17 May 2017

ABC - ABSOLUTE BLOODY CRAP!

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation under its new leadership is a disgrace and deserves censure in every way for so much rubbish it is producing on television and radio, so much so that it is difficult to know where to begin.

The easiest way of dealing with those matters of most concern to me is to number each item which is to be commented on.

1) ABC TV News has now become a stroboscope which for those of us who get affected by stroboscopic effects is disastrous to watch. Michelle Guthrie seems to think that jazzing everything up will bring in an audience of 15 to 50 year olds. I wish her luck.

2) Keys to Music - what has Graham Abbott done to deserve being given a graveyard shift for his programme, now having been moved from midday on Sundays - a marvellous time for such an interesting and informative and entertaining programme - to 7pm on Monday nights - in time for the infamous ABC TV news. How crass is that!!!

3) Don't get me started on ABC Classic FM - my name is Mannie De Saxe and I am no longer listening to ABC Classic FM!!!

We are told - now that Overnight has had presenters returned at midnight after ridiculously removing them to save sixpence! - that programmes are being presented by some of our favourite presenters! Yes??? try finding the names of presenters for overnight on any ABC Classic FM online site and see how lucky you don't get!

4) Listen to the numerous non-stop promos for ABC Classic FM programmes and try and hear what the person is saying over the accompanying music - or is it the person is trying to speak through the music and not the other way round. 

5) We keep being told about the ABC's left wing bias and all we get is right wing reactionary rubbish which has become unwatchable, and unlistenable to, and decide where the bias is coming from. 

6)Ms Michelle Guthrie, who will be paid $900,000 a year to steer the ABC as its first female managing director, received a traditional welcome by the conservative flank of the Liberal Party, with dumped minister Eric Abetz​ urging the new boss to "stop the lefty love-in". 

14 May 2017

NORWAY'S LARGEST TRADE UNION FEDERATION ENDORSES FULL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL TO ADVANCE PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS



Norway’s largest trade union federation endorses full boycott of Israel to advance Palestinian human rights 

From Mondoweiss 12 May 2017



 
Members of BDS Norwary (BDS Norge) protest weapons sales to Israel in Oslo, 2016. (Photo: BDS Norway).

 
Today, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), representing close to one million workers, endorsed a full boycott of Israel to achieve Palestinian rights under international law. LO is the largest and most influential umbrella organization of labor unions in Norway.

Commenting on this significant BDS victory in Norway, Riya Hassan, the Europe Campaigns Coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said:

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) salutes the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) for endorsing a full “international economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel” as a necessary means to achieve Palestinian fundamental rights, including the right of return for the refugees and equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

By courageously heeding the Palestinian BDS Call, issued by an absolute majority in Palestinian civil society in 2005, LO joins some of the world’s most important trade union federations, including South Africa’s COSATU, Brazil’s CUT, Quebec’s CSN and the IrishICTU, in calling for meaningful BDS pressure on the corporations and institutions that have enabled decades of Israeli occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

The BNC hopes to closely coordinate with Norwegian partners within LO, particularlyFagforbundet, to translate this new policy into effective measures of accountability at the academic, cultural and economic levels to uphold human rights and international law. We also call on LO to apply pressure on the Norwegian government to end all its military ties with Israel’s regime of oppression and to divest its sovereign fund from all companies that are complicit in Israel’s occupation and illegal settlement enterprise.


About Palestinian BDS National Committee
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. For more information, visit www.bdsmovement.net/BNC.

Other posts by Palestinian BDS National Committee.

- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/05/federation-endorses-palestinian/?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=780c8716ce-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-780c8716ce-316844969&mc_cid=780c8716ce&mc_eid=9cb4f973c1#sthash.hW9gBLOo.dpuf

12 May 2017

SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY - NO SANCTUARY FOR PALESTINIAN SCHOLARSHIP


No Sanctuary for Palestinian Scholarship



Edward Said mural. Lead Artists: Fayeq Oweis & Susan Greene
Battleground San Francisco State University

At a March 2017 conference of the National Association of Ethnic Studies held at San Francisco State University (SFSU), President Leslie Wong boasted about the University’s role as a sanctuary campus. He referenced  SFSU’s proud history of engaged  social justice scholarship going back to the 1968 Third World strike by students which established the first Ethnic Studies College  in the country.

To Terry Collins, an alumnus of SFSU who was a member of the Black Student Union that started the Third World strike, and is the current Board President of KPOO community radio, Wong’s words rang hollow.  “We fought for a radical vision of what ethnic studies should mean,” Collins told me.

  “Last spring students had to protest and even hunger strike just to keep Ethnic Studies alive after it was threatened with major cuts.  They won a few crumbs but so much more is needed.  And Palestinian faculty, students and programs have been under constant attack! Where’s the sanctuary for them at SF State?”

Collins, an adamant supporter of Palestine since the sixties, was referring to a series of incidents over the past year at SFSU that have targeted the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) ,Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, and the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) program which she founded.  Most recently, racist, Islamophobic posters were plastered  across campus on May 3rd and to date there has been no public denunciation of this hate speech by President Wong.

  While such attacks are not unique to SFSU, they have been escalating at a campus which has been a battleground for social justice struggles of many types, including Palestine, over decades.
In April 2016, the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, was invited to speak at SF State.  A coalition of SFSU student groups, led by GUPS, protested against his talk citing Barkat’s extreme policies of expulsion and violence against Palestinian residents, including home demolitions, evictions, lock downs and collective punishment of entire neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The day after the peaceful protest, which succeeded in interrupting Barkat’s speech, President Wong ordered a full investigation of the protest, reportedly after a telephone conversation with Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who urged this course of action.  Hier referenced the successful prosecution of the Irvine 11, students who had interrupted the speech of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren in 2010 and were convicted of conspiracy to disrupt a public meeting in 2011.

