Saturday, August 30, 2014


Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice. 
(#1: 3-3-08; #2 Nov. 16, 2012; #3 Nov. 17, 2013; #4 May 31, 2014; #5 July 28, 2014).

What’s at stake:   What’s at stake:   We support the US defense of Israel from foreign invasion; never again 1948 and 1967.  But that is not the problem for one of the most powerfully armed countries in the world, including nuclear weapons.   The problem is the nullification of the two-state solution for peace by the gradual destruction of the Palestinian territories by occupation, bombings, shootings, tear gas, arrests, searches, blockades, house demolitions, road blocks, the Wall dividing the West Bank, and most of all the devastating invasions of Gaza and the settlements throughout the West Bank.  In response Gaza has tunnels and comparatively feeble rockets.    Ironically, today, August 30, is the UN International DAY of Victims of Enforced Disappearance.  Israel is trying to make the Palestinians and the dream of a Palestinian state disappear.

My blog:   War Department/Peace Department
My Newsletters:
See:  Israeli Aggressions, Israeli-Palestinian Newsletter

See at end for Contents of No. 5.

Contents of Gaza Newsletter #6
Expressions of Outrage Against the Brutal Invasion to Wipe Out Gaza
Michael Albert, Get Out of Gaza, End the Occupation of Palestine
Chomsky, “Outrage”
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now:  Chomsky and Other Indignant Voices
Chris Hedges’ Essays on Gaza
Coalition for Grassroots Progress, US Complicit, Culpable for Atrocities, Contact Your Congressional Reps
A.N.S.W.E.R. March on DC
Jewish Voice for Peace:  Invasion Worsening, Where Are the Jewish Peace Voices?
Gaza’s Ark Reports
Maps Show Israeli Conquest of Palestine
Contact President Obama

Killling “Snakes” and Selves  By Michael Albert
Source: teleSur English 
August 2, 2014
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“Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
Ayelet Shaked, Member of Israeli Parliament

I am Jewish but that identity doesn’t define me. I was Bar Mitzvah-ed, but that day ended my religious connection. I parroted some memorized Hebrew, but I certainly couldn’t understand it. I celebrated but only because I had too. Family and all.
More, once, and only once, before or since, have I directly, personally, encountered outright anti Semitism. A parent of someone I was dating flippantly said something about Jews controlling the world and I nearly assaulted him. I do not have a lot of patience for racism in any context, but I was surprised that his idiotic verbiage set me off as much as it did. It wasn’t blood ties, and it certainly wasn’t religious beliefs that spurred my reaction. So I guess saying the Four Questions a few times as a kid may have had some modest cultural impact.
Does some residue of my childhood tangential Jewish involvement, perhaps having liked Rabbi Schankman of Temple Israel up to my becoming thirteen, cause me, now, to feel just a bit more aggressively outraged and nauseated by the current events in Gaza then if I hadn’t been to Temple a few times? I have no idea, but I don’t think it matters. What does matter is the absolute, unmitigated horror that is now occurring in Gaza. Yet, there are so many horrors. Can words situate this one in the evil hall of fame?
Corpses? Yes. Plenty of corpses are piling up. Broken buildings? Yes. Rubble is waste high and climbing.
When I was becoming adult, violence was Vietnam. In the midst of that, I wondered how humans who had enjoyed even modest personal freedom and development, rather than, say, being beat up and caged as kids and denied education and culture, could be even a fraction as cynical and delusional as my own government was.
But while “destroying the City to Save it” set an incredibly high standard for vile rationalization – I can’t help but notice the “to save it” part of the phrase. In those days, and even more so since the movements of those days had their effects, if nothing else, to perpetrate vile actions in pursuit of reasons of state or reasons of profit required aggressive claims of high motives. Yet, for the Israelis, this no longer seems true.
Yes, for international consumption they fabricate idiotic justifications – mainly they say this is our defense against them defending themselves. And, just to be clear, to those who say that Israel has a right to defend itself, there is only one correct answer. Yes. It does.
And what that means is to escape being attacked by the occupied, Israel can leave Gaza, cease the occupation, cease the racism. That is the only legitimate way for an occupying force – anywhere, anytime – to defend itself against the colonized. Stop perpetrating the crime. There is no warrant for an occupier to get violent. That is just more crime. The solution is to get out.
If you don’t understand that, think of it this way. Imagine the British who were in the U.S. fighting the colonists saying, hey – we have a right to defend ourselves. The reply ought to have been: yes, you do, and your right to do so sanctifies your leaving, but not your shooting us.
Or how about the Nazi in France, or  perhaps a better analogy is the Nazi in Poland – in Warsaw. Imagine they said, hey, we have a right to defend ourselves. Again, the reply ought to have been, yes, you do, and that right sanctifies your leaving, but not your obliterating our lives, culture, and constructions.
Ditto for the U.S. in Indochina and a long list of other places. And ditto for Israel in Gaza. Defend yourselves, by all means, sure, and to do so, get out.
But that isn’t my real point in this little rant. Rather, I want to note something new about the events, perhaps worth a few words. It is that the Israelis seem quite content, certainly for domestic consumption and to a degree even internationally, to make no bones about what they are doing.
Knock knock – goes the small missile rap on the roof. Boom goes the hospital underneath shortly later. No worry, just “dead snake” patients and their dead snake doctors.
Ring ring goes the phone. Rubble goes the home. No worry. Just dead snake kids and their dead snake mothers. Another snake habitat reduced to ash. Hooray.
Okay, this is obviously barbaric. If you can’t see that, I don’t know how to better communicate with you about it. But the thing is that these “warnings” also may seem to you insane. It isn’t just the vile cynicism of telling people to get out when the only place they can go is a place that is likely next on the target list. The warnings also make totally evident, and utterly undeniable, what most countries try to hide, or to not be guilty of in better cases.
That is, the knocking to announce what is coming makes totally evident that the Israelis are not hitting houses and hospitals and the rest of Gaza’s life and achievement by accident, but intentionally. The knocking first says, we can hit whatever we want, down to small homes, whenever we want, down to the minute. They are literally saying, here, look at what we did. See the kids shattered and shredded? See the hospital made into ash? See the power plant shooting only flames into the surroundings? See the school, the mosque, the park, the beach, the water sources all covered in rubble and torn flesh? What you see is precisely what we intended to do. There is no collateral damage. There is just intended damage. We Israelis actually want to kill whatever moves. And we want to tell those still moving when we are done that we did it, willfully. We know how to communicate!
When I was in High School I used to stay up nights, sometimes, trying to understand how someone could become a good German. How could people go about daily life while their country engaged in hellish infernal injustice – in that case, the ovens. But I understood in time. The pressure of wanting to get by, of wanting to fit and of not thinking there was any alternative, and, for even more people, the bliss of ignorance (well guarded by asking few if any questions), and, for even more people, literally ignorant fear and intentionally stirred up desire for revenge, did the trick. And I saw it all in the U.S., during the Indochina campaigns, and regarding the history of racism, and now too, as we destroy the environment. So I get that.
But then there are the storm troopers. The Brownshirts. This is harder to explain. I used to think maybe it was something about the German language – I knew they didn’t have different DNA but they did, after all, talk different. And then I learned that the training that produces soldiers, and to only a slightly lesser extent the education that produces adults, is precisely about obliterating human judgment and sentiment. And that many succumb. And so now we have Israelis. And the capacity for self delusion and ugly denial and even aggressive and fascistic purpose, in the broad population – even if they didn’t constantly claim to have deep and special understanding of the ills of racism – is truly remarkable. Truly sad. Truly enraging.
Even as I cry for Palestine’s pain and hope they prevail, part of me also wonders, when the dust clears, what the hell are the Israelis who are urging incinerating Palestine and Palestinians going to tell themselves so they can live with themselves? The corpses that look so human were really snakes? Or that I was, at least for a time, a monster? And what will they tell their kids? In order to live with their kids. And for their kids not to become monsters – one hopes.
And arguably even more so, what are the Americans with a disgusting past of supporting this horror going to tell themselves? And to tell their kids? And I fear the answer may be nothing at all. Because the ash can of history – which is CNN and the New York Times – may lug away culpability and truth by way of the sewage that is their reporting.

