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02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]
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International & Futurism
02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]
02.18 Hate-Fest in Warsaw
WHICH SIDE IS MORAL?
Global Human Rights Groups Protest Slaughter in Gaza
Monday, 5 January 2009
In his weekly radio address, George Bush blamed the victims, not the aggressor. Obama was conspicuously silent on vacation in Hawaii. UN reports are that Gaza is in significant deterioration with 80% or more of the population unable to cope.On June 16, 2008, noted Israeli historian Ilan Pappe explained "The Israeli Recipe for 2008: Genocide in Gaza, Ethnic Cleaning in the West Bank." He wrote:
In his January 3 "Israel's Righteous Fury and Its Victims in Gaza" article, Pappe updates his outrage:
The Global BDS Movement
The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine) Movement demands: "Stop the Massacre in Gaza - Boycott Israel Now." From Occupied Ramallah, it reported on the bloodbath, "far more ruthless than all its predecessors," the slaughter of innocent civilians, young children going to and from school, "an act of genocide against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the occupied coastal strip. Israel seems intent to mark the end of its 60th (anniversary year) the same way it established itself - perpetuating massacres against the Palestinian people."
More than ever, the BDS Movement calls on international civil society to condemn the massacre, join its efforts to end Israel's impunity, and hold it accountable for its persistent crimes of war and against humanity.
UN General Assembly President, Miguel D'Escoto Brockman agrees, and in a recent address before the Assembly said:
Israeli writer/activist Uri Avnery founded Gush Shalom ("The Peace Bloc") in 1993 "to influence Israeli public opinion and lead it towards peace and conciliation with the Palestinian people." He calls the killing and destruction in Gaza "a vicious folly of a bankrupt government (that) let itself be dragged by adventurous officers and cheap nationalist demagoguery (into a futile conflict that) will bring no solution to any problem" - either to Israel or "besieged Gaza."
He says Israel, not Hamas, broke the truce, and the IDF followed up with "calculated raids and killings....The war in Gaza is (Ehud) Barak's elections campaign, a cynical attempt to buy votes with the blood and suffering" of Gazans.
Israeli Student Protests
The Israeli news web site Ynetnews.com highlighted student and lecturer protests over Gaza on Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem campuses. They want an end to "Operation Cast Lead," called Ehud Barak a "child killer, a murderer, (and) Barak, Barak, how many children have you murdered today?" under the slogan of "Diplomatic Terror." At times heated, they waved PLO and red flags denouncing the operation, and some shouted "In spirit and in blood we will save Palestine....Fascism lives on." Others held signs saying: "The war belongs to Olmert, the victims belong to us."
In Jerusalem, at Hebrew University's Mount Scopus, around 200 Arab Israelis and Jews shouted: "Gaza, Gaza, don't despair, we will put an end to the occupation." At Tel Aviv University, 200 students gathered outside the campus in Ramat Aviv. Police arrested three demonstrators.
Haaretz reported that they forcefully arrested six protesters in Tel Aviv at an "unauthorized demonstration" outside the Egyptian embassy. They waved PLO flags and condemned Israel. One said police attacked them with clubs, kicked them, and dragged one young woman by her head and shoulders into a patrol car.
Israeli police launched operation "Daylight" using 12,000 officers and 2400 volunteers "aimed at keeping all roads clear." They're to stifle protests and let Israel's slaughter continue unimpeded.
Gaza Professor Said Abdelwahed explains "What Gaza is like in the middle of the night:"
Israeli Human Rights Groups Protest
On January 1, B'Tselem announced that Israeli human rights groups launched a blog to provide updates on the Gaza fighting, especially the targeting of civilians. A statement read:
Since attacks began on December 27, Israeli forces unleashed terror bombings deliberately targeting civilians, including young children going to and from school. Support from Washington was one-sided with House Speaker Pelosi saying: "When Israel is attacked, the United States must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally." Not said is when Palestinians are attacked, America "stands strongly" with the aggressor.
