Monday, April 30, 2012

MAY DAY 2012

May Day greetings
to all our readers,
comrades and friends,
peace activists and antiwar organizations,
human rights campaigners and organizations. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chomsky: May Day

Noam Chomsky, Huffington Post Blog, April 28, 2012
People seem to know about May Day everywhere except where it began, here in the United States of America. That’s because those in power have done everything they can to erase its real meaning. For example, Ronald Reagan designated what he called “Law Day” — a day of jingoist fanaticism, like an extra twist of the knife in the labor movement. Today, there is a renewed awareness, energized by the Occupy movement’s organizing, around May Day, and its relevance for reform and perhaps eventual revolution.

If you’re a serious revolutionary, then you are not looking for an autocratic revolution, but a popular one which will move towards freedom and democracy. That can take place only if a mass of the population is implementing it, carrying it out, and solving problems. They’re not going to undertake that commitment, understandably, unless they have discovered for themselves that there are limits to reform.

A sensible revolutionary will try to push reform to the limits, for two good reasons. First, because the reforms can be valuable in themselves. People should have an eight-hour day rather than a twelve-hour day. And in general, we should want to act in accord with decent ethical values.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stephen Lendman: Israel’s Gulag Prison Hell

by Stephen Lendman, Veterans Today, April 27, 2012

For decades, Palestinians have been slaughtered, displaced, intimidated, humiliated, collectively punished, and denied equal rights as Jews. They’ve also been mass imprisoned.

Palestine is Israeli occupied territory. Military orders govern all aspects of daily life. Democratic rights are denied. Freedom is a non-starter, persecution a way of life.
Gaza is an open-air prison. The West Bank and East Jerusalem fare little better. Life in Occupied Palestine for about 4.2 million residents is hell. No one’s safe from Israel’s wrath.

According to the Addameer Prisoner Support group, over 700,000 Palestinians were imprisoned since June 1967. Over 20% of the population was affected. For males, it’s 40%. For women, it’s about 10,000 and for children around 7,000 since 2000 alone.

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How Obama Recycled a Lie about Iran,  News, April 25, 2012

Exclusive: President Obama has joined much of Official Washington in mistranslating a comment by Iran’s President Ahmadinejad into the provocative phrase, “wiping Israel off the map.” Obama’s falsehood recalls President George W. Bush’s bogus claim about Iraq seeking uranium in Africa, says ex-CIA analyst Elizabeth Murray.

By Elizabeth Murray

In June 2007, Middle East expert and University of Michigan professor Juan Cole remarked that bad translations can sometimes start wars. Professor Cole, in this case, was referring to the misleading, yet widely circulated mistranslated remark by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a speech in 2005 — in which he is purported to have said that Israel should be “wiped off the map.”

This old canard — long dismissed by Persian language experts as a gross distortion of Ahmadinejad’s actual words — is regularly trotted out by Israeli leaders and their supporters as proof that Iran’s regime intends genocide against Israel, thereby justifying a military attack on Iran.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

The US Press Sell-out on Iraq War

By Coleen Rowley, OpEdNews.Com, April 26, 2012

 Scott Pelley, anchor of CBS Evening News

By late January-early February 2003, Americans were witnessing the Bush administration’s final and intense push to launch a pre-emptive war on Iraq, based largely on (what are now well known as) two completely false pretexts: Iraq’s possession of WMD and its connections to Al Qaeda terrorists.

My knowledge that Iraq’s WMD was being exaggerated was merely what anyone could gain from close reading of public sources, including some in the mainstream press: the McClatchy news articles by Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel (who later won Pulitzers for their reporting) as well as a few buried articles in the Washington Post and Newsweek debunking the “evidence” being presented by Bush-Cheney-Powell-Rice-Rumsfeld et al.

However, due to the Minneapolis FBI’s pre-9/11 investigation of an Al Qaeda operative, I was in a better position to know more than J.Q. Average Citizen about the non-existence of ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Still, Bush administration officials knew how important it was to cleverly fabricate this connection.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Shame of Nations: A New Record is Set for Spending on War

On April 17, 2012, as millions of Americans were filing their income tax returns, the highly-respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its latest study of world military spending. In case Americans were wondering where most of their tax money — and the tax money of other nations — went in the previous year, the answer from SIPRI was clear: to war and preparations for war.

(Image: File)

World military spending reached a record $1,738 billion in 2011 — an increase of $138 billion over the previous year. The United States accounted for 41 percent of that, or $711 billion.

