“Tortured” veterans to sue Donald Rumsfeld

August 9 2011

Two American men can go ahead with civil lawsuit over allegations they were tortured in Iraq at the hands of US forces.
A lawyer representing Rumsfeld said the appeals court decision was a blow to the US military

Donald Rumsfeld, the former US secretary of defence, must face a lawsuit filed against him by two American men claiming they were wrongfully held and tortured by US forces in Iraq.

The US Court of Appeals in Chicago on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling last year allowing the men, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, to pursue claims that Rumsfeld and unnamed others should be found personally liable for their treatment – despite efforts by the former Bush and current Obama administration to get the case dismissed.

The two men worked for a private security company in Iraq in 2006 and said they became concerned the firm was engaging in illegal bribery or other corruption activities. They notified US authorities and began co-operating with them.

Emotional abuse

In early 2006, they were taken into custody by US military forces and eventually taken to Camp Cropper near Baghdad’s airport. Vance and Ertel claimed they were subjected to harsh interrogations and physical and emotional abuse.

Months later they said they were unceremoniously dropped at the airport and never charged with a crime.

They sued, seeking unspecified damages and saying their constitutional rights had been violated and US officials knew they were innocent.

The appeals court ruled that while it may have been unusual for Rumsfeld to be personally responsible for the treatment of detainees, the two men had sufficiently argued that the decisions were made at the highest levels of government.

We agree with the district court that the plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts to show that Secretary Rumsfeld personally established the relevant policies that caused the alleged violations of their constitutional rights during detention,” the court ruled in a split decision.

The three-judge panel voted 2-1 to affirm the lower court ruling. Judge Daniel Manion dissented, saying Congress has yet to decide whether courts should have a role in deciding whether such claims against the US military can be pursued.

A lawyer representing Rumsfeld said the appeals court decision was a blow to the US military.

“Having judges second guess the decisions made by the armed forces halfway around the world is no way to wage a war,” attorney David Rivkin said in a statement on Monday.

“It saps the effectiveness of the military, puts American soldiers at risk, and shackles federal officials who have a constitutional duty to protect America.”

A spokesman for the US Justice Department, which has been representing the former defense secretary, had no immediate comment. The Justice Department could appeal to the full appeals court or to the US Supreme Court.

There have been other lawsuits against Rumsfeld and the US government over allegations of abuse and torture overseas, but most involved foreigners, not US citizens, so federal courts have typically dismissed those cases.

A district judge in Washington last week allowed a similar case to proceed involving an American translator who worked in Iraq with the US military and who said he was later detained and subjected to harsh interrogation techniques and abuse.

Source

I hope Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel win their case.

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Abdullah Khadr released as extradition request denied

By Linda Nguyen

August 4, 2010

TORONTO — An Ontario court on Wednesday quashed a bid to extradite Abdullah Khadr to the U.S. on terrorism charges following a lengthy legal battle between the federal government and one of Canada’s most controversial families.

Khadr, 29, who has been held for the past five years at a Toronto detention centre, was immediately released following the decision by Superior Court Justice Christopher Speyer.

Khadr is the eldest son of Ahmed Said Khadr, an al-Qaida financier who was killed by Pakistan forces in a shootout near the Afghanistan border in 2003. His family had immigrated to Canada in 1977.

“(I want to) try and get on with my life. I feel very happy,” Abdullah Khadr told reporters outside the downtown Toronto courthouse. “I always believed that it would happen one day, and thank God it happened.”

His release comes days before his younger brother, Omar, begins his military trial in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Omar Khadr, 23, the only Canadian still held at the U.S. prison, has been detained there since 2002 following a firefight with U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He is charged with throwing a grenade that killed American medic Christopher Speer. He was 15 years old at the time.

From the start, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has refused to seek the repatriation of the terror suspect back to Canada but, notably, Canada’s legal system has sided many times with the Khadr family in its battles with the Canadian government.

In January, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Omar Khadr’s charter rights had been violated by Canadian officials who had questioned him at Guantanamo Bay in 2003 and 2004. Khadr had been exposed to sleep deprivation and denied his right to legal counsel by American interrogators.

Last month, a Federal Court judge ruled that the Conservative government had a week to come up with a list of “all untried remedies” that could help eradicate the breach of Khadr’s rights as a Canadian citizen. That victory was short-lived — a few weeks later, a Federal Appeals judge stayed the decision, arguing that the previous judge overstepped his boundaries and was essentially dictating the government foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the U.S. case against Abdullah Khadr was based on a number of statements he made to the FBI and RCMP about procuring weapons for al-Qaida and allegedly being involved in an assassination plot against the prime minister of Pakistan. He said those confessions were made while he was detained and tortured in Pakistan in 2005.

During his extradition hearing last fall, Khadr told a Toronto court that authorities had also threatened violence against his family.

“If someone tells you, if you don’t tell us you are selling missiles to al-Qaida, we are going to rape your sister, what would you say?” Khadr had asked, breaking down.

He told the court that he attended a camp in Afghanistan when he was 13 years old and learned how to use guns, explosives and rocket and grenade launchers. Khadr said these were not terrorism camps run by al-Qaida but were part of “Muslim culture.” He denied that his father had any influence over his ideology.

Nathan Whitling, one of the Edmonton-based defence lawyers representing Khadr, said this victory may have been the best-case scenario possible for his client but the battle is far from finished.

“We don’t feel that it’s over,” he said. “We see it as one good step in the process. Obviously we’re pleased about it but we’ll keep fighting this thing.”

