LABOR FOR PALESTINE: STOP ISRAEL’S MASSACRE IN GAZA AND END THE SIEGE NOW!

Please endorse the statement below at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/LaborforPalestine1/

LABOR FOR PALESTINE: STOP ISRAEL’S MASSACRE IN GAZA AND END THE SIEGE NOW!
December 31, 2008

New York City Labor Against the War joins millions around the world in condemning Israel’s ongoing murder and maiming of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza.

WHO ARE THE REAL TERRORISTS?

Israel claims that it is fighting “terrorism” — the same hollow excuse with which the U.S. tries to justify wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the erosion of civil liberties and labor rights at home.

But as South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu points out, Israel’s massacres “bears all the hallmarks of war crimes.”

Long before these attacks, Israel had turned Gaza into the world’s largest open air prison, assassinating activists, and cutting-off essential goods, jobs, and services to 1.5 million people.

Only as a result did Hamas abandon a unilateral two-year ceasefire and subsequent truce. Since that time, it has repeatedly offered to cease all rocket fire in exchange for an end to U.S.-Israel blockade and other military attacks.

Israel responded with escalating pogroms, arrests, home demolitions, settlements and murder in the West Bank and Jerusalem — from which no rockets have been fired.

As a result, violence is overwhelmingly one-sided against the Palestinians, who — as an occupied people — have no aircraft, artillery, tanks or ships. While rockets launched from Gaza since 2000 have killed 17 Israelis, Israel’s modern arsenal has killed more than 400 Palestinians — including many children — since December 27 alone.

The dead represent a greater portion of Gaza’s population than the percentage of New Yorkers who died on 9/11. And Israel warns that these attacks are “only the beginning.”

Indeed, this is the “bigger Shoah” against Gaza threatened by Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Matan Valnai on February 29, 2008.

Even the Israeli press admits that this brutality is a way for politicians to prove their “prowess” in contentious upcoming Israeli elections.

It is also part of an ongoing U.S.-Israeli campaign to collectively punish Palestinians for democratically electing Hamas.

And it is an attempt to stamp out all resistance — including nonviolent protest — to Israel’s ongoing dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since before the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948.

U.S. GUNS AND MONEY

The U.S. stands behind Israel’s war on Gaza.

The White House, President-elect Barack Obama, and leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties have — actively or tacitly — condoned the massacres.

In the past ten years alone, U.S. military aid to Israel was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be $30 billion. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is U.S. aircraft, cluster bombs and bullets that kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers.

Such support bolsters Israel’s longstanding role as watchdog and junior partner for U.S. domination over the oil-rich Middle East — and beyond. In that capacity, Israel was apartheid South Africa’s closest ally.

LABOR’S ROLE

On December 27, Cosatu, the South African trade union federation, specifically condemned the current Gaza massacres and reaffirmed its support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, a campaign that has been endorsed by labor bodies and trade unionists — many of them Jewish — in Britain, Canada and other countries.

On December 29, in response to the Gaza massacres, the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees urgently called for intensification of this campaign.

But much of labor officialdom in this country — often without the knowledge or consent of union members — has a longstanding complicity with Israeli Apartheid that dates to before 1948.

Some 1,500 labor bodies have plowed at least $5 billion of union pension funds and retirement plans into State of Israel Bonds.

In April 2002, while Israel butchered Palestinian refugees at Jenin in the West Bank, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney was a featured speaker at a belligerent “National Solidarity Rally for Israel.”

In July 2007, top officials of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win signed a statement that condemned British unions for even considering the nonviolent campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Virtually no labor bodies have opposed the Gaza massacres.

As Jewish Labor Committee President Stuart Appelbaum recently boasted, “American leadership is fundamental to challenging Israel bashing within the labor movement globally.”

This complicity parallels infamous “AFL-CIA” support for U.S. war and dictatorship in Vietnam, Latin America, Gulf War I, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

It strengthens the U.S.-Israel war machine and labor’s corporate enemies, reinforces racism and Islamophobia, and makes a mockery of international solidarity.

And as with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, workers in the United States pay a staggering human and financial price, including deepening economic crisis, for U.S.-Israeli war and occupation.

FREE PALESTINE — A NECESSARY STAND FOR LABOR

More than forty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came under intense public attack for opposing the Vietnam war. Even within the Civil Rights Movement, some dismissed his position too “divisive” and “unpopular.”

In his famous speech at the Riverside Church in April 1967, Dr. King replied, “For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”

This principle is no less relevant for today’s labor and antiwar movements.

Yes, the Israel lobby seeks to silence opponents of Israeli Apartheid. All the more need for trade unionists to break that silence by speaking out against Israeli military occupation, for the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and for the elimination of apartheid throughout historic Palestine.

Therefore, we reaffirm our support for the international Boycotts, Sanctions and Divestment campaign, including an immediate end to all support for Israel — including that provided by U.S. labor leaders.

