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Posts Tagged ‘photographs

The Children of Palestine: A Photo Essay on Israel’s War Crimes in Gaza

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UPDATE JUNE 5, 2010. This page gets linked to by a lot of lunatic sites. Pearls before swine. I considered removing this post, just to avoid fueling the fires of the racist, anti-semitic, xenophobic, tea-bagging, hood-wearing, “take back my country” mob who visit here and somehow feel vindicated in their hatred and violent rhetoric after viewing these photos. Earth to anti-semites: I’m not on board with you. I don’t hate Jews. I don’t hate anyone, and neither should you. Problem is, you do hate. You wish ill-will and death on total strangers based on… what? Their ethnicity? Their skin? The country they were born to? Their religion? Your religion? Don’t even try to make like you’re serving some greater cause. It was a cause like yours that murdered the innocent children you see on this page.

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I could write until I’m even bluer in the face, but the fact is, I’ve been profoundly ill over the past month and don’t have the mental or physical energy I’d like to devote to writing on Israel’s deplorable, reprehensible, illegal slaughtering of the citizens of Gaza. Here, I’m going to work from the axiom that a picture is worth 1,000 words, prefacing the horrors, below, with some comment on one of Israel’s more reprehensible lies: “human shields”

Israel would like the world to believe that the pictures of these children serve as further indictment and evidence of Hamas terrorism. What a clever propaganda ploy: blame the deaths of women and children on the enemy. Tell the world that Hamas is using these people as “human shields” so that, when the photos of mangled babies, children and women arrive over the news wires, it can all be blamed on Hamas, not on Israel’s bombs, which are blasting Gaza’s hospitals, mosques, universities and homes into oblivion.

GRAPHIC CONTENT) The body of one of three Palestinian siblings from the Al-samoni family, killed by an Israeli tank shell, lies in the mortuary of  Al-Shifa hospital, on January 5, 2009 in Gaza City. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

January 5: The body of one of three Palestinian siblings from the Al-samoni family, killed by an Israeli tank shell, lies in the mortuary of Al-Shifa hospital, on January 5, 2009 in Gaza City. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city.

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Of course, it goes without saying that it would be difficult to engage in a wanton, fullscale bombing campaign on one of the most densely populated regions on earth — with 1.5 million people packed into 146 square miles — without killing babies and children, who comprise nearly half of the entire population. It also goes without saying that those who persist in blindly supporting Israel’s hideous war crimes would need some justfication for condoning the killing and maiming of the innocent women, children, babies and, yes, men that compose the “collateral damage” of Israel’s bombs and the “human shields” of their propaganda campaign.

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSAnd speaking of propaganda, check out the photo, left,  of NY Mayor Bloomberg, visiting an Israeli child in the hospital — the photo-op intended to leave us with the impression that this child is somehow a victim of the war, which is a lie. This is simply an Israeli child in the hospital (perhaps getting his tonsils removed?) , as contrasted with the photos, below, which are real-life photos of children maimed and killed by Israel — just over the past 2 days, alone!

I encourage you to look at these photos with both eyes open, and then write your legislators, write to your editors and, most importantly, write to Obama, via change.gov. He needs to hear our outrage over the ongoing U.S. support of Israel’s reprehensible behavior, both in general and, specifically, their genocide campaign against the people of Palestine.

A wounded Palestinian boy is treated at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli missile strike early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, consolidating their grip in the territory's northern half without quelching the rocket fire that provoked Israel's bruising, 10-day-old offensive. Gaza health officials reported 524 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded since Israel embarked upon its military campaign against Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. From AP Photo by HATEM MOUSSA.

January 5: A wounded Palestinian boy is treated at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli missile strike early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.

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A dead Palestinian infant is brought to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli tank shell hit a house early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, consolidating their grip in the territory's northern half without quelching the rocket fire that provoked Israel's bruising, 10-day-old offensive. Gaza health officials reported 524 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded since Israel embarked upon its military campaign against Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

January 5: A dead Palestinian infant is brought to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli tank shell hit a house early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.

