Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Guardian today - Australia edition

View in browser
Sign up to our Morning Mail Sign up now »
A daily wrap of what's happening, stories we love and the latest news, sent early in the morning. Click here to sign up to our Morning Mail
the guardian today - Australia edition
Wednesday 07 Sep 2016
The Guardian logo
Headlines More »
Report reveals 13.6% of Australia's 385m hectares of agricultural land is foreign-owned, with two-thirds of the 52.1m hectares in UK or US hands
Special report More »
For more than a decade, the school has run a revitalisation program for the traditional language of the Nunggubuyu people
Sport More »
Culture More »
Comment is free More »
Life and style More »
Technology More »
Science More »
Environment More »
Video More »
Most viewed in last 24 hours More »
Sometimes teachers see children's anxieties or difficult behaviour and have a pretty clear idea where it comes from
The Guardian
Sport Culture Comment is free
Get more Guardian emails
Manage your email preferences

One-click unsubscribe
You are receiving this email because you are a Guardian Today - Australia edition subscriber.

Guardian News & Media Limited - a member of Guardian Media Group PLC. Registered Office: Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU. Registered in England No. 908396

NASA Digest, Vol 40, Issue 3

  September 06, 2016 
RELEASE 16-091
NASA Awards Grants to Inspire Mars Generation of Explorers, Scientists

NASA is awarding approximately $3 million in grants to three informal education organizations to help inspire the next generation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers as the agency progresses on its Journey to Mars.

The selected organizations are:

  • Girlstart, Inc., of Austin, Texas
  • NASA Wallops Visitor Center in Wallops Island, Virginia
  • Wings of Eagles Discovery Center in Horseheads, New York

The selected projects will create a new Mars exploration exhibit, offer educator professional development on space science topics and engineering technology, pilot Mars-themed lesson plans in regional school districts, expand regional afterschool and summer camp opportunities, and develop community programs related to space exploration.

"Museums and out-of-school time providers are in a unique position to provide STEM engagement through hands-on experiences," said Roosevelt Johnson, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Office of Education in Washington. "NASA supports experiences that engage with STEM topics in personally meaningful ways."

The proposals were selected through a peer-review process for NASA's Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers Plus Other Opportunities. In June, NASA announced the first nine proposals selected from the 73 applications received through this opportunity. The newly-selected projects range in value from approximately $600,000 to $1.25 million. Organizations will implement their proposals over the next one to five years, depending on their project.

Projects selected this year will extend the reach of these organizations across the United States through partnerships with other museums, K-12 and higher education institutions, hospitals and industry to create exhibits, educational programming and curriculum, and immersive multi-media and hands-on, inquiry-based activities. The goal of these efforts is to enhance critical-thinking skills, engineering and science literacy, and prepare the next generation for careers in STEM fields. Many projects will focus on providing opportunities to youth in populations that are historically underrepresented in STEM professions.

The selected organizations will collaborate with NASA's Museum Alliance, a nationwide network of informal education professionals at more than 700 science museums, planetariums, Challenger Centers, youth-serving organizations, camps, libraries, nature centers, aquariums, zoos and visitor centers at NASA facilities, observatories and parks. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, created and manages the Museum Alliance for the agency.

For more information on the 2015 Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers Plus Other Opportunities, visit:


For more information on NASA's education programs, visit:


NASA's Record-breaking Astronaut, Crewmates Safely Return to Earth

Astronaut Jeff Williams of NASA and cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, safely returned to Earth after completing a 172-day mission aboard the International Space Station.

Credits: NASA TV


After safely returning Sept. 6, 2016 from his latest mission to the International Space Station, veteran NASA astronaut Jeff Williams now has spent 534 days in space, making him first on the all-time NASA astronaut list.

Credits: NASA TV

NASA astronaut and Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams returned to Earth Tuesday after his U.S. record-breaking mission aboard the International Space Station.

