate' in euthanasia inquiry

October 15, 2014 smh

Vanessa Desloires

Controversial euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke has accused the  Senate of shutting him out of an inquiry into a proposed Dying With Dignity law.
Dr Nitschke said that neither he nor his recently formed Voluntary Euthanasia Party were asked to speak at a hearing for the inquiry in Melbourne on Wednesday, despite representing the "largest and only national pro-euthanasia organisation in Australia".
The founder of Exit International blamed Greens senator Richard Di Natale, who has proposed the Dying with Dignity Bill, for the exclusion, and was angry that groups who had made "uncharitable and incorrect statements" about him in their submissions were invited to speak.  
It comes after the Medical Board of Australia suspended his licence to practice medicine due to concerns he supported the suicide of a man who was not terminally ill.

He was also recently criticised by The Australian Medical Association, Dying with Dignity Victoria and beyondblue.
So the Greens are a failure on the Euthanasia issue - and what else have they collapsed on? Think of Palestine/Israel and think of Lee Rhiannon and her pro-Palestinian support while she was a New South Wales state parliamentarian. Then she became a senator for the Greens in the Commonwealth parliament and joined the right-wing of the Greens in no longer supporting the Palestinians.
Where does it leave you as someone looking for a group or party to vote for?
Well as one of those voters it leaves me feeling it is all a waste of time and effort and as someone with a sense of humour is quoted as saying - don't vote - it only encourages them!


15 October 2014


This item appeared on Mondoweiss on 10 October 2014. It seems that zionists all around the world are beginning to feel the pressure - finally - and they are reacting acordingly and responding as only they know how - by painting those who criticise Israel as anti-semites, nazis and all sorts of other expletives they can manage to find indicative of their siege mentalities.

After South African Jewish leader compared Tutu to Hitler, new Jewish group leaped into action