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Wounded Palestinian children arrive for treatment at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli strike early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, consolidating their grip in the territory's northern half without quelching the rocket fire that provoked Israel's bruising, 10-day-old offensive. Gaza health officials reported 524 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded since Israel embarked upon its military campaign against Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

January 5: Wounded Palestinian children arrive for treatment at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli strike early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.

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A relative reacts in front of the bodies of three children killed by an Israeli tank shell, Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, consolidating their grip in the territory's northern half without stopping  the rocket fire that provoked Israel's bruising, 10-day-old offensive. Gaza health officials reported 524 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded since Israel embarked upon its military campaign against Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

A relative reacts in front of the bodies of three children killed by an Israeli tank shell, Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.

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An ambulance worker carries the body of a boy from the Al-Samoni family as he arrives at the Al-Shifa hospital on January 5, 2009 in Gaza city, Gaza Strip. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

An ambulance worker carries the body of a boy from the Al-Samoni family as he arrives at the Al-Shifa hospital on January 5, 2009 in Gaza city, Gaza Strip.

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Palestinians carry a boy into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, wounded during the Israeli army operation in Gaza, Sunday Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip Sunday, bisecting the coastal territory and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against the Hamas group gained momentum. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

January 4: Palestinians carry a boy into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, wounded during the Israeli army operation in Gaza, Sunday Jan. 4, 2009.

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Palestinian medics carry the body of a boy, killed by an Israeli shell, at the hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009. Israeli troops and tanks split the Gaza Strip and ringed its main city on Sunday in an offensive against Hamas militants but civilians trapped in the Palestinian enclave suffered more bloodshed. At least 34 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed on Sunday as Israeli shells slammed into houses and Gaza's main shopping district, medical sources said. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

January 4: Palestinian medics carry the body of a boy, killed by an Israeli shell, at the hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009.

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A Palestinian medics wheel a boy, injured during the Israeli operation in Gaza, into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip early Sunday, cutting the coastal territory into two and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against Hamas militants gained momentum. From AP Photo by MAJED HAMDAN.

January 4: A Palestinian medics wheel a boy, injured during the Israeli operation in Gaza, into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009.

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A wounded Palestinian boy is carried into a hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009. Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants battled in Gaza on Sunday after Israeli troops and tanks invaded the coastal enclave in the most serious fighting in the conflict in decades. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

A wounded Palestinian boy is carried into a hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009.

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January 4: A wounded Palestinian boy is helped as he arrives at a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza.

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A Palestinian medic carries a wounded boy into a hospital in Gaza City on January 4, 2009 as Israeli troops continue its ground assault in Gaza. The half dozen hospitals in Gaza cannot cope with more patients and casualties are overflowing out of regular wards into corridors as Israeli troops push deep into Gaza. At least 40 people have been killed since Israel launched the night-time offensive yesterday after eight days of air strikes in which at least 485 Palestinians died and more than 2,400 were wounded, Gaza medics said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

A Palestinian medic carries a wounded boy into a hospital in Gaza City on January 4, 2009.

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A wounded Palestinian boy is carried into the Al-Shifa hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area, medics and witnesses said. Israel has so far carried out over 700 air strikes in Gaza within the last week and over 400 Palestinians are reported to have been killed. From Getty Images.

A wounded Palestinian boy is carried into the Al-Shifa hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip.

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Palestinian doctors attend to a wounded boy in Beit Lahia hospital in the northern Gaza Strip on Januray 3, 2008. Israeli artillery on Saturday bombarded the Gaza Strip in a dramatic escalation of the campaign against Hamas after a week of air attacks which have left more than 450 Palestinians dead. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

January 4: Palestinian doctors attend to a wounded boy in Beit Lahia hospital in the northern Gaza Strip .