B'Tselem protested in web site comments to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz. It denounced the bombing of dozens of houses, public buildings unrelated to military forces, and other civilian structures. International law requires that combatants distinguish between military and civilian targets, and attacking latter ones is a war crime.
The First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions defines a legitimate military target:
Attacking police stations, universities, mosques, factories, power sources, residential neighborhoods, homes, medical storage sites, a TV station, fishing boats, civilian vehicles and more complies neither with the above two conditions. They're war crimes under international law. Washington knows it. So does Israel and does it anyway - willfully to achieve maximum intimidation and weaken support for Hamas.
B'Tselem replies: "....statements by Israeli officials raise the suspicion that the army" isn't distinguishing between civilian and military targets. Olmert said: "Israel is not at war with the Palestinian people but with Hamas....the objects (Israel attacks are) selected with the emphasis on the imperative to prevent harm to innocent persons."
In a December 30 Washington Post article, IDF spokesperson Major Avital Liebowitz said: "There are many aspects to Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel." She added that the IDF widened its target list because Hamas civilian and military activities are linked. "Anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target," she said.
In other words, 1.5 million Gazans - every man, woman and child even if they're not militarily engaged. A police graduation ceremony was attacked when 42 recruits were in formation and vulnerable. Course participants were instructed in first-aid, handling public disturbances, human rights, public safety, and other procedures for maintaining public order. Israel calls them "terrorists."
Civilian government offices also were bombed, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labor, Construction and Housing. In response, the IDF announced that "Hamas governmental infrastructure and members active in the organization" are considered legitimate targets and were struck.
These are clear civilian targets unrelated to military ones, and bombing them violates international law. Israel claims striking them is permissible and consistent with international humanitarian law. That's untrue. Israel knows it, intentionally does it anyway, and by so doing commits war crimes.
International law obligates combatants to protect civilian populations. Targeting them is expressly prohibited. Israel does it anyway. It conducts terror bombings to weaken popular will and the ability of Hamas to resist, so far without success. Indications are that Hamas' popularity has grown since December 27, and many hundreds of Gazans have volunteered to become fighters. Kill one. Five others join up.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) on Attacking Medical Infrastructure and Personnel
PHR-Israel received six reports of the Israeli Air Force bombing these sites and personnel working to evacuate the wounded, including:
PHR-Israel also reports that hospitals aren't able to cope. They're overwhelmed with the injured, have run out of beds, are way short of supplies, only get 6 - 8 hours of electricity a day at most, and overusing generators breaks them down at a time no spare parts are available because of the siege.
Other Groups Protest
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHR)
Its weekly report ending December 31 called the scale of Israel's Gaza attack "unprecedented" and proceeded to list the known toll in lives and property destruction. It also referred to IDF phone calls and leaflet drops ordering people from homes prior to bombings, claiming they're legitimate military targets. Given the population density, this caused great panic and uncertainty because where can these people go. They're in the street, on rooftops, and in UNRWA schools set up as temporary shelters, but even they're not safe.
As a result, OCHR said their humanitarian operations were severely disrupted. One incident involved an IAF missile killing eight UNRWA students and wounding 19 others in front of its Gaza City Training Centre. Other strikes damaged 13 UNRWA schools and UNSCO, OCHA and FAO offices plus a WFP flour storage warehouse.
OCHR reported a lack of cash and shortages of everything it needs to function - food, fuel, electricity, medical supplies, water disinfectant materials, as well as working under fear of being targeted.
Ten Israeli Human Rights Groups on the Dire Conditions in Gaza
On January 1, they issued an urgent appeal and reported that:
"This shortage was well known to Israeli security officials because (they) caused (it) deliberately, beginning October 28, 2007, and we (the human rights organizations) repeatedly warned them of it." The current conflict exacerbates conditions that continue to deteriorate by design. Nonetheless, the group sent an urgent appeal to Israel's Defense Minister "demanding that (the military) stop draining Gaza of fuel and electricity - and restore fuel supplies to hospitals, water wells, and other vital humanitarian institutions fully and immediately." No response was received.The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on Human Rights Violations and War Crimes in Gaza
It urged the UN Human Rights Council to press the General Assembly to act under its Resolution 377 ("Uniting for Peace") authority "with a view towards the imposition of collective measures against the Israeli government," halt the escalation of deaths, and take effective steps to restore peace.