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Issued by NYCLAW Co-Conveners
(Other affiliations listed for identification only):

Larry Adams
Former President, NPMHU Local 300

Michael Letwin
Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys

Brenda Stokely
Former President, AFSCME DC 1707; Co-Chair, Million Worker March

———–
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NYCLAW Antiwar Bulletin: Israeli Massacre in Gaza — 12.28.08



Thousands of people marched today in Manhattan. Photos at:  http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/12/102498.html


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ANATOMY OF A WAR CRIME

Relatives of a Palestinian who was killed in an Israel air strike mourn during his funeral in Gaza Strip December 28, 2008. Israel launched air strikes on Gaza for a second day on Sunday, piling pressure on Hamas after killing more than 270 people in one of the bloodiest days in 60 years of conflict between the Palestinians and the Jewish state. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

“The Amount of Death and Destruction is Inconceivable”
[E]ven after the dead are identified, doctors are having a hard time gathering the right body parts in order to hand them over to their families.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10059.shtml

Desperate Hospitals Overwhelmed by Casualties
“What was the sin of my 4-year-old son?”
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-gaza-react28-2008dec28,0,7401089.story

Unprecedented Casualties
The high numbers of casualties made Saturday the single deadliest day in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s occupation of the territory in 1967.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7802515.stm

Knowingly Indiscriminate Air War
Israel prefers to use its unchallenged aerial superiority — clearly a blunt instrument that cannot distinguish between fighters and civilians.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/27/gaza-attacks-analysis-ian-black

An Israeli soldier holds his gun out of a tank, near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. Israel's Cabinet authorized a callup of thousands of reserves soldiers, suggesting plans to expand a campaign against Gaza rocket squads that has already killed some 280 Palestinians, most of them Hamas police. From AP Photo by SEBASTIAN SCHEINER.

Olmert: Massacres Will Continue
The situation in southern Israel “is liable to last longer than we are able to foresee at this time.”
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2008/12/28/world/AP-ML-Israel-Palestinians.html

Only the Beginning?
[T]his isn’t the beginning, this is an ongoing policy of collective punishment and killing with impunity practised by Israel for decades.
http://www.freegaza.org/index.php?module=latest_news&id=5f36cb2382cb6e2b413b88331d2223f1&offset=

A History of Ethnic Cleansing
Massacres were part and parcel of the Zionist project in Palestine. They aimed at intimidating the Arabs and make them leave the country.
http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=14537

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U.S. COMPLICITY

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, an Israeli helicopter fires a rocket at a target in Gaza City on Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. Israel widened its deadliest-ever air offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers Sunday, pounding smuggling tunnels and a central prison, sending more tanks and artillery toward the Gaza border and approving a reserves callup for a possible ground invasion. From AP Photo by Yin Bogu.An Israeli F15 fighter flies over the northern Israeli-Gaza Strip border on December 28, 2008. Israel warned today it could send ground troops into Gaza as its warplanes continued pounding Hamas targets inside the enclave where more than 280 Palestinians have been killed in just 24 hours. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

U.S. Weapons
Apache’s are hovering above us, whilst F16s sear overhead.
http://www.freegaza.org/index.php?module=latest_news&id=5f36cb2382cb6e2b413b88331d2223f1&offset=

White House Stands By Massacres
“These people are nothing but thugs. Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/world/middleeast/28diplo.html?ref=world

Bush Winks at Israel’s Slaughter in Gaza, While Obama and Clinton Are Silent
President-elect Barack Obama and Secretary of State-to-be Hillary Clinton were shamefully silent in the first hours after the attack.
http://www.progressive.org/mag/wx122708.html

U.S. Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., second right, is presented with an "I Love Sderot" T-shirt by Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal as Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, looks on as they stand in front of a display of rockets that landed in southern Israel, during a visit to Sderot, southern Israel, Wednesday, July 23, 2008. Obama pledged Wednesday that as president he would preserve the close ties between the United States and Israel, and that the Jewish state's security would be a top priority in his administration. From AP Photo by David Silverman.

But Obama Had Already Endorsed Attacks
“If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that,” Obama said at the time. “And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” Israelis have been further encouraged by Obama’s key appointments, from his vice-presidential running mate Joe Biden, long a prominent supporter of Israel, to his choice of Rahm Emanuel, a leading Jewish congressman, as his White House chief of staff.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5404534.ece

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MORE LIES AND PRETEXTS

Election Posturing
“The government and the defense minister are trying to gain political capital in an election period on account of the bloodletting of the Palestinian people.”
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1050396.html

Propaganda Offensive
An international media broadcast outlet will be opened in Sderot on Sunday, and the Foreign Ministry will organize a series of tours of Sderot and the Gaza envelope communities for foreign media and diplomatic figures.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1050402.html

What Rockets?
Retaliatory Palestinian fire killed one woman in southern Israel — underlining the unequal military balance.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/27/gaza-attacks-analysis-ian-black

Palestinian and international activists stand amid tear gas during a demonstration against Israel's separation barrier in Bilin, near the West Bank city of Ramllah on October 31, 2008. Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad warned earlier this week that peacemaking was "teetering" because of continued settlement construction and the construction of Israel's controversial separation barrier. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