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A Palestinian medic carries the body of a girl, killed by an Israeli shell, at the hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009. Israeli troops and tanks split the Gaza Strip and ringed its main city on Sunday in an offensive against Hamas militants but civilians trapped in the Palestinian enclave suffered more bloodshed. At least 34 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed on Sunday as Israeli shells slammed into houses and Gaza's main shopping district, medical sources said. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

January 4: A Palestinian medic carries the body of a girl, killed by an Israeli shell, at the hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009.

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A Palestinian girl cries during the funeral of a relative that was killed in an Israeli air strike  in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip early Sunday, cutting the coastal territory into two and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against Hamas gained momentum. From AP Photo by FADI ADWAN.

January 4: A Palestinian girl cries during the funeral of a relative that was killed in an Israeli air strike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009.

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A wounded Palestinian girl is tended to as she arrives at the Al-Shifa hospital on January 5, 2009 in Gaza city, Gaza Strip. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

January 5: A wounded Palestinian girl is tended to as she arrives at the Al-Shifa hospital on January 5, 2009 in Gaza city,.

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Palestinians try to get an ambulance to transport a badly wounded girl (top) and a man following Israeli artillery shelling in Gaza City on January 4, 2009. Israeli troops pushed deep into Gaza today with thousands of soldiers and scores of tanks battling Hamas fighters and moving toward the capital on a mission to end militant rocket attacks. At least 19 Palestinians were killed in the new fighting as trucks and cars packed with families fled Gaza City and other towns ahead of the biggest Israeli military operation since its 2006 war in Lebanon. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

Palestinians try to get an ambulance to transport a badly wounded girl (top) and a man following Israeli artillery shelling in Gaza City on January 4, 2009.

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A Palestinian girl cries during the funeral of her brother who was killed after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip January 4, 2009. Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants battled on Gaza City's outskirts on Sunday after Israeli troops and tanks invaded the coastal enclave in the worst fighting in the conflict in decades. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

A Palestinian girl cries during the funeral of her brother who was killed after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip January 4, 2009.

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GRAPHIC CONTENT)  A wounded Palestinian girl is carried into a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza . Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area. From Getty Images.

January 4: A wounded Palestinian girl is carried into a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza .

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GRAPHIC CONTENT)  A body of Palestinian girl is carried into a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza . Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area. From Getty Images.

January 4: A body of Palestinian girl is carried into a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza .

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A Palestinian woman sits on the floor beside her baby wounded by an Israeli tank shell, at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 5, 2009. An Israeli tank shell killed three Palestinian children in their home in eastern Gaza City on Monday, medical officials said. They said several other Palestinians were wounded in the incident in Gaza's Zeitoun neighbourhood. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was checking the report. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

A Palestinian woman sits on the floor of the Shifa hospital in Gaza beside her baby, who was wounded by an Israeli tank shell on January 5, 2009.

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A Palestinian baby wounded by an Israeli tank shell is treated by doctors at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 5, 2009. An Israeli tank shell killed three Palestinian children in their home in eastern Gaza City on Monday, medical officials said. They said several other Palestinians were wounded in the incident in Gaza's Zeitoun neighbourhood. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was checking the report. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

A Palestinian baby wounded by an Israeli tank shell is treated by doctors at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 5, 2009.

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GRAPHIC CONTENT) The bodies of three Palestinian siblings from the Al-samoni family, killed by an Israeli tank shell early on January 5, 2009 lie in the mortuary of  Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza City. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

January 5: The bodies of three Palestinian siblings from the Al-samoni family, killed by an Israeli tank shell early on January 5, 2009, lie in the mortuary of Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza City.

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GRAPHIC CONTENT) A relative sits next to body of one-year-old baby Farah Al-Helo as she lies on the body of her uncle Mohammad Al-helo, killed by an Israeli tank shell early on January 5, 2009, at the mortuary of Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza City. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

A relative sits next to body of one-year-old baby Farah Al-Helo as she lies on the body of her uncle, killed by an Israeli tank shell early on January 5, 2009.