Williams and his Russian crewmates Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, landed in their Soyuz TMA-20M at 9:13 p.m. EDT southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan (7:13 a.m. Sept. 7, local time).

Having completed his fourth mission, Williams now has spent 534 days in space, making him first on the all-time NASA astronaut list. Skripochka now has 331 days in space on two flights, while Ovchinin spent 172 days in space on his first.

"No other U.S. astronaut has Jeff's time and experience aboard the International Space Station. From his first flight in 2000, when the station was still under construction, to present day where the focus is science, technology development and fostering commercialization. Jeff even helped prepare the space station for future dockings of commercial spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Crew Program," said Kirk Shireman, ISS Program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "We're incredibly proud of what Jeff has accomplished off the Earth for the Earth."

Williams was instrumental in preparing the station for the future arrival of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft. The first International Docking Adapter was installed during a spacewalk by Williams and fellow NASA astronaut Kate Rubins Aug. 19. Outfitted with a host of sensors and systems, the adapter's main purpose is to connect spacecraft bringing astronauts to the station in the future. Its first users are expected to be Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, now in development in partnership with NASA.

During his time on the orbital complex, Williams ventured outside the confines of the space station for a second spacewalk with Rubins to retract a spare thermal control radiator and install two new high-definition cameras. 

Together, the Expedition 48 crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity's only orbiting laboratory.

The crew members also welcomed five cargo spacecraft during their stay. Williams was involved in the grapple of Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft in March, the company's fourth commercial resupply mission, and SpaceX's eighth Dragon spacecraft cargo delivery in April, and welcomed a second Dragon delivery in July. Two Russian ISS Progress cargo craft also docked to the station in April and July delivering tons of supplies.

Expedition 49 continues operating the station with Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos in command. He, Rubins, and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will operate the station for more than two weeks until the arrival of three new crew members.

Shane Kimbrough of NASA and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos are scheduled to launch Sept. 23, U.S. time, from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Check out the full NASA TV schedule and video streaming information at:


Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crews, at:


Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram and Twitter at:




Women's Boat Sets Sail | 'Activism' & Refugees | From Gaza to Blixa Bargeld | Mission Failure Review | Freedom Bribe | More ..

www.PalestineChronicle.com -  Sep. 06, 2016
In This Issue
To Make It Till End of October, We Need a Push
FEATURED: 'Activism' and Its Consequences: Syrian Refugees Are Not Subjects for a Social Media Gallery (Ramzy Baroud)
FEATURED: An Open Letter from Gaza to Blixa Bargeld and Teho Teardo: Don't Normalize Apartheid
BOOK REVIEW: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era (Jim Miles)
FEATURED NEWS: Paying Bribes to Exit Gaza is Big Business

We greatly appreciate your support. Please click HERE
to help. The Palestine Chronicle is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible.

Your contribution to the Palestine Chronicle is extremely necessary in order to allow it to stay afloat. You are the link needed between us and promoting the truth.
Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
Palestine Chronicle   
The Palestine Chronicle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the general public by providing a forum that strives to highlight issues of relevance to human rights, national struggles, freedom and democracy in the form of daily news, commentary, features, book reviews, photos, art, and more.
Join Our Mailing List
To Make It Till End of October, We Need a Push
Please Spare A Few Dollars and Show Your Support of This Thriving Palestine Media

Friends of the Palestine Chronicle, 

The past few months have seen a tremendous increase in the Palestine Chronicle readership. No doubt, our articles are not only of a superior standard, but also on the cutting edge of the latest news. 

You can continue to be at the forefront of news converge by supporting the Palestine Chronicle. Your contributions are what makes us one of the leading news agencies on Palestine.

The Palestine Chronicle is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible.