No Protest Allowed
Any response to Israeli attacks — whether peaceful protests against the apartheid wall in Bilin and Nilin in the West Bank is met with bullets and bombs.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10055.shtml

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WORLDWIDE PROTEST AND RESISTANCE

Uproar

Throughout Middle East
“The reaction of the Arab street shows that the Palestinian issue is not just about Palestinians, but it is an Arab question and an Arab problem. It’s still in the hearts and minds of the Arab people.”
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-gaza-arab-react28-2008dec28,0,5777613.story

Hamas Resolute
”We will survive, we will move forward, we will not surrender, we will not be shaken.”
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2008/12/28/world/AP-ML-Israel-Palestinians.html

One Democratic State Group
The Gaza-based One Democratic State Group reaffirmed this today as it “called upon all civil society organizations and freedom loving people to act immediately in any possible way to put pressure on their governments to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and institute sanctions against it.”
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10055.shtml

A Palestinian throws a stone at Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Hebron December 28, 2008. Tensions rose throughout major West Bank cities as hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in protest of Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip that have killed more than 280 people, most of them Hamas militants. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

West Bank
“With our blood and souls we defend you, Gaza.”
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2008/12/28/world/AP-ML-Israel-Palestinians.html

Palestine ’48
“No one can tell us that slaughtering the citizens of Gaza is meant to protect the citizens of Sderot and Ashkelon.”
http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1050470.html

The violence led to demonstrations around the world, including at Al-Baqaa refugee camp near Amman, Jordan, where youngsters burned an Israeli flag

Refugee Camps
“‘The Israelis kill our people in Gaza and the West Bank. The Americans kill our people in Iraq. We’re refugees, kicked out of our home in Tulkarem in 1967 and we’re still displaced.”
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2008/12/28/world/AP-ML-Mideast-Israel-Palestinians.html

Jordanian Labor
Labor unions in Jordan organized a mass demonstration to protest the IAF strikes in Gaza.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1050396.html

A pro-Palestinian demonstrator waves a muddy boot during a protest near the Israeli Embassy in London December 28, 2008, against the Israeli strikes on Gaza. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

London
“We should treat Israel as we treated South Africa during apartheid. They should be shunned.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7802078.stm

Protesters across Canada slam ‘terrorist’ Israel as Palestinian toll grows
“If there was no occupation, there would be no rockets.”
http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5gIMgfueYl9c8eLuLb6eSgaCLsIqg

International Mobilization and Boycott
We can turn a spotlight onto Israel’s crimes against humanity and the enduring injustice here in Palestine, through coming out onto the streets and pressurizing our governments; demanding an end to Israeli apartheid and occupation, broadening our call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
http://www.freegaza.org/index.php?module=latest_news&id=5f36cb2382cb6e2b413b88331d2223f1&offset=

NYCLAW Antiwar Bulletin: Israeli Massacre in Gaza — 12.27.08

HUNDREDS OF CASUALTIES

THIS IMAGE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT) Bodies of Palestinians laid out on the ground outside Shifa hospital on December 27, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza. Israel's air force fired about 30 missiles at targets along the Gaza Strip on Saturday, destroying several Hamas police compounds, killing more than 200 people and wounding hundreds. From Getty Images.


Single Bloodiest Day

[U]nprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing at least 155 and wounding more than 310 in the single bloodiest day of fighting in recent memory. . . . Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. . . . ”We are treating people on the floor, in the corridors. We have no more space. We don’t know who is here and what the priority is to treat.”
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2008/12/27/world/AP-ML-Israel-Palestinians.html

Palestinian children and a man wounded in Israeli missile strikes are seen in the emergency area at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes demolished dozens of Hamas security compounds across Gaza on Saturday in unprecedented waves of simultaneous air strikes. Gaza medics said at least 145 people were killed and more than 310 wounded in the single deadliest day in Gaza fighting in recent memory. From AP Photo by Khalil Hamra.

THIS IMAGE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT) A Palestinian man checks the body of a Palestinian child as he lies among bodies of Palestinians laid out on the ground outside Shifa hospital on December 27, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza. Israel's air force fired about 30 missiles at targets along the Gaza Strip on Saturday, destroying several Hamas police compounds, killing more than 200 people and wounding hundreds. From Getty Images.

A wounded child awaits medical attention at the Shifa hospital on December 27, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza. Israel's air force fired about 30 missiles at targets along the Gaza Strip on Saturday, destroying several Hamas police compounds, killing more than 155 people and wounding hundreds. From Getty Images.