Gaza... Chomsky from ZCommunications  August 3, 2014
to James

[Chomsky is discussing the US shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane]:  “…no search for victims, no passionate denunciations of those responsible, no eloquent laments by the US Ambassador to the UN about the “immense and heart-wrenching loss” when the airliner was downed. Iranian condemnations were occasionally noted, but dismissed as “boilerplate attacks on the United States” (Philip Shenon, New York Times).
Small wonder, then, that this insignificant earlier event merited only a few scattered words in the US media during the vast furor over a real crime, in which the demonic enemy might have been indirectly involved.
One exception was in the London Daily Mail, where Dominick Lawson wrote that although “Putin’s apologists” might bring up the Iran Air attack, the comparison actually demonstrates our high moral values as contrasted with the miserable Russians, who try to evade their responsibility for MH 17 with lies while Washington at once announced that the US warship had shot down the Iranian aircraft — righteously. What more powerful evidence could there be of our nobility and their depravity?
We know why Ukrainians and Russians are in their own countries, but one might ask what exactly the Vincennes was doing in Iranian waters. The answer is simple. It was defending Washington’s great friend Saddam Hussein in his murderous aggression against Iran. For the victims, the shoot-down was no small matter. It was a major factor in Iran’s recognition that it could not fight on any longer, according to historian Dilip Hiro.
It is worth remembering the extent of Washington’s devotion to its friend Saddam. Reagan removed him from the terrorist list so that aid could be sent to expedite his assault on Iran, and later denied his terrible crimes against the Kurds, including the use of chemical weapons, blocking congressional condemnations. He also accorded Saddam a privilege otherwise granted only to Israel: there was no serious reaction when Iraq attacked the USS Stark with missiles, killing 37 crewmen, much like the case of the USS Liberty, attacked repeatedly by Israeli jets and torpedo ships in 1967, killing 34 crewmen.
Reagan’s successor, Bush I, went on to provide further aid to Saddam, badly needed after the war with Iran that he launched. Bush also invited Iraqi nuclear engineers to come to the US for advanced training in weapons production. In April 1990, Bush dispatched a high-level Senate delegation, led by future Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, to convey his warm regards to his friend Saddam and to assure him that he should disregard irresponsible criticism from the “haughty and pampered press,” and that such miscreants had been removed from Voice of America. The fawning before Saddam continued until he turned into a new Hitler a few months later by disobeying orders, or perhaps misunderstanding them, and invading Kuwait, with illuminating consequences that are worth reviewing once again, though I will leave this interesting matter aside here.
Other precedents had long since been dismissed to the memory hole as without significance. One example is the Libyan civilian airliner that was lost in a sandstorm in 1973 when it was shot down by US-supplied Israeli jets, two minutes flight time from Cairo, towards which it was heading. The death toll was only 110 that time. Israel blamed the French pilot, with the endorsement of the New York Times, which added that the Israeli act was “at worst…an act of callousness that not even the savagery of previous Arab actions can excuse.” The incident was passed over quickly in the United States, with little criticism. When Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir arrived in the US four days later, she faced few embarrassing questions and returned home with new gifts of military aircraft.
The reaction was much the same when Washington’s favored Angolan terrorist organization UNITA claimed to have shot down two civilian airliners at the same time, among other cases.
Returning to the sole authentic and truly horrific crime, the New York Times reported that American UN ambassador Samantha Power “choked up as she spoke of infants who perished in the Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine [and] The Dutch foreign minister, Frans Timmermans, could barely contain his anger as he recalled seeing pictures of `thugs’ snatching wedding bands off the fingers of the victims.”
At the same session, the report continues, there was also “a long recitation of names and ages — all belonging to children killed in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza.” The only reported reaction was by Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour, who “grew quiet in the middle of” the recitation.
The Israeli attack on Gaza in July did, however, elicit outrage in Washington. President Obama “reiterated his `strong condemnation’ of rocket and tunnel attacks against Israel by the militant group Hamas,” The Hill reported. He “also expressed ‘growing concern’ about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza,” but without condemnation. The Senate filled that gap, voting unanimously to support Israeli actions in Gaza while condemning “the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel” by Hamas and calling on “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel.”
As for Congress, perhaps it’s enough to join the 80% of the public who disapprove of their performance, though the word “disapprove” is rather too mild in this case. But in Obama’s defense, it may be that he has no idea what Israel is doing in Gaza with the weapons that he is kind enough to supply to them. After all, he relies on US intelligence, which may be too busy collecting phone calls and email messages of citizens to pay much attention to such marginalia. It may be useful, then, to review what we all should know.
Israel’s goal had long been a simple one: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm (though now it may demand even more). What then is the norm?
For the West Bank, the norm has been that Israel carries forward its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value to it, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to intense repression and violence.
For the past 14 years, the norm has been that Israel kills more than two Palestinian children a week. The latest Israeli rampage was set of by the brutal murder of three Israeli boys from a settler community in the occupied West Bank. A month before, two Palestinian boys were shot dead in the West Bank city of Ramallah. That elicited no attention, which is understandable, since it is routine. “The institutionalised disregard for Palestinian life in the West helps explain not only why Palestinians resort to violence,” the respected Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani reports, “but also Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip.”
Quiet-for-quiet has also enabled Israel to carry forward its program of separating Gaza from the West Bank. That program has been pursued vigorously, always with US support, ever since the US and Israel accepted the Oslo accords, which declare the two regions to be an inseparable territorial unity. A look at the map explains the rationale. Gaza provides Palestine’s only access to the outside world, so once the two are separated, any autonomy that Israel might grant to Palestinians in the West Bank would leave them effectively imprisoned between hostile states, Israel and Jordan.  The imprisonment will become even more severe as Israel continues its systematic program of expelling Palestinians from the Jordan Valley and constructing Israeli settlements there, enjoying quiet-for-quiet.