To make a contribution using your paypal account or credit card,

Or kindly send your contribution to:
PO Box 196
Mountlake Terrace
WA, 98043

'Activism' and Its Consequences: Syrian Refugees Are Not Subjects for a Social Media Gallery

By Ramzy Baroud 
The Italian 'activist' was keen on that photo, as if her social media activism career was dependent on it. As if the misery of the poor Syrian child was not palpable enough in his dejected face and his rash-infested skin, she wanted to define a point of absolute misery for a perfect Instagram photo.
So she handed him a bucket filled with rocks collected from the arid Jordanian desert, not far away from the Syria border. He carried the heavy rocks and posed for the photo.
The boy, along with his family, and many others lived in tents in the middle of nowhere. The refugee camp was deemed 'informal'. It received no water, electricity and not even regular supplies of food, however meagre. The refugees subsisted on what drivers racing at ridiculous speed on a nearby highway would toss their way.
But malnutrition was not the only enemy. No water also meant no washing, and skin diseases is something the Syrian refugees in the informal refugee camp all had in common.
To keep the tents in their intended location, the refugees had positioned buckets filled with rocks atop the wooden poles, thus keeping the tattered tents in place, especially during the gusts of violent sandstorms.
The 'activists' took their fill of photos with no particular purpose, aside from exhibiting their peculiar brand of solidarity, which often finds its way to social media platforms, accompanied with seemingly fitting emoticons and generalized, empty truisms: "Please do something," followed by the emoticon that denotes feelings of anger or, "the children need us," followed by the emoticon conveying tears, and so on.
Expectedly, their social media friends validate the empty gestures by exalting the courage, heroism and greatness of the person who took the photo. In reality, however, the 'activists' have done nothing but aggrandized their false sense of valor, injured the dignity of the proud refugees, while selling them plenty of false hope as they continue to await salvation in the desert.
The baffled Syrian boy, who must have participated in that charade in the hope of getting a sandwich or even a piece of chocolate, carried the bucket of rocks so that the Italian 'activist' would produce a photo that was the personification of despair. And it was picture perfect, indeed, followed by a fun-filled trip to the Dead Sea and other Jordanian attractions.
When a friend of mine, who was enraged by the dehumanizing display, conveyed the scene on to me, I was equally distressed, but not entirely surprised. I am all too familiar with that kind of 'activism'. I was assaulted by it as a child in Palestinian refugee camps, was repulsed by it as a young reporter in Iraq and Lebanon and warned against it as a writer in later years.
This scene happened only a few days ago but, actually, it is a recurring reality, where 'activists' - westerners, especially - seek in the Middle East (and all over the world) a respite from their consumerism-driven, often uneventful world. They view their relationships with humanitarian crises as saviors, carrying the 'White Man's burden' wherever they go, yet always aware, if not proud, of their privilege and their sense of superiority.
While there, indeed, exist true humanitarians with a clear purpose and an unmistakable sense of mission and little self-promotion, there are many others who have no identifiable purpose, aside from a fleeting interest, a sense of adventure, and an opportunity to unburden themselves from the nagging guilt.
They know well that the roots of conflict in the Middle East stems from 19th and 20th century colonialism. More recently, they know that the US war on Iraq has destroyed that country and destabilized the whole region for decades to come. They are fully aware of the horrendous implications of western interventionism - including those sold as 'humanitarian' interventions - on Libya and Syria and other countries in recent years. The ongoing tragedy in Yemen, which is advertised in the media as a solely internal Arab conflict, is also rooted in the American so-called 'war on terror', which shattered the country to pieces and undermined its internal cohesion.
But, for many, this is too messy, too complicated, and 'too political.' It is far easier to declare oneself an 'activist' and snap a thousand photos which parade victims of war in total isolation from one's own moral responsibility.
Personal and collective 'moral responsibility' is a risky notion, for it invites more than ambiguous feelings of 'guilt' that misleadingly spread responsibility for war equally among all; instead, it propels a moral stance, mobilization, political pressure and direct action.
Many have given 'activism' such a bad name that the word itself has now become devoid of meaning.
Some use 'activism' as a platform to serve pre-existing political and ideological notions, unable to truly grow out of the limited confines of ideas which are mostly governed by groupthink, but never by true experience.
For them, the self-bestowed title 'activist', is self-validating and is often used to shut out those who dare to have opposing views.
Others position themselves as saviors - for example, saving the children of the Middle East - but would shy away from ever articulating a bold political stance against their own governments and their own culpabilities in ongoing wars and tragedies.
Although they might not be constantly aware of it, such 'activists' hold on to the legacy of Rudyard Kipling's poem 'The White Man's Burden':
"Take up the White Man's burden, Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives' need."
They are utterly blind to their own transgressions and perceive their victims in an apolitical vacuum, or as victims of their own wrong-doing.
Humanitarianism is not a photo op: it is not an adventure; it is not a vacation; it is not a stress or guilt reliever; it should not be an expression of cultural hegemony or driven by a sense of superiority, and must refrain from selling false hope.
A true humanitarian activist is one who is able to make a tangible difference in the lives of others - focused, sensitive to cultural sensibilities, compelled by a tug of moral responsibility, able to read political contexts and daring enough to hold accountable those responsible for war and other collective tragedies.
Chances are the Syrian child with the bucket full of rocks had his photo exhibited to the delight of many other social media 'activists'.
Yet chances are, he is still hungry and waiting.
(Italian writer Romana Rubeo contributed to this article.)
- Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His books include "Searching Jenin", "The Second Palestinian Intifada" and his latest "My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story". His website is www.ramzybaroud.net.


