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Congressman Kucinich first US Official to Tour Damage in Southern Lebanon

by : Democratic Underground
Saturday September 2, 2006 - 17:56

CLEVELAND (September 1) Congressman Dennis Kucinich, ranking member on the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, and his wife Elizabeth have just returned from a personal peace-building initiative in the Middle East. Their mission included war-torn Lebanon, where they met separately and at length with Lebanon Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, President Emile LaHoud, General Michel Aoun, former Prime Minister and now leader of the Progressive Patriotic Party; Fawzi Salloukh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Yacoub Sarrat, Minister of the Environment and former Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss.

There was unanimity among Lebanese leaders that now is the time to explore multiparty talks with hopes of achieving a breakthrough agreement for peace in the entire region. All felt that political negotiations were key, as opposed to use of force. Each official spoke of the necessity of lifting the blockade, addressing the status of the Shebaa Farms, engaging in an exchange of prisoners with Israel and obtaining maps of areas mined by the Israeli army.

The couple toured the heavily damaged suburban Beirut area where they witnessed the ruins of thousands of apartment dwellings and hundreds of businesses. Kucinich became perhaps the first US official to cross the Litani River, accompanying a humanitarian mission from the American University in Dubai delivering food, water and medical supplies deep into southern Lebanon.

"Village after village was reduced to piles of rubble. We saw thousands of destroyed homes. We also saw bombed out hospitals, schools, factories, churches, mosques, fire stations, gas stations, cars, bridges, roads, water systems, electric systems, banana plantations, and lemon groves," Kucinich said.

"In several villages we stopped and walked through piles of concrete and dust from what had once been homes. Public areas were littered with unexploded cluster bombs and land mines. The smell of death was everywhere. Homes still standing upon closer inspection had holes in the walls from artillery shells."

One of the most emotionally wrenching moments came at 10 o’clock at night as they arrived in the village of Qana, the Cana of biblical lore where Christ performed the first of his miracles, changing water into wine. One of the greatest tragedies of war befell a house in Qana where a 1,000 pound bomb exploded and collapsed the structure crushing dozens of women and children who had sought shelter in the basement.

Kucinich and his wife went to pay respects to the dead as a graveyard in the center of the village was lit by automobile headlights. They walked by several rows of graves, each with a picture of someone killed in the bombing. One picture was of four members of the same family. Buried were a mother and her three children. As Kucinich quietly wept, a hand reached around his shoulder to console him. It was the man who lost his wife and three children.

Kucinich and his wife were led away from the graves across the road and down a very narrow street, over piles of debris from the blast and to the scene of the disaster. Some children’s’ clothing and bomb fragments were still visible in the rubble. A crowd quickly gathered as it was learned that an American congressman had come to the village. Soon nearly fifty villagers surrounded the couple, including many who had lost family members through what they believed was an American-made bomb.

Elizabeth Kucinich said: "Dennis and I will never forget what followed. Here we stood in the darkness, surrounded by people who suffered great loss, who had every right to express anger or even rage, yet instead they expressed remarkable depth of forgiveness, compassion and a desire for peace and reconciliation, calling out from the crowd through interpreters: "We do not hate America. We love the American people. We do not like what your government does. Please tell the American people that we are not terrorists. We do not hate Israel. We want to be safe in our village. We want to be left alone. We want peace." The couple promised to take the message from Qana back to the United States.

A last minute flight cancellation forced the couple to travel to Israel overnight, 11 hours by car, across Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. In Israel they met with directors and policy advisors of the State of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem and discussed the war, security and Israeli casualties. The Kuciniches had hoped to visit the affected areas in northern Israel but were told by Israeli officials that there would not be much to see because repairs were almost completed. In the Palestinian town of Ramallah, they met with a small group of government officials and representatives of NGOs. They also met with Suheil Dawani, Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem and his wife.

In July, when the war broke out, Kucinich quickly organized a group of 36 House members who sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 450, which called upon the administration to seek immediate ceasefire and to help convene multi-party talks in the region, with no preconditions. Last week Kucinich called for an end to the blockade of Lebanon.

Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich plan to issue a series of reports on their visits to the region, as part of their effort to craft the elements of a peace plan for the region.

Email from a missionary who met with DK and EK I got this on Friday, but couldn’t figure out how/where to post it. At that time, I had no idea that DK was making a tour. Janet Lewis is the originaor of this e-mail. She is a United Methodist Church missionary in Lebanon.