Hospitals Overwhelmed
At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, scores of dead bodies were laid out in front of the morgue waiting for family members to identify them. Many were dismembered.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/world/middleeast/28mideast.html?_r=1&hp

Palestinians look at bodies removed from the sites of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on December 27, 2008. At least 155 Palestinians were killed across the Gaza Strip today in massive Israeli air strikes on the Hamas-run enclave, Hamas radio reported. Israeli military spokesman Avi Benayahu told army radio the massive bombardment of Gaza was only just beginning. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

And More Where That Came From
Israeli military spokesman Avi Benayahu said the bombardment of Gaza was “only the beginning.”
http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/35350

An Israeli F16 fighter jet lands at air base near the border after a bombing raid in Gaza December 27, 2008. Israel's air force fired about 30 missiles at targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, destroying several Hamas police compounds and killing more than 140 people, medical officials and witnesses said. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Video (1:38m): Brought to You By . . . U.S. F-16s
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7801128.stm

Palestinian women and children flee an area hit by an Israeli air strike in the southern town of Rafah on December 27, 2008 in Gaza. Israel's air force fired about 30 missiles at targets along the Gaza Strip on Saturday, destroying several Hamas police compounds, killing more than 155 people and wounding hundreds. From Getty Images.

Video (1:41m): Scenes of Destruction in Gaza
This video contains some disturbing images.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7801012.stm

A Palestinian man cries over the body of a child in his arms, beside bodies of Palestinians laid out on the ground outside Shifa hospital on December 27, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza. Israel's air force fired about 30 missiles at targets along the Gaza Strip on Saturday, destroying several Hamas police compounds, killing more than 155 people and wounding hundreds. From Getty Images.

Video (4:59m): Witness Describes Gaza Attacks
Fikr Shallpoot, a health worker and resident in Gaza, spoke to the BBC about the attacks that she witnessed.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7801291.stm

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LIES AND PRETEXTS

“Security”
[N]o Israelis were killed or seriously injured in the recent [Palestinian] attacks.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/world/middleeast/28mideast.html?_r=1&hp

Who is the Real Victim Here?
By contrast, Israel has terrorized 1.5 million Gazans, locked them inside their awfully narrow borders, throttled their economy, and killed and seriously wounded thousands of them.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230111687765&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

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ACTUAL MOTIVES

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni speaks during a news conference with Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Cairo December 25, 2008. Livni was invited to Cairo for talks on Thursday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak about prospects for a new truce between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Livni talking in the news confrance Israel would not tolerate Hamas' rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Zionist Electioneering
Leadership credentials will be built on spilling Palestinian blood.
http://counterpunch.org/amiri12262008.html

Breaking Palestinian Resistance
Israel wasn’t willing to live and let live with Hamas – it was intent on making them cry uncle or, ideally, on getting rid of Hamas altogether by turning Gaza’s population against them.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230111687765&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

President Bush walks with his senior Middle East adviser Elliott Abrams, right, to meet with participants of the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008, at the White House in Washington. From AP Photo by Ron Edmonds.

Coup d’etat
Gaza’s final and unpardonable sin was, in a completely fair election, to elect a party that displeased Israel and the US. Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra infamy helped the reprisal along by engineering civil war between Hamas and Fatah (see Vanity Fair, April, 2008.)
http://counterpunch.org/cantarow12262008.html

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WORLDWIDE RESISTANCE AND BLOWBACK

Gaza

Explosions are seen during an Israeli missile strike in the northern Gaza Strip on the border with Israel, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from Gaza pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of air strikes Saturday, killing at least 155 and wounding more than 310 in the bloodiest day in Gaza in decades. From AP Photo by Tsafrir Abayov.

–”My son is gone, my son is gone. May I burn like the cigarettes, may Israel burn.”
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2008/12/27/world/AP-ML-Israel-Palestinians.html

–Hours after the Israeli assault, Gaza fighters fired home-made rockets into southern Israel, heeding calls by Hamas and other affiliated Palestinian groups to avenge the attacks, unprecedented in their scale. One Israeli was killed in the rocket fire, medics said.
http://mwcnews.net/content/view/27520&Itemid=1

–As for Israeli air raids, assassinations and the sort, they would only serve to help Hamas regain some popularity – and not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank and across the Arab-speaking world.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1049778.html

A Palestinian Hamas supporter holds a toy gun during a protest in the West Bank city of Nablus against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 195 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Palestinians' conflict with Israel. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Nablus
Video (1:23m): Palestinians have taken to the streets of the West Bank following Israel’s air raids on Gaza City.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7801311.stm

A Palestinian protestor holds stones to throw at Israeli security forces during a demonstration against the Israeli air strikes on Gaza in the centre of the West Bank city of Hebron on December 27, 2008. Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces who responded with tear gas during a Palestinian demonstration in Hebron today protesting the Israeli blitz of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip that killed at least 195 people. Israel sent a wave of air strikes against targets in the besieged enclave in retaliation for ongoing rocket fire, officials said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

Hebron

Palestinian youths throw stones towards Israeli border police officers in the village of Issawiya in Arab East Jerusalem in protest of the Israeli air strikes in Gaza December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 205 people in the bloodiest one-day death toll in 60 years of conflict with the Palestinians. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

East Jerusalem

A Jordanian woman cries during a demonstration against the Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip in Amman December 27,2008. Israeli warplanes and combat helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 155 people in the bloodiest day for Palestinians in more than 20 years of conflict. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Amman

Egyptian activists shout anti-Israel slogans and flash V-for-victory signs as they protest in Cairo Saturday Dec. 27, 2008, against the Israeli attacks against Hamas-ruled Gaza where over 200 people were killed and almost 400 wounded. From AP Photo by AMR NABIL.

