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Military Resistance 12E3 Meanwhile, In Prison....

Military Resistance 12E3 Meanwhile, In Prison....

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Published by paola pisi
That may go a long ways towards explaining the silence of the Left on Syria. There has always been a section of die-hard Assad supporters, most notably ANSWER Coalition and International Action Committee . Others, while not as forthright about their support for Assad, see his opposition as little
more than puppets of the GCC and the West.They deny the agency of the Syrian people. The Syrian situation is extremely complicated and requires a lot of time to understand, so most on the Left have tried to avoid Syria all together and otherwise made themselves agreeable to whatever builds "unity.".... .
That may go a long ways towards explaining the silence of the Left on Syria. There has always been a section of die-hard Assad supporters, most notably ANSWER Coalition and International Action Committee . Others, while not as forthright about their support for Assad, see his opposition as little
more than puppets of the GCC and the West.They deny the agency of the Syrian people. The Syrian situation is extremely complicated and requires a lot of time to understand, so most on the Left have tried to avoid Syria all together and otherwise made themselves agreeable to whatever builds "unity.".... .

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Published by: paola pisi on May 12, 2014
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Military Resistance: thomasfbarton@earthlink.net 5.6.14 Print it out: color best. Pass it on.

Military Resistance 12E3


Resistance Action

May 05 2014 By Ghanizada, Khaama Press

At least six policemen were killed along with two local tribal following an attack by
Taliban militants in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan.

Provincial security chief Mohammad Naeem Adarabi said the incident took place late
Sunday night in Garzewan district after a group of Taliban militants attacked a security
check post.

Garzewan district Chief Abdul Razaq Kakar said the commander of the check post Abdul
Salam Pahlawan was also killed and another policeman was injured following the attack.

Mr. Kakr further added that the Taliban militants killed two local tribal elders early
Monday morning and fled the area after the attack.

He said Taliban militants have also taken some weapons and ammunition with them.

Faryab is among the volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where anti-government
armed militant groups are active in a number of its districts and frequently carry out
insurgency attacks.

The anti-government armed militants also killed an intelligence official after he was
abducted from Almar-Qaisar highway on Saturday.


Navy Chief, Executive Officer
Ordered Sailors To March In
Formation On Pier Carrying Shit In
Plastic Bags
[No, Not From The Duffle Blog]

Dec 21, 2013 by Paul Szoldra, Business Insider [Late report]

The executive officer and the command master chief of the USS Jason Dunham have
been removed after a Navy investigation found the pair failed to examine or report a
hazing incident of 13 female sailors forced to carry plastic bags of their own feces along
a pier, Navy Times reports.

On Oct. 15 with the ship’s sewage system under maintenance and some toilets tagged
with "do not use" warnings, an unidentified chief petty officer discovered human waste in
two toilets which were out of order, according to Navy Times.

The chief then ordered 19 enlisted female sailors to remove the waste from the toilets
without proper protective equipment and led 13 of them down the pier to dispose of it in
portable toilets, a statement from the Navy said.

"After cleaning the toilets they took the waste — which was solid waste, basically — and
made them march in formation down the pier to dispose of it in a portable toilet at the
end of the pier," spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Reann Mommsen told Navy Times. "The real
hazing is them being marched down the pier in formation."

The waste could have been disposed in other functioning toilets on the ship, Mommsen
told The Virginian-Pilot.

A number of sailors witnessed the incident, but the Dunham’s senior enlisted leader,
Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Stephen Vandergrifft and Executive Officer Cmdr.
Kenneth Rice were fired for failure to report or investigate.

The commanding officer of the ship, Cmdr. Michael Meredith, was not punished because
he was unaware of the incident, but took appropriate action once informed on Oct. 21,
according to the statement.

The Dunham is based in Norfolk, Va.


“ At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had
I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of
biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.

“ For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.

“ We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”

“ The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they

Frederick Douglass, 1852

“ We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” -- Thomas Paine

“ Young People Aren’t Being
Drawn To Radical Islam
Because They Have Been
Seized By A Burning Desire For
The Caliphate”
“ They See What Is Going On In
Syria, And With All The Energy
And Idealism Of Youth, They Want
To Fight Back”
“ When They Seek Ways To Help,
Look For Groups That Share Their
Concerns And Can Give Them A Path
To Support The Syrian People In This
Struggle, They Don’t Find The Left”
“ The Left Has All But Abandoned The
Field, So There Is Irony In The Refusal Of
Many On The Left To Support The Syrian
Revolution Because They Think It Is
Dominated By Islamists”

April 29, 2014 by Clay Claiborne, Linux Beach

While discussing the recruitment by radical Islam of fighters for Syria in the West,
someone in a France24 debate this week compared this movement to the Lincoln
Brigade and the other left-wing groups that formed up to fight fascism in what was later
seen as the pre-conflict to the last world war, the Spanish Civil War.

The point was that in both cases, young people were motivated to leave relatively
comfortable lives in the West to risk theirs because they saw the need to right a great
wrong even while others whistled past it.

Today, young people all over the world are connected to what is happening through the
Internet, and social media is their platform. This has given them a way to follow the
agony of Syria in spite of the willful ignorance of the mainstream media.

If they are Muslim, read Arabic or are religiously inclined, because it is a basic tenet of
Islam to help people in need, they will find a community of support for the Syrian people
among Muslims, and through the most extreme Islamists, a path directly to the frontline,
if they want to go that route.

If they are more secular, progressive, and look left for guidance and leadership, say to
the likes of KPFK in Los Angeles, ICUJP, VFP and such, they will find them at one with
the mainstream media’s boycott of Syria except for occasional outbursts of support for
Bashar al-Assad.

Young people aren’t being drawn to radical Islam because they have been seized by a
burning desire for the Caliphate.

They are being drawn to radical Islam because they have refused to bury their heads in
the sand like so many of their elders.

They see what is going on in Syria, and with all the energy and idealism of youth, they
want to fight back.

When they seek ways to help, look for groups that share their concerns and can give
them a path to support the Syrian people in this struggle, they don’t find the Left.

They will, in fact, be repelled by the Left.

Through Islamic groups they may find a way, and through the most radical Islamic
groups they may even find a way to fight, Lincoln Brigade style, although they will be
tutored in an ideology very different from those of the 1930’s leftists.