Dear all,

Just a quick update that might be of interest especially to those of you from Ohio. Yesterday I was invited to attend a meeting on the hush-hush with Ohio Congressman (former Senator and Cleveland mayor) Dennis Kucinich who was here for a very brief 36 hour visit after stopping first in Lebanon to see the damage and visit with the people there. This area is off limits to US diplomats and government workers at the moment with only a few key exceptions (In fact, the US State Dept just issued a warning for all Americans to leave Gaza and northern Israel. For those of us who have been around a while, we recognize that to mean that Israel is planning another “operation” and don’t want us in the way.) When the congressman and his wife went to board the flight at the Beirut airport to fly to Tel Aviv the Israelis (who seem to be controlling the airport in Beirut at the moment) suddenly cancelled the flight and everyone had to get off the plane. The Kuciniches, being persistent enough in wanting to get here, arranged for a car to drive them from Beirut, through Syria, Jordan and across the bridge into the West Bank of Palestine! After a day of seeing the Separation Wall and meeting with the Anglican bishop (Elizabeth Kucinich is a staunch Anglican from London) we had a very small meeting, only 8 of us representatives from a few organizations doing work in Jerusalem. The congressman did not want the invitation to go out to the list of over 200 organizations. This was just a very private meeting to glean some much needed information. Sabeel was asked to be there and I went since I’m not only from Ohio, but grew up in Cleveland where the Kuciniches still live. After about 2 hours of dragging out maps of the division between east and west Jerusalem, the wall route, the settlements, the separation between Gaza and the rest of the West Bank, and other enlightening information, he finally stood up, spread his hands across the maps and said in a voice filled with disbelief, “This is diabolical!” Needless to say, we all agreed. For someone like Kucinich who has made some strong statements regarding the issue of Palestine and is currently working on getting a Department of Peace and Non-violence started at the Cabinet level (he already has over 60 other Congressional sign-ons) I was happy that he finally “got it”, but not surprised that he was as uninformed as he seemed to be. At least he is making an effort to get informed.

After the meeting five of us (including the congressman and his wife, Elizabeth) piled into my car and went for dinner where we picked up the conversation. Dennis and Elizabeth both expressed their amazement that while visiting the town of Cana in Lebanon where so much damaged had occurred, where unexploded Israeli cluster bombs were still lying on the ground, where people had been so completely devastated, that all the people could say was, “Please tell them in the US that we aren’t terrorists, we want to live in peace.” According to the Kuciniches, there was no animosity, no feelings of revenge or a need for retaliation against the US or even Israel. They were quite affected by the genuine desire for peace.

After dinner I drove them back to their hotel where they gave me their private cell phone numbers and emails and asked that I bring as much material from Palestinian organizations as I could when I got to Cleveland in November. They said they had been given a pile of materials eight inches high by the Israeli Foreign Ministry and wanted an equal stack from the Palestinian perspective. I told them I’d bring a whole suitcase full!

The point of all this is to show the need to encourage men like Dennis Kucinich who have the fortitude and desire to truly work for peace through non-violent means, to promote the teaching of peace, the creation of a department of peace to counteract a War Department. The fact that he even came here to see for himself, when so many others refuse, offers a glimmer of hope for those of us whose jobs have become this increasingly steeper uphill battle. Our world is becoming smaller and smaller, and if we can’t learn how to live with each other side by side as neighbors, appreciating our differences instead of trying to homogenize the world through brute force, we could put our energies into healing this planet and improving the quality of life...for ALL people.


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> Congressman Kucinich first US Official to Tour Damage in Southern Lebanon
Saturday September 2 - 20:29 - Posted by faee81323a686295...

This is a major reason why the Arabs are considered as animals by the Israelis; and frankly, I would agree. Quoting the following, in part, from the article.

"We do not hate America. We love the American people. We do not like what your government does. Please tell the American people that we are not terrorists. We do not hate Israel. We want to be safe in our village. We want to be left alone. We want peace."

Let us take the first and second sentence. "We do not hate America. We love the American people."

