Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Notations On Our World (Weekly Edition): On Breaking the Silence

For this week, our team chose this we received from a very courageous group of individuals who have tried to truly "Break the Silence".    We salute them:

Dear friends,
We are writing to update you about events that took place over the weekend during our tour of the South Hebron Hills.

This past Friday, we conducted an educational tour of the South Hebron Hills. The aim of the tour was, as always, to see the reality of the occupation and learn about it, as well as to show our support for the Taayush activists who were violently attacked by settlers in the outpost of Mitzpe Yair, the previous weekend. About 120 people from all over Israel joined the tour, and dozens of organizations, public figures, and Members of Knesset all lent their voices of support to it. The tour, however, was cut short when security forces blocked us from our regular lookout point next to the Mitzpe Yair outpost. They also arrested and detained Avner Gvaryahu, our Executive Director; Achiya Schatz, our Director of Communications; and Michael Sfard, our legal advisor and a renowned human right lawyer, for three hours. 
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'Watch the arrest of Breaking the Silence's activists
So what happened exactly?
As we made our way to the Hebron area, we were stopped by security forces, who issued a “reduction order” (that is, an official order whose goal is to decrease the number of people in a given area), intended to prevent our tours from taking place. We soon realized that the order applied not only to our buses traveling to the South Hebron Hills. It also affected another one of our buses heading to a tour in the city of Hebron (which was coordinated, as always, with the necessary authorities) and an additional bus of another organization, All That’s Left, which was on its way to Umm il-Kheir. Because of this, and since this type of order is incredibly rare, we are left to assume that the order was meant to reduce the movement and presence of leftists alone.

After we spoke with the security forces and convinced them that there was no justification for issuing such an order, each bus was permitted to proceed, and the tour to Hebron continued as planned. The tour to the South Hebron Hills continued on to a visit in Susya with Nasser Nawaj'a, a resident of the village, and from there we headed to the lookout point next near Mitzpe Yair - the same spot where activists from Taayush were violently attacked the previous week. This lookout point has been a regular feature of our tours for many years, and since we had been in touch with the brigade and had not been told at any stage that our route needed to be changed, we continued in that direction as part of our usual path.

As we drove up the road leading to the outpost, we were blocked by a Border Police jeep. Within minutes, we were presented with a “closed military zone” order, signed by the brigade commander. We were given one minute to evacuate a group of 120 participants, some of whom weren't so young. When we asked for more time to get everyone on the buses, the arrests started. 
MK Mossi Raz: “It was sad to see the army working for the settlers, and it was sad to accompany my friends who were arrested until their release a few hours later. It was sad to realize that in the territories there are three legal systems: one for settlers, a different one for Palestinians, and a third for leftists. It is sad to see individual liberties shrinking, freedom of thought disappearing, and our democracy destroyed. What started in the occupied territories will surely end up seeping into Israel.”
Former Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair: "Two people from Breaking the Silence and Attorney Michael Sfard have been detained. The lieutenant colonel refuses to release them and won’t speak with me. [...] This is not the Israel Defense Forces. This is the Settlements Defense Forces. And all of this - from our tax money. It is very interesting that the army and the Border Police did not demonstrate such efficiency last weekend in defending the members of Taayush, who were severely beaten by the “innocent people” of Mitzpe Yair, in the presence of the army.”

As was reported in the media, the arrests were aimed at the leaders of the tour, which reinforced our suspicion that they were innitially meant to sabotage the tour. Despite this all, the tour did not stop. The participants wanted to stay and hear more about the reality of the occupation in the South Hebron Hills. While waiting for the detainees, they had the opportunity to hear from Taayush activist Dr. Amiel Vardi, who shared his knowledge of the area and also spoke about the attack he experienced the previous weekend. Later, as an expression of solidarity and support for the detainees, many of the participants came along with us to pick them up from the police station. Upon arriving at the police station, Avner, Achiya, and Michael had been told that they were in fact not arrested but rather detained, and that there was no immediate need for investigations or arrests. They were then told to return in a month and a half for further investigation. 
We would like to thank J StreetT'ruahYachadINN, and other organizations and individuals that support us. 
As Avner Gvaryahu stated, we have no intention to give up, and we will continue to hold our tours in the South Hebron Hills and expose the public to the reality of the occupation. Unlike the Hebron brigade commander, we refuse to cave in to settler violence and to surrender to their intimidation, incitement, and violence directed against those who oppose the immoral reality of the occupied territories. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On #Brexit; #Putin & Other Thoughts....