Cairo

A young woman holds a Palestinian flag as she shouts anti-Israel slogans during a candle-light vigil held outside the Egyptian embassy in Beirut in protest against Israel's deadly raids on the Gaza Strip on December 27, 2008. Hundreds of protesters demonstrated near the Egyptian embassy in Lebanon amid a greatly reinforced security presence, an AFP journalist said. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni vowed two days ago in Cairo to strike back at the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza after a sharp escalation of violence in the Palestinian territory dashed hopes of a new truce. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

Beirut

Pakistani protesters burn an Israeli flag during a demonstration condemning Israel's strikes on Gaza, in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Dec. 27. 2008. Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from Gaza pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of air strikes Saturday, killing at least 155 and wounding more than 310 in the bloodiest day in Gaza in decades. From AP Photo by Fareed Khan.

Karachi

NYCLAW Antiwar Digest (11.22.08)

18 DAYS AFTER

Obama Tilts Rightwards
“This is the violin model: Hold power with the left hand, and play the music with your right.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/22/us/politics/22assess.html?ref=us

Right-Wing Columnist Pleased With Obama’s Appointments
The events of the past two weeks should be reassuring to anybody who feared that Obama would veer to the left.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/21/opinion/21brooks.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

Bush Adviser: It’s Deja Vu All Over Again
“This is more ‘Groundhog Day’ than a fresh start.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/17/AR2008111703215.html?hpid=topnews

Obama Aide Explains Obama-Clinton Detente
“[W]e were always fighting big battles over small differences.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/us/politics/23hillary.html?hp

McCain Buddy is Obama’s Likely National Security Adviser
James Jones, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, is admired by Republicans and Democrats — he is a close friend of John McCain — and would bring particular expertise on Iraq and Afghanistan.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article5208597.ece

Obama Won’t Punish Bush War Crimes
Barack Obama and his transition team are already getting off on the wrong foot, signaling that they have no intention of investigating anyone in the Bush administration for possible war crimes.
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/galloway/story/56115.html

Nader: This is the Third Clinton Administration
The signs are amassing that Barack Obama put a political con job over on the American people. He is now daily buying into the entrenched military-industrial complex.
http://counterpunch.org/nader11212008.html

Much of Left Cuts Obama Slack
The sound from the left: not silence, but no howls of betrayal, either.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/21/politics/politico/main4624733.shtml

Obama v. the Left
Obama’s campaign has already had a debilitating effect on the anti-imperialist movement.
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/raju211108.html

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AFGHANISTAN

Marines Got More Than They Bargained For
“We haven’t won anything yet. We’ve got a long way to go.”
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-marines22-2008nov22,0,1047589.story

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IRAN

Israel Brandishing U.S. Planes v. Iran
Israel acquired the F-16I, and added modifications of its own, to give itself the capability to attack far-off targets in countries such as Iran.
http://www.reuters.com/article/vcCandidateFeed2/idUSTRE4AI7Q220081119?feedType=RSS&feedName=vcCandidateFeed2&virtualBrandChannel=10102

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IRAQ

Iraqi Defense Minister: SOFA Doesn’t Mean U.S. Withdrawal
He [held] open the possibility that some Americans might be needed after 2011 in certain vulnerable areas.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/world/middleeast/23iraq.html?hp

Stratfor: SOFA Consolidates the Occupation
If the SOFA passes, the United States will have a legally approved military presence in Iraq for at least the next three years. . . . [It] sets in place a strategic partnership between Baghdad and Washington for the longer term, thereby serving U.S. interests in maintaining a foothold in the region.
http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20081120_iraq_u_s_sofa_and_what_could_still_go_wrong

Iraqi Communist Party Supports SOFA and Continued Occupation
Among the Cabinet members voting to send the agreement to Parliament was the Iraqi Communist Party’s Raid Fahmi. . . . Iraqi armed forces are not yet adequately prepared to deal with security challenges.
http://www.pww.org/article/articleview/14041/

While Huge Protest Denounces SOFA
“We want them to leave today.”
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq22-2008nov22,0,6845746.story

IVAW Speaker Urges GI Resistance
“If I was still in the army now and getting orders to Iraq, I would not go.”
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/nov/22/three-veterans-share-views-on-marine-hering-awol/

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PALESTINE

UN: Israel Blockade Leaves Gaza on Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
“It will be a catastrophe if this persists.”
http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSLL414968._CH_.2400

Gaza Hospitals Struggle to Save Lives Amid Israeli Siege
“[T]here are no tools for physicians to treat patients who suffer from lung, stomach, colon or brain cancers.”
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9984.shtml

Israeli Gunboats Kidnap Gaza Fisherman, Internationals
“We’ve done nothing wrong. We are innocent, just trying to earn our living. Our boats are our only source of income.”
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9985.shtml

Netanyahu Hires Obama Advisers
After designing a website similar to that of Barack Obama, Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu has now hired two of the US president-elect’s advisors to help him in his election campaign.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3626477,00.html

