Saudi Arabian Prince defects

Saudi prince defects: ‘Brutality, oppression as govt scared of Arab revolts’ 

 August 12, 2013

Saudi Arabia, a major supporter of opposition forces in Syria, has increased crackdown on its own dissenters, with 30,000 activists reportedly in jail. In an exclusive interview to RT a Saudi prince defector explained what the monarchy fears most.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up arrests and trials of peaceful dissidents, and responded with force to demonstrations by citizens,” Human Rights Watch begins the country’s profile on its website.

Political parties are banned in Saudi Arabia and human rights groups willing to function legally have to go no further than investigating things like corruption or inadequate services. Campaigning for political freedoms is outlawed.

One of such groups, which failed to get its license from the government, the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), was cited by AFP as saying the kingdom was holding around 30,000 political prisoners.

Saudi Prince Khaled Bin Farhan Al-Saud, who spoke to RT from Dusseldorf, Germany, confirmed reports of increased prosecution of anti-government activists and said that it’s exactly what forced him to defect from his family. He accused the monarchy of corruption and silencing all voices of dissent and explained how the Saudi mechanism for suppression functioned.

There is no independent judiciary, as both police and the prosecutor’s office are accountable to the Interior Ministry. This ministry’s officials investigate ‘crimes’ (they call them crimes), related to freedom of speech. So they fabricate evidence, don’t allow people to have attorneys”, the prince told RT Arabic. “Even if a court rules to release such a ‘criminal’, the Ministry of Interior keeps him in prison, even though there is a court order to release him. There have even been killings! Killings! And as for the external opposition, Saudi intelligence forces find these people abroad! There is no safety inside or outside the country.”

The strong wave of oppression is in response to the anti-government forces having grown ever more active. A new opposition group called Saudi Million and claiming independence from any political party was founded in late July. The Saudi youths which mostly constitute the movement say they demand the release of political prisoners and vow to hold regular demonstrations, announcing their dates and locations via Facebook and electronic newspapers.

Human rights violations are driving people on to the streets despite the fear of arrest, according to activist Hala Al-Dosari, who spoke to RT from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

We have issues related to political and civil rights, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. These are the main issues that cause a lot of people to be at risk for just voicing out their opinions or trying to form associations, demonstrate or protest, which is banned by the government.”

The loudest voice of the Saudi opposition at the moment is a person called ‘Saudi Assange’. His Twitter name is @Mujtahidd, he keeps his identity and whereabouts secret and is prolific in online criticism of the ruling family, which has gained him over a million followers.

The regime can destroy your credibility easily and deter people from dealing with you if your identity is public,” Mujtahid wrote to RT’s Lindsay France in an email.

Prince Khalid Bin Farhan Al-Saud announced his defection from the Saudi Arabian royal family on July 27.

They don’t think about anything but their personal benefits and do not care for the country’s and people’s interests, or even national security,” his statement reads as cited by the website of Tehran-based Al Alam International News Channel.

The prince criticized the royal family for silencing all voices calling for reforms and said he learned of the common Saudis’ sufferings having gone through “horrible personal experience,” without specifying exactly what it was.

The Twitter activist’s anonymity is understandable. The most recent example of what can happen to activists is the case of Raif Badawi, the founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, who was found guilty of insulting Islam through his online forum and sentenced the activist to 600 lashes and seven years in prison.

In June, seven people were sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for ‘inciting protests’ via Facebook. The indicted denied charges and said they were tortured into confession.

The government is obviously scared of the Arab revolutions. And they’ve responded as they usually do: by resorting to oppression, violence, arbitrary law, and arrest,” Prince Khaled says, adding that so far the tougher the measures the government took to suppress the dissent, the louder that dissent’s voice was.

The opposition used to demand wider people’s representation in governing bodies, more rights and freedoms. But the authorities reacted with violence and persecution, instead of a dialogue. So the opposition raised the bar. It demanded constitutional monarchy, similar to what they have in the UK, for example. And the Saudi regime responded with more violence. So now the bar is even higher. Now the opposition wants this regime gone.”

There was a time, at the beginning of the Arab Spring movement in the region in 2011, when the government tried to appease opposition activists by a $60 billion handout program by King Abdullah, according to Pepe Escobar, a correspondent for the Asia Times. He calls that move an attempt to “bribe” the population. However there was also a stick with this carrot.

The stick is against the Shiite minority – roughly 10 percent of Saudi Arabia – who live in the Eastern province where most of the oil is, by the way. They don’t want to bring down the House of Saud essentially. They want more participation, judiciary not answering to religious powers and basically more democratic freedoms. This is not going to happen in Saudi Arabia. Period. Nor in the other Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] petro-monarchies”.

Escobar points out the hypocrisy of the Saudi Arabian rulers, who feel free to advise other regional powers on how to move towards democracy, despite their poor human rights record.

They say to the Americans that they are intervening in Syria for a more democratic post-Assad Syria and inside Saudi Arabia it’s the Sunni-Shiite divide. They go against 10 percent of their own population.”

‘Buying favors from West’

Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on opposition has been strongly condemned by human rights organizations, but not by Western governments, which usually claim sensitivity to such issues.

The White House certainly does maintain a long-standing alliance with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, cemented by common political, economic and military interests in the Middle East,” said Prince Khaled.

Germany came under fierce criticism last week over its arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which have almost tripled in just two years, from 570 million euro in 2011 to almost one-and-a-half billion in 2012.

And Angela Merkel’s government has approved weapons exports of more than 800 million euro in the first half of this year – suggesting the level will continue to grow.

With arms they [Gulf States] are also buying favors from the West. They are insuring the maintenance of their legitimacy on spending massive amounts of money that are pouring into Western economies,” Dr. Ahmed Badawi, co-executive director of Transform, which studies conflicts and political developments, told RT.

In 2012, Amnesty International claimed that German-made small firearms, ammunition and military vehicles were commonly used by Middle Eastern and North African regimes to suppress peaceful demonstrations.

Small arms are becoming real weapons of mass destruction in the world now. There is absolutely no way to guarantee that the weapons that are being sold legally to countries like Saudi Arabia, even Egypt, do not fall into the hands of terrorists. The two important examples are German assault rifles found in the regions in Mexico and also in Libya. And there’s absolutely no way of knowing how these weapons ended up there,” Badawi said. Source  Videos at source.

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Turkey: Jailing is the Agenda to silence critical Journalists

Stop the presses: Turkey tops list of jailed journalists

October 23, 2012

As the situation in Syria intensifies, its neighbor Turkey, which is at the frontline of the offensive against President Assad’s government, is being dubbed as the world’s leading jailer of journalists by a New York–based media watchdog.

­The latest investigation says that 76 journalists were detained in Turkey as of August 1, 80 per cent of which were imprisoned as a direct result of their work. The remaining 20 per cent of the cases are still being investigated by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) workers. The report also claims that three-quarters of jailed journalists have not yet been convicted of any crime but are held while they await “resolution of their cases.”

The findings claim that “the Turkish government is engaging in a broad offensive to silence critical journalists through imprisonment, legal prosecution and official intimidation,” as 70 per cent of those in jail were Kurdish and the rest being accused of participating in plots against the government, or membership of outlawed organizations.

Press freedom in Turkey according to the 53 page report has suffered as “as tensions between Turkey and Syria escalate a choke on information and climate of fear could deter important, probing news coverage.”

The watchdog believes that “according to the government’s theory, journalists were using news coverage to create the kind of societal chaos conducive to a coup.” In fact most have been charged with aiding terrorism by covering activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK).

CPJ’s report also criticized the 2007 Internet law which allows website filtering by the Turkish authorities against opposition.

Furthermore at least 5,000 criminal cases were pending against journalists by the end of 2011 the report says.

According to the CPJ, the number of journalists in Turkish jails surpasses figures in Iran, China, or Eritrea, making Turkey the world’s leading jailer of journalists.

“Turkey’s current prison tally far surpasses that of the next most repressive nations, including Iran, which was imprisoning 42 journalists when CPJ conducted its December 2011 prison census; Eritrea, which was holding 28; and China, which was jailing 27,” the report says. CPJ’s analysis of imprisonments in Turkey also found that the crackdown has accelerated in the last two years as two-thirds of imprisoned journalists were detained in 2011 or 2012.

JCP says that Ankara’s relationship with Washington makes Turkey “promote itself as a regional leader in freedom… Yet such claims are contradicted by the persecution of journalists at levels that place Turkey alongside global outliers.”

The watchdog recommends Prime Minister Erdogan and his government to “exert the political will to abandon the systemic suppression of critical views and dismantle the country’s vast system of media repression. Source

 

Judicial harassment of Turkey’s media – latest

October 22, 2012.

Reporters Without Borders has decided to start a news feed with regular updates in order to follow the many prosecutions of journalists and news media in Turkey. Despite Law 6352’s adoption in July, the media continue to be the target of constant judicial harassment, in which the KCK and Ergenekon trials are just the most visible cases.


22.10.2012 – Four journalists given jail terms in space of three days

Four Turkish journalists were given prison sentences in the space of three days this week while four others were given conditional releases pending the outcome of their trials.

Kurdish media still at centre of storm

A court in the southern city of Adana sentenced Seyithan Akyüz, a reporter for the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat (Free Country), and Kenan Karavil, the former manager of local Radyo Dünya (Radio World), to twelve years and thirteen and a half years in prison respectively on 16 October.

Convicted of belonging to the outlawed Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), regarded as the urban wing of the armed separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), they were among the 45 defendants in a mass trial who received a total of 419 years and two months in prison. Two other defendants were acquitted.

The next day, a court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir sentenced Murat Ciftçi, a reporter for the Kurdish news agency Diha, to eight years and nine months in prison on a charge of collaborating with the KCK. After five months in pre-trial detention, he had been released in April 2012 pending the outcome of his trial.

Reporters Without Borders has learned that another Diha reporter, Gülsen Aslan, was given a conditional release in Diyarbakir on 17 October. Arrested on 4 February, she had been released and then re-arrested at the request of the local prosecutor’s office.

Diha said Safak Celen, who works for Azadiya Welat, was also released. Aslan and Celen were among 34 suspected KCK members who were arrested in Batman province. Aslan is facing up to 15 years in prison. Their trial is to resume on 26 December.

The trial of Diha journalist Özlem Agus will begin in Adana on 26 December. Held since 6 March, she is accused of having links with the KCK’s “Media Committee”, as are Diha editor Ali Bulus and Azadiya Welat reporter Ferit Köylüoglu.

Agus, Bulus and Köylüoglu will be among a total of 54 defendants in the next mass trial in Adana, of whom 20 are in preventive detention. The 300-page indictment accuses Agus of covering demonstrations in a way “that respects the ideology” of the PKK and of “sending information to Roj TV liable to serve as PKK propaganda.”

The work phone calls between Agus and Bulus, and those between Köylüoglu and Azadiya Welat’s distributors are regarded as prosecution evidence in the indictment, which also cites the fact that Köylüoglu himself distributed copies of the newspaper and asked about sales, as if this constituted criminal activity although Azadiya Welat is not banned.

Provisional outcome in Atilim case

The fourth journalist to get a jail sentence this week was Hatice Duman, the editor of the leftist newspaper Atilim, whose life sentence on a charge of being one of the leaders of the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) was upheld by the supreme court on 15 October, according to her lawyers.

The supreme court overturned the conviction of fellow Atilim journalist Necati Abay, the spokesman of the Solidarity Platform with Imprisoned Journalists, who had been sentenced to 18 years and nine months in prison by an Istanbul criminal court on the same charge.

However, although the supreme court ruled that he was not one of the MLKP’s leaders, it determined that he was still a member. So he is still facing up to 15 years in prison.

Zero tolerance for torture coverage

An Istanbul criminal court forced Taraf (Camps), a daily critical of the government and armed forces, to publish a retraction in its 13 October issue at the request of Sedat Selim Ay, the deputy head of the Istanbul police anti-terrorism section, who is accused of torturing suspects in the 1990s (see below).

Citing the presumption of innocence, the court overturned an earlier court ruling that the allegations Taraf had published about Ay were “in the general interest.” Eight members of the newspaper’s staff still face criminal charges in connection with the 12 articles it ran from 22 July to 2 August quoting victims identifying Ay as their torturer.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted strongly at the time to media criticism of the protection his government has given to Ay, which contradicts its declared policy of “zero tolerance” for torture.

Ay’s promotion to his current position triggered an outcry this summer. A few years ago, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey had failed in its obligation to “conduct an effective investigation and trial” in connection with the torture allegations.


12.10.2012 – No let-up in judicial harassment of journalists since July reform

Three months after Law 6352’s adoption, Reporters Without Borders has evaluated the impact so far of this reform, which is supposed to reduce the frequency with which Turkey’s media are the targets of lawsuits and prosecutions.

“We welcome the release of several journalists who were held without trial for months or years but the judicial climate for the media has not improved. Dozens of journalists continue to be detained and, regardless of Law 6352’s requirements, decisions are being taken to keep them in provisional detention with hardly any more justifying grounds being presented than in the past. As we had feared, ’terrorism’ charges are being used as a pretext for not applying the reform to many cases and new prosecutions are being brought against people for the opinions they express because Law 6352 is limited to ’offences’ committed before 31 December 2011,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“Law 6352 was a step forward but, as we said already, marginal reforms will not suffice, any more than another general amnesty like the ones Turkey has had in the past. Civil liberties will not be guaranteed in any sustainable manner until the Anti-Terrorism Law, the criminal code and the criminal procedure code are purged of the repressive attitudes that permeate them,” the organisation concluded.

Adopted on 5 July, Law 6352 provides for a three-year suspension of all prosecutions and convictions for “press and opinion crimes” with a maximum sentence of five years in prison that were committed before the end of 2011. If the person concerned refrains from committing an offence of the same kind during the three years, the case is dropped for good. Otherwise it resumes.

As Reporters Without Borders said at the time, this leaves journalists with a threat hanging over them for three years, during which they are forced to remain silent or to censor themselves.

It is this provision that has just been applied to Cüneyt Özdemir, the well-known columnist of the daily Radikal and host of a popular programme on CNN Türk, who was facing a sentence of three months to two years in prison for “insulting an official in the course of his duties” under article 125 of the criminal code.

On 16 October, an Istanbul magistrate court ordered a three-year suspension of the prosecution brought against him over Tweets criticizing the president of the 14th Chamber of the Court of Cassation, Fevzi Elmas. Özdemir denies being the author of the Tweets and says the authorities brought the case on the sole basis of an article on the conservative website Star Medya accusing him of sending them.

The Tweets criticized the Court of Cassation for upholding decisions taken in the alleged gang-rape of a 13-year-old minor by 26 men in the eastern city of Mardin in 2002. After lower courts ruled that the victim had consented and that other attenuating circumstances existed, the short jail sentences were not implemented on the grounds that the statute of limitations applied.

Released journalists still being harassed

Reporters Without Borders has learned that Mehmet Günes, the publisher of the periodical Türkiye Gerçegi (Turkey’s Reality), was released by an Istanbul court on 5 October because of “the length of the time spent in preventive detention” but his trial is to continue on 28 December.

He had been held since December 2011 for alleged membership of a small underground group called “Revolutionary Headquarters.”

Another journalist held on the same charge since October 2011, Hakan Soytemiz, the publisher of the periodical Red (No), was released on 9 July. Like the alleged Ergenekon network, Revolutionary Headquarters is accused of organizing armed attacks on government offices and the ruling AKP party with the aim of destabilising the government.

Sedat Senoglu, the editor of the leftist weekly Atilim (Momentum), was finally released on 6 September after being held for six years without trial on a charge of membership of the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). The Istanbul court that freed him said it took account of a “possible change in the charge” and the years he spent in prison.

Eleven of the 26 people who are charged in the same case are still held. The include Füsun Erdogan, the former editor of an Özgür Radio publication, and Atilim columnist Bayram Namaz. Both have also been held without trial since 2006.

A court in the eastern city of Van that is trying Murat Aydin, a reporter for the Kurdish news agency Diha (Tiger), decided at the end of a hearing on 18 September to grant him a conditional release. He had been held for 11 months. His trial on a charge of cooperating with the outlawed Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), regarded as the urban wing of the armed separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), will continue on 27 November.

Cagdas Ulus, a reporter for the daily Vatan (Homeland) who is also accused of KCK links, and Cihat Ablay, an employee of the newspaper distribution company Firat, were granted conditional releases on 13 September by an Istanbul court, which said “the nature of the charges could change.”

They were arrested in December 2011 along with 42 other journalists and media workers, of whom 34 are still held. The next hearing in this mass trial is set for 12 November. Hasan Özgünes, a journalist held for the past year in a related anti-KCK investigation, is also to remain in prison. He is a columnist for the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat and member of BDP, a legal Kurdish party.

New prosecutions

A court in the southern city of Adana jailed Diha reporter Ferhat Arslan on 5 October in response to an appeal by the prosecutor’s office against his release a week earlier after four days in police custody.

He is one of 25 individuals being investigated on suspicion of KCK membership. They include members of the (legal) BDP and the Human Rights Association (IHD) and an employee of Radyo Ses (Voice), a station based in the southeastern city of Mersin, Mahir Ögretmen.

Journalist accused of blasphemy

Representatives of the Islamist political party Saadet (Happiness), filed a complaint on 5 October accusing Sevan Nisanyan, a writer and journalist of Armenian origin, of blaspheming and insulting the Prophet Mohammed in comments on Twitter about the US-produced anti-Islamic video “Innocence of Muslims.”

The complaint demanded his trial on charges of criminal insult or “inciting hatred on the basis of religious differences.”

More disturbingly, the Islamist daily Milli Gazete (National Gazette) has been urging prosecutors to react, claiming in a barely veiled threat against Nisanyan that “judicial inertia is straining patience.” On its front page on 7 October, a photograph of Nisanyan was switched with the photograph of a cow that illustrated another article.

Workers Party complaint against journalist

The Workers Party (IP) has filed a suit against Robert Koptas, a journalist of Armenian origin who edits the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, over a 24 August column headlined “Shameful visit to IP.” It criticized a decision by the head of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) to visit the IP and its newspaper Ulusal Kanal after they were searched as part of the Ergenekon investigation.

Koptas, who regarded the visit as a misplaced show of solidarity, is being sued for 10,000 Turkish lira (4,350 euros) for comments that were allegedly “insulting” and “contrary to the truth.”

Judicial intimidation of the daily Taraf

Sedat Selim Ay, a senior official said to have tortured prisoners during the 1990s, has filed a complaint against eight journalists with the daily Taraf (Camps) who criticized his appointment as deputy director of the Istanbul anti-terrorist department.

Ay previously accused Taraf of exposing him to possible terrorist attacks by identifying him, and he is now accusing the newspaper of again exposing him and his subordinates by interviewing the victims of torture.

