Desmond Tutu, the South African Nobel laureate, called for an end to the "abominable" Israeli blockade of Gaza yesterday and condemned a "culture of impunity" on both sides of the conflict.
Tutu was in Gaza on a three-day mission, sent by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the deaths of 18 Palestinians from a single family, who were killed by a wave of Israeli artillery shells in Beit Hanoun in November 2006. Tutu said he was in a "state of shock" after seeing Gaza and taking detailed witness testimony from survivors of the incident.
"We saw a forlorn, deserted, desolate and eerie place," he said. "The entire situation is abominable. We believe that ordinary Israeli citizens would not support this blockade, this siege, if they knew what it really meant to ordinary people like themselves." The international community was also at fault, he said, for its "silence and complicity".
-This story from The Guardian. The NY Times, of course, is part of of the silence and complicity. It didn't carry this story at all, although other statements by Desmond Tutu about violence in South Africa were covered.
FORMER US president Jimmy Carter today claimed Europe should be "embarrassed" by the way it had allowed Israel to treat Palestine. Mr Carter used a visit to Wales to spell out how he thinks Britain can help bring peace to the Middle East.
Speaking on a visit to the Hay Festival, the Democrat, who led Americans from 1977 to 1981, said: “They should be encouraging the formation of a unity government that includes (Palestinian political parties) Hamas and Fatah.
“They should be encouraging Hamas to have a ceasefire in Gaza alone as a first step, with Israel as it has announced in the past it wanted to.”
He added: "It's a horrible punishment of them and to see Europe go along with this, I think is embarrassing. It should be embarrassing. There's no reason to treat people this way."
-This story is from IC Wales in the UK. Carter's statements about Gaza are completely ignored by the NY Times. Two references to Carter were made recently in the NY Times, but both refer to the history of Camp David. The Israeli lobby works hand in hand with America's premier newspaper, making sure you don't hear about Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians.
GENEVA - As the 61st annual World Health Assembly gathers in Geneva this week, a major issue that the world’s governments are struggling with is patents on medicines, and whether the option to digress from a strict patent system should be endorsed by the United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO).
The United States is the sole country obstructing the ability of the WHO to push for a more flexible intellectual property system, according to several sources. This issue is being negotiated at the WHO’s Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG).
According to the WHO’s website, “developing countries remain largely excluded from the benefits of modern science.” IGWG’s mandate is “to prepare a global strategy and plan of action on essential health research to address conditions affecting developing countries disproportionately.”
-The NY Times, a staunch defender of US pharmaceutical companies, didn't carry this story.
This week the Guardian broke the news that an upcoming report from Reprieve (human rights organization) documents the use of as many as 17 American warships as floating prisons to hold detainees in the “war on terror”. The report apparently documents not only descriptions of detentions at sea from released Guantánamo detainees, most of whom presumably were held in the early days of the “war on terror”, but also more recent detentions on US warships, particularly in the Horn of Africa, a current hot spot for disappearances carried out by the US military and intelligence agencies.
The report also claims that in the last two years there have been several hundred renditions — another practice thought to have ceased after President Bush declared an end to it in 2006.
-When this story finally breaks in the US, it will not be because of the NY Times, which has refused to run this story.