Over the course of the next five months, GUPS members and other students, primarily women, were not only subject to an intensive, disruptive official investigation but were also targeted by death and rape threats, and a vicious online campaign by  Canary Mission seeking to derail their academic careers.  The University investigation exonerated the students on most of the charges in September 2016, but the students’ lives had been turned upside down.  None of the threats or harassment by pro-Zionist groups were ever addressed by the University.   In their statement responding to the report, GUPs pointed out the degree to which their education, lives and safety had been compromised in the name of protecting pro-Israel free speech. “Not only were we subjected to this hate monger [Barkat], but we were investigated for months and publicly smeared as violent and anti-Semitic.”

Shortly after the report exonerating the students was released, another front of assault was opened against Palestinian scholarship at SFSU.   An online petition was launched by the Middle East Forum (MEF), an Islamophobic, pro-Israel group led by Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz, calling on President Wong  to terminate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU )with An-Najah University in Nablus in the Palestinian West Bank.  The MOU was established in 2014, initiated by Dr. Abdulhadi ,with the stated purpose of encouraging exchange and partnership between the two universities and with the AMED Studies program. The petition accused An-Najah of “incitement to violence, anti-Semitism and the glorification of terrorism.”  The vilification of An-Najah, which is consistently ranked as a leading academic institution in the Arab world, was accompanied by a specific attack on Dr. Abdulhadi who was condemned for initiating the MOU and for her “record as an anti-Israel activist.” Some of the examples given included her role as a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and her service as faculty advisor for GUPS.

The catalyst for this attack was a conference, Freedom Behind Bars, held at An-Najah in March 2016. This author attended the conference as part of the Prisoner, Labor and Academic Solidarity delegation to Palestine convened by Dr. Abulhadi.  To the delegation, the conference  was an exciting model of what international academic exchange between activist scholars should be.  To the MEF authors of the anti-An-Najah petition, the conference was a threatening example of the powerful potential of unfiltered exposure to Palestinian scholarship taking place in occupied Palestine.

Our delegation immediately issued an open letter in response to the petition, calling on President Wong  to uphold the importance and validity of the MOU with An-Najah, to reject the defamation of Dr. Abdulhadi and to expand institutional support for the AMED program.  Wong’s office issued a lukewarm response, endorsing all of the University’s exchange programs without specifically upholding the one with An-Najah.    As our open letter was rapidly gaining signatures by students and faculty at SFSU and around the country, an even more egregious act of hate speech occurred on the SFSU campus as well as at UC Berkeley and UCLA.

On the morning of October 14, 2016, students arrived at SFSU to find numerous posters with racist caricature portraits plastered all over campus, defaming Professor Abdulhadi  and Palestinian student leaders by name and labeling them “Jew Haters” and “terrorists.” The posters were signed by the Horowitz Freedom Center, a virulently anti-left and Islamophobic organization. Students immediately went across campus tearing the posters down while University administration did nothing for hours.  President Wong finally issued a statement calling the posters “bullying tactics” but did not even mention that the Horowitz Freedom Center was responsible for them or label them a hate crime.

In response to these posters, numerous articles, statements, and petitions were issued by a wide variety of media and organizations including Palestine Legal, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, UAW Local 2865, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network,  Jewish News and the Jewish Studies Department at SFSU.  They called on Wong to pursue an investigation of the posters as a hate crime and to defend GUPS, AMED, Dr. Abdulhadi and the Arab and Muslim community at SFSU. To date none of this has happened.

As Terry Collins points out, the incidents of the past year are just an intensification of long time problems  facing the AMED program and the Palestinian and Arab communities at SF State.  Dr. Abdulhadi was recruited to SFSU in 2007 from the University of Michigan, Dearborn.  Her recruitment was part of the implementation of the recommendations of a campus/community Task Force that was formed at SFSU in order to address a backlash against Palestinian and Arab students in the post 9-11 era.  According to Dr. Abdulhadi, she accepted the position at SFSU in order to create a program whose explicit purpose was the production of knowledge for social justice. Given the history of social justice engagement at SFSU, the large Arab and Palestinian population in the Bay Area, and the progressive political climate in the region, she believed that it would be an ideal place for her to develop this type of program.   In her recruitment contract she was promised two additional faculty positions for the program as well as administrative support.  However, none of these contractual obligations have ever been met.

A year after Dr. Abdulhadi was recruited in 2008, the Department of Jewish studies at SF State received a gift of $3.75 million from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund to create an endowed chair in Israel studies, which SF State boasted put it “at the forefront of an emerging new academic field.”  Since then Israel studies has continued to grow, while the AMED program has never expanded beyond Dr. Abdulhadi.  Recently Dr. Abdulhadi was told by President Wong that due to budget constraints, the only way that the two promised faculty positions could be added would be if the program itself could bring in large gifts or grants.

The problems confronting the AMED program have developed in the context of nationwide attacks on Palestinian scholarship including employment termination, disciplinary actions, suspension of student groups and cancellation of course sections.  As the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has gathered momentum on college campuses across the U.S., the Israeli government and its allies have prioritized the targeting of all scholarship and activity that includes an anti-Zionist, anti-colonial, pro-Palestinian perspective.  Meanwhile, in the same period as online harassment and academic investigations were occurring at SFSU, students at An-Najah and other Palestinian universities have been subject to a mounting wave of raids and arrests. Since it is illegal for Palestinian students to organize protests on campuses, and campus political organizations are banned, there is a constant pretext for the Israeli military occupation to arrest students arbitrarily.  The increasing criminalization of speech and activism about Palestine on U.S. campuses represents a move in the same direction.