The Canadian government has been on the “wrong side” these past five years by “actively pursuing” the extradition of his client to the U.S., added Whitling.

He and his colleague Dennis Edney had argued that Canada would be supporting interrogation methods against international law if it granted the extradition request. They also argued that the information was given under extreme duress.

Ultimately, Justice Speyer’s ruling was based on how the U.S. detained and drew a confession out of Khadr, who to this day maintains his innocence.

Khadr was arrested in Pakistan in 2004 after the U.S. government issued a $500,000 U.S. bounty for his capture. He was denied access to a lawyer for three months and held a total of 14 months in Pakistan without charges. During this time he was interrogated by Pakistani, Canadian and American officials.

Whitling said Khadr, fearing arrest by U.S. authorities, plans to stay in Canada.

In the meantime, he will enjoy the small pleasures in life. For his first meal outside of detention in five years, he ate an Asian stir-fry and drank a Pepsi.

“He’s getting married. He’s engaged,” said Whitling. “He just wants to settle down and live a quiet life.”

The federal government has 30 days to appeal the Ontario Superior Court ruling.

Carole Faindon, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said it was too soon to say whether an appeal will be launched.

“We are reviewing the decision,” she said. “A decision on an appeal will be determined in due time.” Source

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The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should be Terminated

July 24, 2010

By Sherwood Ross

The Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) has confirmed the worst fears of its creator President Harry Truman that it might degenerate into “an American Gestapo.” It has  been just that for so long it is beyond redemption. It represents 60 years of failure and fascism utterly at odds with the spirit of a democracy and needs to be closed, permanently.

Over the years “the Agency” as it is known, has given U.S. presidents so much wrong information on so many critical issues, broken so many laws, subverted so many elections, overthrown so many governments, funded so many dictators, and killed and tortured so many innocent human beings that the pages of its official history could be written in blood, not ink. People the world over regard it as infamous, and that evaluation, sadly for the reputation of America, is largely accurate.  Besides, since President Obama has half a dozen other major intelligence agencies to rely on for guidance, why does he need the CIA? In one swoop he could lop an estimated 27,000 employees off the Federal payroll, save taxpayers umpteen billions, and wipe the CIA stain from the American flag.

If you think this is a “radical” idea, think again. What is “radical” is to empower a mob of covert operatives to roam the planet, wreaking havoc as they go with not a care for morality or, for that matter, the tenets of mercy implicit in any of the great faiths. The idea of not prosecuting CIA interrogators (i.e., torturers), as President Obama has said, is chilling. These crimes have to be stopped somewhere, sometime, or they will occur again.

“The CIA had run secret interrogation centers before—beginning in 1950, in Germany, Japan, and Panama,” writes New York Times reporter Tim Weiner in his book “Legacy of Ashes, The History of The CIA”(Random House). Weiner has won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the intelligence community. “It had participated in the torture of captured enemy combatants before—beginning in 1967, under the Phoenix program in Vietnam. It had kidnapped suspected terrorists and assassins before…”

In Iran in 1953, for example, a CIA-directed coup restored the Shah (king) to absolute power, initiating what journalist William Blum in “Rogue State” (Common Courage Press) called “a period of 25 years of repression and torture; while the oil industry was restored to foreign ownership, with the US and Britain each getting 40 percent.”  About the same time in Guatemala, Blum adds, a CIA-organized coup “overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of military government death squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling more than 200,000 victims—indisputably one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century.” The massive slaughter compares, at least in terms of sheer numbers, with Hitler’s massacre of Romanian and Ukranian Jews during the holocaust. Yet few Americans know of it.

Blum provides yet other examples of CIA criminality. In Indonesia, it attempted in 1957-58 to overthrow neutralist president Sukarno. It plotted Sukarno’s assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phony sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to wage a full-scale war against the government, including bombing runs by American pilots, Blum reported This particular attempt, like one in Costa Rica about the same time, failed. So did the CIA attempt in Iraq in 1960 to assassinate President Abdul Kassem. Other ventures proved more “successful”.

In Laos, the CIA was involved in coup attempts in 1958, 1959, and 1960, creating a clandestine army of 30,000 to overthrow the government. In Ecuador, the CIA ousted President Jose Velasco for recognizing the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The CIA also arranged the murder of elected Congo Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961 and installation of Mobutu Seko who ruled “with a level of corruption and cruelty that shocked even his CIA handlers,” Blum recalls.

In Ghana, in 1966, the CIA sponsored a military coup against leader Kwame Nkrumah in 1966; in Chile, it financed the overthrow of elected President Salvador Allende in 1973 and brought to power the murderous regime of General Augusto Pinochet who executed 3,000 political opponents and tortured thousands more.  In Greece in 1967, the CIA helped subvert the elections and backed a military coup that killed 8,000 Greeks in its first month of operation. “Torture, inflicted in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States, became routine,” Blum writes.

In South Africa, the CIA gave the apartheid government information that led to the arrest of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, who subsequently spent years in prison. In Bolivia, in 1964, the CIA overthrew President Victor Paz; in Australia from 1972-75, the CIA slipped millions of dollars to political opponents of the Labor Party; ditto, Brazil in 1962; in Laos in 1960, the CIA stuffed ballot boxes to help a strongman into power;  in Portugal in the Seventies the candidates it financed triumphed over a pro-labor government; in the Philippines, the CIA backed governments in the 1970-90 period that employed torture and summary execution against its own people; in El Salvador, the CIA in the Nineties backed the wealthy in a civil war in which 75,000 civilians were killed; and the list goes on and on.

