Wednesday, March 4, 2009

US State Dept. not sure if Pasta is a "dual-use" item

How many posts can I make in one day? I know it's a bit much today, but this was just too good to not share before it went deeper into the black hole called my inbox. I'm flying through my email, trying to sort through all the stuff going on... and on.... and on... and then I read this, from Peter Myer's elist:

(2) US State Dept. not sure if Pasta is a "dual-use" item

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <> Date: 05.03.2009 05:47 PM

The extent to which the US administration (Democratic or Republican Party, it makes little difference) kowtows to the repressive policies of the Israeli government is illustrated by this excerpt from a press briefing at the State Dept.

The spokesman cannot find words to describe Israel's illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip that is barely keeping 1.5 million people at survival levels.
Read this ludicrous exchange between a reporter and spokesperson Robert Wood last week. For reference, the report below,“The pasta, paper and hearing aids that could threaten Israeli security”, is useful

From State Department Daily Press Briefing

February 25, 2009

QUESTION: But can you imagine any circumstance under which pasta could be considered a dual-use item? Or is there some -- you know, is rigatoni somehow going to be used as a weapon? (Laughter.)

MR. WOOD: I'm not involved in those discussions, so I -

QUESTION: Well, I mean -- I mean, it just seems to be absurd on the face of it, if that's what happening.

MR. WOOD: Well, there are people on the ground who are dealing with these issues. And I think we should leave it --

QUESTION: Dealing with the pasta dual-use issue?

QUESTION: Yeah, can you take a question on the pasta, please?

MR. WOOD: I'm not going to take the question on the pasta --


MR. WOOD: -- because it's -

QUESTION: Well, the United States is obviously pushing it, so obviously it's something --

MR. WOOD: We're trying to get humanitarian supplies in - on the ground to the people in Gaza.

QUESTION: Do you think food is a humanitarian supply?

MR. WOOD: Food certainly is.

QUESTION: All kinds of food?

MR. WOOD: I - I'm not able to tell you from here whether it -

QUESTION: Can you get a - can you take the question of what kind of food that the U.S. thinks is a humanitarian supply?

MR. WOOD: I'm not going to take that question, because I don't think it's a legitimate question.

QUESTION: You don't think it's legitimate that the Palestinians need certain foods and is - should Israel decide what food the Palestinians need?

MR. WOOD: I'm sorry, Elise, I'm not going to - I've spoken on it.

Every day brings new sophisticated ways of ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinians while expanding the colonial settlements that increasing surround the few remaining Bantustans where those of us who remain here try to cling to a semblance of life (and not just the areas occupied since 1967 but also in places like Jaffa, the Negev, and the Galilee). I would like to impose on you to read a few of these case studies that are compiled by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ) for the West Bank. You will be disturbed to see extremely well documented examples of the violence of land confiscation and ethnic cleansing. If you review just a few of those hundreds of stories, you will likely ask yourself why there is so little violent resistance! While awaiting International Criminal Courts to finally take-up these cases, we need to think what we can do together. How much we can get beyond our normal functioning and expand our activism and/or make it more effective (while guarding against compassion fatigue). The best answer for most people is to engage in boycotts, divestments, and sanctions based on the Palestinian Civil Society Call to Action and we urge you to join the call (see below)

ARIJ’s Case Studies (in Ethnic Cleansing and apartheid master plans)

I have to go poke around Mary's site now and see what her and Gilad have on this Q&A. There's so many angles to this story, not the least being the speculation that we are seeing the end of zionism. Maybe Barry Chamish was right about the Israeli Jews being set up by the CFR to be sacrificed again. How long before Gaza's pain is everybody's pain?

Most of the educated writing I see about the conflict always refers to a dependency or hope on the ICC. It would be wonderful to see a shift in any other direction.

I've never heard the term "compassion fatigue" before, but it sure rings true to me. Sounds a lot better than labeling myself as having a disease.

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