Yet despite the election of Trump, the acceleration of openly Islamophobic  policies, and the appointment of ultra-Zionist David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel , the colonial reality of Palestine is breaking through the American wall of denial in unprecedented ways.  On April 16, 2017 the New York Times published a searing op-ed by Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader and political prisoner, indicting the Israeli colonial prison system and announcing a hunger strike by over 1,500 Palestinian prisoners which has continued into May.  A week later, Omar Barghouti,  a co-founder and leader of the BDS movement,  accepted the Gandhi Peace Award at Yale University after an international outcry pressured Israel to reverse a travel ban it had imposed on him.  And on April 27th, the Washington Post published an interview with Palestinian parliamentarian and former political prisoner Khalida Jarrar in which she explains her support for the prisoner hunger strike and highlights the particularly cruel conditions to which Palestinian women prisoners are subjected.
Not surprisingly at the same time, the backlash has been escalating at San Francisco State.  In the beginning of April, Cinnamon Stillwell, the West Coast representative of Campus Watch and a graduate of SF State, accelerated the call to revoke the MOU between An-Najah and SFSU by denouncing the inclusion of former prisoners in the U.S. delegation that participated in the An-Najah conference.  And Nir Barkat, intensified the pressure on President Wong when he canceled a speaking engagement  at SFSU  claiming that SFSU hadn’t  sufficiently publicized the event  and therefore was continuing its “marginalization and demonization of the Jewish state. “

On May 3, students once again found dozens of anti-Palestinian posters plastered around campus, vilifying Palestinian feminist leader Rasmea Odeh,  Students for Justice in Palestine and a Jewish Voice for Peace.  In an urgent message to Wong, GUPS responded clearly, ““Once again SFSU administration has failed to protect us and provide a safe work and study environment for students, faculty and staff.   Claims of being a sanctuary campus must be evidenced in deeds not in words. This applies equally to Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians as it applies to everybody else.”  Their email included numerous pictures of the racist posters before they were taken down.    In a Kafkaesque response, Wong responded the next day with an email claiming that he couldn’t do anything because the campus police “were unable to find any of the posters.”  He encouraged students to call the police and campus counseling if they felt unsafe.

2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the Edward Said mural which was created at SF State in a collaborative effort between students, artists and community members to honor this preeminent Palestinian scholar.  Like everything related to Palestine at SFSU, the mural has been the subject of ongoing bitter controversy, fanned by outside Zionist organizations.  The SFSU administration cites the mural as a symbol of its commitment to “healthy debate,” and “respectful solutions.”  To Terry Collins, the battle at SF State has never been about healthy debate or free speech.  “They’re trying to make an example of the students, GUPS, the AMED program because they’re standing up for Palestine’s freedom, just like the BSU stood up for Black freedom back in 1968,” Terry stresses. “It’s up to those of us in the community to have their backs!”
Diana Block is the author of a novel, Clandestine Occupations – An Imaginary History (PM Press, 2015) and a memoir, Arm the Spirit – A Woman’s Journey Underground and Back (AK Press, 2009).  She is an active member of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners  and the anti-prison coalition CURB. She is a member of the editorial collective of The Fire Inside newsletter and she writes periodically for various online journals.
 
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10 May 2017

ISRAEL'S NEW CULTURAL WAR OF AGGRESSION


Israel’s New Cultural War of Aggression


A few weeks ago my book Palestine’s Horizon: Toward a Just Peace was published by Pluto in Britain. I was in London and Scotland at the time to do a series of university talks to help launch the book. Its appearance happened to coincide with the release of a jointly authored report commissioned by the UN Social and Economic Commission of West Asia, giving my appearances a prominence they would not otherwise have had. The report concluded that the evidence relating to Israeli practices toward the Palestinian people amounted to ‘apartheid,’ as defined in international law.

There was a strong pushback by Zionist militants threatening disruption. These threats were sufficiently intimidating to academic administrators, that my talks at the University of East London and at Middlesex University were cancelled on grounds of ‘health and security.’ Perhaps, these administrative decisions partly reflected the awareness that an earlier talk of mine at LSE had indeed been sufficiently disrupted during the discussion period that university security personnel had to remove two persons in the audience who shouted epithets, unfurled an Israeli flag, stood up and refused to sit down when politely asked by the moderator.

In all my years of speaking on various topics around the world, I had never previously had events cancelled, although quite frequently there was similar pressure exerted on university administrations, but usually threatening financial reprisals if I was allowed to speak. What happened in Britain is part of an increasingly nasty effort of pro-Israeli activists to shut down debate by engaging in disruptive behavior, threats to security, and by smearing speakers regarded as critics of Israel as ‘anti-Semites,’ and in my case as a ‘self-hating,’ even a self-loathing Jew.

Returning to the United States I encountered a new tactic. The very same persons who disrupted in London, evidently together with some likeminded comrades, wrote viciously derogatory reviews of my book on the Amazon website in the U.S. and UK, giving the book the lowest rate possible rating,



This worried my publisher who indicated that how a book is rated on Amazon affects sales very directly. I wrote a message on my Facebook timeline that my book was being attacked in this way, and encouraged Facebook friends to submit reviews, which had the effect of temporarily elevating my ratings. In turn, the ultra-Zionists went back to work with one or two line screeds that made no effort whatsoever to engage the argument of the book. In this sense, there was a qualitative difference as the positive reviews were more thoughtful and substantive. This was a new kind of negative experience for me. Despite publishing many books over the course during this digital age I had never before had a book attacked in this online manner obviously seeking to discourage potential buyers and to demean me as an author. In effect, this campaign is an innovative version of digital book burning, and while not as vivid visually as a bonfire, its vindictive intentions are the same.

These two experiences, the London cancellations and the Amazon harassments, led me to reflect more broadly on what was going on. More significant, by far, than my experience are determined, well-financed efforts to punish the UN for its efforts to call attention to Israeli violations of human rights and international law, to criminalize participation in the BDS campaign, and to redefine and deploy anti-Semitism so that its disavowal and prevention extends to anti-Zionism and even to academic and analytic criticism of Israel’s policies and practices, which is how I am situated within this expanding zone of opprobrium. Israel has been acting against human rights NGOs within its own borders, denying entry to BDS supporters, and even virtually prohibiting foreign tourists from visiting the West Bank or Gaza. In a remarkable display of unity all 100 U.S. senators recently overcame the polarized atmosphere in Washington to join in sending an arrogant letter to the new UN Secretary General, António Guterres, demanding a more friendly, blue washing, approach to Israel at the UN and threatening financial consequences if their outrageous views were not heeded.

