Saturday, September 13, 2008

'Contractors' Targetted in Afghanistan

US firm ambushed in Afghanistan, 23 killed

KABUL: At least 23 people were killed when Taliban ambushed a United States security firm convoy in southwestern Afghanistan on Friday. Provincial officials said it was the second attack on the firm in recent days. Provincial Police Chief Khalilullah Rahmani said 15 of the dead were Taliban killed in the fighting that broke out following the ambush.

Rahmani said US Protection and Investigations, a firm involved in escorting supplies for coalition forces, also suffered casualties, but gave no details. “The Taliban attacked the convoy with machineguns. Four vehicles were set on fire,” said a provincial official requesting anonymity. He said four Afghan guards and four civilians had been killed in the ambush that took place when the convoy was passing through Bakwa district in Farah province. Another convoy of the security firm had been attacked on Thursday in Kandahar city. Two people had been killed in the attack. In another incident, the US military said coalition forces had killed more than 10 Taliban and had detained two more during operations in eastern Afghanistan targeting the network of Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Two members of Haqqani’s team were picked up in Khost province, including one suspected of co-ordinating roadside attacks on coalition and Afghan forces, the US military said in a statement. Haqqani, who was backed by the United States during the war against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, is considered close to Osama Bin Laden.

The military said US forces had also targeted a Taliban commander in Kapisa province, northeast of Kabul, adding that 10 militants had been killed in the fighting. “Coalition forces were engaged with small-arms fire from multiple groups of armed militants as they entered a compound. The force returned fire, killing the militants,” said the statement.

Afghan police have arrested three men alleged to have provided international troops with ‘incorrect information’ that led to airstrikes said to have killed more than 90 civilians.

The three were on a list of people provided to President Hamid Karzai by locals who alleged they had misinformed troops ahead of the August 22 strikes, the head of police intelligence in the western province of Herat told reporters. “We arrested three people who were on the list. The operation is continuing to arrest the others,” said Mohammad Musa Rasouli. The interior ministry also announced the arrests of three men in a statement. Karzai visited Shindand district on September 4 and met with people who lost relatives in the strikes. He promised to arrest anyone whose ‘false information’ might have guided the attack, said an aide.

Afghan and UN rights investigations say more than 90 civilians had been killed in the strike, many of them children. The US military however, says that between five and seven civilians had been killed along with 30-35 Taliban, including an important commander. agencies



Murderous Theatre of the Absurd

A Murderous Theatre of the Absurd
by John Pilger

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger examines news as parody as those prominent in the British media seek to justify the official versions of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

11/09/08 "ICH" - Try to laugh, please. The news is now officially parody and a game for all the family to play.

First question: Why are “we” in Afghanistan? Answer: “To try to help in the country’s rebuilding programme.” Who says so? Huw Edwards, the BBC’s principal newsreader. What wags the Welsh are.

Second question: Why are “we” in Iraq? Answer: To “plant a western-style open democracy”. Who says so? Paul Wood, the former BBC defence correspondent, and his boss Helen Boaden, director of BBC News. To prove her point, Boaden supplied with 2,700 words of quotations from Tony Blair and George W Bush. Irony? No, she meant it.

Take Andrew Martin, divisional adviser at BBC Complaints, who has been researching Bush’s speeches for “evidence” of noble democratic reasons for laying to waste an ancient civilisation. Says he: “The ‘D’ word is not there, but the phrase ‘united, stable and free’ [is] clearly an allusion to it.” After all, he says, the invasion of Iraq “was launched as ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’”. Moreover, says the BBC man, “in Bush’s 1 May 2003 speech (the one on the aircraft carrier) he talked repeatedly about freedom and explicitly about the Iraqi transition to democracy . . . These examples show that these were on Bush’s mind before, during and after the invasion.”

Try to laugh, please.

Laughing may be difficult, I agree, given the slaughter of civilians in Afghanistan by “coalition” aircraft, including those directed by British forces engaged in “the country’s rebuilding programme”. The bombing of civilian areas has doubled, along with the deaths of civilians, says Human Rights Watch. Last month, “our” aircraft slaughtered nearly 100 civilians, two-thirds of them children between the ages of three months and 16 years, while they slept, according to eyewitnesses. BBC television news initially devoted nine seconds to the Human Rights Watch report, and nothing to the fact that “less than peanuts” (according to an aid worker) is being spent on rebuilding anything in Afghanistan.