The Istanbul prosecutor’s office has reacted to the complaint by opening an investigation into Taraf editors Tuncer Köseoglu and Burhan Ekinci, columnists Mehmet Baransu and Melih Altinok, and reporters Sümeyra Tansel, Adnan Keskin, Tugba Tekerek and Hüseyin Özkaya.

Taraf’s two managing editors and three other Taraf journalists have meanwhile received summonses from the prosecutor’s office on libel and insult charges in connection with columns published in July on the same subject.

Journalists sued by armed forces chief of staff

Gen. Necdet Özel, the armed forces chief of staff, is suing Fatih Altayli, the editor of the daily HaberTürk, for 50,000 lira in damages for “insulting” him in a 9 September column about an accidental explosion at an arms depot in the western city of Afyonkarahisar that cost the lives of 25 conscripts.

Headlined “Schopenhauer was right,” Altayli’s column criticized Özel’s management of the armed forces and quoted German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s phrase, “The notion of honour does not exist in eastern societies.” The case is expected to be heard in the next few months.

Gen. Özel has also filed a complaint against the journalist Cüneyt Ülsever under article 95 of the military penal code concerning “the humiliation of a representative of the state in the exercise of his duty.”


07.08.2012 – Editor of Kurdish newspaper released after two years in custody

The Diyarbakir criminal court today approved the release on parole of the journalist Ozan Kilinç, imprisoned since 22 July 2010 on charges of criminal propaganda.

The court granted a request by his lawyer under Law 6352, introduced on 5 July, which is intended to limit pre-trial detention.

Kilinç, the forrmer owner and editor of the country’s only Kurdish-language daily, Azadiya Welat (Independence Homeland), was sentenced in April 2011 to six years and nine months in prison after being found guilty of publishing propaganda in support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and of committing a crime on behalf of the organization,

He was originally sentenced to 21 years in prison in February 2010 but this was reduced on appeal.


31.07.2012 – Court refuses to release three journalists under reform package

An Istanbul court refused on 27 July to release three journalists who have been held for nearly three years as part of the investigation into the alleged clandestine ultranationalist network called Ergenekon.

They are Mustafa Balbay, a columnist for the secularist and nationalist newspaper Cumhurriyet (Republic), Tuncay Özkan, the owner of Biz TV (We TV) and Mehmet Haberal, owner of Ankara-based BTV.

They could have been released under the newly-introduced Law 6352, which is intended to limit pre-trial detention. More than 200 court hearings in their case have so far been held since their arrest.


27.07.2012 – Courts start to free journalists under reform package

Vedat Kursun, the former editor of the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat (Free People), has finally been freed after three years and seven months in jail on a charge of propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan People’s Party (PKK). His release was ordered by a court in the eastern city of Diyarbakir on 23 July.

“We take note of this release,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The rate at which journalists are being freed is still too slow and should be accelerated by the newly-adopted package of reforms,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We call for the conditional release of all journalists held in connection with their work or because of alleged cooperation with banned organizations.”

As a result of the Diyarbakir court’s ruling, Kursun was freed from the Type E prison in Giresum where he had been held since 30 January 2009 and where he was serving a sentence of 16 and a half years in jail for articles about Kurdish issues and human rights violations in Kurdistan that were deemed to constitute pro-PKK propaganda.

He was released under Law 6352, adopted on 5 July, under which prosecutions of journalists accused of propaganda on behalf of terrorist organizations may be suspended or abandoned. This law also provides for the release of media personnel accused of belonging to or “collaborating” with outlawed organizations.

Around 90 journalists working for Kurdish, secularist or left-wing opposition media remain in jail pending an upcoming series of hearings. Some of them have already been tried and convicted but most have not.

Ragip Zarakolu’s high profile trial

The trial of the famous journalist, publisher and human rights activist Ragip Zarakolu began on 13 July and continued until 21 July when, after two specially-invited Turkish TV presenters had finished reading the indictment (2,400 pages) in turn, the court adjourned until after the summer break.

Few journalists have so far been released since Law 6352 took effect. Bedri Adanir, the editor of the Kurdish-language periodical Hawar (Solution) and Ozan Kilinç, one of his journalists, are hoping that the possibility of their release will be examined in the coming days or weeks.

Local newspaper publisher convicted

A court in the southeastern city of Malatya sentenced local newspaper publisher Haci Bogatekin in absentia on 27 June to a year in prison on charges of relaying PKK propaganda and “praising a crime or a criminal” under article 215 of the criminal code over a January 2008 editorial in his newspaper, Gerger Firat, a weekly based in the nearby town of Gerger.

Headlined “Feto and Apo,” the editorial contrasted the government’s failure to combat the threat posed by Fethullah “Feto” Gülen’s influential religious community, the target of much criticism by Turkey’s secularists, with the government’s repeated police and military offensives against the PKK armed separatists led Abdullah “Apo” Öcalan.

In another article shortly after the “Feto and Apo” one, Bogatekin reported that Gerger prosecutor Sadullah Ovacikli has ordered him to apologize for insulting Gülen. This resulted in his being immediately detained for 109 days on charges of insult, libel and trying to pervert the course of justice.

Bogatekin told Reporters Without Borders he would appeal against his conviction to Turkey’s highest court.

Abandoned prosecution

Oda TV case

An Istanbul court ruled in mid-July that the prosecution of Baris Terkoglu, the editor of the Oda TV news website, should be abandoned. He had been held since 14 February 2011 for supposedly collaborating with Ergenekon, an alleged terrorist network made up secularists and ultranationalists.

Terkoglu was accused of endangering intelligence officers, judges and prosecutors in charge of the Ergenekon investigation by publishing photos of them under the headline “These photos will cause a stir.” They were shown fasting together during Ramadan. Prosecutors claimed that the photos could expose these senior officials to reprisals by terrorist groups. Terkoglu had been facing a possible three-year jail term under Article 6-1 of the Anti-Terrorism Law 3713.

The court did not wait for the Oda TV hearing scheduled for 19 July to release Terkoglu provisionally. However, three years will have to elapse before the case against him is closed for good, and then only if he has not been arrested in the meantime on similar charges.

The prosecution of Güray Öz, the editor of the republican daily Cumhuriyet, who had helped circulate the photos taken by Terkoglu, has also been suspended. Although not detained, he had been investigated and was being prosecuted.

The other detained Oda TV journalists – Soner Yalçin, Baris Pehlivan and Yalçin Küçük – have not been amnestied but the possibility of their release could be examined at the next hearing, scheduled for mid-September.

Journalists freed

Yürüyüs – another part of the reform package

Halit Güdenoglu, the editor of the far-left weekly Yürüyüs (March), and four of her journalists who like her had been held since 24 December 2010 – Cihan Gün, Naciye Yavuz, Kaan Ünsal and Musa Kurt – were released on 20 July under Law 6352, which instructs the police and judicial authorities to place suspects under judicial control rather than systematically detain them.

They were released at the behest of an Ankara court which said it had taken account of the “time spent in detention” and the “prosecution evidence.” The court also ordered prosecutors to prepare their indictment and to hand over recordings made during the investigation. The five newly-released journalists have been forbidden to leave the country.

Woman journalist freed after three months

Gülnaz Yildirim Yildiz, the former editor of the far-left periodical Yeni Evrede Mücadele Birligi (Combat in the New Period), was released from Istanbul’s Bakirköy prison on 23 July. She had been held since 27 April, when the Court of Cassation upheld her sentence of three years and nine months in prison for propaganda on behalf for the Turkish Communist Party of Labour/ Leninist (TKEP/L).

Journalist freed one month before completing sentence

A court in the southeastern city of Adana released Mehmet Karaaslan, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish news agency Diha, from Birecik prison in the nearby city of Şanlıurfa under Law 6352 on 13 July, a month before he would have completed his sentence of six years and three months for alleged membership of the PKK. He was arrested during a demonstration on 19 April 2007 for allegedly shouting slogans in support of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

In the same country » Turkey

Source

“There is no real Democracy or real Justice system in Turkey”.

If I said that in a news outlet in Turkey I would be throw in Jail, even though it is the truth.

Turkey also imprisoned many military people a while back on fabricated information. This targeting of Journalist seems to be following the same type of mass condemnation.

If they say you did it your guilty whether you are or not.

That is the way their justice system seems to work.You can not enter eve to prove your innocence. The only evidence that is entered is that provided by the Government or Justice system itself. Anything else can and is denied entry into the trials. So even if the defense has proof you are innocent it will not be used in the courts. The evidence will be denied entry by the Judge if they feel like it so to speak.

That is not real Justice that is a kangaroo court.

This report is a bit bias, but the finding of the defense investigators should have been  followed up by the Court if true Justice was to prevail. The evidence was ignored.

Dani Rodrik: Did Microsoft steal its fonts from the Turkish army?

The Turkish court that sentenced more than 300 officers on coup plotting charges in September apparently thinks so.

The Turkish military has long set the ground rules for Turkish politics, and this was hailed as a landmark trial. Many saw it as the centerpiece of a democratic, mildly Islamist government’s long overdue reckoning with the army’s misdeeds.

If the charges in the case are to be believed, misdeeds there were aplenty. Prosecutors had in hand CDs, apparently from 2003 that contained detailed military plans to destabilize the country and dislodge the newly-elected AKP government from power.  According to the documents in the CDs, General Cetin Dogan, then commander of the Istanbul-based 1st Army commander, and his collaborators had prepared horrific operations, including the downing of a Turkish military, the bombing of two mosques, and the targeting of Armenian intellectuals, in order to lay the groundwork for the coup. They had drawn up lists of journalists and politicians to be arrested, selected a new cabinet, and even prepared an economic program for the new government.

The trial was marred by irregularities from the very beginning.  The CDs were never properly authenticated beyond the date and author information in the metadata.  A report that found the documents could not be traced to military computers vanished.  Exonerating evidence uncovered by the prosecutors was placed under seal and hid from the defense.  The presiding judge, who had ruled previously in favor of some of the defendants’ requests, was replaced two days before the trial opened. The pleas of defendants who proved they were out of the country on the dates they supposedly authored the documents met no response. A growing list of anachronisms and other inconsistencies in the documents was passed over.  Meanwhile pro-government and Gulenist media had a field day, spreading rampant disinformation about the case and the defendants.

But the real shocker came when the court finally provided digital copies of the incriminating CDs to the defense, nearly two years after they had been delivered to the prosecutors.  American, German, and Turkish forensic experts hired by the defense were able to establish conclusively that the CDs had been forged.

And here is where Microsoft enters the picture.

The centerpiece of the prosecution’s case is a MS Word document, titled “Operation Sledgehammer.”  This document, which gives the case its name, describes the rationale for the military takeover and the broad contours of the plan.  It carries the date December 2002 and is has General Dogan’s name underneath. On the face of it, there is nothing in the digital file that would contradict this information.  The metadata shows a last-saved date of December 2002 and the putative author to be General Dogan’s chief of staff. (Dogan retired from the army in late 2003.) The CD on which it is found was apparently burned in a single session on March 2003. The document is written using the Arial font and was saved in MS Word 1997, both of which were widely in use in 2003.

Yet when forensic experts looked more closely at the document with a Hex editor, which shows all the binary information on the file, they made a discovery that revealed that the metadata had been tampered with.  In plain sight on the raw file was a reference to “Calibri,” a font that Microsoft introduced with Office 2007 as the new default font for Word, and was first released to the public in mid-2006.  The only explanation for this anachronistic reference was that the file had been worked on with Office 2007 before it was ultimately saved in an earlier version of Word.  It was clear that “Operation Sledgehammer” could not have been produced and burned onto a CD in 2003.

Sledgehammer Action Plan

Digital fingerprints of MS Office 2007 are in fact all over the documents on the incriminating CDs.  In addition to Calibri, there are references to the font Cambria and various XML schemas first introduced with Office 2007.  In one egregious instance, an Excel file was saved in Calibri so that the font is visible to the naked eye. The forgers apparently forgot to save the document in an earlier font.

All these documents carry last-saved dates from 2002-2003, appear to have been authored by officers on duty at the time, and were burned on CDs that were apparently finalized in March 2003.  But the references to Office 2007 leave room for only one conclusion: these documents were in fact prepared years later on backdated computers, with the intention of framing the officers on trial.

Not surprisingly, when these findings were presented to the court, they met the same stony silence that had met earlier indications of forgery.  Turkish law allows courts to disregard forensic evidence presented by the defense.  Only forensic reports obtained by the court itself carry weight.  And the court pointedly refused to assign its own experts on the matter.

By now, even hard-core supporters of the prosecution have had to accept that the evidence in this case is deeply flawed.  They no longer talk about the obviously fabricated mosque-bombing, jet-downing, or assassination plans. They have shifted their accusations instead to the contents of a contingency planning seminar held under General Dogan’s supervision in March 2003.

The anonymous informant who passed on the forged CDs bundled them with authentic material, including voice recordings from the seminar.  The seminar focused on the army’s response to what was called a “worst-case scenario:” rising tensions with Greece compounded by domestic disturbances in the forms of an Islamist uprising.  The proceedings reveal an open secret, namely that there was a strong undercurrent of antipathy among the military towards Tayyip Erdogan and his party.

Many now use snippets of those conversations to argue that they constitute ample evidence of a coup plot on their own — even if the digital Sledgehammer documents themselves are set aside. Never mind that there was no reference to Sledgehammer or any coup in the seminar; that the seminar was attended by observers from the high command in Ankara; that the prosecutors did not attribute any criminal activity to the seminar itself; that the bulk of those found guilty had nothing to do with the seminar; or that most seminar participants were not even indicted.

General Dogan’s two superiors at the time, the commander of the land forces and the chief of general staff, were two key witnesses who could have provided useful testimony.  The prosecutors claimed that the former had thwarted the Sledgehammer coup, without even bothering to question him. In public, both denied any knowledge of Sledgehammer, but said there had been irregularities in the way the seminar was carried out.  The defense repeatedly asked that they be called in as witnesses. The court refused. Did I say this was a kangaroo court?

My wife Pinar Dogan and I have been detailing the Sledgehammer fraud since the CDs first surfaced at the beginning of 2010. Cetin Dogan is my father-in-law, and we obviously have a personal stake in the matter. But our concern extends beyond this specific case and the 300-plus innocent individuals who have been found guilty in a sham trial. The evident framing and massive judicial misconduct on which the Sledgehammer case rests shines a bright light on the kind of country Turkey has become under Tayyip Erdogan and his Gulenist allies. Reminiscent of periods of military rule, the judiciary has turned into a tool for settling scores and remaking Turkish society and politics. The wave of entrapment has so far ensnared military officers, journalists, politicians, Kurdish activists – indeed opponents of all stripes. In a system that can put you behind bars because of a Word document with your name on it, no-one is safe.

The defendants in the Sledgehammer travesty have at least one thing to look forward to. Their guilty verdict means they must have developed Calibri, Microsoft Office 2007’s default font, years before Microsoft says it did. Sorry, Microsoft, you have been caught out. You owe these officers billions of dollars. Source

One has to wonder?

Recent

Canada: Coroner’s Inquest of Ashley Smith’s death in Prison

Japan: Radioactive cesium levels in most fish has not declined

US Election Fraud

US Drones that kill innocent Civilians is Murder – CIA chiefs face arrest

 

 

 

 

//

Published in: on October 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm  Comments Off on Turkey: Jailing is the Agenda to silence critical Journalists  
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The Prison Industry in the United States Costs Taxpayers Billions

 

Just added February 18 2012

The actually cost more and are more of a danger to the public.

A couple of thing from report.

A 1992 study by the New

Mexico Corrections Department showed that guards at a private CCA-run women’s correctional facility were pressured to issue disciplinary infractions to inmates that resulted in prolonging their incarceration out of a desire on the part of CCA executives to maximize quarterly dividends.

Prison-for-profit inmates were more likely to report a lack of structure in their day. The difference stems from the fact that public prisons force its inmates to participate in rehabilitation activities while the prisonfor- profit does little to promote these programs. another benefit to the private prison industry, because rehabilitated offenders do not fill private prison beds and therefore do not generate profits.

There fore private prison promote prisons to re-offend costing tax payer more money in the end.

Sometimes private prison operators are so greedy for revenue-generating human beings to fill their cells that they bribe judges to sentence children to serious jail time for the most minor and trivial of offenses.

The IRS sued CCA in 2002 after its audit of the company suggested it was abusing tax loopholes to avoid paying its share of federal taxes.

Some do not even pay their taxes. So they have to be sued to get them to pay them which cost tax payer more money.

Privatizing prisons remove responsibility from the state’s elected representatives and makes it more difficult for the facilities to be held accountable by the public.

Less Guards  working for less money caused safety issues for the guards, who are also not well trained either.

Not mentioned in the report.

There is also a job lose issue which was not mentioned. There are fewer Guards per capita working in private prisons then in state run ones. Privatization caused job losses.

The less people working the less income tax that is paid. The smaller wages also mean those guards are paying less taxes as well.

There is much more to read ans everyone should understand what has been happening so read the report and be informed.

A report of the Privatization of Prisons in the US

 

So lets start with a report from 2008.

There were only 2 million prisoners then.

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

by Vicky Pelaez

March 10, 2008

El Diario-La Prensa, New York

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.

CRIME GOES DOWN, JAIL POPULATION GOES UP

According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:

. Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years’ imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams – 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years’ imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.

. The passage in 13 states of the “three strikes” laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.

. Longer sentences.

. The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.

. A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.

. More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.

HISTORY OF PRISON LABOR IN THE UNITED STATES

Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of “hiring out prisoners” was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else’s land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then “hired out” for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of “hired-out” miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972.

During the post-Civil War period, Jim Crow racial segregation laws were imposed on every state, with legal segregation in schools, housing, marriages and many other aspects of daily life. “Today, a new set of markedly racist laws is imposing slave labor and sweatshops on the criminal justice system, now known as the prison industry complex,” comments the Left Business Observer.

Who is investing? At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call “highly skilled positions.” At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.

Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.

[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that “there won’t be any transportation costs; we’re offering you competitive prison labor (here).”

PRIVATE PRISONS

The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in 1990 under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling like hotcakes. Clinton’s program for cutting the federal workforce resulted in the Justice Departments contracting of private prison corporations for the incarceration of undocumented workers and high-security inmates.

Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, “the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners.” The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for “good behavior,” but for any infraction, they get 30 days added – which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost “good behavior time” at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.

IMPORTING AND EXPORTING INMATES

Profits are so good that now there is a new business: importing inmates with long sentences, meaning the worst criminals. When a federal judge ruled that overcrowding in Texas prisons was cruel and unusual punishment, the CCA signed contracts with sheriffs in poor counties to build and run new jails and share the profits. According to a December 1998 Atlantic Monthly magazine article, this program was backed by investors from Merrill-Lynch, Shearson-Lehman, American Express and Allstate, and the operation was scattered all over rural Texas. That state’s governor, Ann Richards, followed the example of Mario Cuomo in New York and built so many state prisons that the market became flooded, cutting into private prison profits.