Shimon Peres Protested at Oxford
“As South Africans whose oppression was fueled by the Israeli state, and certainly Peres himself, we stand in solidarity with Palestinians who, for more than sixty years have lived under Israeli Apartheid.”
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9983.shtml

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VETS

Soldier, Accused of Rape and Murder at Home, Learned Skills in Iraq
“I’m becoming a true Black Raptor already. I’m becoming a cold-hearted killer and can kill without mercy or reason.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/21/us/21army.html?ref=us

NYCLAW Antiwar Digest (11.20.08)

16 DAYS AFTER

This is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White House
“I want to end the mindset that got us into war.” That is going to be very difficult if Obama employs a foreign policy team that was central to creating that mindset, before and during the presidency of George W. Bush.
http://www.alternet.org/story/107666/

Why Would Obama Proffer State Gig to Clinton?
The idea, essentially, is that Mrs. Clinton, by virtue of her worldview and independent public profile, would be able to expand the purview of the office and become an unusually powerful surrogate for Mr. Obama’s foreign policy ideas.
http://www.observer.com/2008/politics/why-did-obama-proffer-state-gig-clinton

Holder, Chiquita and Colombia
Holder. . . . [played a] key role in defending Chiquita Brands International in a notorious case relating to the company’s funneling money and weapons to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, AUC, the right-wing paramilitary organization on the U.S. State Department’s own list of terrorist organizations.
http://www.counterpunch.org/murillo11192008.html

Some “Antiwar” Groups Excuse Obama’s Pro-War Cabinet
Kevin Martin, executive director of the group Peace Action, said. . . . “There’s so much Obama hero worship, we’re having to walk this line where we can’t directly criticize him” . . . . Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War, said that although he finds Sen. Clinton’s views “very troubling,” Obama should be given the benefit of the doubt.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/complete/la-na-foreign-policy20-2008nov20,0,2687012.story

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IRAQ

Resistance Leader Explains SOFA
The pressure by the U.S. to have an illegitimate regime accepted by the international community is part of a diplomatic offensive to assist the U.S. in Iraq and to “legalize” the continued occupation and plundering of Iraq.
http://www.workers.org/2008/world/iraq_1127/

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PALESTINE

Gaza Siege Doesn’t Hurt Hamas — But Israel Does It Anyway
Israel’s decision to keep the crossings into Gaza closed will remain in effect until the end of the week, defense officials said Wednesday, despite an official IDF assessment submitted to Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the restriction is not having an effect on Hamas.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1226404781584&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Gazans Describe Life Under Blockade
I have no money even to buy candles — these are the last one and a half candles I have left.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7735852.stm

P.A. Openly Abandons Right of Return
The Hamas Movement strongly denounced the PA in Ramallah for intending to publish advertisements in Hebrew language in Israeli newspapers in order to market the Arab peace initiative without mentioning the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/en/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7reohbMFAl9E1Kl95olCfspDv7nktUqjee3DTVU%2bGgeqaN76buXqOiRO9ui8c73eEgHl7jfLwifcgaEcgBpelh0a0ZdGclzFIOAr82yeAyns%3d

No Signs of Change in Obama’s Middle East Policies
In 2005 Hillary Clinton stood in Palestine and praised the apartheid wall that the government of Israel was building with large amounts of U.S. aid in furtherance of the Zionist goal of destroying one of the world’s peoples — the Palestinians.
http://counterpunch.org/christison11182008.html

Dershowitz: I Muzzled Carter at DNC
“Barack Obama had to make a choice between his Jewish supporters and his anti-Israel supporters like Jimmy Carter, and he did not choose Jimmy Carter.”
http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2008/11/13/1000960/ders

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DOMESTIC RACISM, REPRESSION & INJUSTICE

US Exported Prisoners For Torture
[A]ssurances could not be trusted coming from countries that have a history of abusing prisoners.
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Docs_US_relied_on_faulty_assurance_1119.html

NYPD Wants More Repressive Powers
The [NYPD] Intelligence Division under Mr. Cohen has come under criticism in the past for its surveillance activity and has been mired in litigation over its extensive undercover investigation of political groups before the 2004 Republican National Convention.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/washington/20terror.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Unapologetic Case For Gay Marriage
[T]he conclusion by some to stand aside or even oppose the nascent explosion of outrage demanding gay marriage is misguided.
http://socialistworker.org/2008/11/20/case-for-gay-marriage

Prop. 8 Protests Sweep the Country
Critical to the growth of this struggle is the overcoming of racial divisions exploited by the right wing.
http://www.workers.org/2008/us/prop_8_1127/

NYCLAW Antiwar Digest (11.19.08)

15 DAYS AFTER

Obama Advisers: U.S. Torturers Will Walk
[T]he plan is to put a stop to current interrogation methods and to “look forward” as opposed to focusing on prior transgressions.
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Obama_admin_wont_prosecure_Bush_war_1117.html