Israel’s most ardent and powerful backers are transforming the debate on Israel/Palestine policy into a cultural war of aggression. This new kind of war has been launched with the encouragement and backing of the Israeli government, given ideological support by such extremist pressure groups as UN Watch, GO Monitor, AIPAC, and a host of others. This cultural war is implemented at street levels by flame throwing militants that resort to symbolic forms of violence. The adverse consequences for academic freedom and freedom of thought in a democratic society should not be underestimated. A very negative precedent is being set in several Western countries. Leading governments are collaborating with extremists to shut down constructive debate on a sensitive policy issue affecting the lives and wellbeing of a long oppressed people.

There are two further dimensions of these developments worth pondering: (1) In recent years Israel has been losing the Legitimacy War being waged by the Palestinians, what Israeli think tanks call ‘the delegitimation project,’ and these UN bashing and personal smears are the desperate moves of a defeated adversary in relation to the moral and legal dimensions of the Palestinian struggle for rights.

 In effect, the Israeli government and its support groups have given up almost all efforts to respond substantively, and concentrate their remaining ammunition on wounding messengers who bear witness and doing their best to weaken the authority and capabilities of the UN so as to discredit substantive initiatives; (2) while this pathetic spectacle sucks the oxygen from responses of righteous indignation, attention is diverted from the prolonged ordeal of suffering that has long been imposed on the Palestinian people as a result of Israel’s unlawful practices and policies, as well as its crimes against humanity, in the form of apartheid, collective punishment, ethnic cleansing, and many others. The real institutional scandal is not that the UN is obsessed with Israel but rather that it is blocked from taking action that might exert sufficient pressure on Israel to induce the dismantling of apartheid structures relied upon to subjugate, displace, and dispossess the Palestinian people over the course of more than 70 years with no end in sight.

Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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08 May 2017

AUSTRALIA, NATIONALISM AND SOME NATIONALIST STATE EXAMPLES

This is a topic dear to the heart of nationalists everywhere.

Starting with a few examples from the past, some of the most notorious of the 20th century led the story for much of that time: Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Pol Pot, Mao tse tung, Verwoerd, Peron, Pinochet - there were so many, leaving out those from our so-called "democracies".

What is nationalism?

The Concise Oxford of 1990 defines nationalism as:

1a) a patriotic feeling, principles, etc.
1b) an extreme form of this; chauvinism.
2) a policy of national independence.

What is Australian nationalism?

1) clinging to daddy (1) nationalist UK
2) clinging to daddy (2) nationalist USA
2a) being passionately and devotedly and hero-worshippingly in love with the most racist apartheid most nationalist most undemocratic most "heroic"  state of all - zionist apartheid Israel.

3) involving itself in any old imperial war which pitches up, whether it is relevant to Australia or not

4) we shall decide who comes to this country and the circumstances of how they get here.

Multiculturalism? only on our monocultural terms!

Nationalsim in Australia means never having to say something which upsets local sensitivities.

Footy? ANZAC Day? - god's own items and don't ever forget it!

So here we have a foreign not-white not anglo not originally English speaking - not culturally "kosher" according to local definitions, and what she said on ANZAC Day has outraged the locals to the extent that they would like to have her thrown out of the country!

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

That is the name of the young person who had the temerity to state on ANZAC DAY:

Lest we forget (Nauru, Manus, Palestine) {she apologised and withdrew it after there was such an outcry you could hear it all the way from RSL to parliament and the ABC and our journalists whose indignation was enough for them to explode}

and she does work on the ABC and the RSL is furious and the government is furious and so many nationalist loving citizens are furious, and the list goes on and on.

She should not have apologised and she should not have withdrawn it - it was not illegal and did no harm to anyone.

Nationalism is beloved of those who believe we will only be strong as a nation if we stick to a certain dynamic. We must be white, Anglo, English-speaking, toe the party line, so long as it is right-wing and reactionary, we must be able to be as racist as we want to be, so long as these upstart foreigners understand that they can not  think they can say what they like and get away with it.




07 May 2017

PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKE PRISONERS IN ISRAELI HELL HOLES

This article comes from Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association:

Today, 25 April 2107, Addameer’s attorneys visited Nafha, Hadarim and Asqlan prisons, where they were not able to visit hunger-striking prisoners and detainees due to Israeli Prison Service (IPS) refusal. However, they managed to visit prisoners who were not on hunger strike that informed the attorneys of the hunger strike's recent developments.
During a visit to the Hadarim prison, prisoner Thabet al-Mardawi explained to Addameer’s attorney Mona Naddaf, that the IPS started transferring prisoners from one section to another on the second day of the strike, 18 April 2017. He added, that Marwan Barghouthi and Karim Younis were placed in isolation in Al-Jalama prison, and Anas Jaradat and Mahmoud Abu Sorour were placed in isolation in Ela prison. He added that about 36 prisoners were transferred to Ramle prison, and the rest of the prisoners were placed in different prisons across occupied Palestine.
Additionally, sick prisoners were transferred to the cells of Section 5 in Hadarim, which is a civilian detention room located in the civil section of the prison. The prisoners live in a completely isolated situation, where there is no television, no electrical devices and were only given sleeping mats.
Prisoner Thabet explained that the IPS isolated 102 hunger-striking prisoners before placing them in different prisons. Special unit forces stormed and raided the hunger-striking sections confiscating personal belongings. All of the prisoners have been stripped of their possessions; only one blanket has been kept for each prisoner and one set of clothing in addition to the “Shabas clothing” or prison uniform. Prison administration also seized salt in the first days of the strike, and strikers have had to drink water from the tap as the administration does not provide them with drinking water.
The prison administration has also imposed several punitive sanctions on the hunger-striking prisoners. The most important of these is the denial of family visits, as well as the denial of recreation, denial of access to the “canteen” (prison store).
In Nafha prison, Addameer’s attorney Samer Samaan visited prisoners Ayman Odeh and Raed al-Saadi, who told him during the visit that the number of hunger striking prisoners in Nafha is 250 from all political factions. The IPS also started isolating hunger strikers from their fellow prisoners, raided their sections and banned them from having attorney visits.
In Ashkelon prison, Farah Beyadsi visited prisoner Sharif Hamid, who is not on hunger strike. He informed her that the IPS transferred all the prisoners who are not on hunger strike to Section 12 of the prison. And transferred hunger striking prisoners to  Section 3 and placed them in isolation. 42 prisoners in Ashkelon prison are on hunger strike.
“In Ashkelon there are 5 rooms, each room has about ten prisoners, the prisoners are forbidden from communicating with anyone, and they are denied family visits and access to the prison canteen. They are not allowed to see their attorneys as well,” Hamid added. The prison administration in Ashkelon also stripped hunger striking prisoners of their possessions, and strikers have had to drink water from the tap as the administration does not provide them with drinking water. They also prohibited them from participating in group prayers on Friday.
Addameer Prisoner Support urges supporters of justice around the world to take action to support the Palestinian prisoners whose bodies and lives are on the line for freedom and dignity. Addameer urges all people to organize events in solidarity with the struggle of hunger-striking prisoners and detainees. Addameer further calls upon the international community to demand that the Israeli government to respect the will of hunger strikers who use their bodies as a legitimate means of protest, which has been recognized by the World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikes as “often a form of protest by people who lack other ways of making their demands known.” 