After a law signed by Clinton in 1996 – ending court supervision and decisions – caused overcrowding and violent, unsafe conditions in federal prisons, private prison corporations in Texas began to contact other states whose prisons were overcrowded, offering “rent-a-cell” services in the CCA prisons located in small towns in Texas. The commission for a rent-a-cell salesman is $2.50 to $5.50 per day per bed. The county gets $1.50 for each prisoner.

STATISTICS

Ninety-seven percent of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. It is believed that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial. Two-thirds of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses. Sixteen percent of the country’s 2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness. Source

Billions Behind Bars – Inside America’s Prison Industry Part 1-3

Billions Behind Bars – Inside America’s Prison Industry Part 2-3

Billions Behind Bars – Inside America’s Prison Industry Part 3-3

The links below may explain why there are many innocent people in Jail.

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We fabricated drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas, former NYPD detective testifies

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Fourteen Examples of Systemic Racism in the U.S. Criminal Justice System -Prison Corruption

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Powell receives 18-month sentence in prison corruption case

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Judge: Guerra can’t re-indict

The Nov. 17 indictments that a grand jury returned charged Cheney and Gonzales with profiting from private prisons, neglecting conditions and stopping inquiries into assaults/

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From December 2006 7,000 a Year Die in U.S. Prisons

——————————————————————-

In 2009:  People

  • On Probation 4,203,967
  • On Parole 819,308
  • In Jail  760,400
  • In Prison 1,524,513

Grand Total  7,225,800

In 2001

  • The average annual operating cost per state inmate in 2001 was $22,650, or $62.05 per day; among facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it was $22,632 per inmate, or $62.01 per day.
  • In 2001 the average annual cost for state prisons per U.S. resident was $204, up from $49 in 1986.

Executions during 2009   52

Executions during  2010 46

Number of prisoners under sentence of death   3,173

Source

  • One out of 100 American adults are behind bars
  • One out of 32 Americans are on probation, parole or in prison.

This reliance on mass incarceration has created a thriving prison economy. The states and the federal government spends about $74 billion a year on corrections.

I tried to find the cost of the average trial, but couldn’t find much information on it. I imagine it would be  a lot.


From 2002 I did find this on Death Penalty Trials

Counties Struggle With High Cost
Of Prosecuting Death-Penalty Cases

January 9, 2002

By RUSSELL GOLD

When a Utah police chief was shot to death in July after responding to a call about a domestic dispute, tiny Uintah County’s decision to seek the death penalty was easy. “It was a law-enforcement officer in the line of duty,” says county attorney JoAnn Stringham.

Now comes the hard part: paying for the trial. So far, the county hopes to avoid raising taxes on its 25,959 citizens by spreading the as-yet undetermined costs over three fiscal years.

Other counties haven’t been as lucky. Jasper County, Texas, ran up a huge bill seeking a capital-murder conviction of three men accused of killing James Byrd Jr., who was dragged to death in a 1998 case that attracted national attention. (Two were sentenced to death; the third got life in prison.) The cost — $1.02 million to date, with other expenses expected — has strained the county’s $10 million annual budget, forcing a 6.7% increase in property taxes over two years to pay for the trial. County auditor Jonetta Nash says only a massive flood that wiped out roads and bridges in the late 1970s came close to the fiscal impact of the trial.

As a growing number of local governments are discovering, there is often a new twist on an old saying: Nothing is certain except the death penalty and higher taxes.

Just prosecuting a capital crime can cost an average of $200,000 to $300,000, according to a conservative estimate by the Texas Office of Court Administration. Add indigent-defense lawyers, an almost-automatic appeal and a trial transcript, and death-penalty cases can easily cost many times that amount.

The cost, county officials say, can be an unexpected and severe budgetary shock — much like a natural disaster, but without any federal relief to ease the strain. To pay up, counties must raise taxes, cut services, or both.

In research published last summer, Dartmouth College economist Katherine Baicker found that counties that bring a death-penalty case had a tax rate 1.6% higher than those that didn’t. Her statistical examination of 14 years of budget data from all 3,043 U.S. counties showed those with a death penalty also spent 3.3% less on law enforcement and highways. Ms. Baicker’s analysis found that the same pattern of raised taxes and spending cuts hits all death-penalty counties regardless of size.

In Texas, Dallas County is struggling to pay for concurrent cases against six prison escapees accused of killing a suburban policeman last year. Gov. Rick Perry gave the county $250,000 from discretionary funds to help.

The fiscal fallout can linger for years. In Mississippi, Quitman County raised taxes three times in the 1990s and took out a $150,000 loan to pay for the 1990 capital-murder trials of two men that went on for years. Now, the county is having trouble attracting a new tenant to a vacant warehouse because it has higher property taxes than any nearby county. A death-penalty case “is almost like lightning striking,” says county administrator Butch Scipper. “It is catastrophic to a small rural county.”

The issue has become more pressing as death-penalty case costs have pushed higher, says Jay Kimbrough, criminal-justice director for Gov. Perry. Among the causes: DNA tests and appellate-court decisions that require longer jury selection and more expensive defense attorneys.

Now local officials are pressing state governments for relief. In Texas, Jasper County’s experience helped persuade lawmakers last year to expand a program to help counties pay for the “extraordinary costs” of prosecuting capital-murder cases. (The discretionary funds given Dallas County last April were not part of this program.) State Rep. Bob Turner, who sponsored the legislation, says he was worried that smaller counties were “downgrading cases” — pursuing lesser charges rather than the death penalty — “to preclude the tremendous drain on the county budget.” While Mr. Turner says he knows of no specific examples, he says he often heard about the cost pressures during meetings with officials from the 17 mostly rural counties he represents.

A Trial ‘s TallyJasper County,Texas,spent more than $1.02 million bringing death penalty cases against three men for the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr. A breakdown of expenses:
Court-appointed defense attorneys 28.3%
Telephone, travel and misc 20.6
Salary for extra prosecutors 17.3
Jury, courthouse security, court reporter 15.5
Investigation 15.4
Psychiatric evaluation 2.9

Costs notwithstanding, county officials say they pursue the death penalty when the crime warrants it. “It is very expensive and it is very burdensome on communities, so that gives people pause,” says Arthur Eads, who was the district attorney in Killeen, Texas, for 24 years. But, he says, “I never felt the heat to do it or not to do it because of the money.”

Polk County, in east Texas, was the most recent county to receive state help. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the sentence of Johnny Paul Penry, convicted of fatally stabbing a woman in 1979, and sent the case back to Polk County for a third trial. County officials toted up the likely costs: $250 to $350 per hour for the forensic psychiatrist to review and testify about Mr. Penry’s medical records; $700 to copy his 1,500-page prison record; $20,000 to pay for hotels, meals and mileage for prosecutors, investigators and support staff when the trial is moved to a different county, as expected.

Total estimated cost: at least $200,000. In December, Polk received $100,000 from the state to help pay the bill.

Other states have begun to set up what amount to death-penalty risk pools, allowing counties to pay in annually and receive funds in the event of a death-penalty case. Utah created one of the first such pools in 1997 after “the legislature got tired of bailing out counties,” says Mark Nash, director of the Utah Prosecution Council.

Uintah was one of six Utah counties that didn’t participate in that state’s risk pool. The county, in the northeast corner of the state, had never had a death-penalty case until Roosevelt City police chief Cecil Gurr was shot and killed in July, just a few feet inside the county line.

Now, as the county struggles to pay for prosecuting the case, local officials are convinced the insurance is a good idea. In August, Uintah paid $21,500 to join the state risk pool — for the next death-penalty case. Source

So how much did it cost for all the trials. Do the math.

Executions during 2009   52

Executions during  2010 46

Number of prisoners  sentence of death   3,173

More on the cost of Death Penalty Trials in Washington State and other Goodies.

Documenting the high costs of pursuing the ultimate punishment in Washington state

Prison Legal News

Crime Statistics > Prisoners > Per capita (most recent) by country

Population in China was 1,330,044,544  in 2008 – about 4 times more people live in China then in the United States.

Population in United States was  303,824,640 in 2008

Both populations are a bit higher now.

Think about that when you check the statistics in the link below.

Crime Statistics > Number  of Prisoners  (most recent) by country

Guantanamo detainees must also be included ad the price of keeping them is high as well.

Is it physically possible to hang yourself when bound, masked and gagged.

More on  Guantanamo Bay

Marijuana: Public Enemy #1

by Robert C. Koehler

November 10, 2011

“Play faster!” he cried, wildly, over and over. “Play faster!”

The dame who was tickling the ivories complied, out of control herself. The music revved to a dangerous velocity — oh, too fast for decent, sober, well-behaved Americans to bear — and . . . well, you just knew, violence, madness, laughter were just around the corner. The year was 1936 and, oh my God, they were high on marijuana, public enemy number one.

The scene is from Reefer Madness, arguably the dumbest movie ever made — but smugly at the emotional and ideological core of American drug policy for the last three-quarters of a century. The policy, which morphed in 1970 into an all-out “war” on drugs, has filled our prisons to bursting, created powerful criminal enterprises, launched a real war in Mexico and presided over the skyrocketing of recreational drug use in the United States. The war on drugs just may be a bigger disaster than the war on terror.

“The war on drugs, as it has been waged, has not only failed to curtail drug use; it has become a major public health liability in its own right,” writes Christopher Glenn Fichtner in his comprehensive new book on our disastrous war on a plant, Cannabanomics: The Marijuana Policy Tipping Point (Well Mind Books).

Fichtner, a psychiatrist — he served as Illinois Director of Mental Health for several years — takes a long, hard look at the politics of irrationality and lays out a compelling diagnosis: “essentially, social or mass psychosis.” You can also throw in racism. The war on drugs is simply a race war by another name, fueled by fear of Mexican and African American culture, with the weight of law brought down on African Americans with wildly disproportionate severity:

“. . . during a period when the number of prison sentences for drug-related convictions increased dramatically for all drug offenders,” Fichtner writes, citing Illinois statistics between 1983 and 2002, “it increased for African Americans at roughly eight times the rate of increase seen for Caucasians.”

But reading Cannabanomics kept leaving me with the sense that there was a deeper irrationality to our anti-marijuana crusade than even the racism. For instance, “Examples abound,” he writes, “in which the application of mandatory minimum sentences has led to harsher penalties for marijuana offenses than for violent crimes ranging from battery through sexual assault and even to murder.”

And the violent enforcement of zero tolerance hasn’t been limited to the pursuit of recreational potheads. Those using cannabis medicinally have also been harassed, arrested and sometimes treated with such shocking violence you have to wonder whether the official paranoia about marijuana use — that it leads to mental derangement and violent behavior — is sheer projection.

For instance, early in the book Fichtner relates the story of Garry, a California man who used marijuana to relieve arthritic pain. Despite the fact that this was legal under state law, his house was raided by federal agents: “As he opened his front door, he was greeted by a battering ram and a physical takedown maneuver that left him with a dislocated left shoulder, right hand fractures, blunt head trauma, and a back injury that aggravated the arthritis for which he grew cannabis in his garage in the first place.”

Much of Cannabanomics is devoted to the extraordinary medicinal uses of marijuana, which has been called one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to the human race. It has been used, usually with little if any side effect, to alleviate chronic pain and chemo-induced nausea and relieve the symptoms of a stunning array of illnesses and conditions, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cerebral palsy, diabetes, hepatitis C, AIDS, cancer, Tourette’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s. The list goes on.

The herb has been “part of humanity’s medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded,” according to Dr. Gregory T. Carter, writing on the NORML website.

In light of this, our war against it — at extraordinary human and economic cost — illuminates a crying need for us to change the way we govern and look after ourselves. Another story Fichtner tells is about an Illinois man named Seth, who had suffered from epileptic seizures most of his life. He reluctantly tried using marijuana — one inhalation a day — because his prescribed medications weren’t helping much, and soon reduced the incidence of grand mal seizures from several per week to one or two per month.

The amazing part of this story, Fichtner notes, is that none of his doctors were willing even to discuss the therapeutic use of marijuana, though they were quick to recommend invasive procedures, including temporal lobe surgery. “. . .we Americans,” he writes, “live in a society in which it is acceptable practice for surgeons to destroy a piece of someone’s brain in order to prevent seizures but where use of marijuana for the same purpose . . . is a criminal offense.”

To my mind, it all smacks of the military-industrial metaphor that rules the American roost. We’re quick to seize on something as the enemy and organize ourselves blindly around its destruction, never stopping to notice that what we’re destroying is ourselves. In the case of the war on drugs, our “enemy” is our greatest ally. Source

Top 3 things YOU need to know about the private prison money scheme:

1) The victims: Private prisons don’t care about who they lock up. At $200 per immigrant a night, this is the “perfect” money scheme.

2) The players: CCA, Geo Group and MTC — combined currently profit more than $5 billion a year.

3)The money: These corporations spend $20 million a year lobbying legislators to get anti-immigrant laws approved and thus more inmates.

Join The Virtual Vigil and Occupation
Shut Down Stewart  http://mycuentame.org/immigrantsforsale/

Roberto Martinez-Medina died in CCA’s Stewart Detention Center in Georgia in 2009.

Medina had been arrested a month earlier for not having a driver’s license.

CCA profited off of Medina’s incarceration, and ensured a greater profit by denying him critical health care.

CCA has gone to great lengths to hush Medina’s death.

Sign the petition to demand an investigation into Medina’s death: http://immigrantsforsale.org
Pedro Guzman spent 19 months at CCA’s Stewart private detention because he missed an immigration order.

Authorities showed no mercy after Guzman explained the court order was sent to an old address.

CCA profited approximately $72,000 from Pedro’s detention.

Guzman’s wife Emily and only son Logan endured a painful and debilitating struggle to survive while they fought for Pedro’s release.

Doesn’t Pedro deserve to be reimbursed for his unjust detention? Tell CCA To Pay Pedro Back: http://tinyurl.com/paypedroback

Immigration detention: fastest growing incarceration system in the U.S.

The Harper Government in Canada wants to create Legislation similar to the Drug offenses in the US. Lets hope Canadians do not get coerced into this. Marijuana is not that bad. It has many uses medically and fewer violent crimes if any are committed because of it. Alcohol is far worse as far as crimes.  Those who use Marijuana are non violent.

If a police officer had a choice of going into a room with 20 Marijuana users or 20 drunk people the room with the Marijuana uses would be a much safer room. Drunk people are much more violent and much more dangerous. Marijuana users would be listening to music and eating. They don’t even bother to argue they just enjoy themselves. Drunk people fight and argue and alcohol is addictive where as Marijuana is not.

So I have to say Harper’s bill is wrong on many counts. If anything Marijuana should be legalized and the Government could regulate it and make profits/taxes on it. Open stores to have it sold etc.

It would eliminate grow ops and many other problems now associated with Marijuana.

If individuals grew their own or buy it from a Government store there would be no need for dealers and all the other problems now faced by police at this time.

Then the police could spend their time looking for dangerous criminals.

It would save a lot of money and make a lot of money.

End of a lot of problems.

Check the link below and get some insight as to how Medical Marijuana helps people and it is safer then many Pharmaceuticals.

It will even get rid of a headache.

The lobby groups who want to prevent the legalization of Marijuana are the Pharmaceutical companies. Not because it is dangerous, but because it would cut into their profits.

Medical Marijuana

The Harper Government in Canada wants to pass some of the similar laws  used in the US. Most pertaining to Drugs.  They are not affective in the US and will not be affective in Canada. The crimes committed in Canada have dropped. There are enough laws to cover all crimes in Canada as it is, so no new laws are necessary.  This will just put people a select group of people in prison longer, no stop crime.  Go to the link below and check it out. If you know any Canadians pass this on to them.  Seems Harper’s  Gov. passes many Bills and Canadians know nothing about them.

Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill

Legalizing Marijuana  would create a lot of jobs something we all can agree on is needed. Maybe the drinkers would take up smoking Marijuana and make the world a safer place especially for women who are beaten by their drunken spouses.

Hemp growing and use has created many jobs.

Hemp was kept illegal and it is not even a drug because of Oil companies.  If there is one thing oil companies did not want it is Hemp on the market. Finally Hemp is making a comeback.

Hemp is not legal to grow in the U.S. under Federal law all because of the Oil lobby. How foolish American are. Gas can be made from Hemp as can plastics and are better for the environment.

The US government would rather go to war for oil, kill millions while they do it, destroy everything in their path and pollute the land for years to come.

Hemp as fuel is safer to produce then it is to drill for oil.

Hemp does not need Pesticides or Herbicides either.

Ceasefire in the War on Drugs?

CIA Drug Trafficking over 50 years

Why do you think American troops are Guarding the Poppy Fields in Afghanistan? Afghanistan went from no Heroin to tons of Heroin.

Plus the US got their pipeline.

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

Cost of the war on Drugs in US

There have been over 4,000  Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested.

Police Brutality is becoming a growing problem.

Did You Know In the Wealthy United States of America, there were 1.3 million homeless as of December 30 2010. Guess what there are more now. Each year the homeless numbers grow in the US.

Check the link below for more information.

Occupy Wall Street Updates

How the War on Terror Has Militarized the Police

By Arthur Rizer & Joseph Hartman

Nov 7 2011

Over the past 10 years, law enforcement officials have begun to look and act more and more like soldiers. Here’s why we should be alarmed. 

At around 9:00 a.m. on May 5, 2011, officers with the Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team surrounded the home of 26-year-old José Guerena, a former U.S. Marine and veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq, to serve a search warrant for narcotics. As the officers approached, Guerena lay sleeping in his bedroom after working the graveyard shift at a local mine. When his wife Vanessa woke him up, screaming that she had seen a man outside the window pointing a gun at her, Guerena grabbed his AR-15 rifle, instructed Vanessa to hide in the closet with their four-year old son, and left the bedroom to investigate.

Within moments, and without Guerena firing a shot–or even switching his rifle off of “safety”–he lay dying, his body riddled with 60 bullets. A subsequent investigation revealed that the initial shot that prompted the S.W.A.T. team barrage came from a S.W.A.T. team gun, not Guerena’s. Guerena, reports later revealed, had no criminal record, and no narcotics were found at his home.

Sadly, the Guerenas are not alone; in recent years we have witnessed a proliferation in incidents of excessive, military-style force by police S.W.A.T. teams, which often make national headlines due to their sheer brutality. Why has it become routine for police departments to deploy black-garbed, body-armored S.W.A.T. teams for routine domestic police work? The answer to this question requires a closer examination of post-9/11 U.S. foreign policy and the War on Terror.

Ever since September 14, 2001, when President Bush declared war on terrorism, there has been a crucial, yet often unrecognized, shift in United States policy. Before 9/11, law enforcement possessed the primary responsibility for combating terrorism in the United States. Today, the military is at the tip of the anti-terrorism spear. This shift appears to be permanent: in 2006, the White House’s National Strategy for Combating Terrorism confidently announced that the United States had “broken old orthodoxies that once confined our counterterrorism efforts primarily to the criminal justice domain.”

In an effort to remedy their relative inadequacy in dealing with terrorism on U.S. soil, police forces throughout the country have purchased military equipment, adopted military training, and sought to inculcate a “soldier’s mentality” among their ranks. Though the reasons for this increasing militarization of American police forces seem obvious, the dangerous side effects are somewhat less apparent.

Undoubtedly, American police departments have substantially increased their use of military-grade equipment and weaponry to perform their counterterrorism duties, adopting everything from body armor to, in some cases, attack helicopters.  The logic behind this is understandable. If superior, military-grade equipment helps the police catch more criminals and avert, or at least reduce, the threat of a domestic terror attack, then we ought deem it an instance of positive sharing of technology — right? Not necessarily. Indeed, experts in the legal community have raised serious concerns that allowing civilian law enforcement to use military technology runs the risk of blurring the distinction between soldiers and peace officers.

This is especially true in cases where, much to the chagrin of civil liberty advocates, police departments have employed their newly acquired military weaponry not only to combat terrorism but also for everyday patrolling. Before 9/11, the usual heavy weaponry available to a small-town police officer consisted of a standard pump-action shot gun, perhaps a high power rifle, and possibly a surplus M-16, which would usually have been kept in the trunk of the supervising officer’s vehicle. Now, police officers routinely walk the beat armed with assault rifles and garbed in black full-battle uniforms. When one of us, Arthur Rizer, returned from active duty in Iraq, he saw a police officer at the Minneapolis airport armed with a M4 carbine assault rifle — the very same rifle Arthur carried during his combat tour in Fallujah.

The extent of this weapon “inflation” does not stop with high-powered rifles, either. In recent years, police departments both large and small have acquired bazookas, machine guns, and even armored vehicles (mini-tanks) for use in domestic police work.

To assist them in deploying this new weaponry, police departments have also sought and received extensive military training and tactical instruction. Originally, only the largest of America’s big-city police departments maintained S.W.A.T. teams, and they were called upon only when no other peaceful option was available and a truly military-level response was necessary. Today, virtually every police department in the nation has one or more S.W.A.T. teams, the members of whom are often trained by and with United States special operations commandos. Furthermore, with the safety of their officers in mind, these departments now habitually deploy their S.W.A.T. teams for minor operations such as serving warrants. In short, “special” has quietly become “routine.”

The most serious consequence of the rapid militarization of American police forces, however, is the subtle evolution in the mentality of the “men in blue” from “peace officer” to soldier. This development is absolutely critical and represents a fundamental change in the nature of law enforcement. The primary mission of a police officer traditionally has been to “keep the peace.” Those whom an officer suspects to have committed a crime are treated as just that – suspects. Police officers are expected, under the rule of law, to protect the civil liberties of all citizens, even the “bad guys.” For domestic law enforcement, a suspect in custody remains innocent until proven guilty. Moreover, police officers operate among a largely friendly population and have traditionally been trained to solve problems using a complex legal system; the deployment of lethal violence is an absolute last resort.

Soldiers, by contrast, are trained to identify people they encounter as belonging to one of two groups — the enemy and the non-enemy — and they often reach this decision while surrounded by a population that considers the soldier an occupying force. Once this identification is made, a soldier’s mission is stark and simple: kill the enemy, “try” not to kill the non-enemy. Indeed, the Soldier’s Creed declares, “I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.” This is a far cry from the peace officer’s creed that expects its adherents “to protect and serve.”

The point here is not to suggest that police officers in the field should not take advantage of every tactic or piece of equipment that makes them safer as they carry out their often challenging and strenuous duties. Nor do I mean to suggest that a police officer, once trained in military tactics, will now seek to kill civilians. It is far too easy for Monday-morning quarterbacks to unfairly second-guess the way police officers perform their jobs while they are out on the streets waging what must, at times, feel like a war.

Notwithstanding this concern, however, Americans should remain mindful bringing military-style training to domestic law enforcement has real consequences. When police officers are dressed like soldiers, armed like soldiers, and trained like soldiers, it’s not surprising that they are beginning to act like soldiers. And remember: a soldier’s main objective is to kill the enemy. Source

José Guerena was innocent of any crime and yet the police shot him 60 times.  That say’s a lot about the reality America’s live in now.

Wake up America.  You live in a Violent Police State.

US Lawmakers Corruption “Busted”

Recent

Over 7,000 prisoners are held in Libya

ICC to Probe NATO, NTC War Crimes in Libya War

US, NATO and Rebel war crimes in Libya

The Libya American’s never saw on Television

The Iran you will never see on American Television

Canada: Mohawk Elders looking for mass graves of Children that died in Residential Schools

Deaths in Afghanistan 5.6 million due to war

Gaza Freedom Flotilla Eyewitness Accounts

Was the Obama Administration involved in the Planning of the Israeli Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla?
The Broader Military Agenda

June 6 2010

By Michel Chossudovsky

The Israeli Navy Commando had prior knowledge of who was on the Turkish ship including where passengers were residing in terms of cabin layout. According to Swedish author Henning Mankell, who was on board the Marmara , “the Israeli forces attacked sleeping civilians.”

These were targeted assassinations. Specific individuals were targeted. Journalists were targeted with a view to confiscating their audio and video recording equipment and tapes.

“We were witnesses to premeditated murders,” said historian Mattias Gardell who was on the Mavi Marmara.

“…Asked about why activists on the Turkish ship had attacked the Israeli soldiers, Gardell stressed “it is not as if Israel is a police officer whom no human being has the legitimate right to defend him or herself against”:

“If you are attacked by commando troops you of course must have the right to defend yourself … Many people on this ship thought they were going to kill everyone. They were very frightened … It’s strange if people think one should not defend oneself. Should you just sit there and say: ‘Kill me’?” he said.” (See Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Detailed Compiled Eyewitness Accounts Confirm Cold-Blooded Murder and Executions by Israeli Military, Global Research, June 1, 2010)

“They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot,” (quoted by Press TV)

The Israeli Commando had an explicit order to kill.

What was the role of the United States?

The raids on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, bear the mark of  previous Israeli operations directed against unarmed civilians. It is a well established modus operandi of Israeli military-intelligence operations, which is tacitly supported by the US administration.

The killing of civilians is intended to trigger a response by Palestinian resistance forces, which in turn justifies Israeli retaliation (on “humanitarian” grounds) as well as a process of military escalation.  The logic of this process was contained in Ariel Sharon`s “Operation Justified Vengeance” (also referred to as the “Dagan Plan”) initiated at the outset the Sharon government in 2001. This Operation was intent upon destroying the Palestinian Authority and transforming Gaza into an urban prison. (See Michel Chossudovsky, “Operation Justified Vengeance”: Israeli Strike on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza is Part of a Broader Military Agenda, Global Research, June 1, 2010).

The Israeli attack on the Flotilla bears the fingerprints of a military intelligence operation coordinated by the IDF and Mossad, which is now headed by Meir Dagan. It is worth recalling that as a young Coronel, Dagan worked closely with then defense minister Ariel Sharon in the raids on the Palestinian settlements of Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut in 1982.

There are indications that the US was consulted at the highest levels regarding the nature of this military operation. Moreover, in the wake of the attacks, both the US and the UK have unequivocally reaffirmed their support to Israel.

There are longstanding and ongoing military and intelligence relations between the US and Israel including close working ties between various agencies of government: Pentagon, National Intelligence Council, State Department, Homeland Security and their respective Israeli counterparts.

These various agencies of government are involved in routine liaison and consultations, usually directly as well as through the US Embassy in Israel, involving frequent shuttles of officials between Washington and Tel Aviv as well as exchange of personnel. Moreover, the US as well as Canada have public security cooperation agreements with Israel pertaining to the policing of international borders, including maritime borders. (See Israel-USA Homeland Security Cooperation, See also Michel Chossudovsky, The Canada-Israel “Public Security” Agreement, Global Research, 2 April 2008)

The Role of Rahm Emmanuel

Several high level US-Israel meetings were held in the months prior to the May 31st attacks.

Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s White House chief of Staff was in Tel Aviv a week prior to the attacks. Confirmed by press reports, he had meetings behind closed doors with Prime Minister Netanyahu (May 26) as well as a private visit with President Shimon Peres on May 27.

May 26 meeting between Rahm Emmanuel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Official statements do not indicate whether other officials including cabinet ministers or IDF and Mossad officials were present at the Rahm Emmanuel-Netanyahu meeting. The Israeli press confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel had a meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whose Ministry was responsible for overseeing the Commando attack on the Flotilla. (Rahm Emanuel visits Israel to celebrate son’s bar mitzvah – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News, 23 May 2010). The White House also confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel was to meet other high-ranking Israeli officials, without providing further details. (Rahm Emanuel in Israel for Son’s Bar Mitzvah, May Meet With Officials)

“Our Man in the White House”

While born in the US, Rahm Emmanuel also holds Israeli citizenship and has served in the Israeli military during the First Gulf War (1991).

Rahm is also known for his connections to the pro-Israeli lobby in the US.  The Israeli newspaper Maariv calls him “Our Man in the White House” (quoted in Irish Times, March 13, 2010). Rahm Emmanuel gave his support to Obama in the November 2008 presidential elections following Obama`s address to the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC.

At the time of Rahm Emmanuel’s confirmation as White House chief of staff, there were reports in the Middle East media of Rahm Emanuel’s connections to Israeli intelligence.

The exact nature of Rahm Emmanuel’s ties to the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus, however, is not the main issue. What we are dealing with is a broad process of bilateral coordination and decision-making between the two governments in the areas of foreign policy, intelligence and military planning, which has been ongoing for more than 50 years. In this regard, Israel, although exercising a certain degree of autonomy in military and strategic decisions, will not act unilaterally, without receiving the “green light” from Washington. Rahm Emmanuel`s meetings with the prime minister and Israeli officials are part of this ongoing process.

Rahm Emmanuel’s meetings in Tel Aviv on May 26 were a routine follow-up to visits to Washington by Prime Minister Netanyahu in March and by Minister of Defense Ehud Barak in late April. In these various bilateral US-Israel encounters at the White House, the state Department and the Pentagon, Rahm Emmanuel invariably plays a key role.

While the pro-Israeli lobby in the US influences party politics in America, Washington also influences the direction of Israeli politics. There have been reports to the effect that Rahm Emmanuel  would “lead a team of high octane Democratic party pro-Israel political operatives to run the campaign for the Defense Minister Ehud Barak” against Netanyahu in the next Israeli election. (Ira Glunts, Could Rahm Emanuel Help Barak Unseat Netanyahu? Palestine Chronicle, June 2, 2010)

The April 27 meeting between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Defense Minister Barak pertained to “a range of important defense issues” directly or indirectly related to the status of the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation:

“As President Obama has affirmed, the United States commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable, and our defense relationship is stronger than ever, to the mutual benefit of both nations. The United States and our ally Israel share many of the same security challenges, from combating terrorism to confronting the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.

For years, the United States and Israel have worked together to prepare our armed forces to meet these and other challenges, a recent major example being the Juniper Cobra joint exercise held last October. Our work together on missile-defense technology is ongoing, and the United States will continue to ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge.” (Press Conference with Secretary Gates and Israeli Defense Minister Barak, April 2010 – Council on Foreign Relations April 27, 2010)

These consultations pertained to ongoing military preparations regarding Iran. Both Israel and the US have recently announced that a pre-emptive attack against Iran has been contemplated.

Washington views Israel as being “‘integrated into America’s military architecture,’ especially in the missile defense sphere.” (quoted in  Emanuel to rabbis: US ‘screwed up’ Jerusalem Post, statement of Dennis Ross, who is in charge of the US administration’s Iran policy in the White House, May 16, 2010).

Targeting Iran

The attack on the Freedom Flotilla, might appear as a separate and distinct humanitiarian issue, unrelated to US-Israeli war plans. But from the standpoint of both Tel Aviv and Washington, it is part of the broader military agenda. It is intended to create conditions favoring an atmosphere of confrontation and escalation in the Middle East war theater;

“All the signs are that Israel has been stepping up its provocations to engineer a casus belli for a war against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Tel Aviv sees as unfinished business its inconclusive wars: the first in Lebanon in 2006, and the second in Gaza in 2008-09.” (Jean Shaoul   Washington Comes to the Aid of Israel over Gaza Convoy Massacre, Global Research, June 4, 2010)

Following Israel’s illegal assault in international waters, Netanyahu stated emphatically “Israel will continue to exercise its right to self defence. We will not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza,” suggesting that the Gaza blockade was part of the pre-emptive war agenda directed against Iran, Syria and Lebanon. (Israeli forces board Gaza aid ship the Rachel Corrie – Telegraph, June 5, 2010, emphasis added) .

Moreover, the raid on the Flotilla coincided with NATO-Israel war games directed against Iran. According to the Sunday Times, “three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.” (Israel Deploys Three Nuclear Cruise Missile-Armed Subs Along Iranian Coastline).

While Israeli naval deployments were underway in the Persian Gulf, Israel was also involved in war games in the Mediterranean. The war game codenamed “MINOAS 2010” was carried out at a Greek air base in Souda Bay, on the island of Crete. Earlier in February, The Israeli air force “practiced simulated strikes at Iran’s nuclear facilities using airspace of two Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, which are close territorially with the Islamic republic and cooperate with Israel on this issue.” Ria Novosti,War Games: Israel gets ready to Strike at Iran’s Nuclear Sites,, March 29, 2010)

Also, in the wake of the final resolution of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation directed against Israel’s nuclear weapons program, the White House has reaffirmed its endorsement of Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities. Washington’s statement issued one day before the raid on the flotilla points to unbending US support to “Israel’s strategic and deterrence capabilities”, which also include the launching of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran:

“a senior political source in Jerusalem said Sunday that Israel received guarantees from U.S. President Barack Obama that the U.S. would maintain and improve Israel’s strategic and deterrence capabilities.

According to the source, “Obama gave [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu unequivocal guarantees that include a substantial upgrade in Israel-U.S. relations.”

Obama promised that no decision taken during the recent 189-nation conference to review and strengthen the 40-year-old Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty “would be allowed to harm Israel’s vital interests,” the sources said.  Obama promised to bolster Israel’s strategic capabilities, Jerusalem officials say – Haaretz Daily Newspaper)

Robert Gates and Israel’s Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Press Conference, April  27, 2010


The Turkey-Israel Relationship in Jeopardy?

The actions of Israel against the Freedom Flotilla have important ramifications. Israel’s criminal actions in international waters has contributed to weakening the US-NATO-Israel military alliance.

The bilateral Israel-Turkey alliance in military, intelligence, joint military production is potentially in jeopardy. Ankara has already announced that three planned military exercises with Israel have been cancelled. “The government announced it was considering reducing its relations with Israel to a minimum.”

It should be understood that Israel and Turkey are partners and major actors in the US-NATO planned aerial attacks on Iran, which have been in the pipeline since mid-2005. The rift between Turkey and Israel has a direct bearing on NATO as a military alliance. Turkey is one of the more powerful NATO member states with regard to its conventional forces. The rift with Israel breaks a consensus within the Atlantic Alliance. It also undermines ongoing US-NATO-Israel pre-emptive war plans directed against Iran, which until recently were endorsed by the Turkish military.

From the outset in 1992, the Israeli-Turkish military alliance was directed against Syria, as well as Iran and Iraq. (For details see See Michel Chossudovsky, “Triple Alliance”: The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon, Global Research, 2006)

In 1997, Israel and Turkey launched “A Strategic Dialogue” involving a bi-annual process of high level military consultations by the respective deputy chiefs of staff. (Milliyet, Istanbul, in Turkish 14 July 2006).

During the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This “triple alliance”, which in practice is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

Starting in 2005, Israel has become a de facto member of NATO. The triple alliance was coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which included “many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria.” (“Triple Alliance”: The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon).

The Issue of Territorial Waters

Israel’s blockade of Gaza is in large part motivated by the broader issue of control of  Gaza’s territorial waters, which contain significant reserves of natural gas. What is at stake is the confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral de facto declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas. If the blockade were to be broken, Israel’s de facto control over Gaza’s offshore gas reserves would be jeopardy. (See Michel Chossudovsky,War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields, Global Research, January 8, 2009. See also Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)

Source

Eyewitness Accounts
Israelis threw 4 injured into the sea ‘hoping they would drown, so the bullet holes couldn’t be discovered….this is standard Zionist practice…’ And they shot the man waving the white flag.

From Elizabeth Allen
June 6, 2010

Pro-Palestinian protesters simulate the funeral of an activist in a demonstration against Israel’s attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla in Barcelona.

Activist Idris Simsek, who was on board one of the six ships of the Freedom Flotilla during the Israeli attack, claims that four wounded activists were thrown into the sea.

The Israeli troops also put immense psychological pressure on the activists of the Freedom Flotilla, the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman quoted Simsek as saying in an article published on Saturday.

Simsek said they expected some harassment from the Israeli forces but did not expect an armed attack.

He went on to say that he witnessed that the person who waived the white flag to surrender was shot by the Israeli troops.

Erol Demir, another activist who was on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, said there is film footage of the chaos and the carnage on the ship and stated that the footage will show the real face of the Israeli military to the entire world.

“They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot,” he added.

Hakan Albayrak, a journalist from the Turkish daily Yeni Safak who was also on the ship, said, “It was an outright massacre what Israel did out there. They attacked us in international waters We had no weapons. I think we lost more people.”

The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea early on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the six ships and injuring about 50 other people.

The fate of three other Freedom Flotilla activists is still unknown.

Israel also arrested nearly 700 activists from 42 countries on board the ships of the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to the long-suffering people of the territory. Source

Flotilla attack – Sarah Colborne gives eyewitness account

June 3 2010

http://www.counterfire.org

Sarah Colborne was on the boat attacked by Israeli commandos.
Full account from today’s press conference organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Captured and detained by Israel, an American tells his story

After two days in an Israeli jail, 64-year-old Paul Larudee speaks out

Sixty-four-year-old Paul Larudee, an American citizen and longtime pro-Palestinian activist, was on board one of the ships carrying humanitarian relief to Gaza that was raided by the Israeli navy on Monday. He dove into the Mediterranean Sea, only to be captured and held in an Israeli prison for two days.

This was not Larudee’s first brush with Israeli authorities, but it was easily his most dramatic. He spoke with Salon about the raid and his captivity this afternoon from Greece, where he arrived after being released by Israel.

At around 4 a.m. on Monday, Larudee’s ship was boarded by as many as 500 Israeli soldiers. After the ship’s captain called an alert, Larudee immediately walked out onto the deck and found that Israeli soldiers had broken the windows of the wheelhouse (the area where the captain controls the ship) in an attempt to take command of the vessel. As Larudee and several others tried to defend the wheelhouse, Israeli soldiers tased him twice so that he would back away from the area. He said he offered no resistance and just let his body go limp.

“I have never struck anyone in more than 20 years,” he said. “I was beaten. There is black and blue all over my body. They inflicted pain on me on a frequent basis because I did not recognize their authority.”

Everyone on all of the ships were completely unarmed, he said. However, on the Turkish ship — where the civilian fatalities occurred — some passengers clashed with the soldiers and tried to beat them up as they descended on the ship. (Larudee was on a different vessel.) “But that is akin to what the passengers on the hijacked 9/11 did to hijackers who had taken the aircraft,” he said. “In other words, they resisted someone who was invading their ship.”

After some time, Larudee decided to jump off the ship and to try to swim away from the Israeli forces.

“I knew it would be a way to slow down what they were doing,” he said. “It caused the ship to stop for an hour or possibly longer and it kept another ship occupied for several hours actually.”

He hoped this would create a diversion that would allow another ship to make its way to Gaza with the humanitarian aid. “It was worth doing that, but I paid a price for it.”

When the Israeli forces picked him up, Larudee said, he was severely beaten and tied to a mast at the stern of their ship. His legs and hands were bound as he was subjected to the hot sun in wet soaking clothes for four hours. He said his body almost went into shock from the extreme hot and cold conditions.

The soldiers refused to release him unless he told them his name. He repeatedly refused, but said he would cooperate only if they released him from the mast. They finally agreed and took him below deck. “For the remainder of the trip to the port, we got along fine,” he said.

When on land, Larudee was taken to the processing area, but refused to cooperate with authorities, who wanted him to say that he entered the country illegally. “This happened at 18 miles at sea, which is well beyond their own territorial waters, or anyone’s territorial waters,” he said. “We were in international waters. We weren’t violating anyone’s sovereignty or breaking any rules that we knew of, even by their standards.”

More beating ensued. Larudee, who again let his body go limp, said he was carried by nylon restraints, which were placed on his arms and legs. They cut into his skin, causing more contusions and deep pain. He was carried into an ambulance and taken to a hospital, but wasn’t treated. He said he believes he was taken there because the Israeli soldiers didn’t want the media to see his black eye, pronated joints, bruised jaw and body contusions.

Then, he was transported to the hospital ward of a prison, and eventually into an isolated cell. He was forbidden to speak with other prisoners, denied an attorney, a phone call, and access to television, radio, paper, pencils — anything else that would connect him to the outside world. A diabetic, Larudee was eventually granted a request to be moved to a cell with windows and some air circulation.

He spent a total of two days in the prison, and on the second day, was granted a 10-minute meeting with a representative from the U.S. embassy. Before the meeting, he was given a long-sleeve shirt to wear, but refused to put it on.

On the third day, the captain of Larudee’s boat, a Greek national who was sharing the same prison cell, met with the representative from his embassy. The Greek embassy official helped arrange for Laurudee to leave Israel for Greece. After arriving at the airport for his flight, Larudee was told that Israeli authorities wouldn’t permit him to go directly to Athens. Instead, they insisted that he fly first to Istanbul, then sign a release. Larudee refused to cooperate and was once again subjected to a beating by Israeli soldiers.

“But this time they did it in front of 30 to 40 other prisoners, who had seen similar things,” he said. “They went nuts.”

An all-out brawl began and some prisoners were badly beaten, Larudee said.

Those who had arranged for Larudee’s transport to Greece eventually intervened and negotiated with airport officials. Larudee was finally allowed to leave Israel. He’s now in Greece, where he says he’s staying with friends who are taking care of him. He is scheduled to fly home to the states on June 11.

“A lot of Americans are looking at Israel through rose-colored glasses,” he said. “Israel is not a demon, but it is not being held accountable for its actions, and when you do that, it allows bad things, very bad things, to happen.” Source

The Flotilla was in International waters. Israel had absolutely no legal right to stop or board the ship. As noted in the link below.

Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

Sweden ports to block Israel ships, goods in response to Gaza flotilla takeover

Earlier, Swedish dockworkers will launch a week long blockade of Israeli ships and goods arriving in the Nordic nation to protest Monday’s attack on a Gaza-destined aid flotilla.

Swedish Port Workers Union spokesman Peter Annerback says workers will refuse to handle Israeli goods and ships during the June 15-24 blockade. The union has some 1,500 members and supports Ship to Gaza, which took part in the flotilla.
It says the reason for the blockade is “the unprecedented criminal attack on the peaceful ship convoy.”

It was unclear Saturday how much the blockade would affect trade between the two countries since the union still needs to identify cargos with Israeli origin.
“The sole of the shoe is dirty and holding it up that to a person or a place is an insult,” John Minto, protest leader of the Global Peace and Justice organization, told reporters.

Source

Israeli commando ‘to get valor medal’

June 6 2010
An Israeli commando who shot dead several activists in a recent attack on a Gaza-bound international aid convoy may receive a medal of valor, a report says.

The Times Online reported on Saturday that the nominated Israeli soldier single-handedly killed six campaigners on the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara — one of the six ships of the Freedom Flotilla.

The convoy was carrying hundreds of activists and thousands of tons of supplies for the people of Gaza, who have been under siege for three years.

The flotilla came under attack on Monday by Israeli commandos, leaving at least nine activists dead and more than 40 others injured.

In an interview with Israeli media, the soldier — identified for security reasons only as Staff Sergeant S — said the shooting had started within minutes after he and his comrades were set upon by a “mob of mercenaries.”

Israeli forces claim that pro-Palestinian activists on board the ships started the violence, while all activists say that Israelis began shooting from their boats surrounding the ship and a helicopter hovering above.

Granting the award to the commando is expected to worsen the already shaky relations between Turkey and Israel as Ankara has called on Tel Aviv to make an apology over the deadly assault.

Source

Then Israel Hijacked the Rachel Corrie, yet another act of Piracy on the High Seas

Gaza-bound ship Rachel Corrie enters Israeli port

Army says peaceful takeover takes place after Free Gaza ship reportedly ignored IDF pleas to change course.

Shortly after 5 A.M. Israel time on Saturday morning, Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza movement that sent the 1,200-ton Rachel Corrie said the vessel was 35 miles from Gaza’s shores.  Source
If a ship is over 12 Nautical miles off shore it is illegal to for Israel to  stop, board or seize the ship, let alone kidnap the passengers, take them to jail and deport them. Explanation at link below.

As will the first Flotilla Israel has broken the International “Law of the Sea”.

Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

How Israel planned the Flotilla attack
Jewish anti-siege activists prep for July voyage

Bethlehem – Ma’an – In a harbor in the Mediterranean a small vessel is waiting for a special mission.

She will be sailing to Gaza during the second half of July. In order to avoid sabotage, the exact date and name of the port of departure will be announced only shortly before her launch.

“Our purpose is to call an end to the siege of Gaza, to this illegal collective punishment of the whole civilian population. Our boat is small, so our donations can only be symbolic: we are taking school bags, filled with donations from German school children, musical instruments and art materials“, says Kate Leiterer, one of the organizers.

“For the medical services we are taking essential medicines and small medical equipment, and for the fishermen we are taking nets and tackle. We are liaising with the medical, educational and mental health services in Gaza,” Leiterer said.

”In attacking the Freedom Flotilla, Israel has once again demonstrated to the world a heinous brutality. But I know that there are very many Israelis who compassionately and bravely campaign for a just peace. With broadcasting journalists from mainstream television programmes accompanying our boat, Israel will have a great chance to show the world that there is another way, a way of courage rather than fear, a way of hope rather than hate’,’ says Edith Lutz, an organizer and passenger on what is being called the “Jewish boat.”

”Jüdische Stimme,” or Jewish Voice for Peace, along with European Jews for a Just Peace in the Near East, and Jews for Justice For Palestinians (UK) are “sending a call to the leaders of the world: Help Israel find her way back to reason, to a sense of humanity and a life without fear.”

In a statement, the group said that “Jewish Voice expects the political leaders of Israel and the world to guarantee a safe passage for the small vessel to Gaza, thus helping to form a bridge towards peace.”  Source

Shocking Testimonials From The Mavi Marmara Survivors. And One Israeli Fembot

June 11, 2010

LAUREN BOOTH/GILAD.CO.UK—One of the most striking trends following the flotilla attack has been how quickly Israeli hasbara is being exposed by internet journalists. The doctored IOF audio clips, where amateurs with mock Arab accents hiss ‘Go back to Aushwitz’ to Israeli naval officers. Well they didn’t take long to pull apart did they? Then there are the (so-pathetic-they’re-almost-funny claims the flotilla was linked to Al Quaeda. I laughed out loud to read in an Israeli paper that humanitarian activist (and former US marine) Ken O’Keefe was going to Gaza to; ‘train a commando unit in Hamas.’ I know Ken fairly well. Quite frankly I’m not sure who should be more insulted by this stupidity him or Hamas? Either way flinging the words ‘Hamas’ ‘Jihadists’ and ‘Israel’s security’ around is no longer having the same shock and awe effect on journalists or the public at large.

The internet now shapes the world’s story, not the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Meanwhile, like a soccer star caught cheating on his wife. Instead of saying ‘ I messed up big time, forgive me’ Israeli government sources and other shysters are screaming; ‘it’s not fair to watch us all the time, that’s mean!’ and ‘this is our business, leave us alone!’ Bad luck for them that as it stands, more of the IDF’s minging dirty washing, is being aired in public than ever before; via facebook and twitter. The Zionists sobs of ‘no faiirrrr!’ are sounding ever more bizarre. But more about the Isra-bots later on.

Israeli Intelligence (some mistake surely?) have been busy since the massacre. Erasing the memory sticks and hard disks of what my premiliminary research estimates to be some 800 video cameras, around 1200 mobiles and 600 lap tops. All items, looted from the passengers of the Freedom Flotilla, whilst they kneeled, handcuffed and in stress positions, on the hot deck of the Mavi Marmara for up to 12 hours after the attack. Before the bots cry ‘why so much money on board, why so many cameraaas!’ Let me explain, the good individuals on board had been raising money for months in the local communities around the world to take useful gifts tot eh people, schools and children of the besieged Gaza Strip. Besides which -the cameras were the only ‘weapons’ those on board had with which to arm themselves in the event of an attack at sea.

Now, evidence is emerging, that having been forced (by Turkish hard line diplomacy) to release all of the kidnapped passengers sooner than it would have liked; Israel is (as usual) taking revenge on the Palestinian relatives of activists onboard. Those who seek to non violently oppose Zionist policies of Apartheid violence are having loved ones interrogated by the Shabak as you read this for merely sailing with the Freedom Flotilla. I am not at liberty to say much more for fear of even further reprisals on innocent people. But as you should by now be aware, the Israeli machine specialises in collective punishment. This week a spokesman in the US said live on air that ‘Children in Gaza were under siege because their parents voted Hamas.’ Too much to say on that, so I’ll leave it hanging for you to take in

Last night in London, as in so many cities this week, Freedom flotilla passengers addressed a packed open meeting. At the Conway Hall in Central London half a dozen British survivors, looked in turns spaced out and hardened by their experience, eleven days ago (is that all it is? How the world turns!).

Jamal El Shayyal, is the Al Jazeera reporter who kept broadcasting as gun shots rang out behind him on the upper decks of the Mavi Marmara. I honestly thought I had heard, read and seen the worst about the Israeli attack on the fleet’s passengers. I hadn’t. Believe me, nor have you. Those three minutes clips, miraculously broadcast live or smuggled out beneath tongues, reveal the merest inkling of the horrors these brave people witnessed. And suffered.

El Shayyal, told an utterly silent audience he ‘had been invited by IHH to film every inch of the ship.’ So he did. From the bowels of the hull to the uppermost decks he filmed.

‘I checked and filmed’ he said ‘there was not 1 weapon onboard. Not one gun. no lethal artillery. The most lethal thing on the ship was fruit and vegetables.’

When the Israeli commandos attack began Jamal was wearing his pyjamas under a life jacket as were so many of the allegedly ‘prepared terrorists on board.’ Helicopters caused a near hurricane on the decks, all satellite phones were jammed (deliberately to stop SOS calls to the rest of the world). And, so the IDF hoped, any factual reports of what was about to occur.

At this point, just after four thirty am, Jamal saw a Turkish passenger shot in the top of his head. He spoke slowly and clearly to make sure he was understood by us all in the hall.

‘No Soldier was on the ship at this time’.

Quickly another passenger removed a white t-shirt from a bag and used it as a white flat of surrender. When gun shots rang out, greater numbers fell. It was clear calls for mercy were to be ignored. That a shoot to kill policy was in place.

An Israeli member of the Knesset and Lubna (an activist who also speaks Hebrew) took turns making announcements over the tannoy in English and then Hebrew. Announcements made atleast 8 times;

‘We have critically injured people here, please can you come and get them. We are NOT armed. We SURRENDER!’

Soon the tannoy connection was cut off.

Sarah Colborne of the PSC and another passenger negotiated with soldiers for the evacuation of some atleast of the mounting injured. Many of the bleeding would not go with the Israeli’s. Fearing they would be less safe getting ‘treatment’ from the troops, than below decks being operated on without anaesthetic.

‘The Israelis were asked for a stretcher’ continued Jamal ‘for a man with severe internal bleeding to be moved. Use a sleeping bag we were told.’ The man was moved in agony on a blanket no doubt increasing his injuries. And his immense pain. Did he survive? We’ll never know.

As the shooting gave way to the enforced imprisonment of the passengers, or, let’s give it its right name – kidnapping, Jamal was pushed to the floor, cuffed and beaten. His posessions taken from him. It was morning on a bright, sunny, summer’s day by now. Hundreds of shocked men were taken on deck, hands bound behind their backs. Three, then four hours passed. Pleas were made to use the toilet. No water was given, they were kicked, spat at and punched by soldiers who passed by every few minutes. Eventually Jamal pursuaded one soldier to let him go to the toilet, ‘with my hands still bound behind my back.’ One man in his eighties trying to get back to his family in Gaza, was jeered by soldiers, in his discomfort. After many hours, he suffered the indignity of urinating on himself, in front of both friends and fiends.

At some point Jamal was taken back downstairs. The area had been thoroughly ransacked.

‘There was no respect for human rights or dignity. Holy books of all faiths had been thrown about, possessions strewn everywhere”.

He remembers one quietly spoken Muslim brother asking soldiers gently several times for his cuffs to be loosened, just slightly. The third time he asked one of them tightened them so much that ‘he gave a scream of agony that made us all feel sick to our stomachs.’

In the afternoon the ship was forced into Ashdod port. Pushed ashore by armed guards Jamal was greeted with the words; ‘Welcome to Israel. Are you enjoying your time here?’

The Al Jazeera journalist wanted us all to understand something very clearly. That the civilian passengers were not ‘detained’ nor ‘arrested.’ They were plainly and in every legal definition of the word ‘Kidnapped, abducted.’

In Beersheva prison, he was placed in a cell, with a leader from the Turkish human rights group, IHH. They had no food for 24 hours, just a few sips of water. They had no idea if the world knew where they were – or what had happened. In other parts of the prison, consular reps from Greece, France, Spain and Macedonia could be heard shouting at the Israeli captors demanding the release of their compatriots. Yelling that rights were not being respected, yelling for food, water, access to legal representation. From the British consul.

Nothing.

Finally when every other consul had visited the abducted civilians, a British rep turned up. Jamal described the obsequious nature of the visit in termas that make one cringe. Bowing and scraping to the Israelis, the British diplomat didn’t even push for the right to see the victims in a private area. A legal imperative for all detainees during such visits. He didn’t demand water, or food, or a release time for those he was supposedly representing. Under the gaze of Israeli soldiers he asked just two questions ; ‘what is your name and what is your home number in the UK.’ Then our citizens were left. Wondering about their fate and that of their comrades; hungry, afraid, shocked, alone.

When the Israeli’s knew the game was up, that the world had indeed seen clips of their murderous attack, the Turkish abductees were given the chance to leave quickly, in an hour.

Did they go? No. They refused point blank to leave ‘before every other nationality has left before us.’ We salute them.

Jamal, Osama, Alexandra, Sarah, Kevin, and four hundred other internationals were released ONLY because of Turkish support for them. Not because the international community stepped in. Not because of action by the UN or (God forbid), the UK government. Because of the Turkey government.

In all his time as a prisoner, some forty hours plus, Jamal, like all the other Brits, had no legal visit, no phone call home and no proper British representation.

Finally at Ben Gurion airport being deported from a place he never wanted to enter in the first place. Jamal was given a piece of paper with a photo of himself on it and Hebrew writing.

His interrogator smirked at him and led him towards the plane ‘Congratulations’ the man said. ‘This is your new passport.’

‘I want my old passport!’ Said Jamal.

‘Sue me!’ Came the reply.

There was more much more from the survivors, which was videotaped and I will post as soon as it comes online. But let’s get back to the Zio-bots now. For alongside Press TV cameras and PSC workers filming the testimonies, there was the compulsory, sulky faced Zionist, shooting footage of the event for some organization opposed to justice, and free speech. Curiously, as the survivors described their horrors in depth, this woman’s camera was aimed NOT at the stage. But at my Press TV colleagues.

I went outside for a cigarette and there she was again. Instantly recognisable as a tight lipped Proto Zionist. She asked if I was with Press TV and would I speak to her for “Israeli TV?” Clearly she was not from any broadcaster – as no valid news channel accepts shaky, amateur hand held footage of the sort she was producing. Curious about her real intentions, I said ‘with pleasure.’

‘So do you think Press TV has done enough to give the Israeli side of events concerning the flotilla?’

Did I pause? It felt like a must have, just to have the time to process that after an hour of harrowing testimony about a massacre, this woman, had heard and felt – nothing.

‘The BBC has given Mark Regev enough space for your cause don’t you think..” I replied

‘Yes but don’t you think Press TV ought to….’ and then it happened. The white rage. I heard children crying in Gaza, saw fishermen being shot along the coast, phosphorous plummeting onto schools and UNWRA food stores. I saw the massacre on the Freedom Fleet, the torture, the needless, avoidable death..

‘Go fuck yourself’ I heard myself saying. And to make sure I couldn’t be misquoted I added.

‘Just fuck off.’ Source

Added July 13 2019

Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel

Testing the Limits of Freedom of Speech: Ernst Zundel Speaks Out

An exclusive interview with one of Europe’s most well-known political prisoners

By Kourosh Ziabari
April 30, 2010

Ernst Zundel is a German author and historian who has spent seven years of his life behind bars as a result of expressing his controversial viewpoints and opinions. He is a revisionist who has denied the Holocaust as described by most historians. He has been one of the most prominent political prisoners in Europe and has been jailed in three countries on two continents.

After his arrest in the U.S. in 2003, he was deported to Canada, where he was kept in prison as “a threat to the national security” for two years. After deportation to Germany in March 2005, he was convicted and sentenced in 2007 to five additional years of imprisonment on charges of holocaust denial.  He was finally released on March 1, 2010.

This is the first interview Ernst Zundel has given since his release.

Firstly, I would like to extend my congratulations on your recent release. Were you ever mistreated or subject to any type of mental or physical punishment in breach of international conventions?

Ernst Zundel in a courtroom in Mannheim, Germany on November 8,  2005 (Michael Probst/AP)

Ernst Zundel in a courtroom in Mannheim, Germany on November 8, 2005 (Michael Probst/AP)

My entire treatment these past seven years by those arresting me, trying and convicting me, and keeping me in prison has been in brutal breach of international conventions.  I was arrested in broad daylight on American soil by officials of the U.S. government who acted as hit squads for a nefarious lobby. There was no arrest warrant. I was not read my rights. I was whisked away in handcuffs without being allowed to get my wallet, to call my attorney, to be allowed to make my case before an American Immigration Judge or even hug my wife goodbye.

I was incarcerated in six different prisons on two continents in three countries—the USA, Canada, and Germany—without relief of any kind. In effect, I have had 10 percent of my life stolen from me – and for what “crime”? For having “overstayed my U.S. visa”?

Throughout my imprisonment, basic human rights principles were trampled underfoot repeatedly and with impunity. The worst prisons were the Canadian detention centers at Thorold, Ontario and at Toronto West, where I was held for two long years in isolation cells, ice-cold in the winter, no shoes or socks allowed. The electric light in these cells, bright enough to be able to read, was kept on 24 hours a day. Through a glass slot in the door I was checked every 20 minutes, and my activities were meticulously noted by the guards: one sheet for every day.  No dignity, no privacy. My toothbrush was kept in a plastic bin in a hall. I was not allowed to speak to other prisoners. Bed sheets were changed only after three months. No pillows. No chairs. When I wrote to my wife or to my attorneys, I had to sit on a makeshift pile of my court transcripts. No radio, no television, not even an electrical outlet to sharpen my pencils. No ball point pens, only pencil stubs, cut in half with a saw. No spoons, forks, or knives were permitted; only a white plastic spoon with a fork called a “spork” that had to be returned every time at the end of the meal. With very few exceptions when furtive guards showed me some kindness away from the surveillance cameras, I was treated as though I was the worst of criminals. That’s Canada for you, where I have lived and worked without a criminal record for more than 40 years.

It was somewhat better, but not much, in the United States. In Germany, it was quite a bit better in terms of the basic necessities, but personal mail was routinely withheld – 1,700 letters for up to five years – even after I forced a court to order that it be given to me. My so-called trial in Mannheim was a political show trial in the Stalinist mode in that my guilt was a foregone conclusion. I requested that exculpatory exhibits be allowed as validation for what I believed and had written and said. No meaningful defense was allowed. I could not put on record any forensic evidence, any historical documents, or even expert witnesses, That very request to be allowed to offer evidence was held to be a new offense of criminal behavior and could have resulted in new criminal charges – as were, in fact, lodged against my lawyers during that very trial who tried to overcome these restrictions.

Along with the rest of EU members, Germany regularly criticizes other countries for violations of free speech and human rights. However, your case demonstrated the emptiness of such claims within Europe. What’s your take on that? Is Europe really a utopia of liberty and freedom of speech?

Most European countries have only selected free speech for officially approved and sanctioned views on history. Almost all EU countries have laws in place that restrict freedom of speech under the guise of one fig leaf or other, such as the prevention of racist or neo-Nazi activities. The state decides selectively who is and what is racist.  These laws are hypocritical, in Germany’s case superseding even their own Basic Law.

Dissidents are allowed very little opportunity to be read or heard in the mainstream corporate media channels of the West. The control mechanisms of the press are many, often subtle but widely understood and obeyed – fear of loss of jobs, diminished circulation, the withholding of government advertisements etc. There is no longer unrestricted freedom in any Western country, not even in the U.S. with its wonderful Constitution and Amendments such as the Bill of Rights.

Allow me here to point out to your readers the outline of a censorship practice known by its neutral term “rendition”, but more honestly defined as political kidnappings to force the silencing of dissident speech or alternate thoughts.  Renditions in the West are ever more frequently practiced not only against alleged “terrorist suspects” but against ordinary political activists and writers whose viewpoints are frowned upon by such outfits as AIPAC and similar Zionist lobby and interest groups, B’nai Brith, the Canadian Jewish Congress etc.

In order to spell out what I can only describe to you in broad strokes, I’d like to briefly shed light on the period preceding my arrest in the U.S. and Canada, the conniving and the similarity in other cases like mine, where an innocuous or alleged infraction is used as a fig leaf to silence a political opponent.

Viet Dinh, a Georgetown University law professor and director of their Asian Law and Policy Studies Program who helped craft the Patriot Act, put it succinctly, as reported in an American publication called Wired that deals with freedom of speech on the net. That interview reads:

Wired News: An estimated 5,000 people have been subjected to detention since 9/11. Of those, only five — three noncitizens and two citizens — were charged with terrorism-related crimes and one was convicted. How do we justify such broad-sweeping legislation that has resulted in very few terrorist-related convictions?

Dinh: I’ve heard the 5,000 number. The official numbers released from the Department of Justice indicate approximately 500 persons have been charged with immigration violations and have been deported who have been of interest to the 9/11 investigation.

It may well be that a number of citizens were not charged with terrorism-related crimes, but they need not be. Where the department has suspected people of terrorism, it will prosecute those persons for other violations of law, rather than wait for a terrorist conspiracy to fully develop and risk the potential that that conspiracy will be missed and thereby sacrificing innocent American lives in the process.

This is exactly what happened to me. The initial reason given was an alleged immigration infraction – namely a “visa overstay”. I was no terrorist; I was a dissident writer. My political detractors knew perfectly well that I was in America legally, awaiting adjustment of status due to my marriage to an American citizen. I was in Immigration Adjustment of Status proceedings, meticulously following all the prerequisite steps. I was living openly in a rural area in Tennessee and was listed by address in the local telephone book. The U.S. government had given me a Social Security number, a work permit, a document that allowed me to leave the country and return unmolested. I had undergone and passed an FBI check and a health clearance.  The only last step missing was a personal interview by an immigration official to ascertain a valid marriage to my American citizen wife.

We had been notified in writing that this interview could take as long as three years, and that no status report would be given. We were patiently waiting for that last step, a routine interview with an immigration official. Our immigration attorney had requested such an interview in writing – twice!  Under oath, he testified that he had written those letters.  These letters have mysteriously disappeared from our immigration file.  When I was arrested, it was claimed that I had negligently “missed a hearing” which gave them grounds for an arrest due to a visa overstay. In other words, a simple bureaucratic loophole was found or fabricated that has cost me seven years of my life.

What happened to me in the context of a deliberate state policy of deception has also happened to others.  Similar ruses via false accusations were used in cases like Germar Rudolf, likefwise married to an American citizen, El Masri of Germany, Maher Arar of Canada, Gerd Honsik of Spain, Siegfried Verbeke of Belgium, David Irving, and now Bishop Williamson of England, to name only a few individuals who were caught between the grind stones of a criminal policy possible only under the Patriot Act in the U.S. and similar legal instruments in other countries. Embedded in that background of a widespread covert policy and practice to force political conformity, my case makes eminent sense. We are no longer dealing with an aberration. These extrajudicial renditions give 9/11 and the Patriot Act a new light as a global policy instrument of brutal censorship of unpopular thinkers and writers.

The thrust of a prestigious publication such as yours would normally deal with the policies of foreign governments, renditions, kidnappings, and incarcerations not only of foreign enemies but, as in the case of Vanunu, an Israeli-born- and-raised atomic scientist. He was no neo-Nazi, no racist, no Holocaust Denier, yet he was relentlessly pursued by the Mossad and ultimately kidnapped and jailed for 18 years.

The patterns of the breaking of international law and conventions, the use of false identities, and the brazen practice of breaking and entering by spy and intelligence agencies, etc. – these criminal activities are daily in the news. This sets the stage and makes my case a logical progression of an old, established policy, with this one difference: we are no longer talking about hunting and kidnapping alleged “Nazi war criminals” like Eichmann or stone-throwing Palestinians or even “Arab terrorists”, but instead the targeting of writers and other political dissidents in Western countries calling themselves “democracies”.

My story does not even end there. In my case, my “Holocaust Denier” profile was convenient, but passé. It was not even, as is so commonly and falsely claimed, “Denial of the Holocaust” or even more bizarre, my “visa overstay”!  I was told what actually happened by a friend of ours with high-level UN connections. In his own words: “It was the Blue Booklet that did it! That’s when it was decided at the very highest level to take you out for good!”

Here is what happened, briefly: In the early months post-9/11 my wife, an avid Internetter, discovered a compelling research document entitled Stranger than Fiction: An Independent Investigation of 9/11 and the War on Terrorism by Anonymous, 11-11-2. She gave it to me over breakfast. I read it, found it interesting, and ran a few copies off on my printer for people on my mailing list. I did not write that lavishly footnoted paper. I did not research it. I merely copied it.  Somebody must have concluded that I, with my background of thorough forensic investigations in other areas, showed more than ordinary interest in 9/11 as a potential political false flag common in intelligence agency operations!

During my trial in Mannheim, ostensibly for “Holocaust Denial”, portions of my monthly newsletter, where I mentioned this booklet and the 9/11 topic, were referenced by the prosecution as criminal offenses. Only after it became clear that I welcomed the opportunity to have my attorneys present forensic evidence of a potential 9/11 cover-up were those portions of the accusation against me hastily dropped, and my trial became a “Holocaust Denial” show trial in the traditional Stalinist mode, “… accuse wildly but don’t allow a defense!”

As we later found out through various freedom of information requests in various countries, there was in place for years a deliberate, convoluted plan to arrest and detain me under false pretenses so as to take me out and put me behind bars.

I mention this only as an overarching, logical example as to how diabolically clever my political opponents are in using the accusation of “Holocaust Denial” and persecution of Holocaust Revisionists as arrows in their arsenal of weaponry to shore up, consolidate, and protect their deceptively acquired power and influence.

What’s the reality behind Holocaust? Didn’t it happen at all? What about people such as Elie Wiesel, Thomas Blatt, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Leopold Engleitner who are Holocaust survivors and describe their own accounts of those painful days, when they personally witnessed the heart-rending demise of their parents in concentration camps and bone-crushing machines. How should we resolve these contradictions?

I will not answer this question.  I would risk five more years in jail if I answered these questions honestly and truthfully. However, in the age of the Internet, others less known than I am find ways to simplify a painful, multifaceted problem, as the cartoon below makes plain:

"Prevent Holocaust: BOMB IRAN" by Carlos Latuff

“Prevent Holocaust: BOMB IRAN” by Carlos Latuff

Many people of other countries have come to the categorical conclusion that the Western world is a beacon of liberty and unrestricted freedom of speech. But it sometimes seems that the reality is something else, and that people can be easily prosecuted merely for publishing views that are disliked. The booklet you published, Did Six Million Really Die?, is an example. What do you think?

Here is just one more example of what I already outlined above: We have faxes and other documents that prove on official embassy letterhead that the much vaunted and propagandized U.S. Judiciary has run interference for these kidnappers and renditioners via behind-the-scenes ex parte communication, thus engaging in a cover-up and whitewash worse than the ones practiced by those the U.S. government always blames for human rights violations in their hypocritical press campaigns, like against China in Tibet, Lukashenko in Belarus, Putin in Moscow and, of course, Iran during the recent so-called Green Revolution.

Many Zionist websites have introduced you as a white supremacist. Is that a fair characterization?

This claim is a convenient character assassination technique. I have never been a white supremacist and have stated so for decades, publicly, in countless interviews, newsletters, speeches, broadcasts, etc. It is my opponents’ modus operandi to broad-brush complex issues by politically expedient demonization.

You’re opposed to the regime of Israel because of its discriminatory and atrocious approach against the nation of Palestine. You consider yourself a pacifist who advocates stability and peace; aren’t these beliefs incompatible with your viewpoint regarding Hitler, who is internationally considered to be a notorious dictator and relentless killer? How can your peace-seeking stance come together with your approval of Hitler?

I cannot answer this question due to legal restraints.  An honest and complete answer would land me in jail as a re-offender very quickly. Implicit in your question is the toxic image of me that my detractors would like you to have.  To be called a Nazi is worse than being called a leper. For decades I have been on the receiving end of just such a targeted character assassination campaign. I have been jailed many times not for advocating an ideology but for expressing a dissident, alternative viewpoint on many topics, including Adolf Hitler’s role in history.  Revisionism is not an ideology.  It is merely a scientific method of re-examining historical events and of trying to understand the movers and shakers who made history a footnote to their personalities.

Let me answer your question this way:  I have always abhorred any kind of violence in the pursuit of political goals.  By anyone! Politically, I was and am a pacifist, much in the Gandhi style. I advocate a sober, neutral look at history, including the period known as the Third Reich. The peoples of the world, regardless of what system of government they live under, owe it to themselves to emancipate themselves of the simplistic images of propaganda and deceit posing as history.

On May 1995, your Toronto residence was the target of an arson attack which resulted in $400,000 worth of damage. A few days later, some of your extremist opponents were caught trying to break into your property. Again a few days later, you received a parcel bomb which the Toronto police detonated. Have you ever tried to lodge a complaint against them? Have they ever been lawfully sentenced?

This is the flip side of some of the questions above. While I have never advocated or engaged in violence, egregious acts of violence have been repeatedly practiced on me, of which the political kidnapping in 2003 was merely the latest. As to the fire and the bomb, no, nothing was ever resolved. The police apprehended the bomb builders and senders, but the charges laid were stayed. There seems to have been no political will at the highest levels of the Canadian government. There was no political coin to be garnered by prosecuting Jewish arsonists, who even confessed to the deed.

Do you differentiate between the Zionists  and Jews as the followers of a divine, monotheistic religion?

Yes, the two are totally different. Some Orthodox Jews who are united against Zionism, such as the Neturei Karta, believe that also. They know the godfathers of Communism and Zionism followed identical policies. The guiding spirit behind the two systems is the same. Neturei Karta rabbis attended the 2006 Teheran Conference sponsored by your President in an attempt to distance themselves from what they consider to be a dangerous atheist clique in the pursuit of illegal politics of conquest of which they want no part.

The mainstream corporate media, while having already vilified you, remained silent about your release. What do you think about this? Are you going to continue your ideological path or would you prefer to keep a low profile and forget about the intellectual activities?

Ironically, that was exactly what I intended to do when I moved to Tennessee and married Ingrid; keeping a low profile and turning to private endeavors such as my love for art and music.  I felt that my revisionist outreach was finished, concluded to my inner satisfaction. Let others read both sides and then judge for themselves. All the arguments, all the information needed on the Holocaust is out there, on the Internet, in tens of thousands of websites, all for the taking. How often do you have to dig up an archeological site to find yet one more bone, yet one more implicating shard? My wife likes to say that you don’t have to eat a camel to know what a cutlet tastes like. I was quite ready to retire and satisfy my creative needs and desires. I could leave the political mopping-up activities for others to complete. But could my political opponents bring themselves, as rational people might have, to likewise call it quits? No; that is simply not in their nature.

As you point out so cogently, a powerful vilification campaign is still going full blast. It keeps my name in the media for people to decide for themselves who I am. Upon my release, my wife has collected thousands and thousands of letters from readers, only three of which were negative! Not a bad record, of the millions of dollars spent and millions of words dispersed in an attempt to paint me as as a devil with horns.

Let me ask you – would your prestigious publication have cared to interview me if you thought that I deserved the label of Evil Incarnate?

[Editor’s note: The views and beliefs of Ernst Zundel are his own, and not those of Foreign Policy Journal. It is the policy of FPJ to uphold the principle of freedom of speech, which means freedom to say things that others may find despicable. It is otherwise a meaningless principle. It is also the position of FPJ that both sides to a story deserve to be heard. It’s up to readers to draw their own conclusions and make their own judgments.]

Source

No matter what you think of  Zundel, he does have the right to Freedom Speech, as we all should,  even if you don’t agree with him.

He was digging into the Holocaust and attempting to find the truth.

For years the records on the Holocasut were kept from everyone including Journalists.

Well one has to wonder why they were kept from the public eye for so many years? That in of itself is rather suspicious.

One would think that the world at large would have access to them to find out the truth behind what happened. Right?

That  was not the case however.

Zundel published this booklet, but did not write it. He certainly was in a lot of hot water over it in Canada. The witch hunt then began.

Did 6 million really die

Ernst Zündel: 1st holocaust-trial, Toronto, 1984/85, as seen on Canadian TV

This is a compilation of the media coverage by Canadian television of the 1st holocaust-trial of Ernst Zündel in Toronto/Canada in 1984/1985. He was defended by Douglas Christie and had as one of his main defense witnesses Prof. Robert Faurisson (France). As main witnesses on the prosecution side were Prof. Raul Hilberg (chief holocaust historian) and Rudolf Vrba (alleged witness of the gassings in Auschwitz). Ernst Zündel was found guilty by the jury, went into a kind of appeal in 1988, his 2nd holocaust-trial, with this time Fred Leuchter as one of his main witnesses (this, lost again, but was then acquitted by the Supreme Court of Canada in August 27, 1992, as the laws, which had served to sentence Zündel, were seen as unconstitutional.


This report was presented at his trial, Apparently the Polish also later tested and found the same results as Leunchter.

The Leuchter Report: On Gas Chambers

There are two sides to every story so in all fairness both sides should be presented.

Zundel was in jail in Germany because he questioned the facts about the Holocaust. In Germany that is illegal as it is in a few other countries.

You are not allowed to deny it or anything about it.

You just suppose to believe what your told. That is the Law.

Personally I think we all should have the right to question history.

Taking everything  presented as facts from Governments or the Main stream media is not necessarily the truth.

Like 9/11 for example we all know full well the official story is filed with many flaws and the only way to find out the entire truth is to question it?  We have the right to seek the truth.

There are many things about World War II Children were never taught in schools. Hence it kept them from knowing the entire truth.

World War II began in September 1st 1939.

What many do not know is that in 1933.

This caused Germany a lot of problems.

I was never taught  about this in school.

So Germany’s problems were enhanced by this declaration.

What followed, did affect the economy in Germany to great extent.

This declaration of course was fostered and implemented  by Zionists however, who wanted Israel to be created for them. Even then they wanted that land now called Israel.

The Zionists had been working towards this  before WW I happened as well. Many Jewish communities wanted nothing to do with this course of action. Many even today do not agree with Israels creation or what they do to the Palestinians.

Of course even today the Zionist proclaim to speak for all Jews, which in fact is a bold faced lie.

We all know this however, or do we?

Anyway moving on I will give you some other sides of this story and you decide for your self what to believe.

We all have the right to decide what we do or do not believe. Just like you have the right to believe in which ever God you want to, or you have the right to not believe in any God at all. That is your right.

You have the right to believe what you want. Forcing people to beleive soemthing is just wrong.

Do we have the right to force people to believe? NO.

Everyone has the right to examine all the evidence and Judge for themselves. Just like a Judge in any court room, presiding over a trial, listens to all the evidence and then he or her decides what they believe to be the truth bases on the evidence given to them. If much of the evidence has been deliberately kept from the presiding Judge, the outcome would be a miscarriage of justice.

Video about NY Times 1933 Headlines “Judea Declares War on Germany”

After the war was over millions of  innocent Germans were either enslaved or died due to starvation or illnesses related to starvation.

This of course included innocent children as well.

Funny how when I took history this was not part of the curriculum either. I think all people should know this part of history as well.

The Morgenthau Plan implemented after the war was over

In history classes I was never told about the Typhus epidemics in the prison camps either. Just a minor detail right?

So you see if I was not told the truth, how many others were also not told the entire truth.

Why were we not told?

Hiding the truth is rather common it seems.

Why were the records kept from the public?

What were they hiding.

If everything about the Holocaust was the absolute truth the records would have been opened to public scrutiny as soon as possible, but that was not the case.

Other Articles you should also take the time to read.

A Jewish Defector Warns America

The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

Defend Canadian Free Speech from Israel’s representatives who would criminalize it -Updated April 4 2010

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Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 11:25 pm  Comments Off on Testing the Limits of Freedom of Speech: Ernst Zundel Speaks Out  
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UK: AWOL soldier, Joe Glenton loses sentence appeal

By Joe Sinclair

April 21 2010

A soldier who went absent without leave as he was about to be deployed to Afghanistan lost a Court of Appeal challenge against his nine-month sentence today.

Joe Glenton, from York, who was handed the custodial term and demoted to private from lance corporal after admitting the Awol charge at a court martial last month, was present for the ruling by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and two other judges in London.

The military court in Colchester, Essex, heard Glenton was discovered missing on June 11 2007 and was absent for 737 days before handing himself in.

The 27-year-old had performed a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2006, serving with the Royal Logistic Corps. The judges heard that he was promoted to lance coroporal because of the “exemplary” way he carried out his duties during that operation.

Glenton, who has so far served 75 days of his sentence, said he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his first stint in the war zone.

It was argued on his behalf today that because of a diagnosis of PTSD it had been “wrong in principle” to have imposed an immediate custodial sentence on him. The court was urged to either suspend it or reduce it to allow for his release.

But the judges, sitting in London, ruled that his sentence was neither excessive nor wrong in principle. Source

How sad the Judges are so foolish as to jail a man with PTSD.

This is not a person you want in a war zone under any circumstances either.

Seems to me the judges need to get their act together if this is the way they treat a sick man.

This is how soldiers get treated.  No compassion.

Governments have no problem sending them to kill people, but when soldiers have a problem, just throw them, to the wolves..

When Joe Glenton went Awol, so did compassion

‘Lucky’ Lance Corporal Glenton refused to return to Afghanistan and was branded a coward and a malingerer

By Barbara Ellen

March 7 2010

The word I keep coming across in relation to Lance Corporal Joe Glenton is “lucky”. Glenton, 27, who refused to return to Afghanistan, and went absent without leave for two years, speaking out against the war, has been demoted and sentenced to nine months.

Nine months was also the amount of time between Glenton’s first tour of Afghanistan and when he was ordered back, despite government guidelines of an 18-month gap. Despite also Glenton admitting to losing faith in the conflict, feeling “guilty and useless”, having nightmares about dead serviceman in coffins and generally showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. After this, Glenton was intimidated, bullied, branded a “coward” and “malingerer”, which, strangely enough, is the point when he went Awol.

The “lucky” bit? That’s because, as related with lip-smacking relish all over the internet, in the olden days Glenton would have been shot for desertion. No namby-pamby concern for a soldier’s state of mind then – just a blindfold and a volley of bullets from a firing squad. “Lucky” Joe Glenton indeed!

Is this the best we can do when our soldiers fall to pieces and run away – not shoot them any more, as we did in their hundreds during the First World War? Indeed, while Glenton’s loss of faith in the conflict doubtless contributed to his distress, this was not the whole story. Even if Glenton had been pro-war, surely his mental fragility would have remained a concern? So would a pro-war Glenton have received a more sympathetic hearing? Does “cowardice” conveniently transform into PTSD when the sufferer is on-message?

The army has to be tough on soldiers going Awol and no one is forced to sign up. However, could young men such as Glenton seriously be expected to know how they are going to handle war? And, if they can’t, even if not on the frontline, how are they “cowards”? My grandfather survived Dunkirk, but did he? PTSD was not diagnosed then, but he returned, by all accounts, “a changed man” with what were then termed “bad nerves” and died in his 40s of a heart attack. Bloody malingerer, eh? And, you wonder, has battle shock changed so much since then? Or do we have sympathy for the distress of servicemen only when the footage is soaked in sepia and broadcast on the History channel?

Certainly it is unjust that, in some quarters, Glenton seems to have been cast almost as a joke figure – the British services answer to Mash‘s Corporal Klinger, who donned dresses and feigned madness to get himself discharged. Or a born-again hippie, placing flowers in the ends of rifles. What a crock. Pro-war, anti-war, the fact is that Glenton felt himself unravelling, appealed for help and received insults and a bollocking instead.

Are we in danger of regressing to a culture of white feathers – with nothing but scorn and judgment for those who “can’t hack it”, for whatever reason, in the war zone? Are our “brave boys” only adored when they are brave by military criteria? Indeed, while the outpourings of grief at Wootton Bassett for the fallen heroes are undeniably moving, one has to wonder, what is the point if people who don’t die physically, but who fall mentally and emotionally, are treated so shabbily?

This is the tragedy of Glenton’s sentencing. Some feel that he has been made an example of because of his anti-war beliefs. However, isn’t he also an example to other servicemen, of what to expect if they dare to succumb to mental fragility? So, sure, Glenton was “luckier” than those deserters who used to be stood against walls and shot, but, by allegedly enlightened 21st century standards, is this anywhere near “lucky” enough? Source

The US is no better.  Those who suffer from war injuries do not get the help they need either

War Veteran Jesse Huff Commits suicide outside VA Hospital

Joe is so far fortunate enough to still be alive to tell his story.

He speaks out against the war.

Well when I look back in time a few things comes to mind.

In Afghanistan, filmmaker Jamie Doran  uncovered evidence of a massacre: Taliban prisoners of war suffocated in containers, shot in the desert and buried in mass graves.  Watch video

The Pentagon’s Fantasy Numbers on Afghan Civilian Deaths

NATO Smears a Truth-Teller in Afghanistan

Two-Thirds of Boys in Afghan Jails Are Brutalised, Study Finds

British officer leaked 8,000 Civilians killed in Afghanistan

(Afghanistan 8) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Fallen Canadian and British Soldiers Come Home

Afghanistan’s hidden toll: Injured Troops

Afghanistan: US Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

Why: War in Iraq and Afghanistan

That is just the tip of the iceburg.

Both wars were based on lies.

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Published in: on April 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm  Comments Off on UK: AWOL soldier, Joe Glenton loses sentence appeal  
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Aafia Siddiqui: Victimized by American Depravity

By Stephen Lendman

April 1 2010

On February 3, 2010, after a sham trial, the Department of Justice announced Siddiqui’s conviction for “attempting to murder US nationals in Afghanistan and six additional charges.” When sentenced on May 6, she faces up to 20 years for each attempted murder charge, possible life in prison on the firearms charge, and eight years on each assault charge.

In March 2003, after visiting her family in Karachi, Pakistan, government Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents, in collaboration with Washington, abducted Siddiqui and her three children en route to the airport for a flight to Rawalpindi, handed them over to US authorities who took them secretly to Bagram prison, Afghanistan for more than five years of brutal torture and unspeakable abuse, including vicious beatings and repeated raping.

Bogusly charged and convicted, Siddiqui was guilty only of being Muslim in America at the wrong time. A Pakistani national, she was deeply religious, very small, thoughtful, studious, quiet, polite, shy, soft-spoken, barely noticeable in a gathering, not extremist or fundamentalist, and, of course, no terrorist.

She attended MIT and Brandeis University where she earned a doctorate in neurocognitive science. She did volunteer charity work, taught Muslim children on Sundays, distributed Korans to area prison inmates, dedicated herself to helping oppressed Muslims worldwide, yet lived a quiet, unassuming nonviolent life.

Nonetheless, she was accused of being a “high security risk” for alleged Al-Qaeda connections linked to planned terrorist attacks against New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building, accusations so preposterous they never appeared in her indictment.

The DOJ’s more likely interest was her supposed connection, through marriage, to a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the bogusly charged 9/11 mastermind who confessed after years of horrific torture. US authorities tried to use them both – to coerce KSM to link Siddiqui to Al-Qaeda, and she to admit his responsibility for 9/11 — something she knew nothing about or anything about her alleged relative.

Her trial was a travesty of justice based on the preposterous charge that in the presence of two FBI agents, two Army interpreters, and three US Army officers, she (110 pounds and frail) assaulted three of them, seized one of their rifles, opened fire at close range, hit no one, yet she was severely wounded.

No credible evidence was presented. Some was kept secret. The proceedings were carefully orchestrated. Witnesses were either enlisted, pressured, coerced, and/or bought off to cooperate, then jurors were intimidated to convict, her attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, saying their verdict was “based on fear, not fact.”

Awaiting her May 6 sentencing, Siddiqui is incarcerated in harsh maximum security solitary confinement at New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), denied all contact with friends and family, no mail or reading materials, or access to her previously allowed once a month 15 minute phone call to relatives.

Justice for Aafia Coalition (JFAC)

In February 2010, Muslim women in America, Britain, Canada, and Australia united in outrage over Siddiqui’s treatment and bogus conviction, demanding her release and exoneration.

March 28 was the seventh anniversary of her abduction, commemorated by a global day of protest, JFAC saying it was “to have events, demonstrations, letter-writing campaigns, khutbahs (sermons or public preaching), etc. in towns and cities all over the world in solidarity with Aafia” – for justice, against sadism and barbarity against an innocent woman, guilty of being a target of opportunity, not crimes she didn’t commit.

JFAC published a transcript of the March 26 Kamram Shahid-conducted Pakistan Front Line TV interview with Siddiqui family members, including her mother, Ismat, sister, Fowzia, and young son, Ahmed, who asked “why have they imprisoned her and why did they imprison me?” In response to whether he’d like to give his mother a message, he said:

“I love you and I am waiting for you (to) come back soon, if Allah permits.”

Ismat confirmed some of Aafia’s torture in shocking detail, saying:

She endured a lot, some of the worst of it including “six men… strip(ping) her naked. All her clothes would be removed. She told this to the Pakistani senators too, that they would strip her naked, then tie her hands behind her back, and then they would take her, dragging her by the hair. You cannot imagine the cruelty they have done to her. They would take her like this to the corridor and film her there.”

“After that, they observed that she would read the Qu’ran, from memory and from the book. They again would send six, seven men, who would strip her naked and misbehave etc. They took the Qu’ran and threw it at her feet and told her that only if you walk on the Qu’ran will we return (it) to you. She would cry and shout that she would not do it. Then they would beat her with their rifle butts so much that she would be bloodied. All her face and body would be injured. Then they used to pull out her hair one by one, just like this…. They threatened (to) take her to the court like this, naked.”

After “beat(ing) her so much that she bled… they made her lie on a bed. Then they tied her hands and feet – hands and feet both tied so that she (could) not even… scratch her wounds. Then they applied torture to the soles of her feet and head. They put her in some machines to make her lose her mental stability. They gave her such injections on the pretext of medical treatment.” When she pleaded not to do it, “they would make her unconscious and then give them to her. Such is (their) cruelty.”

“This epic cruelty – and look at (the) Islamic world…. They are all silent and making their palaces in Hell…. She was not even a criminal in their law. And she has done no crime. They did not accuse her of terrorism. She is not a terrorist.”

Her sister Fowzia said “It is all on tape. I am not making this up. They are sadists or whatever. All the strip searching was video-taped. (She called Aafia) a poster child for this torture and rendition,” one of many others brutalized in American prisons. Court testimony revealed that her children were also tortured, Ahmed later released on condition he say nothing, two still missing and presumed murdered. “I think even Genghis Khan did not do this,” said Fowzia.

In an August 2008 address to Pakistan’s Senate, Fowzia explained that “Aafia (can’t) get justice in the US…. They are sure to make her out to be a major terror figure to mask the five years of torture, rape and child molestation as reported by human rights groups.”

Her case is much more important than “my sister or one woman. Her torture is a crime beyond anything she was ever accused of (which was basically nothing) and this is a slap on the honor of our nation and the whole of humanity. The perpetrators of those crimes are the ones who need to be brought to account. That is the real crime of terror here.”

Fowzia appealed for Aafia’s extradition to Pakistan, despite little hope of expecting a government complicit in crime to cooperate beyond rhetoric. At first, it denied knowledge, then, after meeting with family, interior minister Faisal Saleh Hayat and other officials promised to work for her release, still denying complicity for what happened.

Because her ordeal sparked nationwide protests, Pakistan’s government is in damage control, apparently wants to shift blame to Washington, investigating officer Shahid Qureshi, in a report to the judicial magistrate, saying “FBI intelligence agents without any warrants or notice” committed the abduction — knowing full well about ISI’s complicity.

During confinement, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said Siddiqui had a kidney and her teeth removed. Her nose was broken and not properly set. Her gun shot wound was improperly treated. Reuters reported that she lost part of her intestines and still bleeds internally from poor treatment. Those around her notice she’s deathly pale because of extreme trauma and pain.

After years of horrific torture and abuse, a federal Bureau of Prisons psychological evaluation diagnosed her condition to be “depressive type psychosis” besides the destructive physical toll on her body.

World Outrage and Support

The Muslim Justice Initiative (MJI) said Siddiqui’s “recent guilty verdict… shocked and outraged masses across the globe” in announcing an April 2 online webinar discussion on her behalf, featuring her brother Mohammed, sister Fawzia, noted UK journalist and Siddiqui advocate, Yvonne Ridley, and Tina Foster, Executive Director of the International Justice Network (IJN). Information on the event can be found at muslimsforjustice.org.

On February 3, Siddiqui’s conviction date, IJN said the following:

It “represents the family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in the United States,” its attorneys “monitoring her trial, which began on January 19 and ended with a guilty verdict today in US Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.”

Today marks the close of another sad chapter in the life of our sister, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Today she was unjustly found guilty. Though she was not charged with any terrorism-related offense, Judge Berman permitted the prosecution’s witnesses to characterize our sister as a terrorist – which, based on copious (exculpatory) evidence, she clearly is not. Today’s verdict is one of the many legal errors that allowed the prosecution to build a case against our sister based on hate, rather than fact. We believe that as a result, she was denied a fair trial, and today’s verdict must be overturned on appeal.

Himself victimized by US torture, including at Bagram, author of “Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantanamo and Back,” Moassam Begg (like others), called Aafia “the Grey Lady of Bagram because she (was) almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continue to haunt those who heard her.” So much so that for six days in 2005, male prisoners staged a hunger strike in protest.

After sentencing, her next journey may be to isolated life confinement in federal Supermax hell — according to the US Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections, intended for the most dangerous criminals, guilty of “repetitive assaultive or violent institutional behavior,” the worst of the worst who threaten society or national security.

Hardly the place for a woman called shy, soft-spoken, deeply religious, polite, studious, thoughtful, and considerate of others, especially persecuted Muslims being brutalized in America’s global gulag, courtesy of an administration that pays lip service to ending torture but practices it as sadistically as George Bush and the worst of history’s tyrants.

Source

Related

Dr Aafia Siddiqui found guilty

Kidnapped tortured for years and now in an American prison.

Even her children were in prison and tortured.

This is a travesty.  This is the American way.

Bush is Scott free in spite of the fact he is responsible for the torture of hundreds or maybe even thousands and the deaths  of over a million  or two million  people.

There sure is something wrong with this picture.

Why haven’t the people who Tortured and Raped Aafia Siddiqui not been charged and thrown in jail?????????

Why is that. Why are they free?????

If they are allowed to go free we definitely live in a sick, demented, sadistic  world. It says a lot about American justice doesn’t it?

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To President Obama: Free Mohammad Othman Now

Free Mohammad Now

On September 22, Mohammad Othman was arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. He was returning from a trip to Norway, where he was advocating for Palestinian human rights. Ask U.S. President Obama to press for his immediate release.

(If you are not in the U.S., consider joining this action alert. Hold President Obama. accountable for his Cairo speech.)
The letter to Obama

Please tell the Israeli authorities to free Mohammad Othman.

He was arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. He was returning from a trip to Norway, where he was advocating for Palestinian human rights.

President Obama, in your Cairo speech, you have exhorted the Palestinians to seek a resolution to the violent Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the use of nonviolence.

In fact, Mohammad Othman and many other Palestinians have engaged in peaceful protest against the Israeli occupation for many years, in Bil’in, Nil’in, Jayyous and many other places that have lost their land to the wall and the settlements. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has compared them to Gandhi, who managed to overthrow British rule in India by nonviolent means, and to Martin Luther King, Jr., who took up the struggle of a black woman who was too tired to go to the back of a segregated bus.

And yet, protestors in the Occupied Territories face the same consequences: detention, injury, and even death.

Those that travel abroad to advocate their cause are at risk of being unjustly detained when they come back home. This is what happened to Muhammad Srour — an eye-witness at the UN Fact Finding Mission on Gaza — arrested on his way back from Geneva. This is what is happening to Mohammad Othman right now.

President Obama, you must come true to your words in Cairo and defend the right of Mr. Othman to speak up for Palestinian rights.

Thanks.


Mohammad has not committed any crime.
You can also add your  own comments
Two things I would like to see added are The following.

Defence for Children International has a report on the treatment Children  in Israeli prisons it an extremely disturbing report.

Check http://www.dci-pal.org/english/publ/research/CPReport.pdf

Report by  MachsomWatch.org on adults who were charged and incarcerated check  http://www.machsomwatch.org/files/Guilty.pdf

Seems they just keep throwing you in jail  or other means which may include torture, until you plead guilty.

Click here to send your letter to Obama

You can also go here to send a letter to Obama

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

You can also call or write to the President:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Phone Numbers

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

The choice is yours.

Published in: on October 6, 2009 at 1:14 am  Comments Off on To President Obama: Free Mohammad Othman Now  
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Iraqi shoe thrower Muntadhar al-Zeidi to be released from jail

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush last December will be getting out of jail on Monday, his family says.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi hurled two shoes at the then-U.S. president during a joint news conference with the Iraqi prime minister in Baghdad.

Television cameras captured the scene as Bush ducked twice and was unhurt.

“This is your farewell kiss, you dog,” al-Zeidi shouted. “This is for the widows and orphans of Iraq.”

Al-Zeidi, 30, was sentenced to three years in prison, but the sentence was reduced on appeal.

His release will be celebrated by fellow Iraqis who feel his act of protest helped to express their own bitterness over the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of their country, which began in March 2003.

Excited flag-waving family members have posted al-Zeidi’s picture and balloons on the walls of his apartment in central Baghdad, to welcome him home.

His former employer has bought him a new four-bedroom house and a car.

There are reports that al-Baghdadiya TV has kept his job available to him and believes he will return to work there.

However, his brother, Dargham, told The Associated Press the reporter is interested in working in a humanitarian or human-rights organization.

Source

To Muntadhar al-Zeidi: Good Luck in all your future endeavors.

May the sun smile upon you.

You are truly blessed.

Throwing shoes is more effective then dropping bombs.

Your message has been sent to the ends of the earth.

I among millions of others appreciate what you have done.

Millions feel the same way you do.

Thank You.

To the rest of the world: When is Bush and company going to be tried for their war crimes?

Published in: on September 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm  Comments Off on Iraqi shoe thrower Muntadhar al-Zeidi to be released from jail  
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Family says journalist who threw shoes at Bush beaten into apologizing

QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA

December 22, 2008

BAGHDAD – Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved Monday to undermine the popularity of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush.

In a posting on his website, Al-Maliki claimed journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi has apologized for the attack and confessed to carrying it out at the behest of a known militant.

However, the journalist’s family says al-Zeidi was tortured into apologizing for throwing his shoes at Bush – a gesture considered a major insult in Iraqi culture – and has told a brother that he would do it again if he had the chance.

Meanwhile, tensions over the case also spilled into parliament, as a move to oust the chamber’s abrasive Sunni speaker delayed a key decision on whether non-U.S. foreign troops will be allowed to stay in Iraq beyond New Year’s Eve.

Al-Maliki said that in a letter of apology to him, Muntadhar al-Zeidi wrote that a known militant had induced him to throw the shoes.

“He revealed … that a person provoked him to commit this act, and that person is known to us for slitting throats,” al-Maliki said on the prime minister’s website. The alleged instigator was not named and neither al-Maliki nor any of his officials would elaborate.

The journalist’s family denied the claim and alleged that al-Zeidi was coerced into writing the letter, in which he was said to have requested a pardon for “the big and ugly act that I perpetrated.”

Al-Zeidi’s brother Dhargham said that it was “unfair” of al-Maliki to make the allegation about the throat-slitter and described the prime minister as “a sectarian man who is destroying the Iraqi people.”

Earlier, another brother said he met the journalist in prison. “He told me that he has no regret for what he did and that he would do it again,” Uday al-Zeidi told The Associated Press.

He said he visited his brother Sunday and found him missing a tooth and with cigarette burns on his ears. He also said his brother told him that jailers also doused him with cold water while he was naked.

“When I saw him yesterday, there were bruises on his face and body,” Uday al-Zeidi told AP Television News.

“He told me that they used an iron bar to hit him when they took him out of the press conference room. He told me that he began screaming and thought all those at the press conference would have heard his voice.”

The investigating judge, Dhia al-Kinani, has said that the journalist was beaten around the face and eyes when he was wrestled to the ground after throwing the shoes at Bush during a Dec. 14 news conference in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone. The judge said al-Zeidi’s face was bruised but he did not provide a further description.

There has been no independent corroboration that al-Zeidi was abused in jail.

Al-Zeidi’s trial on charges of assaulting a foreign leader is scheduled to begin Dec. 31. A conviction would carry a sentence of up to two years in prison. Al-Kinani said last week that he does not have the legal option to drop the case and that al-Zeidi can receive a pardon only if he is convicted.

The hurling of the shoes turned the little-known Iraqi journalist into an international celebrity and led to huge street demonstrations in support of him both at home and abroad, including Canada.

It also brought to a head a simmering dispute between the Iraqi parliament’s abrasive, erratic Sunni speaker and Kurdish and Shiite lawmakers seeking to oust him.

The speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, had irked legislators during a boisterous debate over the case last week by insulting some of them and saying, “There is no honour in leading this parliament” and threatening to resign.

On Monday, legislators unsuccessfully tried to vote al-Mashhadani out of office. Instead they gave him until Tuesday to resign or face an ouster vote later that day.

After the heated closed-door session, al-Mashhadani attempted to force the body to withdraw its opposition to him by threatening to call a recess until Jan. 7 – a week after the UN mandate expires on Dec. 31 for non-U.S. foreign troops to remain in Iraq. He backed down after opposition legislators gathered enough signatures to force a vote against him.

Britain plans to withdraw its 4,000 troops from southern Iraq by the end of May. Australia, El Salvador, Estonia and Romania also have far smaller contingents. U.S. troops can remain in Iraq until the end of 2011 under a separate agreement reached this year.

Shiite and Kurdish legislators believe they have the required 139 votes in the 275-member parliament to remove al-Mashhadani. If he is ousted, he will be replaced by one of his two deputies, and parliament can then approve the resolution.

Two years ago, the Shiite bloc ousted al-Mashhadani after a string of outbursts, but his fellow Sunnis forced them to reinstate him.

Al-Mashhadani clashed with Kurdish legislators this year over whether the oil-rich city of Kirkuk should be incorporated into the semi-autonomous Kurdish territory. Kurds wanted the city included, but al-Mashhadani supported Arabs and Turkomen who opposed the idea.

Source

Join the Calls to release Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaydi

Shoe-tossing journalist was abused, Iraqi judge says

Protesters shake shoes at US Embassy in London

White House Protesters Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy

Dec 17: Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity with Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist

Iraqi MPs reject UK exit deal

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 12:35 am  Comments Off on Family says journalist who threw shoes at Bush beaten into apologizing  
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Guantanamo Bay: Obama’s options

November 12 2008

Guantanamo Bay has been widely condemned by international rights groups [GALLO/GETTY]

Barack Obama, the US president-elect, has said repeatedly that he will shut down the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and is now faced with decisions about how to proceed.

Rights groups have urged Obama to move swiftly once he begins his White House term in January.

The detention and treatment of prisoners held at the US facility has been widely condemned by international rights groups and the UN and EU.

It has held more than 750 captives from around the world since opening in 2002, including many who were captured during the US “war on terror” that followed the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001.

Around 250 prisoners remain in the camp – most held without charge or trial – including 50 or so that have been cleared for release but cannot be returned to their home countries, the US government says, for fear of torture and persecution.Two, including Osama bin Laden’s former driver, have already faced full military tribunals, set up by the Bush administration to try the detainees, but widely condemned as unfair by rights groups.

Aides to Obama say he remains committed to closing Guantanamo and trying the remaining detainees.

“President-Elect Obama said throughout his campaign that the legal framework at Guantanamo has failed to successfully and swiftly prosecute terrorists, and he shares the broad bipartisan belief that Guantanamo should be closed,” Denis McDonough, an advisor to Obama on foreign policy, said in a statement on Monday.

There are several options now on the table for the new administration.

1. Trying detainees using a new US legal system

Obama has considered proposing a new court system to try the Guantanamo detainees and has appointed a committee to decide how such a court would operate, recent media reports have said.

The US has faced widespread criticism over
its treatement of detainees [GALLO/GETTY]

How specifically that system would operate remains unclear.”There is no process in place to make that decision until his [Obama’s] national security and legal teams are assembled,” McDonough said.

But the idea of setting up a separate legal system for the detainees has already drawn some criticism, and invited comparisons to the military tribunals set up by the Bush administration.

“There would be concern about establishing a completely new system,” Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and former federal prosecutor, said.

“And in the sense that establishing a regimen of detention that includes American citizens and foreign nationals that takes place on US soil and departs from the criminal justice system – trying to establish that would be very difficult.”

2. Criminal trials in the US

Obama aides have also said Guantanamo’s remaining detainees could be prosecuted in federal criminal courts.

Doing so in the US would grant the detainees legal rights equivalent to those of citizens, thus creating a host of problems for prosecutors.

More than 750 prisoners have been held at the detention centre since 2002 [GALLO/GETTY]

Evidence gathered through military interrogation or from intelligence sources could be thrown out.Defendents would also have the right to confront witnesses, which means undercover CIA officers or informants might have to take the stand, jeopardising their identities and revealing classified intelligence tactics.

The idea of bringing alleged terrorists onto US soil has also proved controversial.

Last year, the US senate overwhelmingly passed a non-binding bill opposing bringing detainees to the United States.

John Cornyn, a Republican senate judiciary committee member, says it would be a “colossal mistake to treat terrorism as a mere crime”.

“It would be a stunning disappointment if one of the new administration’s first priorities is to give foreign terror suspects captured on the battlefield the same legal rights and protections as American citizens accused of crimes,” he said.

3. Trials in the US military court-martial system

Use of the US military’s court-martial system is another possible option to try Guantanamo detainees.

Could the US use its own military justice system
to try detainees? [GALLO/GETTY]

“The court martial system could be adapted very easily by congress – I think that’s by far the better option,” Scott Silliman, a law professor at Duke University and director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, told Al Jazeera.A US federal trial, like the case brought against Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted of conspiring to kill US citizens in the September 11 attacks, could be drawn out over several years.

However, courts-martial, which unlike federal trials can take place outside the US, but maintain a higher standard of evidence than that of the current military tribunals used by the Bush administration.

But critics have also said that the higher standard of evidence could create problems for the prosecuting teams similar to that in criminal trials.

Silliman, however, says the US has much to gain from the system, in terms of credibility, for holding detainees to the same standards as its own military forces.

4. Repatriation

For the detainees which the government maintains no evidence of criminality, Obama advisers told the Associated Press news agency on Monday that they would probably be returned to the countries where they were captured for continued detention or rehabilitation.

The outgoing administration contends this is easier said than done.

“We’ve tried very hard to explain to people how complicated it is,” Dana Perino, a spokeswoman for the White House, says. “When you pick up people off the battlefield that have a terrorist background, it’s not just so easy to let them go.”

Some governments have denied that the Guantanamo prisoners are in fact their citizens, while others have been reluctant to agree to US requests to imprison or monitor former Guantanamo detainees.

The Bush administration says talks with Yemen for the release of around 90 Yemeni detainees into a rehabilitation programme have so far been fruitless.

5. Resettlement in other countries

At least 50 of Guantanamo’s inmates have already been cleared for release but the US government says they cannot be returned to their home countries for fear of torture and persecution.

Human Rights groups have called for a swift closure of Guantanamo Bay [AFP]

The US state department and international human rights groups have urged third-party countries to accept these Guantanamo prisoners.In Berlin on Monday, five rights groups issued a joint call to European governments to grant humanitarian resettlement and protection to detainees from China, Libya, Russia, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan, among others.

“This would have a double effect: helping to end the ordeal of an individual unlawfully held in violation of his human rights, and helping end the international human rights scandal that is Guantanamo,” Daniel Gorevan, who manages Amnesty International’s “Counter Terror with Justice” campaign, said.

Analysts have said international governments might be more willing to negotiate on this issue with an Obama administration because the president-elect has spoken out against unilateral US action, and is less likely to have as strict requirements.

6. Keeping Guantanamo open

The likelihood of keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open is an apparently a slim one in part, because of the negative publicity the Obama administration would receive.

The facility has been condemned by the UN, the EU, and numerous human rights groups, and many in the US argue that the camp is also a liability.

Even George Bush acknowledged in 2006 he would “like to close” it.

“Guantanamo Bay, for most people is a lightning rod for everything that’s wrong with the United States,” Silliman says. “I’m not sure Obama would be able to back away from his campaign pledge.”

Were it to remain open, the US congress would be likely to have to pass a new law to keep the detainees there, and push through humanitarian and legal changes.

Another alternative is for the US to work with other countries to create jointly-operated detention facilities.

Whatever the plan the new administration pursues, Silliman says Obama isn’t likely to push through changes on January 21 – his first day in office.

“We should not expect it to take place in the first couple of weeks of his administration, or even in the first couple months,” he says.

“All of this is going to take time.”

Source

CIA officers could face trial in Britain over torture allegations

Attorney General to investigate abuse claims

By Robert Verkaik

October 31 2008

Senior CIA officers could be put on trial in Britain after it emerged last night that the Attorney General is to investigate allegations that a British resident held in Guantanamo Bay was brutally tortured, after being arrested and questioned by American forces following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has asked Baroness Scotland to consider bringing criminal proceedings against Americans allegedly responsible for the rendition and abuse of Binyam Mohamed, when he was held in prisons in Morocco and Afghanistan.

The development follows criticism of US prosecutors by British judges who have seen secret evidence of torture committed against Mr Mohamed, including allegations his torturers used a razor blade to repeatedly cut his penis. The Attorney’s investigation is expected to include allegations that MI5 colluded in Mr Mohamed’s rendition. Mr Mohamed, 30, an Ethiopian national and British resident, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, when he was questioned by an MI5 officer.

On Tuesday, Government lawyers wrote to the judges hearing Mr Mohamed’s case against the UK government in the High Court. In the letter they said “the question of possible criminal wrongdoing to which these proceedings has given rise has been referred by the Home Secretary to the Attorney general for consideration as an independent minister of justice”. Baroness Scotland has been sent secret witness statements given to the court and public interest immunity certificates for the proceedings.

Mr Mohamed, 30, accuses MI5 agents of lying about what they knew of CIA plans to transfer him to a prison in north Africa, where he claims he was subjected to horrendous torture. Mr Mohamed, who won asylum in the UK in 1994, has been charged with terrorism-related offences. He awaits a decision on whether he is to face trial at the US naval base. He is officially the last Briton at Guantanamo. Last night his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said: “This is a welcome recognition that the CIA cannot just go rendering British residents to secret torture chambers without consequences, and British agents cannot take part in US crimes without facing the music. Reprieve will be making submissions to the Attorney General to ensure those involved, from the US, Pakistan, Morocco, Britain, are held responsible.”

Richard Stein, of Leigh Day, representing Mr Mohamed in the High Court proceedings, said: “Ultimately the British Government had little choice once they conceded that a case had been made that Binyam Mohamed was tortured. The Convention Against Torture imposes an obligation on signatory states to investigate torture.”

In August two judges ruled allegations of torture were at least arguable and that MI5 had information relating to Mr Mohamed that was “not only necessary but essential for his defence”.

The judges have read statements and interviews with Mr Mohamed between 28 and 31 July, 2004 when he says he was forced to confess to terrorism. The judges said: “This was after a period of over two-and-a-half years of incommunicado detention during which Binyam Mohamed alleges he was tortured.”

He was first held in Pakistan in 2002, where a British agent interrogated him; he was then sent to Morocco by the CIA and allegedly tortured for 18 months. He was rendered to the secret “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan, where his torture is alleged to have continued. Since September 2004, he has been in Guantanamo Bay.

Source

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 9:10 am  Comments Off on CIA officers could face trial in Britain over torture allegations  
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Who Cares about Omar Khadr ?


By Debbie Menon

October 16, 2008

Omar Khadr is probably the greatest shame on Canada, because two governments, the Liberals under Paul Martin and the Conservatives under Harper have both made the overt decision to leave him in prison. The case against him is insane.

He was a child, aged 15. He was in Afghanistan because his parents took him there. His father and mother are militant Muslims. He was in a building that US commandos suddenly attacked. When people in the building shot back, they bombed the building and blew it to bits. Then they approached the building, and a US soldier got killed by a hand grenade thrown from the ruins of the building. When they entered the ruins Omar was still alive, but, others were too. In a revised report, they made him the only one left alive. He has been charged with murder. He was shot at close range by bullets (plural).

The case is insane for several reasons:

1) He is a child soldier, which means he is a victim of war not a war criminal.

2) Evidence was changed to make him the only person by inference who might have thrown a hand grenade.There is no witness that he did.

3) Soldiers killed while attacking a house in a foreign country cannot be victims of murder. They are casualties of war.

4) People in a house being attacked by foreigners are engaged in self-defense.

The US has made a category that a person is not a soldier and is not a civilian: unlawful enemy combatant. So laws of war and POW treatment do not apply and criminal laws also do not apply.

He has been tortured in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo.

There is not much evidence against him and there is lack of jurisdiction in US Law related to “child soldiers”. The only reason he is still in Guantanamo Bay is because the government is afraid they have turned him into a radical. He is young and can be rehabilitated. Everyone, even the Canadian officials who came to console him, have done nothing and he continues to be persecuted.

I received a plea from a woman Zainab Ali asking: “Who cares for this boy?”

http://cageprisoners.com/articles.php?id=25526

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQHFFbD_-Pg

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/khadr/omar-khadr.html

http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/346020

http://www.thestar.com/article/512286

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/11128331/follow_omar_khadr_from_an_al_qaeda_childhood_to_a_gitmo_cell

It is not that no one cares…Zainab cares… I care… Moazzem Begg cares… there are probably others, even his captors, who may care.

The problem is, none of us who care are in any position or hold any power to do anything for him. We are not even voters in America and do not even have the stilled voice of constituency, or a representative to write to, which would be futile anyway.

The editors we know are not going to be interested because this is not the kind of news which sells time and space in their media.

And, no one else is paid to care!

To even publish this kind of stuff more than once will get an editor the name of a “bleeding heart sympathizer with terrorists” and risk loss of readership, which his corporate bosses who need the sales numbers in order to sell space and time would not appreciate!

Yes, if they released him they would either have a new and dedicated enemy warrior on their hands, or a “Poster Boy” to inspire and recruit many more.
It is more than likely that they simply consider that they have a problem, and the longer they have kept him the more difficult it has become to release him. Think of the “Missing in Action POWs” whom John McCain and his Government left behind in Vietnam. The longer they denied their existence, the harder it became to bring them back in from the cold and, eventually, they had to write them off because it would have been too embarrassing to save them. This is what is happening in Gitmo.

The kid has no chance. Unless some Colonel, General, or someone with sufficient authority, if even for a moment, should step in, risk his neck, and sign a paper which gets the boy free long enough for him to make it back home to cover. This is extremely unlikely!

There must be some reason why this lad did not die from his wounds. A shotgun blast to the back with sufficient force to exit the chest is a pretty fatal event. Perhaps the Power which kept him alive this long will reveal

His purpose in time. Yeah, I know that is even more rhetorical crap, but then, that is my stock in trade!

Wars produce even worse things and casualties. He is one of them.

The  current dead, maimed, and homeless count this morning, in Iraq

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq “1,273,378”
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq/iraqdeaths.html

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America’s War On Iraq 4,185
http://icasualties.org/oif/

The War And Occupation Of Iraq Costs
$563,004,340,867

See the cost in your community
http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182

1,273,378 Who cares about them? How many American youths have they sent to be killed? 4,180 Who cares about them? It has been 7 years and counting.

Do not expect the Americans to care. Very little, I can assure you!

Prayer may help…I’m not sure.

Source

This young man should be removed from US custody immediately. This should have never happened to him or any other child for that matter.

I am also thinking of the million plus people who are now dead because of the Bush Administration lies and propaganda. I am also thinking of the soldiers who also died because of Bush and his lies.

So why is Bush and his cronies, who manufactured the lies and deceit not being punished for murder, genocide, war crimes, fraud, etc etc etc?  I have to ask?

Harper hasn’t done enough to have this young man removed from US custody.

Canadians have been trying to get his attention. He isn’t listening however. Many have been trying from day one. What Bush Administration is doing to this young man, is illegal.