Dorothy Zellner on October 10, 2014

Tutu as Hitler in South African Jewish Report
I just got back from an astounding trip to South Africa where, among other things, I was privileged to meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  I also spent quite a bit of time with members of the nascent group South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace in Cape Town and Johannesburg–really fabulous people. Lately, for instance, they read out the names of children killed in Gaza at an action at Constitution Hill, an iconic historical site that symbolizes the destruction of apartheid and the rule of law.
And readers of this site may remember this post on an article in the South African Jewish Report on September 10 by one Leon Reich (who is also head of something called Likud South Africa) that trashed the beloved Tutu, comparing him to Hitler in a vicious photo-cartoon and saying that the two men were similar in their desire “to kill Jews,” all because of Tutu’s criticisms of Israel.  The cartoon and article were pulled within hours from the SAJR website but they sent ripples of dismay throughout the world, especially in the South African Jewish community.
Members of Jewish Voices for a Just Peace seized on the case and are pressing for action against Reich. First they fired off a letter to the Cape Times, which ran as the lead letter under the title “Hateful likening of Desmond Tutu to Hitler does not speak for all Jewish people.” (Note that in South Africa the word “struggle” is capitalized. Spelling is in the British style.) Here it is, in full.
Cape Times, September 17, 2014, Opinion, p. 8 (unfortunately the newspaper does not supply links to letters)
We South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP) refer to the op-ed article in the South African Jewish Report (SAJR) online dated September 10 in which chairperson of Likud SA and regular contributor to the SAJR, Leon Reich, compares Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to Hitler and Stalin and refers to Tutu as a “self-appointed midget.” Reich also refers to Tutu’s “anti-Semitism.”
An image of Hitler with Tutu’s face superimposed on it, appeared with this article.
Given Desmond Tutu’s history and character as a Struggle stalwart and one of the great and unwavering contemporary moral voices in this country and the world, as South African Jews we cannot emphasise enough how strongly we condemn the article and the position of its author.
We utterly reject the assumption that dissent from Zionism is equivalent to anti-Semitism.
We also take issue with the article’s distorted and dishonest representation of the Palestinian solidarity movement as a movement invested in the “destruction of Jews.” This is an age-old myth that is perpetrated by Zionist Jews to maintain a siege mentality among Jews in South Africa.
We are also offended by the tone of the so-called apology published by the editor of the SAJR online.
The apology is more concerned with the way in which the article may have offended some Jews with its reference to the Holocaust than it is with making amends to Tutu by offering a sincere and unequivocal apology as would be fitting under the circumstances. We note that the writer of the offending article, Leon Reich, has as yet not apologised.
The reason we speak out as Jews against this offensive article is that this attack on Tutu’s character was launched by a Jewish organization, speaks to a Jewish audience, and frequently invokes the collective “we” which assumes that the Jewish community is homogeneous in its views.
For this very reason, we feel it is important to state that we will not sit in silence while hateful utterances such as these are said in the name of all South African Jews.
As proud South African Jews, we reject the comparison of the Arch to Hitler.  This comparison is hate-speech, libellous and morally offensive.
We also reject the petulant apology and call on the SAJR to immediately issue a sincere statement unequivocally apologizing to Tutu for the verbal and visual comparison to Hitler.
Reich is writing in a South Africa where hate speech is unacceptable.  We are of the view that charges should be laid against Reich with the relevant South African authorities and that he should be prosecuted for libel.
South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP) are a group of South African Jews who reject the equating of the religion and culture of Judaism with the political project of Zionism.
We recognize that Palestinians live under a particularly brutal military occupation which is based on a violation of their rights.
We support the formation of a society based on equality and respect for human rights for all who live in Israel-Palestine.
Emma Daitz, David Sanders, Moira Levy, Leonard Shapiro and Shereen Usdin
Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP)
Cape Town
JVJP insisted that Reich apologize within 24 hours or they would go to the authorities.  Reich refused, saying that everything he had said was “true.”
Not only did they write a letter to the newspaper, but JVJP made a formal complaint some days later to the South African Human Rights Commission charging libel, slander and hate speech against “the Arch,” as he is commonly called (even by himself).  The Commission responded last week, formally acknowledging receipt of the letter and stating that if the complaint was beyond their jurisdiction, they would send it on to authorities who could deal with it.
A member of JVJP told me yesterday that the Commission is “not a toothless tiger.” He is hopeful that some kind of action against Reich will result.

- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/10/african-compared-hitler?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=6d8171a0ba-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-6d8171a0ba-316844969#sthash.9DAgJjmz.dpuf