As for the notion of a “united, stable and free” Iraq, consider the no-bid contracts handed to the major western oil companies for ownership of Iraq’s oil. “Theft” is a more truthful word. Written by the companies themselves and US officials, the contracts have been signed off by Bush and Nouri al-Maliki, “prime minister” of Iraq’s “democratic” government that resides in an air-conditioned American fortress. This is not news.

Try to laugh, please, while you consider the devastation of Iraq’s health, once the best in the Middle East, by the ubiquitous dust from British and US depleted uranium weapons. A World Health Organisation study reporting a cancer epidemic has been suppressed, says its principal author. This has been reported in Britain only in the Glasgow Sunday Herald and the Morning Star. According to a study last year by Basra University Medical College, almost half of all deaths in the contaminated southern provinces were caused by cancer.

Try to laugh, please, at the recent happy-clappy Nurembergs from which will come the next president of the United States. Those paid to keep the record straight have strained to present a spectacle of choice. Barack Obama, the man of “change”, wants to “build a 21st-century military . . . to stay on the offensive everywhere”. Here comes the new Cold War, with promises of more bombs, more of the militarised society with its 730 bases worldwide, on which Americans spend 42 cents of every tax dollar.

At home, Obama offers no authentic measure that might ease America’s grotesque inequality, such as basic health care. John McCain, his Republican opponent, may well be a media cartoon figure – the fake “war hero” now joined with a Shakespeare-banning, gun-loving, religious fanatic – yet his true significance is that he and Obama share essentially the same dangerous prescriptions.

Thousands of decent Americans came to the two nominating conventions to express the dissenting opinion of millions of their compatriots who believe, with good cause, that their democracy is evaporating. They were intimidated, arrested, beaten, pepper-gassed; and they were patronised or ignored by those paid to keep the record straight.

In the meantime, Justin Webb, the BBC’s North America editor, has launched a book about America, his “city on a hill”. It is a sort of Mills & Boon view of the rapacious system he admires with such obsequiousness. The book is called Have a Nice Day.

Try to laugh, please.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Capella: The Towers on Victoria's Hills

[No mention here of Western Forest Products profiteering on this Bear
Mountain subdivision. Talk about biased news reporting!- Karen Wonders]

A huge custom-made crane from Spain works on the $1.4-billion luxury
Capella development on Bear Mountain in Langford.
Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist

Housing starts holding up for the year
Monthly figures dropped slightly during August
Carla Wilson, Times Colonist
September 10, 2008

Vancouver Island housing starts dropped in August from July but
year-to-date numbers are running close to the first eight months of last

Nationally, new home construction moved up last month, to 211,000 starts
from 186,500 in July, on a seasonally adjusted basis, Canada Mortgage
and Housing Corp. said yesterday.

However, uncertainty is hovering around the capital region's once-hot
local housing market now that sales are slowing and the number of homes
for sale is at its highest level in a dozen years.

Even so, the median and average price for a single-family home in
Greater Victoria topped $500,000 last month.

On Vancouver Island, the 345 starts in August came in lower than 400 in
July. Last month is considerably higher than August of last year, when
262 homes were started.

April had the highest number of starts on Vancouver Island so far this
year with 588, said CMHC senior market analyst Travis Archibald.

He warns against drawing conclusions from monthly numbers, saying "The
year-to-date [figures] are the key."

Nanaimo took the lead on Vancouver Island with the most starts last
month, at 141, thanks to condo construction.

Victoria followed with 114 starts, then the Courtenay area with 46,
Duncan at 35, and Parksville-Qualicum with nine.

Langford, where much of the capital region's residential development is
taking place, led the way among Greater Victoria municipalities with 38
starts in August.

Of those, 30 are condominium units. Sooke followed with 20 starts, then
Saanich with 12.

A custom-made crane from Spain, with a large motor and the latest in
electronics, recently arrived at the Quigg Group's $1.4-billion luxury
Capella development at Bear Mountain in Langford. The Jaso 300 is one of
two in North America, and the only one in Western Canada, developer
Robert Quigg said from Vancouver.

Normally the company leases crane but it ordered this one to help build
four planned towers on Quigg's 20-acre site. The first is due to be
completed in June or July of 2010.

By the time the fourth tower is completed, "It will have been jacked to
an approximate height of 560 feet," he said.

Quigg remains bullish on the real estate market, suggesting that fewer
starts now may lead to an undersupply of homes in a couple of years.
Fundamentals are positive in Canada, with low interest rates and a
strong western economy, he said.

"I firmly believe than the shift we are seeing and the desire for
ownership in the market that we are pursuing is much more about a
demographic shift than an economic shift."