An Open Letter from Gaza to Blixa Bargeld and Teho Teardo: Don't Normalize Racism


The Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI) is aggrieved to hear that you are going to perform in Apartheid Israel. We are writing to you from the Besieged Gaza Strip to express what your decision to perform in Israel means to us Palestinians, the victims of the most powerful army in the Middle East.
You might not be aware of the ethnic cleansing that the Israeli regime has been carrying out against us for the past 68 years. We have been violently expelled from our land and have been suffering from the 10 years long brutal and medieval siege imposed on us by air, land and sea. The renowned Israeli historian, Ilan Pappé, called it an "incremental genocide".
You must be aware that we are still recovering from the Israeli massacre of 2014 when the Israeli F16s, Merkhava Tanks, Elbit Drones and Gunships, which permanently dominate our skies and horizons, murdered over 550 of our children in 50 days. Over 2200 people were killed, 10000 injured and the siege that continued afterwards meant that many needlessly lost their lives since then from injuries and illness.
Most of us in Gaza, one of the most crowded places on the planet, are deprived of our freedom of movement; we are not allowed to cross the borders. Simply, we are imprisoned in our own lands. At the same time, within Israel's borders, Israeli Jews have the right to live where they please whereas Palestinians do not have that choice of mobility due to segregation and exclusion of property rights. Doesn't that remind you of Apartheid?
Even music has not been an option for many, as musical instruments are one of the many items banned by the Israeli blockade. You might understand what a blockade means to us when a guitar or a violin was for years considered a banned item for Gaza.
In the West Bank itself, as Israel chews up more land, they build the Apartheid Wall right through our villages, more than 500 Israeli checkpoints protect illegally built Israeli settlements on the ruins of our houses, bulldozed or blown up to clear what they consider the undesired "ethnic group" for the Israeli expansionist project. There are even over 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens.
After decades of fruitless negotiation during which Israel accelerated the colonization of our land, we have called for the boycott of the Israeli regime until our refugees can go home, until the military occupation ends, until we Palestinians get equal rights, equal liberty and equal justice - hardly utopian demands.
Many courageous artists, musicians, actors and writers across the world have refused to entertain apartheid such as The Klaxons and Gorillaz, Elvis Costello, Moddi, Annie Lennox, John Berger, Adrienne Rich, Massive Attack, Faithless, Gill Scot-Heron, Devendra Banart, Moddi, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Meg Ryan, Arundati Roy, and around 564 Irish artists and 100 Norwegian academics and intellectuals, in addition to the South African Artists Against Apartheid. Therefore, your performance in Tel Aviv will by contrast be legitimizing Israel's constant and systematic tyranny towards the Palestinian people. In the same way governments supported the Afrikaner regime, this movement for justice had to begin with civil society and people of conscience.
We are asking you to not side with the oppressor by performing in Tel Aviv on September 15. Don't let your music normalize the racist brutality and the ethnic cleansing Palestinians suffer from day in day out under the control of the Israeli Apartheid regime. Instead, let your music stand on the right side of history. If you do so, you will look back with a clean conscience when the day arrives that we Palestinians are granted the same human rights as anyone else.
- A collective of students in Gaza has formed Palestinian Students Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI). These students are seeking to expand their collaboration and participation in events and activities with solidarity activists at international universities. Learn more.