They will be schooled by a radical version of Islam that is extremely reactionary but
incorporates many features attractive to the young and has an explanation as to why the
so-called more "progressive" and more "western" parts of the world are so willing to sit
on their hands while a hundred thousand people are slaughtered on YouTube.

The US Left is in decline and one important reason is because it has chosen to
ignore, or worse - support the prosecution of, the greatest humanitarian crisis and
the greatest social injustice of our time.

As a young man who turned 20 in 1968, I wasn’t won to the Left by Marx or Mao or the
ideologies of any of the left groups, not at first, but I wanted badly to do something about
the Vietnam War.

I wanted to feel connected to this great tragedy of our time and to be able to do
something about it, so I was drawn to the people and groups that were leading that
struggle, the anti-war movement, and the Left that was leading it.

The re-invigorated Left that grew out of the civil rights struggle and the anti-Vietnam war
movement received a badly needed injection of youth when it led Western opposition to
the US invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Radical Islam also grew by opposing these US wars.

They were able to use these wars to make propaganda points for their argument that the
West was carrying out a systematic war against Islam, use US atrocities as recruiting
tools, and with the help of President Bashar al-Assad, who ran the jihadist rat-line
through Syria, send these new recruits to engage US troops in Iraq. Thus, while Assad
was building his ties to the jihadists, ties that serve him so well in the double-game he is
playing now, he was endearing himself to so many in the American Left as an "anti-

That may go a long ways towards explaining the silence of the Left on Syria.

There has always been a section of die-hard Assad supporters, most notably ANSWER
Coalition and International Action Committee, and they had played a leading role in the
Iraq and Afghanistan anti-war movement.

Others, while not as forthright about their support for Assad, see his opposition as little
more than puppets of the GCC and the West.

They deny the agency of the Syrian people. The Syrian situation is extremely
complicated and requires a lot of time to understand, so most on the Left have
tried to avoid Syria all together and otherwise made themselves agreeable to
whatever builds " unity."

Nonetheless, the Syrian conflict grinds on and the death count grows. Some are saying
the likely real count now is close to three hundred thousand and the number of people
driven from their homes is around nine million, as a government uses starvation, scuds,
barrel-bombs, helicopters, chemical weapons and mass bombardment against its own
people with impunity.

This is the 21st century and anyone who chooses to look can see exactly what is
going on.

The most caring and concerned among us cannot help but be drawn to the plight
of these people and we will seek leadership from those who share our concerns,
not those who invite us to look away.

Frankly, I think it unfortunate that there isn’t the equivalent of a Left led Lincoln Brigade
sending people to Syria, and certainly more Left led peace and justice projects designed
to support the Syrian people by providing direct aid to refugees and building political
pressure for international intervention.

Instead of developing a revolutionary socialist analysis of the Syrian struggle from
participation in it, these so-called leftists prefer to sit back and point to a lack of Left
leadership in the Syrian struggle. Maybe the fact that the two so-called communist
parties in Syria sided with Assad had something to do with that?

When it comes to leadership in or support for the Syrian Revolution, the Left has all but
abandoned the field, so there is irony in the refusal of many on the Left to support the
Syrian Revolution because they think it is dominated by Islamists.

In Syria, Assad has this trick where he allows Islamists to take Christian villages
by withdrawing.

Then he claims atrocities and condemns the whole revolution. It seems like the US
Left has adopted a similar strategy.

Swearing Out Time
From: Dennis Serdel
To: Military Resistance Newsletter
Sent: May 06, 2013
Subject: Swearing Out Time

Written by Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th
Brigade; United Auto Workers GM Retiree


Swearing Out Time

The Vietnam Combat Vets
did Not have to serve in the National Guard
when their tour ended
Upon their return they were measured
& fitted into Army Dress Green Uniforms
with all their medals & ribbons
Haircuts & $700 Separation Pay
then had to endure
one final boring lecture by the Brass
in a Basketball Court Building sitting
on one side in the bleachers when
Brass after Brass took the microphone
on a Stand in center court
& talked their talk & then sat down,
then another one would go through
their drill, the Grunts said nothing
just waiting for this to be over
until this Brass Clown stood up
& took the mike and said,
" There are No Jobs out there
& you should think about
staying in the Army,"
as a Grunt shouted " Fuck You,"
" No, Wait a Minute," he said,
as another shouted, " Shut Up Motherfucker,"
" Listen Up," he said.
Then All the Grunts Stood Up &
began Swearing, calling him an Asshole,
Cocksucker Shitface Bastard Prick Scumbag
& the Crescendo of the Grunts became so Loud
that this Guy became so Mad,
that He screamed into the Mike,
" Fuck All Of You" & then went to sit down
as the Grunts screamed back " Fuck You Too."
The Grunts applauded when the Clown Sat Down,
Looking & Laughing with each other
because they knew it was Over.
Then the next Brass stood at the mike,
on another topic,
the crowd’s anger was already released
so they sat down again & listened some more
until they were Dismissed
& then began walking through a long hallway
as one Grunt took off his uniform
in the hallway & threw it on a garbage can
slipped into jeans, a T-shirt, tennis shoes
as others saw the uniform draped
upon the garbage can as they passed by
in October 1968
in Oakland, California

writing by Dennis Serdel for Military Resistance


Forward Military Resistance along, or send us the email address if you
wish and we’ll send it regularly with your best wishes. Whether in
Afghanistan or at a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service
friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing
resistance to injustices, inside the armed services and at home. Send
email requests to address up top or write to: Military Resistance, Box 126,
2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657.

“ And All Is Hushed At Shiloh”
The Civil War Told By Those Who
Lived It:
“ Devastating Are The Private Letters
Written By Soldiers Who Attempt To
Describe Their Experiences Without
The Celebratory Rhetoric That
Afflicted Both Sides Back Home”
[Book Review]

Library of Congress

The Civil War: Told By Those Who Lived It
Edited by Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Stephen W. Sears and Brooks D. Simpson
Library of America,
3,478 pages, $157.50

" I noticed an old doll baby with only one leg lying by the side of a Federal soldier
just as it dropped from his pocket when he fell writhing in the agony of death. It
was obviously a memento of some little loved one at home which he had brought
so far with him and had worn close to his heart on this day of danger and death. It
was strange to see that emblem of childhood, that token of a father’s love lying
there amidst the dead and dying. . . .