Of course, the hatred that the CIA engenders for the American people and American business interests is enormous. Because the Agency operates largely in secret, most Americans are unaware of the crimes it perpetrates in their names. As Chalmers Johnson writes in “Blowback”(Henry Holt), former long-time CIA director Robert Gates, now Obama’s defense secretary, admitted U.S. intelligence services began to aid the mujahideen guerrillas in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet invasion in December, 1979.

As has often been the case, the CIA responded to a criminal order from one of the succession of imperial presidents that have occupied the White House, in this instance one dated July 3, 1979, from President Jimmy Carter. The Agency was ordered to aid the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul—aid that might sucker the Kremlin into invading. “The CIA supported Osama bin Laden, like so many other extreme fundamentalists among the mujahideen in Afghanistan, from at least 1984 on,” Johnson writes, helping bin Laden train many of the 35,000 Arab Afghans.

Thus Carter, like his successors in the George H.W. Bush government — Gates, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, and Colin Powell, “all bear some responsibility for the 1.8 million Afghan casualties, 2.6 million refugees, and 10 million unexploded land mines that followed from their decisions, as well as the ‘collateral damage’ that befell New York City in September 2001 from an organization they helped create during the years of anti-Soviet Afghan resistance,” Johnson added. Worse, the Bush-Cheney regime after 9/11 “set no limits on what the agency could do. It was the foundation for a system of secret prisons where CIA officer and contractors used techniques that included torture,” Weiner has written. By some estimates, the CIA in 2006 held 14,000 souls in 11 secret prisons, a vast crime against humanity.

That the CIA has zero interest in justice and engages in gratuitous cruelty may be seen from the indiscriminate dragnet arrests it has perpetrated: “CIA officers snatched and grabbed more than three thousand people in more than one hundred countries in the year after 9/11,” Weiner writes, adding that only 14 men of all those seized “were high-ranking authority figures within al Qaeda and its affiliates. Along with them, the agency jailed hundreds of nobodies…(who) became ghost prisoners in the war on terror.”

As for providing the White House with accurate intelligence, the record of the CIA has been a fiasco. The Agency was telling President Carter the Shah of Iran was beloved by his people and was firmly entrenched in power in 1979 when any reader of Harper’s magazine, available on newsstands for a buck, could read that his overthrow was imminent—and it was. Over the years, the Agency has been wrong far more often than it has been right.

According to an Associated Press report, when confirmed by the Senate as the new CIA director, Leon Panetta said the Obama administration would not prosecute CIA officers that “participated in harsh interrogations even if they constituted torture as long as they did not go beyond their instructions.” This will allow interrogators to evade prosecution for following the clearly criminal orders they would have been justified to disobey.

“Panetta also said that the Obama administration would continue to transfer foreign detainees to other countries for questioning but only if U.S. officials are confident that the prisoners will not be tortured,” the AP story continued. If past is prologue, how confident can Panetta be the CIA’s fellow goons in Egypt and Morocco will stop torturing prisoners? Why did the CIA kidnap men off the streets of Milan and New York and fly them to those countries in the first place if not for torture? They certainly weren’t treating them to a Mediterranean vacation. By its long and nearly perfect record of reckless disregard for international law, the CIA has deprived itself of the right to exist.

It will be worse than unfortunate if President Obama continues the inhumane (and illegal) CIA renditions that President Bill Clinton began and President Bush vastly expanded. If the White House thinks its operatives can roam the world and arrest and torture any person it chooses without a court order, without due process, and without answering for their crimes, this signifies Americans believe themselves to be a Master Race better than others and above international law. That’s not much different from the philosophy that motivated Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. It would be the supreme irony if the American electorate that repudiated racism last November has voted into its highest office a constitutional lawyer who reaffirms his predecessor’s illegal views on this activity. Renditions must be stopped. The CIA must be abolished. Source

Drone Pilots Could Be Tried for ‘War Crimes’

The pilots waging America’s undeclared drone war in Pakistan could be liable to criminal prosecution for “war crimes,” a prominent law professor told a Congressional panel Wednesday.

It’s part of an ongoing legal debate about the CIA and U.S. military’s lethal drone operations, which have escalated in recent months…

NATO Smears a Truth-Teller in Afghanistan

When the CIA/US needed money or weapons shipped into a country they enlisted the help of Israel. Israel was the funnel tunnel used by the US.
Israel’s Latin American trail of terror

June 5 2003

By Jeremy Bigwood

“I learned an infinite amount of things in Israel, and to that country I owe part of my essence, my human and military achievements” said Colombian paramilitary leader and indicted drug trafficker Carlos Castao in his ghostwritten autobiography, Mi Confesin. Castao, who leads the Colombian paramilitaries, known by their Spanish acronym AUC, the largest right-wing paramilitary force to ever exist in the western hemisphere reveals that he was trained in the arts of war in Israel as a young man of 18 in the 1980s. He glowingly adds: “I copied the concept of paramilitary forces from the Israelis,” in his chapter-long account of his Israel experiences.

Castao’s right-wing Phalange-like AUC force is now by far the worst human rights violator in all of the Americas, and ties between that organisation and Israel are continually surfacing in the press.