Some news reports have emphasized that, from the standpoint of reducing reliance on armed might, this actually represents progress. After all, the increase in “real” global military spending — that is, expenditures after corrections for inflation and exchange rates — was only 0.3 percent. And this contrasts with substantially larger increases in the preceding thirteen years.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Petraeus and the signature of U.S. terror

The CIA pressures Obama to step up indiscriminate attacks in Yemen

By , Salon, April 19, 2012

David Petraeus (Credit: Wikipedia)

Greg Miller of the Washington Post reports on the White House debate about CIA director David Petraeus’ request for a homicidal escalation of the CIA drone war in Yemen.
The CIA is seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who could be killed, U.S. officials said.

Securing permission to use these “signature strikes” would allow the agency to hit targets based solely on intelligence indicating patterns of suspicious behavior, such as imagery showing militants gathering at known al-Qaeda compounds or unloading explosives.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thus Spake Mahavira Against Killings and Violence

A wise person does not kill, nor causes others to kill, nor consents to the killings by others.                                                       


Indian Sage Lord Mahavira (ca. 599 – 527 BCE)

Tens of Thousands Protest Military Rule in Egypt

Washington continues to support Egypt’s military generals even as they’ve obstructed democratic progress

by John Glaser,, April 20, 2012
Tens of thousands of Egyptians protested in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday against the ruling military in a unified call to the generals to return control of the government to civilian power and prohibit ex-regime members from running in the upcoming presidential elections.

Both Islamists and the secular liberals that sparked the revolution over a year ago showed up to demonstrate the widespread anger at the Supreme Council of Armed Forces for their persisting grip on power and the instability they’ve caused in trying to sideline democratic processes.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Glenn Greenwald: America’s drone sickness

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon, April 19, 2011
General David Petraeus in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 18, 2011
General David Petraeus in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 18, 2011 (Credit: REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)

This headline and first paragraph from today’s Washington Post scoop by Greg Miller speaks volumes about so many things:
There are many evils in the world, but extinguishing people’s lives with targeted, extra-judicial killings, when you don’t even know their names, based on “patterns” of behavior judged from thousands of miles away, definitely ranks high on the list. Although the Obama White House has not approved of this request from CIA Director David Petraeus, these so-called “signature strikes” that “allow the agency to hit targets based solely on intelligence indicating patterns of suspicious behavior” are already robustly used in Pakistan — having been started by George Bush in 2008 and aggressively escalated by Barack Obama. . . .

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

U.S. troops posed with body parts of Afghan bombers

An American soldier says he released the photos to the Los Angeles Times to draw attention to the safety risk of a breakdown in leadership and discipline. The Army has started a criminal investigation.

 A soldier from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division with the body of an Afghan insurgent killed while trying to plant a roadside bomb. The photo is one of 18 provided to The Times of U.S. soldiers posing with corpses.
By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times, April 18, 2012

The paratroopers had their assignment: Check out reports that Afghan police had recovered the mangled remains of an insurgent suicide bomber. Try to get iris scans and fingerprints for identification.

The 82nd Airborne Division soldiers arrived at the police station in Afghanistan’s Zabol province in February 2010. They inspected the body parts. Then the mission turned macabre: The paratroopers posed for photos next to Afghan police, grinning while some held — and others squatted beside — the corpse’s severed legs.

A few months later, the same platoon was dispatched to investigate the remains of three insurgents who Afghan police said had accidentally blown themselves up. After obtaining a few fingerprints, they posed next to the remains, again grinning and mugging for photographs.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret

An inside look at how killing by remote control has changed the way  Americans  fight.

An MQ-1 Predator drone goes through post-flight maintenance in Iraq.
U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher Griffin
One day in late November, an unmanned aerial vehicle lifted off from Shindand Air Base in western Afghanistan, heading 75 miles toward the border with Iran. The drone’s mission: to spy on Tehran’s nuclear program, as well as any insurgent activities the Iranians might be supporting in Afghanistan. With an estimated price tag of $6 million, the drone was the product of more than 15 years of research and development, starting with a shadowy project called DarkStar overseen by Lockheed Martin. The first test flight for DarkStar took place in 1996, but after a crash and other mishaps, Lockheed announced that the program had been canceled. According to military experts, that was just a convenient excuse for “going dark,” meaning that DarkStar’s further development would take place under a veil of secrecy.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saudi Arabia: Dancing to Israel’s Tunes

By Kourosh Ziabari, Veterans Today, April 14, 2012

 The fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has joined the vicious triangle of the United States, Israel and Britain to destabilize the Islamic Republic of Iran and put pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program is not a secret anymore. The Saudi officials have openly stated their opposition to Iran’s access to peaceful nuclear energy and even have boastfully promised to make up for the amount of crude oil which the EU member states will be losing after imposing a multilateral oil embargo against Iran which is seen as an effort to force Iran into giving up its nuclear rights.