“ I dismounted, picked it up and stuffed it back into the poor fellow’s cold bosom
that it might rest with him in the bloody grave which was to be forever unknown to
those who loved and mourned him in his distant home."

April 25, 2014 By Randall Fuller, Wall Street Journal [Excerpts]

Mr. Fuller, the Chapman Professor of English at the University of Tulsa, is the 2014-
2015 Guggenheim Fellow in American Literature.


In 1866, as the nation began its fragile, anxious efforts at reconciliation after the Civil
War, Herman Melville published a sprawling book of poems, "Battle-pieces, or Aspects
of the War."

The collection contained more than 70 poems, and it attempted to do something rare in
the literature of the period.

Rather than engage in partisan celebration or denounce the enemy, Melville’s poetry
captured America’s most bloody war in all its confounding totality.

It presented dozens of aspects, or viewpoints—including those of Northerners and
Southerners, soldiers and civilians—ultimately revealing that both sides were to blame.

The Library of America has attempted something similarly panoptic in its handsome four-
volume anthology "The Civil War: Told by Those Who Lived It."

Edited by Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Stephen W. Sears and Brooks D. Simpson, the series
weighs in at a hefty 2,914 pages—and this total doesn’t include the useful chronologies
or the highly detailed biographical and historical notes.

Taken together, the four books exhibit the same epic ambition that produced Melville’s
poems (or, for that matter, Shelby Foote’s magisterial three-volume narrative and Ken
Burns’s nine-episode pageant): to show the war from as many sides as possible.

"The Civil War" is arranged chronologically, with each volume covering roughly a single
year of the conflict, beginning with the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860
and the subsequent debates over secession and concluding, more than four years later,
with the stunned efforts by war-weary survivors to make sense of the hundreds of
thousands of dead young men. Each selection (some are excerpts of much longer
pieces) is introduced by a terse but informative biographical sketch that situates the
author in historical context.

These introductions stitch together a telegraphic narrative of events that enables the
diligent enthusiast to read through all four volumes with some sense of the war’s

A compendium of voices, the series contains newspaper editorials, diary entries, civilian
letters, political speeches, poems and reminiscences.

Some of the material is familiar (what anthology of Civil War writing can exclude
Lincoln’s First Inaugural, for instance?). More surprising is the wealth of primary sources
that are almost entirely unknown. The Civil War was waged at a time when as many as
90% of white adults were literate and when writing was the only form of long-distance

The literary critic Edmund Wilson once asked, " Has there ever been another
historical crisis of the magnitude of 1861-65 in which so many people were so
articulate?" The answer, confirmed definitively by this collection, is no.

All these articulate people create a cast of characters worthy of a Dickens triple-decker

In addition to the clipped and steely Ulysses S. Grant and the ever-waspish Jefferson
Davis, "The Civil War" is populated with obscure figures who briefly take their turn
onstage and then disappear.

There is Susan C. Woolker, a barely literate North Carolina woman prompted to write the
governor because her children are starving: "I beg you to have things arranged better for
if you don’t the soldiers will get disheartened and come home and I don’t want them to
have to come home without an honerable peace and ef they will find me plenty to eat my
husband will fight through this war if he is spaired to live."

There is Jim Heiskell, a 13-year-old Tennessee slave who recounts how, during the
spring of 1864, after a beating that lasted more than 30 minutes, he managed to escape
into the protection of the Union Army in Knoxville, Tenn., his feet still chained.

Of his enslavement he writes, "I was whipped three or four times a week, sometimes
with a cowhide and sometimes with a hickory. . . . I would have staid on the plantation if I
had been well used." (While African-American accounts of the war are richly presented
in this series, they are often, as in this case, transcribed by literate whites.)

The Library of America’s trove of primary documents reminds us of an important fact:
The Civil War was waged not only with Minié bullets and artillery but with words.

Grant’s crisp military directives, divested of latinate words and figurative
language in a way that anticipates the stripped language of Hemingway, were one
sort of weapon.

(Requesting fresh troops at the 1862 Battle of Shiloh, Grant writes with masterly
understatement: " The attack on my forces has been very spirited from early this
morning." )

Frederick Douglass’s flaming oratory as he tirelessly lobbied the Union Army to enlist
African-American soldiers was another.

More subtle but equally devastating are the private letters written by soldiers who
attempt to describe their experiences without the celebratory rhetoric that afflicted
both sides back home.

A Union solider named James A. Connolly evokes the lush Georgia landscape to his
wife in language rid of all pieties about sacred causes.

The Georgia fields, he writes, "are reddened by the blood of our soldiers, and the
hundreds of little mounds that are rising by the wayside day by day mark the footprints of
the God of War as he stalks along through this beautiful country."

In one unforgettable passage from a letter home, Confederate soldier Charles
Minor Blackford recalls a seemingly trivial incident as he rode across the
battlefield at Bull Run:

" I noticed an old doll baby with only one leg lying by the side of a Federal soldier
just as it dropped from his pocket when he fell writhing in the agony of death. It
was obviously a memento of some little loved one at home which he had brought
so far with him and had worn close to his heart on this day of danger and death. It
was strange to see that emblem of childhood, that token of a father’s love lying
there amidst the dead and dying. . . .

“ I dismounted, picked it up and stuffed it back into the poor fellow’s cold bosom
that it might rest with him in the bloody grave which was to be forever unknown to
those who loved and mourned him in his distant home."

Occasionally a single, understated sentence conveys a world made strange and
desolate by war.

Describing the aftermath of the 1863 Battle of Chickamauga (the second-bloodiest of the
entire war), John S. Jackman, an enlisted man in the Confederate Fifth Kentucky
Infantry, tells his family of bodies "lying so thick over the ground, one could hardly walk
for them," while nearby infantrymen were "lying in line of battle, and cracking jokes as

In a letter to the abolitionist author Lydia Maria Child, African-American memoirist Harriet
Jacobs depicts a camp for former slaves where she had volunteered for relief work: "We
are now collecting together the orphan children, of whom there are a great number,
owing to the many deaths that have occurred of late."