Yes, and the American people hate the Arabs. Americans are distrustful of Arabs.
Americans invade Iraq and destroy a heritage of civilization. Americans create and take
part in Abu Graib. Time and again Americans have undermined Arabs. The bombs were
made in the U.S.A. (Just the last of the few things we fabricate on our soil). Everywhere
where there is talk of the Near East, like the church, social gatherings, around the water
cooler, Americans make hyper-frightened comments; calling for killing of Arabs and Muslims.
How often I’ve heard these comments from Americans spanning a wide spectrum of the
economic and educational. The Christian-Zionist movement boasts upwards of 40 million
members (and even if we to, say, that number is higha and that there area only 20 million),
are against Arabs and Muslims. The Zionist Christian wants to kill the Arabs and Muslims
(cf. The Most Rev. John Hagee.) And on and one...

And the very stupid Arab, says, "We do not hate America. We love the American people."

Really, the Arabs deserve what was served to them.

And then we continue: "We do not like what your government does. Please tell the American people that we are not terrorists."

No, they do not like what the U.S. government does. BFD. Oh, and "Please tell".... Ah,
it is a wonderful feeling have your as* licked.

One, like it will make a difference telling the Americans that Arabs are not terrorists.
These Arabs are beyond fools and beyond help. It would be beneficial to humankind’s
genepool to have these genes removed.

And then, this little gem: "We do not hate Israel."

No, but Israel hates you.

Well, as long as you are unable to realize what life is then you cannot be any of the following:

"We want to be safe in our village. We want to be left alone. We want peace."

Dam* these people are stupid. They cannot see or understand the circumstances nor the enivronment into which they were born and are not able to learn to defend it, let alone propagate what they preceive as their ideals.

On the other hand we have the Jews who are making use of their brains and do what life demands as they precieve. Is it a wonder one is successful in live and the other is continually losing.

> Congressman Kucinich first US Official to Tour Damage in Southern Lebanon
Tuesday September 5 - 19:38 - Posted by c844248de65332f0...

Wow. Typical Arab bashing. Doesn’t derserve detailed comments.

> Congressman Kucinich first US Official to Tour Damage in Southern Lebanon
Sunday September 3 - 15:42 - Posted by 61d6228b3706f05c...

The bombs mentioned, Cluster, Bunker Buster, etc. were all furnished by American Taxpayers under the influence of the Jewish lobby in Washington. Bush hurried to replenish Israelite bombs used to destroy Lebanon in the hopes of killing more Arabs that stop his march to world domination.

> Congressman Kucinich first US Official to Tour Damage in Southern Lebanon
Sunday September 3 - 17:00 - Posted by e9c6bbb1c1539917...

> Congressman Kucinich first US Official to Tour Damage in Southern Lebanon
Monday September 4 - 03:20 - Posted by bed0a5ebe4cca4d0...

try www.kucinich.us instead. how could anyone be anti kucinich? try to understand. try not to hate. guess you just love w as our "leader"..., which is something i have tried to understand, but it makes me sick to my stomach that anyone even voted to him...

George W. Bush
The White House, USA

I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver’s license suspended for 30 days.
My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.

I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL.
I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use.
By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

I was admitted as a legacy and graduated from Yale University with a low C average.

I ran for U.S. Congress and lost.
I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas, in 1975.
I bought an oil company, but couldn’t find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.
With the help of my father and our right-wing friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.

I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union.
During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.
I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.
I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.
With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father’s appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.

I am the first President in US history to enter office with a criminal record.
I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.
I spent the US surplus and effectively bankrupted the US Treasury.
I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in US history.
I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any12-month period.
I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market.
In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues every month.
I’m proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history.
My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
I set the record for most campaign fundraising trips by a U.S.President.
I am the all-time US and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.
My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in US History, Enron.
My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the US Supreme Court during my election decision.
I have protected my friends at Halliburton against investigation or prosecution.
More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history.
I presided over the biggest energy crisis in US history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.
I presided over the highest gasoline prices in US history.
I changed the US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any President in US history.
I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.
I’ve broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.
I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.
I withdrew the US from the World Court of Law.
I refused to allow inspectors access to US "prisoners of war"detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.
I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US election).
I set the record for fewest number of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.
I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period.
After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.
I garnered the most sympathy for the US after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the US the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.
I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.
I am the first President in US history to order an unprovoked, preemptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of US citizens, and the world community.
I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families — in war time.
In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq, then blamed the lies on our British friends.
I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans(71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.
I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.
I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.

All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father’s library, sealed and unavailable for public view.
All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-president, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.
None of the above matters because I have been "born again" and God and the religious right are on MY side.