About 60 per cent of the Capella units have sold, including the $3.25
million sub-penthouse, Quigg said. About one-third of buyers are from
Victoria and the south Island, one-third from Alberta and Saskatchewan,
and the rest from Eastern Canada and some from Europe.

"There's no lessening of demand." People seeking homes are still in the
market, whether they buy now or next year, he said.

Nationally, August exceeded analysts' expectations of between 191,000
and 195,000 starts.

"After a brief pause in July, the volatile multiple segment bounced back
to a level of activity that is more consistent with our forecast for
this year," said Bob Dugan, CMHC chief economist. "Most of the
volatility in housing starts over the last three months reflected swings
in multiple starts in Ontario."

Led by Ontario, multiple starts jumped 25.2 per cent in the month to
114,700 starts, while construction on single-family homes rose by two
per cent to 71,200.

All other provinces experienced a decline in housing activity.

"On balance, this does not necessarily mean that housing activity
remains healthy. It should be taken for what it is -- a snapback from a
previously large decline," said Charmaine Buskas, senior economics
strategist at TD Securities.

"The Canadian housing market does have some headwinds that will bring
down activity in the next couple of quarters, which suggests a softer
trend in the housing market and a smaller contribution to growth."

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Iraq War Costs Clock

Current Number of US Soldiers Killed in Iraq


Number of Days Left in King George's Reign

Cost of the War in Iraq

A Soldier's Dilemma: Serve and Torture or Desert and Face Torture

U.S. deserter feared torture orders - Canada - U.S. deserter feared torture orders

Peter Jemley fled the U.S. military after concluding his training was leading him to a possible torture role. Sept. 3, 2008 Arabic-speaking soldier may prompt Canada to wade into legal debate

September 06, 2008
Michelle Shephard
National Security Reporter

Peter Jemley is unique among the growing ranks of war resisters who have sought refuge in Canada.

For one thing, he's old by military standards. The only reason the army considered the 38-year-old recruit three years ago was because the age cap had been raised to fill the U.S. military's growing void.

The Tacoma, Wash., father of two young children also bucks the soldier stereotype. Jemley is a college history major, both quiet and fervently independent. If describing a bad situation he's likely to say it "sucked," then apologize for his profanity.

Now Jemley's reasons for deserting set him apart too, and make his case a historic first.

He wants Canada to accept him as a refugee because he's opposed to torture.

Jemley argues that as one of only a small number of Arabic linguists with top security clearance, he could be forced to violate international law by participating in the interrogations of terrorism suspects. It was something he hadn't considered when he enlisted in 2005 and was handpicked to undergo two years of intense training due to his adeptness with languages.

Only last February did he discover that his government had sanctioned new rules on how terrorism suspects could be interrogated. He believes it's torture and when he realized he might be asked to be a part of it, he fled.

"It's a soldier's obligation to say `no' if their commander is doing things that are criminally complicit," Jemley, now 42, said in a recent interview in Toronto. "I think everyone is agreeing now that torture is really what has been going on ... I have every reason to believe that from my small pool that I belong to, with my credentials, that I'd be ordered to do such things."

`Torture' has become a much-debated word with profound legal implications since the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. administration's decision to re-write the laws of war.

Detainees held at Guantanamo Bay and the undisclosed CIA prisons around the world have claimed widespread abuse. The CIA has admitted to using `coercive techniques' during interrogations, such as waterboarding, a process whereby agents simulate drownings.

Much of the legal community considers this treatment torture and point to international laws such as the Geneva Conventions, which were established after WWII to impose legal restrictions on the barbarity of war.

Canada so far has largely been able to sidestep the debate about torture and the Bush administration's post-9/11 policies. Other cases of deserters in Canada have focused on the larger question of the legality of the Iraq war. About a dozen cases are working their way through the refugee board and courts with varying legal arguments and one deserter has already been deported back to face a court martial.

The issue of Guantanamo's legality arose earlier this year in the Supreme Court case concerning Canadian detainee Omar Khadr. The high court justices ruled that Canadian agents had acted illegally by interrogating the Toronto teenager in 2003 and 2004. But the high court relied on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that deemed Guantanamo illegal, rather than debating issues of torture and indefinite detention specifically.

Jemley's case is the first to deal with the issue directly. The CIA has admitted it uses acts such as waterboarding. There's evidence that Guantanamo detainees were subjected to programs such as sleep deprivation, intimidation with dogs and sexual humiliation. If these tactics are torture, thereby violating international law, Jemley argues he could be prosecuted for war crimes if he participates.