And Lt. Charles Harvey Brewster of Massachusetts admits with admirable simplicity: "I
am scared most to death every battle we have."

The strength of this series—its plenitude of material—is also its potential weakness. At
times the very quantity of writing threatens to obscure the broader outlines of the war.
History, in the final analysis, is story: the narrative of what happened. What makes
Foote’s history so compelling is his sense of story—a sense no doubt cultivated by his
long apprenticeship as a novelist.

Mr. Burns’s documentary "The Civil War" remains a masterpiece of cinematic
storytelling. Both works employ primary sources only so far as they advance plot and

But with hundreds of narrators describing even more events, the story that emerges in
these four volumes can at times seem as fractured and disjointed as a modernist novel.
If a single insight links all of this writing together, it is the reminder that people living
through the war simply had no idea at the time about its outcome. A century and a half of
historical analysis has pronounced the Civil War a watershed moment that ended
slavery and strengthened the nation.

It is helpful to be reminded that these effects were by no means certain.

In fact, about the only thing that seems certain to many of these writers is that the war
had introduced the unknown and the unfamiliar into their lives.

A Union soldier in Virginia describes a breastwork running through a garden and
imagines " how Mother and Mrs Clarke would look to have 100 blue jackets with
musket + bayonette rush into their gardens."

A young woman fleeing with her family from their Louisiana plantation recalls the
day their former slaves held them hostage and looted their home. The men were
the " first armed Negroes (we) had ever seen."

And there is a provincial clerk who moved to Washington to work for the
Agriculture Department and who records her surprise at encountering Abraham
Lincoln at a governmental meet-and-greet in 1864: " In one glance at that worn yet
kindly face I read a history that crushes all power of speech."

Helpful in making sense of this torrent of testimony are the subtitles provided by the
editors—a feature in many ways more important than it would at first seem.

Few but the most devoted Civil War buffs are likely to work their way systematically
through these volumes. Indeed, the series is probably more profitably used as
sourcebook with which to trace specific themes and topics.

The subtitles enable the reader to dip into key moments of the war, to focus (say) on
women writers or military communiqués, or to explore particular genres, such as the
diary or letter. One can piece together a military history of the war or trace the gradual
shift in the North’s attitudes toward abolition or the incipient rise of the Southern notion of
the Lost Cause.

Also helpful in distilling the war are selections by some of the nation’s most
prominent authors, many of whom we don’t always associate with the Civil War.

The series includes extracts from Louisa May Alcott’s account of working in a hospital in

At the "sight of several stretchers, each with its legless, armless, or desperately
wounded, occupant," she writes, "I corked up my feelings, and returned to the path of

Emily Dickinson writes a cousin to lament the death of an Amherst, Mass., boy killed in
action, "His big heart shot away by a ‘minie ball.’ "

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s " Chiefly About War-Matters," written in 1862, remains a
potent antiwar piece, with its slashing satire of ministers and politicians who self-
righteously advocate the legal murder of battle.

And then there is Melville, whose efforts to capture the horrors of war in verse is one of
the most ambitious poetic experiments in American literary history.

Evoking the carnage at Shiloh in 1862, he pictures a despoiled field scattered with

. . . dying foemen mingled there—

Foemen at morn, but friends at eve—

Fame or country least their care:

(What like a bullet can undeceive!)

But now they lie low,

While over them the swallows skim.

And all is hushed at Shiloh.

Here, in a handful of lines, Melville represents a battle that had rendered previous
warfare obsolete, a battle that not only prefigured the three years of conflict to come but
the bloody century that followed.

In the process, he reveals just how difficult it was to describe the industrialized killing of
modern warfare in the romantic language of the past.

In Melville’s poem, the Battle of Shiloh reduces transcendental philosophy and high-
minded ideals to silence.

The poem’s single, parenthetical reference to the war’s actual violence—"(What like a
bullet can undeceive!)"—is precisely like a bullet, puncturing the stillness of the pastoral
scene, forcing the reader to acknowledge a new form of sorrow: a recognition of the
violence latent within all human beings.

As it turns out, Melville’s "Battle-pieces" sold fewer than 200 copies.

In 1866 most Americans were still in the process of mourning, just beginning to rebuild
their lives after four years of fighting. Tired of war, they were certainly not interested in
ambiguity or self-questioning.

Nearly a century and a half later, with the legacy of the war still very much with us, "The
Civil War" allows us to return to the conflict anew, to encounter a spectrum of voices and
experiences wider and more diverse than has ever before been collected in a single

Ultimately the work places us at the war’s ground level, bringing us closer to the
lived experience of Americans who endured this climactic period, providing a
portrait more nuanced than could ever be condensed into narrative.

Perhaps that is what our own era needs—an awareness of the range of emotional and
material conditions that led to national division in the first place. If so, "The Civil War:
Told by Those Who Lived It" is an excellent place to start.


A Report From Odessa:
“ ‘Odessa Is Not Crimea, No Way We Will
Give Up Odessa!’, Shouted The

Май 4, 2014 by Сергей, Одесса [Sergeiy, Odessa], ліва опозиція [Left Oppostion]
[Excerpts] Translation by Olga P and GA

A dignified, grey-haired grandpa in a brown jacket talks on the mobile.

“Hi. You’re asking where I am? I’m at war.”

Cracked cobblestones, tiny streams of blood on the street, blood-soaked bandages
scattered around.

A young fellow, about 16 years of age, asks for some space on the bench to sit down.
The guy’s head is bandaged, blood drips from underneath the cloth. That’s Odessa city
centre for you. Second of May, 2014.

I remember how the events in Zhanaozen in December 2011 left me in a state of shock.
(Kazakhstan’s security services killed at least 16 and wounded 60 oil workers, on strike
for better pay and conditions.)

I couldn’t get my head around how they could –kill people on the streets just like that in
the friggin’ 21st century! Not somewhere far away, but nearby … one of our neighbours
from the deceased Soviet Union.

But for whatever reason, somewhere deep inside my heart, I was certain that in Ukraine,
a thing like this couldn’t happen. It’s Ukraine, what are you talking about! …

On the night of February 18 to 19 (when the Maidan demonstrators in Kyiv clashed
violently with the Berkut riot police), paralysed in front of the TV, when the Maidan was
raging and bits of the Ukrainian anthem were bursting through the flames, I understood
that this certainty was gone. Perished.