The Saudis are officially considered to be among the Muslim states which don’t recognize the Israeli regime; however, they haven’t hesitated to publicize their ties with the Israeli officials during the recent years, especially when it comes to their cooperation with Tel Aviv against Iran.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

US Refuses Plea to End Drone Attacks in Pakistan

After Pakistan Bid to Curb Civilian Deaths, Washington Denies Deal

- Common Dreams staff,, April 13, 2012
Yesterday, the Pakistani government presented the US with a list of immediate demands, including a total end to CIA drone bombing and that “no overt or covert operations inside Pakistan shall be permitted”. The demand would have been in exchange for a reopening of NATO supply lines through the country.

Unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

The same parliamentary resolution also demanded that the Obama administration apologize for the US airstrikes in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

However, today US officials denied these requests, stating that Washington has no intentions to end CIA drone strikes against militant targets on Pakistani soil.
This is the second time the US has refused pleas from Pakistan to end such attacks, the first being in 2008.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Paul Craig Roberts: Washington Leads World Into Lawlessness

By , OpEdNews, April 12, 2012

This article cross-posted from Paul Craig Roberts

The US government pretends to live under the rule of law, to respect human rights, and to provide freedom and democracy to citizens. Washington’s pretense and the stark reality are diametrically opposed.

US government officials routinely criticize other governments for being undemocratic and for violating human rights. Yet, no other country except Israel sends bombs, missiles, and drones into sovereign countries to murder civilian populations. The torture prisons of Abu Gahraib, Guantanamo, and CIA secret rendition sites are the contributions of the Bush/Obama regimes to human rights.

Washington violates the human rights of its own citizens. Washington has suspended the civil liberties guaranteed in the US Constitution and declared its intention to detain US citizens indefinitely without due process of law. President Obama has announced that he, at his discretion, can murder US citizens whom he regards as a threat to the US.

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The Guantanamo war crimes tribunal is worse than a Bush-era horror show: it reminds me of Chinese ‘justice’

By , The Telegraph,  April 12th, 2012

Guantanamo detainees (Photo: Getty)

This from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where I’m watching the war crimes tribunals going through pre-trial motions for Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the man accused of the bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000.

His case is effectively a dry run for the “trial of the century” involving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused of plotting the September 11 attacks. In all the cases, the US government is seeking the death penalty. The question that hangs heavy over these war crimes tribunals – or Military Commissions as they are properly known – is whether they can ever really by construed as free and fair. Is it really credible that a man who was kept in black CIA prisons for nearly four years and repeatedly subjected to inhumane and degrading punishments – as the US government admits Al Nashiri was – can get a fair hearing from a trial jury comprised of hand-picked US army officers?

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

US Training Manual Used As Basis for Bush’s Torture Program Is Released by Pentagon

Andy Worthington , April 11, 2012

Over the last few years, my friends and colleagues Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye have been doing some excellent work for Truthout exposing the Bush administration’s torture program, and human experimentation at Guantánamo, and last week they produced another excellent article for Truthout, examining the significance of a recently released US military training manual for the development of George W. Bush’s torture program.

The development of Bush’s torture program was triggered by the capture of the alleged “high-value detainee” Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in March 2002, and formalized when John Yoo, a lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, wrote two memos — the “torture memos” — signed by his boss, Jay Bybee, on August 1, 2002, which purported to redefine torture so that it could be used by the CIA, and approved the use of ten torture techniques on Abu Zubaydah, including waterboarding, an ancient torture technique and a form of controlled drowning.

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Kashmir: Estranged by their khakis

What is it like to be a policeman in Kashmir today?

Wasim Khalid Srinagar, HARDNEWS, April 2012

He is at the forefront of confrontations in the volatile state of Kashmir. Be it a public protest demanding civic amenities, stone-hurling youth raising their voice for ‘freedom’, or militants engaging them in a gunfight, the policeman has to bear the brunt of it all. Dressed in khaki, automatic rifle slung from his shoulder, today the cop can also be seen carrying a cane and a shield, more often than earlier – thanks to a surge in unarmed mass protests.

Even as images of Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel beating people, chasing protestors or firing tear gas canisters abound in the media and the public psyche, what the conflict has done to the everyday lives of Kashmiri policemen remains the least-talked-about aspect of the Kashmir tangle.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stop the warmongers! Defend Günter Grass!

Wolfgang Weber,, 11 April 2012
The political poem by the 84-year-old writer Günter Grass warning against Israel’s war policy, published simultaneously by a number of European and international newspapers last week, has unleashed an unprecedented witch-hunt by the media and leading political figures.