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

P. O. Box: 17338, Jerusalem
3 Edward Said Street
Sebat Bldg.
1st Floor, Suite 2
Ramallah, Palestine
Tel: +972 (0)2 296 0446 / 297 0136
Fax: +972 (0)2 296 0447

Email: info@addameer.ps
Website: www.addameer.org
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06 May 2017

ONLINE PRIVACY GUIDE FOR JOURNALISTS 2017

This arrived by email a few days ago, and as it is an issue about which we all need to be aware these days in view of the assaults on journalists around the world, physically, emotionally - and taking into account the numbers being murdered in their own countries - Russia being one example - and in countries around the world where they are reporting on every issue imaginable - we all need to take heed of what is being written about here.

Online Privacy Guide for Journalists 2017

You can see the eBook PDF-version of this guide here.

 

03 May 2017

MANUS AND NAURU - AUSTRALIA'S OFFSHORE CONCENTRATION CAMPS GOVERNMENT'S LATEST OUTRAGE COURTESY PETER DUTTON

It would appear that it is possible to reinvent the wheel.

Remember John Howard's and Peter Reith's Children Overboard when the Tampa ship rescued some asylum seekers offshore from Australia?

We have now had a similar sort of incident at Manus where Peter Dutton is accusing asylum seekers of paedophilia after a nasty incident involving Papua New Guinea soldiers and/or police who fired shots into the concentration camp because, according to Dutton, the camp inhabitants took a 5 year old boy into the prison.

We are waiting for evidence, for proof - to substantiate the story.

Is there no end to how low and despicable Australian politicians can sink?

Apparently not!

02 May 2017

NO PROTECTION FOR SACKED ANTI-ANZAC TWEETER




Right to freedom of speech cannot breach employment contract


"Whoever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter"?
So asked John Milton in his Areopagitica in 1644, crystallising why freedom of speech is a foundation for modern democracy. However, today's near universal access to social media challenges the idea that freedom of expression ensures truth will be victorious over falsehood.



The disciplining or sacking of employees whose emails breach industry codes of conduct - most recently of Scott McIntyre, who alleged crimes by the Anzacs - raise the vexed question of the proper constraints on freedom of speech.  Does an employer have the right to sack, demote or otherwise sanction an employee for speech that both breaches its code of conduct and may be substantially inaccurate, in bad faith and deeply hurtful to most Australians?

The Federal Circuit Court has recently provided a categorical answer to this question. In Banerji​ v Bowles(2013), a case similar to the McIntyre sacking, an employee of the Department of Immigration asked the court to stop disciplinary action after she "tweeted" trenchant criticism of the guards at immigration detention centres, and of the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration, among others. She argued that her comments are constitutionally protected by her right to freedom of political communication as an indispensable incident of representative government. The Federal Court rejected this view as a flawed understanding of Australian law.


  • Ask any citizen if they have a right to freedom of speech and they will robustly assert "yes, of course" . However, under Australian law, there is no such formal legal right. While, in practice, everyone is free to say and write whatever they like, this freedom is significantly qualified by exceptions. Prohibitions abound in respect of statements that are libellous or slanderous, in contempt of court, a breach of copyright, obscene or seditious, or that incite mutiny, commission a crime or disclose official secrets.
    Unlike all other common law countries, Australia has no bill of rights and few laws to protect the right to freedom of speech. In the absence of express protection under the Australian Constitution, the High Court has recognised an implied right to freedom of political communication as a necessary element of representative democracy. So far so good. But, the right of political communication is not a personal right for citizens. Rather it is a constitutional limit on the legislative powers of Parliament. In short, a right of political communication constrains governments, but it is not the right of an individual citizen.
    In the Banerji case, the Federal Court confirmed the general law that rights are "not unbridled or unfettered". The court was cautious in the extreme, saying that: "even if there be a constitutional right [to freedom of political communication], it does not provide a licence to breach a contract of employment".
    The court concluded that the political comments tweeted while Banerji was employed by the Department of Immigration are not protected by the asserted implied right to freedom of political expression. Influencing the court's decision were provisions of the Public Service Act 1999 to the effect that an employee "must at all times behave in a way that upholds the good reputation of Australia", and must behave honestly and with integrity and avoid any conflict of interest. In addition to the contract of employment are the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct and departmental social media guidelines. It did not help Banerji's case that her tweets occurred while she was working for another employer, without the permission of the Department.

    It is probable that the Banerji decision reflects Australian law in the absence of any legislation confirming the common law right to freedom of speech. While we may say what we please, subject to defined prohibitions, a practical, chilling outcome of freedom of speech is that we must suffer the consequences if that speech is also a breach of an employment contract.