Outside the law

The AUC paramilitaries are a fighting force that originally grew out of killers hired to protect drug-running operations and large landowners. They were organised into a cohesive force by Castao in 1997. It exists outside the law but often coordinates its actions with the Colombian military, in a way similar to the relationship of the Lebanese Phalange to the Israeli army throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

According to a 1989 Colombian Secret Police intelligence report, apart from training Carlos Castao in 1983, Israeli trainers arrived in Colombia in 1987 to train him and other paramilitaries who would later make up the AUC.
Fifty of the paramilitaries’ “best” students were then sent on scholarships to Israel for further training according to a Colombian police intelligence report, and the AUC became the most prominent paramilitary force in the hemisphere, with some 10,000-12,000 men in arms.

The Colombian AUC paramilitaries are always in need of arms, and it should come as no surprise that some of their major suppliers are Israeli. Israeli arms dealers have long had a presence in next-door Panama and especially in Guatemala.
In May of last year, GIRSA, an Israeli company associated with the Israeli Defence Forces and based in Guatemala was able to buy 3000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition that were then handed over to AUC paramilitaries in Colombia.

Links with the continent

Israel’s military relations with right-wing groups and regimes spans Latin America from Mexico to the southernmost tip of Chile, starting just a few years after the Israeli state came into existence.
Since then, the list of countries Israel has supplied, trained and advised includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
But it isn’t only the sales of planes, guns and weapons system deals that characterises the Israeli presence in Latin America.
Where Israel has excelled is in advising, training and running intelligence and counter-insurgency operations in the Latin American “dirty war” civil conflicts of Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and now Colombia.

In the case of the Salvadoran conflict – a civil war between the right-wing landowning class supported by a particularly violent military pitted against left-wing popular organisations – the Israelis were present from the beginning. Besides arms sales, they helped train ANSESAL, the secret police who were later to form the framework of the infamous death squads that would kill tens of thousands of mostly civilian activists.

From 1975 to 1979, 83% of El Salvador’s military imports came from Israel, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. By 1981, many of those in the civilian popular political movements who had survived the death squads headed for the hills to become guerrillas.

By 1981 there was an open civil war in El Salvador which took over a decade to resolve through negotiations.
Even though the US was openly backing the Salvadoran Army by 1981, as late as November 1983 it was asking for more Israeli “practical assistance” there, according to a declassified secret document obtained recently by Aljazeera.
Among the assistance asked for were helicopters, trucks, rifles, ammunition, and combat infantry advisors to work at both the “company and battalion level of the Salvadoran Army”.

One notable Salvadoran officer trained by the Israelis was Major Roberto D’Aubuisson, who always held a high opinion of the Israelis. It was Major D’Aubuisson who ordered the assassination of El Salvador’s archbishop amongst thousands of other murders.
Later he would organise the right-wing National Republican Alliance Party (ARENA) and send his son to study abroad in the relative safety of Israel.

Dirty war

Amazingly, while the Israelis were training the El Salvadoran death squads they were also supporting the anti-semitic Argentine military government of the late 1970s and early 1980s – at a time when that government was involved_in another “dirty war” of death squads and disappearances.

In 1978, Nicaragua’s dictator Somoza was making his last stand against a general uprising of the Sandinista-led population who were sick of his family’s dynasty which had ruled and monopolised the county for half a century. The Israelis and the US had been supplying Somoza with weapons for years. But when President Jimmy Carter came into office in 1976 he ordered a cessation of all US military assistance to Nicaragua.

Filling the void, the Israelis immediately increased their weapons supplies to Somoza until he fled the country when the Sandinistas took power.

Israeli operatives then helped train right-wing Nicaraguan Contras in Honduran and Costa Rican camps to fight the Sandinista government, according to Colombian police intelligence reports Aljazeera_has obtained.
At least some of the same Israeli operatives had also previously trained the nucleus of the paramilitary organisations that would become the AUC in Colombia.

But by far the bloodiest case of Israeli involvement in Latin America was its involvement in Guatemala from the 1970s to the 1990s. As in El Salvador, a civil war pitted a populist but, in this case, mainly Indian left against a mainly European oligarchy protected by a brutal Mestizo Army.

As Guatemalan President Carlos Arana said in 1971, “If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.”
Active involvement

The Israelis supplied Guatemala with Galil rifles, and built an ammunition factory for them, as well as supplying armoured personnel carriers and Arava planes. Behind the scenes, they were actively involved in the bloodiest counter-insurgency campaign the hemisphere has known since the European conquest, in which at least 200,000 (mostly Indians) were killed.
Like Israel’s original occupation of Palestine, several entire Guatemalan Indian villages were razed and a million people displaced. “The guerrilla is the fish. The people are the sea. If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea,” said Guatemalan President Rios Montt in 1982.

Guatemalan army officers credit Israeli support with turning the tide against the uprising, not only in the countryside where Israeli counter-insurgency techniques and assistance set up strategic-hamlet-like “development poles” along the lines of the Israeli kibbutz, but also in the cities where “Israeli communication technicians and instructors” working through then-sophisticated computers were able to locate and then decimate guerrillas and their supporters in Guatemala City in 1981.
From the late 1970s until the 1990s, the US could not overtly support the Guatemalan army because of its horrendous human rights record (although there was some covert support), but many in the US government, especially in the CIA, supported Israel in taking up the slack.

Wrong

But the US grew to regret its actions. On 10 March 1999, US President Bill Clinton issued an apology for US involvement in the war: The “United States… support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression…was wrong.” No similar statement has ever been forthcoming from the Israelis.