Along with other Israeli human rights organizations, it also demanded the emergency evacuation of wounded Palestinians so they can receive vital lifesaving treatment in Israel. Advanced medical care there "is the only way to save lives" that otherwise will be lost. With rare exceptions, Israel is unresponsive. As a result, large numbers of "clinically" wounded have little chance to survive.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) Demands An Immediate End to Civilian Attacks
"In light of reports on the heavy toll taken on (Gazan) civilians who were not involved in the conflict, including children and women, the IDF's statement that 'the civilian population is not the target' is not sufficient." It's also untrue. "The ongoing, unlawful attacks on the civilian population" have no legal or moral justification and must stop.
Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) On A "Not So Happy Hanukah"
Instead of joy at this time of year, RHR reflects on a "dark world. Today, the world feels dark with hundreds of people dying and many more being injured in Gaza." RHR calls for an end to the fighting and for both sides to stop harming civilians at a time of "The madness of dreaming for a better world" and so few prospects of it in sight. RHR's statement is welcome, but it's far too weak to be effective.
The Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA) Condemnation of Israel's Lawless Bombardment of Civilians
"The large number of dead and wounded and the timing of the bombardment clearly indicate that civilians (including police sites) were targeted with the aim of inflicting the largest number of casualties; this is a grave breach of (Article 147) of the Fourth Geneva and therefore a War Crime."
The ongoing siege, collective punishment, and destruction of civilian facilities (including mosques, educational and medical sites) "constitutes another crime against" 1.5 million Gazans "who are living in an atmosphere of continued terror and intimidation."
HRA also condemns world silence in spite of repeated calls for help. "This silence was tantamount to a green light for Israel to escalate its siege, topped with the barbaric bombardment of the Gaza Strip and its people," including willfully against civilians.
Amnesty International USA (AI)
Often reluctant to confront the powerful, AI this time is outspoken, if imperfect, in these comments:
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Their January 2 email announced weekend protests across Canada - in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Winnepeg and Vancouver, and very likely other cities will have their own. Israel ignited the world with virtually every corner resonating fury.
James Petras on Gaza
In his latest article, "The Politics of An Israeli Extermination Campaign," Petras explains that Israel "sealed off all access to Gaza and declared it a military, free fire zone, (targeting) the entire population" in gross violation of international laws it disdains and repeatedly violates.
Petras quotes Israeli military officials saying "...we are trying to hit the whole spectrum (Hamas' 'vast support network'), because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel." A top secret police official said: "Hamas civilian infrastructure is a very sensitive target," and as Petras explains: What Israeli officials and IDF call Hamas "is the entire social service network, the entire government and the vast majority of economic activity, embracing almost the entire 1.5 million imprisoned residents of Gaza,(everyone)" now more than ever united under Hamas against Israel, the West, America, and complicit Arab leaders who abandoned them for their own political self interest.
All the more reason for Petras to quote an IDF spokesman saying: "Hamas has used ostensibly civilian operations as a cover for military activities. Anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target," including women, men in mosques praying, and young children going and coming from school.
Michel Chossudovsky on "Operation Cast Lead"
Chossudovsky calls it "part of a broader military-intelligence agenda first formulated by the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001." It aims to produce a "planned humanitarian disaster." Military targets are secondary. The main goal is inflicting mass civilian casualties and terror - to weaken resistance, increase control, and encourage emigration.
"Key events" preceded the Gaza attack:
The January 3 ground attack aims to implement the 2001 "Operation Justified Vengeance" known as the(Meir) "Dagan Plan" after retired general and current Mossad head; its goal is "destroying the infrastructure of the Palestinian leadership and collecting weaponry (of) various Palestinian forces and expelling or killing its military leadership" - in other words, rendering all Gaza opposition impotent, maintaining a docile Fatah in the West Bank, and possibly in collaboration with Washington "triggering a wider war."