One certainty, however, remained, however irrational and groundless it may have been
– that in Odessa, a thing like that is surely impossible.

On the 2nd of May, it turned out to be very possible.

Who were the culprits in the Odessa tragedy?

For me, the answer is clear – Russian fascists and the police.

Fascists, yes, fascists – and cut out your “But our grandfathers fought…” already. You
can wrap yourselves up from head to toe in St George’s ribbons (a symbol of military
prowess in Russia) – you are still fascists. Your deeds speak for themselves.

The radicals from the pro-Russian camp marched to the city centre with one aim – to
beat up, or maybe even to kill, people.

The whole city knew that the football fans of (the local team) Chernomorets and Metallist
(of Kharkiv) were going to have a march for the unity of Ukraine before the game.

Everyone also knew that activists from Odessa’s Maidan would be joining up with them.

Already a few days before the planned event, the more radical part of the pro-Russian
movement – the so-called “Odessa Squad” druzhina (which roughly translates as
“militia”), which is composed of outright Russian Nazis, promised to break up the march..

Actually, calls to kill the “Maidan-freaks”[1] popped up regularly on the webpages of the
“Kulikovtsy” (that’s what people call the local separatist movement that has its tent camp
on one of the city squares, Kulikovo field). On these sites, one could often spot criticism
from the rank and file – puzzlingly, very often from young women – aimed at the leaders,
along the lines of “enough sitting around twiddling our thumbs, let’s fight”. Well, they
came. And fought a bit.

The “Odessa Squad” gathered at the memorial of the fallen militiamen at Aleksandrovskii
Prospekt. There were about 300-400 of them, hardly any women (except for a few girls
from the paramedics), not one single old man, just fighters, equipped accordingly,
wearing helmets, many of them with bullet-proof vests.

On some of their shields one could spot the logos of the Russian nationalist organisation
“Dozor”, many were bearing corresponding symbols. Lined up alongside the motorway,
they beat their bats against their shields and shouted out their slogans. Directly nearby –
many cops, and a busload of Berkut (Ukrainian riot police), or whatever they’re called

At about the same time, a few blocks away, on Sobornaia square, the participants of the
unity march began to gather.

Two to three thousand people, with “ultras” making up not more than one-third of them.
Just like at all events of the Odessa Maidan, there were many women, senior citizens,
and people with kids. The allegedly horrible “Bendera”[2] football fans from Kharkiv, the
bugbear brought up by the “Odessa Squad”, mostly walked off to watch football and did
not take part in the fighting.

In the crowd, there were a few people sporting “Metallist” football shirts – such as a grey-
haired man with an aristocratic posture, about 50 years of age, with wife and kids; or a
few teenage girls. The only persons who were at least somehow armed were members
of the Maidan Self-Defence.

One just needed to take a glimpse at these two camps to get the idea about who came
for a peaceful demonstration and who was prepared for violent action.

Another remarkable thing – the tent camp of the “Kulikovtsy” has already been there for
a few months. Every week, there are pro-Russian marches. And not even once was
there a reaction from the Maidan people that was more serious than raising their middle
fingers towards the marchers.

Of course, there are enough hotheads among the Maidan crowd, but there never was
anything beyond idle talk.

In fact, just one day before the massacre, the pro-Russian movement staged a May Day
demonstration, marching down the central streets and shouting slogans like “Odessa is
a Russian city” and “Hail Berkut” – and yet no one cared to touch them.

Neither Maidan activists, nor football fans, nor the Right Sector (an alliance of Ukrainian
fascist groups) (whose Odessa branch, to be frank, rather resembles tenth-graders on a
school trip than grim radical fighters).

When the unity march reached Grecheskaia street, the “Odessa Squad” was already
waiting there to welcome them.

How a column of armed men could march up to the meeting spot of their opponents
under the eyes of the cops is completely beyond me. After all, they (the police) knew all
too well what sort of people they are and what they want.

Although, if one considers that some of the policemen had the same red tape armbands
as some of the combatants, it’s probably not that surprising after all.

Stun grenades rained down on the activists.

The sound of a gunshot can’t be mistaken for anything else. Just like gunshot wounds.
Just like the bullet casing we found on Deribasovskaia street – knowledgeable people
say it comes from a “Saiga”, the hunters’ version of an AK-47. I don’t know, they
probably know what they’re talking about.

There were also shots from the roof of the Afina shopping mall, where the combatants
tried to have a stronghold. There’s enough film footage on the net.

The Maidan guys tried to defend themselves as well as they could. My friend and his
mates – simple blokes from Odessa, football fans, who had been frowning at the “ultras”
with ill-disguised revulsion – came under fire. Only after a few minutes later, they were
giving the (pro-Russian) combatants a beating, shoulder to shoulder with the same

Later on, when the Russian Nazis were driven up Grecheskaia square and besieged, I
saw a few Asian-looking guys, Turks or Arabs, helping the Maidan people to build

Girls prepared the much-famed Molotov cocktails on the spot, using beer bottles bought
at the nearby shops. Typical Odessa grannies brought stones for the Maidan crowd.

“I didn’t expect any leftists to show up”, I was told by a guy in a balaclava, with whom I
was dragging a rubbish bin towards the barricades. “It’s awesome that we’re all here
together, like on the Maidan”, he added.

It was hell in the city centre, while the cops behaved as if it was an ordinary,
unremarkable day in May.

You could already hear the gunshots, people started carrying the wounded out of the
battleground, while the cops carelessly trudged to the sidelines of Soborna Square, in
order to … line up and head in an unknown direction. “Where are you going? Who will
protect us?”, the Maidaners shouted at them.

Some of the cops got it in the neck. When the gunmen shot an activist dead, the police
tried to simply run away from the scene….. The (police) special ops unit formed a
protective “tortoise shell” (300 Spartans!) and crowded under the wall while a real battle
went on.

“Odessa is not Crimea, no way we will give up Odessa!”, shouted the activists.

And they didn’t give it up. Apparently, the combatants did not expect them to strike back
so decisively.

A counterattack at the Kulikovo field was probably inevitable. Many activists did not go
there for obvious reasons, but the most radical part of the Ukrainian unity march did.