At the present time, the only major insurgency war in Latin America is in Colombia, where Israel has an overt involvement.
Besides the dozen or so Kfir IAI C-7 jet fighters they have sold the Colombian government, and the Galil rifles produced in Bogota under licence, most of the Israeli ties to the government’s counter-insurgency war are closely-guarded secrets.
Aljazeera’s attempts to obtain clarification on these and other issues for this story were stonewalled by the Israeli embassy in Washington.

Why does Israel continue to provide arms and expertise to the pariahs of the world? Clearly, part of the reason is the revenues produced by arms sales, and part of it has do with keeping up with trends in counter-insurgent war across the globe.
But another factor is what is demanded of Israel by the world’s only superpower, the US, in partial exchange for the superpower’s continued support for Israeli dominance in the Middle East. Assistance

This relationship can be best illustrated by recently declassified 1983 US government documents obtained by the Washington, DC-based National Security Archives through the Freedom of Information Act.
One such declassified document is a 1983 memo from the notorious Colonel Oliver North of the Reagan Administration’s National Security Council and reads: “As discussed with you yesterday, I asked CIA, Defense, and State to suggest practical assistance which the Israelis might offer in Guatemala and El Salvador.”
Another document, this time a 1983 cable from the US Ambassador in Guatemala to Washington Frederic Chapin shows the money trail.

He says that at a time when the US did not want to be seen directly assisting Guatemala, “we have reason to believe that our good friends the Israelis are prepared, or already have, offered substantial amounts of military equipment to the GOG (Government of Guatemala) on credit terms up to 20 years…(I pass over the importance of making huge concessionary loans to Israel so that it can make term loans in our own backyard).”

In other words, during civil wars in which the US does not want to be seen getting its hands dirty in Latin America, the superpower loans Israel money at a very good rate, and then Israel uses these funds to do the “dirty work”. In this regard, in Latin America at least, Israel has become the hit-man for the US. Source

Israel Trains Other Undemocratic, Abusive Regimes

For years, Israeli military expertise has been shared with other abusive undemocratic regimes across the globe. In the 1980s, Israeli security forces trained a Honduran military intelligence unit, Battalion 316, that disappeared, tortured and killed Honduran citizens. Israel also trained members of the South African apartheid regime’s Inkatha hit squads that targeted ANC leaders. US aid to Israel, then, has led to the support of regimes that US taxpayers perhaps would not have otherwise aided. Source

lsrael’s ties with South Africa seem to be especially disturbing to many who follow Israel’s international activities. Perhaps it is natural that Israel has been castigated more harshly for its arms sales to South Africa than for its sales to other countries: first, because there has been for a decade an arms embargo against South Africa; and second, because of the unsurpassed criminality of the white regime and the uses to which it puts the Israeli-supplied weapons.

Also

Israel has also been involved with the Mozambican “contras,” the South African-backed MNR (Mozambique National Resistance or “Renamo”), which has brought great economic and social distress to Mozambique. Renamo has a particular reputation for ideological incoherence, being regarded by most other right-wing insurgencies as a gang of cutthroats. For several years there have been stories coming from Southern Africa of captured mercenaries of Renamo who say they were trained in neighboring Malawi-one of the four nations to maintain relations with Israel after the Organization of African Unity (OAU) declared a diplomatic embargo in 1973-by Israelis. And more than one report has told of “substantial Israeli aid” to the MNR, thought to have been funded by the CIA and Saudi Arabia as well as South Africa and former Portuguese nationalists. Source

Israel and El Salvador
Israel and Guatemala
Isreal and Nicaragua and the Contras
Israel and Honduras and Costa Rica

Haiti Government was also toppled by the US

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CIA Torture Tactics Endorsed in Secret Memos

Repression in the Dominican Republic

Another tactic used by the US

A Detailed Description of Management Strategy Fraud

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US-COLOMBIA: Activists Target “World of Coca-Cola”

By Matthew Cardinale
November 24 2009

ATLANTA, Georgia,

Activists from the U.S. and Colombia are targeting the World of Coca-Cola museum, located near its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, accusing the company of “union busting”, paying its workers “poverty wages”, and engaging in environmentally destructive practices.

“We’re an unofficial coalition with the India Resource Center, focusing on Coca-Cola overusing waters in drought areas. We’re supporting Corporate Accountability International, that have been trying to stop the use of bottled water over tap water,” Lew Friedman, of Killer Coke, told IPS.

“We’re working on behalf of Sinaltrainal, the food workers in Colombia. They had eight union leaders murdered. We’ve been augmenting their legal suit,” Friedman said.

“There’s plenty of evidence that shows the plant managers were very cozy with the paramilitaries,” he added.

Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola was filed in 2001 by the United Steelworkers of America and the International Labor Rights Fund on behalf of the Colombian trade union Sinaltrainal, several of its members, and the estate of Isidro Gil, one of its officers who was murdered.

Coca-Cola bottlers “contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilize extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders”, the lawsuit states.

In addition, Killer Coke claims that many of the Colombian paramilitary troops were trained at the controversial formerly-named School of the Americas, now called the U.S. Western Hemisphere Institute for Security and Economic Cooperation, in Fort Benning, Georgia.

In 2003, the U.S. District Court removed Coca-Cola as a defendant in the case because the murders took place in Colombia, not in the U.S. However, two Coca-Cola bottlers remained as defendants in the case. In 2006, the judge dismissed the remaining claims.

