Israel Gags News on Extra-Judicial Killings

April 3 2010

Written by Mel Frykberg

Anat Kam, 23, who used to work for the Israeli news site ‘Walla’, was arrested last December for allegedly copying secret Israeli Defence Force (IDF) documents during her compulsory military service.

These documents outlined how Israeli assassination squads would plan the killing of Palestinian political leaders and fighters months beforehand and then pass their deaths off as ”mishaps” during ”failed” attempts to arrest them.

Uri Blau, a reporter from the daily ‘Haaretz’, then wrote a piece on the copied documents and is refusing to return to Israel from Britain fearing that Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, will arrest him if he does.

Due to a military gag order the news has remained suppressed even as Israeli journalists fight the suppression order in court.

The news was broken several days ago by Donald McIntyre from Britain’s ‘Independent’.

The controversy has highlighted Israel’s extra-judicial killings which violate international law and have caused death and injury to thousands of Palestinian civilian bystanders despite the country having no death penalty.

Israel’s judiciary has approved ”targeted killings” but only of militants who were allegedly involved in carrying out or planning armed attacks against Israeli soldiers or civilians both within the Palestinian occupied territories and in Israel proper.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza says that during the period September 2000 to March 2008, 500 Palestinians suspected of being involved in military resistance to the Israeli occupation were executed.

However, the ”collateral damage” during the assassinations included another 228 civilian bystanders – 77 of them children. Eleven Palestinians have been assassinated in the last two years.

”Israel is using disproportionate force. Civilians are paying the price. In the overwhelming majority of cases the targeted individuals could have been arrested and brought to trial without being killed. Many of them have been killed in cold blood,” Jaber Wishah from PCHR told IPS.

”International law’s right to life says that state authorities are obliged to follow due process when they are in a position to arrest individuals,” says Michael Kerney from the Ramallah-based rights organisation Al Haq which researched and documented many of the killings.

”Everybody is entitled to a fair trial and no state can dismiss this,” Kerney told IPS.

Some of those targeted have included individuals who were ”pardoned” by the Israelis after having agreed to give up armed resistance to the occupation.

Last December three pardoned members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a military offshoot of the Palestinian Authority (PA)-affiliated Fatah movement, were shot dead in Nablus in the northern West Bank following the death of an Israeli settler.

According to their families and the subsequent investigations of human rights organisations they had already surrendered and were unarmed despite Israeli claims that they had refused to surrender.

”By failing to produce any evidence linking the targeted individuals to attacks allegedly committed by members of the Palestinian resistance, as well as failing to utilise peaceful means in order to arrest and detain suspects, the soldiers assumed the role of both judge and executioner,” reported Al Haq.

Furthermore, unarmed Palestinians, who have not been involved either politically or militarily in resisting the occupation, also continue to die in what some have called deliberate premeditated murder.

Several weeks ago four Palestinian teenagers were shot dead amidst dubious circumstances in two separate incidents in the villages of Awarta and Iraq Burin near Nablus.

According to medical reports they were shot at close range with live ammunition after clashes between Palestinian youngsters and Israeli soldiers had broken out.

However, the individuals concerned had not been involved in the clashes according to several investigations carried out by Al Haq, PCHR and Israeli rights group B’tselem.

One was shot in the back and another had a bullet lodged in the back of his skull despite Israeli soldiers saying they had only used non-lethal ammunition.

The Israeli military police declared they would investigate the incidents following contradictory testimony given by the soldiers involved.

However, when IPS visited one of the sites a week later with family members, approximately 20 spent cartridge cases, bloodied gloves, a saline solution kit and other bits of evidence lay on the ground undisturbed.

None of this is new. Israel has a history of assassinating political opponents predating its official establishment.

In 1944, the Israeli terrorist group, the Stern gang, assassinated Britain’s Lord Moyne, the military governor of Egypt, accusing him of interfering with Jewish migration to Palestine.

In 1948, Count Folke Bernadotte – a Swedish diplomat who had secured the release of 15,000 inmates from Nazi concentration camps while he was vice-president of the Swedish Red Cross  was also murdered by the Stern gang.

Stern gang members believed Bernadotte, as the U.N.’s Palestine mediator, to be too sympathetic to the Arabs. Yitzhak Shamir, later to become an Israeli prime minister, was one of the Stern gang’s leaders.

”Since the outbreak of the second Intifada, Israel has increasingly avoided accountability for the serious violations of the human rights of residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for which it is responsible,” says B’tselem.

”This avoidance is seen, in part, in its policy not to open criminal investigations in cases of killing or wounding of Palestinians who were not taking part in the hostilities, except in exceptional cases, and in its enactment of legislation denying, almost completely, the right of Palestinians who were harmed as a result of illegal acts by Israeli security forces to sue for compensation for the damages they suffered.”

Source

Journalist on the run from Israel is hiding in Britain

‘Haaretz’ writer fled to London fearing charges over exposé on Palestinian’s killing

April 2 2010

By Kim Sengupta

An Israeli journalist is in hiding in Britain, The Independent can reveal, over fears that he may face charges in the Jewish state in connection with his investigation into the killing of a Palestinian in the West Bank.

Uri Blau, a reporter at Israel’s liberal newspaper, Haaretz, left town three months ago for Asia and is now in London. Haaretz is understood to be negotiating the terms of his return to Israel with prosecutors, according to an Israeli source, who declined to be identified, because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The news of Mr Blau’s extended absence comes just days after it emerged that another Israeli journalist, Anat Kam, has been held under house arrest for the last three months on charges that she leaked classified documents to the press while completing her military service.

Although no media outlet or journalist has been specifically named as the recipient of the classified information, there is speculation on Israeli blogs that Ms Kam gave documents to Mr Blau that formed the basis of a story he wrote in November 2008.

In his article for Haaretz, Mr Blau reported that one of two Islamic Jihad militants killed in Jenin in June 2007 had been targeted for assassination in apparent violation of a ruling issued six months earlier by Israel’s supreme court. While not outlawing assassinations in the West Bank altogether, the ruling heavily restricted the circumstances in which they were permissible, effectively saying that they should not take place if arrest was possible.

In an unusual move, Israel has placed a gagging order on national media, preventing them from reporting any aspect of the Kam case. Israel’s Channel Ten and Haaretz are expected to challenge this order on 12 April.

According to the court order, Ms Kam, 23, is being held on “espionage” charges. It alleges that she passed classified documents to a male journalist while working as a clerk in the Israel Defence Forces Central Command during her military service.

She was arrested more than a year after Mr Blau’s report, which was cleared by military censors at the time of publication, when she was working for the news service Walla, until recently owned by Haaretz.

Ms Kam denies all the charges. Her trial has reportedly been set for 14 April and she could face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. Mr Blau did not respond to requests for comment; his friends and colleagues refused to discuss the case in detail.

Dov Alfon, Haaretz’s editor-in-chief, said in an emailed statement: “Haaretz has a 90-year-long tradition of protecting its reporters from government pressures, and Uri Blau is getting all the help we can provide him with.”

The move to gag Israel-based media has sparked fevered debate on Jewish blogs, which have freely reported the story. Bloggers have railed against the blackout, saying it represents a critical challenge to the freedom of the press.

“I do not believe that a citizen can be arrested and tried for suspected security offences right under our noses without anyone knowing anything about it,” wrote former Haaretz editor Hanoch Marmari in an eloquent cri de coeur on the Seventh Eye website.

“Trials do not take place here in darkened dungeons, nor do we have show trials behind glass or chicken wire. I have no doubt that such a strange, terrible and baseless scenario cannot take place in such a sophisticated democracy as our own.” Source

Well Israel never really does an investigation even when settlers kill a Palestinian.  They say they do, but in actuality they do not. That is not new at all. That is standard proceedure.

Israel kills anyone they feel like killing anyone no matter if it is a child or and adult. They kill people quit often.

As a matter of fact they have been killing for years so again this is not new. It is old hat.

As we well know they even go to other countries and kill people. They as we all know use fake passports. That to is standard procedure.

There is no real justice for Palestinians under Israeli law.

Even reporters or others who have been killed in Gaza or the West Bank, do not get a real investigation into their deaths by Israel.  They never have.

Deaths of Palestinians or outsiders are usually swept under the carpet.

Some Democracy. More like no Democracy.

Related

License to kill

By Uri Blau

December 4 2008
The announcement made by the Israel Defense Forces’ spokesman on June 20, 2007 was standard: “Two armed terrorists belonging to the Islamic Jihad terror organization were killed last night during the course of a joint activity of the IDF and a special force of the Border Police in Kafr Dan, northwest of Jenin. The two terrorists, Ziad Subahi Mahmad Malaisha and Ibrahim Ahmed Abd al-Latif Abed, opened fire at the force during its activity. In response the force fired at them, killing the terrorists. On their bodies two M-16 rifles, a pistol and ammunition were found. It was also discovered that the terrorists were involved in planning suicide attacks against the Israeli home front, including the attempt in Rishon Letzion last February.”

The laconic announcement ignores one important detail: Malaisha was a target for assassination. His fate had been decided several months earlier, in the office of then head of Central Command, Yair Naveh. As far as the public was concerned, on the other hand, the last declared assassination carried out by the IDF in the West Bank took place in August 2006; at the end of that year the High Court of Justice set strict criteria regarding the policy of assassinations in the territories.

A Haaretz Magazine investigation reveals for the first time operational discussions in which the fate of wanted men and innocent people was decided, in apparent disregard of the High Court decision. Thus it was revealed that the IDF approved assassination plans in the West Bank even when it would probably have been possible to arrest the wanted men – in contradiction to the State’s statement to the High Court – and that in cold military terminology the most senior IDF echelons approve, in advance and in writing, the harming of innocent Palestinians during the course of assassination operations. Moreover, it turns out that the assassination of a target the defense establishment called part of a “ticking infrastructure” was postponed, because it had been scheduled to take place during the visit of a senior U.S. official.

Leading legal experts who were asked to react to the documents say that the IDF is operating in contradiction to a High Court ruling. “Morality is a very difficult issue,” Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer of Hebrew Univeristy said. “The thought that there are people who sit behind a desk and determine that someone is fated to die is a frightening thought.”

Another two killings

(at most)

The IDF spokesman refuses to provide precise figures about the number of targeted assassinations carried out since the start of the intifada in 2000: “The subject of preventive strikes is concentrated in the hands of the Shin Bet [security service].” A spokesman for the Shin Bet stated that the organization “does not publish data of this kind.” According to the human-rights organization B’Tselem, the IDF assassinated 232 Palestinians between the start of the intifada and the end of October 2008, in operations that also killed 154 non-targeted civilians.

The most common code names for assassination operations are the acronyms Pa’amon (peula mona’at – preventive action) and Sakum (sikul mimukad – targeted assassination). During the past two and a half years the IDF has not announced the carrying out of assassinations in the West Bank, and when wanted men were killed there, the official reports stated that these were “arrest operations” or “exchanges of fire.” This was also reported in regard to the killing of Abed and Malaisha – who has now been revealed as a previous target for assassination.

On March 28, 2007 a representative of the Shin Bet, a representative of the Special Police Unit Yamam and several officers from Central Command convened in Naveh’s office. On the agenda was the Two Towers operation (the strike at Malaisha). “The mission” said the head of the command, “is arrest,” but “in case identification is made of one of the leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Walid Obeidi, Ziad Malaisha, Adham Yunis, there is permission for the force to intercept them, and that is according to the situation assessment in the course of carrying out the mission.” Naveh did not allow an assassination if there were women or children near the wanted man, and explained that, “in the event that there are women and children in the vehicle, the method is arrest.”

On April 12 Naveh convened another meeting about Malaisha. This time he decided that permission would be granted to carry out the assassination of the target and “another two people at most.” On the day of the meeting in Naveh’s office another discussion took place, chaired by the head of the Operations Directorate, Brig. Gen. Sami Turjeman. At the meeting, the plans for a preventive operation against Malaisha were presented, and the head of the Operations Directorate explained that “a preventive strike in Ayush [Judea and Samaria] is an exceptional sight … It could be seen as an attempt to damage the attempts to stabilize, which means that it requires sensitivity to causing a minimum of collateral damage. Everything possible must be done to prevent harm to those who are uninvolved.” The target of the operation, he added “leads a ‘ticking’ infrastructure and meets the required criteria for a preventive strike.”

At this point Turjeman spelled out the conditions of Malaisha’s incrimination, and ruled that only if they existed would the targeted assassination get a green light. He added that no more than five people (including the driver) should be assassinated in the operation. Turjeman approved the operation even if there should be one unidentified person in the car. Regarding the matter of timing, he said that “in light of the anticipated diplomatic events, the prime minister’s meeting with Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and the visit of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, I recommend … implementation afterward.” In the discussion Turjeman also referred to the High Court ruling about appointing a committee whose job would be to examine targeted assassinations after the fact, and said that in light of the High Court instructions on the matter, the operation should be documented.

The next day the operation was brought up for the approval of Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. A limited number of senior officers convened in his office, including his deputy, the head of the Operations Directorate, the head of the Operations Brigade, the chief military prosecutor, a representative of Central Command and a representative of the Shin Bet. The paper summing up the meeting says that Ashkenazi “emphasized that due to the High Court orders regarding the establishment of a professional committee on targeted assassinations, the composition of the committee should be agreed on with the Shin Bet as soon as possible.”

Although Malaisha was defined as part of a “ticking infrastructure,” Ashkenazi too was disturbed by the timing of the action and said that “in light of the diplomatic meetings anticipated during the course of the week, the date of implementation should be reconsidered.” Ashkenazi prohibited attacking the vehicle in which Malaisha was traveling if it was discovered that there was “more than one unidentified passenger” in it.

Two months after the Two Towers plan was approved, and long after the diplomatic visits and meetings that took place in the second week of April 2007, came the operation in which Malaisha was killed in the Jenin area.

Legal approval

At the beginning of 2002, attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard petitioned the High Court of Justice against the policy of targeted assassinations on behalf of the Public Committee against Torture in Israel and the Al-Haq organization. Almost five years later, on December 14, 2006, the president of the Supreme Court at the time, Justice Aharon Barak, issued his decision. Barak, with the concurrence of Justices Dorit Beinisch (now the president of the Supreme Court) and Eliezer Rivlin, rejected the petition and did not rule out the legality of targeted assassinations in the territories.

“We cannot determine that every targeted preemption strike is forbidden under international law, just as we cannot determine that every targeted preemption is permissible under international law,” Barak wrote in the last judgment he published in his 28 years on the Supreme Court.

According to the High Court ruling, well-founded and convincing information is necessary in order to classify a civilian as being part of a group of civilians who are carrying out hostile acts; a person should not be assassinated if it is possible to use less damaging methods against him; and he should not be harmed more than necessary for security needs. In other words, a person should not be assassinated if it is possible to arrest him, interrogate him and indict him. However, if the arrest involves serious danger to the lives of the soldiers, there is no need to use this means; after every assassination a thorough and independent examination must be conducted regarding the degree of precision, the identity of the man as a terror activist, and in the case of mistaken identity, the payment of compensation should be considered; harm to innocent civilians should be avoided as much as possible during an assassination, and “harm to innocent civilians will be legal only if it meets the demands of proportionality,” ruled Barak.

In this context, Barak gave an example according to which “it is possible to fire at a terrorist who is firing from the balcony of his home at soldiers or civilians, even if as a result an innocent bystander is liable to be hit. Such a strike at an innocent civilian will meet the demands of proportionality. That is not the case if the house is bombed from the air and dozens of its residents and bystanders are hit.”

Barak stated that, “The struggle against terror has turned our democracy into a ‘defensive democracy’ or a ‘fighting democracy.’ However, this struggle must not overturn the democratic nature of our regime.”

According to B’Tselem, since the ruling regarding targeted assassinations was handed down, 19 Palestinians who were targets of assassination have been killed in the territories, and 36 Palestinians who were close to the targets were hit in the course of IDF operations, all of them in the Gaza Strip.

“It turns out that in total contradiction to the High Court ruling, there are cases in which there is an order to assassinate someone when it is possible to arrest him,” says David Kretchmer, a professor of international law. “Advance approval to kill civilians who do not take part in hostile activities makes things even worse. The principle of proportionality, to the effect that if one strikes at a military target an accompanying strike against civilians will not be illegal, does not apply in a case when the attack itself is illegal – for example, in a case where there is an obligation, according to the High Court ruling, to arrest the suspect.”

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer: “According to the High Court ruling it is clear that where it is possible to carry out an arrest, we must carry out an arrest and avoid what is called a ‘targeted assassination’ and which I call ‘preventive killing.’ A substantial part of Judea and Samaria is under the effective rule of the IDF, and in my opinion, in such an area preventive killing must be ruled out. The limited interpretation that I am suggesting for the international law is that an attack must take place in the course of that person’s participation in a dangerous action, because then you are in effect acting in self-defense based on the situation taking place.”

Legal commentator Moshe Negbi: “‘Unidentified people’ can also be totally innocent and you are ostensibly giving a license to kill here. The problem is previous knowledge, because usually when we refer to collateral damage we are referring to ‘after the fact,’ but here this is almost certain foreknowledge. It is very problematic that permission is given to execute an innocent man deliberately. The question is whether it is proportional. I think that the High Court was referring to a situation where perhaps among a mass of people there is one who is innocent, but here it is one on one. It is very grave to grant permission when you know ahead of time that 50 percent of those you are hitting are innocent. Such a thing must certainly be discussed at the level of the attorney general and it certainly must be known to the public and undergo public criticism, if only so that anyone who thinks it is patently illegal can turn to the High Court.”

Regarding the fact that assassinations can wait until the conclusion of diplomatic meetings, Kretchmer says: “Postponing an operation for diplomatic reasons is unequivocal proof of the fact that this is not a ‘ticking bomb’ situation.” Kremnitzer adds: “According to my legal understanding, these cases [targeted assassinations] must be cases in which you must act immediately, and if it is not a matter of an immediate need, in my opinion it is against the law.”

Although almost two years have passed since the High Court ruling, a committee to examine the assassinations after the fact has yet to be appointed. Last week Aviad Glickman published on Ynet (the website of the mass circulation paper Yedioth Ahronoth) that Attorney General Menachem Mazuz had turned to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert demanding the establishment of such a committee as soon as possible. “This step must be completed without further delay,” wrote Mazuz, “for fear that a continued delay is liable to constitute contempt of court.”

The bad guys

Yair Naveh, who served as head of Central Command from 2005 to 2007, confirms that occasionally, there is no genuine attempt to arrest wanted men. “If the guy doesn’t put his hands up we don’t get into stories, we immediately establish contact. I don’t want to have people hurt for no reason. If I know that the guy is armed and is a ticking bomb, then I want him to be hit immediately without fooling around. It’s not the preventive action procedure, it’s an entirely different story.

“In my time there were no targeted assassinations. Not a single one, as far as I recall. In principle, there were no targeted assassinations in Central Command and none were approved. What I did have was an ability to reach all of [the wanted men]; therefore there is no reason for a targeted assassination. It is relevant only when you can’t reach someone, but if you can reach him and arrest him at night or have an exchange of fire with him, then it is not a targeted assassination.”

Is it possible that programs were approved and in the end were not carried out?

“No. In principle there was no such thing during my time, because in every operation there were special forces that had to arrive and arrest the guy. To tell the truth, in some places we knew a priori that there would be firing. If you know that you are operating against Islamic Jihad or against Hamasniks or even against some of the jokers who were in the Casbah, then it was clear to me that there would be engagement.”

In the approval of the March 2007 plan regarding Ziad Malaisha you said the mission was arrest, but if one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad was identified, the force had permission to carry out interception. What is that if not targeted assassination?

“Those are guys for whom we received basic confirmation that they are ticking bombs. Those are guys that if we had contact with them, because we knew in advance that they were armed, the default choice was not to start calling on them to halt and then to see whether or not they fled, but right from the start, if they didn’t put up their hands and throw away their weapons, then we engaged with them. That’s not because they had to be killed. It’s also because they are both ticking bombs and armed. That’s the assumption.”

That is semantics. You gave permission to fire at them from the moment they were identified.

“If they don’t put up their hands right at the start. You arrive, shout ‘IDF, hands up!’ You surround them. If the guys don’t put up their hands, then you don’t wait to close in on them, to make a declaration. If you receive confirmation that the guys have received all the relevant approvals, then we say, ‘Friends, I don’t want you to get into a pressure cooker here’ [methods used by the IDF to make someone give himself up]. If they don’t surrender immediately then you immediately engage them, so that you won’t be hurt. That’s the story. It’s not a targeted assassination, where you are approving their execution even if they put up their hands.”

The approval you gave the forces states that if there are women and children, there is to be an arrest. In other words, it would have been possible to arrest them.

“That means that if there are women and children we assume another risk and tell the guys that if they fire at you and begin to flee you don’t begin to exchange fire, but you try to stop the vehicle by shooting at the tires.”

The Operations Directorate approval in the case of Malaisha states that this is a preventive action operation.

“If it was approved as preventive action, that is, as a target for assassination, it’s a different story.”

But then it contradicts the High Court orders to the effect that Israel controls the area and approval of the plan includes the option of arrest.

“Don’t bother me with the High Court orders, I don’t know when there were High Court orders and when there weren’t. I know that a targeted assassination is approved and there is a preventive action procedure and I receive instructions from the Operations Directorate.”

What is the difference between the preventive action procedure and people that you give permission to fire at if they are identified?

“The difference is language. You say ‘Hands up. If not, I’m opening fire,’ and here I don’t say anything and drop a bomb from a plane.”

In the instructions there is no mention of the arrest option, and permission is given to fire if there is identification of a wanted man.

“I’m not familiar with such a document.”

Why in the approvals for targeted assassination is permission given in advance to harm unidentified people?

“Weren’t there people in the Shahadeh case? [Fatah leader Mohammed Shahadeh was assassinated by Hamas in October 2006]. But those aren’t questions that you should ask me. What is approved as preventive action goes through approvals all the way to the prime minister, and what is decided is decided. Usually these guys hung around with bad guys, not good guys.”

Linguistic innovations

In the State’s reply to the High Court, prior to its ruling, it was claimed that carrying out a targeted assassination is “an exceptional step” that is taken “only when there is no other, less severe way of implementing it … In the context of these strict instructions it was decided that when there are realistic alternatives to the action, such as arrest, these alternatives should be used.”

But the most noticeable thing the High Court ruling changed regarding the assassinations is the language used by the IDF in planning them. On December 13, 2006, a day before the High Court ruling was handed down, wanted man Muhammed Ramaha was killed in the Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp in the Nablus area. According to the IDF spokesman’s report to the media at the time, Ramaha was killed in the course of a joint “arrest operation” of the IDF, the Shin Bet and the Yamam police unit.

Now it turns out that Ramaha’s fate had been sealed a month earlier, when the Central Command conducted a discussion on an operation planned by the IDF’s Maglan special operations unit in the Nablus area. Those in attendance were presented with orders from Maj. Gen. Naveh, who ruled that the armed men walking around the area were connected to Mohammed Ramaha’s unit and “should be attacked.” There was no option offered of trying to arrest the members of the squad, and conditions for opening fire were the identification of two armed men, “conspiratorial” activity involving at least one armed man, or “when an indication is given” of the presence of Ramaha in the squad. As mentioned, a month after the discussion Ramaha was killed.

The Maglan soldiers were also the ones who carried out an operation on November 8, 2006 that ended in the killing of five Palestinians, two of them unarmed. The IDF, as usual, did not present it as an assassination mission, but it turns out that the force’s assignment was “to sneak into the center of the village, up to the observation point overlooking the killing area that had been designated in advance, to lie in ambush for armed terrorists and to hit them at short range.”

Another example: At the end of September 2006 the then head of the Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot (today GOC Northern Command), conducted a discussion in which approval was given to assassinate a Fatah member – an expert on the production of explosives belts – in the Nablus area. “The Time For Chaos Has Arrived” was the name of this operation, in which the major general approved attacking the man “in the context of the procedure of targeted assassination of important figures in light of the fact that he is a ‘ticking bomb.'” As opposed to operations planned after the High Court ruling, where there are specific instructions regarding conditions in which the action should not be carried out, in this case the only instructions were “to try to refrain insofar as possible from harming innocent people.”

“Apparently what happened in the wake of the High Court ruling is mainly ‘word laundering,'” says Kretchmer. “In other words, the use of words referring to arrest when in fact there is no real intention of carrying out an arrest, but the reference is to assassination.” Sfard says that, “whoever gave the IDF a permit to execute civilians without trial should not be surprised when the death squads it has created do not adhere to the few restrictions imposed on this policy. It’s a natural, logical and inevitable process of moral deterioration involved in assassinations.”

A military source said that the first years of the intifada were “a period lacking order. They fired at just about anything that moved.” He says that in recent years, especially after the High Court ruling, the procedure in Central Command and the Operations Directorate is somewhat different, one reason being that representatives of the Military Prosecutor’s Office “are breathing down their necks.” As for the importance attributed by the army to the country’s image and to the timing of its activity, the source said, not without a degree of cynicism, that “the criteria for a ‘ticking bomb’ change if Condoleezza Rice is in the country.”

An investigation by Haaretz indicates that IDF operations that are defined in advance as arrest operations rather than assassination operations do for the most part end in arrest. However, there is something disturbing about the fact that when it comes to the plan to arrest a Palestinian, the commander in charge of the operation sometimes feels a need to explain that this is not an assassination assignment and that the wanted man should be brought back alive. For example, in an operation planned last May for the arrest of a Fatah activist in Bethlehem, the GOC Central Command explained to the commander of the Duvdevan undercover commando unit that “the mission is arrest rather than killing.” And in fact, that activist was arrested alive. In the same operation, incidentally, it was explained to the forces that “there is no permission to behave aggressively toward foreign media crews.”

When Naveh was asked why he occasionally told the forces that the wanted men be brought back alive, which should ostensibly be obvious, he explained: “That means that I am exposing our forces to additional risk, and even if he opens fire, they do not kill him immediately but try nevertheless to arrest him.” It also turns out that the presence of children is not always an excuse to cancel military operations. At the end of March 2007, the chief of staff allowed Duvdevan to carry out the arrest of a wanted man during the birthday party of one of his children. The name chosen by the IDF for this action was Kindergarten Party.

Source

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Israel abducted over 5,000 people and put them in prison

February 1 2009

In Palestine, Israeli forces continued to raid towns and villages, arresting more Palestinians. On January 25, Israeli forces seized 334 Palestinians in Israel who were working without permit. They also arrested 16 Israelis for employing them. That same day, Israeli troops stormed homes and restaurants in several neighborhoods in Ramallah and Al-Bireh, but with no reported arrests. However, they did arrest four Palestinians at a checkpoint in Nablus. The next day, Israeli forces Israeli forces raided homes in Husam near Bethlehem, while army bulldozers dug up the main roads linking the village with neighboring areas. Israeli border guards also seized another 250 Palestinian workers in Israel, accusing them of staying in Israel without permits. Most of those detained are West Bank residents. On January 28, Israeli forces imposed a curfew on Zabuba, near Jenin, and seized eight Palestinians in dawn raids. On January 29, another 14 Palestinians were seized in raids in Bethlehem, Hebron, and Beit Suweif. In Beit Ummar, two Palestinians were injured and two others seized when Israeli troops opened fire at a house belonging to 63-year-old Fathi Jamal Al-Alamah, injuring him in the chest. His 55-year-old wife Fahima was injured in the leg. Israeli troops also detained eight men in Hijjah near Qalqiliya before dawn on January 30. That same day, 17 Palestinians were injured when Israeli soldiers opened fire with live ammunition on Palestinian demonstrators in Israeli-occupied Hebron.

Israeli settlers have been busy this week, when on January 25, protected by soldiers, they seized new land south of Hebron. After erecting a metal fence on the land, they prevented the owners and local Palestinian residents from approaching it. This comes as a disturbing new report was published on January 28 by Peace Now claiming that Israel has accelerated construction in illegal settlements in the West Bank during 2008 by nearly 60%. Roughly 1,257 new structures were built within settlements during 2008, compared to 800 in 2007. Building more than doubled in “outposts,” — unauthorized settlements that are not officially recognized by the Israeli government — with 261 structures built, compared to 98 the year before.

Source

In the past three weeks, more than 135 Hamas supporters and members have been rounded up. Among the detainees are journalists, university professors and students and preachers. In some cases, Hamas supporters who were released by the IDF were arrested hours later by the PA security forces.

The crackdown has also included intimidation of reporters and critics. Several Palestinian reporters have been “advised” by Abbas’s top aides not to report on the massive anti-Hamas crackdown. Samir Khawireh, a journalist from Nablus, found himself in a prison cell earlier this week for reporting about the torching of a car belonging to Prof. Abdel Sattar Kassam, a long-time outspoken critic of financial corruption in the PA.

No freedom of Speech allowed.

Israel to release 231 detainees instead of 250

December 08, 2008
By Saed Bannoura

The office of the outgoing Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, issued a press release stating that Israel will release 231 Palestinians detainees instead of 250 after it canceled the names of 19 detainees from the Gaza Strip.

All of the detainees who would be freed are from the West Bank and are members of Fateh movement and other “non-Islamic factions”.

Olmert’s office said that the detainees who would be freed “do not have bloody hands” and that freeing them is a “gesture of good will to the Palestinian Authority”.

Meanwhile, Ziad Abu Ein, in charge of the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, said that the Israeli Prison Administration started transferring the detainees to Ofer prison in preparation for their release before the end of this week.

The Palestinian Ministry of Detainees and Freed Detainees, in Gaza, said that in November Israel abducted more than 390 Palestinians in 300 invasions carried out in the Gaza Strip.

The Ministry added that the army abducted more than 5,000 Palestinians since the beginning of this year.

Also, the Ministry stated that more than two months ago, Israel released 198 detainees, but none of them were from the Gaza Strip.

Approximately 10,000 Palestinians, including hundreds of women, children and elderly, are imprisoned by Israel. Hundreds of detainees were kidnapped by Israel before Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization singed the first Oslo agreement in August 1993.

Source

Why is is OK for Israel to just kidnap 5,000 people and never be charged with kidnapping. “WHY?” They abduct farmers, fishermen, women, men, and children , anyone they just feel like kidnapping. Then throw them in prison. No reason necessary.  They just do.  They did before and still do it.

How many are in prison today I wonder??????????

Israeli Court Sentences PFLP Secretary-General to 30 Years Imprisonment

December 26, 2008 by Saed Bannoura

Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported on Thursday that the Ofer Israeli military court sentenced the Secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmad Sa’adat, to thirty years imprisonment, even though he was acquitted of planning the assassination of the Israeli Tourism Minister, Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001.

The Israeli court said that Sa’adat was sentenced for other attacks dating, according to claims by the Israeli Army, to the time when he was kidnapped by Israeli soldiers in 2006.

The PFLP claimed responsibility for assassinating Ze’evi at a hotel in Jerusalem.

On Monday, December 1, 2008, the Israeli central Court in Jerusalem sentenced the head of the armed wing of the PFLP, Ahed Ghalama, to one life-term, and an additional five years for the assassination of Ze’evi.

The court claimed that Ghlama supervised the cell that assassinated Zeevi in 2001 in retaliation to the assassination of the PFLP secretary-general Abu Ali Mustafa. Mustafa was assassinated by the Israeli air force while he was in his office in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, several months before Zeevi was killed.

Ghalama, age 40, is from Beit Forik village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. He was initially imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority at the Jericho Prison in 2002. The Israeli army broke into the prison, which was guarded by European guards that had fled the scene shortly before the army attacked it.

Ghalama, along with the secretary-general of the PFLP, Ahmad Saadat, and several other PFLP members and the financial official of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), including Fuad Shobaky, were kidnapped by the Israeli Army.

On Thursday Palestinian official, Dr. Saeb Erekat, slammed the Israeli court ruling against Sa’adat, and said that Sa’adat is an elected member of the Palestinian Parliament.

Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, said that the name of Sa’adat will be among the first names of detainees it will demand to be released in exchange for releasing the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, Haaretz said.

The PFLP issued a press release denouncing the Israeli court ruling against Sa’adat, and called on international human right groups to intervene for the release of the political leader.

Nasser Abu Aziz, member of the political bureau of the PFLP, said that this ruling is illegitimate as it is a ruling of a court that resembles the occupation, and considered the trial a trial against the human rights of all Palestinians.

Abu Aziz called on the Palestinian Authority to place this file of detainees on the top of its agenda, and called for wide public support for Sa’adat and all political detainees in Israeli prisons.

Source

Why is it if a Palestinian assassinates someone they are charged,  but if the Israelis assassinates someone it is OK and charges are never laid against them? “WHY?” This not a stupid question because as well as the assassination of the Palestinian, more times then not innocent civilians are killed as well. Israels justification for this, is based on lies of course.

These are crimes Israel has been committing for years.

If they Israeli’s assassinate anyone it is just as much of crime, as if a Palestinian assassinates someone.

When one retaliates is it really a crime or self defense. The Palestinians have the right to defend themselves.

Palestinian Detainee Dies Due to Medical Negligence in al-Ramah Israeli Prison

December 24, 2008
By Saed Bannoura

The Palestinian Prisoners Society reported on Wednesday that detainee Jom’a Ismail Mousa, 65, from Shu’fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, died as a result of medical negligence on the part of the Israeli Prison Services.

The detainee spent most of his time in the al-Ramla prison hospital, which lacks the basic medical equipment.

Mousa was sentenced to one life-term, and an additional ten years. The Israeli Prison Authorities claimed that the police are investigating his death, and that “he died while receiving medical treatment at the prison hospital”.

Fares Abu Hasan, head of the International Solidarity Institution for Human Rights in Palestine, held the Israeli occupation responsible for the death of Mousa because Israel ignored calls by several human rights groups, demanding the immediate release of Mousa in order to receive proper medical attention and treatment.

Palestinian researcher and specialist in detainees’ affairs, Abdul-Naser Farwana, said that the number of detainees who died due to medical negligence since 1967 is now 49, and that a total of 196 detainees due to medical negligence and torture, while some of them were killed by Israeli soldiers after being kidnapped.

Mousa is the second detainee who died in Israeli prisons in 2008. Detainee Fadil Shahin, from Gaza, died in an Israeli prison on February 29.

The Waed Society for Detainees and Freed Detainees slammed the Israeli violations of human rights.

The Society’s head, Legislator Fathi Hammad, said that the Israeli Prison Administration continuously violates the human rights of detainees.

Detainee Jom’a Ismail Mousa was born in 1943. He was kidnapped by the Israeli army on March 29, 1993. He suffered from a heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Currently, there are thirty detainees hospitalized at the al-Ramla prison hospital, and could meet the same fate if they do not receive the needed medical treatment.

Source

He is not the first there have been others.

193 detainees died in Israeli prisons since 1967

December 31, 2007

Abdul-Nasser Farawna, head of the Census Department at the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, specialized researcher in the issue of detainees, stated on Saturday that 193 Palestinian detainees died in Israeli prisons and detention facilities since 1967.

On December 28, one detainee identified as Fadi Abdul-Latif Abu Al Rob, from Qabatia town north of the northern West Bank city of Jenin died of medical negligence.

Farwana stated that 73 detainees died in Israeli prisons in the period between 1967 and December 1987, 120 detainees died in Israeli prisons during the first Intifada in the period between 1987 and December 1994, eight more detainees died in the period between 1994 and 2000.

70 more detainees died during the Al Aqsa Intifada in the period between September 28, 2000 and December 2007.

Farwana also stated that 70 of the deceased detainees died of torture, 47 detainees died of medical negligence, in addition to 76 were practically executed after arrest; the latest casualty of execution after arrest is detainee Mohammad Al Ashram who was shot and killed while in detention.

Commenting on the geographical distribution of the deceased detainees, Farawna said that 111 (57.5%) detainees are from the West Bank 61 (31.6%) are from the Gaza Strip and 14 (7.3%) are from Jerusalem and Arab cities and towns in Israel.

Farwana also added that among the detainees, who died during the Al Aqsa Intifada, 51 were executed after arrest, 3 died of torture, and 16 died of medical negligence; seven of them died in 2007.

He added that Israeli prisons and detention facilities lack the basic health facilities and equipment and considered the medical negligence policy in Israeli prisons as a policy of slow death and execution against the detainees, especially those who need urgent surgeries or serious illnesses that required ongoing monitoring.

Farwana held the Israeli government responsible for the lives of hundreds of detainees who are in immediate need for medical attention, and called for the formation of a neutral committee to be in charge or probing the deaths of the detainees in Israeli prisons and detention facilities.

He appealed the Red Cross, and other international human rights groups, to intervene and oblige Israel to abide by the international law.

Source

The following interrogation centers, are probably still functioning.

The Russian Compound Interrogation Center “ Mosqubiyeh” located in west Jerusalem. There are solitary confinement cells interrogation section and sections for Palestinian Collaborating with The Israeli Intelligent Service (Asafeer).

Beitah Tikva interrogation section in Beitah Tikva City near Ramleh city inside Israel.

Jalameh Interrogation section located to the south of Haifa City inside Israel.  The section has a solitary confinement wing, interrogation wing and a wing for Asafeer.

Beit Eil located near El-Bireh city in The Palestinian National areas and is considered a temporary lock up for Palestinians pending transfer to other facilities.  It contains solitary confinement sections, and interrogations section as well as a Court and a Police Station.

Hiwarah Military Camp near Hiwarah Village in Nablus district in The Palestinian National areas and is considered a temporary lock up for Palestinians pending transfer to other facilities.  It contains solitary confinement sections, and interrogations section.

Kadomim Military Camp near Kufor Kaddom village in Qalqilya District of The Palestinian National areas and is considered a temporary lock up for Palestinians pending transfer to other facilities.  It contains solitary confinement sections, and interrogations section.

Kfar Atsyoun Military Camp located near El-Aroub Refugee Camp/ Hebron District in The Palestinian National areas and is considered a temporary lock up for Palestinians pending transfer to other facilities.  It contains solitary confinement sections, and interrogations section.


Prisoners’ Needs:

Detainees inside Israeli detention facilities are nearly deprived from family visits. Even if such visits are conducted, then with strict conditions and is limited to nuclear family members.

It had happened that some single detainees have their parents dead, their brothers and sisters are over 16 years of age, thus most likely to be prevented from visiting their brothers for Israeli “security reasons”. Therefore, ending with no family visits.

Usually detainees are in need to the following items:

1- Training suites, clothes and underwear.

2- Medication and medical supporting equipments.

3- Hygiene items.

4- Cantina: – Tea, Coffee, sugar, Sweets and cigarettes.

5- Books

Administrative detention in the Occupied Territories

Israel has claimed that it uses administrative detention only as a necessary security measure and that the decision to administratively detain an individual is made only when normal legal measures or less severe administrative measures will not attain the objective and there is no other way to ensure security. In practice, however, the authorities apply administrative detention in violation of international law. They misuse the powers granted to military commanders in the military order:

  1. Administrative Detention as an Alternative to Criminal Proceedings: The authorities use administrative detention as a quick and efficient alternative to criminal trial, primarily when they do not have sufficient evidence to charge the individual, or when they do not want to reveal their evidence. This use of administrative detention is absolutely prohibited and totally blurs the distinction between preventive and punitive detention. The only legal justification for administrative detention is in exceptional circumstances where a person is deemed to pose an immediate danger and no other measures have proven effective to avert it. Past actions of the detainee are therefore irrelevant, except insofar as they indicate the future danger the detainee may pose.
  2. Detention of Political Opponents: Israel administratively detains Palestinians for their political opinions and non-violent political activity. Following the signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel also administratively detained Palestinians who opposed the peace process. In this way, the authorities expand greatly the meaning of danger to “security of the area” by flagrantly violating freedom of expression and opinion, which are guaranteed under international law.
  3. Lack of Due Process: In some cases, the detainee does not receive the administrative detention order upon arrest and is transferred directly to a detention center. Administrative detainees are not given the reasons for their detention or any opportunity to refute the suspicions against them. In most cases, the only explanation given to the detainee is that he is “a senior activist in the PFLP” (or Hamas, etc.). Although the detainee ostensibly can appeal the detention, in practice he is not given a meaningful opportunity to defend himself because the evidence against him is not revealed to him or his attorney. The general rule is that the evidence is classified, and, to the best of our knowledge, in no case has a military court or the Supreme Court ordered any of the classified evidence to be revealed. The reliance on secret evidence demonstrates a total, unquestioning trust in the General Security Service and its judgment. This trust was not dampened by the many known cases in which GSS interrogators have misled and lied to judges. The systematic and extensive reliance on classified information constitutes one of the most problematic aspects of administrative detention and contradicts a principle fundamental to due process.
  4. Extending Administrative Detention: Military commanders are authorized to detain persons for up to six months. However, the commander can extend the detention for additional six-month periods indefinitely. From the time of the signing of the Declaration of Principles in September 1993 to the middle of 1998, military commanders repeatedly extended the period of administrative detention. Some Palestinians were administratively detained for years. The use of administrative detention has fallen sharply recently, but the law remains in effect, and Israel may theoretically return to its earlier policy.
  5. Holding Administrative Detainees inside Israel: Holding Palestinian administrative detainees inside Israel is a flagrant breach of international law which prohibits the transfer of detainees outside of occupied territory. Prior to the transfer of some of the territory to the Palestinian Authority, some of the detainees were held in the Occupied Territories, but they were subsequently transferred to detention facilities inside Israel. As a result, the closure imposed on the Occupied Territories severely harmed the right of detainees to family visitation and to meet with their attorney.

Source

Many of their prisoners are Children?

Like the prisoners in Guantanamo, I find it hard to believe these people would ever get a fair trial and most that are locked up have not committed any crime whatsoever.

Israel can do anything it wants to the Palestinians and get away with it.

There is no statute of limitations on War crimes or Crimes Against  Humanity.

If Israel had not committed crimes against Palestinians in the first place,  stolen their land, tortured, kidnapped, assassinated, executed, imprisoned innocent victims, bulldozed their homes, pillaged and plundered their natural resources, , murdered, starved, bombed, crippled, humiliate,  forced them into refugee camps, destroyed their lives repeatedly,  from day one, of the conception of the  Zionist State,  the Palestinians would not have retaliated in the first place. “Apartheid 101”

Israel is guilty,  not the Palestinians.  Israel is the cause.

History should be enlightening people of the truth, but they seem to blindly believe everything they are told about  Israel. Well if you go through history you will find the truth but most just believe the lies and propaganda, dished out by the main stream  media. They treat their prisoners the same as those from Iraq were treated by the US. The US as we all well know, committed War Crimes as well. Israel’s crimes are just as horrific.


Interview: Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the ISM/UN Reports: Gaza  destruction/ US Aid to Israel 6. 5 million a day

Spain: Judicial probe looks at 2002 Gaza War Crimes Claims

Letting AP in on the Secret: Israeli Strip Searches are “Torture” “this desrves attention” Israel still Tortures people

Why Americans get a distorted View of the Conflict between

Gaza detainee treatment ‘inhuman’

Israeli troops fire warning shots at European diplomats

Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Israel Accused of Executing Parents in Front of Children

Israel Accused of Executing Parents in Front of Children in Gaza

Israel has refuted allegations of war atrocities in Gaza after Palestinian children described how their parents had been “executed” by Israeli troops.

By Murray Wardrop

January 21, 2009

One nine-year-old boy said his father had been shot dead in front of him despite surrendering to Israeli soldiers with his hands in the air.

Another youngster described witnessing the deaths of his mother, three brothers and uncle after the house they were in was shelled.

He said his mother and one of his siblings had been killed instantly, while the others bled to death over a period of days.

A psychiatrist treating children in the village of Zeitoun on the outskirts of Gaza City, where the alleged incidents took place, described the deaths as a “massacre”.

Rawya Borno, a Jordanian doctor, said civilians, including children, were rounded up and killed by Israeli troops.

Israel has denied the claims, dismissing them as Hamas propaganda, but said that an investigation is being conducted into soldiers’ conduct in the area.

In interviews with ITV News, Palestinians claimed that Israeli forces knowingly killed civilians in Zeitoun on the morning of Jan 14.

Abdullah Samouni, nine, described the moment his father was allegedly “executed” by Israeli soldiers.

Holding his arms in the air, he said: “He was surrendering like this. My father came out and they shot him right away.”

A boy named Ahmed said he was trapped for days in the wreckage of the shelled Samouni family’s house.

He said: “My mother was dead beside me, she was clutching my brother Nasser and they were dead. My brother Itzaq was bleeding for two days and then he died. My brother Izmael bled to death in one day. My uncle Talal was bleeding for two hours and he died. God bless them.”

Dr Borno said: “It’s a massacre. They collected them from their houses. They knew that they were civilians. They were children.”

When asked if Hamas had been in Zeitoun, Dr Borno replied: “Suppose that there is one of the fighters around, what is it to do with all these? Is the price to kill the family as a whole? Is this baby carrying a machine gun?”

Israeli spokesman Mark Regev suggested the claims could be Hamas propaganda and said an investigation was under way. However, he said that Israeli troops had reported that Zeitoun was “full of Hamas” militants and that soldiers encountered booby traps in “every house” in the village.

He said: “When people live in an authoritarian regime, when it’s clear there is an official message and the message is to give out atrocity propaganda, [then] at least I think we should ask questions.

“Hamas has an interest in sending out this sort of atrocity propaganda.

“What happened in that village is under investigation. I know from speaking to IDF officers that there was very serious combat in that village, that every house was booby-trapped, there were guns. Very difficult military operation.

“If there is any Israeli soldier that has done something inappropriate of course that will be discovered and there will be law, but I am very concerned about a situation where children are manipulated, where everyone is on the same message.

“We know that village was full of Hamas fighters. It’s against the rules of engagement of the Israeli army to shoot innocent civilians.”

Source

Would an Israeli soldier execute a civilian?  The answer to that is, yes.

They have done it before many times. They have also done this in other conflicts they had with Palestinians and those in Lebanon.

Even Israeli soldiers have reported watching, other Soldiers doing it.

They have had to do a lot of Amputations. as Doctors without Boarder reported.

Israeli soldiers are told to do it. The Government is lieng as usual.

Gaza Report: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed plus a couple of other stories yes they would exacute people

Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

White Phosphorus Victims in Gaza

Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes plus another bit of information’

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 10:25 am  Comments Off on Israel Accused of Executing Parents in Front of Children  
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900 people killed in Philippines by ‘mysterious death squads’

Peasant leaders, environmental campaigners and student activists in the Philippines are being murdered by mysterious death squads who appear to have close links to the army.

By Thomas Bell, South East Asia Correspondent
January 19 2009

Since President Gloria Arroyo came to power in 2001, campaigners say over 900 people have been extra-judicially executed and 200 more have “disappeared”.

A United Nations report in 2007 blamed the army for most of the killings, but no action has been taken and the unexplained murders continue.

One of the most dangerous areas is the Compostela Valley, on the southern island of Mindanao. It is a place of great natural beauty as well as rural poverty which is home to several foreign owned gold mines and a long-standing communist insurgency. In the final few weeks of 2008, five apparently peaceful, law-abiding men were mysteriously shot dead in the area.

The first victim was Danilo Qualbar, a 48-year-old activist for the Left-wing People First party, who was shot on November 6. Human rights researchers said there was no autopsy and no investigation – the police did not even interview the victim’s family.

According to Mr Qualbar’s widow, a group of soldiers called out “that one” as her husband passed through a military checkpoint a week before his murder.

The next victim was 4 days later when Rolando Antolihao, 39 – a banana plantation worker and People First party member – was shot dead in front of his wife and 2-year-old daughter. There was a small army post 50 metres away but according to reports the soldiers on duty did respond to the shooting.

In the following weeks two more activists were shot.

Finally, two days before Christmas Fernando Sarmiento, a 39-year-old environmentalist who argued that a local gold mine was damaging the interests of local people, was killed by assassins fitting the same description.

Mr Sarmiento’s friends said he was arrested by the army in July and accused of being a communist guerrilla.

Witnesses noted that the killers in the Compostela Valley usually arrived on a red Honda motorcycle and used a .45 pistol. At the top of the list of suspects are soldiers from local army camps, but there has been no official investigation into the shootings, or whether the deaths are even in any way connected.

Human rights campaigners claim that the killings are part of an offensive launched by President Arroyo in an attempt to defeat Maoist guerrillas called the New People’s Army (NPA) by 2010.

Although they deny the murders, senior army officers claim that legal parties such People First and other activist groups which most of the victims belong to are fronts for the communists.

Instead, the army frequently claims, the deaths are a result of feuds and purges within the communist party.

According to Lt Col Ernesto Torres, an army spokesman the “security forces are convenient scapegoats” for the killings and he claims allegations against the army are made by “groups who want to bring down the government and replace it with their own brand of government”.

Yet, according to Alan Davies, director of the Philippine Human Rights Project, “No agency, either international or local, is trying to properly investigate and map these killings to see how they are linked”.

One woman who knows the pain this official silence causes is Erlinda Cadapan. Her daughter Sherlyn was a 29-year-old university student campaigning for peasant rights when she was abducted along with a friend by suspected soldiers in 2006.

A witness, who claims he met the two women in army custody, has testified that he saw them raped and tortured by soldiers and that soldiers told him they were later killed.

Mrs Cadapan has written to President Arroyo but received no response.

In September a court ruled that, if they were still alive, the women must be released.

“That makes me really angry because in spite of the ruling no one from the government is willing to help me. They are trying to protect the armed forces,” said Mrs Cadapan.

“There is some rumour that my daughter is still alive so we are hoping and praying fro that,” she said. “But still they deny everything.”

President Arroyo has remained mostly silent on the 900 killings and 200 “disappearances” on her watch, the army denies any role and no-one has ever been prosecuted.

Source

Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 9:10 am  Comments Off on 900 people killed in Philippines by ‘mysterious death squads’  
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