America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era - Book Review

Reviewed by Jim Miles 

(Mission Failure - America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era. Michael Mandelbaum.  Oxford University Press, New York, 2016.)

If the reader is looking for the 'indispensable' nation and its 'exceptionalism', this is the book for you.  Michael Mandelbaum, whose credentials include a PhD in Political Science from Harvard (which speaks volumes about initial bias in itself) and writes in association with another true believer - Thomas Friedman of the New York Times - wrote Mission Failure as an acknowledgement that U.S. foreign policy has failed in some areas, but not because it was their fault.  The 'fault' lines I have to qualify, as he does accept blame for NATO's expansion eastward as a mistake, but counters as if it is the dictatorship and aggressiveness of Russia that truly mattered.
It is, essentially, the mainstream media message concerning the United States and current events mainly from the Clinton era through to the Russian "invasion" of Ukraine.  The arguments presented have many faults that anyone reading alternate materials - rather than those derived from CNN, FOX, or any other U.S. corporate based media production - could recognize.
The big one, the mind numbing one, the oftly reiterated one (as if the Big Lie, when told often enough, becomes the truth) is that U.S. intentions are always good, and that all that was intended was to establish democracy and freedom throughout the world.  Fine and noble sentiments but essentially all rhetoric and hubris covering over the quest for global hegemony for other ignored reasons.
The work starts with China and Russia, then transfers over to the Middle East, then returns to China and Russia at the end. The mission in China was human rights, followed by capitalism leading towards democracy (always the conflation of the decidedly non-democratic structures of capitalism with the promotion of democracy - probably taught at Harvard poli-sci).  In China the policy failed "Because the United States did not have the power to enforce it."  Well of course, China has nuclear weapons and would use them to defend itself - as well as owning a large segment of U.S. debt and harboring many U.S. corporate endeavors.
With Russia the writing concerns its opening up under Yeltsin and then its aggressive, hostile and non-democratic stance under the evil Putin. In reference to NATO, Mandelbaum establishes his only realistic acceptance of U.S. screwups. "Russia accepted NATO expansion because it had no choice [short of nuclear war]," and "for no gain at all" the "NATO expansion [was] one of the greatest blunders in the history of American foreign policy."
After reading the first parts of the book I had almost given up and decided it was not worth reading, but after this statement I continued on. There was no redemption. The writing continued in its very narrow sighted scope of interpretation (very similar in style to Friedman's) with the fault for the problems always being the other guy.
It is not worth referencing many of the canards, dissimulations, conflations, and outright lies that abound in the book.  What is noteworthy, as usual, is what is not presented.
"Western Interests"
Mandelbaum does discuss briefly the Washington consensus institutions such as the IMF, WTO, World Bank, et al, but never digs deep enough to consider that they are an essential part of the U.S.  corporate-military drive towards global hegemony (recall Friedman's "hidden glove" of the military protecting U.S. interest abroad - at least he had that part right). That need/desire for power comes from these institutions doing their best to protect the sanctity of the US$ as the global fiat reserve currency.  There is no discussion of this and its relationship with the Saudis and that the global trade in oil - re the petrodollar - is done via the US.
Nor is there any mention of the ideas presented in John Perkins "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" (Berrett-Koehler Publishers (Nov. 9, 2004)) concerning how these institutions attempted and mostly succeeded into bringing many countries into the world of debt (and thus control) being owed to the central monetary powers of the west (and such "western interests" as frequently stated by Mandelbaum without truly being defined).
Another good read along this line should be Michael Hudson's "Killing the Host" (CounterPunch, August 26, 2015)) that outlines how the current financial structures supersede sovereignty and control the countries of the world through debt obligations. Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" (Vintage/Random House, 2007) examines the highly predatory negative impacts of corporate/financial doctrines around the world.
In other words, "western interests" are very poorly aligned with freedom and democracy and much more in tune with corporate/military/political hegemony for the ruling small percentage of those in power generally behind the scenes.