Canada must decide whether the U.S. administration has sanctioned torture in deciding his case, his lawyer says.

"There are specific rules for soldiers and the basic idea is nobody should participate in torture, ever," said Jemley's lawyer Jeffrey House. "Nobody should associate themselves with torture or violations of the Geneva Conventions because if we start to wink at violations of the Geneva Conventions they're no longer law, they're just guidelines."

Calls to Jemley's commander at the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion at Camp Murray, Tacoma, were not returned this week. But a letter of "unexcused absence" emailed to Jemley from Maj. Brian Bodenman outlined what penalties he could face if he failed to show up to training by yesterday's deadline.

Punishment includes a court martial with possibility of jail time or a discharge and transfer to "inactive ready reserve." The latter means Jemley could still be called to duty for a period of five years.

"To me it's like being an indentured servant. You can't leave, and you can't give your skills back," Jemley said.

Since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003, there is no accurate account of how many deserters have fled to Canada – best guess is a couple hundred, with many remaining underground having not filed a refugee claim.

Comparisons are often made to the Vietnam War when thousands came to Canada. But during Vietnam there was a draft, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government has little sympathy for today's deserters.

Jemley's decision to join the army was not one he took lightly, nor one borne of patriotic duty. "It wasn't a political decision. I didn't really like the Bush administration any more then, than I do now, but Iraqis are people too and I'm not afraid of doing difficult things. So I thought I could help," Jemley said.

After scoring extremely high on the army's Defense Language Aptitude Battery test he was asked if he'd become a linguist and was sent to the Army's language school in Monterey, Calif., for two years. Upon graduation, he spent a brief stint at the secretive National Security Agency, the U.S. government's electronic eavesdropping agency, and then sought independent contracts where he could work until his unit was deployed.

In February, he signed a lucrative contract with Washington's Office of Military Commissions, the legal arm of the Guantanamo trials that is prosecuting a couple dozen detainees, including Khadr. It was when Jemley started doing his own research into the Guantanamo cases that he came up with media reports about the waterboarding of suspects. When he was asked to sign an addendum to his OMC contract, which added that he must be available to be on-call for "other language related assignments," he refused and was fired.

A second contract offered him work in unspecified locations with "the agency" based in northern Virginia. No one would confirm it was the CIA and when he couldn't get answers about what he'd be doing he turned down the job.

By then he knew he was trapped. These were positions he could refuse, but if he was ordered to duty he couldn't say no.

"I did everything I was supposed to. I'm not afraid to be deployed. I'm not afraid to die," Jemley said.

"(But) I'm ashamed about what's going on."

His wife Sarah and children aged 8 and 3 have remained in Tacoma until Sarah can finish her master's nursing degree. They hate the separation but Jemley says he's confident in his decision.

"I know it sounds glib but I mean it. If one less person gets tortured then it'll all be worth it."

The Zionist Myth of Exile

Israel deliberately forgets its history
By Schlomo Sand

Zionist nationalist myth of enforced exile
An Israeli historian suggests the diaspora was the consequence, not of the expulsion of the Hebrews from Palestine, but of proselytising across north Africa, southern Europe and the Middle East

Every Israeli knows that he or she is the direct and exclusive descendant of a Jewish people which has existed since it received the Torah (1) in Sinai. According to this myth, the Jews escaped from Egypt and settled in the Promised Land, where they built the glorious kingdom of David and Solomon, which subsequently split into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. They experienced two exiles: after the destruction of the first temple, in the 6th century BC, and of the second temple, in 70 AD.

Two thousand years of wandering brought the Jews to Yemen, Morocco, Spain, Germany, Poland and deep into Russia. But, the story goes, they always managed to preserve blood links between their scattered communities. Their uniqueness was never compromised.

At the end of the 19th century conditions began to favour their return to their ancient homeland. If it had not been for the Nazi genocide, millions of Jews would have fulfilled the dream of 20 centuries and repopulated Eretz Israel, the biblical land of Israel. Palestine, a virgin land, had been waiting for its original inhabitants to return and awaken it. It belonged to the Jews, rather than to an Arab minority that had no history and had arrived there by chance. The wars in which the wandering people reconquered their land were just; the violent opposition of the local population was criminal.

This interpretation of Jewish history was developed as talented, imaginative historians built on surviving fragments of Jewish and Christian religious memory to construct a continuous genealogy for the Jewish people. Judaism’s abundant historiography encompasses many different approaches.