The campaign of defamation against one of the world’s best known writers, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature and many other awards, makes clear that the German ruling class and its counterparts in Washington and Tel Aviv are intent on intimidating and silencing anyone who dares to criticise the preparations for war against Iran.

Josef Joffe, co-editor of Die Zeit, described Grass as an anti-Semite who acquired his hatred for Jews during his membership in the Nazi SS as a 16-year-old.

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Shut Out of US, Lawyer for Pakistani Drone Victims Speaks Out

 Wednesday, 11 April 2012 00:00 By Tom Barry, Truthout | Interview
Predator Drone
Predator aerial vehicles at General Atomics, a defense contractor, in Poway, California, March 13, 2009. (Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times)
When I spoke with Shahzad Akbar recently, he reflected on the objectives of the upcoming first international drone summit in Washington DC, and on his concerns about drone operations in South Asia and the Middle East
Shahzad Akbar can no longer travel to the United States.

Akbar is a Pakistani lawyer who founded the human rights organization Foundation for Fundamental Rights in 2010 and represents the family members of noncombatant victims of US drone strikes.

Columbia University invited Akbar to speak at a law school forum in May 2011, but he couldn’t get a visa, even though he has been to the United States multiple times and used to work as a consultant for US agencies.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What Must Be Said by Gunter Grass


What Must Be Said

by Gunter Grass

HARDNEWS, April 2012

The controversial poem published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung has raised a storm across the world 

Why do I stay silent, conceal for too long
What clearly is and has been
Practiced in war games, at the end of which we as survivors
Are at best footnotes.

It is the alleged right to first strike
 That could annihilate the Iranian people--
Enslaved by a loud-mouth
And guided to organized jubilation--
Because in their territory,
It is suspected, a bomb is being built.

Yet why do I forbid myself
 To name that other country
In which, for years, even if secretly,
There has been a growing nuclear potential at hand
But beyond control, because no inspection is available?

The universal concealment of these facts,
 To which my silence subordinated itself,
I sense as incriminating lies
And force--the punishment is promised
As soon as it is ignored;
The verdict of "anti-Semitism" is familiar.

Now, though, because in my country
 Which from time to time has sought and confronted
Its very own crime
That is without compare
In turn on a purely commercial basis, if also
With nimble lips calling it a reparation, declares
A further U-boat should be delivered to Israel,
 Whose specialty consists of guiding all-destroying warheads to where the existence
Of a single atomic bomb is unproven,
But as a fear wishes to be conclusive,
I say what must be said.

Why though have I stayed silent until now?
 Because I thought my origin,
Afflicted by a stain never to be expunged
Kept the state of Israel, to which I am bound
And wish to stay bound,
From accepting this fact as pronounced truth.

Why do I say only now,
 Aged and with my last ink,
That the nuclear power of Israel endangers
The already fragile world peace?
Because it must be said
What even tomorrow may be too late to say;
Also because we--as Germans burdened enough--
 Could be the suppliers to a crime
That is foreseeable, wherefore our complicity
Could not be redeemed through any of the usual excuses.

And granted: I am silent no longer
Because I am tired of the hypocrisy
 Of the West; in addition to which it is to be hoped
That this will free many from silence,
That they may prompt the perpetrator of the recognized danger
To renounce violence and
Likewise insist
That an unhindered and permanent control
 Of the Israeli nuclear potential
And the Iranian nuclear sites
Be authorized through an international agency
By the governments of both countries.

Only this way are all, the Israelis and Palestinians,
Even more, all people, that in this
 Region occupied by mania
Live cheek by jowl among enemies,
And also us, to be helped.

Ni Yulan, disabled Chinese activist jailed for fraud and ‘making trouble’

Supporters say prison sentence given to Ni Yulan, disabled after police beating, is illegal, unfair and inhumane

Ni Yulan and Dong Jiqin
Ni Yulan with her husband, Dong Jiqin. She has been sentenced to two years and eight months in prison. Photograph: Andy Wong/AP

A Chinese court has jailed a high-profile rights activist who is disabled due to police mistreatment for fraud and “making trouble”.

It is Ni Yulan’s third prison term since she angered officials by defending the rights of people whose homes were demolished to make way for new developments, including those moved because of the 2008 Olympics.

The 51-year-old’s supporters believe the latest charges were further retaliation for her activism and have attacked the two-year-and-eight-month sentence as illegal, unfair and inhumane given her deteriorating health. She normally relies on a wheelchair but lay on a bed and used an oxygen machine during her trial.