Senate Democrats Go Easy on Lieberman
When Lieberman faced a challenge from the antiwar left in 2006, Obama campaigned on his behalf during the primary.
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-lieberman19-2008nov19,0,5359209.story

Who is Eric Holder?
Holder was part of the legal team that in 2005 developed strategies for securing re-authorization of the Patriot Act.
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/state_of_change/384564/the_trouble_with_eric_holder?rel=hpbox

No Free Pass for Rahm Emanuel
[T]his appointment represents more of the same — whether it is the hawkish policies of the Bush administration or the destructive Middle East policy that was wrapped in nicer packaging during the Clinton years.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9974.shtml

Great Expectations
If those committed to organizing for a different vision of society can relate to the hopes that this has inspired — and the newfound confidence that justice is on our side — then we can make the Obama years an era of struggle and political progress.
http://socialistworker.org/2008/11/19/great-expectations

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AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN

Obama’s Cambodia?
I can hear frustrated U.S. commanders on the ground in Afghanistan making the same kind of argument to Obama’s team tomorrow that I heard yesterday in Vietnam.
http://counterpunch.org/wilson11182008.html

Iraq Follies Magnified in Afghanistan
[F]oreign expeditions undertaken in a spirit of jingoist revenge, with a crazed optimism and no strategic plan, are usually a bad idea.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/19/iraq-aghanistan-withdrawal-brown-obama

U.S. Troops in Eastern Afghanistan Won’t Rest For Winter
“We are not going to lower our tempo of operations.”
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-usafghan19-2008nov19,0,1032657.story

U.S. Missile Kills 6 in Pakistan
The attack was the first to hit an area outside the semiautonomous tribal belt that directly borders Afghanistan, something which could trigger extra anger among Pakistanis.
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-AS-Pakistan.html?_r=1&ref=world

Resistance Cripples Occupation’s Supply Lines
‘These goods belong to the Americans. Don’t bring them to the Americans. If you do, we’ll kill you.’
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/18/AR2008111803940.html

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IRAQ

Despite SOFA, U.S. Withdrawal Still Depends, Says Admiral Mullen
Asked if the agreement could be changed, he said “that’s theoretically possible”.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/3474933/2011-US-Iraq-withdrawal-depends-on-conditions-on-the-ground-says-Admiral-Mullen.html

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PALESTINE

U.N. Condemns Gaza Closure
“1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children have been forcibly deprived of their most basic human rights for months”.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/11/20081118232525803162.html

Israel Rebuffs U.N. Calls to Open Gaza Crossings
Barak acknowledged in the radio interview that the violence was touched off by the Israeli raid.
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-us-palestinians-israel.html?_r=1

Israeli Tanks Raze Gaza’s Farmlands
Israeli tanks pushed into the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, drawing mortar fire from Palestinian militants and intensifying violence that has chipped away at a tenuous cease-fire.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081118/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

P.A. Echoes Israeli Lies About Gaza
“[T]he blackouts are all staged as part of the Hamas propaganda.”
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1226404771503&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Obama Backs Saudi Deal
The proposal gives Israel an effective veto on the return of Arab refugees expelled in 1948.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5162537.ece

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VETS

Woman Sergeant’s Pain
The chain of command doesn’t take us seriously, and rape from fellow soldiers is a constant threat.
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Documentary-Veterans.html?_r=1

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DOMESTIC RACISM, REPRESSION & INJUSTICE

Tortured Detainee Faces New Charges
The interrogation of Mr. Qahtani, public military documents show, included prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, exposure to cold, involuntary grooming as well as requiring him to dance with a male interrogator and to obey dog commands, including “stay,” “come” and “bark.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/us/19gitmo.html?_r=1&ref=us

NYCLAW Antiwar Digest (11.18.08)

14 DAYS AFTER

Who Is Obama’s Brain Trust?
“The Obama Braintrust” included billionaires, major corporate CEO’s, high ranking government officials, but no one representing labor, social and human services, or the progressive organizations that supposedly gave Obama his biggest boost to the White House.
http://counterpunch.org/cramer11142008.html

Who is Obama Transition Team?
Jami Miscik, leading a review of American intelligence agencies, was the head of intelligence analysis at the Central Intelligence Agency during its biggest embarrassment: the botched assessments about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Then she moved on to become a senior official managing risks in emerging markets for the investment bank Lehman Brothers, until its collapse this fall.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/15/us/politics/15transition.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1226761222-clvVaquPNLKaZ42zFj2lYQ

Where is the Antiwar Movement?
[I]t will be interesting to see how antiwar activists react to this. Are they antiwar or just anti-Republican?
http://www.spectator.org/blog/2008/11/18/iraq-war-supporters

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AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN

Pakistan is Next US Target
Right on cue, presidential candidate Barack Obama took the baton from Bush in his speech on July 15, in which he argued that more focus and resource were required on both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
http://www.daily.pk/local/other-local/8161-pakistan-the-next-us-target.html

Pakistan and U.S. Have Tacit Deal On Airstrikes
“[M]aybe with a new administration, public opinion will be more pro-American and we can start acknowledging” more cooperation.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/15/AR2008111502656_pf.html