> Congressman Kucinich first US Official to Tour Damage in Southern Lebanon
Monday September 4 - 11:12 - Posted by c7a298151bcdd74c...

Dear Mr. Bush:

Now that I clearly see the trevails you’ve experienced in getting to the top, I feel it’s a damn shame you can’t get this country’s vote for another term. Despite all that you’ve "done" and all that you haven’t attempted doing, one more term would give you the time you need to finally once and for all prevent gay marraiges and if there’s one thing that’s been ruining this country over the past 8 years it’s been those damn gay marraiges. God bless and give my regards to your lovely wife.

> Congressman Kucinich first US Official to Tour Damage in Southern Lebanon
Tuesday February 27 - 09:21 - Posted by f043bee0399d4890...

Dead Muslim is a good Muslim is my opinion . God bless them Jews .

> Congressman Kucinich first US Official to Tour Damage in Southern Lebanon
Tuesday September 5 - 19:37 - Posted by c844248de65332f0...

The first and perhaps only American politician who sees the Arabs as people and not chattel. I salute the Congressman. If more of his kind were around, we would live in a safer world.

> Congressman Kucinich first US Official to Tour Damage in Southern Lebanon
Wednesday September 6 - 09:03 - Posted by fb931c39d37e5f0b...

To: 24/227

I don’t think I was bashing the Arabs; I was pointing out that after all what was done to them, they still cannot see reality.

They say to Kucinich that that they like America and Americans and look what the Americans have done to that part of the world. And I just don’t mean the Iraq war. If those fools knew their own history, they would see that America invaded Lebanon under the Eisenhower administration, America installed the Shah in Iraq via Operation TPAJAX, backed Israel in all of its wars since 1948 - from Turman to present; 1967, 1973, 1978 and 1982 being higher intensity than 1974, 1986, 1987, 1996 and all the minor Israeli "police actions". Israel has used U.S. made cluster bombs dating back to 1982. Israel has always been supplied with U.S. made munitions that were used against the Arabs. The supersonic aircraft are fabricated in the U.S.. The U.S. has shared signals and other intelligence with Isreal in all of it’s wars against the Arabs. The U.S. guides and shares in Israel’s destructive technologies (like Israel’s ARROW system).

America has vetoed all major U.N. resolutions that faulted Israel against the Arabs and watered down others; the totals of these resolutions numbering in the hundreds. America led running the inteference in the U.N.delaying the cease fire in the most recent Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.

The U.S. blocks aid to the Palestinians and get other countries to do likewise under financial penalties to those countries’ banks and economies.

The U.S. justifies Israel’s destruction of Lebanon with phrases like, "these are the birth pangs of the New Middle East."

The Americans played a role in sabotaging and deposing Iraq’s Kassim in the 1958-1963 era. Undermined Nasser in Egypt. Bombed Lybia in 1986 (knowing that Israel had created false TELEX traffic implicating Libya). Bombed Syria and the Beeka Valley from ships to provied cover in Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

Americans view Arabs as some kind of animal other than human. Americans detest Arabs in all cultural and social forms and hold highly negative emotions of them.

America has destroyed the heritage of Iraq and continues to reek havoc there. And on and on...

And what does these Arabs have to say to Kucinich: "We love America. We love Americans."

If this does not define stupidity, then I don’t know what does.

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by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
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Imagine, if you will, that the United States government passes a law banning advertisers from sponsoring commercials on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show or Rupert Murdoch’s Fox (Faux) “News” Network. On one hand, there would be two decided advantages to this ban: The National IQ would undoubtedly increase several percentage points, and manipulative pseudo-journalists would no longer be able to appeal to the basest instincts in human nature for ratings and profit while (...)
Thursday 7 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
LIVE, from the State that brought you Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin voters now proudly present, fresh from his recall election victory, Governor Scott Walker! At first glance, it is almost unfathomable that anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have voted to retain Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor. This, after all, is a man who openly declared he is trying to destroy the rights of workers through a “divide and conquer” strategy; who received 61% of the (...)
Tuesday 13 March
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
A question I’ve frequently been asked since I began writing for Pravda.Ru in 2003 is, “Why did you become disillusioned with the practice of law?” This question is understandable, particularly since, in most people’s minds, being an attorney is synonymous with wealth and political power. I’ve always been reluctant to answer this question for fear it will discourage conscientious and ethical people from pursuing careers in the legal profession—a (...)