When IPS asked Coca-Cola about Killer Coke’s demonstration in Atlanta last week, the company replied in an email statement that it “was based on an uninformed and inaccurate portrayal of The Coca-Cola Company and independent Coca-Cola bottlers in Colombia and based on allegations that are over ten years old”.

“The unfounded allegations have been reviewed over the years by multiple courts in Colombia and most recently in the United States, as well as by the International Labor Organization, and outside law firms – all concluding that the Coca-Cola bottler employees in Colombia enjoy extensive, normal relations with multiple unions and are provided with safe working conditions there,” Coca-Cola said.

While much of Killer Coke’s focus seemed to be on the Colombian trade union issue, activists said other issues involved the alleged use of child labour in other countries and questions about the healthiness of Coca-Cola products in general.

“There are issues of health, the use of high fructose corn syrup,” Friedman said.

As part of their campaign, Killer Coke has been successful at getting over 50 U.S. colleges and universities to stop selling Coke, and at getting the Service Employee Industrial Union (SEIU) and teachers’ unions to stop carrying Coke in their offices.

Killer Coke decided to target Coca-Cola headquarters on its own turf, in Atlanta, in part by driving a mobile billboard around town that read, “Don’t Drink Killer Coke Zero: Zero Ethics, Zero Justice, Zero Health.” This is a pun on one of the company’s products, Coke Zero, which is a near-zero calorie beverage.

“The World of Coke is basically one large advertisement for Coca-Cola. It’s the centre of Coca-Cola, it’s a mile away from their headquarters, it’s basically their public image that’s there,” said Ian Hoffmann, a young activist from Minnesota.

“We’ve got people coming forward and saying it’s an anti-union company. Coca-Cola usually says ‘we’re an Atlanta-based company. What happens in Colombia is out of our control, and more importantly, not our responsibility’, even though they [the bottling plants] are bottling Coca-Cola products and helping the company with huge profits,” Hoffmann said.

“We want some accountability. From my end, I’d like them to acknowledge what’s going on there, explaining to us why after the union leader gets shot dead, that the next day no one signs a new contract with Sinaltrainal. How do they stand by that? How do you defend that?” Hoffmann said.

“If these are people that are working, bottling Coca-Cola products, how is it okay for this company to stand by and not take some kind of action?” Hoffmann said. “How could this be happening at Coca-Cola with management turning a blind eye?”

Hoffmann acknowledged it is difficult going up against a multinational corporation like Coca-Cola. “It’s usually difficult because of the brand name. They have forced their way into every American fridge. The money they spend to get their name out and marketing to children. It’s a Coke culture, you know, starting out with those ads with Santa Claus.”

At a protest last week, activists chanted slogans and played a recording of a contemporary folk song called, “Coke is the Drink of the Death Squads”.

They came from all over the U.S., including states like Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota, as well as Washington, DC. Groups like Witness for Peace and School of the Americas Watch were also represented.

Martha Giraldo, 31, of Colombia, charged Coca-Cola’s bottling plants with “using temp [temporary] workers on contracts three months or less long, and they don’t pay a just wage, exterminating labour leaders, violating our Constitutional right to be unionised. In Colombia, we’re in a human rights crisis.”

Giraldo and another speaker spoke to the mostly English-speaking audience through a translator.

“People are marginalised in large cities of our country. We’re all suffering a humanitarian crisis. It’s not true what [Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton says when she says in Colombia we’re safe and live in peace. It’s only for some, large landowners and the paramilitary; the rest are marginalised for denouncing it. We are being accused of being guerrilla supporters,” Giraldo said.

“In Colombia there are four million internally displaced people, who’ve been driven off their land because of terror campaigns of the paramilitary,” Giraldo said. “In addition to fumigating coca crops and food crops and water sources we use to drink, approximately 30,000 people disappeared in Colombia. We don’t know where they are. It’s been years since they disappeared.”

“We’re here in front of one of the symbols of capitalism. This company represents one of the perverse ways of accumulating capital. We’re here to demonstrate on behalf of our dead brothers,” said Gerardo Caja Marca in a speech at the rally.

“They systematically violate human rights in Colombia. All workers have the right and obligation to defend their rights. Simply exercising those rights has cost the lives of workers in Colombia,” Caja Marca said.

“Lastly we came here to demand justice. These are the men of war. These are the ones who put seven US military bases in Colombia. These are the ones who create paramilitaries. We accuse Coca-Cola of financing assassins. We want truth and reparations,” Caja Marca said.

Source

List of  union leaders at Coca-Cola’s Colombian bottling plants who have been murdered. Hundreds of other Coke workers have been tortured, kidnapped and/or illegally detained by violent paramilitaries, often working closely with plant managements.

Source of information here.

Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world to be a union activist. According to the Solidarity Center of the AFL-CIO, roughly 4,000 Colombian trade unionists have been murdered in the past 20 years, more than 2,000 of them since 1991. The ITUC reports that despite the current government’s strong emphasis on security and a fall in the murder of trade unionists over the last few years, 2008 saw a disturbing 25% rise in cases of anti-union violence due to increased paramilitary activity. A total of 49 trade unionists were assassinated in 2008 and 2009 has seen a similar labor homicide rate. Despite continued violence, the Bush Administration negotiated a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia that has yet to be ratified by Congress.

U.S. corporations such as Coca-Cola, Chiquita, Dole, Nestle and the Drummond mining company have been complicit in such egregious union rights violations.  The International Rights Advocates (comprised of ILRF’s former lawyers now part of Conrad and Scherer law firm) have brought a number of lawsuits against these companies. The lawsuits charge that companies’ practices of hiring right-wing paramilitary groups to kill and intimidate union leaders is a violation of the Alien Torts Claims Act, a law meant to hold U.S. corporations accountable for human rights violations abroad. View the cases here.