Tribalism et al
Mandelbaum's writing concerning the greater Middle East takes a different angle.  For this large area the main problem is the backwardness, the clannish nature, the religious differences, and the tribalism that permeates the region. I will always find it ironic that many western writers deride Arab tribalism when Michael Oren, former ambassador to the U.S., takes pride in his Jewish "tribe."
This of course makes the Arabs unsuitable for the noble quest of national reform towards democracy and free markets. What is not discussed is, partly as above, the quest for global hegemony based on the petrodollar.
But here it spreads out into a denial of anything critical of Israel. Perhaps Mandelbaum does not wish to lose his tenure or withstand any criticism about what could be criticized about Israel, but he accepts wholeheartedly the mainstream Israeli narrative about the country being the only democracy in the Middle East. There is little discussion of the historical setting for Israel and what is presented is a conflation implying causation (e.g. the UN Partition Plan idea, being followed by a statement about Israel fighting for independence as if the former was a legal basis for the latter - which it isn't).
As always in similar indispensable/exceptional discourses, Israel is a democracy and a "shining light" for the region. The history of settler-colonialism is not discussed, nor does its ongoing pattern of settlement and repression within the remnant Palestinian territories.  And as always Hamas is the super bad guy that won the election but then attacked Fatah to retain the Gaza strip as their domain. More lies, more dissimulation of Israeli and US activities.
Also within this context, the main discussion for Mandelbaum focusses on the so called "peace process" as a US foreign policy failure, but again only because the Arabs were a recalcitrant, reluctant, tribal bunch of ignorant people not ready for democracy and freedom.  What is missing of course is the whole history of colonial conquests from the Ottomans through to the European divisions of the area into areas of interest and influence, setting the stage for many of today's problems in the region.
A wide set of readings that discusses the true situation in the Middle East should include anything by Ilan Pappe, Neve Gordon, Jonathan Cook, Robert Fisk, Miko Peled, Tanya Rinehart, Noam Chomsky among many others.
Covert Operations
Another large miss in this work is the lack of any look at U.S. covert operations, either through the CIA/NSA networks or through various NGO networks of the kind funded by George Soros. These covert actions are global and range from military actions to staged protests and economic influence peddling. Further reading in this area should include Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard" (Basic Books; 1St Edition, September 18, 1998) outlining a plan for global domination by the U.S. More reading should include something from the Project for a New American Century, "Rebuilding America's Defences," written by a variety of neocons, pro-Israeli chicken hawks that included expectations of a "new Pearl Harbor".
There are many other authors that discuss and highlight U.S. intentions for 'full spectrum dominance' within a new "pax Americana," Andrew J. Bacevich being one of the more authoritative, with several books on the "American empire" in print.
All of the above
When examining U.S. global enterprises, all of the above considerations need and must to come into consideration. Global currency/economic policies, military overt and covert operations, political determinations of global dominance, the historical context of empirical projects, sequestering of resources, and the power of the elites: all need to be considered as warp and woof of the same fabric - U.S. global domination and supremacy.
Democracy and freedom make wonderful domestic fodder, and are good mainstream media fodder for foreign governments fallen into a state of sycophancy towards the U.S. (the "western interests").  The reality behind U.S. failures stems not from a rejection of these ideas in particular, but in a rejection of the U.S. as a global militarized hegemon.  Democracy and freedom cannot arrive from the barrel of a gun, nor from the pork-barrel of the Washington consensus.
Mandelbaum's Mission Failure is a failed mission.  To those only familiar with mainstream news, and/or those who are looking for quotable quotes to misrepresent their preconceived notions of U.S. supremacy, this would be a good read.
If after this you decide to read it, then try also the other authors indicated (and there are many more) for - not a "balanced" picture, as that is a mainstream meme - for a critical, analytical, and much more accurate view of the imperial hegemon.
- Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor and columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles' work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.


