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Tuesday, Oct 21st

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On Arab TV, the images from Gaza are of dead women and children

Samir, a 35-year-old Gazan journalist, maintains a calm tone in our daily phone calls. He usually even offers a joke at the expense of some Palestinian politician. But on Saturday he sounded agitated. "Have you all gone mad? What happened to you," he asked. "It's one thing if you only hit gunmen. But look at the pictures - they're all children, women. What is this madness? You have turned insanity into an art form."

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Palestinians' bloodiest day as Israel kills 60

At least 30 of the dead were civilians, among them women and children, said Palestinian doctors working round the clock.

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'The world' according to Washington

The more vulgar apologists for US and Israeli crimes solemnly explain that, while Arabs purposely kill people, the US and Israel, being democratic societies, do not intend to do so. Their killings are just accidental ones, hence not at the level of moral depravity of their adversaries. That was, for example, the stand of Israel's High Court when it recently authorized severe collective punishment of the people of Gaza by depriving them of electricity (hence water, sewage disposal and other such basics of civilized life).

The same line of defense is common with regard to some of Washington's past peccadilloes, like the destruction in 1998 of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The attack apparently led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, but without intent to kill them, hence not a crime on the order of intentional killing - so we are instructed by moralists who consistently suppress the response that had already been given to these vulgar efforts at self-justification.

To repeat once again, we can distinguish three categories of crimes: murder with intent, accidental killing, and murder with foreknowledge but without specific intent. Israeli and U.S. atrocities typically fall into the third category.

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Court gags ex-SAS man who made torture claims

A former SAS soldier was served with a high court order yesterday preventing him from making fresh disclosures about how hundreds of Iraqis and Afghans captured by British and American special forces were rendered to prisons where they faced torture.

Ben Griffin could be jailed if he makes further disclosures about how people seized by special forces were allegedly mistreated and ended up in secret prisons in breach of the Geneva conventions and international law. Griffin, 29, left the British army in 2005 after three months in Baghdad, saying he disagreed with the "illegal" tactics of US troops.

TVNL Comment: Could be jailed for telling the truth. Could be jailed for exposing the crimes of a government. Is this justice?

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W Bank building 'bias' condemned

Israel passed fewer than 6% of building requests by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2000-07, an Israeli anti-settlement group says.

Peace Now says 91 permits were granted from 1,624 requests, in contrast to the 18,472 homes built for Jewish settlers.

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Imagine 50 Million American Refugees

It would be an unparalleled, even unimaginable, catastrophe. Consider, then, what we would think if, back in Baghdad, politicians and the media were hailing, or at least discussing positively, the "success" of the prime minister's recent "surge strategy" in the U.S., even though it had probably been instrumental in creating at least one out of every ten of those refugees, 5 million displaced Americans in all. Imagine what our reaction would be to such blithe barbarism. More...

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