But none have ever questioned the basic concepts developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Discoveries that might threaten this picture of a linear past were marginalised. The national imperative rejected any contradiction of or deviation from the dominant story. University departments exclusively devoted to “the history of the Jewish people”, as distinct from those teaching what is known in Israel as general history, made a significant contribution to this selective vision. The debate on what constitutes Jewishness has obvious legal implications, but historians ignored it: as far as they are concerned, any descendant of the people forced into exile 2,000 years ago is a Jew.

Nor did these official investigators of the past join the controversy provoked by the “new historians” from the late 1980s. Most of the limited number of participants in this public debate were from other disciplines or non-academic circles: sociologists, orientalists, linguists, geographers, political scientists, literary academics and archaeologists developed new perspectives on the Jewish and Zionist past. Departments of Jewish history remained defensive and conservative, basing themselves on received ideas. While there have been few significant developments in national history over the past 60 years (a situation unlikely to change in the short term), the facts that have emerged face any honest historian with fundamental questions.

Founding myths shaken
Is the Bible a historical text? Writing during the early half of the 19th century, the first modern Jewish historians, such as Isaak Markus Jost (1793-1860) and Leopold Zunz (1794-1886), did not think so. They regarded the Old Testament as a theological work reflecting the beliefs of Jewish religious communities after the destruction of the first temple. It was not until the second half of the century that Heinrich Graetz (1817-91) and others developed a “national” vision of the Bible and transformed Abraham’s journey to Canaan, the flight from Egypt and the united kingdom of David and Solomon into an authentic national past. By constant repetition, Zionist historians have subsequently turned these Biblical “truths” into the basis of national education.

But during the 1980s an earthquake shook these founding myths. The discoveries made by the “new archaeology” discredited a great exodus in the 13th century BC. Moses could not have led the Hebrews out of Egypt into the Promised Land, for the good reason that the latter was Egyptian territory at the time. And there is no trace of either a slave revolt against the pharaonic empire or of a sudden conquest of Canaan by outsiders.

Nor is there any trace or memory of the magnificent kingdom of David and Solomon. Recent discoveries point to the existence, at the time, of two small kingdoms: Israel, the more powerful, and Judah, the future Judea. The general population of Judah did not go into 6th century BC exile: only its political and intellectual elite were forced to settle in Babylon. This decisive encounter with Persian religion gave birth to Jewish monotheism.

Then there is the question of the exile of 70 AD. There has been no real research into this turning point in Jewish history, the cause of the diaspora. And for a simple reason: the Romans never exiled any nation from anywhere on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean. Apart from enslaved prisoners, the population of Judea continued to live on their lands, even after the destruction of the second temple. Some converted to Christianity in the 4th century, while the majority embraced Islam during the 7th century Arab conquest.

Most Zionist thinkers were aware of this: Yitzhak Ben Zvi, later president of Israel, and David Ben Gurion, its first prime minister, accepted it as late as 1929, the year of the great Palestinian revolt. Both stated on several occasions that the peasants of Palestine were the descendants of the inhabitants of ancient Judea (2).

Proselytising zeal
But if there was no exile after 70 AD, where did all the Jews who have populated the Mediterranean since antiquity come from? The smokescreen of national historiography hides an astonishing reality. From the Maccabean revolt of the mid-2nd century BC to the Bar Kokhba revolt of the 2nd century AD, Judaism was the most actively proselytising religion. The Judeo-Hellenic Hasmoneans forcibly converted the Idumeans of southern Judea and the Itureans of Galilee and incorporated them into the people of Israel. Judaism spread across the Middle East and round the Mediterranean. The 1st century AD saw the emergence in modern Kurdistan of the Jewish kingdom of Adiabene, just one of many that converted.

The writings of Flavius Josephus are not the only evidence of the proselytising zeal of the Jews. Horace, Seneca, Juvenal and Tacitus were among the Roman writers who feared it. The Mishnah and the Talmud (3) authorised conversion, even if the wise men of the Talmudic tradition expressed reservations in the face of the mounting pressure from Christianity.

Although the early 4th century triumph of Christianity did not mark the end of Jewish expansion, it relegated Jewish proselytism to the margins of the Christian cultural world. During the 5th century, in modern Yemen, a vigorous Jewish kingdom emerged in Himyar, whose descendants preserved their faith through the Islamic conquest and down to the present day. Arab chronicles tell of the existence, during the 7th century, of Judaised Berber tribes; and at the end of the century the legendary Jewish queen Dihya contested the Arab advance into northwest Africa. Jewish Berbers participated in the conquest of the Iberian peninsula and helped establish the unique symbiosis between Jews and Muslims that characterised Hispano-Arabic culture.