Protests by US Human Rights Groups and Activists
Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights lists upcoming protests and events about Gaza on its web site - in America and globally along with reports on and opinions about the ongoing conflict. Currently it features "Obama's deadly silence, The real goal of the slaughter in Gaza, Is the UN complicit in Israel's massacre in Gaza?" (by its false civilian casualty reports and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's failure to denounce Israel's war crimes), and much more.
United for Peace and Justice demands "Action to Protest Israeli Attack on Gaza." It urges people to get engaged, join with others, protest to the White House, the State Department, members of Congress, the local media, and organize or join local protests. The greater the national groundswell the stronger the message to Tel Aviv and Washington that world opinion condemns them. But it's not enough to stop them.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is on this as well. It's unequivocal in saying: "Make no mistake about it - Israel's war and siege on the Gaza Strip would not be possible without the jets, helicopters, ships, missiles, and fuel provided by the United States" plus billions of dollars in annual aid and whatever else Israel requests for war, occupation and expanding its illegal settlements.
The Campaign maintains a list of US protests nationwide (under "Emergency Gaza Protest/Vigil/March). So far over 100 have been held in about 65 cities in at least 30 states and more are being planned. It urges everyone "to continue to organize protests in your community" and spread the word to others.
American Zionist Collaborators with Israeli Aggression and War Crimes
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO) is "the central coordinating body for American Jewry, representing 50 national Jewish (organizations, including AIPAC) across" the country.
Its purpose is to:
On December 27, it voiced strong support for Israel "and its decision to defend its people against terrorism through the" terror bombing of Gaza. "The government and people of Israel have shown unprecedented restraint in the face of unyielding attacks with missiles and mortars fired on civilian targets by Hamas and other terrorist organizations" whose clear goal "is the destruction of Israel....We hold Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence." PMAJO urges Israel and America to take all measures against Hamas - regardless of the human toll, the rule of law, world public opinion, and other quaint and old-fashioned ways of thinking.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA - founded in 1897) "is the only organization that documents and exposes Palestinian Arab violations of the Road Map plan (and) leads efforts on behalf of American victims of Palestinian Arab terrorism." It says it's "Always on the front lines of pro-Israeli activism" even at the expense of human rights and equal justice for Arabs as well as peace and conciliation in the Middle East.
On December 31, it, too, voiced strong support for Israel's military attack and for the Bush administration's support. As expected, it cited "Hamas' culpability as an aggressor and terrorist organization" and for ending the ceasefire in November. It falsely accused it of firing rockets throughout the truce period and now "has shown its true colors" by stepping up violence and "refus(ing) to recognize Israel's right to exist."
It supports Israel's right "to make a sustained assault on the Hamas infrastructure and reoccupy at least certain parts of Gaza, at least in the short to medium term." It "trust(s) the Administration will" continue to support Israel in its effort, regardless of the cost in human lives that, of course, means Arab ones. Before the January 3 invasion, only four Jewish ones were lost. Fighting on the ground will likely produce many more on both sides, mostly affecting Gazans.
"Israel's Policy Is Perfectly Proportionate" - Alan Dershowitz
Harvard Law professor Dershowitz defends the indefensible as a notorious pro-Israeli flack. He contends that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) applies to the rest of the world, not Israel. He calls their justices bigots and shameless mouthpieces for their governments. He opposes the death penalty but supports targeted assassinations, mass slaughter of civilians and torture. He twists legal meanings to defend Israel and America's imperial agenda. He teaches this ideology to his students.
In a January 2 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Dershowitz is vintage Dershowitz saying "Hamas are the real criminals in this conflict, Israel's actions in Gaza are justified under international law, and Israel should be commended for its self-defense against terrorism."