Over there the second act of the tragedy started. On Grecheskaia street people were
killed by bullets; on Kulikovo they suffocated in the smoke and crushed, having jumped
out of the windows.

The regional council deputy Vyacheslav Markin was beaten to death. The Odessans
remember him mainly due to the events of 19 February: when the visiting combatants
(then supporting the Yanukovich government), in the same black uniforms, beat up
Maidan activists and journalists, Markin said it was self-defence of the city, and that the
“Mai-downs”[3] should “get more of it”.

No-one knows who set the House of Trade Unions on fire: the Molotov cocktails were
flying from both sides.

Pro-Russian information resources painted a picture of radical Maidan supporters
beating those who tried to escape from the burning building.

But they don’t mention other facts.

For instance, that the Maidaners themselves – primarily, the Maidan Self-Defence –
snatched the wounded away from their own (Ukrainian nationalist) radicals, and
rendered them first aid.

They also don’t mention that the same Maidan Self-Defence fighters made sure that the
captive separatists were handed over to the police, not to the angry crowd.

Nor do they tell about the gunshots coming from the burning House of Trade Unions.

One of the local TV channels, First City Channel, had been broadcasting live from
the streets for the whole day, almost without commenting on what was going on.
From this broadcast the Odessites learned about the weapons stored in the House
of Trade Unions.

The website of the “ Odessa squad” druzhinniki (i.e. militiamen) immediately
responded with a hysterical post, with Caps Lock on and thousands of
exclamation marks: “ Do not watch the First City Channel, everything there is lies

An interesting point: the most radical part of the Odessa Anti-Maidan – the Nazi “Odessa
squad” druzhinniki, Imperials,[4] and the Cossacks – had left Kulikovo field on the day
before and relocated outside the city, at the 411th troop memorial (a memorial park to
Red army defenders of Odessa during the second world war). Their camp there was
also broken up, but no one was hurt. It turned out like that because nobody barricaded
themselves in and shot back, and the pro-Russian activists stationed there just quietly

Kulikovo field was a unique gathering of conservative forces of all kinds.

“All the forces of the old world”, as the revolutionaries of the past would say, joined
together there: Stalin admirers and fans of the Tsar-father, Russian Nazis and Ruritanian
Cossacks, Orthodox fanatics and old women nostalgic for Brezhnev’s times – and
opponents of justice for juveniles, gay marriage and flu vaccinations.

These were the forces of black reaction, from which ever angle you looked.

I have grown past the age when you scream about revolution and sing about “drowning
the people’s sorrows in blood”. I am a convinced humanist and pacifist. Any death is a
tragedy for me – even of a political opponent, even of an enemy.

But it infuriates me when this reactionary bunch howls about the people tortured in the
House of Trade Unions.

Why don’t you honestly tell us how you were going to beat and kill, how you attacked
first, how you shot into the crowd from the rooftops?

The death of your supporters on Kulikovo is entirely on your conscience. You did
everything possible in order to end up that way. And this is another argument to show
that you are fascists.

PS. At night, after the defeat of the Kulikovo field, a post appeared on the Odessa
druzhinniki web page, ending with the phrase “ Odessa is a Hero City, and heroes
should live in it, not Jews or traffickers” .

Before I had a chance to take a screen capture, in the morning, the word “ Jews”
was replaced by “ traitors” . Yeah, tell us more about how your grandfathers fought
in the second world war.

PPS. From one of the official sites of the Odessa Anti-Maidan: “For me that pseudo
image of a Ukrainian brother has disappeared, because it’s Russian people who live in
Ukraine, and those who don’t consider themselves as such are scum, who must be
finished off quickly, by death and death alone.”

PPPS. The Anti-Maidan groups are now putting up links to the Vkontakte pages (a
Russian language site similar to facebook) of Maidan activists.

Without checking whether they were even present on 2 May, they just pick on people
who have put something pro-Maidan on their wall. They put up a link to the page of the
wife of an activist of the liberal “Democratic Alliance” (“the bitch is one of the leaders”) –
notwithstanding the fact that that organisation always did their best to calm down the
hotheads in the Maidan crowd and decisively spoke out against any violence directed at
political opponents.

(1) The derogatory term (“maidanuty”) is untranslatable; an alternative translation would
be “Maida-fucks”.

(2) A common mispronunciation of “Bandera”. Stepan Bandera was a Ukrainian
nationalist leader of the 1940s; “Bander-ite” was a Soviet, and now a Russian,
derogatory term applied to all Ukrainian nationalists. Bandera’s Ukrainian insurgent army
(UPA) at different times fought against both the Soviet army and the fascist axis forces;
this history is extremely controversial, partly because of the involvement of UPA units in
massacres of Polish and Jewish civilians.

(3) The derogatory term used is “Mai-down-y”, implying that Maidan participants suffer
from Down’s syndrome.

(4) Pro-Russian chauvinists who want to recreate the Russian empire.

A Report From Russia:
“ If You Compare The Number Of
People Who Would Actually Go
Out On The Streets For Or Against
The Government, The Number Of
People Coming Out Against Is
Considerably Higher”
“ In Society As A Whole, They Are In
A Minority, But Among The People
Mobilizing, They Are Stronger”
“ The Russian State Is Actually Weak. It
Is Incredibly Corrupt”

April 22, 2014 Ilya Budraitskis interviewed, Socialist Worker. Translation by Sean
Larson. First published in German at Marx21 [Excerpts]

Ilya Budraitskis is a historian and spokesperson for the Russian Socialist Movement.

In this interview with Anton Thun for the German magazine Marx21 he explains the
political situation in light of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, including the recent
annexation of Crimea--and the possibilities that exist for the left.


Thun: Demonstrations for Putin, demonstrations against Putin--the reports from Russia
are inconsistent at the moment. What is the situation?

Budraitskis: A large demonstration that was critical of Putin took place on March
15. At least 50,000 people participated.

The demonstration was aimed against the threat of a military conflict with Ukraine, and
thus had the title "March of Peace."

But demonstrators were also protesting the restrictions of free speech in Russia.
A few days prior, multiple leading editors were dismissed because their coverage
was too critical in the eyes of the government.