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IRAQ

SOFA With the Devil
[T]he pact does make a mockery of Iraq’s “sovereignty”. For the first time, occupying US troops will have a clear mandate straight from Iraq’s elected leadership, instead of a United Nations Security Council resolution enacted after Bush invaded Iraq in 2003.
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JK18Ak01.html

Obama Applauds Extension of Occupation
Mr. Obama’s transition office . . . welcomed an extension of the legal authorization for American troops in Iraq beyond the end of the year, when the United Nations Security Council resolution covering the American-led military operation expires.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/world/middleeast/18iraq.html?ref=world

SOFA Gives Obama Breathing Room
“It greatly eases the pressure on [Obama] to meet a fixed abstract schedule for U.S. withdrawals.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/17/AR2008111703097.html

Top Brass Warns Withdrawal May Take 2 or 3 Years
In his first press conference since the election, Admiral Michael G. Mullen said he believes that the soonest all US forces could be safely withdrawn from Iraq is “two to three years.”
http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/articles/2008/11/18/top_brass_warns_iraq_withdrawal_may_take_2_or_3_years/

Muslim Scholars Reject SOFA
[U]pon the completion of the liberation there will have no value of such so-called agreements which this nation declared their rejection as one word and comprehensively.
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m48852&hd=&size=1&l=e

Sadr Rejects SOFA
“I repeat my demand to the occupier to leave our land without keeping bases or signing agreements. If they keep bases, then I would support honorable resistance”. . . . Without an extension of the [UN] resolution or a separate agreement with the Iraqis, American troops would have to cease operations.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/15/world/middleeast/15iraq.html?ref=world

What Would SOFA’s Defeat Mean?
If it fails, U.S. forces will have to halt operations in Iraq at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, unless the U.N. mandate could be extended beforehand.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraqqa18-2008nov18,0,4929149.story

What Will Happen When the Occupation Really Ends?
If the occupier leaves, I won’t exaggerate and say there will be peace from one day to the next, no. There will still be problems. But we will be able to contain our problems. We, the Iraqis, will be able to work towards solving them one by one, together, without another power creating problems for us.
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/922/re9.htm

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PALESTINE

Israel Escalates Crisis in Gaza
“This is an illegal collective punishment. There is a shortage of medicines in the hospitals, and the cutting of electricity is further pushing the situation deeper toward a crisis.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/14/AR2008111401112.html

Olmert Threatens Gaza With Another All-Out Attack
In the view of Ehud Olmert, the outgoing Israeli prime minister, it is not a matter of whether full-scale hostilities resume, but when.
http://www.economist.com/world/mideast-africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12609936

Why Gaza?
[T]he growing catastrophe being unleashed on Gaza is only indirectly related to Hamas’s rise to power and the rocket attacks. Of more concern to Israel is what each of these developments represents: a refusal on the part of Gazans to abandon their resistance to Israel’s continuing occupation.
http://www.thenational.ae/article/20081116/FOREIGN/696678962/1011/SPORT

How Long Can Obama Charm the Arab World?
This is where Obama’s lyrical prose meets the gruff calculus of the police state.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-essay16-2008nov16,0,3750642.story

P.A. is Israel’s Second Fiddle
Many ordinary Palestinians have begun calling the PA security forces omala, or Israeli collaborators.
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m48781&hd=&size=1&l=e

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VETS

Newest Veterans Hit Hard by Economic Crisis
“You fill out a job application and you can’t write ‘long-range reconnaissance and sniper skills.’ ”
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/us/18vets.html?hp

Report to Congress: Gulf War Syndrome is Real
Gulf War syndrome is real and still afflicts nearly a quarter of the 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1991 conflict.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-gulfwar18-2008nov18,0,7557540.story

Audio Documentary: Major General Smedley Butler, USMC
Major General Smedley Butler served his country for 34 years, yet he spoke against American armed intervention into the affairs of sovereign nations.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4377.htm

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DOMESTIC REPRESSION & INJUSTICE

Who Would Obama pick for the Supreme Court?
It is not clear that Obama hopes to put the kind of person on the court that Aron and other liberals are dreaming about.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-courtobama17-2008nov17,0,6924032.story

Obama Election Spurs Race Crimes Around Country
Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting “Assassinate Obama.” Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iEyLuiVkdd-f1RM5wnoR0kF4WbvgD94FQJKG0

Post-Guantanamo: A New Detention Law?
Even some liberals are arguing that to deal realistically with terrorism, the new administration should seek Congressional authority for preventive detention of terrorism suspects deemed too dangerous to release even if they cannot be successfully prosecuted.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/15/washington/15gitmo.html?hp

Early Test for Obama on Domestic Spying
Obama, as president, may be more willing to accept the broadened presidential powers that he once condemned as a candidate, particularly since Congress has approved expanded surveillance powers for the government.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/washington/18nsa.html?hp

Obama v. Immigrants
[G]iven that Obama has supported the building of the border fence and a strong employee verification policy, immigration enforcement may actually deepen.
http://counterpunch.org/barry11142008.html