In reinterpreting international law, he cites Article 51 of the UN Charter and justifies it on the grounds of "proportionality." It authorizes self-defense, never preemptive aggression of the kind Israel repeatedly unleashed since its "War of Independence" slaughtered and displaced 800,000 Palestinians from their homes and land and established the Jewish State.
Dershowitz accuses Hamas of the usual charges of terrorism, rocket firings, deliberately targeting civilians, using human shields for protection, and seeking Israel's destruction. "Despicable tactics" he says plus "the claim that Israel violated the principle of proportionality - by killing more Hamas terrorists than the number of Israeli civilians by Hamas rockets - is absurd."
Then a Dershowitz-style international law lesson - the kind he teaches in class:
As Dershowitz knows, Hamas never preemptively attacks anyone and only responds in self-defense when attacked as international law allows. It's conciliatory, seeks peace, and clearly states its willingness to recognize Israel in return for a Palestinian state inside pre-1967 borders - a mere 22% of its original homeland.
Dershowitz won't mention this or admit to 41 years of an oppressive occupation, Israel's disdain for international law, its Basic Law protections for Jews only, its Arab citizens treated like criminals, a fifth column, and that torture is official policy. Instead he says "Israel is acting in self-defense and out of military necessity - the conflict will continue." So will the slaughter of civilian men, woman, and children Dershowitz calls "terrorists."
Finkelstein on Dershowitz
Norman Finkelstein nailed him in the title of his 2005 book, "Beyond Chutzpah," in which he deconstructs his mendacity and plagiarism in his 2003 book, "The Case for Israel." He's also an apologist for its most outrageous crimes, and "in recent years has used the 'war on terrorism' as a springboard for a full frontal assault on" international law.
According to Dershowitz, "international law, and those who administer it, must understand that the old rules" no longer apply against a ruthless and fanatical foe, and that "the laws of war and the rules of morality must adapt to these (new) realities." That includes preemptive war, torture, targeted killings, and all else in the name of national security.
For Finkelstein, Dershowitz invokes the notion that "no one law governs all things. (Thus) preventive war might be illegitimate for all other States (but) it remains a legitimate option for Israel" - because the UN is biased against it. "Accordingly, unlike all other States, Israel cannot be held accountable to international law or, put otherwise, international law might apply to everyone else but (not) to Israel." Presumably not to America either as Dershowitz supported the Iraq and Afghan wars, a preemptive one on Iran if planned, the use of torture, targeted assassinations, and Washington's "war on terror."
Finkelstein sums him up this way:
Francis Boyle on Dershowitz and Like-Minded Law Professors at "Harvard's Gitmo Kangaroo Law School - The School for Torturers"
University of Illinois law professor and international law expert Francis Boyle holds five Harvard Law professors culpable. He names them, and Dershowitz makes the list. He calls him "infamous (and) a self-incriminating war criminal."
Dershowitz "publicly acknowledged being a member of a Mossad Committee for approving the murder and assassination of Palestinians, which violates the Geneva Conventions and is thus a grave war crime." It's also in violation of the US War Crimes Act that defines these crimes as "grave breach(es) of the Geneva Conventions" subject to life imprisonment or death in cases of multiple killings.
In addition, Dershowitz supports Guantanamo's "Kangaroo (Military Commission) Court System despite it having been denounced by every human rights organization, official and leader "in the entire world as well as by the United States Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006)."
He and others of the "Harvard Five" demean the rule of law, and as Boyle puts it:
Boyle on the Gaza Attack
He once represented Palestinians as their legal advisor. On January 4, he called for "A World Court lawsuit against Israel for genocide; reconvening the Emergency Special Session for Palestine by the UN General Assembly under the Uniting for Peace Resolution (377); comprehensive economic and other sanctions against Israel; and the suspension of Israel from all UN General Assembly activities" as it's empowered to do.