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A Palestinian father carries his wounded baby daughter into a hospital in Gaza City on January 4, 2009 as Israeli troops continue its ground assault in Gaza. The half dozen hospitals in Gaza cannot cope with more patients and casualties are overflowing out of regular wards into corridors as Israeli troops push deep into Gaza. At least 40 people have been killed since Israel launched the night-time offensive yesterday after eight days of air strikes in which at least 485 Palestinians died and more than 2,400 were wounded, Gaza medics said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

A Palestinian father carries his wounded baby daughter into a hospital in Gaza City on January 4, 2009, as Israeli troops continue its ground assault in Gaza.  The half dozen hospitals in Gaza cannot cope with more patients, and casualties are overflowing out of regular wards into corridors as Israeli troops push deep into Gaza.

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A wounded Palestinian baby is carried into a hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009. Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area, medics and witnesses said. Israel has so far carried out over 700 air strikes in Gaza within the last week and over 400 Palestinians are reported to have been killed. From Getty Images.

A wounded Palestinian baby is carried into the Al-Shifa hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area, medics and witnesses said. Israel has so far carried out over 700 air strikes in Gaza within the last week and over 400 Palestinians are reported to have been killed. From Getty Images.

January 4: (two photos, above) Medical workers carry wounded Palestinian babies into the Al-Shifa hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip.

A wounded Palestinian woman lies with her baby at the Al-Shifa hospital on December 28, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza. On the second day of cross-border conflict, Israel's air force continued to launch attacks along the Gaza Strip, destroying many buildings belonging to Hamas, including holy mosques, civilian homes and vehicles, work shops, police compounds and a prison, increasing the number of Palestians killed to over 270. From Getty Images.

A wounded Palestinian woman lies with her baby at the Al-Shifa hospital.

Palestinian boys wounded by an Israeli tank shell wait for treatment at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 5, 2009. At least three children were among a dozen Palestinian civilians killed on Monday as Israeli troops pressed home a ground assault on Hamas militants in the face of French-led diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire. The deaths included three children from the Samouni family and their mother when a tank shell hit their home in Gaza city, Palestinian medics said. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Palestinian boys wounded by an Israeli tank shell wait for treatment at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 5, 2009.

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From right to left, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero Waldner, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and EU Foreign policy chief Javier Solana pose for a photograph at Livni's office in Jerusalem, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and smuggling tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, killing at least seven children as they pressed a bruising offensive against Palestinian militants. From AP Photo by DAN BALILTY.

January 5, 2009: Congratulatory spirits prevail among European and Israeli power elites, posing for a photograph at the Jerusalem office of Tzipi Livni, one of three candidates for Israeli Prime Minister in the upcoing Feb. 10 elections.  (PHOTO: From right to left, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero Waldner, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and EU Foreign policy chief Javier Solana).

After all, it took Israel only 18+ months of starving the people of Gaza, and depriving them of medical supplies, water and fuel — along with the two Israeli bombing campaigns (in August and on Nov. 4, 2008, in which Israel broke the terms of the ceasefire) — to finally  provoke Hamas into returning fire (with its pathetically weak arsenal of rockets, sticks and stones) on November 5th, thereby giving the Israel the necessary justification to kick this well-planned war and propaganda campaign into high gear. If all goes according to plan, the politicans up for election in early February will reap the benefits of showing the Israeli people how very committed their parties are to slaughtering Palestinians. The contest boils down to this: which politician promises to slaughter the most Paliestinians? From the expression on her face, candidate Tzipi Livni (above) is feeling a surge of confidence in the wake of the deaths over the past 2 days.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (R) meets in his Tel Avivi offices with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg January 4, 2009 in Tel Aviv, Israel. They meet on the day that Israel begins what it calls it's 'second stage,' the ground troops, of their massive military campaign against Hamas assests in the Gaza Strip. One Israeli soldier has been reported killed and dozens wounded after Israel launched a wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

January 4, 2009: Still more jubilation from Livni’s opponent, Israeli Defense Minister candidate Ehud Barak (r), as he hams it up for the cameras in this January 4 photo-op with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (l) in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Israel's Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu talks to Israeli children holding a goat during a visit to a shelter in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008. Israel rejected mounting international pressure to suspend its devastating offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza Strip. From AP Photo by SEBASTIAN SCHEINER.