The " March of Peace" was supposed to show that not only are the people against
a war with Ukraine, but they will also not accept the developments within Russia
having to do with the tightened measures from the Kremlin.

Fifty thousand is a lot, but still not proof of an anti-Putin sentiment in society.

That’s right. Putin is currently at the height of his popularity.

More than 70 percent of respondents in every poll support his policies, and 60 percent
would vote for him in the next election. Putin’s party, United Russia, is currently riding on
a patriotic wave and will certainly do well in the next parliamentary elections. There were
also some pro-government demonstrations in reaction to the "March of Peace."

However, the support for Putin is both passive and contradictory. People aligning with
the government are not prepared to actually mobilize in order to express their support.
There were many government employees on the pro-Putin demonstrations who were
pressured into participating. There were many paid demonstrators there as well.

“ We’re Not Seeing Any Spontaneous Outburst Of Love For Putin By The
Russian People Here”

The polls you cited indicate that the support for Putin is not merely staged

That’s the active support at rallies, however.

We’re not seeing any spontaneous outburst of love for Putin by the Russian
people here.

On the streets, it’s activists from organizations loyal to the Kremlin, who are either
paid for it or derive advantages from their pro-state activism, whether business
advantages, work or the like.

Then there are people who take part for money.

There are various commercial websites advertising offers to take part in demonstrations
for pay. For example, the website massovki.ru. Here, there are various options: how
one should look, how long the activity lasts, if one has to wave a flag around, and the
respective amount of money one gets.

Generally, the demonstrators purchased this way aren’t very expensive. So it’s not a
matter of huge sums. People who take up these offers come from poorer strata.

So this second manner of obtaining participants also exists, but these demonstrators are
by no means well prepared. If a journalist comes up to them and asks a question, they
will most likely turn away and say nothing.

Third, there are demonstrators who were in some form or another coerced into
participating in actions. These mostly come from the public sector, which, of course, is
dependent on the state apparatus.

These could be teachers, construction workers, janitors, etc. They are quite
honestly put under pressure to show up. If they don’t, they are threatened with
pay cuts or other penalties at work.

So there are really no citizens for Putin?

There certainly are those people, but they are quite few, and of course, the
organizers of these actions don’t rely on them.

That is characteristic of this political regime’s mobilization. It was like that when Putin
was running for president for the third time, just as it was before that.

The actions are designed to simulate support for the regime from below. But the people
in Russia know what is going on, and don’t allow themselves to be so easily deceived by
these images.

All of that does not mean that many people don’t passively support government policies.
Many people think the annexation of Crimea to Russia is a good move.

But if you compare the number of people who would actually go out on the streets for or
against the government, the number of people coming out against is considerably

In society as a whole, they are in a minority, but among the people mobilizing, they are

Putin claims that the occupation of Crimea is for the protection of the Russian population
there. What do you think as a left-wing activist?

There can be no doubt that, in fact, the majority of the population in Crimea was for
joining Russia. There was a referendum, and the majority of residents voted for it.

The question is: How did the referendum come about? Was it the result of a mass
movement from below that arose as an answer to the success of the Maidan movement
in Kiev?

No. It happened in exactly the opposite way.

First came the Russian soldiers, then it was made to seem like there was a movement
for support of this referendum, then the referendum was undertaken. So formally, the
right of self-determination of the people was realized. But the people who were then
allowed to determine themselves were not the ones posing the question. The people
therefore didn’t decide their fate themselves--just as in the past, Crimea was made a
part of Ukraine without their consent.

Why is the population of Crimea for an annexation to Russia?

This has, above all, social causes. Crimea is a very poor region. Even in Ukraine, it
ranked among the lowest in terms of standard of living. If Russia will now pay for social
services there, as it does in other regions of the country, the people of Crimea will, of
course, benefit from this. Pensions and wages will probably increase.

So the fear of repression by the ultra-nationalists in the new Kiev government was not an
important reason?

In that regard--i.e., to what extent the rights of the Russian-speaking parts of the
population were being suppressed--it’s hard to answer. It is difficult to make judgments
about the feelings of people.

Here, the subjective aspect particularly plays a role. Objectively, Crimea was always a
Russian-speaking region within Ukraine. The education system, the mass media, those
in power, etc., were all completely in Russian.

The threat of Ukrainian nationalists coming in, wanting to meddle and persecute people,
is a propaganda myth. The population of Crimea never developed a loyalty to Ukraine.
The idea prevails that affiliation with Ukraine was a historical error. But it should be clear
that the events in Crimea have nothing to do with delayed historical justice. It was a
Russian military action, reacting to the events in Ukraine, and not some form of help for
the people in Crimea.

One would do well to remember that there are Russian-speaking populations not
only in Ukraine, but also in other former Soviet republics, such as in Kazakhstan,
in Uzbekistan, in Moldova--in regions where the Russian-speaking people are in
greater conflict with the nationalist regimes than in Ukraine.

Putin certainly doesn’t have a problem with the rulers in Kazakhstan, for instance.

An authoritarian regime is in power there, which shares much more of Putin’s
approach to politics, and Putin gets along with it well.

The 7 million Russian-speaking people in Kazakhstan will not be asked by anyone, even
in the future, what they want to do with their right to self-determination.

What happened in Ukraine is thus a cynical exploitation of real national or language
contradictions. This process is being cloaked in the watchword of self-determination,
while the people never get the opportunity to pose this question themselves.

The German media recently reported that Russia is on the brink of a big recession. What
is the economic situation in Russia, and what effect does it have on the class struggle

The signs of a recession have already been visible since the end of last year. It was
already officially confirmed at that time that an economic stagnation was beginning in

Already before the events in Crimea, the predictions of economic development were
very cautious. The forecast was for only 2 to 3 percent economic growth by the end of
the year. Economic growth slowed down rather suddenly. Now they are already talking
about the possibility that growth will perhaps stay at 1 percent. Rating agencies have
announced that economic strength in Russia could sink still further in the event of an
escalation of the conflict with the West.

Is the economic situation a result of the crisis in Crimea?

No, it preceded the present crisis. Russia is not an attractive land for investments. The
money currently leaving Russia exceeds the amount being brought into Russia and
invested. This trend has intensified, and the crisis in Crimea has contributed to it.