    In principle, it seems a reasonable constraint on our freedoms that we should abide by the ethics, values and standards of our employers.  But what if the employer is breaking the law or just plain wrong? Whistleblowers are now protected under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (2013) (Cth). Public officials, government agencies and contracted service providers will be guaranteed anonymity and immunity if they disclose an abuse of public trust, corruption, acts that endanger the environment, or unjust, oppressive or negligent conduct, among other wrongs. However, the act is significantly limited and does not cover judicial conduct, ASIO or ASIS, politicians or the private sector.

    Scott McIntyre may not have the benefit of the "whistleblower's" law, but it is at least arguable that to be peremptorily sacked is disproportionate to the reasonable interests of his employer. These are matters of judgment in light of all the circumstances.

    The free use of social media - as exemplified by the McIntyre tweets - suggests that it cannot guarantee the triumph of truth over falsehood.

    Gillian Triggs is president of the Human Rights Commission.

    01 May 2017

    AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION

    How much longer will one be able to listen to ABC radio and/or watch ABC television?

    Day by day conditions deteriorate and the quality of service reaches almost rock bottom.

    Where to start with listing all the problems?

    Well of course the root of most of the difficulties arises because of the funding. Funding has been reduced by all governments for the ABC over many years until it has reached the stage that it will soon no longer be viable for what is left of the funding to run a national broadcaster.

    The next part of the problem is the political control. This has now almost reached the level of dictatorship - what is or is not allowed and what is deemed acceptable or is politically beyond the pale.

    The control by the board has become extreme for one side of politics only and gradually the horizons are shrinking.

    The person who is the managing director or whatever her title is is a government appointee and if her politics don't measure up to the government's she wont be able to stay, so she ensures that conditions deteriorate day by day.

    On top of everything bad is the new graphics for ABC's 7.00pm news. We now have stroboscopic images which, for older people such as us in this house of two over 90-year-olds, is almost blinding and the cause of migraines.

    If this is the best ABC news can do, we will try alternatives or not at all.

    So far we have only been on about television.

    What about radio? What about the endless promotions? What about the fact that listeners have been complaining for at least the last 40 years - and it has got significantly worse recently - that the endless promos have always got some loud noise going by the misnomer of music over what some person or persons are saying as to make it unintelligible to be able to interpret any words? and the noise over is also intolerably loud.

    Nobody at the ABC takes any notice of complaints - we are treated with contempt, and again as far as we are concerned - why waste time and effort trying to get things rectified when nothing is ever done?

    "I am --------- and you are listening to ABC Classic FM" non stop throughout the day and night.

    Promotions of programmes anounced by Julian Day (?) have the voice drowned out by music over - or the music is what we are intended to hear and the voice is drowned out.

    Graham Abbott used to have a programme at midday each Sunday called "Keys to Music". For reasons known only to management and programmers, this has now been moved to something like 7pm on Monday nights - or elsewhere.

    On top of all this demolition we now have the demolition of a young person expressing views about ANZAC day, and national hysteria audible from one end of Australia to the other because she dared to express views contrary to the nationalist psyche!

    Which brings us to 18c about free speech and ability to insult people, but only if you are elderly, white, anglo and similar!

    ABC classic FM - try and find out who is presenting the overnight music and you will look on the ABC classic fm pages and search them with no chance of success whatever. Is the ABC worried we might find out who the presenters are and they don't want us to know?? If this is so, why???

    And the interruptions with promos go on and on and on and...................................!!!

    This is Mannie De Saxe and he is ready to give up listening to ABC classic FM for ever!!!!!

    30 April 2017

    ADDAMEER PRISONER SUPPORT AND HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION, PALESTINE

    REPORT FROM ADDAMEER ON 30 APRIL 2017 - PALESTINIAN PRISONERS ON HUNGER STRIKES IN ISRAELI CONCENTRATION CAMPS.