Israel’s third candidate in the upcoming election, Benjamin Netanyahu, takes a different tack altogether in this tender photo-op from last week, as he talks to Israeli children while holding a goat, presumably hoping to impress upon Israeli voters, and the world at large, that he is *not* part of  a cruel terrorist state that slaughters innocents,  but that he really likes children, and (much like his crony, George W. Bush) is rather fond of goats, too.

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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For more reading:

The Guardian: Gaza: the logic of colonial power (by Nir Rosen) As so often, the term ‘terrorism’ has proved a rhetorical smokescreen under cover of which the strong crush the weak ….

The Nation: This magazine continues its usual offering of quality journalism in its coverage of this war.  Scan through the headlines to find articles on Israel, Palestine and Gaza.

Chris Floyd: This site offers an excellent collection of reputable news articles on the Israeli attack (along with news articles on the other wars). Today’s installments include an article on Israel’s use of phosphorus shells over civilian populations — a *special* type of bomb that inflicts hideous burns to the flesh. Using these chemical weapons over civilian populations is illegal according to the Geneva Conventions, but Israel has so managed to sidestep this law through clever semantics. (NOTE: Chris Floyd’s website, dubbed “Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the American Imperium,” is an important addition to any newsgatherers “favorites” list. You may need to scan down the page to find the beginning of the articles.)

More reading from the blogs:

Lenin’s Tomb: A credible and informative blog, sourced with sound links, with analysis and history of the Israeli-Palestine conflicts.

Dennis Perrin’s view on Israel, Palestine and Hamas:
http://dennisperrin.blogspot.com/2008/12/killing-floor-expands.html

Jon Schwarz talks about why the UN caves on Israel:
http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002750.html#more

Bernard Chazelle on the attack as dangerous political strategem:
http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002751.html

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Johnny McCain’s Childhood: The Strangest Lie of All

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You’d think John McCain would feel a twinge of shame when he hears Sarah Palin gush patriotic over the “pro-American” areas of the country, as opposed to, say, Washington, D.C. – a sentiment she clarified with these words:

We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe – we believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. (1)

Just a twinge. After all, John McCain spent nearly half of his childhood — ages nine through his early twenties — living in Washington D.C., (2) in that very hotbed of elitist anti-Americanism. Of course,  you’d never know it, since John McCain’s life histories skim over his entire childhood, as if he were born, then didn’t exist again until the age of fifteen.  

John McCain’s Boyhood Years: The Google Bio vs. A More Accurate Bio

I’m not the first to google McCain’s childhood bio and find only this, scattered with a few stories about his scrappy temperament: 

A more accurate bio looks like this, with two years unaccounted for, during which time his father completed three different submarine missions. Did McCain attend 20 different schools between 1949-1951?

A Lie is Born

McCain’s childhood resume wouldn’t really bear mentioning at all, had he not spent the past 25 years lying about it, and then spent the past two months lying about Barack Obama’s childhood resume. Did John McCain really go to 20 different schools? And was Hanoi really the longest he’d lived any one place up until the age of 46, as he’s asserted so many times over the years?

Listen, pal, I spent 22 years in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a place like the First District of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi. — John McCain, 1982, defending himself against accusations that he was a big-moneyed, carpetbagger opportunist during his first political campaign, as a new Arizona resident, running for an open seat in Arizona’s 1st congressional district.