The norm in Gaza was described in detail by the heroic Norwegian trauma surgeon Mads Gilbert, who has worked in Gaza’s main hospital through Israel’s most grotesque crimes and returned again for the current onslaught. In June 2014, immediately before the latest Israeli onslaught, he submitted a report on the Gaza health sector to UNRWA, the UN Agency that tries desperately, on a shoestring, to care for refugees.
“At least 57 % of Gaza households are food insecure and about 80 % are now aid recipients,” Gilbert reports. “Food insecurity and rising poverty also mean that most residents cannot meet their daily caloric requirements, while over 90 % of the water in Gaza has been deemed unfit for human consumption,” a situation that is becoming even worse as Israel again attacks water and sewage systems, leaving over a million people with even more severe disruption of the barest necessity of life.
Gilbert reports that “Palestinian children in Gaza are suffering immensely. A large proportion are affected by the man-made malnourishment regime caused by the Israeli imposed blockage. Prevalence of anaemia in children <2yrs 31.45="" 31.4="" 34.3="" 72.8="" and="" as="" at="" been="" documented="" gaza="" gets="" have="" in="" is="" it="" o:p="" of="" prevalence="" proceeds.="" report="" respectively.="" stunting="" the="" underweight="" wasting="" while="" worse="">
The distinguished human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, who has remained in Gaza through years of Israeli brutality and terror, reports that “The most common sentence I heard when people began to talk about ceasefire: everybody says it’s better for all of us to die and not go back to the situation we used to have before this war. We don’t want that again. We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die. I am talking about intellectuals, academics, ordinary people: everybody is saying that.”
Similar sentiments have been widely voiced: it is better to die with dignity than to be slowly strangled by the torturer.
For Gaza, the plans for the norm were explained forthrightly by Dov Weissglass, a confidant of Ariel Sharon, the person who negotiated the withdrawal of Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005. Hailed as a grand gesture in Israel and among acolytes and the deluded elsewhere, the withdrawal was in reality a carefully staged “national trauma,” properly ridiculed by informed Israeli commentators, among them Israel’s leading sociologist, the late Baruch Kimmerling.
What actually happened is that Israeli hawks, led by Sharon, realized that it made good sense to transfer the illegal settlers from their subsidized communities in devastated Gaza, where they were sustained at exorbitant cost, to subsidized settlements in the other occupied territories, which Israel intends to keep. But instead of simply transferring them, as would have been simple enough, it was clearly more useful to present the world with images of little children pleading with soldiers not to destroy their homes, amidst cries of “Never Again,” with the implication obvious. What made the farce even more transparent was that it was a replica of the staged trauma when Israel had to evacuate the Egyptian Sinai in 1982. But it played very well for the intended audience at home and abroad.
Weissglass provided his own description of the transfer of settlers from Gaza to other occupied territories: “What I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that [the major settlement blocs in the West Bank] would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns” – but a special kind of Finns, who would quietly accept rule by a foreign power. “The significance is the freezing of the political process,” Weissglass continued. “And when you freeze that process you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion about the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely. And all this with [President Bush's] authority and permission and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”
Weisglass explained further that Gazans would remain “on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger” – which would not help Israel’s fading reputation. With their vaunted technical efficiency, Israeli experts determined precisely how many calories a day Gazans needed for bare survival, while also depriving them of medicines and other means of decent life. Israeli military forces confined them by land, sea and air to what British Prime Minister David Cameron accurately described as a prison camp. The Israeli withdrawal left Israel in total control of Gaza, hence the occupying power under international law. And to close the prison walls even more tightly, Israel excluded Palestinians from a large region along the border, including a third or more of Gaza’s scarce arable land. The justification is security for Israelis, which could be just as well achieved by establishing the security zone on the Israeli side of the border, or more fully, by ending the savage siege and other punishments.
The official story is that after Israel graciously handed Gaza over to the Palestinians, in the hope that they would construct a flourishing state, they revealed their true nature by subjecting Israel to unremitting rocket attack and forcing the captive population to become martyrs to so that Israel would be pictured in a bad light. Reality is rather different.
A few weeks after Israeli troops withdrew, leaving the occupation intact, Palestinians committed a major crime. In January 2006, they voted the wrong way in a carefully monitored free election, handing control of the Parliament to Hamas. The media constantly intone that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In reality, its leaders have repeatedly made it clear and explicit that Hamas would accept a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus that has been blocked by the US and Israel for 40 years. In contrast, Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, apart from some occasional meaningless words, and is implementing that commitment.
True, Israel accepted the Road Map for reaching a two-state settlement initiated by President Bush and adopted by the Quartet that is to supervise it: the US, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia. But as he accepted the Road Map, Prime Minister Sharon at once added fourteen reservations that effectively nullify it. The facts were known to activists, but revealed to the general public for the first time in Jimmy Carter’s book “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.” They remain under wraps in media reporting and commentary.
The (unrevised) 1999 platform of Israel’s governing party, Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud, “flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.” And for those who like to obsess about meaningless charters, the core component of Likud, Menahem Begin’s Herut, has yet to abandon its founding doctrine that the territory on both sides of the Jordan is part of the Land of Israel.
The crime of the Palestinians in January 2006 was punished at once. The US and Israel, with Europe shamefully trailing behind, imposed harsh sanctions on the errant population and Israel stepped up its violence. By June, when the attacks sharply escalated, Israel had already fired more than 7700 [155 mm] shells at northern Gaza.
The US and Israel quickly initiated plans for a military coup to overthrow the elected government. When Hamas had the effrontery to foil the plans, the Israeli assaults and the siege became far more severe, justified by the claim that Hamas had taken over the Gaza Strip by force – which is not entirely false, though something rather crucial is omitted.
There should be no need to review again the horrendous record since. The relentless siege and savage attacks are punctuated by episodes of “mowing the lawn,” to borrow Israel’s cheery expression for its periodic exercises of shooting fish in a pond in what it calls a “war of defense.” Once the lawn is mowed and the desperate population seeks to reconstruct somehow from the devastation and the murders, there is a cease-fire agreement. These have been regularly observed by Hamas, as Israel concedes, until Israel violates them with renewed violence.