Paying Bribes to Exit Gaza is Big Business

Egyptian officers are asking for bribes of up to $10,000 from Palestinians in Gaza desperate to leave the besieged coastal enclave, as reported by Gaza brokers who coordinate the bribe payments, former Palestinian border officials and travelers.

Typically, an adult in Gaza must pay a bribe of $3,000 to get permission from Egypt to cross the border, two Palestinian brokers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al-Jazeera. The brokers said that they took a 20 percent cut of the bribe, sending 80 percent to the Egyptian soldier or officer who coordinated the travel.
Sometimes, Egyptian officers put the names of Palestinians on a blacklist, declaring them to be a "security threat", both brokers said. The list forbids entrance to Egypt for those whose names are on it, but a $10,000 payment can have it removed.
The brokers added that occasionally, the Egyptians want bribes paid in goods, not cash.
"Sometimes, they want iPhones or even gold," said one of the brokers, known in Gaza as the "King of the Border" for his ability to get almost anyone into Egypt.
During a two-hour interview at his Gaza City office, this broker received six phone calls from people asking him for help getting into Egypt.
The willingness to pay such high fees to leave Gaza may reflect residents' desperation to escape the coastal enclave, which has endured three major Israeli military operations since 2008, leaving the most densely populated place on earth in ruins.
Gaza's infrastructure is so damaged that a United Nations report last year predicted that, if current trends persist, the enclave would become "uninhabitable" by 2020.
There are about 30,000 cases of people in Gaza needing to urgently travel abroad for humanitarian reasons, many in order to obtain medical care, Gisha spokesperson Shai Grunberg told Al Jazeera.
Allegations of corruption at the Egyptian border crossing are nothing new.
A former high-ranking Hamas official who worked for the Hamas Crossings Authority, which oversees the Rafah terminal, confirmed to Al-Jazeera that such bribe-taking occurs frequently, and that the business has become "a real money-maker".
Over the course of only two days last year, when he was working at the Rafah border, the official said that nearly half a million dollars in bribes were paid by 150 Palestinians in exchange for permission to travel to Egypt.
PLS48 Website recently cited Hamas officials as saying that Egyptian officers working at the Rafah crossing during a two-day opening in May had insisted that Palestinians who had paid hefty bribes be allowed to cross the border before those who had not. The Egyptians went so far as to shut down the passenger terminal for seven hours until their demands were met, Hamas officials said.
In addition, in 2009, the Associated Press reported that Gaza residents were paying Palestinian middlemen to facilitate their entrance to both Israel and to Egypt, often by obtaining fake documents claiming they had life-threatening diseases.
The Rafah crossing has become a lifeline for Gaza, Grunberg said: "It's basically Gaza's channel to the rest of the world."
(Al-Jazeera, PC)

The Palestine Chronicle is an independent online newspaper that provides daily news, commentary, features, book reviews, photos, art, etc, on a variety of subjects. However, it's largely focused on Palestine, Israel, and the Middle East region. The Palestine Chronicle is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. To contact the editor, submit an article or any other material, please write to: editor@palestinechronicle.com. For other inquiries write to: info@palestinechronicle.com.

The Palestine Chronicle, PO Box 196, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043
Sent by info@palestinechronicle.com in collaboration with
Constant Contact