The main economic problems, therefore, do not arise because of any sanctions
imposed upon Russia, which caused the economy here to break down, but rather
because more and more capital is flowing out of Russia. This will also impact the
big Russian corporations that are integrated in the world market.

What will the outcome look like for the population?

There will be layoffs in many companies, and unemployment will rise.

The public budget will be slashed, which means that salaries for public employees will
be reduced, and social services will be cut. That will have political consequences.

The relatively high salaries and wages in the public sector are a big reason for
Putin’s popularity. In May 2012, the government decreed a continual rise in the
salaries for federal employees. In this way, Putin wanted to shore up the social
basis for his power.

The economic situation will not allow for this in the future.

“ The Russian State Is Actually Weak. It Is Incredibly Corrupt”

Government propaganda has already begun trying to adjust people to such negative
economic changes. In Putin’s speech on Crimea, he justified his actions on the one
hand, but then also said, "Our enemies could exploit the discontent with the worsening of
the economic situation in Russia," and equated the voicing of this discontent with a
betrayal of national interests. In the pro-government press, it is often stressed that "our
strength as a nation consists in the fact that we respond to the worsening of our own
economic situation with understanding."

But not every economic crisis ends in a crisis of government.

That’s right. But we shouldn’t forget that, despite its size and ambitions, the Russian
state is actually weak. It is incredibly corrupt. Among all levels of public employees a
very low level of motivation predominates, and moreover, the government is always
battling a difficult economic situation and increased discontent.

It is not at all clear if the rulers can hold up against a real pressure from below.

We are currently at the beginning of this economic crisis, which will sooner or
later give way to a social and political crisis.

It will either split the elites, with some of them coming out against Putin while capitalizing
on discontent, or they will close ranks when backed into a corner and respond to the
movement with concerted repression from the Kremlin.

The latter could end with a storming of the Kremlin and a revolution.

Could there be strikes or other direct forms of class conflict?

That is difficult to predict. It seems to me that right now, the majority of people don’t
understand what is currently happening.

The measures that are already taking effect now, whether cuts in pay or layoffs, are
thought of as temporary and isolated. People don’t sense that this economic system is
being driven into a crisis.

I think the social struggles will only pick up once a consciousness of the crisis
spreads, when people understand that they, and not President Putin, are meant to
pay for the crisis.

What are you as left-wing activist doing in this tense situation?

After the big demonstration in Moscow, there is a lot of talk about the future of this
movement. At the same time, this also has to do with how the crisis in Ukraine unfolds.

Recent weeks have clearly laid bare the splits within the Russian left. A part of it
believes that it is possible to critically support the course of the Russian government.
The other part considers this the wrong approach. These new rifts are also apparent in
the boycott of the "March for Peace" by a section of the Russian left.

Can you describe this section in more detail? From which tradition do these activists

There is, for example, the "Left Front" organization. They supported the Russian
government’s line on Ukraine. These parts of the movement come from more of a
Stalinist political tradition.

There are different motives.

Of course, no one says, " We support Russian imperialism and an invasion by the
Russian armed forces."

Rather, they maintain that the danger primarily comes from the Ukrainian
government--that Ukrainian fascism is a danger for the Russian-speaking
minority, and hence the position of the Russian government is understandable.

It’s clear that images like the demolition of Lenin statues in Ukraine have made a
strong impression on many people.

That is why they do not support the Maidan movement, but its opponents.

Comments, arguments, articles, and letters from service men
and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Write to Box
126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or email
contact@militaryproject.org: Name, I.D., withheld unless you
request publication. Same address to unsubscribe.


9 Palestinians Tortured To Death In
Assad Regime Prisons In 48 Hours

May 1, 2014 by Talal Alyan, Beyondcompromise.com/ [Excerpts]

9 Palestinians have been tortured to death by the Syrian regime over the course of the
last 48 hours.

The Palestinian League for Human Rights-Syria noted that the number of Palestinians
murdered by torture in regime prisons has risen to 183 victims at least, 25 of which
occurred this past April alone.

Below, once more, we have listed the names of those most recently murdered. These
are the men who have been slaughtered in the last two days. [E]very name represents a
Palestinian who was not only killed but also subjected to an unimaginable torment.

Glory to the martyrs, shame on the silent.

Ammar Ahmed Abu Rashid

Amar Ahmad

Brothers Mohammad Abdullah & Ahmad Abdullah

Ahmad Abdullah

Abdullah Suleiman Zatoota

Omar Hamdan

Amer Hamdan

Samir Hamdan

Bilal Shehady

A Palestinian Boy “ Pushed And
Kicked Several Times”
“ Then Taken To A Nearby Police
Station, Still Not Knowing The
Circumstances Of His Arrest”
“ His Current Situation Is Unknown”

30th April 2014 International Solidarity Movement Khalil Team

Hebron, Occupied Palestine

On the 27th of April, four Palestinian boys were detained in al-Khalil (Hebron) at
checkpoint 55.

Three YAS (Youth Against Settlements) members arrived at the scene, and tried to
document the incident.

While filming they were harassed by several settlers from nearby illegal settlements, this
led to the YAS volunteers being detained by Israeli forces for over one hour.

Three of the boys were allowed to leave, while one was held back. One of the Israeli
soldiers loaded his weapon with live ammunition and threatened to shoot the 15-year old
Palestinian, who still didn’t know why he was being held.

The arrest was very violent, as the Palestinian boy was pushed and kicked several

YAS activists called the DCO (District Coordination Officer- legal collaboration between
Israeli and Palestinian authorities) to inform them about the arrest of a young teenager.

The Israeli Police then contacted the DCO, and tried to misinform them about the
situation – denying that the arrest was happening.

The Palestinian boy was then taken to a nearby Police Station, still not knowing
the circumstances of his arrest.

His current situation is unknown.

The harassment and detention of Palestinian children is unfortunately common in al-
Khalil. On Wednesday 23rd of April, Israeli Border Police detained a 6-year-old boy.

Two days later on the 25th April, the Hebron Christian Peacemakers Team documented
Israeli soldiers detaining an 8-year-old boy.

In both cases the children were held for approximately 20 minutes without their parents

To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation commanded
by foreign terrorists, go to:
http://www.maannews.net/eng/Default.aspx and
The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “ Israeli.”

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