The most recent cease-fire was established after Israel’s October 2012 assault. Though Israel maintained its devastating siege, Hamas observed the cease-fire, as Israeli officials concede. Matters changed in June, when Fatah and Hamas forged a unity agreement, which established a new government of technocrats that had no Hamas participation and accepted all of the demands of the Quartet. Israel was naturally furious, even more so when even the US joined in signaling approval. The unity agreement not only undercuts Israel’s claim that it cannot negotiate with a divided Palestine, but also threatens the long term goal of dividing Gaza from the West Bank and pursuing its destructive policies in both of the regions.
Something had to be done, and an occasion arose shortly after, when the three Israeli boys were murdered in the West Bank. The Netanyahu government knew at once that they were dead, but pretended otherwise, which provided the opportunity to launch a rampage in the West Bank, targeting Hamas. Netanhayu claimed to have certain knowledge that Hamas was responsible. That too was a lie, as recognized early on. There has been no pretense of presenting evidence. One of Israel’s leading authorities on Hamas, Shlomi Eldar, reported almost at once that the killers very likely came from a dissident clan in Hebron that has long been a thorn in the side of Hamas. Eldar added that “I’m sure they didn’t get any green light from the leadership of Hamas, they just thought it was the right time to act.” The Israeli police have since been searching for two members of the clan, still claiming, without evidence, that they are “Hamas terrorists.”
The 18-day rampage however did succeed in undermining the feared unity government, and sharply increasing Israeli repression. According to Israeli military sources, Israeli soldiers arrested 419 Palestinians, including 335 affiliated with Hamas, and killed six Palestinians, also searching thousands of locations and confiscating $350,000. Israel also conducted dozens of attacks in Gaza, killing 5 Hamas members on July 7.
Hamas finally reacted with its first rockets in 19 months, Israeli officials reported, providing Israel with the pretext for Operation Protective Edge on July 8.
There has been ample reporting of the exploits of the self-declared Most Moral Army in the World, which should receive the Nobel Peace Prize according to Israel’s Ambassador to the US. By the end of July, some 1500 Palestinians had been killed, exceeding the toll of the Cast Lead crimes of 2008-9, 70% of them civilians including hundreds of women and children. And 3 civilians in Israel. Large areas of Gaza had been turned into rubble. During brief bombing pauses, relatives desperately seek shattered bodies or household items in the ruins of homes. The main power plant was attacked – not for the first time; this is an Israeli specialty — sharply curtailing the already very limited electricity and worse yet, reducing still further the minimal availability of fresh water. Another war crime. Meanwhile rescue teams and ambulances are repeatedly attacked. As atrocities mount throughout Gaza, Israel claims that its goal is to destroy tunnels at the border.
Four hospitals had been attacked, each yet another war crime. The first was the Al-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital in Gaza City, attacked on the day the ground forces invaded the prison. A few lines in the New York Times, within a story about the ground invasion, reported that “most but not all of the 17 patients and 25 doctors and nurses were evacuated before the electricity was cut and heavy bombardments nearly destroyed the building, doctors said. `We evacuated them under fire,’ said Dr. Ali Abu Ryala, a hospital spokesman. `Nurses and doctors had to carry the patients on their backs, some of them falling off the stairway. There is an unprecedented state of panic in the hospital’.”
Three working hospitals were then attacked, patients and staff left to their own devices to survive. One Israeli crime did receive wide condemnation: the attack on a UN school that was harboring 3300 terrified refugees who had fled the ruins of their neighborhoods on the orders of the Israeli army. The outraged UNWRA Commission-General Pierre Kraehenbuehl said “I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces…. Today the world stands disgraced.” There were at least three Israeli strikes at the refugee shelter, a site well known to the Israeli army. “The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times, to ensure its protection,” Kraehenbuehl said, “the last being at ten to nine last night, just hours before the fatal shelling.”
The attack was also condemned “in the strongest possible terms” by the normally reticent Secretary-General of the UN Ban Ki-moon. “Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children,” he said. There is no record that the US Ambassador to the UN “choked up as she spoke of infants who perished” in the Israeli strike – or in the attack on Gaza altogether.
But White House spokesperson Bernadette Meehan did respond. She said that “We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in UN designated shelters in Gaza. We also condemn those responsible for hiding weapons in United Nations facilities in Gaza,” she added, omitting to mention that these facilities were empty and that the weapons were found by UNRWA, who had condemned those who hid them.
Later, the administration joined in stronger condemnations of this particular crime – while at the same time releasing more weapons to Israel. In doing so, however, Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren told reporters. “And it’s become clear that the Israelis need to do more to live up to their very high standards … for protecting civilian life” – the high standards it has been exhibiting for many years while using US arms, and again today.
Attacks on UN compounds sheltering refugees is another Israeli specialty. One famous incident is the Israeli bombardment of the clearly identified UN refugee shelter in Qana during Shimon Peres’s murderous Grapes of Wrath campaign, killing 106 Lebanese civilians who had taken refuge there, including 52 children. To be sure, Israel is not alone in this practice. Twenty years earlier, its South African ally had launched an airborne strike deep into Angola against Cassinga, a refugee camp run by the Namibian resistance SWAPO.
Israeli officials laud the humanity of the army, which even goes so far as to inform residents that their homes will be bombed. The practice is “sadism, sanctimoniously disguising itself as mercy,” in the words of Israeli journalist Amira Hass: “A recorded message demanding hundreds of thousands of people leave their already targeted homes, for another place, equally dangerous, 10 kilometers away.” In fact, no place in the prison is safe from Israeli sadism.
Some find it difficult to profit from Israel’s solicitude. An appeal to the world by the Gaza Catholic Church quotes a priest who explains the plight of residents of the House of Christ, a care home dedicated to looking after disabled children. They were removed to the Holy Family Church because Israel was targeting the area, but now, he writes, “The church of Gaza has received an order to evacuate. They will bomb the Zeitun area and the people are already fleeing. The problem is that the priest Fr George and the three nuns of Mother Teresa have 29 handicapped children and nine old ladies who can’t move. How will they manage to leave? If anyone can intercede with someone in power, and pray, please do it.”