Click here to tell the Justice Department to investigate Dole’s links to union murders in Colombia!

Workers are also intimidated through the use of death threats, attacks, disappearances, black lists, arrests, dismissals for organizing and widespread contract labor arrangements which limit collective bargaining rights. Only 1.2% of workers in Colombia are covered by a collective bargaining agreement and the rate has been declining over the years as workers see the danger in organizing. Paramilitary groups such as the AUC (United Self Defense Forces of Colombia), which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, are responsible for the majority of the violence targeting trade unions. There is also a pervasive culture of impunity for crimes targeting unions. The ITUC estimates that over 99 percent of the cases were unpunished and/or not investigated and not a single person/organization to order a labor homicide has ever been convicted.

Many corporations such as Coca-Cola have also used more subtle methods to undermine unions by overwhelming forcing workers into contract labor schemes through employment agencies and labor “cooperatives”. According to a 2008 report of the International Labor Organization, at a Bogota Coca-Cola bottling plant “outsourcing involves 81 percent of the workers.” Such overuse of subcontracting has severely undermined workers’ rights to equal pay, social benefits and the right to organize. A new law passed in July 2008 on workers’ cooperatives has not resolved the situation, in the view of the ILO.

Drummond Coal company has also been notoriously unresponsive to workers concerns about health and safety and bargaining rights. 3 workers employed by partially owned Drummond contractors died in 2009. 4000 workers went on strike in 2009 to protest the company’s refusal to negotiate a CBA and the poor and precarious working conditions pervasive in Drummond owned mines.

According to the ITUC, labor law and policy still exclude more than two thirds of workers from social and worker protection measures, by denying basic workers’ rights to over 12 million people. The laws and practices of the Colombian State do not favor the creation of stable, permanent jobs, leaving nearly 70% of workers in a precarious employment situations. Source

Related Articles

RIGHTS-COLOMBIA: Less Torture, More Impunity

RIGHTS: Harsh Language for Colombia at UN Review

DEVELOPMENT-INDIA: Farmers Vs Coca-Cola in Water Wars

Related Sites

Corporate Accountability International
International Labor Rights Fund

There are also Boycotts called against Coca Cola, as they support Israel as well.

Seems they are not well liked.

Might I suggest a world wide boycott of of Coca Cola.

Take away their money,  take away their power until they bend to the will of people not profit.

Shoe-thrower Muntazer al-Zaidi was tortured while in jail, brother says

By Richard Kerbaj in Baghdad

September 15, 2009

Prison doctors repeatedly injected “unknown substances” into the reporter who threw his shoes at the former US President George Bush, his family claimed yesterday.

The Iraqi was also allegedly tortured with cigarettes and had his nose and ribs broken.

Muntazer al-Zaidi, who became a hero in the Arab world for attacking Mr Bush, is scheduled to be flown to Greece for treatment on his expected release from prison today.

His eldest brother, Uday, told The Times that hospital specialists in Greece were expecting the reporter’s arrival after his visa was recently approved.

“We decided as a family for him to go for physical and psychological treatment in Greece,” Uday said at his brother’s flat in central Baghdad. One of Mr al-Zaidi’s three brothers will accompany him.

Mr al-Zaidi, 30, who was convicted in March of assault after hurling his shoes at Mr Bush at a press conference last December, was expected to be released yesterday. His release was postponed by a day after officials cited a delay in processing his paperwork.

Uday alleged that his brother, a television journalist, was given injections by prison staff against his will. He said that doctors told his brother that they were treating him for migraines and stress.

“They injected him with substances but he had no idea what they were,” he said. “Every time he tried to refuse having the injections, the doctors would say, ‘You don’t know our job better than we do’.”

Mr al-Zaidi was imprisoned at an Iraqi military compound at the former Al-Muthana Airport in Baghdad. Uday said that his brother was burned with “cigarettes behind his ears, had his ribs and nose broken”. He said that the torture was the result of Mr al-Zaidi’s refusal to write and sign a letter of apology to Mr Bush and to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who was standing next to the President during the incident.“When Muntazer called me this morning he sounded very broken because the prison guards would not let him call us for ten days,” Uday said.

Mr al-Zaidi plans to set up a human rights group, his brother said. He will not return to journalism despite receiving a salary from Al-Baghdadia Television while in prison. Nor will he venture into politics.

“He will not go into politics, contrary to what has been said in the past. He wants to do something to help the Iraqi people,” Uday said.

“And he has done more to help Iraqi people with his defiance than any politician has.”

Mr al-Zaidi’s three-year sentence was cut to one year on appeal because he had no criminal record. He is expected to be released three months early for good behaviour.

Source

Iraqi shoe thrower Muntadhar al-Zeidi to be released from jail

Published in: on September 14, 2009 at 10:22 pm  Comments Off on Shoe-thrower Muntazer al-Zaidi was tortured while in jail, brother says  
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Israel abducted over 5,000 people and put them in prison

February 1 2009

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

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

Source

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

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

No freedom of Speech allowed.

Israel to release 231 detainees instead of 250

December 08, 2008
By Saed Bannoura

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

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

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

Israeli Court Sentences PFLP Secretary-General to 30 Years Imprisonment

December 26, 2008 by Saed Bannoura

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

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

These are crimes Israel has been committing for years.