    An estimated 1500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers have declared the beginning of an open hunger strike on 17 April 2017. The call for hunger strike came amidst resentment of Israeli’s cruel policies towards political prisoners and detainees. The hunger striking prisoners’ demands include: family visits, proper medical care, an end to Israel’s practice of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial in so-called administrative detention and stopping the use of isolation. Here are some facts on Palestinian hunger strikes: 
    What is the History of Palestinian Hunger Strikes? Hunger strikes have long been used in different geographical areas as means to protest and demand basic rights, including the right to vote, the right to be free from torture and the right to self-determination. The long history of Palestinian prisoners in mass and individual hunger strikes, reveals the lack of trust in any judicial process and the lack of fair trial guarantees they face under the military and civil court systems of the Israeli occupation. Palestinian prisoners and detainees have resorted to hunger strikes as early as 1968 as a legitimate peaceful protest to Israeli detention policies and cruel detention conditions including the use of solitary confinement, denial of family visits, inadequate medical treatment and torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
    What are the Medical Risks of Hunger Strikes? Hunger strikes have associated health risks that can cause physical damage to the prisoner or detainee, including severe loss of weight, weakness, tiredness, inability to sleep, hearing loss, blindness, strokes, kidney failure as well as other organ failures, cardiac arrest, and heart attack. However, despite these medical risks, through hunger strikes, Palestinians have been able to obtain basic and fundamental rights and to improve their detention conditions through hunger strikes.
    How do Israeli Authorities Deal with Hunger Strikes? Hunger strikes are often met with violent and coercive repression by Israeli Prison Service and special units, as well as medical personnel to push detainees to end their hunger strikes. Following hunger strikes, Addameer has documented several cases of raids on prison cells, transfers of hunger strikers to isolation cells, threats of indefinite detention, banning family visitation, reduction of money spent in the canteen.
    What were other coercive measures taken? In response to the use of hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners and detainees, Israeli authorities practiced force-feeding during the 1980s. It was subsequently ceased by order from the Israeli High Court following several deaths of Palestinian prisoners resulting from force-feeding. At the time of earlier hunger strikes, Israel practiced force-feeding of hunger-strikers in order to coerce detainees to end to their hunger strikes without any legislation to regulate this measure. Several Palestinian prisoners have died as a result of being subjected to force-feeding. These include Abdul-Qader Abu al-Fahm who had died on 11 May 1970 during a hunger strike in Ashkelon prison, Rasem Halawah and Ali al-Ja'fari, who died following the insertion of the feeding tubes into their lungs instead of their stomachs in July 1980 during a hunger strike in Nafha prison, and Ishaq Maragha, who died in Beersheba prison in 1983. Recently, a proposal for a legislation by the Israeli minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan was initiated in response to the mass hunger strike of 2012 with the purpose of putting an end to future hunger-strikes and depriving Palestinian detainees and prisoners of their fundamental right to peaceful protest. The bill was approved by the Israeli Knesset on the 30th of July 2015.
    Since when have Hunger Strikes been used in Protest of Administrative Detention? At least since the 1990s, Palestinian prisoners have resorted to hunger strikes as means to protest Israeli arbitrary use of administrative detention. Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. There are an estimated 750 Palestinians placed under administrative detention, including women, children, and Palestinian Legislative Council members.
    In recent years, Palestinian prisoners and detainees have resorted to hunger strike to protest and increasing and systematic use of administrative detention by the occupation authorities. For example, in 2012, Palestinian prisoners and detainees declared a mass hunger strike, which involved nearly 2000 hunger strikers demanding the end of administrative detention, denial of family visitations to Gaza prisoners, isolation and other punitive measures. The 2012 hunger strike ended with Israel’s temporality limiting the use of administrative detention. However, few years later, the occupation authorities increased the use of administrative detention leading to another hunger strike in 2014 by over 80 administrative detainees asking for an end to the use of the arbitrary policy. The hunger strike ended after 63 days without forcing the Israeli government to limit the use of administrative detention.
    Additionally, several Palestinian administrative detainees embarked on individual hunger strikes in protest of replacing them under administrative detention without charge or trial of several times. These individual hunger strikes included Mohammad Al Qeeq, Khader Adnan, Hana Shalabi, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Kayed.  
    Why do Palestinians Resort to Hunger Strikes? Palestinian prisoners and detainees resort to hunger strike in order to protest and have their voices heard outside an unfair legal system which administers their arbitrary detention and the repression of their voices. However, Israeli occupation authorities have not managed to break the will of Palestinian hunger strikers who continue to use their bodies, in the absence of any adequate judicial remedies, to practice legitimate disobedience. Hunger strikers defy disciplinary power of control and domination; the body of the hunger striker thereby constitutes a medium through which power is shifted and recreated. The prisoners and detainees refuse to comply with the prison’s structured system of constrain and privation where they do not have full autonomy over their bodies. Thus, through hunger strikes, these prisoners and detainees re-gain sovereignty over their bodies through becoming decision makers over the prison authorities.
    What Are Our Demands?  Addameer Prisoner Support urges supporters of justice around the world to take action to support the Palestinian prisoners whose bodies and lives are on the line for freedom and dignity. Addameer urges all people to organize events in solidarity with the struggle of hunger-striking prisoners and detainees. 2017 marks 100 years of the Balfour declaration; 70 years of Palestinian Catastrophe (al-Nakba); 50 years of brutal military occupation. This is also the year to hold the Israeli occupation accountable for its actions and to demand the immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners!
    Addameer further calls upon the international community to demand that the Israeli government to respect the will of hunger strikers who use their bodies as a legitimate means of protest, which has been recognized by the World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikes as “often a form of protest by people who lack other ways of making their demands known.” 

    Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

    P. O. Box: 17338, Jerusalem
    3 Edward Said Street
    Sebat Bldg.
    1st Floor, Suite 2
    Ramallah, Palestine
    Tel: +972 (0)2 296 0446 / 297 0136
    Fax: +972 (0)2 296 0447

    Email: info@addameer.ps
    Website: www.addameer.org
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    UNITED STATES JUSTICE? - AUSTRALIAN JUSTICE?

    Rasmea Defense Committee report on plea hearing
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    150 of Rasmea’s closest supporters join her at plea hearing

    VIDEO: Rally summary by Tom Callahan

    On Tuesday, April 25, Palestinian American icon Rasmea Odeh was joined in Detroit by close to 150 supporters from across the Midwest, at a federal court plea hearing based on an agreement reached last month.  Sentencing will be formally imposed on August 17 in Detroit, but its terms were discussed and approved by Judge Gershwin Drain at this hearing.  Rasmea will be stripped of her citizenship, and have to leave the United States permanently. She will not be sentenced to any further prison time (Drain jailed Rasmea for five weeks in November and December of 2014 after her conviction at trial), and she will “voluntarily” depart the country without being detained by immigration authorities.

    The courtroom was packed, leaving many supporters to watch the fairly straightforward proceedings from an overflow room. The government summarized the terms of the plea agreement, and Rasmea’s lead attorney, Michael Deutsch, added a few points. While the government was not asking for more prison time or a fine if the plea was approved, Drain informed Rasmea that he would determine the sentence, which normally would carry a maximum of 10 years imprisonment plus a $200,000 penalty.  But, later in the hearing, he clarified that he intended to honor the terms of the agreement.

    After a few other clarifications, Drain asked Rasmea if she agreed to the “factual basis” of the plea agreement. After a long pause, and some quiet exchanges with Deutsch, Rasmea said, “I signed.” This was not enough for Drain, who asked several times for Rasmea to say she was guilty. Each time, she answered, “Yes, I signed it.” Once more, he insisted that she must admit guilt. Rasmea paused again, then answered, “I signed this; it says I’m guilty.” It was clear that this was as far as Rasmea was willing to go, so Drain relented, and approved the plea agreement.