Actually, it shouldn’t be difficult. Israel already provided the instructions at the Wafa Rehabilitation hospital. And fortunately, at least some states are interceding, as best they can. Five Latin American states — Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru – withdrew their ambassadors from Israel, following the course of Bolivia and Venezuela, which had broken relations in reaction to earlier Israeli crimes. These principled acts are another sign of the remarkable change in world relations as much of Latin America begins to free itself from western domination, sometimes providing a model of civilized behavior to those who controlled it for 500 years.
The hideous revelations elicited a different reaction from the Most Moral President in the World, the usual one: great sympathy for Israelis, bitter condemnation of Hamas, and calls for moderation by both sides. In his August 1 press conference, he did express concern for Palestinians “caught in the crossfire” (where?) while again vigorously supporting the right of Israel to defend itself, like everyone. Not quite everyone. Not of course Palestinians. They have no right to defend themselves, surely not when Israel is on good behavior, keeping to the norm of quiet-for-quiet: stealing their land, driving them out of their homes, subjecting them to a savage siege, and regularly attacking them with weapons provided by their protector.
Palestinians are like black Africans, the Namibian refugees in the Cassinga camp for example, all terrorists for whom the right of defense does not exist.
A 72-hour humanitarian truce was supposed to go into effect at 8am on August 1. It broke down almost at once. As I write, a few hours later, there are conflicting accounts and a good deal remains unclear. According to a press release of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, which has a solid reputation for reliability, one of its field workers in Rafah, at the Egyptian border in the south, heard Israeli artillery firing at about 8:05am. By about 9:30am, after reports that an Israeli soldier had been captured, intensive air and artillery bombing of Rafah was underway, killing probably dozens of people and injuring hundreds who had returned to their homes after the ceasefire entered into effect, though numbers could not yet be verified.
The day before, on July 31, the Coastal Water Utility, the sole provider of water in the Gaza Strip, announced that it could no longer provide water or sanitation services because of lack of fuel and frequent attacks on personnel. Al Mezan reports that by then, “almost all primary health services have stopped in the Gaza Strip due to the lack of water, garbage collection and environment health services. UNRWA had also warned about the risk of imminent spreading of disease owing to the halt of water and sanitation services.” Meanwhile, on the eve of the cease-fire, Israeli missiles fired from aircraft continued to kill and wound victims throughout the region.
When the current episode of sadism is finally called off, whenever that will be, Israel hopes to be free to pursue its criminal policies in the occupied territories without interference, and with the US support it has enjoyed in the past: military, economic, and diplomatic; and also ideological, by framing the issues in conformity to Israeli doctrines. Gazans will be free to return to the norm in their Israeli-run prison, while in the West Bank they can watch in peace as Israel dismantles what remains of their possessions.
That is the likely outcome if the US maintains its decisive and virtually unilateral support for Israeli crimes and its rejection of the longstanding international consensus on diplomatic settlement. But the future will be quite different if the US withdraws that support. In that case it would be possible to move towards the “enduring solution” in Gaza that Secretary of State Kerry called for, eliciting hysterical condemnation in Israel because the phrase could be interpreted as calling for an end to Israel’s siege and regular attacks. And – horror of horrors – the phrase might even be interpreted as calling for implementation of international law in the rest of the occupied territories.
It is not that Israel’s security would be threatened by adherence to international law; it would very likely be enhanced. But as explained 40 years ago by Israeli general Ezer Weizman, later president, Israel could then not “exist according to the scale, spirit, and quality she now embodies.”
There are similar cases in recent history. Indonesian generals swore that they would never abandon what Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans called “the Indonesian Province of East Timor” as he was making a deal to steal Timorese oil. And as long as the ruling generals retained US support through decades of virtually genocidal slaughter, their goals were realistic. Finally, in September 1999, under considerable domestic and international pressure, President Clinton informed them quietly that the game was over and they instantly withdrew – while Evans turned to his new career as the lauded apostle of “Responsibility to Protect,” to be sure, in a version designed to permit western resort to violence at will.
Another relevant case is South Africa. In 1958, South Africa’s foreign minister informed the US ambassador that although his country was becoming a pariah state, it would not matter as long as US support continued. His assessment proved fairly accurate. Thirty years later, Reagan was the last significant holdout in supporting the apartheid regime, which was still sustaining itself. Within a few years, Washington joined the world, and the regime collapsed – not for that reason alone of course; one crucial factor was the remarkable Cuban role in the liberation of Africa, generally ignored in the West though not in Africa.
Forty years ago Israel made the fateful decision to choose expansion over security, rejecting a full peace treaty offered by Egypt in return for evacuation from the occupied Egyptian Sinai, where Israel was initiating extensive settlement and development projects. It has adhered to that policy ever since, making essentially the same judgment as South Africa did in 1958.
In the case of Israel, if the US decided to join the world, the impact would be far greater. Relations of power allow nothing else, as has been demonstrated over and over when Washington has demanded that Israel abandon cherished goals. Furthermore, Israel by now has little recourse, after having adopted policies that turned it from a country that was greatly admired to one that is feared and despised, a course it is pursuing with blind determination today in its resolute march towards moral deterioration and possible ultimate destruction.
Could US policy change? It’s not impossible. Public opinion has shifted considerably in recent years, particularly among the young, and it cannot be completely ignored. For some years there has been a good basis for public demands that Washington observe its own laws and cut off military aid to Israel. US law requires that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” Israel most certainly is guilty of this consistent pattern, and has been for many years. That is why Amnesty International, in the course of Israel’s murderous Cast Lead operation in Gaza, called for an arms embargo against Israel (and Hamas). Senator Patrick Leahy, author of this provision of the law, has brought up its potential applicability to Israel in specific cases, and with a well-conducted educational, organizational, and activist effort such initiatives could be pursued successively. That could have a very significant impact in itself, while also providing a springboard for further actions not only to punish Israel for its criminal behavior, but also to compel Washington to become part of “the international community” and to observe international law and decent moral principles.
Nothing could be more significant for the tragic Palestinian victims of many years of violence and repression.