According to historian, Mary Hershberger, “After that dramatic claim, raising the carpetbagger issue seemed unpatriotic. It worked like magic and he said it showed him that his time as a POW was ‘a good first story to sell’ on the campaign trail. He’s been selling it ever since. The problem, of course, is that it’s far from the truth, at least if he lived with his parents while growing up. With the exception of two years, from the time that John was nine until he was in his twenties, they lived in Washington, D.C. They had a house on Capitol Hill where Congressional leaders regularly dropped by for meals. When he returned from Vietnam in 1973, he lived and worked in Washington, D.C, four more years. So, when he made his political claim in 1982 about living longest in Hanoi, he surely knew that it wasn’t true, but nobody checked it out and he kept saying it.” (2)

McCain most recently incanted the Hanoi claim in late Sept. 2008, in a 60 Mintues interview on CBS:

Pelley: You were born in the Panama Canal Zone because your father was stationed there. Where’d you live as a kid?

McCain: Well, we lived in San Diego, we lived in Norfolk, Virginia. We lived in the Washington D.C. area. We lived in New London, Connecticut. My dad was a submariner.

Pelley: Longest you’ve lived any one place?

McCain: Hanoi. Hanoi was the longest- I lived any place, five and a half years.

Pelley: When you were in prison?

McCain: Yup, yeah, I certainly don’t wanna call that my hometown. (3)

If John McCain lived in Norfolk outside of his Navy pilot days, as an adult, there’s no paper trail to prove it. There is mention of him staying with his aunt Rowena in Windsor Square, Ca, and briefly attending Third Street School during the time the family still lived in New London (time period unknown), but if young John ever even visited San Diego as a child, much less lived there, there’s no trail to prove that either since — unlike his campaign opponent, Barack Obama — John McCain’s life history has not been well-documented, and can only be gathered piecemeal by scrutinizing various documents and biographies (e.g. 4, 7). Which makes particularly odd his frequent attacks (spoken before jeering audiences, perhaps in the hope of reinforcing his campaign’s ploy to paint Obama as a Muslim terrorist) as McCain wages accusations that the details on Barack Obama’s life are unknown and unknowable: 

Even at this late hour in the campaign, there are essential things we don’t know about Senator Obama or the record that he brings to this campaign….For a guy who’s already authored two memoirs, he’s not exactly an open book. (5) 

You all, America knows me…. You know my story, my convictions. You need to know who you’re putting in the White House and where that candidate came from and what he or she believes in. …. In short, who is the real Barack Obama? My friends, you ask such questions and all you get is another angry barrage of insults. (link here)

The question is: Why would anyone need to ask Obama ‘where he came from and what he believes in,’ since Obama has already told us over and over and over? Obama has been an open book on this –both literally and figuratively –having published his life story, and having repeatedly stated these things outright while on the campaign trail. And, for anyone who missed hearing the details of Obama’s childhood, a simple google of the term, “Barack Obama’s childhood” will deliver his entire childhood resume to you at the touch of a button. It’s so simple, actually, that it can be condensed into one sentence: Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, where he spent his entire childhood, except through the ages of 6 through 10, when he lived in Indonesia with his sister, his mother, and her new husband. 

It’s not so easy for John McCain.

But, then — as John McCain will be the first to tell you — nothing has ever been so easy for John McCain, beginning with his boyhood school days, which he’s repeatedy described in detail. Here’s one such version, provided by the Hoover Institution:  

McCain calls the base schools “substandard.” Sometimes the schoolhouse was “nothing more than a converted aircraft hangar,” he writes. “The classes mixed children of varying ages. We might have one teacher on Monday and a different one on Tuesday. On other days, we lacked the services of any teacher at all.” Needless to say, he was “often required in a new school to study things I had already learned. Other times, the curriculum assumed knowledge I had not yet acquired.”