    It is important to note that this agreement did not include the last minute submissions by zionist Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel, who attempted to put on the record that Rasmea had committed “terrorist” acts and was a member of a “designated terrorist organization.” One final time, Tukel was denied the opportunity to use the case against Rasmea as a platform to grandstand for Israel.

    Surprisingly, former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade—who brought the original indictment against Rasmea but resigned after being asked to by Trump’s new Attorney General Jeff Sessions—was sitting in the first row of the courtroom.

    “For years, she had claimed that this was not a political case, and that Rasmea was not being targeted for being Palestinian,” said Nesreen Hasan of the Rasmea Defense Committee, “but McQuade was so invested in this plea that she showed up when it’s not even her job anymore!”  Rasmea’s supporters were so incensed that they chanted “Shame on you” and “You’re a phony” to McQuade while filing out of the courtroom.

    Everyone then rallied for a program on the steps outside the courthouse. Deutsch spoke first, explaining that because the government was prosecuting this simple immigration case as one related to terrorism, it was doubtful that Rasmea could receive a fair trial.

    Hatem Abudayyeh, of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), said, “We’re going to lose Rasmea, she’s going to leave [us]. We know that. But we also know that for three and a half years, we put Israel on trial in the United States. We put their treatment of Palestinians in 1948 Palestine, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, in all the refugee camps on trial. We put their treatment of our political prisoners on trial. We put their military courts on trial. We put their torture on trial. We did incredibly valuable and valiant work.

    “And because of her bravery, because she said from day one, ‘I’m not going to allow anyone to criminalize my people,’ we built support from the most important social justice movements in the country … anti-torture, women’s rights, sexual assault survivors, immigrant rights, Movement for Black Lives, anti-war… [they all] came out in support of Rasmea, and in support of Palestine, because of the brave woman who’s standing here today.”

    Abudayyeh praised some of the individuals and groups that played a critical role in defending Rasmea over the years—her legal team (Deutsch, Jim Fennerty, Dennis Cunningham, Bill Goodman, and Huwaida Arraf); Arab, Black, and Latinx youth from the Arab American Action Network; members of the Arab Women’s Committee established by Rasmea back in 2004; organizers from the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) and the Anti-War Committees of Chicago and Minnesota; Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) activists; and leaders of the national organizations that anchored the political defense, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) and USPCN.

    Frank Chapman (below) of CAARPR then took the mic. “This is a sad moment for me, but we gotta measure up. The Palestinian movement for liberation is not lost and is not losing, and it’s because we have comrades, sisters like Rasmea Odeh. It’s been a proud moment for me to stand with this movement, to stand with this comrade, because united in struggle I know we can’t lose.”

    Jess Sundin of CSFR was introduced next, and said, “We are absolutely committed to continuing to stand with you. At the end of day, we don’t run these courtrooms. We don’t make these laws, we don’t write these plea agreements… but we can always fight back. We can always resist. We can be sure that Rasmea’s work, wherever she is, will continue to make a huge difference in advancing the struggle for the liberation of Palestine, and the liberation of all of us.”

    Black4Palestine’s Kristian Bailey added, “Angela Davis said two years ago in Chicago, she knew that when the government went after her it wasn’t because she as an individual was a criminal. They were trying to target and dismantle an entire movement. She said the same thing is true in Rasmea’s case. And we’re not going to let them dismantle the wonderful movement we built in Chicago; we’re not going to back down. Now is the time to unite and fight and win!”

    Veteran organizer Elaine Rumman of USPCN's Detroit chapter thanked Rasmea for her work and commitment and said, "[Rasmea] is our star; she is our success!"

    Lorena Buni of Anakbayan, a Filipino youth organization, criticized the unjust system that attacked Rasmea: “The reality is, they are the ones who are afraid of us, for them to go to this extent to criminalize such a strong woman and organizer. And we will not let the struggle die. We will continue the fight. Rasmea did not lose today, because everyone that’s gathered here today stands in solidarity with her and with Palestine.”

    An alumnus of National SJP, Leila Abdelrazaq, recalled a lesson shared by Rasmea to an SJP conference years prior: “She told us young Palestinians that we shouldn’t feel that the Palestine movement is separate from us, or that what’s happening in Palestine is separate from us. Rasmea has proven she fights for Palestinians all over the world. She came to the U.S. and dedicated her life to our community here, just like she did back home. … Rasmea’s dedication to that fight makes us also fight for her, and fight for each other.”

    Brant Rosen of Jewish Voice for Peace wrapped up the solidarity messages, praising Rasmea and addressing her directly: “The best teachers don’t teach by what they say or what they write, but by what they are. What I take away today is the image of you standing before the judge, who was demanding that you say to him and the world that you are guilty, and you refused, because you are not guilty. Your strength and your courage and your kindness and your compassion really teaches all of us how to be in this world.”

    After a number of already emotional moments, Rasmea stepped forward to thank her supporters, speaking first in Arabic and then in English. “I believe my case is Palestine’s case,” she began, her voice cracking. “We have to continue our struggle to get our freedom and to have our Palestine [be free] and to go back. We have to go back to our villages. There is no choice. No choices. Like today in court, they gave me no other choice – [either] prison and then [get sent] back. Or [deportation] without jail.

    “I think to continue my struggle, I chose this [even] if it’s hard. I don’t want to leave! This is my second country. But they want me to leave because they want to destroy us, to destroy our struggle.  So we have to continue our struggle.  Thank you for your support… your support is very important to me… to Palestine… to all countries struggling for freedom and justice.”

    Watch the full video here.  And continue to help us with our expenses at justice4rasmea.org/donate, or by purchasing our brand new t-shirt here.

    Supporters will return to Detroit with Rasmea on August 17 for the formal sentencing. Before that, a massive sendoff for her will be organized in Chicago.  Look for an announcement soon, as we hope people from all across the country will attend—to say farewell, and to honor Rasmea’s lifetime of work for Palestinian liberation.

    Rasmea Defense Committee, led by USPCN and CSFR
    Friday, April 28, 2017 - #Justice4Rasmea

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    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

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