The most significant mass conversion occurred in the 8th century, in the massive Khazar kingdom between the Black and Caspian seas. The expansion of Judaism from the Caucasus into modern Ukraine created a multiplicity of communities, many of which retreated from the 13th century Mongol invasions into eastern Europe. There, with Jews from the Slavic lands to the south and from what is now modern Germany, they formed the basis of Yiddish culture (4).

Prism of Zionism
Until about 1960 the complex origins of the Jewish people were more or less reluctantly acknowledged by Zionist historiography. But thereafter they were marginalised and finally erased from Israeli public memory. The Israeli forces who seized Jerusalem in 1967 believed themselves to be the direct descendents of the mythic kingdom of David rather than – God forbid – of Berber warriors or Khazar horsemen. The Jews claimed to constitute a specific ethnic group that had returned to Jerusalem, its capital, from 2,000 years of exile and wandering.

This monolithic, linear edifice is supposed to be supported by biology as well as history. Since the 1970s supposedly scientific research, carried out in Israel, has desperately striven to demonstrate that Jews throughout the world are closely genetically related.

Research into the origins of populations now constitutes a legitimate and popular field in molecular biology and the male Y chromosome has been accorded honoured status in the frenzied search for the unique origin of the “chosen people”. The problem is that this historical fantasy has come to underpin the politics of identity of the state 
of Israel. By validating an essentialist, 
ethnocentric definition of Judaism it encourages a segregation that separates Jews from non-Jews – whether Arabs, Russian immigrants or foreign workers.

Sixty years after its foundation, Israel refuses to accept that it should exist for the sake of its citizens. For almost a quarter of the population, who are not regarded as Jews, this is not their state legally. At the same time, Israel presents itself as the homeland of Jews throughout the world, even if these are no longer persecuted refugees, but the full and equal citizens of other countries.

A global ethnocracy invokes the myth of the eternal nation, reconstituted on the land of its ancestors, to justify internal discrimination against its own citizens. It will remain difficult to imagine a new Jewish history while the prism of Zionism continues to fragment everything into an ethnocentric spectrum. But Jews worldwide have always tended to form religious communities, usually by conversion; they cannot be said to share an ethnicity derived from a unique origin and displaced over 20 centuries of wandering.

The development of historiography and the evolution of modernity were consequences of the invention of the nation state, which preoccupied millions during the 19th and 20th centuries. The new millennium has seen these dreams begin to shatter.

And more and more academics are analysing, dissecting and deconstructing the great national stories, especially the myths of common origin so dear to chroniclers of the past.

Shlomo Sand is professor of history at Tel Aviv university and the author of Comment le people juif fut inventé (Fayard, Paris, 2008)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A List of Books Not Wanted in Libraries: America


A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K.
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H.Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women's Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S.
by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster
Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween
Symbols by Edna Barth

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–20001


See also Challenges by Initiator, Institution, Type, and Year.

For comparison, see also The Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–1999.


| Dealing with Challenges | Reporting a Challenge |


“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” — Judy Blume


Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier


1Out of 6,364 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, as compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association. (See Background Information: 1990–2000 under The Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000.) The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom does not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges. Research suggests that for each challenge reported there are as many as four or five which go unreported.

Contacts: Macey Morales
Manager, ALA-PIO Media Relations
(312) 280-4393

Jennifer Petersen
PR Coordinator, ALA-PIO Media Relations
(312) 280-5043

For Immediate Release
September 3, 2008

ALA President Jim Rettig releases statement on censorship
Chicago - The American Library Association (ALA) opposes book banning and censorship in any form, and supports librarians whenever they resist censorship in their libraries. Since our society is so diverse, libraries have a responsibility to provide materials that reflect the interests of all of their patrons.

Each year, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom receives hundreds of reports on books and other materials that were "challenged" (their removal from school or library shelves was requested). The ALA estimates the number reported represents only about a quarter of the actual challenges.

In support of our efforts to fight censorship, the ALA annually celebrates Banned Books Week – a national celebration of the freedom to read. Observed during the last week of September each year, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take the precious democratic freedom to read for granted. This year, Banned Books Week will take place September 27–October 4, 2008.

The American Library Association is a nonprofit, 501(c) (3) educational association that supports quality library and information services and public access to information. As such, it is not allowed to take a position on political candidates and strives to be nonpartisan in its activities.

To learn more about book challenges and Banned Books Week please visit

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