If the accommodations and scheduling were not idiosyncratic enough, the frequent moves, says McCain, were the “chief obstacle to a decent education…. As soon as I had begun to settle into a school, my father would be reassigned.” Though McCain says that such a “transient childhood” was simply a way of life, it was not a life lived by most Americans. “Seldom if ever did I see again the friends I left behind,” he says. (6)

Convincing stuff. Kinda tugs at your heartstrings, don’t it? Makes for good copy, too — much like his Hanoi claim, which is pure bunk. Given what is known about John McCain’s actual boyhood history, plus his propensity for, uh, stretching the truth, his 20-schools-in-2 years story is dubious — even if one is extremely generous, taking into account his visit(s) to his aunt Rowena in California. Again, McCain’s childhood resume wouldn’t bear mentioning,  had he not spent the past 25 years lying about it, and then spent the past two months lying about Barack Obama’s childhood resume. Here, a few questions beg answers: What’s true and what’s not? And why does McCain feel compelled to lie about any of his boyhood history? What’s to be gained? Did he simply get caught up in a small lie, that turned into a big lie, which he’s now doomed to forever repeat?

Answer: It Was Invented in Increments

I’m not the first to wonder about John McCain’s childhood history. The internet is riddled with unanswered questions about the most rudimentary aspects of his elementary years. One such inquiry turned humorous, when one googler attempted to locate childhood photos of McCain and — turning up nothing — decided to google, “When was the camera invented?” Interestingly, there are no childhood photos of John McCain on the internet — not that I could find, anyway — while there are a wealth of Barack Obama’s childhood photos, which easily substantiate Obama’s stated life story.

 

A similar body of McCain’s boyhood photos from infancy through age 15 would surely substantiate the stories he’s repeated throughout his political career, regarding his “transient childhood” and the geographical whereabouts of at least some of the 20 schools he attended. Or not.

Perhaps these photos simply don’t exist. Odd as this theory may seem, it is plausible, given that his mother, Roberta McCain, couldn’t produce a single photo of John from the dozens of family photos displayed on her dresser-top (see video, below, starting at 2:35) during a tour of her Washington, D.C. apartment, (although she did allow that there are boxes containing some of his childhood photos, which she’s been meaning to dig out). Perhaps one day we’ll see them. Or not. 

 

 

  1. Huffington Post: Palin Explains What Parts of Country Not “Pro-American”
  2. John Dean Interview: Reflections on Historian Mary Hershberger’s Piece on McCain’s War Record, and a Q&A with the Author
  3. CBS 60 Minutes Interview, Sept. 21, 2008
  4. John McCain: An American Odyssey, by Robert Timberg (p. 23): At Saint Stephen’s, an exclusive private school in the Washington, D.C. area, [McCain] had begun to display a defiant, unruly streak. But it was not until a few years later when he entered Episcopal High School, a boys’ boarding school in Alexandria, Virginia, that those qualities emerged with a vengeance. (pg. 29): During this period, [McCain’s dad] took on two jobs that some feel jump-started a career on the verge of stalling. As the Navy’s first chief of information, a public relations post, he cultivated influential Washington correspondents. A short time later he became the Navy’s senior congressional lobbyist. Soon many of the nation’s most powerful politicians were streaming to the spacious McCain town house at First and C., S.E., now the Capitol Hill Club, the GOP’s official watering hole. (pg. 87, on McCain’s conversations with his POW cellmate, Bud Day): Day was ten years older, but McCain was the more worldly, regaling his cellmate with tales of youthful carousing and womanizing. He was also more politically sophisticated, having kept an ear to the wall when his parents entertained senators, congressmen, and other big-wigs at their Capitol Hill home. Day said McCain helped him understand how Washington really worked, with emphasis on the human dimension.
  5. New York Times: McCain: ‘Who is the real Barack Obama?”
  6. Hoover Institution: The Early Education of Our Next President 
  7. Man of the People by Paul Alexander