ZCommunications, 18 Millfield St., Woods Hole, MA, USA, 02543

with Amy Goodman & Juan González
 Noam Chomsky on BDS and How the Israeli Occupation is "Much Worse Than Apartheid"
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Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author. He is Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years.
Aug 08, 2014 | WEB EXCLUSIVE
Aug 08, 2014 | STORY
Aug 07, 2014 | STORY
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MIT Professor Noam Chomsky discusses U.S. support for Israel; the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS); and the blockade of Gaza. "In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid," Chomsky says. "To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by 'apartheid' you mean South African-style apartheid. … There’s a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison."
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,,The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue our conversation with MIT Professor Noam Chomsky. The world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author has written more than a hundred books; one of his latest, Gaza in Crisis. I interviewed him on Thursday.
AMY GOODMAN: Noam, I wanted to ask you about your recent piece for The Nation on Israel-Palestine and BDS. You were critical of the effectiveness of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. One of the many responses came from Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, the Palestine Center. He wrote, quote, "Chomsky’s criticism ofBDS seems to be that it hasn’t changed the power dynamic yet, and thus that it can’t. There is no doubt the road ahead is a long one for BDS, but there is also no doubt the movement is growing ... All other paths toward change, including diplomacy and armed struggle, have so far proved ineffective, and some have imposed significant costs on Palestinian life and livelihood." Could you respond?
NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, actually, I did respond. You can find it on The Nation website. But in brief, far from being critical of BDS, I was strongly supportive of it. One of the oddities of what’s called the BDS movement is that they can’t—many of the activists just can’t see support as support unless it becomes something like almost worship: repeat the catechism. If you take a look at that article, it very strongly supported these tactics. In fact, I was involved in them and supporting them before the BDS movement even existed. They’re the right tactics.
But it should be second nature to activists—and it usually is—that you have to ask yourself, when you conduct some tactic, when you pursue it, what the effect is going to be on the victims. You don’t pursue a tactic because it makes you feel good. You pursue it because it’s going—you estimate that it’ll help the victims. And you have to make choices. This goes way back. You know, say, back during the Vietnam War, there were debates about whether you should resort to violent tactics, say Weathermen-style tactics. You could understand the motivation—people were desperate—but the Vietnamese were strongly opposed. And many of us, me included, were also opposed, not because the horrors don’t justify some strong action, but because the consequences would be harm to the victims. The tactics would increase support for the violence, which in fact is what happened. Those questions arise all the time.