The Emergency Special Session for Palestine was first convened in 1997 and officially remains 'adjourned.' "
Haaretz, January 3: Israel's Ground Operation Begins
IDF Major Avital Leibovitch announced it. Israeli television showed columns of tanks on the move. Heavy artillery shelling preceded them, and reports are that the cabinet authorized an emergency call-up of thousands of reservists - mostly combat units but also the Home Front Command.
Defense officials said 10,000 troops were massed on Gaza's border, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, bulldozers, and special operations units, but left unclear how many entered the Territory. Meanwhile, terror-bombings continue, including on the main road connecting one side of Gaza to the other, and Palestinian eyewitnesses said large force contingents have invaded. News reports confirm it and fighting on the ground.
US Again Blocks Security Council Action for An Immediate Halt to Israel's Aggression
For decades, America used its Security Council veto to block resolutions against Israel from passing. On December 28, it vetoed one to end IDF attacks, and on January 3, the pattern repeated. Closed-door consultations failed to draft a statement (not a resolution) calling for an immediate ceasefire. US deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff called it "inappropriate" at this time so Israeli terror bombing and ground operations can continue.
Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum accused Washington and the Security Council of complicity with Israel's aggression. It continues unabated.
Israel Bars the ICRC and Foreign Journalists from Gaza
The ICRC medical team notified Israel in advance of its arrival and issued a statement saying: "It is absolutely essential that this team get into Gaza now, as this is when they are most needed." So far, Israel bars it from entering.
It also defies its own Supreme Court ruling to let a limited number of reporters into the Territory. The ban has been in place since November 5 but was tightened ahead of the December 27 attack. The Foreign Press Association called on Israel "to immediately honor the will of the court and allow foreign journalists access to Gaza." The IDF refuses to comply.
A Final Comment
Terror bombings persist - over 700 sorties plus artillery and tank fire as well as naval vessels shelling the coastline. Confirmed deaths exceed 500 with well over 2500 injured. A ground invasion is underway. Casualties continue to mount. Partial occupation as well. Gazan society has collapsed. The Health Ministry has "zero medical supplies," according to Dr. Mo'oawiah Hassunin, Head of the Palestinian Ambulance and Emergency Services. What arrived earlier was used in a matter of hours.
Streets are empty. Most shops and businesses are closed. Only a few food stores are open. Fear grips everyone. Most government buildings have been destroyed. Few essential-to-life supplies are available, and only the bravest venture out to find them.
In his weekly radio address, George Bush blamed the victims, not the aggressor. Obama was conspicuously silent on vacation in Hawaii. UN reports are that Gaza is in significant deterioration with 80% or more of the population unable to cope. The Al Astal family buried its three children, killed on January 2. Other families grieve for their own.
On January 3, the American International School, north of Gaza City, was shelled. Docked fishing boats as well and neighborhoods throughout the Strip. Israeli soldiers attacked Nil'in village West Bank protesters, firing tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds. Other clashes continue between youths and the IDF.
No end of fighting is in sight as Washington blocked diplomatic efforts to end it much as it did during Israel's 33-day summer 2006 Lebanon assault that killed around 1300, injured many more, and caused vast destruction in Beirut, the country's south, and other chosen sites.
Palestinians bury their dead. Parents mourn for their children, husbands for their wives, wives for their husbands, and even AP admitted that with a million and a half tightly packed Gazans in 140 square miles "most shelling is occurring in residential areas" meaning most deaths are civilians.
For Amir Oren, in a January 3 Haaretz op-ed, "Israel must prepare to turn its military might from Gaza to Iran." The IDF "must move quickly (after Gaza to direct) its attention for the paramount task of preparing a military blow to Iran, if diplomacy and deterrence fail." Hamas in strength or weakness "is still easier to digest than enriched uranium."
Perhaps Oren is of the Benny Morris school advocating nuclear genocide as he did in a July New York Times op-ed. Lebanon 2006, the West Bank under military occupation, Gaza under terror bombings, Iran maybe next, and what further to prove Israel the toughest bully in the neighborhood. In partnership with Washington under Democrats and Republicans, who can dispute it?
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on January 5, 2009.
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