As a new Week Dawns, our team chose a selection of the headlines of the Past Week on Brexit, the Far East Economic Summit, the Climate Change Summit in California  along with a blast from the Past: 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Notations On Our World (Special Friday Edition): Out & About in Our World....

As the battle for Syria continues,  our team captured this courtesy of the team at Radio Farda (part of the Voice of America Network) depiciting the Ayatollah Khameini, Vladimir Putin and Bashar Asad being backed up by the Commander of the Quds Force, Ghasem Solemaini as Syria lies in Ruins and people continue to die especially as strikes against the rebel enclave of Idlib has begun.  This is as we leave you with this snapshot in line with our mission to bring alternative perspectives of our World:

Kavanaugh Probably Lied Under Oath, But is Still Heading Towards Confirmation
During his confirmation hearings in 2004, 2006, and 2018 Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was repeatedly asked about stolen documents and repeatedly denied knowing about them, despite evidence to the contrary. We speak to investigative reporter Lisa Graves

As Hurricane Florence Batters Carolinas, Media Ignores Climate Change Connection
Hurricanes are getting more powerful and more destructive because of global warming, which gives storms more energy, but as the mass media reports on the destruction, they leave out this connection. Climate scientist Kevin Trenberth explains the link

Trump Abandons All Pretense of Being a 'Fair Broker' in the Israel-Palestinian Conflict
Gideon Levy explains that the US is doing everything to disempower, humiliate and weaken Palestinian representation. Contrary to common belief, the US is not doing the State of Israel any favors

The Economy Under Trump: Business Optimism Combined with Inequality
Trump’s Chair of Economic Advisors presented a glowing analysis of how business optimism and investment boomed with Trump’s election. But what do these figures mask and how accurate are they? We take a closer look at the data with PERI’s Gerald Epstein

Argentina: In Dollars We Trust
In Argentina, with its already high inflation rate of around 30 percent, the prices for food, energy, transport and technology have become significantly more expensive recently.


Lula da Silva Attends PT Rally Campaign
Fernando Haddad will be the Brazilian Workers’ Party’s presidential candidate, replacing Lula da Silva. Brazil’s Supreme Court had disqualified frontrunner Silva last week and now the race is on to beat far-right Jair Bolsonaro. Michael Fox reports from Brazil


Are Warnings About Chemical Warfare in Syria Another 'Weapon of Mass Distraction'?
Col. Larry Wilkerson says that it was the plan of John Bolton and the neocons to take Iraq, then Syria, and then Iran. These false flag operations are all about maintaining the perpetual war in the region

Sen. Bob Graham: FBI Covered Up Role of Bandar and Saudis in 9/11 Attacks (Pt.1/2)
TRNN Replay: Senator Bob Graham, former Co-Chair of the Joint Congressional Committee investigating 9/11, says there is evidence in the “28 redacted pages” that the FBI knew of Saudi Ambassador Bandar’s links to Al Qaida terrorists before the attacks

Leaked Clips from Censored Documentary on Israel Lobby Reveal Attacks on US Activists
Excerpts of the censored Al Jazeera undercover film on the Israel lobby in the US have started to be leaked. The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah and the Grayzone Project’s Max Blumenthal explain how these clips show the Israeli government backing attacks on American pro-Palestinian activists and Black Lives Matter

Rep. Ro Khanna Denounces Support for Saudis in Yemen and Interventionist Foreign Policy
Ro Khanna addresses the war in Yemen and his new bill co-sponsored with Bernie Sanders that would force billionaires like Jeff Bezos to pay fair wages or face penalties

Far-Right Gains in Swedish Election, Continuing European Trend
The far-right and anti-immigrant party, Swedish Democrats, increase their share of the vote from 13 to 18 percent, while neither of the two major party alliances, of the center-left and of the center-right has enough votes to form a government on its own. We analyze the result with Ali Esbati, an Iranian-Swedish member of parliament

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On #ClimateChange & Other Thoughts

As Hurricane Florence wrecks Havoc on the East Coast of the United States, we wanted to praise all the first respondents on the front lines as a we also hope and aspire to a life beyond fossil fuels epitomized by what our home state, California, adopted earlier this week and what China is doing now as captured by the Daily Overview along with what can be truly possible if climate change was truly taken seriously courtesy of the team at Global Citizen: 

Scientists Just Invented a Way to Turn Sunlight Into Fuel 
Researchers have invented a new technique to produce “unlimited renewable energy” – further proving that scientists are superheroes. 
Fighting Climate Change Could Mean More Money in Your Pocket
A recently published report shows that the global economy could stand to gain $26,000,000,000,000 if climate change is taken seriously.