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Mezquitan i Córdoba (The Cordoba Mosque)

Stora hallen i mezquitan.
Stora hallen i mezquitan.
Kaianders Sempler, NyTeknik, 25 januari 2012  

Södra Spanien finns ett av världens märkligaste arkitektoniska verk.
Den kallas La Mezquita och är något så märkligt som en blandning av en moské och en katolsk katedral. Den tar upp ett gigantiskt kvarter i centrala Córdoba, murarna inhägnar ett område på 178 × 125 meter. Entrén sker via en förgård med springbrunn och en skog av apelsinträd. I muren reser sig vad som förr var minaret och nu är klocktorn.
Interiören består huvudsakligen av en enda hall, stor som en flygterminal. Taket bärs upp av över tusen röd-vitrandiga dubbla valvbågar på smäckra pelare. I mitten av den 23 000 m2 stora hallen har man byggt in ett katolsk kyrkorum med en upphöjd kupol i taket, guldöverlastat altarskåp, dubbla orgelläktare och rum för helgonbilder.

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Saturday, April 07, 2012

Joseph E. Stiglitz: Whose World Bank?

 05 April 2012 14:33 By Joseph E Stiglitz, Project Syndicate| truthout

New York – US President Barack Obama’s nomination of Jim Yong Kim for the presidency of the World Bank has been well received – and rightly so, especially given some of the other names that were bandied about. In Kim, a public-health professor who is now President of Dartmouth University and previously led the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department, the United States has put forward a good candidate. But the candidate’s nationality, and the nominating country – whether small and poor or large and rich – should play no role in determining who gets the job.

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Friday, April 06, 2012

Threat of US-Israel War on Iran: The Myth of Limited Warfare

James Petras, The Palestine Chronicle, April 5, 2012

The mounting threat of a US-Israeli military attack against Iran is based on several factors including: (1) the recent military history of both countries in the region, (2) public pronouncements by US and Israeli political leaders, (3) recent and on-going attacks on Lebanon and Syria, prominent allies of Iran, (4) armed attacks and assassinations of Iranian scientists and security officials by proxy and/or terrorist groups under US or Mossad control, (5) the failure of economic sanctions and diplomatic coercion, (6) escalating hysteria and extreme demands for Iran to end legal, civilian use-related uranium enrichment, (7) provocative military ‘exercises’ on Iran’s borders and war games designed for intimidation and a dress rehearsal for a preemptive attack, (8) powerful pro-war pressure groups in both Washington and Tel Aviv including the major Israeli political parties and the powerful AIPAC in the US, (9) and lastly the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (Obama’s Orwellian Emergency Decree, March 16, 2012).

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Assassination by Drones Violates International Law


In my first article examining the legality of assassinating known or suspected terrorists through the use of unmanned armed vehicles (UAVs), I argued that the first step is to decide whether such killings could be classified as part of an armed conflict.   If they are considered as part of an armed conflict, according to international law, the rules of armed conflict would apply; otherwise the laws of self-defence would be relevant.

According to the Geneva Conventions and customary humanitarian law, armed conflict only applies when two or more States are involved.   When the United States defines its campaign against terrorists as a global conflict, this designation is not based on the correct definition of war as characterized by international law but on America’s own interpretation of its effort to eradicate terrorism.   Only two or more States can legally, in the strictest terms, engage in war, not a State against individuals scattered around the globe.

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Rev. Howard Bess: Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution April 5, 2012

Consortium News, April 5, 2012
From the Archive: Over the centuries as Christianity bent to the interests of the rich and powerful, the story of Jesus’s fateful week in Jerusalem was reshaped to minimize perhaps its central event, his overturning of the money tables at the temple, a challenge to the merging of religious and political power, says Rev. Howard Bess.

By the Rev. Howard Bess (Originally published April 23, 2011)

Christians have special celebrations for the key events of Holy Week, but they often overlook one of the most important.
Palm Sunday celebrates the entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. Maunday Thursday is a solemn replay of his last meal with his disciples. Good Friday takes us through his mock trial and his death of horror on a Roman Cross. Easter is the Christians’ triumphant celebration of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead.

A 14th Century depiction of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem by Pietro Lorenzetti

But there is a missing piece. The incident that gives sense to the week’s climactic events is Jesus’s overturning of the money tables at the temple.

Tradition says that the incident was a ceremonial cleansing of the temple of its commercial enterprises because those in charge of the temple had turned a house of worship into a commercial enterprise. Jesus disrupted the commercial operation by upsetting the tables where the temple lackeys sold required animals for sacrifice.

However, modern scholarship is putting an emphasis on understanding this historical incident in context. The first piece of the puzzle is the temple itself.

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