Democracy Now! Daily Digest
A Daily Independent Global News Hour with Amy Goodman & Juan González
Monday, August 11, 2014
As a new 72-hour ceasefire takes hold in Gaza, we turn to part two of our interview with world-renowned dissident and linguist, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky. Criticizing U.S. media coverage ...Read More →
MIT Professor Noam Chomsky discusses U.S. support for Israel; the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS); and the blockade of Gaza. "In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is ...Read More →
On Gaza, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky says the debate inside the Israeli government is whether to allow "bare survival" or to inflict "misery and starvation," as a former Israeli national security ...Read More

"A Hideous Atrocity": Noam Chomsky on Israel's Assault on Gaza & U.S. Support for the Occupation | Daily Digest 08/07/2014
Democracy Now! 
to James
Despite Ceasefire, Humanitarian Crisis Continues in Gaza with 500,000 Displaced & 10,000 Injured
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Democracy Now! Daily Digest
A Daily Independent Global News Hour with Amy Goodman & Juan González
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Hideous. Sadistic. Vicious. Murderous. That is how Noam Chomsky describes Israel's 29-day offensive in Gaza that killed nearly 1,900 people and left almost 10,000 people injured. ... Read More →

The 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza has entered its final day. Talks are ongoing to extend the truce, but no agreement has been reached. Palestinian and Israeli officials are in Egypt, however ... Read More →

CHRIS HEDGES ON GAZA, Google Search, August 30, 2014, Page One
  1. Chris Hedges: Why Israel Lies - Chris Hedges - Truthdig
Aug 3, 2014 - Palestinians evacuate a survivor of an Israeli airstrike that hit a family building Sunday in Rafah, in southern Gaza. AP/Eyad Baba.
  1. Truthdig - Report - Chris Hedges
7 days ago - Chris Hedges delivered this address Saturday in New York City before ... If the international community will not halt Israel's Gaza attack and war ...
  1. Chris Hedges: The Palestinians' Right to Self-Defense ...
Jul 23, 2014 - If the international community will not halt Israel's Gaza attack and war crimes then it must concede to the Palestinians the right to self-defense ...
  1. Chris Hedges: The Tears of Gaza Must Be Our ... - Truthdig
Aug 9, 2010 - Chris Hedges made these remarks Thursday night in New York City at a fundraiser for sponsoring a U.S. boat to break the blockade of Gaza.
  1. Chris Hedges, Columnist - Truthdig
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, has written twelve books, ... marched to U.N. headquarters in support of the people of Gaza.
  1. Chris Hedges: Let My People Go - Chris Hedges - Truthdig
Aug 10, 2014 - Chris Hedges delivered this address Saturday in New York City before ... marched to U.N. headquarters in support of the people of Gaza.

  1. Chris Hedges on the Gaza Massacre - "It is not a war. It is ...
Nov 18, 2012 - Uploaded by evelkidnievel
Chris Hedges, author, spoke at a Revolution Books Town Hall Meeting at Ethical Culture Society January 13 ...
  1. Chris Hedges Gaza speech - YouTube
Aug 1, 2014 - Uploaded by Abo Oday
Chris Hedges Gaza speech. Gaza The Broken Hearted He is Chris Hedges, an American journalist ...
  1. Chris Hedges, Gaza Rally in NYC - Sabbah Report
Aug 13, 2014 - Hedges spoke Saturday, 9 Aug 2014, at a New York City rally and march in support of the people of Gaza. The address was inspired in part by ...
  1. Chris Hedges speech about Gaza |
Aug 5, 2014 - Chris Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper's coverage of global ..

to James The Free Palestine Movement supports this important action.  Let's hold our members of Congress accountable.
From: Coalition for Grassroots Progress <>
Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 11:58 AM
Subject: Your member of Congress skipped moral courage on Gaza

The Israeli assault on Gaza has been made possible by support from the U.S. government.

And the human toll has continued to be horrible.  On Sunday, all too routine, a grim story appeared in the New York Times under the headline "Hospitals in Gaza Overwhelmed as Attacks Continue."

Jon Snow, a widely respected British journalist for Channel 4 News, recently returned from Gaza to report on what he saw there. "We have to know that in some way we actually share some responsibility for those deaths, because for us it is no priority whatever to stop it," he said. "Our United Nations, our government, our world is not that interested.”

While many people voiced revulsion at the mass killing in Gaza, the
U.S. Congress cheered it on -- with unanimous votes.

We can tell our representative and senators that they should be ashamed of themselves for backing the carnage. Click here to urge them to stop feeding Israel's military machinery, to stop supplying weapons to Israel, and to stop helping to provide the Israeli government with immunity from legal consequences for its actions.

Peace and Justice,
Coalition for Grassroots Progress
Paid for by the Coalition for Grassroots Progress
PO Box 6653, San Rafael, CA 94903
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.
You can also keep up with the Coalition for Grassroots Progress on Facebook

Tens of thousands marched for Gaza in Washington, D.C. on AUGUST 2
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition 
Forward this Email
In one of the largest mobilizations in solidarity with Palestine in the United States ever, tens of thousands of people from all across the country converged in Washington, D.C., for a rally and march to protest the ongoing massacre in Gaza and the U.S. government's support for Israeli war crimes. The massive demonstration is further proof that the world is uniting for Palestine.
The demonstration received widespread coverage in the media, challenging the dominant pro-Israel narrative. The Washington Post reported that "A demonstration drew thousands to the White House and the streets of downtown Washington on Saturday afternoon." ABC News said the demonstration turned"Pennsylvania Avenue and Lafayette Square, the park opposite the White House, into a sea of demonstrators."
The politicians and commentators who claim to speak in the name of the American people when they endorse Israel's crimes are lying. People are pouring onto the streets in the United States and everywhere else in the world to demand: "Free Palestine - Let Gaza live!"