 We leave you with this blast from the past captured by Pete Souza as President and Mrs. Obama visited the site of the Flight 93 Crash on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 and as President Trump dedicated a new memorial yesterday on this site:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): On this #PatriotsDay2018

As we remember, we hereby present this courtesy of the team at 911Day.Org we are featuring on all our properties as we congratulate them on the rollout of their new website:


Here are 10 good deeds for 9/11.

Dear Friend of 9/11 Day,

The 17th anniversary of the September 11 attacks is now just one week away.  We hope you will again join millions of Americans who will be observing this solemn day, now the nation's largest day of service, by taking time to do just ONE good deed for 9/11. Any good deed counts!

Below are ten good ideas to help get you started.  And please share your good deed plans on social media using the hashtag #911day.  For more ideas and info, check out our brand new

Thanks for helping to turn this day of tragedy into a day of doing good!
1.    Purchase school supplies for your children’s classroom.
2.    Visit an aging relative or friend -- someone that would benefit from your company.
3.    Deliver food or cookies to your local fire or police station.
4.    (If you’re a child living at home), help your parents clean the house, do dishes, make your bed, or assist your brother or sister with their homework.
5.    Make a financial contribution to a charity, faith group, or school that matters to you.
6.    Give something away to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or another charity, such as items of clothing (in good shape) to that you don’t need, like winter coats, shoes, or eyewear. Your children can give away used toys they don’t need, like bicycles or skates they’ve outgrown.
7.    Volunteer. September is Hunger Action Awareness Month, so check out local soup kitchens, food pantries, or food banks, which provide food assistance and free meals to homeless and others. They need volunteers all the time. Also visit to search for other opportunities in your area.
8.    Donate pet food to a local animal shelter.
9.    Donate old cell phones, which often are provided to shelters for victims of domestic abuse. Many mobile phone companies accept these at their local stores.
10.    Do a good deed for yourself – you count, too – so make 9/11 the day you quit smoking, start exercising, or begin a new activity you’ve put off.

Your friends,

David Paine and Jay Winuk
Co-founders, 9/11 Day

Monday, September 10, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On @BarackObama Watch

Former President Obama broke his silence on Friday as he also visited the long-time bastion of conservatives in our own Orange County, California  to stump for Democrats-two districts being competitive (45th ((Mimi Walters)) & 48th ((Dana Rohrbacher)): 

Here is the speech in Full: 

Notations On Our World (Weekly Edition): On the W-End Prowl on the US Political Scene with @BenSasse, @ChuckTodd & Other Thougths

As we went to press, the Trump Administration was on a full court press with appearances by Vice President Pence and others to dispute the the New York Times Op-Ed Piece on the realities in the Administration with the President calling it "Treason" and asking the Justice Department to investigate it.   The appearance by the President's Counselor, Kelly Anne Conway, was classic on Meet the Press.   This is as the Confirmation for Brett Kavanaugah seems to be a foregone conclusion in spite of the attempts by the Democrats to confront the soon-to-be Justice Kavanaugh about his views of the ceding of Executive Authority to the Executive Branch.   Nikki Haley came out with a rebuttal to the Anonymous Op-Ed claiming she "challenges" the President Directly--even though the results in our view seems to be minimal at best.   The consensus was this:  Nothing new was learnt here  on the reality at hand not withstanding the spin.    One of the questions that Katy Tur of NBC News asked during was this:  If President Trump was to in fact fire anyone named in the book "Fear", who would replace him--the consensus was there were going to be very minimal people who were willing to take on the job in the aftermath of the book, FEAR, as Bob Woodward began his round of interviews.

In the meantime, though, there is a sense of profound challenges that the United States has to deal with.    The Administration's Decision to cut funding to Palestinians includes cuts to East Jerusalem hospitals which threatens their operations--on top of the decision to zero out funding to the United Nations Refugees & Workers Agency.   This is also as the US Ambassador to Israel came out saying that Israel does not have to ask US Permission to build in the West Bank.  It prompted this from one of the leading thinkers on US Policy, Aaron David Miller:

In our View, Senator Ben Sasse captured the challenges presented that we hope we can be supportive off to help change the conversation: