Over 7,000 prisoners are held in Libya

November 15 2011

As of June 2011 NATO had exacted 26,000 sorties and nearly 10,000 airstrikes. The number of actual Airstrikes is much higher, as the bombing continued up until October 2011.  

At least 30,000 people were killed and 50,000 wounded in Libya’s six-month NATO war. The numbers may be higher.

As of today there are at least 7,000 prisoners held by the NTC/Rebels  at this point in time probably more.

Libya: detainees and the dead must be respected

October 27 2011

Following the recent fighting, particularly in Sirte, Georges Comninos, who heads the ICRC delegation in Libya, gives an update on the immediate humanitarian priorities and on problems that have recently been the subject of debate, in particular the public display of detainees and the dead.

What will the ICRC’s priorities be in the coming days?

Many people are still being arrested. Obtaining access to people newly detained, in particular those captured following the recent fighting in Sirte and Bani Walid, is a priority. In the framework of a constructive dialogue with the transitional authorities, we have visited 6,000 detainees in Tripoli, Misrata and other cities nearby over the past two months. So we have reason to be optimistic about obtaining access to people recently arrested. That being said, in order to be able to check on the treatment they are receiving and on the conditions in which they are being held, the visits will have to take place without delay.

International Committee of the Red Cross  (ICRC) delegates have returned to Sirte several times over the past few days. The fighting was extremely fierce, as can be seen by the large-scale destruction. The city is almost deserted; only a small number of families are starting to return.

At least 200 corpses have so far been found in Sirte. The staff of the National Commission for the Missing, a doctor from Ibn Sina Hospital and civilian volunteers are currently involved in the retrieval and temporary burial of unidentified bodies. The ICRC provided them with advice in order to facilitate the process of having the deceased identified by members of their families.

In the light of information obtained in Sirte, we are also going to intensify our dialogue with the authorities concerned on the conduct of recent hostilities and on compliance with other rules of international humanitarian law.

In cooperation with Libyan Red Crescent volunteers, we will be pressing ahead in the coming days with the delivery of aid to tens of thousands of people displaced from Sirte and Bani Walid. Unexploded munitions in those cities constitute a danger and a further obstacle to the return of the people who fled. It will therefore also be necessary to raise people’s awareness of the danger posed by these explosive remnants of war.

The public display of detainees and of mortal remains has triggered a great deal of reaction and debate in recent days. What is the ICRC’s view of these issues?

Over the past few days, people with their hands tied have been put on display on vehicles, interrogations of detainees have been filmed by local media, and mortal remains have been exposed to public curiosity…

Our view of these issues is based on the applicable rules of international humanitarian law, for which we endeavour to ensure respect.

In each individual case, the parties concerned must refrain from subjecting persons in their power to treatment incompatible with respect for their honour and dignity – in particular, to humiliating and degrading treatment. They must treat them humanely, without any adverse distinction. International humanitarian law also contains rules concerning respect for the dead, such as the obligation to search for, collect and evacuate the dead without adverse distinction, to prevent the dead from being despoiled or mutilated, and to bury the dead with respect.

These rules concerning respect for persons deprived of their freedom and for mortal remains also apply in connection with their display to the general public via the media.

There have recently been numerous allegations of summary executions in places where fighting has taken place, particularly in Sirte. What do you have to say on this topic?

We will not cease to point out that international humanitarian law prohibits at any time, and in any place whatsoever, violence to the life and person of anyone no longer taking an active part in hostilities. Violations of this prohibition by any party involved in the conflict are grave breaches of international humanitarian law which, once established, must be punished.

On issues like this, the ICRC gives priority to bilateral and confidential dialogue with the parties. Source

Unfortunately the Red Cross have not told us how the prisoners are being treated.

Red Cross Statement on Abuzaid Dorda

Nov 14, 2011

Abuzaid Dorda is a very famous Libyan, Once the Prime Minister, and the permanent representative to the UN. Since being arrested in good health, he now has broken bones and his health is in jeopardy, in the last days there are videos on this channel with his brother and his son.

Libya’s former UN ambassador fears for life in jail spoke to Dorda’s family who confirmed that prison guards threw Dorda from a second floor and beat him.

NTC officials deny the allegation and say Dorda incurred injuries including two broken legs whilst either attempting to escape or commit suicide.
Considering the barbaric behavior of the Rebels, I believe the man was brutalized by the Rebels.
Here are just a few reports from Detainees.

Because the detainees expressed fear of reprisals, including some who said they might face beatings for talking with a Human Rights Watch researcher, Human Rights Watch is withholding their real names.

A dark-skinned Libyan, Abdulatif, said that guards in one Tripoli detention facility used electric shock to force him to confess to crimes he said he had not committed:

The rebels were taking turns. There were too many to count. Every day, there was a new face. They zapped me with an electric stick on my legs and on my arms. They did that twice. They asked me questions when they did this…. They asked me again and hit me. I said “No, I swear I didn’t,” so they started electrocuting me. They wanted me to confess but in the wrong way. They hit me every day. They used falaga [beating on the bottom of the feet] and hit me on my back, all over my body, and slapped my face. They did this three times.

Another dark-skinned Libyan, Juma, showed Human Rights Watch his wounds and talked of his interrogation at a large Tripoli prison:

They used cables and engine belts [to beat me]…. They hit me every day. The first days, they beat me for six to seven hours. I fainted. They beat me until I lost consciousness. They were still beating me, but I couldn’t feel it. They poured a bucket of water on my head twice, so I woke up. When I woke up, they would leave me alone, but then they started beating me again.…They put the electric stick on my side, my thighs, my shoulder, my back. If you fall, they put it on your body, anywhere. They use it right away when you fall. I can’t tell you how many times they did this.

The pronounced scars he showed Human Rights Watch were consistent with his claims. ­

One sub-Saharan African, Mohammed, wept as he showed Human Rights Watch welts on his arms, back, and neck that he said were from beatings by guards at a small detention center. Another African migrant said that guards twice extinguished a cigarette on his arm. “Every day they frighten me,” he told Human Rights Watch. “They say they will slaughter me.”

One Libyan detainee, Ahmed, described daily beatings and mistreatment while he was held at a neighborhood detention center that Human Rights Watch did not visit:

They took an electric cable and started hitting me with it. They didn’t use electricity, but they said that if I didn’t talk, they would…They hit me with a butt of the Kalashnikov (a type of rifle). They kicked me in the face and in the chest. One scratched me with the knife [bayonet] of the Kalashnikov.”

Ahmed showed Human Rights Watch scars on various parts of his body, including from cigarette burns.

There are also children held in those prisons as well, but no one is reporting how many.

I guess the CIA taught them well.
Under Libyan law, which obviously doesn’t apply anymore now that the NTC/Rebels have taken over. the police must have a warrant to make an arrest. The police can hold a person for up to 48 hours, and the prosecution has up to six days to file charges, although a judge can extend this period for up to 30 days. Defendants have the right to be informed of the charges against them and to have access to a lawyer from the moment of arrest.

Obama’s War Incited by CNN, Al Jazeera & Co Leaves Thousands of Libyan Children Handicapped or Dead

This is what happened to many children in Libya Not for the faint of heart. Warning it is very graphic, but it is the truth. What did these children ever do to anyone? This is the true face of the US/NATO war against Libyans. If this does not make you angry then there is something wrong with you. What does it take to make you say NO MORE WAR? Imagine this is your children.

No one in Libya will thank you for this. This is American Freedom.

Despite the evidence of ‘mission creep’, NATO leaders seem determined to bet against a future Nuremberg-style war crime action against them, and continue to pound the city of Sirte by night, to ‘break the ground’ for their daytime sniper-fodder ‘relief team.’‬

‪During a two day so-called truce in early October the Red Cross tried to enter Sirte to provide humanitarian aid. On the first day they managed to visit a hospital on the southern outskirts, bringing in a few needed supplies, but the hospital came under NTC rebel attack, and they were not able to inspect the whole building let alone get into the city proper and visit other areas.‬

‪On the second day the Red Cross tried to take two large aid trucks into the city. But the rebels began firing and so the Red Cross backed up quickly and abandoned their attempt. Preventing access for aid, another war crime.‬

Forever announcing their ‘final’ assault on Sirte, the NTC rebels have not yet quite managed to achieve it. NATO is now firing missiles from helicopters onto the city. They continue their murderous siege of 100,000 people, maybe more people because many from other towns months ago sought harbor in Sirte, maybe fewer because many have died or fled. Whatever the number, the people of Sirte are defending themselves and their city against NATO’s military might.‬

‪The Human Rights groups and United Nations community are being tested. On whether the international member nations have the moral courage to stand up to the powerful NATO nations, point out the illegality of the war on Libya, and insist that their ambassadors take that message to the UN. Meanwhile Gaddafi is proven right yet again, when he observed years ago that the UN did not provide fair treatment for its smaller and less powerful member nations.

TORONTO CONFERENCE Sept 9, 2011, The Truth about Libya and NATO’s “Humanitarian” Military Road Map – Cynthia McKinney, Mahdi Nazemroaya and Michel Chossudovsky speak at Friends Place in  Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – Independent journalist who just returned from Libya, and Research Associate of the Center for Research on Globalization – GLOBAL RESEARCH

The Truth about Libya TORONTO CONFERENCE – PART 1

The Truth about Libya TORONTO CONFERENCE – PART 2

The Truth about Libya TORONTO CONFERENCE – PART 3

The Truth about Libya TORONTO CONFERENCE – PART 4

Related

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

Cost of war to Libyans about $200 Billion

Over 800 Bodies Dumped in Libyan Cemetary by Rebels

Racist murders in Libya at the hands of rebel forces Also The US and NATO are backing two terrorist organizations in Libya        Al-Qaeda being one of them.  The Rebels are actually terrorist groups.

Libya war lies worse than Iraq

UN chief Ban alarmed over rising civilian toll in Libya

(Libya 1) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

NATO raids kill 85 civilians in Libya

UN Member States Must Demand Action Against NATO War Crimes

Criminal State – A Closer Look at Israel’s Role in Terrorism  Israel coned the US to attack Libya before.

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Published in: on November 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm  Comments Off on Over 7,000 prisoners are held in Libya  
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Over 800 Bodies Dumped in Libyan Cemetary by Rebels

by Jason Ditz
September 19 2011
The Libyan rebel movement’s primary embarrassment at the moment is that their claims of “50,000″ civilians slain by Moammar Gadhafi looks by early bodycounts to be about 49,000 too many. Bodies are turning up, however, and not the ones the rebels were hoping for.

Instead, reports have the rebel forces dumping hundreds of bodies in a “pro-Gadhafi” cemetary with no identification, slain by the rebels for some unexplained reason. Just one cemetery reported some 800 unidentified corpses.

It is unclear if these are slain members of the regime’s military, or simply dissidents. The rebels are also said to be converting a number of buildings into additional prison space, apparently out of concern that the prison-happy Gadhafi regime simply didn’t have enough room for the enormous numbers of people the new pro-NATO regime is detaining.

In Misrata, the rebels have filled a former school with detainees. None were charged with crimes but were said to have “committed crimes against Misrata” and that the local rebels would decide what to do with them. Reports have them looking for a bigger building, since the school is now packed with detainees.

The exact extent of the Libyan rebel crimes will likely remain unclear for some time, as the unexplained depopulation of entire towns and the Misrata militia’s penchant for attacking the refugee camps they ordered black people into has left massive numbers of people missing without a trace. Source

The last time Hussein Ibrahim Saleh saw his brother Jamal was more than a month ago. On Saturday, Saleh received confirmation that his brother was body number 531 in a cemetery for fighters loyal to Moammar Gadhafi in Misrata, 120 miles east.

By DAVID ENDERS
September 18 2011

“He left Tripoli on August 10 to visit our brother in Hisha,” Saleh said, referring to a town taken over by rebels two weeks ago on the road between Misrata and Sirte, one of the cities where fighting continues between fighters loyal to Gadhafi and the rebels that deposed him last month. “He was missing since then.”

The majority of the more than 800 bodies and sets of remains in the “pro-Gadhafi” cemetery are without names or identification other than digital photos of their faces taken by the volunteers who run the cemetery. Many of the bodies were left at the cemetery by the rebels, with no information about where they were killed or found.

In a revolution where rebel fighters have banded together in local groups answerable only to the communities they come from, much is unresolved. One emerging problem is the apparent persecution of black Libyans and non-Libyan Africans, which has resulted in at least one instance of racial cleansing, as rebels from Misrata pursued residents from the nearby predominantly black village of Tawergha, which many Libyans say supported Gadhafi. Residents also fled a predominantly black neighborhood in Misrata.

Prisoners from Tawergha captured in Tripoli after they fled fighting in and around the village before it was taken by rebels Aug. 15 were taken back to prisons in Misrata, with the help of rebel units in Tripoli. The Misrata cemetery became the burial place for bodies of those killed between Sirte and Tripoli.

Jamal Ibrahim Saleh was one of those that fled the fighting, his brother said.

Misrata rebel units have a reputation for being tough fighters, after they battled a months-long siege of their city by Gadhafi’s forces, in which more than 1,000 people died and which seriously damaged Misrata and the cities nearby, before they invaded Tripoli in August.

“Yesterday, the leader of the military council in Garabulli asked a unit from Misrata to come and arrest people,” said Hisham Embarika, a volunteer who runs the cemetery and one of the city’s two prisons, referring to a town on the road between Tripoli and Misrata.

None of the 420 prisoners held at a secondary school used as a prison in Misrata has been charged with any crime. There are no trials in sight. Embarika does not know the name of the justice minister appointed by the National Transitional Council, the rebel’s nominal government in Tripoli. Embarika said justice for those who had committed crimes against Misrata would be left to Misratans, not to a national government.

“Misrata will decide what to do,” Embarika said.

The rebel units against Gadhafi’s troops in Libya’s seven-month civil war have taken thousands of prisoners, some of whom have been held since the revolution began on Feb. 17. Source

Those Rebels certainly are  something else. Can’t say I am impressed.

I pity those who have to live in Libya under such a horrific regime. NATO is proud of these guys are they?

Just another puppet regime installed by all the so called superior beings of the planet….. They are no so Superior however many of the NATO countries are majorly messed up and should be taking care of all the problems at home instead of interfering in other countries.

Classic example the US is Trillions in Debt.  They are Dragging other countries down with them. Just like the sinking of the Titanic. So how many countries have their leg tied to the US Titanic which is sinking into the deep dark depths of the ocean of debt.

Libya didn’t have any debt. They will now. How much you want to bet the IMF and World bank will be just scrambling to lend the NEW Libyan leaders money just so they can be attached to the sinking Titanic as well?

NATO has destroyed so much of the infrastructure it is sickening. Nothing like bombing a country back to the stone age then make the people of said county use their money to pay for it using the US and NATO companies/corporations of course. Ah yes Good old companies like Haliburtin just waiting in the door step.

I also have to wonder how many of those Rebels were from American or British mercenary organizations like good old Blackwater? Maybe there were a few a few from Israel as well.

Maybe the majority of Rebels were not even from Libya, maybe they were just expensive imports.

Killing of so many Black Libyans could be a tell tale indicator.

So how many FAKE Rebels are there?

I wonder.  You should too.

Gadhafi may not have been perfect, but this lot is much worse.

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Criminal State – A Closer Look at Israel’s Role in Terrorism/NATO and US supporting the Rebels who are actually terrorist on the US/NATO Terrorist list. I thought the war was against terrorist not to help them. I guess they have been helping the Terrorists all along. Anything to keep the wars going for the profiteers.

Racist murders in Libya at the hands of rebel forces

Israel angers Egyptian Protesters

Libya war lies worse than Iraq

Published in: on September 20, 2011 at 4:15 am  Comments Off on Over 800 Bodies Dumped in Libyan Cemetary by Rebels  
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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

Judge dismisses scores of Guantanamo habeas cases

By Carol Rosenberg
May 5 2010

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has dismissed more than 100 habeas corpus lawsuits filed by former Guantanamo captives, ruling that because the Bush and Obama administrations had transferred them elsewhere, the courts need not decide whether the Pentagon imprisoned them illegally.

The ruling dismayed attorneys for some of the detainees who’d hoped any favorable U.S. court findings would help clear their clients of the stigma, travel restrictions and, in some instances, perhaps more jail time that resulted from their stay at Guantanamo.

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan wrote that he was “not unsympathetic” to the former detainees’ plight. “Detention for any length of time can be injurious. And certainly associations with Guantanamo tend to be negative,” he wrote.

But the detainees’ transfer from Guantanamo made their cases moot. “The court finds that petitioners no longer present a live case or controversy since a federal court cannot remedy the alleged collateral consequences of their prior detention at Guantanamo,” he wrote.

Hogan’s ruling, issued last Thursday, but not widely publicized, closed the files on 105 habeas corpus petitions, many of which had been pending for years as the Bush administration resisted the right of civilian judges to intervene in military detentions. The U.S. Supreme Court resolved that issue in 2008, ruling in Boumediene v. Bush that the detainees could challenge their captivity in civilian court. Since then, judges have ordered the release of 34 detainees while upholding the detention of 12.

Attorneys for the ex-detainees were deciding Monday whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, said Shayana Kadidal, an attorney at New York’s Center for Constitutional Rights, which has taken the lead in championing Guantanamo habeas petitions.

The former prisoners who’d filed the dismissed suits ranged from “people who disappeared in Libyan prison to people who are home living with their family and can’t get a job,” Kadidal said.

The “vast, vast majority” of former Guantanamo prisoners are under some form of travel restriction, he said, as a result of either transfer agreements between the United States and where they now live or the stigma of having spent time in U.S. military custody.

“If you want to do haj at some point in your life,” he said, referring to a Muslim’s duty to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, a freed detainee would need to get those restrictions lifted.

Moreover, he added, CCR affiliated attorneys have tracked former captives to prison at Pol-i-charki, Afghanistan, that was once run by the U.S. military. He said “the U.S. may be pulling the puppet strings” of their continued captivity.

In the case of two men sent home to Sudan, according to an affidavit filed by an investigator with the Oregon Federal Public Defender’s office, which is representing them, the United States required as a condition for their release that Sudan seize their travel documents and prevent them from leaving the country.

Hogan said the attorneys for the former detainees hadn’t offered enough proof that other countries were operating essentially as U.S. proxies. “Petitioners are short on examples, except for the fact that former Guantanamo detainees from Afghanistan transferred back to Afghanistan have been detained at a detention facility built by the United States,” he wrote.

Of the 183 men currently held at Guantanamo, 22 have had their habeas cases resolved — 10 who were ordered released, but are still being held and the 12 whose detentions were upheld.

It was unclear, however, how many of the other 161 might have cases pending. Some detainees have refused American lawyers’ offers to sue on their behalf, apparently rejecting the authority of any U.S. court to sit in judgment on them. An Obama administration panel has determined that about 50 of those should be held indefinitely without charges.  Source

This of course is American Justice.  No Justice at all.

Drone Pilots Could Be Tried for ‘War Crimes’

US Senate votes to ban big bank ‘bailouts’

Canada: McTeer accuses Tories of putting women’s lives at risk

TIME SQUARE BOMB HOAX, Israeli Intel Group Shows It’s Hand

May Day protests draw millions worldwide

Can You Pass The Iran Quiz

NATO troops kill Again! This time three Afghan women

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

Published in: on May 7, 2010 at 3:41 am  Comments Off on Judge dismisses scores of Guantanamo habeas cases  
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Canada: Heavily edited Afghan documents prove need for inquiry

December 2 2009

OTTAWA — The federal government released almost 200 pages of heavily censored documents about Afghanistan detainees on Wednesday, prompting critics to assert that the excessive secrecy highlights the need for a public inquiry.

“What we’ve seen from this government is a whole lot of redaction, in other words blacked out documents,” charged Paul Dewar, NDP foreign affairs critic. “It’s like reading tea leaves.”

Dewar produced his own document, obtained through an access to information request, showing that the government had blacked out a reference to torture in a 2006 report from its own Foreign Affairs bureaucrats on the state of human rights in Afghanistan.

The original, unedited, document, which was leaked to the media in 2007, concluded that “extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture and detention without trial are all too common.”

“This is precisely why Canadians can’t trust any documents with redactions from this government,” said Dewar.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association joined calls for a judicial inquiry. The association’s litigation director, Grace Pastine, said that the “heavily, heavily redacted” federal reports shed little light on what the government knew about allegations that Taliban insurgents were abused after Canadian troops handed the captives over to Afghan control.

The government released the documents Wednesday to a special House of Commons committee on Afghanistan, which requested them two weeks ago to support allegations from senior bureaucrat Richard Colvin that his superiors in Ottawa and Afghanistan turned a blind eye to his allegations in 2006 that detainees were tortured in Afghan jails.

Colleen Swords, who was an assistant deputy minister during Colvin’s 17-month stint in Afghanistan, refuted Colvin’s allegations that he persistently warned her and other government officials about torture. Colvin fingered Swords in particular, saying that she told him to use the phone instead of putting his concerns in writing.

Swords appeared before the committee one week after three military generals and a former deputy foreign minister, David Mulroney, dismissed Colvin’s allegations as untrue.

In Beijing, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters he has no intention of calling a public inquiry.

“The government of Canada has taken all necessary actions in all instances where there is proof of abuse of Afghan prisoners,” Harper said. “I think the opposition has nothing to do when it is talking about something that happened three years ago.”

As the government released its redacted documents, the head of the Military Police Complaints Commission, Peter Tinsley, permitted the release of material the government had provided to the commission, which is conducting a probe into the role of the military police in transferring detainees.

Tinsley concluded that the government has leaked so many of the documents to the media that the records should be publicly released to protect Colvin’s reputation from being impugned.

Colvin is one of almost two dozen witnesses who have been called to testify at the commission but the government has been trying to block them, citing national security concerns. The Commons committee began public hearings last month after the commission puts its probe on hold, saying it cannot proceed because it has been stonewalled by the government.

The newly released reports confirm Colvin’s contention that the International Committee of the Red Cross, the humanitarian organization responsible for monitoring the human-rights situation in Afghanistan, repeatedly raised red flags in 2006 over Canada handing over detainees without an adequate process in place to keep track of them.

One year later, in the spring of 2007, the government strengthened its transfer-of-prisoners arrangement with Afghanistan to ensure followup and prison monitoring.

Meanwhile, newly released documents show Red Cross officials complained in May and September 2006 that the Canadian military was refusing to provide basic information about Afghans it was holding captive, hampering the international organization’s efforts to keep track of prisoners.

The heavily censored records, released late Wednesday by the government, provide a glimpse into how federal bureaucrats and military officers, both in Ottawa and Afghanistan, were dealing with individuals being detained by Canadian troops in Kandahar.

“Because of inadequate information collection and occasional reporting delays, the (censored from documents) office is losing track of some Afghan detainees,” a May 26, 2006, e-mail sent by Colvin and circulated to various officials in Foreign Affairs and the Defence Department, pointed out.

“Efforts to resolve these problems to date have not been successful. (Organization name censored from document) ‘very much taken aback’ by the lack of co-operation from Cdn military in theatre.”

The e-mail was also sent to the office of then Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay.

The e-mail pointed out the Red Cross was concerned it was taking as long as two months before the Canadian military was providing notification that a person had been detained. “And a lot can happen in two months,” it added.

With files from David Akin and David Pugliese, Canwest News Service and Ottawa Citizen Video at the Source. Source

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I smell a cover up.  Harper is not to be trusted to many times he has gone behind Canadians backs to make backroom deals.

Like “The Canadian and Israel Public Security Agreement”

Want to know about Israels terrorist activities check HERE.

It’s a rather long list including using Mossad using Canadian passports in an  assasinsination attempt.

Harper is also trying to remove Freedom of Speech from Canadians.

So if any Canadians drop by or you know any please send them the link of the Post Below.  There is a Petition as well as Gov. MP  Contact info and information.

The Government has gone so far as to ban a British MP from entering Canada because he supported those in Gaza.  Absolutely  Appalling.

Israel: Attempting to take away Canadians Freedom of Speech

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Why: War in Iraq and Afghanistan


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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PA minister accuses Israel of neglecting prisoners’ health

Links to Two very good reports on prisoners below. One on Children on on Adults.

Bethlehem

Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi on Tuesday alleged that potentially fatal diseases such as cancer were going untreated inside Israeli prisons.

In a statement, Qaraqi attributed certain patients’ decline to the “Israeli prison service deliberately neglecting prisoners’ healthcare,” and its failure to release prisoners on humanitarian grounds.

Jailing some 25 prisoners with cancer “is a serious phenomenon which indicates that prisoners in Israeli jails do not get the minimum healthcare,” the minister added.

Qaraqi mentioned 22-year-old prisoner Hamza Tarayra, from Bani Na’eim near Hebron, who was released recently before completing his sentence because he has advanced cancer of the mouth.

The minister also mentioned prisoner Fayiz Zeidat who was also released before completing his term due to cancer. Qaraqi said that Zeidat was transferred to Jordan for medical treatment.

Qaraqi accused Israeli prison service medics of diagnosing prisoners with cancer at early stages, but deliberately ignore their treatment until their situation worsens.

He also stated that many released prisoners had died of cancer, such as Ziad Hamid, Musallam Ad-Duda, and Atif Abu Aker.

The statement concluded by citing a short list of Palestinian prisoners in Israel that Qaraqi said suffer from advanced diseases:

1. 36-year-old Raed Darabieh from the Gaza Strip, who is serving a lifetime sentence and suffering from bone marrow cancer.
2. Female prisoner Raja Al-Ghoul, who suffers from heart disease and badly needs a procedure.
3. 28-year-old Ahmad Awwad from Tulkarem who also suffers from heart disease and needs surgery.
4. Akram Al-Anteir who suffers from tumors that have left him paralyzed.
5. Akram Mansour from Qalqiliya who suffers from a blood allergy and has lost hearing.
6. Female prisoner Amal Jum’a from Nablus who has from cervical cancer.

Source

Defence for Children International has a report on the treatment Children  in Israeli prisons it an extremely disturbing report .It explains how they are coerced and tortured to get confessions.Much of what has been done to the children are in violation of :

Appendix I – UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

Ratified by the State of Israel in 1991

Appendix II – UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984)

Ratified by the State of Israel in 1991

Appendix III – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)

Ratified by the State of Israel in 1992

Appendix IV – Fourth Geneva Convention (1949)

Ratified by the State of Israel in 1951

If this is any indication of how children are treated the adults who have been imprisoned are surely treated worse.

There are also some older reports  here as well.

I also posted a story yesterday on a a demonstration at one of the prisons which hold over 11,000 Palestinians. Included in it was another Agency who has gathered information on the Treatment of Children and adults as well The youngest prisoner in Israeli custody is a year and half old.

Israel is in violation of Treaties in it’s treatment to adults as well.

They are breaking International Laws.

Just yesterday the

Israeli forces seize Bil’in teenager

Bethlehem

Israeli forces seized a young Palestinian early on Tuesday from the West Bank village of Bil’in, known for its vibrant nonviolent protests against Israel’s separation wall.

According to the village’s Popular Committee, four Israeli military jeeps, a truck, and some 50 soldiers entered the village shortly after 3am.

The soldiers raided three houses simultaneously, detaining Abed Baset Muhammed Abu Rahme, 19.

In the second house, the soldiers tried to arrest Yaseen Mohammed Ali Yaseen ,21, but he was not at home, according to the popular committee. The soldiers left a military order for him to turn himself in by 9am the next day.

The committee also said that international activists confronted the soldiers, filming and photographing the raid. The soldiers responded to this activity with tear gas and stun grenades, and trained a laser beam on the activists “as a means of intimidation.”

According to the committee, the soldiers withdrew at 4am. The committee released photos and a video of the raid on its website.

Bil’in is well known for its weekly demonstrations against the separation wall Israel is building on the village’s land. The Israeli military has launched a series of arrest raids in the village over the past several months, apparently targeting demonstrators and organizers.

Source

If you protest you can and will be thrown in prison for as long as the Israeli’s feel like keeping you there. Children have no rights to have a lawyer present during questioning or even a parent. They are many times not even given a reason as to why they are arrested. Read the report and you will understand.

From the Report

Between January 2001 and December 2008, over 600 complaints were filed against Israeli Security Agency (ISA) interrogators for alleged ill-treatment and torture.

The Police Investigation Department of the Ministry of Justice, the relevant authority charged with investigating these complaints, did not conduct a single criminal investigation.

Also in reference to the Report

Israel ‘beats up children’

Jonathan Cook

The National

June 17. 2009

NAZARETH // The rights of Palestinian children are routinely violated by Israel’s security forces, according to a new report that says beatings and torture are common. In addition, hundreds of Palestinian minors are prosecuted by Israel each year without a proper trial and are denied family visits.

The findings by Defence for Children International (DCI) come in the wake of revelations from Israeli soldiers and senior commanders that it is “normal procedure” in the West Bank to terrorise Palestinian civilians, including children.

Col Itai Virob, commander of the Kfir Brigade, disclosed last month that to accomplish a mission, “aggressiveness towards every one of the residents in the village is common”. Questioning included slaps, beatings and kickings, he said.

As a result, Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the armed services, was forced to appear before the Israeli parliament to disavow the behaviour of his soldiers. Beatings were “absolutely prohibited”, he told legislators.

Col Virob made his remarks during court testimony in defence of two soldiers, including his deputy commander, who are accused of beating Palestinians in the village of Qaddum, close to Nablus. One told the court that “soldiers are educated towards aggression in the IDF [army]”. Col Virob appeared to confirm his observation, saying it was policy to “disturb the balance” of village life during missions and that the vast majority of assaults were “against uninvolved people”.

Last week, further disclosures of ill-treatment of Palestinians, some as young as 14, were aired on Israeli TV, using material collected by dissident soldiers as part of the Breaking the Silence project, which highlights army brutality.

Two soldiers serving in the Harub battalion said they had witnessed beatings at a school in the West Bank village of Hares, south-west of Nablus, in an operation in March to stop stone-throwing. Many of those held were not involved, the soldiers said.

During a 12-hour operation that began at 3am, 150 detainees were blindfolded and handcuffed from behind, with the nylon restraints so tight their hands turned blue. The worst beatings, the soldiers said, occurred in the school toilets.

According to one soldier’s testimony, a boy of about 15 was given “a slap that brought him to the ground”. He added that many of his comrades “just knee [Palestinians] because it’s boring, because you stand there 10 hours, you’re not doing anything, so they beat people up”.

The picture from serving soldiers confirms the findings of DCI, which noted that many children were picked up in general sweeps after disturbances or during late-night raids of their homes.

Its report includes a selection of testimonies from children it represented in 2008 in which they describe Israeli soldiers beating them or being tortured by interrogators.

One 10-year-old boy, identified as Ezzat H, described an army search of his family home for a gun. He said a soldier slapped and punched him repeatedly during two hours of questioning, before another soldier pointed a rifle at him: “The rifle barrel was a few centimetres away from my face. I was so terrified that I started to shiver. He made fun of me.”

Another boy, Shadi H, aged 15, said he and his friend were forced to undress by soldiers in an orange grove near Tulkarm while the soldiers threw stones at them. They were then beaten with rifle butts.

Jameel K, aged 14, described being taken to a military camp where he was assaulted and then had a rope tightened around his neck in a mock execution.

Yehuda Shaul, of Breaking the Silence, said soldiers treated any Palestinian older than 12 or 13 as an adult.

“For the first time a high-ranking soldier [Col Virob] has joined us in raising the issue – even if not intentionally – that the use of physical violence against Palestinians is not exceptional but policy. A few years ago no senior officer would have had the guts to say this,” he said.

The DCI report also highlights the systematic use of torture by interrogators from the army and the secret police, the Shin Bet, in an attempt to extract confessions from children, often in cases involving stone-throwing. Islam M, aged 12, said he was threatened with having boiling water poured on his face if he did not admit throwing stones and was then pushed into a thorn bush. Another boy, Abed S, aged 16, said his hands and feet were tied to the wall of an interrogation room in the shape of a cross for a day and then put in solitary confinement for 15 days.

Last month, the United Nations Committee Against Torture, a panel of independent experts, expressed “deep concern” at Israel’s treatment of Palestinian minors.

According to the DCI report, some 700 children are convicted in Israel’s military courts each year, with children older than 12 denied access to lawyers in interrogation.

It adds that interrogators routinely blindfold and handcuff child detainees during questioning and use techniques including slaps and kicks, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, threats to the child and his family, and tying the child up for long periods.

Such practices were banned by Israel’s Supreme Court in 1999 but are still widely documented by Israeli human rights groups.

In 95 per cent of cases, children are convicted on the basis of signed confessions written in Hebrew, a language few of them understand.

Once sentenced, the children are held in violation of international law in prisons in Israel where most are denied visits from family and receive little or no education.

Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, reported in November that soldiers rarely faced disciplinary action over illegal behaviour.

Army data from2000 to the end of 2007 revealed that the military police had indicted soldiers in only 78 of 1,268 investigations. Most soldiers received minor sentences.

Please read the report on children

The adults have many bogus crimes logged against them as well.

This is one example from the report on adults who have been charged and incarcerated by the Israeli Military Courts.

Faiza Dib Foda, Education Consultant
and Kindergarten Instructor

Faiza Dib Foda, an Israeli citizen, was born in Acre in 1955. She
is a resident of Doha near Bethlehem and works in Bethlehem.
Faiza was arrested on 30 October 2006 for violation of the Prevention
of Terrorism Ordinance21 and accused of membership
and activity in the Islamic Jihad. This organization was designated
an unlawful association on 22 June 1969. The allegation of
terrorist activity refers to her educational and administrative work
in a Bethlehem kindergarten, which involved soliciting donations
for the kindergarten.
We first met Faiza at her remand extension hearing on 9 November
2006. Her lawyer requested that she be released until the
trial, suggesting that she reside with her sisters in Acre until then.
The judge thought otherwise. In his decision, he wrote:
“…the defendant is charged with membership and activity
in a hostile organization… I am satisfied that there are
reasonable suspicions and perhaps credible evidence
supporting the allegations. This is a serious charge warranting
detention, which will allow the prosecution to present
an indictment.”
Since the investigation had been completed, the judge ordered
remand extension for eight days and immediate transfer of the
file to the military prosecution. In the indictment the offense is discussed in terms of Sections 84 and 85 (1) (a) of the Defense
(Emergency) Regulations – 1945.22
During the above-mentioned period the defendant was
a member of Bethlehem Alnakaa Association, which is
an unlawful association. The defendant served as educational
director of the Alnakaa School. As a member of
the association, she often approached members of the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to solicit money needed
to pay debts incurred by the Bethlehem Alnakaa Association,
which is an unlawful association. PIJ activists responded
to her pleas and on several occasions sent her
sums ranging from 1,900 dollars, 2500 dollars, to 20,000
shekels.
Alnakaa operated unimpeded for seven years. On 30 January
2005, the Military Commander signed a declaration outlawing the
association, but failed to inform the children, the parents, and the
teachers of the change. The kindergarten continued to operate
undisturbed for two more years.
In October 2006, Ms. Foda was arrested on charges of membership
and activity in a terrorist organization. The prosecution
did not submit any proof that the association aims to commit violent
acts or threatens public safety. Although the court accepted
the defendant’s claim that she was not aware of the decree outlawing
the association, and that she innocently assumed that she
was working with women and young children, the GSS assertion,
backed by a signed decree of the Minister of Defense outlawing
the association, was sufficient to press charges against her.
The indictment states that the defendant was an education
instructor at the Alnakaa School. Two witnesses for the prosecution were GSS interrogators who had taken Ms. Foda’s statements.
Fifteen months later, on 23 January 2008, we saw Ms.
Foda again. The trial had not taken place and, according to her
attorney, it had been postponed several times, with the penalty
increasing each time. At the time of her arrest, the punishment
for the offense she was charged with was sixteen or seventeen
months. Subsequently, according to her attorney, it was changed
to 30 months. On a cold January day, she was brought in from
Sharon Prison, and was forced to wait a whole day in a metal
cage where prisoners are kept before trial at Ofer Military Camp.
Her trial took place at 16:00, lasted a few minutes, and was to be
continued on 5 March 2008.
On 5 March 2008, a year and half after her arrest, the sentence
was handed down, after a plea bargain agreed to by both
sides. Faiza Foda, 53 years old, educational instructor and administrator
of a kindergarten in Bethlehem, was sentenced to
eighteen months in prison starting with her arrest (which means
that she would be released in two weeks), and a fifteen- months
suspended prison sentence for two years, starting on the date of
her release. At the sentencing session the prosecutor stated:
”From our perspective, the defendant is someone who
was sentenced for four years in jail in 1991 for aiding
and abetting the enemy. Not only has the defendant not
changed her ways, but she actively helped restore a proscribed
organization, held a senior position in it and did
her utmost to further the cause of the organization even
though she knew full well that it was illegal.”
Note that the activity in question relates to pedagogical counseling
in a kindergarten. The defense reminded the court that beyond
the military phrases such as “aiding and abetting the enemy,” the
defendant is a middle-aged woman, who suffers from asthma
and has a paralyzed left leg. The Alnakaa (Purity) Association is
a non-profit women’s organization devoted to the advancement of
women, running a school and a medical center. The edict outlawing
the association was not publicized and was never brought to
the attention of the defendant who was preoccupied with education
and administration. Apparently, the military court regards the
teaching of Arab children as an activity that undermines security
in the region. The defendant was sentenced to eighteen months
in jail. She was released on 20 April 2008.

For the Report on the adults who were charged and incarcerated check here

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

A quote from the report.

The very conduct of trials in the military court determines their outcome. Almost 100% of defendants are found guilty of all, or some, of the charges brought against them;

For example, organizations
intent on and capable of harming the State of Israel, such
as the military division of Hamas, on the one hand and, on the other, administrative agencies of the Palestinian Authority (parliament, legislative council), political parties, religious schools, students’ associations, charity organizations, kindergartens, daycare centers, clinics, summer and sports camps, orphanages,
students’ clubs and support groups for families of prisoners incarcerated in Israel.

Very rarely have we heard a judge ask, what
exactly is that organization to which the defendant is supposed
to have links, and whether that particular organization, in fact,
appears on the list of proscribed associations. When an organization is not included in the list but is referred to by the prosecution as a hostile organization, the court never bothers to check that the goals and activities of that organization, in fact, constitute a threat to security. Source

More Reports from the same site.

Mass demonstration planned outside Israel’s Ofer prison holding 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners

Israel declares the shooting of American activist, Tristan Anderson to be an “act of war”

Israel’s Dirty Nuclear Secrets, Human Experiments  and WMD

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives


Israel changes it’s mind: Insults Egyptians

Gaza border crossings will not be opened without release of Israeli soldier
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

February 19 2009

Israel’s security cabinet yesterday insisted that Gaza border crossings would not be opened without the release of the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit-while approving in principle a prisoner exchange involving Hamas prisoners “with blood on their hands.”

The ministers lined up behind outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who insisted at the weekend that any expansion of the crossings to allow the import of more than basic humanitarian supplies would have to await the possible release of Cpl Shalit, seized by Hamas and other militants in a cross border raid in June 2006.

The move by Mr Olmert has imposed fresh strains on the delicately poised Egyptian-brokered talks about both the release of Cpl Shalit and a prospective long term ceasefire in the aftermath of Israel’s 22 day military offensive in the Strip. Amos Gilad, the most senior official in the Defence Ministry, had earlier reportedly been negotiating in Cairo for a ceasefire more or less parallel with the release of Cpl Shalit.

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak complained earlier this week that “Israel has withdrawn from its position… There was an agreement for a lull and now the Israelis are going back a bit, but we are pressing them.” Hamas claimed yesterday that the Cabinet decision was a “knife in Egypt’s back.”

Mr Olmert yesterday summoned Defence Minister Ehud Barak and the ministry’s most senior official Amos Gilad to issue a dressing down for a remarkable outburst attributed to Mr Gilad in Maariv in the wake of the Prime Minister’s intervention and his implied criticism of the way Mr Barak and Mr Gilad were conducting the negotiations.

The paper quoted Mr Gilad as saying that he had kept the prime minister’s office fully informed of all the negotiations and adding; “I don’t understand what it is that they’re trying to do. To insult the Egyptians? We’ve already insulted them…. It’s simply madness. Egypt has remained almost our last ally here. After all, it’s damaging to national security…. What are we thinking? That [the Egyptians] work for us? That they’re a subordinate unit of ours?”

A release list likely to include hundreds of prisoners to be exchanged for Cpl Shalit -including ones convicted of launching lethal attacks on Israelis– has not yet been agreed in the Egypt-brokered negotiations, and will have to be approved in full by Cabinet ministers. But none of the 11 senior ministers at yesterday’s meeting voted against the principles under which it was being drawn up.

Mark Regev, Mr Olmert’s spokesman, said: “The ministers understand full well the sort of price that releasing Gilad Shalit will require and I believe they are supportive.” He added that Amos Gilad would be returning soon for further talks in Cairo.

Source

Typical Israel yet again goes back on it’s word.  Yet another lie. So how many times do they have to lie before everyone gets it? Seems they lie on an everyday basis.

Bottom line Israel doesn’t want a ceasefire, they just pretend they do.

Israeli military forces stage attacks on the various areas of the West Bank almost on a daily basis

Interview with Franklin Lamb: Israel Self Defense or War Crime?

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

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

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Gaza detainee treatment ‘inhuman’

Gaza detainee treatment ‘inhuman’

Israeli reservists enter Gaza, 12 Jan 2008

It is not known how many Palestinians were detained during the operation

Palestinians seized during Israel’s operation in Gaza faced “appalling” conditions and “inhuman” treatment, Israeli human rights groups have said.

The seven groups say they have gathered 20 testimonies which indicate detainees were kept in pits without shelter, toilets or adequate food and water.

Some detainees also said they had been held “near tanks” and in combat areas, the groups said.

The Israeli military says it is investigating the allegations.

The accounts were gathered by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and Hamoked, the Center for the Defense of the Individual, from Palestinians now being held in Israel.

‘Gross violation’

“The reports indicate that… many detainees – minors as well as adults – were held for many hours – sometimes for days – in pits dug in the ground, exposed to bitter cold and harsh weather, handcuffed and blindfolded,” the groups said in a statement.

“These pits lacked basic sanitary facilities… while food and shelter, when provided, were limited, and the detainees went hungry,” it said.

The groups accused the military of “gross violation of international humanitarian law” by holding some of the detainees close to tanks.

Incidents involving “extreme violence and humiliation by soldiers and interrogators” were also reported, the statement said, without giving details.

“We were handcuffed and blindfolded. They put us in a three-meter deep ditch with some 70 other people,” Majdi Muhammad Ayid al-Atar, 43, from northern Gaza described, in one of the testimonies.

“We spent two days there without any food, water or blankets. They also didn’t let us go to the toilet. Afterwards they moved us to another ditch. The soldiers kept beating anyone who dared ask for anything,” he was quoted as saying.

Lengthy preparation

The groups have addressed a written complaint to the Military Judge Advocate General, and Israel’s Attorney General, Meni Mazuz.

Attorney Bana Shoughry-Badarne, Legal Director of PCATI, said the findings were “particularly objectionable” as the Israeli military had repeatedly stressed that it “prepared at length for the Gaza operation”.

“It seems that, during these lengthy preparations, the basic rights of the detainees and captives were completely forgotten,” she said.

She said the groups had the names of 29 people who had been detained, 25 of whom were still being held.

The other groups were the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, B’Tselem, Yesh Din and Adalah.

Source

They were using the detainees as “Human Shields”. This of course is what they said Hamas was doing, but of course Israel itself was doing it.

Seems Israel does everything, it says Hamas is doing.

One has to wonder how many detainees they have in their prisons?

Considering many people have been kidnapped from Gaza in the past, the number may be very high. One can bet they are being tortured as well.

I wonder how many “Guantanamo prisons”  there are in Israel?

Israeli troops fire warning shots at European diplomats

Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

Illegal Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased sharply in 2008

Aid Workers Protest Restricted Access to Gaza

Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed/Israeli gunboat hits Father and Daughter on shore

UN official calls Gaza devastation ‘shocking’
January 22 2009

The United Nations’ humanitarian chief suggested Thursday that Israel should pay for the hundreds of tonnes of food and other supplies destroyed when Israeli shells struck the main UN compound in Gaza.

Touring Gaza to assess what is most urgently needed in the coastal strip, John Holmes called the steep Palestinian casualty toll from Israel’s offensive “extremely shocking” and suggested the UN might ask Israel to compensate it for wartime damage to UN compounds in Gaza.

Hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian aid were destroyed by Israeli shelling that struck the main UN compound.

“We want to make sure it is properly investigated and that we get proper accountability for it and proper compensation if it is needed and I think it will be needed,” Holmes told reporters.

Israel waged a three-week war meant to end rocket fire on southern Israel from Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Nearly 1,300 Palestinians, a majority of them civilians, have died in the offensive, according to Gaza health officials. Thirteen Israelis were also killed, according to the government.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the war could help hasten the return of a captive soldier long held by Palestinians in Gaza. Israeli media said some cabinet ministers have softened their positions on releasing Palestinian political prisoners in exchange for the soldier, signalling the government is trying to work out a deal with Hamas ahead of Israeli elections next month.

Violence on both sides has marred the ceasefire and on Thursday a Palestinian man and girl walking near the shore in Gaza City were wounded by a shell fired from an Israeli gunboat, a Gaza health official said.

Another shell landed 100 metres away in an empty area near a UN aid distribution centre. And heavy-calibre bullet fire struck at least one house in the area, a witness said.

The Israeli military said it was firing to deter a Palestinian fishing vessel that had strayed off-limits.

On the first day of a five-day trip to the region, Holmes said he was looking at immediate humanitarian needs and thinking about longer-term reconstruction in Gaza. The biggest concerns, he said, are providing clean water, sanitation, electricity and shelter to people displaced by the fighting.

Gaza’s blockaded border crossings will have to be opened to allow reconstruction to begin, he said.

“Goods have to be able to get in freely and in the right quantities, including construction materials, so that reconstruction can start.”

From 2002
Journalist Chris Hedges, in his “Gaza Diary,” published in Harpers describes one incident that reveals the attitude Israeli soldiers have toward killing Palestinian children:
It is still. The camp waits, as if holding its breath. And then, out of the dry furnace air, a disembodied voice crackles over a loudspeaker.

“Come on, dogs,” the voice booms in Arabic. “Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!”

I stand up. I walk outside the hut. The invective continues to spew: “Son of a bitch!” “Son of a whore!” “Your mother’s cunt!”

The boys dart in small packs up the sloping dunes to the “electric fence” that separates the camp from the Jewish settlement. They lob rocks toward two armored jeeps parked on top of the dune and mounted with loudspeakers. Three ambulances line the road below the dunes in anticipation of what is to come.

A percussion grenade explodes. The boys, most no more than ten or eleven years old, scatter, running clumsily across the heavy sand. They descend out of sight behind a sandbank in front of me. There are no sounds of gunfire. The soldiers shoot with silencers. The bullets from the M-16 rifles tumble end over end through the children’s slight bodies. Later, in the hospital, I will see the destruction: the stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes in limbs and torsos.

Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered- death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo-but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.’

The current Israeli offensive has involved indiscriminate killing of men, women and children; the systematic destruction of property; the cutting off of water supply; and the prevention of travel even for ambulances. It is a full-scale war against the entire population. Like the war in Vietnam, Israeli soldiers make war on the whole people, because the vast majority of the Palestinian people oppose Israel’s occupation. Thousands of Palestinian men have been rounded up, stripped, blindfolded, detained, and many tortured and beaten. Palestinians have routinely been used by Israeli soldiers as human shields to conduct house-to-house searches.

In its attacks on Palestinian refugee camps and towns from March 1 to April 28, 2002, the Israeli military reportedly killed 345 Palestinians (35 of them under the age of 18 ) and wounded 1,346. (At least eight more were killed when Israel entered Hebron on April 29.) “The mismatch in force of arms was stark,” the New York Times was forced to admit:

The Israeli Army used Vulcan antiaircraft guns, able to shoot 3,000 rounds a minute, inside the camp. It used Cobra helicopters with thermal detection capability to fire TOW missiles -intended for use against tanks on open battlefields- through the walls of houses, some with noncombatants inside. It deployed scores of Merkava tanks and armored vehicles equipped with machine guns. It used bulldozers to raze civilian homes, crushing more and more of them-but with less and less warning, Palestinians said.’

Sharon launched a major offensive into Ramallah and ordered the army to target Arafat’s own headquarters, “smashing through walls and battling room to room,” cutting off electricity to the building, and firing on his office, leaving him sitting at his desk by candlelight.’ As the army went house to house and rounded up all men in Ramallah aged 15 to 45, Israel ordered out foreign reporters and also solidarity activists trying to disrupt the army’s operation. Reporters were shot at and tear gassed as they tried to report on Israel’s operations in the West Bank. ”Journalists are banned, and [Israeli] government officials have warned that those caught [in Ramallah] could have their press cards revoked. A new list today of dosed military zones includes every city and town the army has entered.” Conditions were so grim that even the World Bank protested that “the [Israeli] army had destroyed water and electricity facilities, homes, schools and public buildings” in the towns it had occupied.’

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

Palestinians are routinely denied necessary health care, as this report from B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, reported on this incident in Nablus:

On April 29, 2002, at around 7:00 PM, 28-year-old Amal Afaneh who was seven months pregnant, began feeling extreme abdominal pain. ‘Afaneh’s relatives considered taking her to the hospital in Nablus by car, a distance of only 5 to 6 kilometers from their village of Azmut. They decided against it, as they feared being shot by Israeli soldiers who are positioned at the entrance to the village and along the road between Azmut and Nablus. The family called the Red Crescent and the Red Cross to request that they send an ambulance. The family was told that this could only be done following coordination with the Israeli military.

While the Red Crescent and the Red Cross worked on obtaining the required Israeli approval, the family called a nurse who lives in the village. The nurse gave ‘Afaneh preliminary treatment, and herself called the Red Crescent to urge them to hurry, as ‘Afaneh needed treatment that she could not provide.

At 9:00 PM, the family was told that approval had been received and an ambulance was on its way In fact, the Red Crescent ambulance had already arrived at the entrance to ‘Azmut, but was detained for thirty minutes by an Israeli tank crew. The soldiers ordered the ambulance driver, Samir Abu Seir, and the paramedic, Jamal Abu Hamdeh, to open the doors of the ambulance, and take off all their clothes. The soldiers then took away their identification papers, turned off their walkie-talkies, and made them sit on the ground. After searching the ambulance, the soldiers ordered the two men to return to Nablus. The ambulance was forced to leave without ‘Afaneh.

When ‘Afaneh’s relatives heard that an ambulance had been seen leaving ‘Azmut, they called the Red Crescent again, and were told that the IDF denied the ambulance entry into the village, and nothing more could be done.

At 9:30 PM, Amal ‘Afaneh gave birth. Her baby did not survive. She remains at home, still unable to reach the hospital for follow-up treatment.’

The Red Cross protested Israel’s attacks on its ambulances, and facilities, which limited its ability to “feed and provide medical care to Palestinian civilians,” while the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem petitioned Israel’s High Court “after receiving reports of torture at the Of her detention center near Ramallah.”‘

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Israeli troops moved into Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Salfit, Beit Jala, Nablus, and Tulkarm, and Qalqilya, conducting house-to-house searches. “In each city,” the New York Times reported, “the [Israeli] army was proving more intense, ruthless and thorough than in any prior incursion, including the raids month.” Israeli army Major General Yitzhak Eitan announced, “This operation will last as long as necessary, without a time limit,” as Israel called up 20,000 reservists for duty.

Israel‘s destruction of the Jenin refugee camp in early April was the most horrific. Terje Roed-Larsen, the United Nation’s special envoy to the Middle East, said the conditions in the Jenin refugee camp after Israel’s massive onslaught there were “horrific and shocking beyond belief . . . No objective can justify producing such suffering for the population.”

“The devastation is worse than I expected,” said one aid worker who emerged from the camp this afternoon. “I couldn’t have imagined anything worse than this.” The aid workers see the camp as the equivalent of an earthquake zone, where hundreds of homes have been flattened and thousands are in need of immediate food and housing. An estimated 3,000 people re main in the camp and 10,000 are believed to be scattered across the area. The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg said Jenin “look[ed] more like the scene of an earthquake than combat zone after it was flattened by Israeli army bulldozers.”

One eyewitness description of the Jenin “incursion” gives sense of the horror experienced by Jenin’s citizens:

Khadra Samara, 33, the wife of the hospital cook [at Razi Hospital], said she was inside her home on Rawabi Street in the Jenin refugee camp about 11:30 Sunday night when an Israeli bulldozer approached and tore through the front gate and began slamming into the house.

“We started screaming and lighting lamps and candles so they’d know someone was inside,” she said. “We were 15 women and children…. But as we screamed, a missile was fired at the house, destroying the second and third floors. The whole house shook, there was a flash of light, and all the windows were blown out.”

In a panic, Samara called her husband at the hospital and pleaded for help. Inexplicably, the bulldozer backed off. But before dawn Monday it smashed into the house again, shaking the cinder-block walls of the bedroom where the children were sleeping.

“The top of the wall started to give, and I started grabbing the kids and hauling them away from there,” she said. “They destroyed the house with everything in it. We didn’t even take one T-shirt for one child.”

Samara tried to get out the front door, but found it was blocked by rubble. She handed the children through a side window into a neighbor’s house.

“I was so furious I wanted to make a suicide bomb and use it on them,” she said. “I picked up a cylinder of cooking gas to carry with me so I could blow it up. I was so scared I was screaming. I thought I was going to die.

“When I picked up the cylinder my daughter said, ‘Mom, don’t do it! For God’s sake don’t do it!”‘

The second house provided little respite. An hour after they took refuge there, the bulldozer came again. They fled to a third house; it came under attack from missiles fired by helicopter gunships.

“From 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. we ran from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen, wherever we thought was safest to go. The children became sick from fear and started vomiting,” Samara said.

They finally emerged waving white scarves. By that time, with residents of the two other houses having joined the group, they counted nearly 30 women and children. The soldiers held them for three hours, then let them go, Samara said.

An untold number of people were buried by tanks and bulldozers under the rubble of their own homes in Jenin. Reporters and human rights workers reported seeing piles of rubble under which wafted the stench of rotting corpses. Given Israel’s closing off of Jenin after its assault and its rebuff, with U.S. acquiescence, of a UN inspection team, we will likely never know the full extent of Israel’s war crimes in Jenin.

Defenders of George W. Bush like to talk about how “plain spoken,” “honest,” and “direct” he is. But apparently the terms “without delay,” “now,” and “immediately” have eluded the president and his good friend Ariel Sharon. But even when Colin Powell and George Bush were finally pressured on April 4 into calling for an end to Sharon’s brutal assault, “Israel’s West Bank offensive continued unabated . . . as the government of Ariel Sharon sought to beat what was seen as a warning,” the Financial Times reported. “I’m not sure that we have to be concerned,” one Israeli official said of the Bush call for Israel to pull back. Indeed, Israel escalated its attacks and entered new Palestinian population centers after Bush’s statement. When Bush sent Powell to meet with the Israeli government, Powell communicated the urgency of his visit by flying to Morocco, Egypt, Spain and Jordan, before eventually making his way to Israel on April 11. Israel moved into the largest town in the West Bank, Hebron, on April 29. As of this writing-early May-Israel has not fully withdrawn to its preMarch 2002 positions.

The truth is that the Bush Administration has given the green light to Israel’s assault, calling it “self defense.” The Boston Globe quoted a defense department official saying that Powell delayed his arrival to Israel for several days in order to allow Israel to complete its offensive.

[New York Times columnist] Thomas Friedman, a supporter of Israel and its current war, has no problem with the taking of a few thousand Palestinian lives by Israeli soldiers-in fact he calls for Israel to “deliver a military blow” to crush the Palestinian resistance. Friedman is attempting to paint the Palestinian people as less than fully human. Ran HaCohen dissects Freidman’s logic:

Friedman’s focus on suicide bombers is intended to dehumanize the Palestinians. By blaming Palestinians of carelessness towards “the sacredness of every human life, starting with your own”, Friedman is claiming that they do not care about their own life. He is then patronizingly pretending that he does care about their life (more than they do!), and now, having assumed responsibility for the Palestinians, Friedman has a suggestion: “First, Israel needs to deliver a military blow”. Bravo. Look how easily the great moralist Friedman is translating the sacredness of every human life” into “a military blow”. All in the name of “the basic truth civilization is built on” – what else?

The Palestinian struggle is morally justified, even though some of its manifestations are unjustifiable. Reducing this struggle to the issue of suicide bombing is just another way of dehumanizing and thus legitimizing the killing of Palestinians, instead of removing the reasons for their horrifying desperation (remember Epictetus). Dehumanizing an entire people in the name of the “sacredness of every human life”, as Thomas Friedman has done, is an especially repulsive example of demagoguery.

One need not support the tactic of suicide bombing aimed at killing Israeli citizens-though it isn’t clear why it is more reprehensible than blowing up Palestinians with U.S.-made bombs and missiles-in order to make the important distinction between the violence of the oppressor (Israel) and the violence of the oppressed (Palestinians). In fact, Sharon, as argued above, has deliberately provoked the suicide bombings because he sees them as a good cover for Israel’s brutal invasion. But it is the purest hypocrisy to attack the Palestinians for using violent means to seek their freedom. If Israel uses tanks and bombs to invade Palestinian land and homes, bulldozing people alive, bombing and strafing their homes, do not Palestinians have a right to use violence in their defense?

Washington is anything but an “honest broker.” Palestinian children’s lives have never meant anything beside Israeli ones. Regardless of who has been in power in Washington, Israel has been given a blank check by the U.S. government for decades. Every year, the U.S. sends billions of dollars to Israel in the form of grants, low-cost loans, and subsidies. No other country in the world has received as much aid or support. And U.S. manufacturers are always ready to supply Israel with more weapons. When Israel bought nine of Boeing’s deadly AH64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters in February 2001, the Jerusalem Post noted that Israel “will be paying for the $500 million deal with U.S. military grant money.” As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in May 1999, “Israel has acquired 260 of Lockheed’s F-16s over the years, consisting of 210 new planes and 50 used ones from the U.S. armed forces. That’s the largest fleet of F-16s anywhere in the world outside the U.S. Air Force.” The Post-Dispatch’s calculation appeared two months before Israel purchased another 50 F-16s-in a $2.5 billion deal paid for with U.S. funds.

The United States has long committed itself to Israel as a strategic asset in the oil-rich and geostrategically crucial Middle East. It gives more than $3 billion a year to Israel, and provides it with invaluable military, economic, and political backing. (In its fiscal year 2001 budget, the State Department explained “The United States has a significant interest in a stable, democratic, and economically and militarily strong Israel” and is committed to “Maintaining the qualitative edge of the Israeli Defense Forces in the regional balance of power.”) As Noam Chomsky has rightly pointed out, “It is highly misleading to use the phrase ‘Israel-Palestine conflict’… It should be termed the ‘U.S./Israel-Palestine’ conflict.” That description is not only a more accurate way of understanding the roots of the problem, but it points to the urgency that activists in the United States must have to organize a movement to cut off all support the United States gives to Israel.

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And What has changed? Other then not a bloody thing.  The UN was shocked then too. They are shocked now. The difference is nothing.  What will change “Nothing” so it seems.

Well things had better change. The World is watching.  If this happens again it will be the fault of the US, Israel ,United Nations and the rest of the International bodies who are the do nothing, about everything crowd.  The great pretenders.

They will all pretend they are concerned. They will pretend they are doing something.  Same as the last time and the time before etc etc etc.


Fatah fears Gaza conflict has put Hamas in the ascendancy
Palestinian party created by Yasser Arafat suffers sharp decline in support

By Patrick Cockburn in Nablus
Friday, 23 January 2009

Mahmoud Abbas attempted to blame Hamas for Israel's attacks on GazaPhoto: AP

Mahmoud Abbas attempted to blame Hamas for Israel’s attacks on Gaza

The Islamic movement Hamas is taking over from Fatah, the party created by Yasser Arafat, as the main Palestinian national organisation as a result of the war in Gaza, says a leading Fatah militant. “We have moved into the era of Hamas which is now much stronger than it was,” said Husam Kadr, a veteran Fatah leader in the West Bank city of Nablus, recently released after five-and-a-half years in Israeli prisons.

“Its era started when Israel attacked Gaza on 27 December.”

The sharp decline in support for Fatah and the discrediting of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, because of his inertia during the 22-day Gaza war, will make it very difficult for the US and the EU to pretend that Fatah are the true representatives of the Palestinian community. The international community is likely to find it impossible to marginalise Hamas in reconstructing Gaza.

“Hamas has been highly successful in portraying itself as the party of the resistance, and Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas as the opponents of resistance at a time [when] the public wants to resist,” said Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian minister of planning. He adds that Mr Abbas was badly damaged in the eyes of Palestinians when he blamed Hamas for Israel’s assault on Gaza in the conflict’s first two days.

Mr Kadr, who says he was tortured by Israeli interrogators during detention, does not welcome Hamas’s triumph. But he is convinced that, just as Fatah’s long reign was launched by the battle of Karamah in March 1968, when Fatah fighters aided by the Jordanian army, repelled an Israeli attack on their HQ in the Jordan valley, so Hamas will gain from the Gaza war. “The Hamas era comes 40 years after Karamah began the Fatah period,” he says.

Hamas is conscious of its political success even if it was able to do little against the Israeli army. Mr Khatib, in his office in Ramallah, the Palestinian capital on the West Bank, says the first priority must be the formation of a Palestinian unity government between Hamas and Fatah. But he adds gloomily that “the chances of this happening are slim” because the Gaza war has exacerbated hatred between the two sides as Fatah supporters are hunted down and sometimes executed in Gaza.

Aside from Gaza there is another reason why President Abbas and Fatah are weak. Long years of negotiations with Israel have achieved nothing while red-roofed Israeli settlements have sprouted on every West Bank hilltop. Driving into Nablus, a city of 250,000 people that was once the bustling heart of the West Bank, the streets are empty and row after row of shops are shut.

“We had eight years of complete closure when people could not get in or out of Nablus aside from the 3 per cent who had permits,” complains the city’s mayor Adly Yaish. “Most factories shut and 60 per cent of people live below the poverty line.” The closure became a little looser three months ago, but yesterday there were long lines of vehicles at the Israeli checkpoints around the city.

The rise of Hamas and the demise of Fatah is best explained by the failure of President Abbas to achieve anything through negotiations for ordinary Palestinians. “We in Fatah have failed to remove a single Israeli checkpoint,” admits Mr Kadr. “It takes me as long to reach Ramallah 50 kilometres away as it would to fly from Jordan to Ankara.”

He believes the Gaza war has spread the seeds for another Palestinian uprising. “The coming uprising will be very hard for both the Palestinians and the Israelis,” he warns, though he does not forecast when it will occur. He points to a television in his office on which a young Palestinian girl called Dalal is shown picking through the ruins of her house in Gaza where all her family had died and only her cat had survived. “Can you imagine how Palestinians feel when they see this?” he asks.

Source

Isn’t Torture Illegal?  Five years ago, 2004.

I guess they never stopped torturing after all.

I have to wonder how many other prisoners, Israel has in it’s jails?

I wonder how many others have been tortured?

I am relatively sure Israel will not stop killing until they have either removed the rest of the Palestinians out of Gaza and the West Bank or have killed them all. Their goal is to take all of it and that has been their goal from the beginning.

They just repeat the same cycle of violence against the Palestinians and if they dare to fight back they are deemed the evil ones.

The Palestinians have a right to live and defend themselves, as much as Israel does. Equality you know. What is good for one country is good for all countries.

Why is it that Israel, can have Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Palestinians cannot?

I think Both sides should disarm.

Israel has to many “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

Israel should also respect Palestinian rights. Under International Law they have rights whether Israel likes it or not.

It is time for the” Concentration Camp” to close.

The systematic stealing of land and resources from the Palestinians must be put to a stop one and for all. Enough is Enough.

Israel can by no means pretend it is a sweet, wonderful, country considering its history of torture, arms sales to some rather nasty recipients. They even funneled money(the Money Laundering “Funnel Tunnel” well at lest one of them) into Haiti for the US, hence saving  Washington, from having to answer embarrassing questions about supporting brutal governments.

Their  constant killing and staving of Palestinians. Their starting of wars and they do make sure they start, they always use the self defense scam.  At this point in time that is what I see, it as. They create a reason for war. Just so they can destroy and kill. They have done this to often. It is becoming rather obvious what they do.

Like shooting at the Fishing Boat and hitting a man and his daughter. There was no need  or acceptable excuse, to shoot at the boat.

This is what they do to antagonize and anger people. If the Palestinians, complain well it’s their fault. It is always their fault, no matter what.

People at checkpoints have died waiting to get to a hospital, because the Israelis wouldn’t let them through or make them wait until the sick person died. That has happened often. People are shot at going shopping. Those “prison towers” are where they are shot at from. They are “prison towers” just like any prison tower.

This war is anything but over.

Israel will attack again when it feels like it. They will continue to steal more Palestinian Land. They will never stop unless the world at large stops them. They will continue to bulldoze homes and take more land.

They have been at it since 1948 and before. If they haven’t stopped by now, they never will. They have no respect for the UN or anyone else for that matter.  They don’t even respect themselves.

Personally Israel should pay for all the damage done in Gaza.

They should be made to pay for every building they destroyed or damaged,  they should be made to pay for it all.

Israel creates the circumstances that leads to any war, because of their Concentration  Camp,  they expect Palestinians to live in.

I know a “Concentration Camp” when I see one. Don’t you?

No human being, should have to live under that type of oppression.

Those responsible should be charged with “war crimes”.  Of course with all the other war crimes they have committed in the past I doubt whether it will ever happen. Of course that is because of corruption at the International level.

Israel ‘admits’ using white phosphorus munitions

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

Outcry over weapons used in Gaza

Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?

The State of Israel: Since its Creation

Outrage as Israel bombs UN and Hospital

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

The Persecution of Syed Fahad Hashmi

By Stephen Lendman
December 10, 2008

It’s a familiar story. A Muslim American is accused of terrorism for supporting Al Queda and conspiracy to provide support for a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The prosecution asks for the maximum sentence. Once again, an innocent man is arrested, charged, indicted and convicted with no substantiating evidence except for what prosecutors say they have. All of it is bogus and much classified and withheld from the defense. Witnesses are enlisted to cooperate and proceedings orchestrated to intimidate juries to convict. Justice again is denied. Those accused bear the mark of cain for being Muslim in America at the wrong time – especially if they’re devout, activist, and for some prominent and engaged in charitable work.

The mainstream portrays Hashmi as a “jihadist” and believer in “radical Islamic ideas” because of his association with the now defunct (since 2004) London-based Al Muhajiroun (The Immigrants) and a related still active New York-based Islamic Thinkers Society.

Its web site describes it as “less than a handful of Muslims….who give public da’wah (inviting others to Islam through words and deeds).” They “command the good, forbid the evil and expose falsehood from every angle. (Their) struggle is always (through) intellectual & political non-violent means.” Their activities play out peacefully on New York streets. In Times Square and Jackson Heights where they give out leaflets and display posters and banners related to spiritual, social, economic, and political issues. It’s their constitutional First Amendment right – our most fundamental one without which all others are at risk.

Compare their ideology to America’s dominant Christian Right:

— militarism; war; and apocalyptic violence;

— an abhorrence of democracy;

— ending constitutional government;

— Christian tyranny based on “free market” fundamentalism;

— racial hatred;

— white Christian supremacy; their divine right to rule;

— a Christian utopia under Christian dogma with no legal or social protections;

— male gender dominance;

— anti-choice;

— anti-gay;

— subservience to the movement’s leadership with no free and independent thought; all non-believers are called heretics;

— mysticism and magic over proved scientific fact; a utopian world of prophets;

— the rejection of secular humanism; reason; ethics, social equity and justice; and a free and open society; and

— a final apocalyptic victory of their ideology over “evil” non-believers.

Syed Fahad Hashmi’s Background

His friends strongly support him and say charges and media accusations against him are false and misleading. They call him humble, devout, attentive to studies, and accommodative to others and their needs – Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

He’s victimized and innocent of all charges but has yet to be tried. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, he became known as Fahad. At age 3, his family emigrated to America and settled in Flushing, New York. He attended public schools and the State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook. He then transferred to Brooklyn College and in 2003 earned a BA in political science.

Devout in his faith, he became active in the Muslim community as an advocate for Islamic issues. After college, he enrolled in London Metropolitan University and received a master’s degree in 2006. On June 6, his ordeal began when UK police arrested him at Heathrow airport as he awaited his flight home to Pakistan. Subsequently he was held as a Category A prisoner – defined as those considered highly dangerous to the public and/or national security. He was kept under draconian conditions in Southeast London’s Belmarsh prison where he experienced extreme deprivation as follows:

— solitary confinement for 23 hours a day;

— 24-hour electronic monitoringl

— no access to fresh air; and

— only occasionally given one hour of “recreation” inside a cage.

He was also placed under special administrative measures (the UK version of American-style SAMs) under which:

— he was denied communication with other prisoners, lawyers, family, the media or anyone else outside prison;

— for the most part, given no reading material or any news from outside;

— prevented from regular praying;

— refused medications and medical treatment;

— threatened and abused by guards;

— treated like a menace to society; a wild beast; a pariah for his faith and activism.

He was effectively buried alive in a virtual tomb as a consequence, making him and others like him no match against society’s jihad against Islam.

“United States of America v. Syed Hashmi, a/k/a Fahad”

On May 25, 2007, Fahad was extradited to America on terrorism charges. On May 26, the Department of Justice charged him as follows:

Count One – “Conspiracy to Provide Material Support Or Resources To A Foreign Terrorist Organization;”

Count Two – “Providing and Attempting To Provide Material Support Or Resources To A Foreign Terrorist Organization;”

Count Three – “Conspiracy To Make Or Receive A Contribution Of Funds, Goods, Or Services To, And For The Benefit Of, Al Qaeda;” and

Count Four – “Making Or Receiving A Contribution Of Funds, Goods, Or Services To, And For The Benefit Of, Al Qaeda.”

An accompanying press release read:

“From January 2004 through May 2006, HASHMI, 27, a United States citizen, provided support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, namely al Qaeda. In connection with these charges, HASHMI assisted al Qaeda by providing military gear to others who then transported the gear to al Qaeda associates in South Waziristan, Pakistan. HASHMI also agreed with others to provide military gear to al Qaeda to be used by al Qaeda to fight against United States forces in Afghanistan….The total maximum sentence for the charges against HASHMI is 50 years imprisonment.”

On May 26, 2007, Fahad was presented in US Magistrate’s Court and on May 30 arraigned before Manhattan US District Court Judge Loretta Preska (appointed by GHW Bush and a close family friend). Supporters offered to put up $500,000 in bail. Fahad’s lawyer presented prosecution witness statements that supported his innocence. Michael Garcia, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, didn’t refute them, yet claimed “we cannot give him bail because he doesn’t respect American law….he believes Allah’s law is superior.” This said about a non-violent student with no prior arrests or record of wrongdoing.

Fahad was denied bail for his faith and activism, for being a devout Muslim, for believing God’s law is sacrosanct. For feeling and behaving no differently than devout Christians, Jews or members of other faiths. Nonetheless, Judge Preska said she had to take his beliefs into account and deny him bail even though preceding Fahad’s hearing, she agreed to a pre-arranged plea bargain for a convicted drug dealer – because (as she stated) he turned to the Bible during detention and bettered himself.

Fahad is a student, not a terrorist or supporter of violence. All charges against him are bogus. He wasn’t charged with providing money or resources for terrorism or being an Al Queda member. Instead he was targeted for his beliefs and for letting an old acquaintance – Junaid Babar – stay in his London apartment for about two weeks in 2005.

Babar was alleged to have kept some raincoats, ponchos, and waterproof socks in luggage he stored  there. DOJ claimed he gave them to a high-ranking Al Queda member. No evidence connects Fahad in any way if he did. He has no association with individuals or groups engaged in “terrorism.” Nonetheless, he was so charged.

Junaid Babar

As it turned out, he’s a dubious character indeed – a  government cooperator paid to testify against targeted Muslims and nicknamed “Supergrass” by the UK media. He was used in Britain against Omar Khyam and other Muslim men in the so-called Fertilizer Case – the supposed plot to bomb a London nightclub and shopping center with a half-ton of ammonium nitrate. Charges were largely bogus but led to the arrest and conviction of targeted “bombers.” Some, that is, not others let loose throwing into question the validity of any plot at all.

At trial, it was learned that Babar met with FBI agents in 2004 and agreed to be a government cooperator – because in June that year he was indicted and pled guilty to four counts of conspiring to and providing and attempting to provide material support or resources to terrorists. A fifth count as well for providing funds, goods, or services for the benefit of Al Queda. In return for a reduced sentence, he agreed to a plea bargain. It requires him to provide “substantial assistance,” including testifying against other Muslims like Fahad. He’s an innocent man whose only recent association with Babar was the two week period in his apartment during which time nothing nefarious happened or was discussed. Nor is Fahad connected with Babar’s charged offenses.

Fahad’s Confinement and Upcoming Trial

Fahad is incarcerated at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correction Center in solitary confinement in its Special Housing Unit. In October 2007, SAMs were imposed as in Britain to punish and isolate him from family, friends and nearly all human contact. They’re the same draconian conditions he experienced at Belmarsh.

Less than 50 inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons population are under these constraints. The practice was established in 1996. They can be imposed for a year, then renewed for additional one-year periods. Before 9/11, 120 days was the maximum.

Visitations were denied him for many months. They’re now severely limited to pre-cleared lawyers and immediate family only for short periods. His reading is also restricted to designated newspaper sections 30 days after publishing. No radio or TV news is permitted or participation in group prayer. Overall he’s subjected to extreme deprivation under outrageous conditions for anyone and outlandish ones for a non-violent innocent man, guilty only of being Muslim at the wrong time in America.

On November 19, Fahad’s attorney, Sean Maher, petitioned Judge Preska to reverse or lessen his harsh conditions. Whatever the ruling, it will test what Harold Reynolds wrote in the October 29 New York Law Journal – whether Barack Obama will bring justice to “thousands of….men and women (like Fahad) cut off from access to their families, tortured, humiliated….and kept off stage to this day by Bush’s resistant administration.”

Fahad’s next court date is on December 17th – at US District Court, 500 Pearl Street, New York. The freefahad.com web site urges supporters for him and his co-defendant, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (known also as “Prisoner 650” at Afghanistan’s infamous Bagram prison where those held were brutally tortured), to attend and “stand up against oppression.”

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui – “Prisoner 650”

A brief word about Aafia. She’s a highly educated researcher with a doctorate in genetics from MIT. She mysteriously disappeared from Karachi in March 2003 with her three children, after which Pakistani officials denied any knowledge of her whereabouts. It was later learned she was at Bagram under draconian conditions with her children (aged one month to seven years). She’s incarcerated now in New York, but it’s not known if her children are still alive and if so where they’re held.

Human rights organizations, British journalist Yvonne Ridley, and MP Lord Nazir raised questions about her detention, and, according to Nazir “she (was) physically tortured and continuously raped by the officers at the prison” – for over four years. Chalk it up to “Western values” that (in a post-9/11 climate) view Muslims as sub-humans to be subjected to unlimited degradations.

Ridley called Aafia a “grey lady” “because she (was) almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continue to haunt those who heard her. This would never happen to a Western Woman.” It did to Aafia, and her ordeal continues under US detention.

The Constitutionality of SAMs

On June 24, 1974, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-1-3 in Pell v. Procunier that appellants’ (four prison inmates and three journalists) First Amendment face-to-face interview rights weren’t violated by a California Department of Corrections regulation (415.071) stating: “(p)ress and other media interviews with specific individual inmates will not be permitted.” However, the Court held that inmates have alternative ways of communicating with the media and others on the outside, thus implying that prison authorities may not prohibit them.

On April 29, 1974, the High Court ruled 9-0 in Procunier v. Martinez for appellees (prison inmates). They challenged California Department of Corrections mail censorship regulations and its ban against use of law students and paralegals to conduct attorney-client interviews with inmates. These prohibitions violate First and Fourteenth Amendment rights – the First with regard to free expression and right of prison inmates to communicate with persons outside the penal system. The latter guaranteeing everyone (citizens and non-citizens) due process rights and “equal protection of the laws.”

Sixth Amendment rights are also at issue. They guarantee a speedy trial before an impartial jury in all criminal cases and right as well, not just to counsel but to “effective assistance of counsel.” They also assure the opportunity between defendant and counsel to prepare an adequate defense and have one at trial. Despite ruling against petitioner in Avery v. Alabama (1939), the Supreme Court held that:

“denial of opportunity for appointed counsel to confer, to consult with the accused, and to prepare (a proper) defense could convert the appointment of counsel into a sham, and nothing more than a formal compliance with the Constitution’s requirement that an accused be given the assistance of counsel.”

In Powell v. Alabama (1932), the Supreme Court (for the first time) addressed the “effective assistance of counsel” issue. It ruled that a defendant has the right to “the guiding hand of counsel at every step in the proceedings against him” under the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. It noted that this right “is not discharged by an assignment (of counsel) at such time or under such circumstances as to preclude the giving of effective aid in the preparation and trial of the case.” It reversed the convictions and sentences of the so-called “Scotsboro Boys,” nine black youths falsely accused of raping two white women.

In two succeeding rulings, the High Court set two “effective assistance” standards. In Strickland v. Washington (1984), it established a dual approach:

— whether or not counsel’s performance was adequate or deficient; and

— if the latter deprived a defendant of a fair trial, including if counsel’s assistance was minimal or if the state interfered with adequate client – attorney preparations.

In United States v. Cronic (1984), the Court further noted that “(t)here are….circumstances….so likely to prejudice the accused that the cost of litigating their effect in a particular case is unjustified.” They include:

— “the complete denial of counsel;”

— where “counsel entirely fails to subject the prosecution’s case to meaningful adversarial testing;”

— “when counsel was either totally absent, or prevented from assisting the accused during a critical state of the proceeding (including proper trial preparation);” and

— “when counsel labors under an actual conflict of interest.”

By severely restricting Fahad’s adequate time to confer with counsel; withholding state evidence to be used against him; its questionable validity as well; and how and from whom it was obtained, prosecutors are in violation of the letter and spirit of the Constitution:

— Fahad’s Fourteenth Amendment due process right as well; and

— assurance he’ll receive judicial fairness in a US federal court. In addition,

— his Eight Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment by his isolation;

— his First Amendment free expression rights; and

— his Sixth Amendment ones for a speedy trial with “effective assistance of counsel.”

Upcoming Trial

Trial dates were set and postponed. It’s now scheduled for sometime in spring 2009. Under SAMs, his lawyers can’t discuss his case publicly, including supposed “evidence” they were finally able to see – some, that is, but not all. What’s withheld is still classified and is described by the prosecution as “voluminous.” Most of it is from recorded phone calls, conversations and the like plus testimony from Junaid Babar and other witnesses DOJ intends to call. It’s the usual strategy to intimidate juries to convict and what awaits Fahad at his trial.

In the meantime, he and Aafia are isolated under draconian conditions in a nation priding itself as a model democracy – except for Muslim victims of the “War on Terrorism.” Justice for them assures justice denied.

Source

Last Guantanamo trial of Bush era is delayed

No Amnesty for Cheney , Say Torture Opponents


WASHINGTON

November 25 2008

Judging by the rare leaks from President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, investigations and prosecutions of high-level George W. Bush administration officials for torture and war crimes are a distant prospect. But likely or not, that won’t stop pundits from debating the question of whether those officials responsible should be held accountable.

Irrespective of whether Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld or others are dragged before juries, one glaring change seems absolutely certain: Obama stands unequivocally against torture, and the practice is likely to come to an end under his administration.

“Even though I’ve been disappointed in other presidents in the past, I do listen and I do believe Obama when he says we won’t torture. I think that’s crucial,” said Michael Ratner, the president of the Centre for Constitutional Rights.

But foreswearing controversial and harsh interrogation methods may not be enough to permanently reestablish the moral high ground that the Obama administration has promised to bring back to the U.S.’s interactions with the rest of the world.

If Obama doesn’t take on torture that occurred, as opposed to simply discontinuing the practice, the door may be left open for future administrations to resurrect the harshest of interrogation techniques, said Ratner at a recent forum at Georgetown University Law School.

“If Obama really wants to make sure we don’t torture, he has to launch a criminal investigation,” said Ratner, the author of “The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution in Book.”

He said that the targets of such an investigation would be the easily identifiable “key players” and “principals” in the Bush administration who hatched plans to allow and legally justify harsh interrogation methods that critics allege are torture, including the controversial “waterboarding” simulated drowning technique.

Those pursued, said Ratner, would include high-ranking administration officials such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, and former Central Intelligence Agency chief George Tenet, as well as the legal team that drummed up what is now regarded as a sloppy legal justification for torture.

Key Bush administration lawyers involved in providing legal cover to harsh practices, including the roundly criticised “torture memo” from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), include former attorney general and earlier White House counsel Alberto Gonzales; Cheney’s chief of staff and former legal counsel to the vice president’s office David Addington; and the University of California, Berkeley law professor and former OLC lawyer John Yoo.

If the characters behind the questionable techniques are not held accountable for violating U.S. and international laws, said Ratner, presidents after Obama may simply say, “well, in the name of national security I can just redo what Obama just put in place. I can go torture again.”

Ratner also spoke to the concern that, from the view of the rest of the world, “to not do an investigation and prosecution gives the impression of impunity.”

But opposing Ratner on the dais, Stewart Taylor, Jr. argued that an investigation and prosecution were not appropriate.

“The people who are called ‘war criminals by [Ratner] and others do not think they acted with impunity,” said Taylor, a Brookings Institution fellow and frequent contributor to Newsweek and the National Journal.

In the Jul. 21 edition of Newsweek, Taylor called for Bush to preemptively pardon any administration official who could be held to account for torture or war crimes. Taylor’s rationale was that without fear of prosecution, a full and true account of what he called “dark deeds” could never come to light.

Furthermore, at the Georgetown Law event Taylor said investigation and eventual prosecution would “tear the country apart”.

That may be the thinking of Obama, who, in addition to hints he wouldn’t investigate Bush administration malfeasance, declared his intention to govern as a political reconciliation president in his election victory speech.

In Grant Park in Chicago on Nov. 4, Obama rehashed a quote from slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., but instead of rhetorically bending the “arc of history” towards “justice”, as King did, Obama called for it to be bent “toward the hope of a better day.”

But Ratner said that the country was already divided, and that divide is exactly what a future administration could politically exploit to reinstate torture. He said that Obama must close the divide and doing so is not rehashing the past.

“You’re making sure that in the future, we don’t torture again,” Ratner said. “This is not looking backwards.”

Another potential problem with investigation and prosecution, says Taylor, is that the Bush administration officials ostensibly had sought to find out whether the methods they were about to approve were justified, and, indeed, they were told they were in the legal clear.

“There is no evidence that high ranking officials acted with criminal intent,” he said. “They were relying in good faith on the advice of legal counsel.”

Taylor said that since the legal advice originated from the Department of Justice, it would be wrong for the same Justice Department to “turn around” and prosecute people for actions that its previous incarnation had explicitly told were legal.

But Taylor’s point misses two issues: that the crimes were allegedly given a legal green light because of collusion with the White House, and that Ratner proposes to investigate those selfsame Justice officials who were involved in giving approval.

Despite referring to John Yoo as a “gonzo executive imperialist”, Taylor said that “those officials, like them or not, were honourably motivated” because they were “desperately afraid” of another terrorist attack.

Ratner insists that the officials, part of a “group, cabal or conspiracy”, may be culpable because they were “aiders and abetters”.

“[OLC] was not giving independent counsel,” insisted Ratner. “They were shaping memos to fit a policy that had already been determined.”

And while Taylor was quick to point out that many U.S. administrations had been accused of war crimes by various sources, Ratner replied that it was the first time that any administration had actually “assaulted the prohibition on torture”.

That could be one reason why, if the U.S. does not take care of its own house, Bush administration officials will likely be pursued on charges in Europe and elsewhere.

In international courts, said Ratner, those officials will not be able to hide behind the legal shields of internal government memos or executive decrees.

“They have no defence in international law,” he said. “They’re finished.”

Source

Bush trying to Avoid War Crimes Charges

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 10:04 pm  Comments Off on No Amnesty for Cheney , Say Torture Opponents  
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U.S. acknowledges it held 12 juveniles at Guantanamo Bay prison

November 16 2008

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The U.S. has revised its count of juveniles ever held at Guantanamo Bay to 12, up from the eight it reported in May to the United Nations, a Pentagon spokesman said Sunday.

The government has provided a corrected report to the UN committee on child rights, according to navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon. He said the U.S. did not intentionally misrepresent the number of detainees taken to the isolated base in southeast Cuba before turning 18.

“As we noted to the committee, it remains uncertain the exact age of many of the juveniles held at Guantanamo, as most of them did not know their own date of birth or even the year in which they were born,” he said.

A study released last week by the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas concluded the U.S. has held at least a dozen juveniles at Guantanamo, including a Saudi who committed suicide in 2006.

“The information I got was from their own sources, so they didn’t have to look beyond their own sources to figure this out,” said Almerindo Ojeda, director of the centre at the University of California, Davis.

Rights groups say it is important for the U.S. military to know the real age of those it detains because juveniles are entitled to special protection under international laws recognized by the United States.

Eight of the 12 juvenile detainees identified by the human rights centre have been released, according to the study.

Two of the remaining detainees are scheduled to face war-crimes trials in January.

Canadian Omar Khadr, now 21, was captured in July 2002 and is charged with murder for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. special forces soldier. Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who is about 24, faces attempted murder charges for a 2002 grenade attack that wounded two U.S. soldiers.

The study identified the only other remaining juvenile as Muhammed Hamid al Qarani of Chad.

The Saudi who hanged himself with two other detainees in 2006, Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, was 17 when he arrived at Guantanamo within days of the military prison opening in January 2002, according to the study.

About 250 prisoners remain at Guantanamo on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida or the Taliban.

Guantánamo’s Children: Military and Diplomatic Testimonies

camp_iguana.jpg

Camp Iguana,  the facility where a few of Guan-
tánamo’s children were once imprisoned. Photo:
The Miami Herald.

For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means
every human being below the age of eighteen years unless
under the law applicable to the child,  majority  is attained
earlier
(UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 1)

On April 25, 2003, Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers held a news briefing at the Pentagon. At that briefing, Secretary Rumsfeld was asked about the juveniles in Guantanamo. Rumsfeld took the opportunity to complain about “this constant refrain of the juveniles, as though there’s a hundred of children in there”. Secretary Rumsfeld’s complaint raises a very good question. Exactly how many children have been seized and taken to Guantánamo?

1. Eleven Children Recognized by the Department of Defense

Two documents released by the U.S. Department of Defense identify 11 Guantánamo prisoners that were under the age of 18 at the time they were seized. These documents are:

  • List of individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006
  • Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department ofon March 16, 2007.

Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba posted

The first of these documents provides dates of birth for these prisoners; the second presents in-processing dates for many of them. The following table summarizes the information gathered from these two sources. Here DD and MMM stand, respectively, for day and month unknown.1

NAME ISN DATE OF BIRTH IN-PROCESSING DATE AGE
ABDUL QUDUS 0929 DD MMM 88 07 FEB 02 13 – 14
ASSAD ULLAH 0912 DD MMM 88 23 MAR 03 14 – 15
NAQIB ULLAH 0913 DD MMM 88 07 FEB 03 14 – 15
MOHAMMED OMAR 0540 DD MMM 86 12 JUN 02 15 – 16
MUHAMMED HAMID AL QARANI 0269 DD MMM 86 09 FEB 02 15 – 16
SHAMS ULLAH 0783 DD MMM 86 28 OCT 02 15 – 16
OMAR AHMED KHADR 0766 19 SEPT 86 28 OCT 02 16
YUSSEF MOHAMMED MUBARAK AL SHIHRI 0114 08 SEPT 85 16 JAN 02 16
MOHAMED JAWAD 0900 DD MMM 85 18 DEC 02 16 – 17
YASSER TALAL AL ZAHRANI 0093 22 SEPT 84 21 JAN 02 17
ABDUL SALAM GHETAN 0132 14  DEC  84 17 JAN 02 17

The fact that two of these prisoners were seized as children was also acknowledged by the State Department. Indeed, in its response to a question from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the State Department stated that

“Mr. [Omar] Khadr and Mr. [Mohamed] Jawad are currently the only two individuals captured under the age of 18 that the U.S. Government has chosen to prosecute under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (See United States Written Response to Questions Posed by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Answer to Question 12(c)).”

Also consistent with these claims are the results of a bone scan analysis cited at Mr. Jawad’s trial by military commission.  In-processed in Afghanistan on December 18, 2002, Mohamed Jawad was subsequently transferred to Guantánamo on or about February 6, 2003 . (see United States of America vs. Mohammed Jawad, D-012 Ruling on Defense Motion to Dismiss–Lack of Personal Jurisdiction: Child Soldier)

2. Mohammed Ismail: A Twelfth Child Recognized by Military Officials

On February 2003, Lt. Col. Larry C. James, chief Guantánamo psychologist, flew to Afghanistan to bring three boys to the base. There they were held in Camp Iguana, a facility built especially for them in order to segregate them from the adult population of the prison (Fixing Hell, pp. 34-49). According to Captain James Yee, the Muslim chaplain who tended to the religious instruction of the Camp Iguana inmates, their first names were Assadulah, Naqibullah, and Ismail (For God and Country, pp. 93-96).2

The three boys remained in Guantánamo “for about a year” . Then, on January 29, 2004, the Department of Defense announced that three children had been released from Guantánamo, where they were “housed in a separate facility modified to meet the special needs of juveniles” .

On February 7, 2004 the Guardian published an article identifying these children as Assad Ullah, Naqib Ullah, and Mohammed Ismail. The first two of these children are included in the table in Section 1; the third one is not. Consequently, we can identify a twelfth Guantánamo prisoner that was captured as a minor. He is Mohammed Ismail.

Independent confirmation for this identification is provided by the fact that both Mohammed Ismail and Naqib Ullah were in-processed on 07 FEB 03 (both Lt. Col. James and Capt. Yee write that Naqib Ullah and Ismail arrived on the same day).

If Mohammed Ismail was seized as a juvenile in 2003, then he could not have been born in 1984, as the Departement of Defense claims in its 2006 list of prisoners; Mohammed Ismail must have been born later.

In its January 29, 2004 announcement of the release of the children, the Department of Defense indicated that medical tests performed after they were seized determined that “all three juveniles were under the age of 16″. Consequently, the date of birth for Mohammed Ismail given in the DoD list of prisoners must be amended to read “after 07 FEB 87”, which would be the date of his 16th birthday.

3. How Many Children Have Been Seized and Taken to Guantánamo?

On May 13, 2008, the U.S. State Department answered in writing, through its Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor, a questionnaire from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. In its answer to this questionnaire, the Bureau wrote that

“In the entirety of its existence, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility has held no more than eight juveniles, their ages ranging from 13 to 17 at the time of their capture (See United States Written Response to Questions Posed by the Committee onthe Rights of the Child, Answer to Question 12(a)).”

Yet, in light of the discussion above, the Guantánamo Bay detention facility has held no less than 12 individuals, their ages ranging from 13 to 17 at the time of their seizure. They are listed in the table below.

NAME ISN DATE OF BIRTH IN-PROCESSING DATE AGE
ABDUL QUDUS 0929 DD MMM 88 07 FEB 02 13 – 14
ASSAD ULLAH 0912 DD MMM 88 23 MAR 03 14 – 15
NAQIB ULLAH 0913 DD MMM 88 07 FEB 03 14 – 15
MOHAMMED ISMAIL 0930 after 07 FEB 87 07 FEB 03 15 or less
MOHAMMED OMAR 0540 DD MMM 86 12 JUN 02 15 – 16
MUHAMMED HAMID AL QARANI 0269 DD MMM 86 09 FEB 02 15 – 16
SHAMS ULLAH 0783 DD MMM 86 28 OCT 02 15 – 16
OMAR AHMED KHADR 0766 19 SEPT 86 28 OCT 02 16
YUSSEF MOHAMMED MUBARAK AL SHIHRI 0114 08 SEPT 85 16 JAN 02 16
MOHAMED JAWAD 0900 DD MMM 85 18 DEC 02 16 – 17
YASSER TALAL AL ZAHRANI 0093 22 SEPT 84 21 JAN 02 17
ABDUL SALAM GHETAN 0132 14  DEC  84 17 JAN 02 17

It follows that the State Department underreported, to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the number of prisoners seized as children and transferred subsequently to Guantánamo. The figure reported to the U.N. committee does not even match the information made public by the Department of Defense .

4. What Do We Know About These Individuals?

Eight of the individuals mentioned in the table above have now been released.
  • Two are currently facing military trials as the first individuals in history to be charged with war crimes committed as children (Omar Ahmed Khadr and Mohamed Jawad).
  • One apparently killed himself in his Guantánamo cell (Yasser Talal al Zahrani).
  • One is still in Guantánamo, where he has repeatedly tried to kill himself (Muhammed Hamid al Qarani).

5. Could There Be More?

The information contained in the table in Section 3 is based solely on American military and diplomatic sources. They are corroborated, however, by a variety of international sources. The in-processing dates for the ten prisoners mentioned in Section 1, for example, is confirmed by the information about flight records presented in The Journey of Death, a report on “extraordinary renditions” prepared by the British charity Reprieve. And extant prisoner testimonies are also consistent with the information presented above.

As a matter of fact, if we were to incorporate the testimonies of former prisoners, the Red Cross, and other international sources, then, according to Reprieve (personal communication), the total number of individuals detained as juveniles and transferred to Guantánamo would exceed 46.

International testimonies on Guantánamo’s children will be analyzed in a subsequent report.

Source

Judge tosses detainee confession of Mohammed Jawad citing torture

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — A U.S. military judge barred the Pentagon Tuesday from using a Guantanamo prisoner’s confession to Afghan authorities as trial evidence, saying it was obtained through torture.

Army Col. Stephen Henley said Mohammed Jawad’s statements “were obtained by physical intimidation and threats of death which, under the circumstances, constitute torture.”

Jawad’s defense attorney, Air Force Maj. David Frakt, told The Associated Press that the ruling removes “the lynchpin of the government’s case.”

Guantanamo’s chief prosecutor, Army Col. Lawrence Morris, said he recognized how the judge made his decision and needed to study the ruling before making more comments.

Jawad, who was still a teenager at the time, is accused of injuring two U.S. soldiers with a grenade in 2002. He allegedly said during his interrogation in Kabul that he hoped the Americans died, and would do it again.

But Henley said Jawad confessed only after police commanders and high-ranking Afghan government officials threatened to kill him and his family — a strategy intended to inflict severe pain that constitutes torture.

“During the interrogation, someone told the accused, ‘You will be killed if you do not confess to the grenade attack,’ and, ‘We will arrest your family and kill them if you do not confess,’ or words to that effect,” Henley wrote in response to a defense motion to suppress the evidence. “It was a credible threat.”

Frakt said the ruling is a “further disintegration of the government’s case,” and that the Afghans’ descriptions of Jawad’s confession were never credible to begin with. He also praised the judge for “adopting a traditional definition of torture rather than making one up.”

The judge said torture includes statements obtained by use of death threats to the speaker or his family, and that actual physical or mental injury is not required. “The relevant inquiry is whether the threat was specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering upon another person within the interrogator’s custody or control,” Henley wrote.

Hina Shamsi, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, welcomed the ruling, but alleged “evidence obtained through torture and coercion is pervasive in military commission cases that, by design, disregard the most fundamental due process rights, and no single decision can cure that.”

Tuesday’s ruling comes a few weeks after Jawad’s former Guantanamo prosecutor, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, quit after what he described as a crisis of conscience over the ethical handling of cases at the U.S. base.

He said evidence he saw — some of which was withheld from defense attorneys — suggested Mohammed Jawad may have been drugged before the 2002 attack.

Source

Ontario lawyers call on Prime Minister to ask U.S. to return Omar Khadr

Prison statistics call U.S.’s priorities into question

by Matt Petryni

PUBLISHED ON 3/4/08
As of last Thursday, the United States, land of the free, is on record as the world’s leader in imprisonment. A report released by the Pew Center last week calculated that 2.3 million Americans are behind bars, about one percent of our adult population. Russia and the former Soviet Union countries follow, while the northern Europeans – Sweden, Finland and Denmark – imprison only around ten percent of our number. We’re also a major player in executions, killing more of our citizens per capita than such tasteful governments as those of Syria and Sudan.

All of these shocking statistics, though, must come with some qualifications (as do all shocking statistics, I find). Ranking us below regimes like China’s is difficult, due to the trouble in getting accurate information on how many people they incarcerate. And while we might “officially” execute more people than Sudan does – something we should probably stop doing, no doubt – it must be acknowledged that many of the tragic deaths in Darfur could probably be added to Sudan’s number.

Further, the sheer number isn’t enough to evaluate the “oppressiveness” of a country’s prison policies. While we might lock up the most people, it could be argued that we do so with more respect for some kind of substantive due process and civil rights than more repressive regimes do. And while we’re undoubtedly efficient at killing people who have been convicted of murder, many countries use execution as an explicit means to eliminate political enemies and minority ethnic groups.

Nonetheless, it is important that we look at our incarceration numbers with concern. It does appear, by some accounts, that our increased incarceration rate has corresponded nationally with a drop in crime rates. Yet this has more trouble translating to the state level, as many states that have thrown more of their residents in jail have had trouble keeping control over their crime rate. Some states have even experienced significant drops in crime despite having released more of their prison population than other states. This is not to suggest that we could reduce crime by freeing criminals. But it does point out that it may not be as simple as “increasing incarceration means decreasing crime.”

As primitively “fun” as it may be to lock up the sinners and whatnot, it is also incredibly expensive. Oregon spends more of its general fund on corrections than does any other state – a number that has increased 4.6 percent in the last 10 years. These numbers are rising fast across the country. Statistics suggest that, inflation adjusted, nationwide spending on prisons has more than doubled from roughly $19.4 billion (today’s dollars) in 1997 to $44.1 billion last year. Each prisoner, it is estimated, costs taxpayers about $24,000 per year (compared to $8,700 invested per student on schools).

Why so much imprisonment? In the United States, we tend to use incarceration as an indirect answer to many social problems: drug addiction, mental illness, poverty. This is not to say that the crimes of criminals are by any means “excusable” due to their circumstances. Criminals are still responsible for their personal actions and should be held accountable. But for those of us who aren’t just interested in the satisfaction of casting the first stone, and would actually like to see fewer homes broken, fewer women raped, and fewer people killed, the policies that result in widespread incarceration and their relation to crime rates must be critically examined.

Drug addicts, for example, cycle through prisons at an alarming rate. As recently as 2004, state prisons incarcerated 249,400 criminals for drug offenses, roughly 20 percent of all state prisoners. This doesn’t even include federal prison numbers, where more than half are incarcerated for drug offenses. It is estimated that every dollar invested in the treatment of drug addiction returns $4 to $7 to taxpayers in the reduction of drug-related crime. I’m not a financial expert, but if I could get a 400 to 700 percent return on my investment, I’d take it.

And putting the practicality of a Puritanical drug policy aside, a better question might be the ethicality. Drug addicts are not simply criminals in the classic sense. It doesn’t work, statistically or ethically, to “punish” them for a serious disease. Even some of the staunchest advocates of drug addiction “punishment” have ended up being users and abusers themselves, making clear that recognizing the fear of punishment for the “crime” of drug addiction seems no deterrent to “committing” drug addiction.

With so much money being spent treating the ills of society by locking them up in our prisons, and with our incarceration rate so high, it’s well past time to consider more effective, more productive and more ethical means of driving our crime rate down. It isn’t about letting criminals off easy: It’s about keeping them from hurting others in the first place.

Source

Imprisoned vets tell their war stories for history

As U.S. forces withdrew from Vietnam in early 1974, Seaman Apprentice Frederic D. Jones was fighting his own battles.

The cocky Baltimore teenager spent nearly three months AWOL in the Philippines. There, he said, he played cat-and-mouse with shore patrol while fending off a murderous drug dealer, romancing the sister of a militia leader and robbing other servicemen to feed his heroin habit.

Eventually caught, Jones negotiated an honorable discharge but couldn’t stay clean. An armed robbery spree in 1995 got him a 45-year sentence in the Maryland Correctional Institution near Hagerstown.

While Jones, now 52, is locked away from society, his war story has been preserved for posterity. He is among the first incarcerated veterans to tell his military service tale to the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

Video recordings of more than 30 inmates at the medium-security prison are archived at the library’s American Folklife Center, along with those of nearly 60,000 other veterans. Just one other prison, the Fairton Federal Correctional Institution in Fairton, N.J., has collected veterans’ stories, said Bob Patrick, director of the Veterans History Project.

Congress created the oral history program in 2000 to document the personal wartime experiences of American service members. The library doesn’t try to verify their stories, but The Associated Press confirmed the service records of the inmates mentioned in this report.

Patrick said that by recognizing their roles in history, the project dignifies the service of veterans who take part. Jones was so proud of his videotape that he had a copy sent to his elderly mother.

“She was so overjoyed and surprised,” he said.

Since any veteran, no matter how decorated or disgraced, can contribute to the archive, Jones’ story was as welcome as that of any admiral. And it’s hard to imagine one more colorful.

On his nearly 90-minute recording, Jones recounts his adventures as a “young, wild, impulsive,” 18-year-old in and around the Subic Bay Naval Base. There, he said, a female gang called the Black Stockings helped him steal cash and watches from drunken sailors and aided him in avoiding a drug dealer he had wronged.

“I ended up getting a contract on my life,” Jones says. “I felt like I had never left home.”

Jones, who is black, said he enlisted in the Navy seeking structure and style — he liked the bell-bottomed uniforms — but he quickly grew disenchanted by the racism and drug use he found.

“I’d had my own preconceived ideas what the military was — I mean straight-up, strict discipline,” Jones says on the video, made a year ago. “The drugs, the gang mentality — it was all right there in the military. It was a big letdown.”

In a June interview with the AP, Jones said he doesn’t blame the military for his mistakes but has found in prison the sort of discipline he had expected from the Navy. Behind bars, he and 58-year-old John E. Barba, who is serving a life sentence for robbing and murdering a methamphetamine maker, have become co-chairmen of the prison’s veterans history committee.

Guided by materials from the Library of Congress, they have become such skilled interviewers since last fall that they and prison librarian Mary Stevanus, who spearheaded the history project, hope to produce a how-to booklet or video for other veterans groups, in or out of prison.

“What you’re looking for is the meat of the stuff,” said Barba, who served domestically in the Navy from 1970 to 1974. Working together, he and Jones conduct informal “pre-interviews” with their subjects, making notes of compelling material “so when they’re giving their interview, we can dive in,” Barba said.

They extracted a harrowing account from Ronald L. McClary, 62, of his experience under fire as a fresh-faced Marine in Vietnam. On his video, the burly inmate, seated before a large U.S. flag, recalls his daily “search-and-destroy” missions.

“Every day, you would look at one of your buddies and wonder who wasn’t going home today or who was going to get killed today. Everybody knew it was going to be somebody,” said McClary, who is serving 12 years for the second-degree murder of his wife in Baltimore 2005.

He recounted a firefight in which two buddies were killed.

“Three rounds went off. The first round hit Amos in the head. Amos fell. When Amos fell, Cope looked around and looked down at Amos. The second round hit Cope in the head. And I seen it. I told you, three rounds went off. Cope was to my left. Amos was to my left, and then there was me. You cannot tell me today the third round wasn’t meant for me. But I was down. I was eating dirt.”

Ordered by his lieutenant to get up and charge the enemy, McClary fired two shots before his gun jammed. “I had to get back down,” he says on the video. “I’ve never been so scared in all my life.”

Jones said he feels privileged hearing such stories.

“These guys have kept this stuff to themselves for 40 years,” he said. “You’ll see one guy that actually breaks down and cries. I mean, these are hardened criminals and he breaks down and cries on his video.”

About 226,000 of the national’s 25.1 million veterans were in prison or jail in 1998, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics’ most recent report on the subject.

Matt Davison, chairman of an incarcerated veterans project for New York-based VietNow National, a veterans advocacy group, said most inmate vets he’s met are proud of having served — and many feel remorse for having done something dishonorable.

Barba said most of the inmates he has interviewed for the history project express gratitude that they were able to serve.

In one video, white-haired World War II vet Lee D. Gerhold, doing 50 years for arranging an ex-wife’s murder, grips his cane and says, “I’m thankful to the country for accepting me.”

Source

More Prison Statistics

Published in: on November 2, 2008 at 8:57 pm  Comments Off on Prison statistics call U.S.’s priorities into question  
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Can’t vote because you’re in jail? Yes you can!

by Jennifer Rae Taylor

On a cloudy Saturday morning in August, the sidewalk outside Glenn E. Dyer Jail in Oakland seems an odd site for a voter registration drive – but organizers are targeting an atypical audience: inmates and those visiting them.

“You’ve got the right and reason to register to vote in this election and so do the people you’re coming to visit,” says Linda Evans as two women approach the jail entrance. Evans is co-director of the San Francisco-based non-profit All of Us or None, which organized the Aug. 16 Day of Action to raise awareness of voting eligibility and counter what they call “widespread confusion about inmates’ legal voting rights.” Chapters throughout the state held drives in Alameda, Sacramento, Orange, San Mateo, Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

“Laws that directly affect inmates will be decided this November, so please share this information and encourage them to vote,” Evans continues.

“Wait,” one woman says, slowing her pace. “You mean they can vote while they’re in jail?”

“Yes they can,” says Evans. “It’s the law.”

A law that is hardly clear. After years of disagreement and legal wrangling, authorities at every level still disagree about the voting rights of California’s more than 82,000 jail inmates – most of whom are Black or Latino, and have not been convicted of any crime. Less than three months before one of the most historic elections in national history, California is still without a clearly established policy on jail inmate voting – and “the law” seems to vary with who you ask.

Ten California counties hold about 70 percent of the state’s jail inmates, but calls to the registrars of voters in each of these counties yielded a variety of opinions on whether or not those inmates can vote. Representatives from four counties, including San Diego and Alameda, stated that inmates cannot vote under any circumstances; four other counties, including Fresno and Sacramento, said inmates with felony convictions were disenfranchised; Orange County’s registrar’s office said that jail inmates are eligible to vote as long as they are citizens; and in Los Angeles County – which holds the nation’s largest jail population of 19,000 – a registrar employee admitted to not knowing what voting rights jail inmates held and suggested calling Secretary of State Deborah Bowen.

“The law is the same in all of California. Registrars are supposed to be the authority and people are going to trust what they tell them. Their answers shouldn’t vary by where they are or who picks up the phone,” said Dorsey Nunn, co-director of All of Us or None and its parent organization, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. However, uncertainty has surrounded this issue for years.

In June 2004, San Francisco non-profit Legal Services for Prisoners with Children asked then-Secretary of State Kevin Shelley to clarify the voting rights of those in jail and on probation and learned that both groups were eligible to vote. In November 2005, new Attorney General Bill Lockyer officially denounced Shelley’s interpretation, declaring those on probation and in jail for a felony to be legally disenfranchised.

All of Us or None, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and several other organizations took the debate to court. In December 2006 the California Court of Appeal sided with the activists, ordering the secretary of state to inform election officials that “the only persons disqualified from voting are those who have been imprisoned in state prison, or who are on parole as a result of the conviction of a felony.”

Following the 2006 decision, the secretary of state’s office complied by informing county registrars that only those “in prison or on parole for a felony” were ineligible to vote – but did not fully explain what that meant for those held in jail, creating a network of state elections officials who disagree amongst themselves.

According to the secretary of state’s lawyers, individuals serving a jail sentence following a felony conviction cannot vote, while those in jail for a misdemeanor or awaiting trial can. Organizations like the ACLU, All of Us or None and Berkeley-based Voting Rights for All and even the county of San Francisco take a different stance, arguing that the 2006 Appeals Court decision enfranchises even those jail inmates who have a felony conviction.

The confusion may ultimately boil down to the precise meaning of “a felony sentence.” According to Peter Sheehan, an attorney with the Social Justice Law Project who served as co-counsel in the 2006 case, the decision holds that someone sentenced to jail for a felony is incarcerated as a condition of felony probation, and not technically serving “a felony sentence.” That makes the actual number of disenfranchised jail inmates very small. Or it would, if the average citizen – or public official – understood that distinction. “If the Secretary of State is simply saying people in jail for a felony cannot vote, that’s a misrepresentation unless they follow up with a detailed explanation of the distinction between felony probation and a felony sentence,” Sheehan said.

Ultimately, most jail inmates’ rights do not hinge on the outcome of that particular disagreement. According to state data, more than two out of three California jail inmates have not yet been convicted of any crime and would qualify as potential voters even under the secretary of state’s own reading of the law – though four of the 10 county registrars polled believed all jail inmates were ineligible to vote.

“If most people in jail haven’t been convicted, the state already agrees that most people in jail can vote,” said Evans. “So why isn’t there some kind of institutionalized procedure to make that easier and to make that known?”

According to a legal representative from the secretary of state’s office, the state is only required to inform counties of the law, while each county registrar is responsible for ensuring that employees correctly follow it. Sheehan believes the state has a duty to do more.

“Let’s say we were talking about women or Catholics or Blacks, instead of people in jail,” he said. “We all know these groups can vote under the law. If some counties wouldn’t let them, we’d expect the state to take action, whether it involved making phone calls or holding a training. This should be no different.”

But it is different. “The misinformation is widespread and goes all the way to the top,” said Judy Gerther, a co-chair of Voting Rights for All, who coordinated volunteers to register voters outside of Oakland’s county courthouse in 2004. “There were judges we ran into then who read our materials on eligibility and said, ‘We don’t believe you.’ This has been the law since 1973, but it’s never been publicized or clarified in layperson’s language. Lawyers don’t know; judges don’t know.”

Along with this month’s Day of Action, grassroots efforts to raise awareness have included a Northern California ACLU billboard campaign and All of Us or None lobbying state officials for better education and enforcement. As in 2004, Voting Rights for All plans to conduct outreach outside several Bay Area courthouses in mid-September. All of Us or None and the ACLU have sought a meeting with Secretary of State Deborah Bowen for several months, peaking in April when All of Us or None led a protest on the state capitol. That meeting hasn’t happened.

When it comes to inmate voting, jail facilities are no more regulated than county registrars. Don Allen of California’s Correctional Standards Authority, the agency responsible for designing state jail and prison policies, admits there are no mandated procedures for providing inmates access to voting information. “We have a broad rule that jails need to have some kind of policy to accommodate inmates’ right to vote,” said Allen. “The onus is on the county to design procedures that fulfill that obligation. Some may do the minimum and some may do more.”

For some, that minimum is far too low. “Many individuals in jail have no reason to think they can vote and little chance of receiving accurate information if they ask,” said Kathy Kahn, a retired defense attorney and Voting Rights for All co-chair. “Until we can assure accurate information is available, we don’t know how many inmates don’t want to vote and how many are being incorrectly told they can’t.”

“Even if the law says inmates can vote, they’re in jail. They’ve got bigger problems and priorities,” said Michael Robinson, an Alameda resident perplexed by the campaign to secure inmates’ rights he’s not sure they want. “My nephew talks to me about all kinds of stuff when I go see him in jail, but he’s never asked me to help him sign up to vote.”

Activists argue that this is not a question of whether or not inmates want to vote or who they will vote for. “I don’t think most people in jail understand the power of their voting. They often think voting won’t change anything,” said All of Us or None member Elder Freeman. A former Black Panther and state prisoner, Freeman fears many in jail today don’t know what voting can accomplish.

“Getting them the vote is just the first step,” he said. “We need to teach them it’s not all about federal elections. State and local elections determine policies in the communities where they live.”

Though All of Us or None has sought support for this issue from the state Democratic Party with little success, Nunn emphasizes that defending the voting rights of those in jail is about civil rights, not partisanship.

“Nobody I try to register ever says, ‘Oh, I can’t vote because I’m Black,’” said Nunn, also a former prisoner. “But I get plenty of Black and Brown people who falsely believe they can’t vote because they’re on probation or have a felony conviction. I know there are plenty of Black and Brown people who are told and believe they can’t vote because they’re in jail. So the effect is the same.”

Whether the question of inmate voting rights will be settled with a conference or require further legal action, organizers and advocates are determined to not see another election pass without a statewide policy protecting incarcerated voters’ rights under the law.

“Even with the law on our side, we are being disenfranchised by misinformation,” said Nunn. “That is a blow to our communities and to our democracy.”

Jennifer Rae Taylor can be reached at jraetay@gmail.com.

Let my people vote!

by Pastor Kenneth Glasgow

One of the most important rights people lose by going to prison is the right to vote, so voter re-enfranchisement is key to successful reentry back into the community. People who have been in prison are determined to build political power in order to win back our rights, and one expression of political power is exercising our right to vote.

Voting rights laws differ widely from state to state, and 48 out of 50 states have laws that disenfranchise or limit voting rights for people with felony convictions. A national research organization estimates that at least 5.3 million Americans will be denied the right to vote in the 2008 election because of a felony conviction.

A total of 13 percent of Black men are ineligible to vote because of past convictions. Dorsey Nunn, co-founder of All of Us or None, noted: “The voting rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and people with past convictions have been violated over the course of decades, at a minimum through benign neglect and at worst deliberate disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of people. The lessons coming out of Florida in 2000 were not only a question of hanging chads but the open suppression of Black votes through the manipulation of felony conviction status.”

Formerly incarcerated people throughout the U.S. are determined to unite to make our voices heard: As our forefather Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has and never will.” Join us in a National Day of Action for Jail and Prison Voting Rights.

We’ve gone from the back of the bus to the front of the prison. The struggle continues.

We’re not second class citizens, but second chance citizens, SO LET MY PEOPLE VOTE!

Source

CIA Torture Tactics Endorsed in Secret Memos


Waterboarding got nod from White House

By Joby Warrick

The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency’s use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects — documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.

The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents. Although Justice Department lawyers, beginning in 2002, had signed off on the agency’s interrogation methods, senior CIA officials were troubled that White House policymakers had never endorsed the program in writing.

The memos were the first — and, for years, the only — tangible expressions of the administration’s consent for the CIA’s use of harsh measures to extract information from captured al-Qaeda leaders, the sources said. As early as the spring of 2002, several White House officials, including then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Cheney, were given individual briefings by Tenet and his deputies, the officials said. Rice, in a statement to congressional investigators last month, confirmed the briefings and acknowledged that the CIA director had pressed the White House for “policy approval.”

Worried about lack of paper trail
The repeated requests for a paper trail reflected growing worries within the CIA that the administration might later distance itself from key decisions about the handling of captured al-Qaeda leaders, former intelligence officials said. The concerns grew more pronounced after the revelations of mistreatment of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and further still as tensions grew between the administration and its intelligence advisers over the conduct of the Iraq war.

“It came up in the daily meetings. We heard it from our field officers,” said a former senior intelligence official familiar with the events. “We were already worried that we” were going to be blamed.

A. John Radsan, a lawyer in the CIA general counsel’s office until 2004, remembered the discussions but did not personally view the memos the agency received in response to its concerns. “The question was whether we had enough ‘top cover,’ ” Radsan said.

Tenet first pressed the White House for written approval in June 2003, during a meeting with members of the National Security Council, including Rice, the officials said. Days later, he got what he wanted: a brief memo conveying the administration’s approval for the CIA’s interrogation methods, the officials said.

Administration officials confirmed the existence of the memos, but neither they nor former intelligence officers would describe their contents in detail because they remain classified. The sources all spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not cleared to discuss the events.

The second request from Tenet, in June 2004, reflected growing worries among agency officials who had just witnessed the public outcry over the Abu Ghraib scandal. Officials who held senior posts at the time also spoke of deteriorating relations between the CIA and the White House over the war in Iraq — a rift that prompted some to believe that the agency needed even more explicit proof of the administration’s support.

“The CIA by this time is using the word ‘insurgency’ to describe the Iraq conflict, so the White House is viewing the agency with suspicion,” said a second former senior intelligence official.

As recently as last month, the administration had never publicly acknowledged that its policymakers knew about the specific techniques, such as waterboarding, that the agency used against high-ranking terrorism suspects. In her unprecedented account to lawmakers last month, Rice, now secretary of state, portrayed the White House as initially uneasy about a controversial CIA plan for interrogating top al-Qaeda suspects.

After learning about waterboarding and similar tactics in early 2002, several White House officials questioned whether such harsh measures were “effective and necessary . . . and lawful,” Rice said. Her concerns led to an investigation by the Justice Department’s criminal division into whether the techniques were legal.

Misgivings apparently overcome
But whatever misgivings existed that spring were apparently overcome. Former and current CIA officials say no such reservations were voiced in their presence.

In interviews, the officials recounted a series of private briefings about the program with members of the administration’s security team, including Rice and Cheney, followed by more formal meetings before a larger group including then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, then-White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. None of the officials recalled President Bush being present at any of the discussions.

Several of the key meetings have been previously described in news articles and books, but Rice last month became the first Cabinet-level official to publicly confirm the White House’s awareness of the program in its earliest phases. In written responses to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee, Rice said Tenet’s description of the agency’s interrogation methods prompted her to investigate further to see whether the program violated U.S. laws or international treaties, according to her written responses, dated Sept. 12 and released late last month.

“I asked that . . . Ashcroft personally advise the NSC principles whether the program was lawful,” Rice wrote.

‘CIA had the White House boxed in’
Current and former intelligence officials familiar with the briefings described Tenet as supportive of enhanced interrogation techniques, which the officials said were developed by CIA officers after the agency’s first high-level captive, al-Qaeda operative Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, better known as Abu Zubaida, refused to cooperate with interrogators.

“The CIA believed then, and now, that the program was useful and helped save lives,” said a former senior intelligence official knowledgeable about the events. “But in the agency’s view, it was like this: ‘We don’t want to continue unless you tell us in writing that it’s not only legal but is the policy of the administration.’ “

One administration official familiar with the meetings said the CIA made such a convincing case that no one questioned whether the methods were necessary to prevent further terrorist attacks.

“The CIA had the White House boxed in,” said the official. “They were saying, ‘It’s the only way to get the information we needed, and — by the way — we think there’s another attack coming up.’ It left the principals in an extremely difficult position and put the decision-making on a very fast track.”

But others who were present said Tenet seemed more interested in protecting his subordinates than in selling the administration on a policy that administration lawyers had already authorized.

“The suggestion that someone from CIA came in and browbeat everybody is ridiculous,” said one former agency official familiar with the meeting. “The CIA understood that it was controversial and would be widely criticized if it became public,” the official said of the interrogation program. “But given the tenor of the times and the belief that more attacks were coming, they felt they had to do what they could to stop the attack.”

Anxiety
The CIA’s anxiety was partly fueled by the lack of explicit presidential authorization for the interrogation program. A secret White House “memorandum of notification” signed by Bush on Sept. 15, 2001, gave the agency broad authority to wage war against al-Qaeda, including killing and capturing its members. But it did not spell out how captives should be handled during interrogation.

But by the time the CIA requested written approval of its policy, in June 2003, the population of its secret prisons had grown from one to nine, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged principal architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Three of the detainees had been subjected to waterboarding, which involves strapping a prisoner to a board, covering his face and pouring water over his nose and mouth to simulate drowning.

By the spring of 2004, the concerns among agency officials had multiplied, in part because of shifting views among administration lawyers about what acts might constitute torture, leading Tenet to ask a second time for written confirmation from the White House. This time the reaction was far more reserved, recalled two former intelligence officials.

“The Justice Department in particular was resistant,” said one former intelligence official who participated in the discussions. “They said it doesn’t need to be in writing.”

Tenet and his deputies made their case in yet another briefing before the White House national security team in June 2004. It was to be one of the last such meetings for Tenet, who had already announced plans to step down as CIA director. Author Jane Mayer, who described the briefing in her recent book, “The Dark Side,” said the graphic accounts of interrogation appeared to make some participants uncomfortable. “History will not judge us kindly,” Mayer quoted Ashcroft as saying.

Participants in the meeting did not recall whether a vote was taken. Several weeks passed, and Tenet left the agency without receiving a formal response.

Finally, in mid-July, a memo was forwarded to the CIA reaffirming the administration’s backing for the interrogation program. Tenet had acquired the statement of support he sought.

Source

This was also Done.

Maher Arar is a 34-year-old wireless technology consultant. He was born in Syria and came to Canada with his family at the age of 17. He became a Canadian citizen in 1991. On Sept. 26, 2002, while in transit in New York’s JFK airport when returning home from a vacation, Arar was detained by US officials and interrogated about alleged links to al-Qaeda. Twelve days later, he was chained, shackled and flown to Syria, where he was held in a tiny “grave-like” cell for ten months and ten days before he was moved to a better cell in a different prison. In Syria, he was beaten, tortured and forced to make a false confession.

During his imprisonment, Arar’s wife, Monia Mazigh, campaigned relentlessly on his behalf until he was returned to Canada in October 2003. On Jan. 28, 2004, under pressure from Canadian human rights organizations and a growing number of citizens, the Government of Canada announced a Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar.

On September 18, 2006, the Commissioner of the Inquiry, Justice Dennis O’Connor, cleared Arar of all terrorism allegations, stating he was “able to say categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offence or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada.” To read the Commissioner’s report, including his findings on the actions of Canadian officials, please visit the Arar Commission’s website or click here.

You can read the chronolgy of events that led to Maher’s arrest, deportation and return in pdf format here.
You can read Maher’s statement during the press conference held on November 4, 2003 in pdf format here.
You can watch a short video about what happened to Maher here.

What happened to Maher Arar was horrifying.

Bush said repeatedly they didn’t torture people.  They also new where to send someone to, to get the torturing done for them as well.  Of course we now, know the Bush administration did torture people.

Bush lied. If he lied about that. One has to wonder what else he lied about?

There is a bit of a list at the bottom.


Steering Committee To Seek Prosecution of Bush For War Crimes

October 14 2008

Massachusetts law school Dean Lawrence Velvel will chair a Steering Committee to pursue the prosecution for war crimes of President Bush and culpable high-ranking aides after they leave office Jan. 20th.

The Steering Committee was organized following a conference of leading legal authorities and scholars from the U.S. and abroad convened by Velvel on Sept. 13-14 in Andover, Mass., titled “The Justice Robert Jackson Conference On Planning For The Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals.”

“If Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and others are not prosecuted,” Velvel said, “the future could be threatened by additional examples of Executive lawlessness by leaders who need fear no personal consequences for their actions, including more illegal wars such as Iraq.”

Besides Velvel, members of the Steering Committee include:

Ben Davis, a law Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law, where he teaches Public International Law and International Business Transactions. He is the author of numerous articles on international and related domestic law.

Marjorie Cohn, a law Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Calif., and President of the National Lawyers Guild.

Chris Pyle, a Professor at Mount Holyoke College, where he teaches Constitutional law, Civil Liberties, Rights of Privacy, American Politics and American Political Thought, and is the author of many books and articles.

Elaine Scarry, the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University, and winner of the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism.

Peter Weiss, vice president of the Center For Constitutional Rights, of New York City, which was recently involved with war crimes complaints filed in Germany and Japan against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others.

David Swanson, author, activist and founder of AfterDowningStreet.org/CensureBush.org coalition, of Charlottesville, Va.

Kristina Borjesson, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years and editor of two recent books on the media.

Colleen Costello, Staff Attorney of Human Rights, USA, of Washington, D.C., and coordinator of its efforts involving torture by the American government.

Valeria Gheorghiu, attorney for Workers’ Rights Law Center.

Andy Worthington of Redress, a British historian and journalist and author of books dealing with human rights violations.

Initial actions considered by the Steering Committee, Velvel said, are as follows:

# Seeking prosecutions of high level officials, including George Bush, for the crimes they committed.

# Seeking disbarment of lawyers who were complicitous in facilitating torture.

# Seeking termination from faculty positions of high officials who were complicitous in torture.

# Issuing a recent statement saying any attempt by Bush to pardon himself and aides for war crimes prior to leaving office will result in efforts to obtain impeachment even after they leave office.

# Convening a major conference on the state secret and executive privilege doctrines, which have been pushed to record levels during the Bush administration.

# Designation of an Information Repository Coordinator to gather in one place all available information involving the Bush Administration’s war crimes.

# Possible impeachment of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee for co-authoring the infamous “torture memo.”

Source

List of a few Lies:

1. Bush: “We went into Russia, we said, ‘Here’s some IMF money,’ and it ended up in Viktor Chernomyrdin’s pocket and others.”

Fact: “Bush appears to have tangled up whispers about possible wrongdoing by Chernomyrdin — who co-chaired a commission with Gore on U.S.-Russian relations — with other unrelated allegations concerning the diversion of International Monetary Fund money. While there has been speculation that Chernomyrdin profited from his relationship with Gazprom, a big Russian energy concern, there have been no allegations that he stole IMF money.” Washingon Post, 10/12/00

2. Bush: “We got one [a hate crime law] in Texas, and guess what? The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what’s going to happen to them? They’re going to be put to death … It’s going to be hard to punish them any worse after they get put to death….We’re happy with our laws on our books.”

Fact: “The three were convicted under Texas’ capital murder statute…The state has a hate crime statute, but it is vague.” LA Times, 10/12/00.
“The original Texas hate-crimes bill, signed into law by Democrat Ann Richards, boosted penalties for crimes motivated by bigotry. As Gore correctly noted, Bush maneuvered to make sure a new hate-crimes law related to the Byrd killing did not make it to his desk. The new bill would have included homosexuals among the groups covered, which would have been anathema to social conservatives in the state.” Washington Post, 10/12/00

3. Bush: bragged that in Texas he was signing up children for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as “fast as any other state.”

Fact: “As governor he fought to unsuccessfully to limit access to the program. He would have limited its coverage to children with family incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level, though federal law permitted up to 200 percent. The practical effect of Bush’s efforts would have been to exclude 200,000 of the 500,000 possible enrollees.” Washington Post, 10/12/00

4. Bush: “He [Gore] is for registration of guns.”

Fact: “Gore actually favors licensing for new handgun purchasers but nothing as vast as registering all guns.” Salon, 10/12/00

5. Bush: Said he found Gore’s tendency to exaggerate “an issue in trying to defend my tax relief package. There was some exaggeration about the numbers” in the first debate.

Fact: “No, there wasn’t, and Bush himself acknowledged that the next day on ABC’s Good Morning America when Charlie Gibson pinned him on it.” Salon, 10/12/00

6. Bush: “I felt during his debate with Senator [Bill] Bradley saying he [Gore] authored the EITC [earned-income tax credit] when it didn’t happen.”

Fact: “Actually, Gore had claimed to have authored an ‘expansion of the earned-income tax credit,’ which he did in 1991.” Salon, 10/12/00

7. Fact: Gore noted that Texas “ranks 49th out of the 50 states in healthcare in children with healthcare, 49th for women with healthcare and 50th for families with healthcare”

Bush: “You can quote all the numbers you want but I’m telling you we care about our people in Texas. We spent a lot of money to make sure people get healthcare in the state of Texas.”

8. Fact: Gore said, “I’m no expert on the Texas procedures, but what my friends there tell me is that the governor opposed a measure put forward by Democrats in the Legislature to expand the number of children that would be covered … And instead [he] directed the money toward a tax cut, a significant part of which went to wealthy interests.”

Bush: “If he’s trying to allege I’m a hardhearted person and don’t care about children, he’s absolutely wrong.”

9. Bush: “The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what’s going to happen to them? They’ll be put to death. A jury found them guilty.”

Fact: Two of the three are being put to death. The other was given life. Bush Watch, 10/12/00

10. Bush: said he favored “equal” rights for gays and lesbians, but not “special” rights.

Fact: “Bush has supported a Texas law that allows the state to take adopted children from gay and lesbian couples to place the kids with straight couples.” Salon, 10/12/00.
“Bush supports hate crime protections for other minorities! So Bush doesn’t believe that gays should have the same ‘special’ rights in this regard as blacks, Jews, Wiccans and others. Employment discrimination? Again, Bush supports those rights for other Americans, but not gays. Military service? Bush again supports the right to military service for all qualified people–as long as they don’t tell anyone they’re gay. Marriage? How on earth is that a special right when every heterosexual in America already has it? But again, Bush thinks it should be out-of-bounds for gays. What else is there? The right to privacy? Nuh-huh. Bush supports a gays-only sodomy law in his own state that criminalizes consensual sex in private between two homosexuals.” New Republic, 10/13/00

11. Bush. “We ought to do everything we can to end racial profiling.”

Fact: The Texas Department of Public Safety has just this year begun keeping detailed information about the race and sex of all people stopped by its troopers, the sixth year Bush has been in office. Salon, 10/12/00

12. Bush got caught not giving the full story on Texas air pollution laws. He was correct in saying the 1999 utility deregulation bill he signed into law had mandatory emissions standards.

Fact: “What was missing, as Gore’s campaign pointed out, was that many more non-utility industrial plants are not mandated to reduce air quality. The issue is an important one because Texas ranks near the bottom in air-quality standards. Bush instead approved a voluntary program allowing grandfathered oil, coal, and other industrial plants to cut down on pollution.” Boston Globe, 10/12/00

13. Bush: About the Balkans, “I think it ought to be one of our priorities to work with our European friends to convince them to put troops on the ground.”

Fact: “European forces already make up a large majority of the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo.” Washington Post, 10/12/00

14. Bush: “One of the problems we have in the military is we’re in a lot of places around the world” and cited Haiti as an example.

Fact: “Though approximately 20,000 U.S. troops went to Haiti in 1994, as of late August this year, there were only 109 U.S. troops in Haiti and most were rotating through as part of an exercise.” Washington Post, 10/12/00

15. Bush: “I don’t think we ought to be selling guns to people who shouldn’t have them. That’s why I support instant background checks at gun shows. One of the reasons we have an instant background check is so that we instantly know whether or not someone should have a gun or not.”

Fact: “Bush overstates the effectiveness of instant background checks for people trying to buy guns … The Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 3 that during Bush’s term as governor, Texas granted licenses for carrying concealed guns to hundreds of people with criminal records and histories of drug problems, violence or psychological disorders.” Washington Post, 10/12/00
“He didn’t mention that Texas failed to perform full background checks on 407 people who had prior criminal convictions but were granted concealed handgun licenses under a law he signed in 1995. Of those, 71 had convictions that should have excluded them from having a concealed gun permit, the Texas Department of Public Safety acknowledged.” AP, 10/12/00

16. Bush:”Said the number of Texans without health insurance had declined while the number in the United States had risen.”

Fact: ” A new Census Bureau report says the number of uninsured Americans declined last year for the first time since statistics were kept in 1987. About 42.5 million people, or 15.5 percent of the population, lacked insurance in 1999, compared with 44.2 million, or 16.3 percent, in 1998, the agency reported. Texas ranked next-to-last in the nation last year with 23.3 percent of its residents uninsured. But that was an improvement from 1998, when it ranked 50th at 24.5 percent.” AP, 10/12/00

17. Bush: “Some of the scientists, I believe, Mr. Vice President, haven’t they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming?”

Fact: “Bush’s dismissive comments about global warming could bolster the charge that he and fellow oilman Dick Cheney are in the pocket of the oil industry, which likewise pooh-poohs the issue. [While] there is no consensus about the impact of global warming, … most scientists agree that humans are contributing to the rising global temperature. ‘Most climate experts are certain that global warming is real and that it threatens ecology and human prosperity, and a growing number say it is well under way,’ wrote New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin.” Salon, 10/13/00

18. Bush: When Jim Lehrer asked Bush if he approved of the U.S. intervention in Lebanon during the Reagan years, Bush answered a quick “yes” and moved on.

Fact: “Lebanon was a disaster in the history of American foreign affairs. Next to Iran-Contra, it was the Reagan administration’s greatest overseas fiasco. Quoting from the Encyclopedia of the American Presidency: ‘[In 1983] Reagan stumbled into a disastrous intervention in the Middle East when he sent U.S. Marines into Lebanon on an ill-defined mission as part of an international peacekeeping force.’ In December, according to Reagan biographer Edmund Morris, ‘two days before Christmas, a Pentagon commission of inquiry into the Beirut barracks bombing humiliated [Secretary of State] Shultz [who had backed the intervention], and embarrassed Reagan, by concluding that the dead Marines had been victims of a myopic Middle Eastern policy.'” tompaine.com, 10/11/00

19. Bush: “I thought the president made the right decision in joining NATO and bombing Serbia. I supported him when they did so.”

Fact: The bombing of Serbia began on March 24, 1999, and Bush did not express even measured support until April 8, 1999 — nearly two weeks later. Prior to April 8, 1999, every comment by Bush about the bombing was non-committal. Finally, he offered a measured endorsement: “It’s important for the United States to be slow to engage the military, but once the military is engaged, it must be engaged with one thing in mind, and that is victory,” he said after being pressed by reporters. A Houston Chronicle story documented the Governor’s statements on the crisis and reported that “Bush has been widely criticized for being slow to adopt a position on Kosovo and then for making vague statements on the subject.” Houston Chronicle, 4/9/99

20. Bush: Discussing International Loans: “And there’s some pretty egregious examples recently, one being Russia where we had IMF loans that ended up in the pockets of a lot of powerful people and didn’t help the nation.”

Fact: Bush’s own vice presidential candidate, Dick Cheney, lobbied for U.S.-backed loan to Russia that helped his own company. “Halliburton Co. lobbied for and received $ 292 million in loan guarantees to develop one of the world’s largest oil fields in Russia. Cheney said: ‘This is exactly the type of project we should be encouraging if Russia is to succeed in reforming its economy … We at Halliburton appreciate the support of the Export-Import Bank and look forward to beginning work on this important project..” PR Newswire 4/6/2000.
The State Department, armed with a CIA report detailing corruption by Halliburton’s Russian partner, invoked a seldom-used prerogative and ordered suspension of the loan. The loan guarantee “ran counter to America’s ‘national interest,” the State Department ruled. New Republic, 8/7/00

21. Bush “There’s a lot of talk about trigger locks being on guns sold in the future. I support that.”

Fact: When asked in 1999, if he was in support of mandatory safety locks, Bush said, ” No, I’m not, I’m for voluntary safety locks on guns.” In March of 2000, Bush said he would not push for trigger lock legislation, but would sign it if it passed [Washington Post, 3/3/00;ABC, Good Morning America, 5/10/99]. When Bush was asked, “when two bills were introduced in the Texas legislature to require the sale of child safety locks with newly purchased handguns, and you never addressed the issue with the legislature, and both bills died. If you support it, why did that happen?” Bush said, “Because those bills had no votes in committee.” When asked again if he supported the bills, Bush said, “I wasn’t even aware of those bills because they never even got out of committee.” NBC, Today Show, 5/12/00

22. Bush: “Africa is important and we’ve got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade.” Fact “While Africa may be important, it doesn’t fit into the national strategic interests, as far as I can see them,” Bush said earlier. When he was asked for his vision of the U.S. national interests, he named every continent except Africa. According to Time magazine, “[Bush] focused exclusively on big ticket issues … Huge chunks of the globe — Africa and Latin America, for example — were not addressed at all.” Time, 12/6/99; PBS News Hour, 2/16/00; Toronto Star, 2/16/00

23. Bush: “There’s only been one governor ever elected to back-to-back four year terms and that was me.”

Fact: The governors who served two consecutive four-year terms (meeting Bush’s statement criteria are): Coke R. Stevenson (2 consecutive 4-year terms) August 4, 1941-January 21, 1947. Allan Shivers (2 consecutive four-year terms) July 11, 1949-January 15, 1957. Price Daniel (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 15, 1957-January 15, 1963. John Connally (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 15, 1963-January 21, 1969. Dolph Briscoe (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 16, 1973-January 16, 1979. George W. Bush (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 17, 1995 to present. Source: Texas State Libraries and Archives Commission.

24. Bush: “We spend $4.7 billion a year on the uninsured in the state of Texas.”

Fact: The state of Texas came up with less than $1B for this purpose. $3.5 came from local governments, private providers, and charities, $198M from the federal government, and just less than $1B from Texas state agencies. Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Source

Bush-Cheney Administration Lies About Iraq

“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

– Dick Cheney, August 26 2002

“Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.”

– George W. Bush, September 12 2002

“If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.”

– Ari Fleischer, December 2 2002

“We know for a fact that there are weapons there.”

– Ari Fleischer, January 9 2003

“Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.”

– George W. Bush, State of the Union address, January 28 2003

“We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.”

– Colin Powell, February 5 2003

“We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons.”

– George Bush, February 8 2003

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”

– George Bush, March 17 2003

“Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.”

– Ari Fleischer, March 21 2003

“There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.”

– Gen. Tommy Franks, March 22 2003

“We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad.”

– Donald Rumsfeld, March 30 2003.

“Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.”

– Bush in October 2002.

“Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.”

– Bush in January 2003 State of the Union address.

“Iraq has also provided Al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.”

– Bush in February 2003.

“sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.”

Powell in his U.N. speech prior to the Iraq War.

“We have removed an ally of Al Qaeda.”

Bush in May 2003.

Stated that the Iraqis were “providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the Al Qaeda organization.”

– Cheney in September 2003.

“Saddam had an established relationship with Al Qaeda, providing training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons, gases, making conventional weapons.”

– Cheney in October 2003.

…….

Cheney said Saddam “had long established ties with Al Qaeda.”

– June 14, 2004.

Bush said, “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and Al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda.”

– June 17, 2004.

Source

17 Chinese Released from Guantánamo Bay


The Inconvenient Existence of Abdel al Ghizzawi

On Tuesday U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ordered the release of 17 Chinese Uighur Muslims from Guantánamo Bay and most likely caused a near-riot in the White House. His order highlights the increasingly muddled nature of the facility’s existence and, if carried out, holds the potential for an avalanche of bad publicity at a very bad time for the President.

First and most importantly, consider the people behind the paper. The Uighurs and one Abdel al Ghizzawi were all found not to be enemy combatants at the same time by tribunals formed under the Military Commissions Act (MCA). The political repercussions must have been obvious because new, more compliant tribunals subsequently ruled that the very same evidence actually made them enemy combatants. The Uighurs were treated as a single group because, um, they are Uighurs (a completely irrelevant similarity under the circumstances) and al Ghizzawi was split off. The Uighurs ended up before Urbina and ordered released. Al Ghizzawi ended up before John Bates and was told he did not even merit medical attention.

In other words, undesirable findings can be reversed by simply convening a more friendly panel (the MCA was presumably written by avid golfers), and the foregone conclusions dressed up as rulings get wildly different treatment in the justice system. Judges have no case law or precedent to guide them, no philosophy to draw on or judicial framework for interpretation. They go by nothing more than their own sense of what seems right, and preside over courts that exist in a jurisprudential vacuum. Lawyers who attempt to work in this system are almost completely blind to what might be effective, and their understandable frustration is hard to miss.

For instance, al Ghizzawi is represented by H. Candace Gorman, who clarified several points for me via email while I was writing this post. She also has shown astonishing persistence in her pro bono efforts to obtain some semblance of justice. However, a quick look at her ongoing chronicle shows just how much she has had to make her approach up as she goes along. I suspect “improvised” ranks just above “incompetent” in the Adjectives You Don’t Want Characterizing Your Defense category, but in this case what other choice is there?

Al Ghizzawi and others languish in Guantánamo because of politics. Election day is less than a month away and there are barely over a hundred days left in the President’s term. Released detainees could create a political disaster on the former and a legal one after the latter. Think about what happens on November 4th if the Uighurs are released in the next week or two. They will be on American soil and probably giving interviews – imagine the news value of a group from the fabled, mythical Gitmo showing up at the end of election season. I suspect there would be tremendous curiosity over what they had to say about their time in U.S. custody. A rigged system declared them noncombatants, so the story of their incarceration without a shred of evidence would look very bad. Maybe not for the immediate aftermath of the capture, but as years dragged on it would be clear they were kept not because of risks to national security but because of their direct experience of administration policy. Based on the limited information we have I imagine we would hear about extended periods of isolation, sleeplessness, sensory deprivation, extremes of cold and heat, stress positions and other abuses. Done individually or at moderate levels they might not seem so bad, but strung together in succession, done with the intent of finding the fabled 79.9 degrees and related on TV by the actual victim it would generally be seen as torture. The result: widespread revulsion at the Republicans’ preferred approach to detainees.

Also, the President clearly must hear the clock ticking. Once he hands over the keys to his successor he will no longer be able to have the Justice Department file emergency appeals, have the Vice President breathe down someone’s neck or make life for a reluctant bureaucrat sufficiently unpleasant as to make a career change look like a good idea. Considering his historic unpopularity he probably should not expect to have any surrogates going to the wall for him either. He will, for all intents and purposes, go into exile. If he cannot shut down or compromise avenues of prosecution right now he will have to rely on the good will of the citizenry and the forbearance of the next players in Washington to keep him from answering for his actions. Both are possible, perhaps likely, but how reassuring is that? Better to crush it now. Expect fireworks.

Pruning Shears

Enemy Combatant is just an invention of the Bush administration. There in actuality, is no such thing. It is not the view of the rest of the world. It is merely a bogus invention to remove the rights of prisoners held there.
If anything they are Prisoners of War that should be protected by the Geneva Convention.
Guantanamo Bay is one of the worst Human Rights Violations conjured up by the Bush administration.

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

Adopted on 12 August 1949 by the Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of
International Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War, held in Geneva
from 21 April to 12 August, 1949
Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 1:39 am  Comments Off on 17 Chinese Released from Guantánamo Bay  
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Plans underway to “Microchip” Newborns in U.S. and Europe

January 2008

Doctor alleges plans underway to “Microchip” Newborns in U.S. and Europe

Compiled by Lucien Desjardins
http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/home/Frontpage/2007/01/08/01290.html

Regarding plans to microchip newborns, Dr. Kilde said the U.S. has been moving in this direction “in secrecy.”

She added that in Sweden, Prime Minister Olof Palme gave permission in 1973 to implant prisoners, and Data Inspection’s ex-Director General Jan Freese revealed that nursing-home patients were implanted in the mid-1980s. The technology is revealed in the 1972:47 Swedish state report, Statens Officiella Utradninger.

Are you prepared to live in a world in which every newborn baby is micro-chipped? And finally are you ready to have your every move tracked, recorded and placed in Big Brother’s data bank? According to the Finnish article, distributed to doctors and medical students, time is running out for changing the direction of military medicine and mind control technology, ensuring the future of human freedom.

“Implanted human beings can be followed anywhere. Their brain functions can be remotely monitored by supercomputers and even altered through the changing of frequencies,” wrote Dr. Kilde. “Guinea pigs in secret experiments have included prisoners, soldiers, mental patients,handicapped children, deaf and blind people, homosexuals, single women, the elderly, school children, and any group of people considered “marginal” by the elite experimenters. The published experiences of prisoners in Utah State Prison, for example, are shocking to the conscience.

“Today’s microchips operate by means of low-frequency radio waves that target them. With the help of satellites, the implanted person can be tracked anywhere on the globe. Such a technique was among a number tested in the Iraq war, according to Dr. Carl Sanders, who invented the intelligence-manned interface (IMI) biotic, which is injected into people. (Earlier during the Vietnam War, soldiers were injected with the Rambo chip, designed to increase adrenaline flow into the bloodstream.) The 20-billion-bit/second supercomputers at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) could now “see and hear” what soldiers experience in the battlefield with a remote monitoring system (RMS).

“When a 5-micromillimeter microchip (the diameter of a strand of hair is 50 micromillimeters) is placed into optical nerve of the eye,”, Dr. Kilde indicates “it draws neuro-impulses from the brain that embody the experiences, smells, sights, and voice of the implanted person. Once transferred and stored in a computer, these neuro-impulses can be projected back to the person’s brain via the microchip to be re-experienced. Using a RMS, a land-based computer operator can send electromagnetic messages (encoded as signals) to the nervous system, affecting the target’s performance. With RMS, healthy persons can be induced to see hallucinations and to hear voices in their heads. ”

“Every thought, reaction, hearing, and visual observation causes a certain neurological potential, spikes, and patterns in the brain and its electromagnetic fields, which can now be decoded into thoughts, pictures, and voices, ” Dr. Kilde adds. “Electromagnetic stimulation can therefore change a person’s brainwaves and affect muscular activity, causing painful muscular cramps experienced as torture.”

Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990–2006
Also a lot of of other information. At this site as well.
http://www.spychips.com/
The below are just a few of the links at the site there are many more.
What is RFID?

How “spychips” pose a threat to your privacy

What should be done?
CASPIAN’s Proposed Legislation would require labeling on products containing RFID
CASPIAN’s Joint Position Statement requests limits on business and government use of RFID

Stop RFIDs in California IDs Tell Your Lawmakers to Vote “YES” to SB 768
California residents, click here to find out more.

CASPIAN Launches Worldwide Tesco Boycott!
Consumers react as retailer flaunts expanding use of RFID

Business Week Article:
“Industry is finally getting the message: RFID is fine for pallets of goods in a warehouse, but not for people.”

CIO Magazine Article:
Customers to Retailers: “Take us Seriously”
Privacy Advocates Turn up the Pressure

Scandals

DHS Wants Beefed up RFID To Silently ID People 25 Feet Away

The VeriChip Can be Cloned, May Not Work When Needed

Ex-HHS Head Puts Off Being Chipped Despite July Promise

Ex-Bush cabinet member praises & recommends VeriChip

CASPIAN uncovers Government RFID Promotion Scheme

Mexican Chipping Overstated (CASPIAN reveals 18 officials chipped, not 160)

FDA letter outlines serious health risks from VeriChip human implants

Censored! CASPIAN told to remove incriminating RFID tagging photos

Photos of chipped CVS products, Kleenex, Huggies baby wipes

Calvin Klein and other clothing labels with hidden RFID tags

Mexican Attorney General and staff take RFID implants

Wal-Mart is RFID tagging in Texas! Call 1-800-Wal-Mart to complain!

Industry Attempt to Smear RFID Activist Katherine Albrecht
Grocery Manufacturers of America and Gillette CEO asked to explain

CASPIAN finds embarrassing confidential RFID documents
Talk of “pacifying” consumers, hoping for “apathy,” and bringing lawmakers into the “inner circle.”

CASPIAN asks “How can we trust these people with our personal data?”

Metro “Future Store” hides RFID in shopper cards
Protest and backlash force a recall
Wal-Mart, P&G Caught in Secret RFID Test
Consumers used as guinea pigs for controversial technology