Below are some photos from the demonstration. If you have images of the demonstration or people traveling to the demonstration, please send them to
Click on the photo below to go to an album of images from the march
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-265-1948
Boston: 857-334-5084 | New York City: 212-694-8720 | Chicago: 773-463-0311
San Francisco: 415-821-6545| Los Angeles: 213-687-7480 | Albuquerque: 505-268-2488

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Action Alert

July 30, 2014

The Israeli attack on Gaza isn't just ongoing - it's accelerating. Where are the leaders of major Jewish organizations?
Jerry Silverman, Rabbi David Saperstein, and Rabbi Steve Gutow. If they acted for justice, they could make a real difference.
Tell Jewish leaders to stand up for justice.Take Action!

Facebook Twitter icon 

Dear Dick,
I am outraged.
As of today, 1,300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since July 8th. In just a 14-hour stretch Monday, 100 people were killed. The only working power plant in Gaza was destroyed by the Israeli military yesterday. Seven children were killed while playing on a swingset. On Sunday, the army shelled a UN-run school after specifically hearing from staff people there that they needed more time to evacuate.
It is beyond horrendous. Beyond heartbreaking. Beyond anything I can imagine.
And yet, the response from institutional Jewish community leaders hasn't just been utter silence with regard to the suffering of Palestinians. It has included an appalling degree of outright war-mongering and victim-blaming. As though the occupation and illegal siege of Gaza simply didn't exist.
So please - sign our letter today to these three major Jewish organizational heads: Jerry Silverman at the Jewish Federations of North American, Rabbi David Saperstein at the Religious Acton Center, and Rabbi Steve Gutow at the Jewish Council on Public Affairs. These supposed leaders of our community need to know that their unbending support for Israeli aggression is simply wrong.
I want Jewish leaders who honor the value of Jewish and Palestinian lives as inherently, unequivocally equal. I want Jewish leaders who will speak in passionate opposition to US policies that fund a human rights catastrophe committed in our names.
I love my friends and family in Israel - and never want them to have the terrifying experience of rockets overhead. And I also want Jewish leaders who understand killing Palestinians and imposing an occupation and siege on Gaza will never, ever make them safer.
In the hopes that can one day be true, we drafted an email to send to the leadership of some of these Jewish communal organizations that are shamefully silent as Israel attacks basic Palestinian infrastructure and kills hundreds of Palestinian children.  
Jewish communal leaders need to know that we want moral leadership that values all lives.  We'd love you to add your name to our letter, so we can reach out goal of 18,000 signatures. Here’s the core of the letter:
In the spirit of tochecha, sacred rebuke, we urge you to take a public stand not just for an immediate ceasefire, but for an end to the underlying conditions of siege that makes life unbearable for Palestinians in Gaza.
These leaders have real power. They are actively influencing US policy in our names - policies that include unanimous Congressional votes in support of this attack, increased military aid to fund it, and US obstructionism at the United Nations. Click here to add your name.
I really believe that hearing from thousands of US Jews will be hard for them to ignore. It is time we speak up and encourage others to—especially those in the Jewish community who haven’t raised their voices before in this way—-and not let mainstream American Jewish leaders’ silence confuse the opposition from the Jewish community to Israel’s assault on Gaza.
We will deliver this letter to each of these leaders next week. But we want your name on it first.
Rabbi Alissa Wise
Director of Organizing

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The following is Gaza's Ark weekly digest of 2 posts in all languages on our
* Norway and Egypt to host donor conference for Gaza
* Norway: Gaza reconstruction aid conditioned on lifting of blockade
Thank you for keeping informed about our work.
Together we can break the blockade of Gaza!
Best regards,
Gaza's Ark
Gaza’s Ark
Gaza's Ark 
4:00 AM (12 hours ago)
Dear subscriber and endorser --

You are receiving this e-mail because you asked to be notified when new updates
are posted or you have endorsed Gaza's Ark.

The following is Gaza's Ark weekly digest of 7 posts in all languages on our
website:  [These older reports go back to July 2014.]

* Urgent call to action: Tell Egypt to end Gaza siege, refuse complicity in
Israeli genocide

* ניצחון בוגי ברצועת עזה: מפלה מוסרית ותבוסה

* Amira Hass: Israel's moral defeat will haunt us for years

* תוכניות ליציאה של משט חרות חדש שיקרא תיגר
על הסגר

* La Flotilla de la Libertad planea zarpar para romper el bloqueo a Gaza

* Η Συμμαχία του Στόλου της Ελευθερίας
προγραμματίζει νέο Στόλο της Ελευθερίας
για να προσπαθήσει να σπάσει τον αποκλεισμό
της Γάζας

* Planning to launch new Freedom Flotilla to Challenge Blockade

Thank you for keeping informed about our work.
Together we can break the blockade of Gaza!
Best regards,
Gaza's Ark

Attachments area

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Contents Gaza Newsletter #5
End the Occupation, NATIONAL RALLY JULY 24
Attack, Civilian Deaths
Barnard, NYT, Civilian Toll Climbing
Video of Bombing Victims on a Street
Amy Goodman, Gaza Hospital Bombed

August 2 March
   Intro. By Rabbi Lerner
   Hass, Gazans Killed
   Israel Provoked This War by Henry Siegman
    Ponomarev, Gaza a Living Hell and Goya’s “Third of May, 1808
   Morally Depraved Zionist Regime
   Poem by Hammad
   Yoffie on US Jews
End the Occupation
Avnery, Netanyahu’s Stupidity
Jewish Voice for Peace
Judis, Who’s Most Responsible?
Chris Hedges, Palestinian Right to Self-Defense
HAW Statement
The Nation, Impunity
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now
Niemela, Myths
Omer, Two Articles on Nowhere to Run or Hide
War Resisters League, Actions and a Film
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR): No Support for Israeli War Crimes
Action Alert: What We Can Do
Jewish Opposition to the Invasion

Gaza’s “Ark” Destroyed

END GAZA NEWSLETTER #6 August 26, 2014