09 October 2014


this article was published in counterpunch on 7 OCTOBER, 2014

The Consequences of American Hypocrisy

Sweden, Palestine and the United States


Sweden’s new Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, has announced that that nation will be the first of the European Union to grant official recognition to Palestine. To date, 134 of the 193 member states of the United Nations recognize Palestine. This is a reasonable step that will, hopefully, set the example for other European nations to do the same.
The United States, Israel’s best friend in all the world, and that bottomless pit of financial assistance for Israel, is, not surprisingly, seriously displeased. A spokeswoman for President Barack Obama said this: “We believe international recognition of a Palestinian state is premature. We certainly support Palestinian statehood, but it can only come through a negotiated outcome, a resolution of final status issues and mutual recognitions by both parties.”
Here we go with the ‘negotiated outcome’ nonsense again, nonsense that much of the world dismisses, but that the U.S. clings to, knowing that there can be no ‘negotiated outcome,’ but toeing the Israeli party line.
When Israel carpet-bombs Palestine, a nation it occupies, U.S. spokespersons say that Israel ‘has a right to defend itself’. They don’t see what most of the rest of the world does: that it is illogical for an occupying force to ‘defend’ itself against the people it occupies.
But this is the model that worked for a while for the U.S. public-relations machine, when terrorist U.S. soldiers were occupying Iraq. Iraqi freedom fighters, resisting the cruel oppression of the U.S., were labelled ‘insurgents’. For the U.S., anyone opposing occupation by it or its allies is an ‘insurgent’. Someone opposing a government that has somehow displeased the U.S. is not only a ‘freedom fighter’, but is given whatever level of support the U.S. deems appropriate, often in the form of bombs and/or ground troops. And since the Israeli lobby has purchased the U.S. governing body, and pays its annual maintenance fees, Palestine doesn’t have a chance of U.S. support.
Does anybody outside the White House or the hallowed halls of Congress reasonably believe that the U.S. can be an objective broker in bringing about a settlement between Israel and Palestine? Let’s look at some basic, very pertinent facts about the situation.
* The U.S. provides Israel with $3 billion in foreign aid each year. It provides Palestine with nothing.
* Among the aid provided to Israel is some of the most advanced weaponry in the world. Palestine is not provided with as much as a single gun.
* When the United Nations proposes to officially criticize any aspect of the Israeli occupation, the U.S. uses its veto power to prevent it.
* The U.S. condemns any rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, but supports the carpet-bombing of the Gaza Strip by Israel, with bombs the U.S. provides.
* The killing of any Israeli by a Palestinian is lamented by the U.S., but the deaths of over 2000 Palestinians, nearly a quarter of them children, garners barely a mention.
When the U.S. announces a new round of worthless, meaningless and futile talks between Israel and Palestine, and asks that each side refrain from doing anything to jeopardize them, it isn’t unusual for Israel to announce new settlements on land it is ‘confiscating’ (read: stealing) from Palestine. The U.S. huffs and puffs, and says timidly that this may be counter-productive, but, as Israel well knows, will do nothing meaningful to prevent the new settlement construction.
Despite this, the world’s governments don’t laugh in the face of U.S. proclamations about its efforts to bring about a peaceful solution in the Middle East. The people of the world, however, seem to be taking a second look.
One need not wonder what the U.S. could do, if Congress and the President were not beholden to the Israeli lobby. Simply cutting the purse strings would do the trick. The United Nations, were it not constrained by its own internal inadequacies, could send a ‘peacekeeping’ force to prevent further settlement activity. And while they were about it, that same force could end the cruel, crippling, illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Any reasonable person (this, of course, does not include U.S. elected officials; ‘reasonable’ is hardly a term to describe them) would wonder why this isn’t done. Why, they might ask, does the U.S., despite the power of the Israeli lobby, allow Israel to spit in its face? Do these officials have no sense of pride? Have they no sense of shame?
The answer to those last two questions, unfortunately, is no. With very few exceptions (this writer can’t even think of any at the moment), these officials grovel at the feet of the Israeli lobby, paying homage at the unholy altar of AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee), receiving the financial largess that that lobby funnels to them, while they, in turn, throw the human rights of the Palestinian people under the proverbial bus. What, they might ask, is the worth of a dead Palestinian baby, when they have campaign coffers to fill?
Perhaps that is what is required: a powerful, wealthy Palestinian lobby. The U.S., despite all its lofty proclamations, isn’t what is generally called a representative democracy. Such a thing represents the will of the people who, ostensibly, are given periodic opportunities to replace those whom they elect. The U.S. represents the will of the rich and the powerful, including oil companies, weapons manufacturers (this writer refuses to call them ‘defense’ contractors; they have little or nothing to do with defense), and Israel, all of which have well-funded lobbies that set government policy. They do this by spending sufficient monies to assure the election and perpetual re-election of those officials that do their bidding. The Supreme Court, in its infamous ‘Citizens United’ decision, has only fostered and supported this model.
So hypocritical U.S. officials continue to fund groups opposing governments that displease it, often with disastrous long-term results. They ignore the suffering of people oppressed by its financial benefactors, decrying the human rights abuses of some countries, while countenancing and even financing the unspeakable human rights abuses of others. And when it appears that the citizenry is getting a sense of this injustice, there is always a war to start, an invented threat to address, and an American flag to wave to get everybody back in line. And like lemmings, much of the citizenry rushes out to put a brand new ‘support the troops’ bumper sticker on their car. And the current victimization of people like the Palestinians continues, while a new population experiences the horror of U.S. terrorism.
Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).


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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm