US going from Police State, To Military State

Every America needs to know this.

Make sure you give a copy to all your friends out there.

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State

February 11, 2013 

On Wednesday a few hundred activists crowded into the courtroom of the Second Circuit, the spillover room with its faulty audio feed and dearth of chairs, and Foley Square outside the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in Manhattan where many huddled in the cold. The fate of the nation, we understood, could be decided by the three judges who will rule on our lawsuit against President Barack Obama for signing into law Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The section permits the military to detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, who “substantially support”—an undefined legal term—al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” again a term that is legally undefined. Those detained can be imprisoned indefinitely by the military and denied due process until “the end of hostilities.” In an age of permanent war this is probably a lifetime. Anyone detained under the NDAA can be sent, according to Section (c)(4), to any “foreign country or entity.” This is, in essence, extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens. It empowers the government to ship detainees to the jails of some of the most repressive regimes on earth.

Section 1021(b)(2) was declared invalid in September after our first trial, in the Southern District Court of New York. The Obama administration appealed the Southern District Court ruling. The appeal was heard Wednesday in the Second Circuit Court with Judges Raymond J. Lohier, Lewis A. Kaplan and Amalya L. Kearse presiding. The judges might not make a decision until the spring when the Supreme Court rules in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, another case in which I am a plaintiff. The Supreme Court case challenges the government’s use of electronic surveillance. If we are successful in the Clapper case, it will strengthen all the plaintiffs’ standing in Hedges v. Obama. The Supreme Court, if it rules against the government, will affirm that we as plaintiffs have a reasonable fear of being detained.

If we lose in Hedges v. Obama—and it seems certain that no matter the outcome of the appeal this case will reach the Supreme Court—electoral politics and our rights as citizens will be as empty as those of Nero’s Rome. If we lose, the power of the military to detain citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military prisons will become a terrifying reality. Democrat or Republican. Occupy activist or libertarian. Socialist or tea party stalwart. It does not matter. This is not a partisan fight. Once the state seizes this unchecked power, it will inevitably create a secret, lawless world of indiscriminate violence, terror and gulags. I lived under several military dictatorships during the two decades I was a foreign correspondent. I know the beast.

“The stakes are very high,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who with attorney Bruce Afran brought our case to trial, in addressing a Culture Project audience in Manhattan on Wednesday after the hearing. “What our case comes down to is: Are we going to have a civil justice system in the United States or a military justice system? The civil justice system is something that is ingrained in the Constitution. It was always very important in combating tyranny and building a democratic society. What the NDAA is trying to impose is a system of military justice that allows the military to police the streets of America to detain U.S. citizens, to detain residents in the United States in military prisons. Probably the most frightening aspect of the NDAA is that it allows for detention until ‘the end of hostilities.’

Five thousand years of human civilization has left behind innumerable ruins to remind us that the grand structures and complex societies we build, and foolishly venerate as immortal, crumble into dust. It is the descent that matters now. If the corporate state is handed the tools, as under Section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA, to use deadly force and military power to criminalize dissent, then our decline will be one of repression, blood and suffering. No one, not least our corporate overlords, believes that our material conditions will improve with the impending collapse of globalization, the steady deterioration of the global economy, the decline of natural resources and the looming catastrophes of climate change.

But the global corporatists—who have created a new species of totalitarianism—demand, during our decay, total power to extract the last vestiges of profit from a degraded ecosystem and disempowered citizenry. The looming dystopia is visible in the skies of blighted postindustrial cities such as Flint, Mich., where drones circle like mechanical vultures. And in an era where the executive branch can draw up secret kill lists that include U.S. citizens, it would be naive to believe these domestic drones will remain unarmed.

Robert M. Loeb, the lead attorney for the government in Wednesday’s proceedings, took a tack very different from that of the government in the Southern District Court of New York before Judge Katherine B. Forrest. Forrest repeatedly asked the government attorneys if they could guarantee that the other plaintiffs and I would not be subject to detention under Section 1021(b)(2). The government attorneys in the first trial granted no such immunity. The government also claimed in the first trial that under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act (AUMF), it already had the power to detain U.S. citizens. Section 1021(b)(2), the attorneys said, did not constitute a significant change in government power. Judge Forrest in September rejected the government’s arguments and ruled Section 1021(b)(2) invalid.

The government, however, argued Wednesday that as “independent journalists” we were exempt from the law and had no cause for concern. Loeb stated that if journalists used journalism as a cover to aid the enemy, they would be seized and treated as enemy combatants. But he assured the court that I would be untouched by the new law as long as “Mr. Hedges did not start driving black vans for people we don’t like.”

Loeb did not explain to the court who defines an “independent journalist.” I have interviewed members of al-Qaida as well as 16 other individuals or members of groups on the State Department’s terrorism list. When I convey these viewpoints, deeply hostile to the United States, am I considered by the government to be “independent”? Could I be seen by the security and surveillance state, because I challenge the official narrative, as a collaborator with the enemy? And although I do not drive black vans for people Loeb does not like, I have spent days, part of the time in vehicles, with armed units that are hostile to the United States. These include Hamas in Gaza and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey.

I traveled frequently with armed members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador and the Sandinista army in Nicaragua during the five years I spent in Central America. Senior officials in the Reagan administration regularly denounced many of us in the press as fifth columnists and collaborators with terrorists. These officials did not view us as “independent.” They viewed us as propagandists for the enemy. Section 1021(b)(2) turns this linguistic condemnation into legal condemnation.

Alexa O’Brien, another plaintiff and a co-founder of the US Day of Rage, learned after WikiLeaks released 5 million emails from Stratfor, a private security firm that does work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Marine Corps and the Defense Intelligence Agency, that Stratfor operatives were trying to link her and her organization to Islamic radicals, including al-Qaida, and sympathetic websites as well as jihadist ideology. If that link were made, she and those in her organization would not be immune from detention.

Afran said at the Culture Project discussion that he once gave a donation at a fundraising dinner to the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic organization. A few months later, to his surprise, he received a note of thanks from Sinn Féin. “I didn’t expect to be giving money to a group that maintains a paramilitary terrorist organization, as some people say,” Afran said. “This is the danger. You can easily find yourself in a setting that the government deems worthy of incarceration. This is why people cease to speak out.”

The government attempted in court last week to smear Sami Al-Hajj, a journalist for the Al-Jazeera news network who was picked up by the U.S. military and imprisoned for nearly seven years in Guantanamo. This, for me, was one of the most chilling moments in the hearing.

“Just calling yourself a journalist doesn’t make you a journalist, like Al-Hajj,” Loeb told the court. “He used journalism as a cover. He was a member of al-Qaida and provided Stinger missiles to al-Qaida.”

Al-Hajj, despite Loeb’s assertions, was never charged with any crimes. And the slander by Loeb only highlighted the potential for misuse of this provision of the NDAA if it is not struck down.

The second central argument by the government was even more specious. Loeb claimed that Subsection 1021(e) of the NDAA exempts citizens from detention. Section 1021(e) states: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”

Afran countered Loeb by saying that Subsection 1021(e) illustrated that the NDAA assumed that U.S. citizens would be detained by the military, overturning two centuries of domestic law that forbids the military to carry out domestic policing. And military detention of citizens, Afran noted, is not permitted under the Constitution.

Afran quoted the NDAA bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said on the floor of the Senate: “In the case where somebody is worried about being picked up by a rogue executive branch because they went to the wrong political rally, they don’t have to worry very long, because our federal courts have the right and the obligation to make sure the government proves their case that you are a member of al-Qaida and didn’t [just] go to a political rally.”

Afran told the court that Graham’s statement implicitly acknowledged that U.S. citizens could be detained by the military under 1021(b)(2). “There is no reason for the sponsor to make that statement if he does not realize that the statute causes that chilling fear,” Afran told the judges.

After the hearing Afran explained: “If the senator who sponsored and managed the bill believed people would be afraid of the law, then the plaintiffs obviously have a reasonably objective basis to fear the statute.”

In speaking to the court Afran said of 1021(e): “It says it is applied to people in the United States. It presumes that they are going to be detained under some law. The only law we know of is this law. What other laws, before this one, allowed the military to detain people in this country?”

This was a question Judge Lohier, at Afran’s urging, asked Loeb during the argument. Loeb concurred that the NDAA was the only law he knew of that permitted the military to detain and hold U.S. citizens.

Via Truth-Dig Source

Chris Hedges: NDAA Lawsuit Update

Bad enough Americans already have people being Entrapped.

Inside the FBI’s ‘Terror factory’

You could be sent to anyone of these Countries.

CIA used 54 countries for detaining prisoners for toture

The 54 governments identified in this report span the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, and include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen,

and Zimbabwe. Must not forget Cuba. Cuba did not help, but did have the US prison there. Guantánamo Bay. Source

Now the Military can help with all of this.

You can bet many of those countries still help the CIA.

Like many who were sent to prison from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and other countries of course.

The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, administered by the United States Department of State offers monetary compensation for individuals who volunteer information that leads to the location, capture, and trial of suspected terrorists. The program also seeks information relevant to finances, assets, and plans of terrorist organizations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) work closely with the Department of State to investigate all information garnered through the Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program. In 1998, after the bombing of United States embassies in East Africa, the Department of State raised the maximum reward for information to $5 million.

The rewards program not only offers monetary rewards for information aiding anti-terrorism operations, but also promises confidentiality and anonymity for the informant. The United States government further promises to aid and relocate informants whose disclosure of information places themselves, and their family, in jeopardy.

The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program is now a part of a larger anti-terrorism operation, the Rewards for Justice Program. The program pays for information relevant to the arrest and capture of wanted terrorists, both domestic and foreign. As part of the Patriot Act of 2001, the secretary of state can pay rewards greater than $5 million for information leading to the arrest of suspected terrorists. To date, the program has paid $9.75 million to 24 individuals who aided government antiterror investigations.

The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, as part of Rewards for Justice, has had several key successes. Information received through the program led to the arrest and eventual conviction of the 1993 World Trade Center bomber, Ramzi Yousef. The highest current priority of the rewards program is information leading to the capture of al-Qaeda front man, Usama bin Laden, and others with suspected involvement in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Source

Have a beef with one of your neighbours.
Turn them in and get a reward. They will of course be tortured until they confess, not to worry.
By the way how do your neighbours feel about you?  You could be sent to a black hole never to return.
If the NDAA is accepted you will have  no rights at all.
This is what a witch hunt looks like.
Rather reminds me of what is done to Palestinians in Gaza and especially the West Bank. They live under the same rules as the NDAA.
Here is a must read Article.

Max Blumenthal: How Israeli Occupation Forces, Bahraini Monarchy Guards Trained U.S. Police For Coordinated Crackdown On “Occupy” Protests

New York – In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.

At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured. According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”

Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals. While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing but all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.

The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.

Having been schooled in Israeli tactics perfected during a 63 year experience of controlling, dispossessing, and occupying an indigenous population, local police forces have adapted them to monitor Muslim and immigrant neighborhoods in US cities. Meanwhile, former Israeli military officers have been hired to spearhead security operations at American airports and suburban shopping malls, leading to a wave of disturbing incidents of racial profiling, intimidation, and FBI interrogations of innocent, unsuspecting people. The New York Police Department’s disclosure that it deployed “counter-terror” measures against Occupy protesters encamped in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park is just the latest example of the so-called War on Terror creeping into every day life. Revelations like these have raised serious questions about the extent to which Israeli-inspired tactics are being used to suppress the Occupy movement.

The process of Israelification began in the immediate wake of 9/11, when national panic led federal and municipal law enforcement officials to beseech Israeli security honchos for advice and training. America’s Israel lobby exploited the climate of hysteria, providing thousands of top cops with all-expenses paid trips to Israel and stateside training sessions with Israeli military and intelligence officials. By now, police chiefs of major American cities who have not been on junkets to Israel are the exception.

“Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism,” said former US Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, who now serves as the US Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. Cathy Lanier, the Chief of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police, remarked, “No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel.” “One would say it is the front line,” Barnett Jones, the police chief of Ann Arbor, Michigan, said of Israel. “We’re in a global war.”

Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security and a leading expert on terror and civil liberties, said the Israeli influence on American law enforcement is so extensive it has bled into street-level police conduct. “After 9/11 we reached out to the Israelis on many fronts and one of those fronts was torture,” Greenberg told me. “The training in Iraq and Afghanistan on torture was Israeli training. There’s been a huge downside to taking our cue from the Israelis and now we’re going to spread that into the fabric of everyday American life? It’s counter-terrorism creep. And it’s exactly what you could have predicted would have happened.”

Changing the way we do business

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is at the heart of American-Israeli law enforcement collaboration. JINSA is a Jerusalem and Washington DC-based think tank known for stridently neoconservative policy positions on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians and its brinkmanship with Iran. The group’s board of directors boasts a Who’s Who of neocon ideologues. Two former JINSA advisors who have also consulted for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, went on to serve in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush, playing influential roles in the push to invade and occupy Iraq.

Through its Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), JINSA claims to have arranged Israeli-led training sessions for over 9000 American law enforcement officials at the federal, state and municipal level. “The Israelis changed the way we do business regarding homeland security in New Jersey,” Richard Fuentes, the NJ State Police Superintendent, said after attending a 2004 JINSA-sponsored Israel trip and a subsequent JINSA conference alongside 435 other law enforcement officers.

During a 2004 LEEP trip, JINSA brought 14 senior American law enforcement officials to Israel to receive instruction from their counterparts. The Americans were trained in “how to secure large venues, such as shopping malls, sporting events and concerts,” JINSA’s website reported. Escorted by Brigadier General Simon Perry, an Israeli police attaché and former Mossad official, the group toured the Israeli separation wall, now a mandatory stop for American cops on junkets to Israel. “American officials learned about the mindset of a suicide bomber and how to spot trouble signs,” according to JINSA. And they were schooled in Israeli killing methods. “Although the police are typically told to aim for the chest when shooting because it is the largest target, the Israelis are teaching [American] officers to aim for a suspect’s head so as not to detonate any explosives that might be strapped to his torso,” the New York Times reported.

Cathy Lanier, now the Chief of Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, was among the law enforcement officials junketed to Israel by JINSA. “I was with the bomb units and the SWAT team and all of those high profile specialized [Israeli] units and I learned a tremendous amount,” Lanier reflected. “I took 82 pages of notes while I was there which I later brought back and used to formulate a lot of what I later used to create and formulate the Homeland Security terrorism bureau in the DC Metropolitan Police department.”

Some of the police chiefs who have taken part in JINSA’s LEEP program have done so under the auspices of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a private non-governmental group with close ties to the Department of Homeland Security. Chuck Wexler, the executive director of PERF, was so enthusiastic about the program that by 2005 he had begun organizing trips to Israel sponsored by PERF, bringing numerous high-level American police officials to receive instruction from their Israeli counterparts.

PERF gained notoriety when Wexler confirmed that his group coordinated police raids in 16 cities across America against “Occupy” protest encampments. As many as 40 cities have sought PERF advice on suppressing the “Occupy” movement and other mass protest activities. Wexler did not respond to my requests for an interview.

Lessons from Israel to Auschwitz

Besides JINSA, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has positioned itself as an important liaison between American police forces and the Israeli security-intelligence apparatus. Though the ADL promotes itself as a Jewish civil rights group, it has provoked controversy by publishing a blacklist of organizations supporting Palestinian rights, and for condemning a proposal to construct an Islamic community center in downtown New York, several blocks from Ground Zero, on the basis that some opponents of the project were entitled to “positions that others would characterize as irrational or bigoted.”

Through the ADL’s Advanced Training School course on Extremist and Terrorist Threats, over 700 law enforcement personnel from 220 federal and local agencies including the FBI and CIA have been trained by Israeli police and intelligence commanders. This year, the ADL brought 15 high-level American police officials to Israel for instruction from the country’s security apparatus. According to the ADL, over 115 federal, state and local law enforcement executives have undergone ADL-organized training sessions in Israel since the program began in 2003. “I can honestly say that the training offered by ADL is by far the most useful and current training course I have ever attended,” Deputy Commissioner Thomas Wright of the Philadelphia Police Department commented after completing an ADL program this year. The ADL’s relationship with the Washington DC Police Department is so cozy its members are invited to accompany DC cops on “ride along” patrols.

The ADL claims to have trained over 45,000 American law enforcement officials through its Law Enforcement and Society program, which “draws on the history of the Holocaust to provide law enforcement professionals with an increased understanding of…their role as protectors of the Constitution,” the group’s website stated. All new FBI agents and intelligence analysts are required to attend the ADL program, which is incorporated into three FBI training programs. According to officialFBI recruitment material, “all new special agents must visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to see firsthand what can happen when law enforcement fails to protect individuals.”

Fighting “crimiterror”

Among the most prominent Israeli government figure to have influenced the practices of American law enforcement officials is Avi Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service and current member of Knesset who recently introduced legislation widely criticized as anti-democratic. During the Second Intifada, Dichter ordered several bombings on densely populated Palestinian civilian areas, including one on the al-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza that resulted in the death of 15 innocent people, including 8 children, and 150 injuries. “After each success, the only thought is, ‘Okay, who’s next?’” Dichter said of the “targeted” assassinations he has ordered.

Despite his dubious human rights record and apparently dim view of democratic values, or perhaps because of them, Dichter has been a key figure in fostering cooperation between Israeli security forces and American law enforcement. In 2006, while Dichter was serving at the time as Israel’s Minister of Public Security, he spoke in Boston, Massachusetts before the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Seated beside FBI Director Robert Mueller and then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Dichter told the 10,000 police officers in the crowd that there was an “intimate connection between fighting criminals and fighting terrorists.” Dichter declared that American cops were actually “fighting crimiterrorists.” The Jerusalem Post reported that Dichter was “greeted by a hail of applause, as he was hugged by Mueller, who described Dichter as his mentor in anti-terror tactics.”

A year after Dichter’s speech, he and then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff signed a joint memorandum pledging security collaboration between America and Israel on issues ranging from airport security to emergency planning. In 2010, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano authorized a new joint memorandum with Israeli Transport and Road Safety Minister Israel Katz shoring up cooperation between the US Transportation Security Agency – the agency in charge of day-to-day airport security – and Israel’s Security Department. The recent joint memorandum also consolidated the presence of US Homeland Security law enforcement personnel on Israeli soil. “The bond between the United States and Israel has never been stronger,” Napolitano remarked at a recent summit of AIPAC, the leading outfit of America’s Israel lobby, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Demographic Unit

For the New York Police Department, collaboration with Israel’s security and intelligence apparatus became a top priority after 9/11. Just months after the attacks on New York City, the NYPD assigned a permanent, taxpayer-funded liaison officerto Tel Aviv. Under the leadership of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, ties between the NYPD and Israel have deepened by the day. Kelly embarked on his first trip to Israel in early 2009 to demonstrate his support for Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip, a one-sided attack that left over 1400 Gaza residents dead in three weeks and led a United Nations fact-finding mission to conclude that Israeli military and government officials had committed war crimes.

Kelly returned to Israel the following year to speak at the Herziliya Conference, an annual gathering of neoconservative security and government officials who obsess over supposed “demographic threats.” After Kelly appeared on stage, the Herziliya crowd was addressed by the pro-Israel academic Martin Kramer, who claimed that Israel’s blockade of Gaza was helping to reduce the numbers of “superfluous young men of fighting age.” Kramer added, “If a state can’t control these young men, then someone else will.”

Back in New York, the NYPD set up a secret “Demographics Unit” designed to spy on and monitor Muslim communities around the city. The unit was developed with input and intensive involvement by the CIA, which still refuses to name the former Middle East station chief it has posted in the senior ranks of the NYPD’s intelligence division. Since 2002, the NYPD has dispatched undercover agents known as “rakers” and “mosque crawlers” into Pakistani-American bookstores and restaurants to gauge community anger over US drone strikes inside Pakistan, and into Palestinian hookah bars and mosques to search out signs of terror recruitment and clandestine funding. “If a raker noticed a customer looking at radical literature, he might chat up the store owner and see what he could learn,” the Associated Press reported. “The bookstore, or even the customer, might get further scrutiny.”

The Israeli imprimatur on the NYPD’s Demographics Unit is unmistakable. As a former police official told the Associated Press, the Demographics Unit has attempted to “map the city’s human terrain” through a program “modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank.”

Shop ‘til you’re stopped

At Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, security personnel target non-Jewish and non-white passengers, especially Arabs, as a matter of policy. The most routinely harassed passengers are Palestinian citizens of Israel, who must brace themselvesfor five-hour interrogation sessions and strip searches before flying. Those singled out for extra screening by Shin Bet officers are sent to what many Palestinians from Israel call the “Arab room,” where they are subjected to humiliating questioning sessions (former White House Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala encountered such mistreatment during a visit to Israel last year). Some Palestinians are forbidden from speaking to anyone until takeoff, and may be menaced by Israeli flight attendants during the flight. In one documented case, a six-month-old was awoken for a strip search by Israeli Shin Bet personnel. Instances of discrimination against Arabs at Ben Gurion International are too numerous to detail – several incidents occur each day – but a few of the more egregious instances were outlined in a 2007 petition the Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed with the country’s Supreme Court.

Though the Israeli system of airline security contains dubious benefits and clearly deleterious implications for civil liberties, it is quietly and rapidly migrating into major American airports. Security personnel at Boston’s Logan International Airport have undergone extensive training from Israeli intelligence personnel, learning to apply profiling and behavioral assessment techniques against American citizens that were initially tested on Palestinians. The new procedures began in August, when so-called Behavior Detection Officers were placed in security queues at Logan’s heavily trafficked Terminal A. Though the procedures have added to traveler stress while netting exactly zero terrorists, they are likely to spread to other cities. “I would like to see a lot more profiling” in American airports, said Yossi Sheffi, an Israeli-born risk analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation and Logistics.

Israeli techniques now dictate security procedures at the Mall of America, a gargantuan shopping mall in Bloomington, Minnesota that has become a major tourist attraction. The new methods took hold in 2005 when the mall hired a former Israeli army sergeant named Mike Rozin to lead a special new security unit. Rozin, who once worked with a canine unit at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, instructed his employees at the Mall of America to visually profile every shopper, examining their expressions for suspicious signs. His security team accosts and interrogates an average of 1200 shoppers a year, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

One of the thousands who fell into Rozin’s dragnet was Najam Qureshi, a Pakistani-American mall vendor whose father accidentally left his cell phone on a table in the mall food court. A day after the incident, FBI agents appeared at Qureshi’s doorstep to ask if he knew anyone seeking to harm the United States. An army veteran interrogated for two hours by Rozin’s men for taking video inside the mall sobbed openly about his experience to reporters. Meanwhile, another man, Emile Khalil, was visited by FBI agents after mall security stopped him for taking photographs of the dazzling consumer haven.

“I think that the threat of terrorism in the United States is going to become an unfortunate part of American life,” Rozin remarked to American Jewish World. And as long as the threat persists in the public’s mind, Israeli securitocrats like Rozin will never have to worry about the next paycheck.

“Occupy” meets the Occupation

When a riot squad from the New York Police Department destroyed and evicted the “Occupy Wall Street” protest encampment at Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan, department leadership drew on the anti-terror tactics they had refined since the 9/11 attacks. According to the New York Times, the NYPD deployed “counterterrorism measures” to mobilize large numbers of cops for the lightning raid on Zuccotti. The use of anti-terror techniques to suppress a civilian protest complemented harsh police measures demonstrated across the country against the nationwide “Occupy” movement, from firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets into unarmed crowds to blasting demonstrators with the LRAD sound cannon.

Given the amount of training the NYPD and so many other police forces have received from Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus, and the profuse levels of gratitude American police chiefs have expressed to their Israeli mentors, it is worth asking how much Israeli instruction has influenced the way the police have attempted to suppress the Occupy movement, and how much it will inform police repression of future upsurges of street protest. But already, the Israelification of American law enforcement appears to have intensified police hostility towards the civilian population, blurring the lines between protesters, common criminals, and terrorists. As Dichter said, they are all just “crimiterrorists.”

“After 9/11 we had to react very quickly,” Greenberg remarked, “but now we’re in 2011 and we’re not talking about people who want to fly planes into buildings. We’re talking about young American citizens who feel that their birthright has been sold. If we’re using Israeli style tactics on them and this stuff bleeds into the way we do business at large, were in big trouble.”

This article is cross-posted from Al-Akhbar.com with permission from the author Max Blumenthal.

You can read more of Max Blumenthal at MaxBlumenthal.com. He is the author of Republican Gomorrah, published by Nation Books.

Source

 

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Innocence of Muslims, Protesters are telling the US to get out of their country

September 17 2012

Innocence of Muslims – The big lie told about and shown to the world.

I have been attempting to keep a running record of all the protests.

To Date

Protests have happened  in Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kashmir, Pakistan, Iraq, Gaza, Morocco, Syria, Kuwait, Nigeria, Kenya, UK, India, Turkey, Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Afghanistan, Jordan, Mauritanian, Israel,  Oman, Australia, Belgium, France, Philippines, Thailand, Copenhagen and of course Libya- 35 Countries so far.

‘It Makes Me Sick’: Actress in Muhammed Movie Says She Was Deceived, Had No Idea It Was About Islam

Adrian Chen

The story of the Muhammed movie which sparked deadly protests in Libya and Egypt gets weirder. The actors who appeared in it had no idea they were starring in anti-Islam propaganda which depicts Muhammed as a child molester and thug. They were deceived by the film’s director, believing they were appearing in a film about the life of a generic Egyptian 2,000 years ago.

Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif., has a small role in the Muhammed movie as a woman whose young daughter is given to Muhammed to marry. But in a phone interview this afternoon, Garcia told us she had no idea she was participating in an offensive spoof on the life of Muhammed when she answered a casting call through an agency last summer and got the part.

The script she was given was titled simply Desert Warriors.

“It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago,” Garcia said. “It wasn’t based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn’t anything about Muhammed or Muslims or anything.”

In the script and during the shooting, nothing indicated the controversial nature of the final product, now called Muslim Innocence. Muhammed wasn’t even called Muhammed; he was “Master George,” Garcia said. The word “Muhammed” was dubbed over in post-production, as were essentially all other offensive references to Islam and Muhammed.

For example, at 9:03 in the trailer, Garcia berates her husband, who wants to send their daughter to Muhammed: “Is your Muhammed a child molester?” she says in the final product. But the words are dubbed over what she actually said. The line in the script—and the line Garcia gave during filming—was, “is your God a child molester,” Garcia told us today.

Garcia was horrified when she saw the end product, and when protesters in Libya killed four U.S. Embassy employees.

“I had nothing to do really with anything,” she said today. “Now we have people dead because of a movie I was in. It makes me sick.”

According to Garcia, her three days on set last July were unremarkable. The film’s mysterious pseudonymous writer and director, “Sam Bacile,” has claimed to be an Israeli real estate mogul. But Garcia said Bacile told her he was Egyptian on set. Bacile had white hair and spoke Arabic to a number of “dark-skinned” men who hung around the set, she said. (A Bacile associate also told The Atlantic he wasn’t Israeli or Jewish.)

“He was just really mellow. He was just sitting there and he wanted certain points to be made.”

Once, Garcia said, Bacile wanted a girl that “Master George” (aka Muhammed) was to sleep with to look seven years old, instead of 10, to heighten the outrage. But his Assistant Directors protested, saying that was too young.

After the protests erupted and Bacile appeared in the media, Garcia called him up today to express her outrage at his deception.

“I called Sam and said, ‘Why did you do this?’ and he said, ‘I’m tired of radical Islamists killing each other. Let other actors know it’s not their fault.'”

Garcia isn’t satisfied simply knowing it wasn’t her fault.

“I’m going to sue his butt off.”

Update: The entire 80-member cast and crew of the film have released a statement saying they were misled. Via CNN:

The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.

Update II: Here’s what appears to be the posted in July 2011 on craigslist:

(Casting call cast audition MOONCASTING USA CA)

CASTING feature: Desert Warrior (Los Angeles)

Category audition: Mode & Fashion — 3:46 am
NOW CASTING SAG and NON SAG ACTORS for “DESERT WARRIOR.” Director Alan Roberts.
Historical desert drama set in Middle East. Indie Feature film shoots 18 days in L.A. in August. Studio and backlot locations.
Male Roles: DR. MATTHEW (Lead): Middle Eastern Pharmacist, 40-50, intelligent, family man; GEORGE (Lead); 40-50, Middle Eastern warrior leader, romantic, charismatic; YOUNG GEORGE (featured) 18-22; PRIEST (featured): 60-70, bearded; ABDO (featured), 60-70, Elder tribe leader; ISRAELI MEN 30-50 (featured); WARRIORS (featured) 18-50, Various Middle Eastern types, bearded.
Female Roles: CONDALISA (featured) 40, attractive, successful, strong willed; HILLARY (featured) 18 but must look younger, petite; innocent; YOUSTINA (featured) 16-18, Daughter of doctor; MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN (Various Featured Roles) 18-40, attractive, exotic; OLDER WOMAN (featured) 60-70, feisty.
Please place Role desired in SUBJECT: line of email.
Indicate SAG or NON-SAG
Require phone contact for immediate interview in Beverly/LaCienega area.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • it’s ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
  • Compensation: no pay
  • OK to contact me about appearing in CL documentary series

http://www.mooncasting.com/us/casting-feature-desert-warrior-los-angeles/

Source for above information

So all that was bogus. Then it turns out Sam old boy is not his real name. Now it seems he might be Egyptian maybe, but definitely from the US and definitely from California. He has a previous Criminal Record for Bank Fraud. He as a condition of his probation is not to use a bogus name, which he did, he is not to use the internet, which he did.

The filmmaker, who identified himself in a telephone interview with The Associated Press as Sam Bacile, said he is an Israeli-born, Jewish writer and director of Innocence of Muslims. Bacile was the name used to publish excerpts of the movie online as early as July 2 2012.

Filmmaker Sam Bacile in hiding after anti-Muslim film sparks violence in which American diplomat was killed so they tell the world.

(Sam Bacile/Nakoula Basseley) Nakoula, who was originally believed to have directed the controversial ‘Innocence of Muslims’ movie, has turned out to be producer, not the director.

The film’s original casting call lists softcore porn director Alan Roberts as the movie-maker.

The filmmaker allegedly responsible for the anti-Muslim film ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ which sparked anti-US protests around world, was called in by police for questioning in Los Angeles.

CBC Report on Libya killing of Ambassador

Yemen protesters attempt to storm US embassy, repelled by police

In Kuwait, the US embassy staff were evacuated.

Iranian students protest anti-Islam movie outside Swiss Embassy

US-made anti-Islam film insults all divine religions: Jewish lawmaker

Yemenis storm US embassy in Sana’a, 4 killed, 34 injured

US-made anti-Islam movie sparks protests in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

US dispatches destroyers, marine unit to Libya

Egypt protests: Сars torched, police firebombed at US Embassy Lebanon protesters burn US, Israeli flags

Pakistan police clash with angry protesters outside US Embassy

86 anti-US protesters arrested in India

US sends troops to Yemen over film

Tunisian protesters storm US Embassy

Protesters expelled from US Embassy

3 Killed in Tunisia US Embassy attack

Nigerian troops attack protesters

Protesters storm US Embassy in London

One killed in Yemen anti-US protest

Police in Sydney, Australia, use tear gas on protesters

Istanbul sees peaceful protest over anti-Islam film – Hürriyet Daily

US to shut embassy in Bankok  Thailand during anti-Islam film protest

 I think everyone should read this Report.

This is about some of the people who promote hate against Muslims in the US. Not only do they promote Hate they also feed the public misinformation, in other wards they lie to the public about Muslims.
They lie about anything and everything. Millions and millions of dollars are spent to promote the hate and misinformation each year.

Read it and find out if they lied to you.

http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2011/08/pdf/islamophobia.pdf

A very interesting read.
Maybe they even have a connection to the movie makers.

Americans may be able to use this against those who incited the riots.

The makers of the film knew for a fact it would cause riots or protests for sure. Just like when pastor Jones, burned the Holy Quran.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2101?quicktabs_8=1#quicktabs-8

Germany bans US pastor Jones

The Canadian Government and the decision of the closure of the Embassies-Tehran-Ottawa

If you are Canadian please do go and sign the petition at Link below.

  • Author:
    Iranian Canadian Community Council
  • Send To:
    Canadian Government

We, the undersigned, deplore and condemn the Canadian government’s abrupt and unjustified decision to unilaterally close all diplomatic channels with Iran, while effectively leaving the path of hostility and military confrontation as the only available option on the table. We deplore the fact that Canada, in spite of its long tradition in multilateralism and its unmatched expertise in peaceful conflict resolution, has opted to forgo all its potentials as a peace-broker, to espouse a hawkish policy that is only conducive to escalate international tension and pave the ground for war. We deplore the fact that the Canadian government has chosen to substitute a tradition of “rational and reasoned” diplomacy with an uncharacteristic foreign-policy that is predicated on soundbites, sensationalist rhetoric and intimidation. We regret that such outlook completely disregards the noble humanitarian considerations that Canada was once known to take to heart. We , the undersigned, caution the Government and all civil rights associations that the closure of the Iranian Embassy directly intervenes with Iranian-Canadians’ “freedom of movement” by unreservedly depriving them of all indispensable consular services required to travel to and visit their native land. The Canadian government has yet to convincingly demonstrate that such a drastic limit on a fundamental legal and moral right affecting thousands of its citizens and residents, is reasonably justified in a free and democratic society. We also call on the Canadian government to fully recognize the moral and financial prejudice suffered by an entire ethnic community that was abruptly and arbitrarily cut off from its roots without as much as a genuine consultation, notice or convincing explanation. We strongly condemn the Canadian government’s condescending and discourteous manners toward Iranian-Canadians and expect the Prime Minister to immediately take actions to reverse this worrying pattern that is founded upon discrimination, hostility and collective punishment.

http://www.petitiononline.com/petitions/CanEmb/signatures?page=1

Also for all Canadians if you are in Iran and need help go to the Italian Embassy.

Italy to represent Canada in Iran after pullout 

3 Reasons the US and Israel are Lying About Iran

Repeated Lies Call for Repeated Truth Regarding Iran.

By Tony Cartalucci

September 17, 2012

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu callsfor the US to establish a firm “red line” that Iran’s nuclear program can’t cross without risking a military response,” and the West is marched ever closer to war with the Islamic Republic based on tired and repeated lies, three important points must be kept in mind.

 Israeli Prime Minister has been granted air-time to dictate US foreign policy to American viewers in the latest indication that interests other than those of the American people drive American destiny. Make no mistake however, Netanyahu is not in America to represent the Israeli people, but rather the same corporate-financier interests of Wall Street and London that created and sustain him politically.
….


1. The US and Israel admit in their own policy papers that Iran threatens Western hegemony, not Western security (let alone survival):

The very engineers of US-Israeli policy to subvert and destroy Iran, detailed in the 156 page Which Path to Persia? report out of the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution, admit that Iran threatens not the security of Israel or the United States, but the hegemonic geopolitical order the West maintains over the Middle East.

In March 2012’s Israel & US: Partners in International Crime,” direct quotes from the “Which Path to Persia?” report, as well as excerpts from RAND Corporation documents and else where illustrate these admissions in their entirety.

2. The US and Israel already struck first: 

By using US State Department-listed foreign terror organization (#30) Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) , the US and Israel have been waging years of covert war against the Iranian people.

In March 2012’s US State Department Hands Terror-Cult US Base in Iraq,” the history of MEK as well as advocacy for supporting its terrorist activities inside of Iran is exposed through a series of Western-media reports, government testimony, and US foreign policy papers.

In February 2012’s US Implausibly Denies Role in Israeli Terror Squads,” reports of both US officials admitting Israel’s backing of MEK terrorists to carry out assassinations inside of Iran, as well as evidence of US support for MEK are exposed.

It should be remembered that political and military subversion of Iran by the West stretches back to Operation Ajax” in 1953, where the United States and the British overthrew the democratically elected nationalist government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.

This violent subversion played out long before the current political order in Iran came to power. Iran has been the subject of sovereignty-violating foreign intervention for over half a century – with the West long ago drawing first blood, and continuing to do so up to present day through admitted campaigns of political, economic, and military subversion.

3. Israel’s current leaders have Wall Street-London hegemony, not Israel’s self-preservation, at heart: 

Perhaps the greatest myth in regards to US-Israeli policy toward Iran is that it is driven by concerns for national security and the survival of the “Jewish State” of Israel. In reality, the overall foreign policy pursued by Israel’s government has demonstrably run contra to both the Israeli people’s survival and their own prosperity. The Israeli government’s posture toward Iran is perhaps the most dangerous and unhinged manifestation of this.

In August 2012’s Israel’s Netanyahu Attempts to Shame UN,” it was reported that, “the Israeli government is the greatest enemy of the Israeli people,” because:
Western corporate-financier oligarchs have done more to send both Americans and Israelis to their deaths than any combination of suicide belt-wearing, Kalashnikov-waving “terrorists.” The “War on Terror” is indeed a fraud, and Israel’s government has masterfully played a pivotal role – maintaining a strategy of tension to keep its own people in perpetual fear, while keeping their perceived enemies in perpetual and absolute rage.  When enemies are difficult to find, the government of Israel and its corporate-financier backers upon Wall Street and in the city of London create them, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas (and here), and Al Qaeda.

The result is a nation at constant war, with an inexhaustible supply of enemies in an unending conflict giving the interests of Wall Street and London – the very interests that created the modern state of Israel to begin with – an excuse to remain perpetually engaged in the Middle East with a military encampment the size of a nation at their constant disposal.

Augmenting this camp are the Israeli people themselves, just as lied to, manipulated, and kept in constant fear as their counterparts in the West to keep the rank and file of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as full as Wall Street’s American Armed Forces or Europe’s NATO foot soldiers.

The Israeli people are no less well-intentioned, talented, or full of potential as any other people on Earth, but they are likewise just as susceptible to being indoctrinated, misled, and terrorized into taking a course of action in no way beneficial to themselves or their nation. The Israeli government does not pursue a foreign or domestic policy conducive to its own self-preservation, let alone its prosperity as a nation.

Its constant warmongering, meddling geopolitically beyond its borders, and the creation and perpetuation of its alleged “enemies” have indeed killed more Israelis than any “terrorist.” The Israeli government and the corporate-financier interests they represent are the Israeli people’s worst enemy. It would be wise for both the Israeli people, and those who perceive themselves to be “enemies of Israel” to remember that and make a clear distinction when moving forward.

Israel should be enjoying standards of living and prosperity amongst the highest on Earth considering Israel’s extensive human resources, but is instead facing austerity and economic hardship as the collective talent and potential of the Israeli people are squandered in the pursuit of armed corporate-financier hegemony instead of peaceful progress. The same could be easily said of the United States, whose vast military supremacy and geographic location makes its narrative of “Iran, the imminent threat” all the more tenuous.
….
To depict Iran as an irrational enemy of Judaism, rather than simply a rational nation-state responding to and defending against the decades of provocations carried out by the West and its Israeli proxies, does not hold historical or social water. Iran hosts the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel itself, with an ancient and proud Jewish community that has both refused to leave Iran, as well as condemn it for the benefit of Western propaganda campaigns.

Conclusion

PM Netanyahu’s latest propaganda tour of the US is nothing less than a blatant conspiracy against world peace – the premeditated fabrication of a war that puts at risk hundreds of millions of people and the survival of both Israel and Iran itself.  Netanyahu and his corporate-financier compatriots hope that fear, terror, and ignorance prevail long before all the myths, lies, and propaganda wear off and the populations of the respective nations involved, Iran, America, and Israel, come to their senses and identify their real enemy – the corporate-financier elite who have driven half a century of conflict with the Iranian people.

When these myths wear off, it will not be wars and the pursuit of hegemony that guide the hands of each nation’s respective people, but a drive to both free themselves from the monopolies of these corporate-financier interests, and the pursuit of progress on their own terms, for their own benefit rather than for a manipulative elite.

This article was originally published at landdestroyer.blogspot

Source

 Warships in the Persian Gulf

September 17 2012

The US has mustered three carrier battle fleets and the British have several supporting ships including minesweepers, a new  Type 45 destroyer, and they have a second fleet ready in the Eastern Mediterranean that can arrive to support the Gulf fleets within a matter of days. That second fleet contains the French aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle and the British HMS Illustrious.

Each of the three Nimitz class carriers has more airplanes than the entire Iranian Airforce.

Ostensibly, the concentration of firepower is to conduct the largest wargames yet, as a show of force against a defiant Iranian Republic that western intelligence forces say is on the brink of developing a working nuclear weapon.

Thousands of marines and special forces troops are also on hand.

The wargames include cooperation and contributions from more than 25 nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and France. Source

They want us to believe the ships are there for war games. Why is it I don’t believe them?

What is their real purpose and of course no one would notice with all the protests going on.

Waiting for the false flag!

WW3: US Warships In The Persian Gulf! Jan 4, 2012

September 18 2012

Egypt seeks arrest of Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones

Egypt’s general prosecutor has issued arrest warrants for Florida-based Pastor Terry Jones and seven other Egyptian Coptic Christians on charges linked to the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” which incited riots across the Middle East.

The prosecutor’s office says the Jones and the seven Egyptians – all of whom are believed to be residing outside of Egypt – are charged with harming national unity, publicly insulting and attacking Islam and spreading false information, AP reported Tuesday.

On the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, controversial pastor Terry Jones released a video promoting the film, which portrays the Prophet in what he described as a “satirical” manner. Source

Germany’s Foreign Ministry condemns plans by a far-right group to show a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad. “Those perpetrating the violence in Arab countries represent their people as little as these far-right activists represent Germany,” says Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

At the Arab Fall link below they update things as they happen to the best of their ability. It is rather hard to keep track of it all however.  They seem to be doing rather well however.

‘Arab Fall’: Anti-US rage LIVE timeline (PHOTOS)

If you know of any protests that have happened that I have missed do leave a comment and link to the protest article.

Thank You.

Will be adding more as I find it.

May Day protests draw millions worldwide

May Day Protests around the World
May 1 2010
Trade union members march in May Day celebrations in downtown Kiev  on Saturday. About 4,000 people rallied in Ukraine's capital.Trade union members march in May Day celebrations in downtown Kiev on Saturday. About 4,000 people rallied in Ukraine’s capital. (Sergei Chuzavkov/Associated Press)

Demonstrators poured into the streets from Hong Kong to Moscow to Santiago, Chile, waving flags, beating drums and dancing to music.

About 140,000 jubilant workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since dozens of people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.

The Istanbul demonstrations marked a special victory for Turkish unions, which had been denied access to Taksim Square since 1977, when 34 people died after a shooting triggered a stampede. The culprits were never found and workers on Saturday demanded an inquiry into the demonstrators’ deaths.

'I reject the five per cent increase,' says a La Paz  demonstrator's sign denouncing the size of Bolivia's proposed  minimum-wage increase.

‘I reject the five per cent increase,’ says a La Paz demonstrator’s sign denouncing the size of Bolivia’s proposed minimum-wage increase. (Juan Karita/Associated Press)

Thousands joined peaceful May Day marches in Stockholm, where opposition leader Mona Sahlin blamed the centre-right government for failing to stem rising unemployment and eroding the nation’s cherished welfare system. Sahlin is hoping to become Sweden’s first female prime minister after national elections in September.

In Manila, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced she had ordered the labour secretary to speed up negotiations between unions and employers on a $1.70 increase in the daily minimum wage.

In Toronto, a few thousand demonstrators pressed for reforms to make it easier for refugees to seek haven in Canada and for immigrants to come to the country.

In Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!” Rally organizer Bayu Ajie said a free-trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to create safer working conditions and improve job prospects if the workers maintained political and economic stability.

Kasparov leads rally

France saw rallies that drew hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Paris, Marseille, Lille and other cities, but the turnout nevertheless disappointed labour unions that had been hoping for crowds in the millions to provide a show of force against a planned pension overhaul.

A rare opposition march took place in Moscow, where former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, now an opposition politician, led activists calling for the ouster of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of stifling democracy.

In La Paz, the Bolivian capital, marchers carried signs denouncing the government’s proposed five per cent hike in the minimum wage as too paltry.

About 1,000 protesters — among them bus drivers and janitors — took to the streets in Hong Kong to demand that the government enact a minimum wage of the equivalent of $4.35 an hour. Though the Chinese territory has some of the richest residents in the world, its wealth is too unevenly distributed, advocates say.

People participate in a May Day protest in San Salvador, El  Salvador.

People participate in a May Day protest in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Edgar Romero/Associated Press)

Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in Santiago, clashes broke out with police, who launched tear gas and deployed a water cannon against demonstrators.

Athens also witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large rally against austerity measures imposed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece.

In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannons in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.

German police detained 250 neo-Nazis who attempted to attack them in downtown Berlin.

The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities asserted the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s Communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights. A smiling President Raul Castro watched the rally go past from a high podium.  Source

May Day turns violent in Berlin

May 2 2010

Riot police made targeted arrests during clashes on May Day demonstrations in Berlin.

May Day demonstrations have turned violent after police battle rioters in two German cities, using water cannons to drive back crowds of protestors.

In the capital Berlin, police tried to disperse hundreds of left-wing protesters in the west of the German capital late Saturday, as they set cars on fire and demolished police vehicles.

The eastern side of the city also saw clashes between anti-Nazi demonstrators and right-wingers.

In the port city of Hamburg, some 1,500 leftist radicals held a parade that continued into the early hours of Sunday. Police said the protestors vandalized banks, overturned parked cars and set them on fire.

It has become a ritual for leftists and rightists to engage in violent clashes with police and storm banks and shops on the May Day for more than a decade in Berlin and Hamburg.

Some 7,000 riot police were deployed to keep the two groups apart. Nearly 20 people were injured in those clashes. Police said they have made more than 250 arrests.

Last year’s May Day in Berlin was the most violent in a decade with hundreds of arrests and dozens of police officers injured. More than 400 cars were set ablaze in Berlin and Hamburg.

May Days have traditionally been an opportunity for workers and the left in general, to let off steam.

In many countries, it is synonymous with International Workers’ Day or Labor Day, a day of political demonstrations and celebrations organized by unions and other groups. Source


May Day marked with global protests

Turks mark first May Day in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in 33 years  [AFP]

Tens of thousands of people have marched in cities from Hong Kong to Istanbul to mark International Worker’s Day, demanding more jobs, better work conditions and higher wages.

In Turkey, about 140,000 workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since 34 people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.

The demonstration was a special victory for Turkish labour unions, which had been denied access to the site since 1977, after a shooting triggered a stampede.

Aydin Demir, a 44-year-old kiosk owner, said labourers had won a 33-year-long struggle for their right to rally at the square.

“We paid a heavy price to be here today. Thousands of comrades have been arrested, but now we get the result of our struggle,” he said.

‘Rights crushed’

Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught, reporting from Taksim Square, said that in the past, trade unions who tried to hold rallies there in defiance of the ban met with a heavy police crackdown which left dozens injured and hundreds in detention.

“Then human rights and especially workers rights were crushed for years in Turkey,” McNaught said.

“Over a series of years, particularly the last three, the unions have steadily pushed and pushed to be reallowed access to back to this square.

“They have said there is no good reason not to allow them back and this year, the government agreed.”

More than 22,000 police officers were deployed for the rally and demonstrators went through security checks before entering the square.

Zafer Yoruk, a professor of political science at Izmir University, said the number of workers organised in Turkish unions has fallen dramatically since the 1970s.

“Regarding unionisation and economic rights, I think we’re far behind the 1970s,” he told Al Jazeera.

“The right to strike, for rights, or solidarity strikes, are totally gone.”

Rowdy protesters

Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in the Chinese territory of Macau police used water cannon and pepper spray against rowdy protesters, injuring at least eight people, including a photographer.

Clashes broke out in a number of countries as workers staged rallies [AFP]

Hundreds of thousands of people joined rallies in Europe, many protesting against government austerity policies in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Athens, the Greek capital, witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large May Day rally against austerity measures needed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece.

In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannon in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.

In Germany, police said 17 officers had been injured when they clashed with 150 demonstrators who threw paving stones and set garbage cans ablaze in the northern port city of Hamburg.

At least nine demonstrators were detained after the confrontations with police on the eve of Saturday’s May Day holiday, the German news agency DDP reported.

Several hundred officers were deployed in the capital, Berlin, ahead of a planned neo-Nazi march and other demonstrations.

‘Workers unite’

The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities claimed the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights.

In Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!”

Workers took to the streets to protest labour conditions and demand better pay [Reuters]

Bayu Ajie, a rally organiser, said a free-trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption.

In Russia almost two million people turned out to mark international worker’s day.

Demonstrators carrying red balloons, red Soviet flags and portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, called for the Russian government’s resignation over rising prices and unemployment in Moscow.

Thousands of Cambodian workers marked May Day by marching through the capital to demand better work conditions and the establishment of a labour court.

Thousands of workers in the Philippines also took to the streets to reiterate their call to the government to protect jobs and to safeguard the interests of workers.

In the South Korean capital, Seoul, about 20,000 people gathered to demand better working conditions for labourers and farmers.

In Tokyo and Taiwan, thousands marched for better working conditions and permanent jobs.

In Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, several hundred workers protested a proposed four per cent goods and services tax. While, in Hong Kong, about 1,000 protesters, including janitors, construction workers and bus drivers, demanded the government introduce a minimum wage of $4.30.

“A lunch box at a fast-food restaurant costs about $4. It’s an insult if you can’t afford a lunch box after working for an hour,” Leung Yiu-chung, a pro-democracy legislator, said on the sidelines of Saturday’s protests. Source

Workers demand better jobs, pay on May Day

Indonesian workers shout slogans  during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday (AP photo by  Dita Alangkara)Indonesian workers shout slogans during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday (AP photo by Dita Alangkara)

I

STANBUL (AP) – Tens of thousands of workers marched in cities from Hong Kong to Istanbul Saturday to mark international worker’s day, demanding more jobs, better work conditions and higher wages.

About 140,000 jubilant workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since dozens of people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.

The demonstrations in Istanbul, which sits on both European and Asian continents, marked a special victory for the Turkish unions, which had been denied access to the Taksim Square since 1977, when 34 people died after shooting triggered a stampede. The culprits were never found and workers demanded Saturday an inquiry into the deaths of the demonstrators.

Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in the Chinese territory of Macau police used water cannons and pepper spray against rowdy protesters who tried to break away from the approved route. Hong Kong radio RTHK reported at least eight people injured, including a photographer.

Athens also witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large May Day rally against austerity measures needed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece. In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannons in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.

German police detained 250 neo-Nazis who attempted to attack them in downtown Berlin, while they braced for further clashes after sundown.

Nadine Pusch, a spokeswoman for Berlin police, said 7,000 officers were scattered throughout the city in an effort to ensure peaceful demonstrations.

Overnight in Hamburg, 17 officers were injured in clashes on the eve of May 1 and at least nine demonstrators were detained, the German news agency ddp reported Saturday.

The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities claimed the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights.

Thousands joined peaceful May Day marches in Stockholm, where opposition leader Mona Sahlin blamed the centre-right government for failing to stem rising unemployment and eroding the nation’s cherished welfare system. Sahlin is hoping to become Sweden’s first female prime minister after national elections in September.

Several thousand demonstrators in Paris also took to the streets amid concerns about conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to overhaul the pension system.

In Manila, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced she had ordered the labour secretary to speed up negotiations between unions and employers on a 75-peso ($1.67) increase in daily minimum wage.

In Indonesia’s capital, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!”. Rally organiser Bayu Ajie said a free trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to create safer working conditions and improve job prospects if the workers maintained political and economic stability.

Thousands of Communist demonstrators, carrying red balloons, red Soviet flags and portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, called for the Russian government’s resignation over rising prices and unemployment in Moscow. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov led hundreds of opposition activists in a separate rally. They also called for the ouster of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of stamping out democracy. A few thousands also rallied in Ukraine’s capital.

In Seoul, South Korea, Tokyo and Taiwan, thousands marched for better working conditions and permanent jobs. Jeong Ho-hee, spokesman of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union, vowed to fight against long working hours and high death rate related to industrial accidents.

In the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, several hundred workers protested a proposed 4 per cent goods and services tax while about 1,000 protesters, including janitors, construction workers and bus drivers, demanded the government in Hong Kong to introduce a minimum wage of 33 Hong Kong dollars ($4.30).

This freewheeling capitalist Chinese enclave is one of the world’s wealthiest cities, but critics say its wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few.

“A lunch box at a fast-food restaurant costs about HK$30 ($4). It’s an insult if you can’t afford a lunch box after working for an hour,” pro-democracy legislator Leung Yiu-chung said on the sidelines of Saturday’s protests.  Source

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Supporting Palestinians in building their state is the only role Jordan plays

AMMAN – Long before the election of US President Barack Obama, Jordan has been working towards settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution.

Obama’s election was received with a sense of hope, emanating from the fact that the new US president recognised the necessity of resolving this conflict as the main prerequisite for achieving lasting peace in the region. His Majesty King Abdullah moved fast to ensure that this hope was translated into actual steps that could move peace efforts forward.

Four months after Obama assumed office, King Abdullah travelled to Washington conveying a collective Arab position that the whole Arab world is committed to regional peace on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative, which offers full normal ties with Israel within the framework of a comprehensive solution in return for Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since 1967.

However, hope in President Obama’s declared commitment to the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution is fading as Israeli intransigence has frustrated progress.

“The window of opportunity is narrowing,” said one analyst. “That is why Jordan is working harder than before to ensure the resumption of serious and effective negotiations that can deliver the two-state solution within a defined time frame.”

In this effort, Jordan has left no stone unturned, coordinating with the Palestinians and all Arab countries and working with major international players to ensure that the current opportunity for peace is not lost, an official source said.

These contacts included discussions with the Israeli government.

In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year, King Abdullah delivered a clear message: The two-state solution is the only path to ending the conflict. There will be no peace in the region unless the Palestinians’ rights are realised. Israel has to choose between integrating into the region or remaining fortress Israel. It will not enjoy real peace and security unless the Palestinians also enjoy their right to security in their sovereign independent state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The same message was delivered in other Jordanian-Israeli discussions. Jordanian officials met with the Israeli national security adviser, Uzi Arad, late last year to push for a resumption of serious Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that can lead to tangible progress towards the two-state solution. An official source told The Jordan Times that in these two meetings, Jordan reiterated its declared positions that provisional solutions are unacceptable and that negotiations should tackle all final status issues with a view to delivering the two-state solution within a defined time frame. They also warned Israel against the consequences of continuing its unilateral actions in Jerusalem, which, King Abdullah warned in an interview with an Israeli newspaper, threaten to destabilise Jordanian-Israeli relations.

The official rejected as totally baseless Israeli press reports that Arad raised the issue of Jordan playing a security role in the West Bank. “Israel knows our position too well to even raise the subject.”

The only role Jordan will play, and has been playing, is to help the Palestinians realise their right to statehood on their national soil, the official said. Jordan will not even accept discussion of any other role. “That is an unwavering position that has been stated over and again,” he said.

According to the official, Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is the cause of conflict. This occupation must end if the region is to achieve the peace it has long been denied. He pointed out that King Abdullah has repeatedly said that there will be no peace in the region unless the Palestinians’ right to freedom and statehood is realised. Hence, Jordan’s insistence on the immediate resumption of negotiations to reach the two-state solution on the basis of the previously agreed upon terms of reference.

That is what Jordan has been working for, and that is the message that Israel will continue to receive from Jordan, he said. “Baseless reports about discussions that never took place about Israeli offers for Jordan to play a security role in the West Bank are a vain attempt to divert attention from the fact that its intransigence is the reason why the region is still prisoner to conflict.” Source

Israel’s assassination policy

From January 19, 2010

The comments and story below say a lot about those who worship Israel.

If I said these things about a Jewish group I would be called anti Semitic.

If you ever wondered where Anti Semitics come from here is a good place to start.

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Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 9:37 pm  Comments Off on Supporting Palestinians in building their state is the only role Jordan plays  
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Jordan awaiting official response from Canadian government over Dead Sea Scrolls

By Khetam Malkawi

January 5 2010

AMMAN – Jordan has not received an official response from Canada regarding a request to seize the Dead Sea Scrolls that were displayed at a museum in Toronto until Sunday, a senior official said.

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Maha Khatib was responding to news published in some news websites that the Canadian government has announced it will not act upon Amman’s request to seize the two-millennia-old scrolls. The Kingdom will not respond until receiving an official response, the official said.

According to Khatib, the government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has requested Canada to take custody of the scrolls, citing the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to which both Jordan and Canada are signatories.

The Hague Convention, which is concerned with safeguarding cultural property during wartime, requires each signatory “to take into its custody cultural property imported into its territory either directly or indirectly from any occupied territory. This shall either be effected automatically upon the importation of the property or, failing this, at the request of the authorities of that territory”.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) on Monday reported that “the Canadian government says it will not act upon a request by the Jordanian government that it seize the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls, now on their last day of display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto”.

It added that “the 100,000 fragments of ancient religious parchment and papyrus manuscripts have been a source of conflict between Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians – who all claim ownership”.

Canadian diplomats in Amman could not be reached for comment.

But the Globe and Mail quoted the Canadian ministry of foreign affairs as saying that “the disputed ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a matter for Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians to resolve amongst themselves, and that it would not be proper for Canada to intervene”.

Khatib told The Jordan Times that Israel took the scrolls from a museum in Jerusalem, during the 1967 war, which resulted in the occupation of the holy city and the rest of the West Bank, which was part of the Kingdom then.

The minister, who stressed that the government has documents proving that the scrolls belong to Jordan, said “claiming these scrolls belong to Israel is illegitimate, as is the occupation of Jerusalem, as far as Jordan is concerned”.

“We have documents to prove that we bought these scrolls from bedouins living in the area northwest of the Dead Sea who discovered them,” Khatib explained.

International law expert Ibrahim Jazy told The Jordan Times that Jordan, Canada and Israel are signatory to the Hague Convention and should abide by its obligations as state parties.

But he noted that there are no sanctions imposed on “state parties” that violate the provisions of the convention.

“The articles related to sanctions and penalties only allow state parties to prosecute individuals, rather than states, that breach the convention,” explained Jazy, who is a professor of international law at the University of Jordan.

However, according to Jazy, Jordan can alert UNESCO, as the UN body responsible for the implementation of this convention, but only after it can legally prove its ownership of the scrolls.

The Palestinian Authority has also requested custody of the scrolls. Palestinian officials could not be reached for a comment, but Media Line, a US-based news agency, quoted Director of the Palestinian Antiquities and Cultural Heritage Department Hamdan Taha as saying that the ancient documents “are an integral part of the Palestinian heritage”.

He added the Palestinians had demanded months ago that the Canadians close the exhibition and seize the artifacts until an international court could rule on their ownership. Jazy said the court with jurisdiction over the case is the International Court of Justice, acknowledging, however, that the case would be complicated.

According to Ontario museum’s website, the Dead Sea Scrolls are widely considered among the greatest archaeological finds of the past century. They include the earliest written sources for the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament), as well as other less well known writings.

Source

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Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 7:03 am  Comments Off on Jordan awaiting official response from Canadian government over Dead Sea Scrolls  
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Israels New visa requirement hinders travel in West Bank

September  27 2009

An engineer who designed a high-tech geo-thermal building in the West Bank says new visa rules are making it hard to travel in the area with his Canadian passport.

“I was denied three times in seven months, I was given one-week visas, one-month visas, Palestinian-Authority-Region-only visas,” says Khaled Al Sabawi.

The new “Palestinian Authority only” visa means he cannot pass through Israel to get in or out of the West Bank.

“That’s the same as someone coming into Canada and getting a ‘Saskatoon-only visa,'” says Al Sabwi.

Travellers who arrive at the Ben Gurion airport are now being told to take a long detour into the West Bank from Jordan.

The Al-Sabwi family, originally from London, Ont., have worked in the West Bank for more than 15 years. They say it has always been a hassle getting through, but the new rules have made it especially difficult in the last year, making it extra hard to do business in the area.

The U.S. government says the visa practices are unfair to Americans with Palestinian or Arab backgrounds. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has posted a travel advisory about the restrictions, but has otherwise been silent over it.

One Canadian church worker says the rules make it so difficult to move around, it might deter tourists from coming to the country.

“It’s very arbitrary,” says Kathy Bergen, of the Society of Friends.

“It’s at the whim of the immigration officer. If I were living abroad, and knew about this, I would think twice about coming.”

It would be an especially big blow to cities like Bethlehem that thrive on tourism.

The Israeli government declined to speak to CTV News about the subject.

Source

Simply don’t go to Israel. Let their tourism bottom out?

You couldn’t pay me enough to go there. Even if you offered me a million happy dollars, I would not step foot in  Israel.

That would be the last place on the earth, I would ever want to go to. Especially knowing everything I know.

For those wanting to go to Gaza or the West Bank however this is just disgusting. Just one more Way Israel has found to make peoples lives miserable and to isolate the West Bank and Gaza. What some don’t know about traveling there is you can also be strip searched by officials.

Letting AP in on the Secret: Israeli Strip Searches are Torture

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Letting AP in on the Secret: Israeli Strip Searches are Torture

European Diplomats thought they had a problem at the border? They only got a couple of warning shots. They should have had to go through this like others had too. Then they would really  have something to whine about.

Seems they got off rather easy.

They should take a look at what was done to this young photojournalist. and others. Things that never made it to the mainstream media.

Letting AP in on the Secret:
Israeli Strip Searches

By Alison Weir

July 29, 2008

On June 26th a young Palestinian photojournalist named Mohammed Omer was returning home from a triumphant European tour.

In London he had been awarded the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for journalism – the youngest recipient ever and one of the few non-Britons ever to receive the prestigious prize.

In Greece he had been given the 2008 journalism award for courage by the Union of Greek Journalists and had been invited to speak before the Greek parliament.

In Britain, the Netherlands, Greece, and Sweden he had met with Parliament Members and been interviewed on major radio and TV stations.

In the US several years before, he had been named the first recipient of the New America Media’s Best Youth Voice award.

In an Israeli border facility he was violently strip-searched at gunpoint, forced to do a grotesque sort of dance while completely naked, assaulted, taunted about his awards and his ethnicity, and finally, when Israeli officials feared he might have been fatally injured, taken by ambulance to a Palestinian hospital; if he died, it would not be while in Israeli custody.

As readers may have already guessed, Israel was not part of Omer’s speaking tour.

AP, in its over 60 reports from the region in the following week never mentioned any of this.

The reason Omer was even in ‘Israel’ (actually, an “immigration terminal” controlled by Israel on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank) is a simple one: He was simply trying to go from Jordan to his home in the Gaza Strip. Gaza is basically a large concentration camp to which Israel holds the keys. It is extremely difficult for Palestinians to get out. It is just as difficult to get back in.

Despite Omer’s journalism credentials (Gaza correspondent for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and IPS, stringer for AFP, occasionally appears on BBC, etc.) and despite being invited to receive an international award, Omer was only able to exit Gaza through the considerable efforts of Dutch diplomats.

When the 24-year-old journalist tried to return to Gaza, it again required intercession by the Dutch Embassy. After being forced by Israel to wait in Jordan for five days (and therefore missing his brother’s wedding), Omer finally received word that he would be allowed to go home.

However, when he arrived at the Israeli immigration terminal, an Israel official told him that there was no entry permit for him in the computer and he was told to wait. Three hours later an official came out and took Omer’s cell phone away from him. While Omer’s Dutch Embassy escort waited outside, unaware of what was going on, Omer’s ordeal began.

“He then asked me to leave my belongings and follow him. I recognized we were entering the Shin Bet [Israeli internal security service] offices at Allenby. Upon entering, he motioned for me to sit in a chair within a closed corridor…

“After what seemed to be one hour and thirty minutes, both doors at the end of the corridor opened. I watched as one of the Palestinian passengers exited securing his belt to his trousers. A second man followed behind and was struggling to put on his T-shirt. Immediately I realized I was not in a good place. The rooms from which they exited must be used for strip searching…

A uniformed intelligence officer and two others began rifling through all of Omer’s possessions.

“They were looking for something specific but I wouldn’t know what until green eyes demanded, ‘Where is the money, Mohammed?’

“What money I thought. Of course I had money on me. I was traveling… For a moment I was relieved, thinking this was just a typical shakedown. I’d lose the cash with me, but that would be about it…

“However, my traveling money failed to suffice. Dissatisfied, he pressed, ‘Where is the money from the prize?’

“I realized he was after the award stipend for the Martha Gellhorn Prize from the UK and I told him I did not have it with me. I’d arranged for a bank transfer rather than carry it with me. Visibly irritated the intelligence agent continued to press for money.

“The room filled with more intelligence officers, bringing the total Israeli personnel, most well armed, in the room to eight: eight Israelis and me…

“Dissatisfied that larger sums of money failed to materialize, green eyes accused me of lying. I again repeated the prize money went to bank draft and I already had shown him all the cash I had on me. Avi interjected, ordering me to empty my pockets, which I already had. Seeing they had tapped out, he escorted me into another room, this one empty.

“’OK take off your clothes’ Avi the intelligence officer ordered.

“I asked why. A simple pat-down would have disclosed any money belts or weapons; besides, I had already gone through an x-ray machine before entering the passport holding area.

“He repeated the order.

“Removing all but my underwear, I stood before Avi. In an increasingly belligerent tone he ordered, ‘take off everything’.

“’I am not taking off my underwear,’ I stated. Again he ordered me to remove my underwear.

“At this point I informed him that an escort from the Dutch embassy was currently waiting for me on the other side of the interrogation center and that I was under diplomatic transit.

“He replied he knew that, thus indicating he didn’t care, and again insisted I strip. Again I refused. There was no reason for me to do so.

Omer asked:  ‘Why are you treating me this way? I am human being.’

“For a moment I flashed on the scene in the Oscar winning film, The Pianist where the Jewish man, being humiliated by a Nazi quoted Shakespeare, invoking his faith in place of written words, ‘Doth a Jew not have eyes?’ the old man queried, attempting to appeal to the humanity buried somewhere in the soul of his oppressor. Finding myself confronting the same racism and disdain I wanted to ask Avi, ‘Doth a Palestinian not have eyes?’

Would his indoctrination inoculate him from empathy as well? Likely, I reasoned, it would.

“Avi smirked, half chuckling as he informed me, ‘This is nothing compared to what you will see now.’

“With that the intelligence officer unholstered his weapon, pressing it to my head and with his full body weight pinning me on my side, he forcibly removed my underwear. Completely naked, I stood before him as he proceeded to feel me up one side and down the other…

“Avi then proceeded to demand I do a concocted sort of dance, ordering me to move to the right and the side. When I refused, he forced me under his own power to move side to side…”

After awhile Omer was allowed to put his clothes back on, but the interrogation continued. His eight, mostly armed interrogators taunted him over his awards, his appearance on BBC, and the misery he was returning to in what they termed “dirty” Gaza. Finally, after hours in Israeli custody and a total of 12 hours without food or water, Omer collapsed.

“….without warning I began to vomit all over the room. At the same time I felt my legs buckled from the strain of standing and I passed out… I awoke on the floor to someone screaming, repeating my name over and over…

“As he screamed in my ears I felt his fingernails puncturing my skin, gouging, scraping and clawing at the tender flesh beneath my eyes. This was the intelligence officer’s method for gauging my level of consciousness. No smelling salts as is the civilized manner for reviving a person. Clawing at my eyes and tearing the skin on my face proved his manner of rendering aid.

“Realizing I was again conscious, though barely, the Israeli broadened his assault, scooping my head and digging his nails in near the auditory nerves between my head and ear drum. Rather then render first aid, which is the protocol and international law in instances whether prisoners of war or civilians, the soldier broadened his assault. The pain became sharper as he dug his nails, two fingers at a time into my neck, grazing my carotid artery and again challenging my consciousness before pummeling my chest with his full weight and strength.

“I estimate I lay on the floor approximately one hour and twenty minutes and I continued to vomit for what seemed like a half hour. Severely dehydrated, focusing took flight and the room became a menagerie of pain, sound and terror. The stench further exasperated and seemed to inflame my captors further…

“All around me I heard Israeli voices and then one placed his combat boot on my neck pressing into the hard floor. I remember choking, feeling the outline of his shoe and in my increasing delirium thought for a moment perhaps someone was rendering aid. Reality destroyed that hope. Around me, like men watching a sporting match I heard laughing and goading, a gang rape of verbal and physical violence meted by men entrenched in hatred and rage… I again lost consciousness and awoke to find myself being dragged by my feet on my back through my vomit on the floor, my head bouncing on the pavement and body sweeping to-and-fro like a mop…

Eventually, Omer was transferred to a Palestinian hospital, but only after Israeli officials tried to force him to sign a paper absolving them from responsibility.

“In other words, if I died or was permanently disabled as a result of Israel’s actions, Israel could not be held accountable. One would think I was in a third world dictatorship rather than the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’. One would think.”

Where is AP?

One would also think that such treatment of a journalist by America’s “special ally” would be news.

Since journalists tend to be particularly concerned when fellow journalists are victimized, it would be expected that Omer’s abuse would receive considerable press attention – especially since he had just received international recognition from the journalism community. One can only imagine the multitude of headlines that would result if an Israeli journalist, perhaps even one who had not just been feted internationally, had been similarly treated by the Palestinian Authority.

Oddly, however, despite the fact that Reuters, BBC, the UK Guardian, Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, and others issued news reports, the Associated Press, which serves virtually every daily newspaper in the U.S., sent out nothing on it.

Astounded, I finally phoned AP headquarters in New York to find out how they had missed it.

I asked for the international desk, told them I had a news tip, and briefly described the incident. I was told, “Oh yes, we know about it.”

I asked them when they were going to report it and was told: “The Jerusalem bureau is looking into it.” The Jerusalem bureau is located in Israel; many of its editors and their wives/husbands/children have Israeli citizenship. It is not the most unbiased of bureaus. Yet, it is the control bureau for the region – the filter through which virtually all AP reports, photos, video footage from Palestine and Israel must pass.

A day or two later there was still no story. I phoned the international desk in New York again and was told that the Jerusalem bureau had decided not to cover the incident. There was no explanation.

I tried phoning higher-ups, including CEO Tom Curley, who goes about the country lecturing about the “public’s right to know” and Kathleen Carroll, Executive Editor, to learn on what basis AP had determined this incident was not newsworthy. Neither returned my call. I kept trying, hoping to find somewhere in the AP hierarchy at least a semblance of a journalist committed to AP’s alleged mission of reporting the news “accurately and honestly.”

Finally, I found one. I reached the managing editor in charge of international reporting, and asked him why AP was refusing to cover the case of a prize-winning journalist being strip-searched at gunpoint and physically abused by Israeli officials when he returned to Gaza from receiving the Martha Gellhorn award in London.

The editor admitted that he hadn’t heard of the incident and was interested in the details. I told him what I knew, referred him to the UK Guardian article and others, and he said he’d look into it.

As a result, two weeks after Omer’s ordeal, and after Israel had solidified its denial narrative, AP finally sent out a report.

The belated story, datelined Jerusalem and carrying a byline by Karin Laub, left a great deal to be desired.

It depicted the incident as a “he said/she said” dispute, in which it termed Omer’s statements as “claims,” while never using this verb for Israeli statements. In every case Israeli statements are placed in the rebuttal position.

The lengthy article places Omer’s strongest descriptions in the second half of the story, where they would typically be cut by the averaged-sized print newspaper, and leaves out a great deal of important information.

For example, while AP reports that Omer was discharged from one hospital, it neglects to report that Omer was admitted to a second one where he was hospitalized for four or five days. It does not name the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, neglects any mention of other awards, and omits entirely Omer’s meetings with Parliament Members in multiple countries. It fails to report the statement by the former ambassador from The Netherlands:

“This is by no means an isolated incident, but part of a long-term strategy to demolish Palestinian social, economic and cultural life … I am aware of the possibility that Mohammed Omer might be murdered by Israeli snipers or bomb attack in the near future.”

The international organization Reporters Without Borders reported issued a condemnation of the attack, stating that in the ten days preceding Omer’s incident alone, it had recorded five incidents of “wrongful arrest” of journalists by Israel, and that one journalist was still being held. None of this was in Laub’s article.

All of the missing material, of course, would serve to add credibility to Omer’s statements. Perhaps this pattern of omission was a coincidence.

Early in the story, while admitting that Palestinians complain about “rough” treatment at the border (a considerable understatement), Laub seems to go out of her way to discredit Omer’s description of being forcibly strip-searched, by writing: “However, Omer’s allegation of being forced to strip naked appeared unusual.”

The Strip-Searching “Secret”

This is a bizarre statement.

As Dion Nissenbaum, Jerusalem bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers,  wrote last year, “While Israeli security won’t admit it, it is a widely accepted secret that Palestinians and Arabs…are routinely subjected to intense, hours-long questioning that can include strip searches.”

Is it possible that AP is not in on this secret?

The reality is that frequent, random humiliation by Israeli soldiers and officials is part of the Palestinian experience. Numerous degrading strip searches – some of them particularly grotesque – have been forced on Palestinian men, women, and children of all ages for decades.

In addition, Israeli officials periodically strip search others whenever, it appears, they wish, including:
The British Consul General  (Israeli media reported that her search was “prolonged, needless and humiliating” and that she was “visibly upset)

An American holocaust survivor (she was treated to a “cavity search”)

Sixteen Christian evangelicals rounded up at gunpoint;

Journalists from around the world (an Argentinian journalist wrote: “… they made me go to another office and strip naked. An official came in stands next to me, while I’m naked, with a machine gun in his hand…” A Swiss reporter was forced to remove her pants in public and stand in her underwear, hands raised, in front of an x-ray machine);

A wheel-chair bound New Jersey woman with cerebral palsy whose sanitary pad was confiscated, humiliating her publicly;

An American doctoral student, who was also subjected to a cavity search…  and the list goes on and on.

Yet, somehow, AP missed all of these. In fact, amazingly, a LexisNexis search of Associated Press stories over the past 10 years, using the search terms “Israel” and “strip search,” turns up only one result – a few stories on a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners protesting against, among other things, their daily strip searches by Israeli guards.

Since we think it’s unfair for AP to be excluded from what others in the region know, we compiled a very partial list of reports about Israeli strip-searches, with excerpts from each, and emailed AP the 25-page document. We asked for a correction and received the following response: “This acknowledges receipt of your e-mail. We have no further comment at this time.” Our request for an interview was “respectfully declined.”

Following are just a few of the stories on this topic that AP never reported to the thousands of newspapers, radio and television stations that rely on it for their foreign news.  The entire document is available on the If Americans Knew website.

* In 2007 the Palestinian Minister of Women’s Affairs issued a statement protesting the policy of Israeli soldiers taking Palestinian women “to separate rooms in the checkpoint and being forced to remove all clothes, to become fully naked.” The minister demanded that the UN and the international community provide security for Palestinian women.

* Even the New York Times (which justified it) reported about the Allenby border in 1987: “Before any visitor gets in, however, he must go through a stringent security check at the Israeli terminal. Besides being examined by metal detectors, each visitor must undergo a private strip search…”

* A University of Utah law student describes a PhD student conducting research in the region who was detained at the border crossing for six hours, “Then a female guard conducted a strip/cavity search while two male guards observed.”

* A British researcher reports: “While men have also reported forms of sexual torture in jail, women prisoners are particularly vulnerable to this as a form of humiliation by their captors. Women are forced to strip naked in front of guards, many of whom are male, and subjected to brutal body searches. Many women prisoners have detailed sexual assault by Israeli military and prison staff. On some occasions women are detained as a way of threatening or putting pressure on a male member of the family.

* A woman trying to reach a hospital reports: “…the labour pains grew stronger. I saw a lot of soldiers in front of me. I called out at them using the word “baby” which I think some understood. They started to talk to me in Hebrew as they pointed the guns towards me. They used signs and gestures. I understood that they wanted me to show them how pregnant I was which I did. One soldier asked me to take off my robe, which I did. But it was not sufficient and he asked me to remove the T-shirt and the trousers. I had no choice and I was ready to go as far as that in order to get to the hospital before it was late. He asked me to take off my underwear which I did. After this humiliation, they fetched a stretcher from one of the tanks. I was naked. I was carried to a tank and was given intravenous glucose into my arm. A few minutes later, they brought my father-in-law inside the tank. They drove for almost half an hour. I was thinking they were taking me to a nearby hospital but it turns out they were taking us back to the Huwwara checkpoint. We were taken out of the tank and were laid nude on the stretchers for almost one hour…”

* Reuters reported: “Three Israeli soldiers forced a Palestinian man to strip naked at gunpoint and walk like a dog in a West Bank city under curfew…A Reuters photographer snapped Yasser Sharaf, 25, standing naked in a cold, muddy street in Nablus on Sunday as two men were handing him clothes to put on and two Israeli armoured vehicles were pulling away from the scene.”

* Reporters who entered Nablus after the Israeli invasion of 2002 quoted from an interview with one of the inhabitants: “The men were then driven to a nearby yard, ordered to strip naked, and made to lie face down in the dirt. While my neighbor Jamal Sabar was taking off his pants, they shot him dead…”

*  “A soldier inside the jeep ordered me to raise my hands and get out of the car and said, ‘take off your shirt.’ I did; then he said, ‘and the pants.’ I did; then he said, ‘the undershirt and underwear.’ I begged him not to force me; and he said, ‘I’ll shoot you.’ And all the soldiers pointed their guns at me. I took off my underclothes and stood naked in front of everybody. He ordered, ‘proceed with your hands up.’ I came up to him and he gave me a transparent plastic bag to cover myself. He blindfolded me and made me sit 20 meters away. Then the soldier shouted at a passenger called Islam ‘Abed al-Sheikh Ibrahim, 18, who was sitting in the front seat, and ordered him to get out of the car. He told the soldier that his leg was broken, but the soldier insisted. He Islam got out and stood on his crutches. The soldier ordered him to take off his clothes. He tried by failed. The soldier came to me and removed the binding off my eyes and told me at gunpoint to go and help him take off his clothes. I went and helped the passenger take off all his clothes. The soldier told me to help him walk to the soldier. We walked up and he gave me another nylon bag for Islam. Then, he told us to sit on the ground. Soon after, the soldier ordered another passenger, Yasser Rasheed al-Sheikh Ibrahim,60, to get out of the car and take off his clothes like us…”

* The Guardian described an incident in which a commander was “awaiting a court martial on several charges, including ordering the boy to strip naked, holding a burning paper under his testicles, threatening to ram a bottle into his anus and threatening to shoot him…”

* “We were mostly older people, sick and wounded. We had nine handicapped people with us, three were from the same family, sons of Abu Ibrahim. Some of us were too old, they were senile. When they told them ‘go left’ they would go right, but they stripped them naked anyway. I tried to help them as much as I could. I was the only one who spoke Hebrew…Close to us was a group of young men. They were handcuffed, naked and lying on their stomachs. The Israeli tanks would pass by them so fast, only forty centimeters away from their heads.”

*  “Other residents described how young men were stripped naked and then shot. Yusuf Shalabi, a young man from the camp explained how the Israeli soldiers denied medical treatment to the wounded, ‘…I remember this nightmare very well. It is very difficult to talk about it. I remember them stripping the people naked, they would handcuff them and blindfold them. I remember seeing two wounded men, one was wounded in the shoulder and the other in the leg. They were screaming in pain and the soldiers would not allow them to be treated.’”

Incredibly, AP seems to have missed all of these, and more. As a result, Americans have little idea of the life is like for Paleestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Moreover, strip searches are just the tip of the iceberg. According to an Israeli government report released in 2000 (five years after it had been written) Shin Bet “used systematic torture against Palestinians and regularly lied about it.” An Israeli human rights organization estimated that 85 percent of Palestinian detainees had been subjected to torture.  In 2002 Foreign Service Journal carried a major expose on Israel torturing American citizens.  AP missed this Foreign Service Journal expose – as did, therefore, every newspaper in the country.

AP’s Ownership

AP is a cooperative. That means that every single newspaper, radio station, and television station that uses AP news stories is an owner of AP. This includes Democracy Now, which apart from a report on Mohammed Omer also seems to have covered this subject minimally, if at all.

It is time for all these news media, and for their readers, listeners, and viewers, to demand that AP provide the full story.

Americans have long given Israel, the size of New Jersey, far more of our tax money than to any other nation on earth. It is time to end the cover up. Americans need to know how Israel is using our money.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew (which found in a statistical study that in 2004 AP had covered Israeli children’s deaths at rates 7 times greater than they had reported Palestinian deaths). The full document listing Israeli strip searches can be viewed at http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/strip-searches.htmlDVDs containing a short video about Israeli strip searching of women and children are available for readers wishing to educate their local media and community on the information that AP is choosing not to report. The Washington Report has created a petition on the incident for people to sign.
Omer’s complete statement can be read at:

“British consul strip searched at Israeli PM’s office,” Rory, The Guardian, March 28, 2007

“Humiliation and Child Abuse at Israeli Checkpoints: Strip-Searching Children,” Alison Weir, CounterPunch, March 15, 2007; Video interview: The Easiest Targets: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/easiesttargets.html

“Israelis arrest 16 from US in roundup of Christians,” Charles M. Sennott, The Boston Globe, October 26, 1999, Pg. A2

http://peoplesgeography.com/

http://www.fpa.org.il/?categoryId=422

“Humiliation and Child Abuse at Israeli Checkpoints: Strip-Searching Children,” Alison Weir, CounterPunch, March 15, 2007; Video interview: The Easiest Targets: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/easiesttargets.html

http://www.law.utah.edu/blogs/show-entry.asp?EntryID=252

http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=23480

“ALLENBY BRIDGE JOURNAL; A 15-Yard Span Over a Great Divide,” Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, July 18, 1987

http://www.law.utah.edu/blogs/show-entry.asp?EntryID=252

“Israel’s Palestinian Prisoners: The Forgotten Facts,” Isabelle Humphries, Researcher – Nazareth http://www.islamonline.net/

“Israel’s Implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), May, 2005, Al-Haq: Law in the Service of Man, the Palestinian Centre for Human rights (PCHR), and the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)
http://www.pchrgaza.org/special/OPT%20CEDAW%20Main%20Review.pdf

“Israelis Make Palestinian Strip Naked,” Reuters, Nov. 25, 2002

“Jenin: Lying Down On Broken Glass, Crushing Bones,” April 16, 2002 (IslamOnline & News Agencies) http://www.islamonline.net/english/News/2002-04/16/article40.shtml

“Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian    Territory,” 01 – 07 September 2005, http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/2005/08-09-2005.htm

“Commander charged with torturing Palestinian boy,” Chris McGreal, The Guardian, October 22, 2002

“Stripping Palestinians has Become Common Practice: Eyewitness Accounts,” Suzanne Russ, Palestine Chronicle, November 26, 2002, http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/strippingcommon.html

“Stripping Palestinians has Become Common Practice: Eyewitness Accounts,” By Suzanne Russ, Palestine Chronicle, November 26, 2002, http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/strippingcommon.html

“Report: Palestinian suspects mistreated by Israeli captors,” Joel Greenberg, Chicago Tribune, May 6, 2007

“Arab-Americans in Israel: What ‘Special Relationship’?” Jerri Bird, Foreign Service Journal, June, 2002

Source

In case you don’t get it Mohammed Omer was “tortured” just trying to go home.

Also see:

Israeli Strip Searches: A Partial List

Why Americans get a distorted View of the Conflict between Israel and Palestinians

Gaza detainee treatment ‘inhuman’

Israeli troops fire warning shots at European Diplomats

Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Embargo against Israel: Spreading Willingness in the Middle East

Qatar to cut relations with Israel?
January 12 2009

Qatar’s premier says Doha will cut trade ties with Israel if other Arab states are united.

Doha has proclaimed that it would be willing to sever its trade relations with Israel if the Arab world meets certain conditions.

“If Arab countries decide collectively to sever relations [with Israel], we will join the Arabs,” Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani said in a televised interview with Al-Jazeera.

The Qatari prime minister added that Israeli operations in Gaza have created a humanitarian crisis that can only be alleviated by such collective action.

“They only want Qatar to make a sacrifice [while] they continue to deal with the Jewish state,” he added.

Even if it severs relations with Israel, Doha says it will not close down Israel’s trade office, which has been run by two Israeli diplomats since 1996.

Qatar has lobbied for an extraordinary Arab summit to discuss “measures to address the continued Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip”, but its efforts have been inconclusive.

Over 900 Palestinians — the native population of the land — have been killed and more than 4000 wounded in Israeli military operations in Gaza since December 27. The UN has only managed to adopt a nonbinding resolution to condemn the crimes.

The recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the latest of a series which began when world powers created Israel in 1948 under the Zionist slogan of a ‘land without a people and a people without a land’.

The establishment of Israel in the Middle East was carried out in compensation for the hardships and suffering imposed on the Jews of Europe due to anti-Semitism in the continent.

Zionists benefited by gaining power over the native land of the Palestinians, but the establishment and the subsequent terror attacks against the Palestinian population gave rise to the philosophy of resistance and in recent years armed retaliation.

According to Tel Aviv, the war on Gaza is aimed at ending rocket attacks against Israeli settlers, toppling Hamas and preventing the resistance group from rearming.

Hamas, on the other hand, demands a cessation of Israeli attacks and the opening of the Gaza border — which has been closed due to the 18-month blockade imposed on the strip by Tel Aviv.

Source

Jordan OK with forcing end to Israeli ops

Israel has been targeting the Gaza Strip in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

January 12 2009

King Abdullah II says the world must force Israel to halt its operations in Gaza if Tel Aviv does not live up to current expectations.

“Israel should immediately abide by UN Security Council Resolution 1860 and should stop its aggression on the Gaza Strip,” the Jordanian monarch said on Sunday. Source

Iran to tighten screws on Israel funders

Tehran plans to punish firms that directly or indirectly aid or abet Israel.

January 12 2009

The Iranian government has sent a bill to parliament that would hold liable any firm that directly or indirectly aids or abets Israel.

The bill, finalized by the Ahmadinejad administration on Sunday, will impose sanctions on any foreign firms dealing with Israel or monetarily supporting Israeli interests.

The decision came after Israel launched a seventeen-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip that has so far killed 905 Palestinians — many of whom are women and children — and wounded 4080 others.  Source

Can’t say I blame them. Those lovely weapons Israel is using could used on them any time Israel comes up with some feeble excuse.

They will also reap the Toxic Chemicals, DU etc being dropped on Gaza. Of course they want it stopped who wants their populations reaping the a plague of Cancer, and numerous other illness cause from the pollution,  because of a warmongering lunatics.

UK firm blasted for arming Israeli military

US delivering more “Weapons of Mass Destruction” to Israel

79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

Israel continues to attack Hospitals, Clinics and Public Buildings in Gaza

Gaza War Why?: Natural Gas valued at over $4 billion MAYBE?

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault

New Reports of Saturday and Sundays Protests at the bottom of the page

Iranian protestors attend an anti-Israel rally, after Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. Iran is warning Israel not to launch a ground offensive into Gaza as protests against the Israeli bombings of the Hamas-run area continue. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Egyptian security face protestors , who attempted to take to the streets after Friday prayers in Cairo, Egypt, Friday Jan. 2, 2009. Riot police and security vehicles peppered the surrounding streets preventing many worshippers and journalists from getting to Al Azhar mosque. At least two were injured during a scuffle. (AP Photo)

Kenyan Muslim protesters in Nairobi, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, burn a representation of Israel’s national flag during a rally against Israeli military strikes on Gaza. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

Indian paramilitary soldiers and policemen beat Kashmiri Muslim protesters during a protest against the ongoing bombing raids in Gaza, in Srinagar, India, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

A Tanzanian Muslim demonstrator shout slogans, during a protest, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to protest against the Israeli military strikes in the Gaza strip. The Muslims said they will not rest until Israel stops striking to the Gaza strip. (AP Photo/Khalfan Said)

Palestinian woman protest against Israel’s military operation in Gaza, in the center of the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. About 3,000 Hamas supporters protested in Nablus against the Israeli offensive, singing songs and calling for an attack against Israelis in Jerusalem. Thousands demonstrated throughout the West Bank in solidarity with the people of Gaza.(AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

Nicaragua born human rights activist Bianca Jagger, right, reacts with singer Annie Lennox, left, before the start of the press conference in London to announce the mass demonstration in central London on Saturday to demonstrate against the ongoing Israeli military action against Gaza, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. British comedian Alexei Sayle is seen at centre. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

January 2 2008

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Thousands protested Friday against Israel’s air offensive targeting Hamas at demonstrations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and South America.

Similar protests have been held daily across the Middle East since Israel launched the bombing campaign last Saturday. But these gatherings held mostly after Friday prayers were larger — mainly because Friday prayers are a traditional gathering opportunity for Muslims — and seemed to be more far-reaching in the number of countries where protests occurred.

The Israeli offensive has killed more than 400 Palestinians and sparked outrage among the Arab public. Israel says its offensive is aimed at silencing Hamas rockets.

In Tehran, a crowd of about 6,000 stretching for a half-mile (kilometer) marched from prayers at Tehran University to Palestine Square, chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” and burning Israeli flags.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned Israel that entering Gaza “by land will be the biggest mistake of the Zionist regime.”

Iran is a major backer of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, giving it millions of dollars. The U.S. and Israel accuse Iran of giving weapons and rockets to Hamas, though Tehran denies arming Hamas.

In Egypt, authorities clamped down hard to prevent protests Friday. Hundreds of riot police surrounded Cairo’s main Al-Azhar Mosque, where a rally had been called, and scuffled with would-be protesters, keeping most from approaching.

Police also arrested 40 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood that called for protests.

More than 3,000 people marched in the northern Sinai city of el-Arish.

Many governments in the Arab world such as Egypt have been wary about protests at home over Israel’s Gaza assault lest the protests spiral out of control.

In Jordan, police fired volleys of tear gas and scuffled with protesters who tried to reach the Israeli Embassy in Amman. A few of the protesters threw stones at police, but the security forces dispersed the group, arresting several.

About 30,000 Jordanians gathered at a stadium in Amman shouting their support for Gaza and calling for the abolition of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty signed in 1994.

More than 10,000 Muslims marched through Indonesia’s capital Jakarta to protest the ongoing bombing raids in Gaza, aiming fake missiles labeled “Target: Tel Aviv, Israel” at the U.S. Embassy.

Protests were also held after Friday prayers in other cities in the world’s most populous Muslim country, in what was the largest turnout since Israel began the operation.

In the Afghan capital of Kabul, about 3,000 people gathered outside a prominent mosque, according to police estimates. Men in the crowd threw stones and shoes at an effigy of President George W. Bush.

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in the Philippines capital Manila, carrying placards saying Israel is a “butcher of children.”

In Turkey, Israel’s closest ally in the region, some 5,000 people denounced the Israeli raids outside a mosque in Istanbul, burning Israeli and U.S. flags and reciting funeral prayers for the victims.

In Syria, some 2,000 marched in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting “jihad will unite us.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad talked with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday and called on the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution forcing Israel to immediately halt its Gaza offensive, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

In Sudan, thousands marched in downtown Khartoum, urging Muslims to jihad and denouncing Israel and America.

Protests erupted as well in the Palestinian territories.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, thousands demonstrated in solidarity with Gazans, calling for Palestinian unity and accusing Arab leaders of silence over Israel’s bombardment.

Ex-Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox and other celebrities, including activist Bianca Jagger, comedian Alexei Sayle and former London mayor Ken Livingstone, held a news conference in London demanding Israel halt the onslaught.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil almost 200 people led by local Muslim leaders gathered outside the Sao Paulo Art Museum to protest the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Several demonstrators carried Palestinian flags, and banners reading “End the Genocide in Gaza.”

In Bern, Switzerland, hundreds of people marched, calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and demanding the international community impose sanctions against Israel.

Russian authorities detained about 37 people after a small protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Moscow demanding an end to attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of Muslims held a rally at the main mosque in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, hoisting banners that said “Palestinian Blood Is Human Blood” and shouting for Kenya to sever ties with Israel.

Meanwhile, Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the leader of al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, an offshoot of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, has issued a message urging Muslims to attack Jews everywhere, according to the SITE Intelligence, a group which monitors extremist Web sites.

Source

Just Added January 5 2009

Sunday Report: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Reports: US protests against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Reports: Protests around the World Against Gaza assault

Saturday Jan 4  Reports on protests

Saturday Reports:Canadian Protesters march in support of Palestinians

SaturdayJan 3 Reports: US protests against Israels attacks on Gaza

Saturday Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009 London Paris etc

December Reports

December 29 Reports:Global protests against Israel

***********************************************************

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 1:28 am  Comments Off on Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault  
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If Hamas Did Not Exist

‘This crisis has nothing to do with freedom, democracy, justice or peace.’

By Jennifer Loewenstein
December 31 2008

Let us get one thing perfectly straight. If the wholesale mutilation and degradation of the Gaza Strip is going to continue; if Israel’s will is at one with that of the United States; if the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and all the international legal agencies and organizations spread across the globe are going to continue to sit by like hollow mannequins doing nothing but making repeated “calls” for a “ceasefire” on “both sides”; if the cowardly, obsequious and supine Arab States are going to stand by watching their brethren get slaughtered by the hour while the world’s bullying Superpower eyes them threateningly from Washington lest they say something a little to their disliking; then let us at least tell the truth why this hell on earth is taking place.

The state terror unleashed from the skies and on the ground against the Gaza Strip as we speak has nothing to do with Hamas. It has nothing to do with “Terror”. It has nothing to do with the long-term “security” of the Jewish State or with Hizbullah or Syria or Iran except insofar as it is aggravating the conditions that have led up to this crisis today. It has nothing to do with some conjured up “war” – a cynical and overused euphemism that amounts to little more the wholesale enslavement of any nation that dares claim its sovereign rights; that dares assert that its resources are its own; that doesn’t want one of the Empire’s obscene military bases sitting on its cherished land.

This crisis has nothing to do with freedom, democracy, justice or peace. It is not about Mahmoud Zahhar or Khalid Mash’al or Ismail Haniyeh. It is not about Hassan Nasrallah or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These are all circumstantial players who have gained a role in the current tempest only now that the situation has been allowed for 61 years to develop into the catastrophe that it is today. The Islamist factor has colored and will continue to color the atmosphere of the crisis; it has enlisted the current leaders and mobilized wide sectors of the world’s population. The primary symbols today are Islamic – the mosques, the Qur’an, the references to the Prophet Muhammad and to Jihad. But these symbols could disappear and the impasse would continue.

There was a time when Fatah and the PFLP held the day; when few Palestinians wanted anything to do with Islamist policies and politics. Such politics have nothing to do with primitive rockets being fired over the border, or smuggling tunnels and black-market weapons; just as Arafat’s Fatah had little to do with stones and suicide bombings. The associations are coincidental; the creations of a given political environment. They are the result of something entirely different than what the lying politicians and their analysts are telling you. They have become part of the landscape of human events in the modern Middle East today; but incidentals wholly as lethal, or as recalcitrant, deadly, angry or incorrigible could just as soon have been in their places.

Strip away the clichés and the vacuous newspeak blaring out across the servile media and its pathetic corps of voluntary state servants in the Western world and what you will find is the naked desire for hegemony; for power over the weak and dominion over the world’s wealth. Worse yet you will find that the selfishness, the hatred and indifference, the racism and bigotry, the egotism and hedonism that we try so hard to cover up with our sophisticated jargon, our refined academic theories and models actually help to guide our basest and ugliest desires. The callousness with which we in indulge in them all are endemic to our very culture; thriving here like flies on a corpse.

Strip away the current symbols and language of the victims of our selfish and devastating whims and you will find the simple, impassioned and unaffected cries of the downtrodden; of the ‘wretched of the earth’ begging you to cease your cold aggression against their children and their homes; their families and their villages; begging you to leave them alone to have their fish and their bread, their oranges, their olives and their thyme; asking you first politely and then with increasing disbelief why you cannot let them live undisturbed on the land of their ancestors; unexploited, free of the fear of expulsion; of ravishment and devastation; free of permits and roadblocks and checkpoints and crossings; of monstrous concrete walls, guard towers, concrete bunkers, and barbed wire; of tanks and prisons and torture and death. Why is life without these policies and instruments of hell impossible?

The answer is because Israel has no intention of allowing a viable, sovereign Palestinian state on its borders. It had no intention of allowing it in 1948 when it grabbed 24% more land than what it was allotted legally, if unfairly, by UN Resolution 181. It had no intention of allowing it throughout the massacres and ploys of the 1950s. It had no intention of allowing two states when it conquered the remaining 22% of historic Palestine in 1967 and reinterpreted UN Security Council Resolution 248 to its own liking despite the overwhelming international consensus stating that Israel would receive full international recognition within secure and recognized borders if it withdrew from the lands it had only recently occupied.

It had no intention of acknowledging Palestinian national rights at the United Nations in 1974, when –alone with the United States—it voted against a two-state solution. It had no intention of allowing a comprehensive peace settlement when Egypt stood ready to deliver but received, and obediently accepted, a separate peace exclusive of the rights of Palestinians and the remaining peoples of the region. It had no intention of working toward a just two state solution in 1978 or 1982 when it invaded, fire-bombed, blasted and bulldozed Beirut so that it might annex the West Bank without hassle. It had no intention of granting a Palestinian state in 1987 when the first Intifada spread across occupied Palestine, into the Diaspora and the into the spirits of the global dispossessed, or when Israel deliberately aided the newly formed Hamas movement so that it might undermine the strength of the more secular-nationalist factions.

Israel had no intention of granting a Palestinian state at Madrid or at Oslo where the PLO was superseded by the quivering, quisling Palestinian Authority too many of whose cronies grasped at the wealth and prestige it gave them at the expense of their own kin. As Israel beamed into the world’s satellites and microphones its desire for peace and a two-state solution, it more than doubled the number of illegal Jewish settlements on the ground in the West Bank and around East Jerusalem, annexing them as it built and continues to build a superstructure of bypass roads and highways over the remaining, severed cities and villages of earthly Palestine. It has annexed the Jordan valley, the international border of Jordan, expelling any ‘locals’ inhabiting that land. It speaks with a viper’s tongue over the multiple amputee of Palestine whose head shall soon be severed from its body in the name of justice, peace and security.

Through the home demolitions, the assaults on civil society that attempted to cast Palestinian history and culture into a chasm of oblivion; through the unspeakable destruction of the refugee camp sieges and infrastructure bombardments of the second Intifada, through assassinations and summary executions, past the grandiose farce of disengagement and up to the nullification of free, fair and democratic Palestinian elections Israel has made its view known again and again in the strongest possible language, the language of military might, of threats, intimidation, harassment, defamation & degradation.

Israel, with the unconditional and approving support of the United States, has made it dramatically clear to the entire world over and over and over again, repeating in action after action that it will accept no viable Palestinian state next to its borders. What will it take for the rest of us to hear? What will it take to end the criminal silence of the ‘international community’? What will it take to see past the lies and indoctrination to what is taking place before us day after day in full view of the eyes of the world? The more horrific the actions on the ground, the more obscenely insistent are the words of peace. To listen and watch without hearing or seeing allows the indifference, the ignorance and complicity to continue and deepens with each grave our collective shame.

The destruction of Gaza has nothing to do with Hamas. Israel will accept no authority in the Palestinian territories that it does not ultimately control. Any individual, leader, faction or movement that fails to accede to Israel’s demands or that seeks genuine sovereignty and the equality of all nations in the region; any government or popular movement that demands the applicability of international humanitarian law and of the universal declaration of human rights for its own people will be unacceptable for the Jewish State. Those dreaming of one state must be forced to ask themselves what Israel would do to a population of 4 million Palestinians within its borders when it commits on a daily, if not hourly basis, crimes against their collective humanity while they live alongside its borders? What will suddenly make the raison d’etre, the self-proclaimed purpose of Israel’s reason for being change if the Palestinian territories are annexed to it outright?

The lifeblood of the Palestinian National Movement flows through the streets of Gaza today. Every drop that falls waters the soil of vengeance, bitterness and hatred not only in Palestine but across the Middle East and much of the world. We do have a choice over whether or not this should continue. Now is the time to make it.

-Jennifer Loewenstein is the Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Source

If Hamas did not exist, Israel would find another scapegoat to blame. This is of course what they have always done.

The Holocaust

By Dahlia Wasfi
December 31, 2008

Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic. But I’m not talking about World War II, Mahmoud Ahmedinijad, or Ashkenazi Jews.  What I’m referring to is the holocaust we are all witnessing and responsible for in Gaza today and in Palestine over the last 60 years.  By definition, a holocaust is a mass slaughter of people or a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life, especially through fire.  There isn’t a more accurate description of the hell that US-armed and –funded Israeli Occupation Forces are unleashing on the people of Gaza at this moment.  Since Arabs are Semites, US-Israeli policy doesn’t get more anti-Semitic than this.

If you think I’m being grandiose, let us look at the words of Matan Vilnai, Israel’s Deputy Defense [sic] Minister, from February of this year: “The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” In Hebrew, “shoah” refers to the Jewish Holocaust of the 1940’s.  But massive airstrikes are not self-defense if you are the aggressor.  That goes for the whole stupid so-called “War on Terror,” in which not a single one of its victims had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001.  That goes for the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan; that goes for Israel in Palestine.

And that goes for Germany in Poland.  In 1940, the Germans began massing Polish Jews into ghettoes prior to their deportation to extermination camps.  The largest one was the Warsaw Ghetto, where an uprising—a Jewish insurgency—began in 1943.

Today, Gaza is essentially a large ghetto, with a population of around 1.5 million living on about 139 square miles.  Israel controls Gaza’s land border, airspace, water, maritime access, and the flow of goods including food and medical supplies.

Since June 2007, Israel has imposed a blockade on the people of Gaza, slowly starving them to death, slowly killing them by denial of medical care amidst intermittent gunship airstrikes.

These crimes against humanity are, of course, in violation of the Geneva Conventions—international law established after World War II in the spirit of “never again.”  Unlike in Warsaw, Gaza is not the staging area for the extermination camps; Gaza IS the extermination camp.

Qassam rockets fired from Gaza as retaliation for Israeli F-16 airstrikes are the equivalent of the Molotov cocktails used by the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943.  Like the small arms of the Polish Jews, they are no match for the sophisticated weaponry of the invading army.  This is why the death toll is so high for the people on the ground in Gaza, and minimal for Israelis.

The mainstream media is depicting this as an “all-out war,” as it depicts the illegal occupation of Iraq.  But in both cases, you have a starving, essentially unarmed people being assaulted with F-15s/F-16s, cruise missiles, depleted uranium, cluster bombs, tanks, and artillery.  This is not war; this is mass murder; this is genocide.  And it is American military, financial, and political support that makes this bloodletting possible.

From North America to Germany to Cambodia to Rwanda to Palestine to Iraq, mass murder is wrong.  When Americans are looking for whom to blame, we cannot blame the victims.  Yes, there are many players involved and many governments turning a blind eye to genocide, but don’t we brag about how much better we are than that?  Shouldn’t we stop being complicit in these supreme crimes against humanity?  All we have to do is abide by our own laws, which include all signed international treaties and agreements.

We must end our illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and stop funding and providing armaments for the illegal occupation and stealth of Palestinian land.  In the words of Rachel Corrie, a 23 year old American college student who was murdered in Rafah by the Israeli Occupation Forces on March 16, 2003:

“…Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel.  Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world…So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.”

Let us heed her brave wisdom, and end illegal occupation.  If we fail to act, then the next time someone flies airplanes into American buildings, let us not ask ignorantly, “Why do they hate us?”

Source

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Sign Petition to Ban DU

What is DU?

  • Depleted Uranium is a waste product of the nuclear enrichment process.
  • After natural uranium has been ‘enriched’ to concentrate the isotope U235 for use in nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons, what remains is DU.
  • The process produces about 7 times more DU than enriched uranium.

Despite claims that DU is much less radioactive than natural uranium, it actually emits about 75% as much radioactivity. It is very dense and when it strikes armour it burns (it is ‘pyrophoric’). As a waste product, it is stockpiled by nuclear states, which then have an interest in finding uses for it.

DU is used as the ‘penetrator’ – a long dart at the core of the weapon – in armour piercing tank rounds and bullets. It is usually alloyed with another metal. When DU munitions strike a hard target the penetrator sheds around 20% of its mass, creating a fine dust of DU, burning at extremely high temperatures.

This dust can spread 400 metres from the site immediately after an impact. It can be resuspended by human activity, or by the wind, and has been reported to have travelled twenty-five miles on air currents. The heat of the DU impact and secondary fires means that much of the dust produced is ceramic, and can remain in the lungs for years if inhaled.

Who uses it?
At least 18 countries are known to have DU in their arsenals:

  • UK
  • US
  • France
  • Russia
  • China
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • Thailand
  • Taiwan
  • Israel
  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • India
  • Belarus
  • Pakistan
  • Oman

Most of these countries were sold DU by the US, although the UK, France and Pakistan developed it independently.

Only the US and the UK are known to have fired it in warfare. It was used in the 1991 Gulf War, in the 2003 Iraq War, and also in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s and during the NATO war with Serbia in 1999. While its use has been claimed in a number of other conflicts, this has not been confirmed.

Health Problems

  • DU is both chemically toxic and radioactive. In laboratory tests it damages human cells, causing DNA mutations and other carcinogenic effects.
  • Reports of increased rates of cancer and birth defects have consistently followed DU usage.
  • Representatives from both the Serbian and Iraqi governments have linked its use with health problems amongst civilians.
  • Many veterans remain convinced DU is responsible for health problems they have experienced since combat

Information from animal studies suggests DU may cause several different kinds of cancer. In rats, DU in the blood-stream builds up in the kidneys, bone, muscles, liver, spleen, and brain. In other studies it has been shown to cross both the blood-brain barrier and the placenta, with obvious implications for the health of the foetus. In general, the effects of DU will be more severe for women and children than for healthy men.

In 2008 a study by the Institute of Medicine in the US listed medical conditions that were a high priority to study for possible links with DU exposure: cancers of the lung, testes and kidney; lung disease; nervous system disorders; and reproductive and developmental problems.


Epidemiology

What is missing from the picture is large-scale epidemiological studies on the effects of DU – where negative health effects match individuals with exposure to DU. None of the studies done on the effects on soldiers have been large enough to make meaningful conclusions. No large scale studies have been done on civilian populations.

In the case of Iraq, where the largest volume of DU has been fired, the UK and US governments are largely responsible for the conditions which have made studies of the type required impossible. Despite this, these same governments use the scientific uncertainties to maintain that it is safe, and that concerns about it are misplaced.

However, in cases where human health is in jeopardy, a precautionary approach should prevail. Scientific scepticism should prevent a hazardous course of action from being taken until safety is assured. To allow it to continue until the danger has been proved beyond dispute is an abuse of the principle of scientific caution.

Environmental Impacts
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has studied some of the sites contaminated by DU in the Balkans, but it has only been able to produce a desk study on Iraq. Bullets and penetrators made of DU that do not hit armour become embedded in the ground and corrode away, releasing material into the environment.

It is not known what will happen to DU in the long term in such circumstances. The UNEP mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina found DU in drinking water, and could still detect it in the air after seven years – the longest period of time a study has been done after the end of a conflict.

Uranium has a half life of 4.5 billion years, so DU released into the environment will be a hazard for unimaginable timescales.

Decontaminating sites where DU has been used requires detailed scrutiny and monitoring, followed by the removal and reburial of large amounts of soil and other materials. Monitoring of groundwater for contamination is also advised by UNEP. CADU calls for the cost of cleaning up and decontaminating DU affected sites to be met by the countries responsible for the contamination.

The Campaign
CADU is a founder member of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) – now comprising over 102 member organisations in 27 countries.

CADU and ICBUW campaign for a precautionary approach: there is significant evidence that DU is dangerous, and faced with scientific uncertainty the responsible course of action is for it not to be used. To this end CADU and ICBUW are working towards an international treaty that bans the use of uranium in weapons akin to those banning cluster bombs and landmines.

Through the efforts of campaigners worldwide the use of DU has been condemned by four resolutions in the European Parliament, been the subject of an outright ban in Belgium, and brought onto the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly.

Source

Sign Petition to Ban DU

International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons

141 states support second uranium weapons resolution in UN General Assembly vote

The United Nations General Assembly has passed, by a huge majority, a resolution requesting its agencies to update their positions on the health and environmental effects of uranium weapons.
December 2 2008

The resolution, which had passed the First Committee stage on October 31st by 127 states to four, calls on three UN agencies – the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update their positions on uranium weapons. The overwhelming support for the text reflects increasing international concern over the long-term impact of uranium contamination in post-conflict environments and military ranges.

In the 17 years since uranium weapons were first used on a large scale in the 1991 Gulf War, a huge volume of peer-reviewed research has highlighted previously unknown pathways through which exposure to uranium’s heavy metal toxicity and radioactivity may damage human health.
Throughout the world, parliamentarians have responded by supporting calls for a moratorium and ban, urging governments and the military to take a precautionary approach. However the WHO and IAEA have been slow to react to this wealth of new evidence and it is hoped that this resolution will go some way to resolving this situation.

In a welcome move, the text requests that all three agencies work closely with countries affected by the use of uranium weapons in compiling their research. Until now, most research by UN member states has focused on exposure in veterans and not on the civilian populations living in contaminated areas. Furthermore, recent investigations into US veteran studies have found them to be wholly incapable of producing useful data.

The text also repeats the request for states to submit reports and opinions on uranium weapons to the UN Secretary General in the process that was started by last year’s resolution. Thus far, 19 states have submitted reports to the Secretary General; many of them call for action on uranium weapons and back a precautionary approach. It also places the issue on the agenda of the General Assembly’s 65th Session; this will begin in September 2010.

The First Committee vote saw significant voting changes in comparison to the previous year’s resolution, with key EU and NATO members such as the Netherlands, Finland, Norway and Iceland changing position to support calls for further action on the issue. These changes were echoed at the General Assembly vote. Once again Japan, which has been under considerable pressure from campaigners, supported the resolution.

Of the permanent five Security Council members, the US, UK and France voted against. They were joined by Israel. Russia abstained and China refused to vote.

The list of states abstaining from the vote, while shorter than in 2007, still contains Belgium, the only state to have implemented a domestic ban on uranium weapons, a fact that continues to anger Belgian campaigners. It is suspected that the Belgian government is wary of becoming isolated on the issue internationally. Two Nordic states, Denmark and Sweden continue to blow cold, elsewhere in Europe Poland, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Spain are also dragging their feet, in spite of a call for a moratorium and ban by 94% of MEPs earlier this year. Many of the abstainers are recent EU/NATO accession states or ex-Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan.

Australia and Canada, both of whom have extensive uranium mining interests and close ties to US foreign policy also abstained.

The resolution was submitted by Cuba and Indonesia on behalf of the League of Non-Aligned States.

Voting results in full

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:

Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine.

Absent: Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Kiribati, Monaco, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia.

Source

Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

November 11, 2008

by Barbara Bellows

As Europe mourns in Verdun today for those lost in “The War to End All Wars”, World War I, we could look to another moment in European history to shed light on the most aggressively silenced story of the Bush administration.

In late 2000 and January 2001, reports were exploding across Europe about the rise in cancer amongst NATO soldiers who had served in the “peacekeeping missions” in Bosnia and Kosovo. The effects of the depleted uranium in the U.S. and U.K. weapons could not be ignored.

But history shows that the United Nations and the World Health Organization could be intimidated. The report from the WHO – that detailed how the DU vaporized upon impact into tiny particles that were breathed in, or consumed through the mouth or entered through open wounds, where the irradiating bits attacked cells all the way through the body, causing mutations along the way – was shelved under pressure from the U.S.

Even now, the major U.S. news organizations do not touch the subject, though the international press cannot ignore it. Even last month, a Middle Eastern Reuters reporter discussed the health damages because of the contaminated environment with Iraqi En Iraqi Environment Minister Nermeen Othman,

“When we talk about it, people may think we are overreacting. But in fact the environmental catastrophe that we inherited in Iraq is even worse than it sounds.”

And The Tehran Times further endangers their country by continuing to report on the problem, calling it a war crime.

And across the internet, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Helbig seeks to intimidate anyone who dares to bring up the subject.

But we evolve, and the United Nations First Committee has overwhelmingly passed a resolution, on October 31st, calling for “relevant UN agencies, in this case the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update and complete their research into the possible health and environmental impact of the use of uranium weapons by 2010.” The only countries that voted against it were the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and France.

Meanwhile, to help the reader get to the point, I’ve put together the following.  Although the facts, for the most part, do not contain links, there is a list of the references at the end.

Ten Essential Facts:

1. Depleted uranium, the nuclear waste of uranium enrichment, is not actually “depleted” of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which still emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second, with an estimated half life of 4.5 billion years.

2. Depleted uranium is plentiful – there are 7 pounds remaining for every pound of enriched uranium – and requires expensive and often politically-contentious hazardous waste storage.

3. Depleted uranium is less of a problem for the nuclear industry when it is cheaply passed on to U.S. weapons manufacturers for warheads, penetrators, bunker-busters, missiles, armor and other ammunition used by the U.S. military in the Middle East and elsewhere, and sold to other countries and political factions.

4. Depleted uranium is “pyrophoric”, which makes it uniquely effective at piercing hard targets, because upon impact, it immediately burns, vaporizing the majority of its bulk and leaving a hard, thin, sharpened tip – and large amounts of radioactive particles suspended in the atmosphere.

5. Depleted uranium weaponry was first used in the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1991, under President George H. W. Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

6. Depleted uranium weaponry was later used by President Bill Clinton in the NATO “peace-keeping” bombing missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. By January 2001, as the 2nd President Bush and Dick Cheney were moving in to the White House, there was a furor in Europe over the news of an alarming increase in leukemia and other cancers amongst the NATO troops who’d served in the Balkans.

7. The World Health Organization suppressed a November 2001 report on the health hazards of depleted uranium by Dr. Keith Baverstock, Head of the WHO’s Radiation Protection Division and his team, commissioned by the United Nations. Baverstock’s report, “Radiological Toxicity of Depleted Uranium”, detailed the significant danger of airborne vaporized depleted uranium particles, already considerably more prevalent in Iraq than the Balkans due to the difference in military tactics, because they are taken into the body by inhaling and ingesting, and then their size and solubility determines how quickly they move through the respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems, attacking and poisoning from within as they travel, and where the damages occur. In addition, the report warns that the particles tend to settle in the soft tissue of the testes, and may cause mutations in sperm. In 2004 Dr. Baverstock, no longer at the WHO, released the report through Rob Edwards at Scotland’s Sunday Herald.

8. The George W. Bush/Dick Cheney administration twisted the meaning of the failure of the World Health Organization to produce evidence of depleted uranium’s health hazards, turning it into evidence that there was no link between exposure to depleted uranium and the increases in cancer in Europe and Iraq; instead, as presented in the January 20, 2003 report by the new Office of Global Communications, ironically titled Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990 – 2003, the depleted uranium uproar was only an exploitation of fear and suffering. Two months later, Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Rice began to “Shock and Awe” Baghdad by again dropping tons of depleted uranium bombs on densely populated areas.

9. On March 27, 2003, significant increases in depleted uranium particles in the atmosphere were detected by the air sampler filter systems of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at 8 different sites near Aldermaston Berkshire, Great Britain, and continued at 4-5 times the previous norm until the end of April 2003, after the Coalition forces declared the war over. This information only came to light in a report on January 6, 2006 by Dr. Chris Busby, due to his diligent fight for access to the data through Britain’s Freedom of Information law.

10. We have a new, intelligent President, who is willing to listen.  It is up to us to bring this to his attention.  THIS IS HOW WE CAN HONOR VETERANS.

VALUABLE REFERENCES:

Department of Defense description of self-sharpening depleted uranium: click here

Dr. Keith Baverstock’s November 2001 report, suppressed by the World Health Organization:
Rob Edwards article on Baverstock:

Karen Parker, a Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Lawyer:  Scroll down on the page and you’ll find her documents on DU.

January 2003 White House Report – Apparatus of Lies:

January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here

Source

Depleated Uranium Information

Or Google it there is tons of information out there.

Be sure to encourage those who are still not supporting the ban,  that it  is something that needs to be banned.

This is an extremely dangerous form of Pollution.

We, the people, need to let governments and the United Nations know that these weapons can have no part in a humane and caring world. Every signature counts!

  1. An immediate end to the use of uranium weapons.
  2. Disclosure of all locations where uranium weapons have been used and immediate removal of the remnants and contaminated materials from the sites under strict control.
  3. Health surveys of the ‘depleted’ uranium victims and environmental investigations at the affected sites.
  4. Medical treatment and compensation for the ‘depleted’ uranium victims.
  5. An end to the development, production, stockpiling, testing, trade of uranium weapons.
  6. A Convention for a Total Ban on Uranium Weapons.

The life you save may be your own.

Sign Petition to Ban DU

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on 141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban  
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