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

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

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

December 24, 2008
By Saed Bannoura

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

He is not the first there have been others.

193 detainees died in Israeli prisons since 1967

December 31, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

The following interrogation centers, are probably still functioning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Prisoners’ Needs:

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

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

Usually detainees are in need to the following items:

1- Training suites, clothes and underwear.

2- Medication and medical supporting equipments.

3- Hygiene items.

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

5- Books

Administrative detention in the Occupied Territories

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

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

Source

Many of their prisoners are Children?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Spain: Judicial probe looks at 2002 Gaza War Crimes Claims

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

Why Americans get a distorted View of the Conflict between

Gaza detainee treatment ‘inhuman’

Israeli troops fire warning shots at European diplomats

Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

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

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

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.”‘

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

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.

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

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

Trial of shoe throwing Iraqi journalist postponed

This undated portrait made available Monday, Dec. 15, 2008 by his family shows Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi. al-Zeidi who threw his shoes at U.S. President Bush.

This undated portrait made available Monday, Dec. 15, 2008 by his family shows Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi. al-Zeidi who threw his shoes at U.S. President Bush.

A shoe is raised during a protest against the Bush's visit in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday. Dec. 15, 2008. (AP / Karim Kadim)

A shoe is raised during a protest against the Bush’s visit in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday. Dec. 15, 2008. (AP / Karim Kadim)

In an image taken from video, a man throws a shoe at U.S. President George W. Bush during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008. (APTN)

In an image taken from video, a man throws a shoe at U.S. President George W. Bush during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008. (APTN)

Trial of shoe throwing Iraqi journalist postponed
December 30 2008

BAGHDAD
A court Tuesday postponed the trial of a journalist who hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush in anger over the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, an act of protest that made him an international celebrity.

The court’s decision to review the charges against Muntadhar al-Zeidi comes as Iraq prepares after nearly six years to end America’s costly grip over the country and give U.S. troops three years to pack up and leave.

Thursday will also see the official handover of the most potent symbol of U.S. occupation, when Iraq takes formal control of the Green Zone — a heavily fortified enclave surrounded by cement walls that extends over 4 square miles of downtown Baghdad and encompasses the U.S. Embassy and the seat of the Iraqi government.

But in the most telling sign of the changes that are sweeping over Iraq, Tuesday’s second anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s hanging went by almost unnoticed — a near-forgotten footnote in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 4,200 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

The anniversary was not even marked in Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit, where the insurgency quickly took hold after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The trial of al-Zeidi was to begin Wednesday on charges of assaulting a foreign leader, which his defense team said carried a maximum sentence of 15 years. But a spokesman for Iraq’s Higher Judicial Council, Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, told The Associated Press it was postponed pending an appellate court ruling on whether the charges should be reduced to simply insulting Bush.

The Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at Bush during a Dec. 14 joint news conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Thousands demonstrated for al-Zeidi’s release and hailed his gesture.

Two of al-Zeidi’s lawyers said they hoped the reduced charges, which carry a maximum sentence of three years, would allow al-Zeidi to be released on bail. No date was set for the appellate court ruling.

“There is a difference between assault and insult; al-Zeidi wanted to express his objection to the occupation. So the case is within the context of an insult and not an intention to kill,” his lawyer Diaa al-Saadi told the AP.

First lady Laura Bush said Sunday that she thinks people should view the incident as an “assault.”

The case transformed al-Zeidi from a little-known TV journalist into an international celebrity for defying Bush, but it also embarrassed al-Maliki who was standing next to the president when the shoes were thrown.

Last week, al-Maliki sought to undermine the journalist’s popularity by saying he had confessed that the mastermind of the attack was a militant known for slitting his victims’ throats.

Al-Maliki said that in a letter of apology to him, al-Zeidi wrote that a known militant had induced him to throw the shoes. The alleged instigator has never been identified and neither al-Maliki nor any of his officials have provided a further explanation. The letter was not made public.

The journalist’s family denied the claim and alleged that al-Zeidi was tortured into writing the letter.

His act and the ensuing uproar over his custody and alleged abuse in detention come at a time when Iraq is preparing to end the occupation he was protesting. Starting Thursday, the 146,000 U.S. forces in Iraq will be operating under a new security agreement that gives Iraqi authorities a role in approving and overseeing American military operations.

The new pact also requires that U.S. troops withdraw from Baghdad and other cities by the end of June and leave the country entirely by Jan. 1, 2012.

The changes are made more easy by the sharp decline in violence around Iraq. The drop is mostly attributed to an inflow of thousands of U.S. troops into Iraq two years ago, a decision by mostly Sunni tribesmen to switch allegiances away from al Qaeda in Iraq and a campaign to dampen militant Shiite extremists.

Although the years following the invasion were marked by daily acts of violence that killed untold thousands of Iraqis, the U.S. military said recently that attacks have dropped from 180 a day in 2007 to about 10 a day in 2008. They have said the murder rate had declined to below prewar levels, about one per 100,000 people.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. military said control of about 20,000 mostly Sunni volunteers — many of them former insurgents — in four provinces, including the troubled Diyala region where troops continue to fight al Qaeda and other insurgents, would be handed over to the Iraqi government on Thursday.

About 100,000 joined forces with the U.S. two years ago and were perhaps the most significant factor in turning the tide against al Qaeda in Iraq.

The U.S. military managed and paid the volunteers, but began handing over control of the groups to the Iraqi government in October. The Iraqi government has promised to absorb 20 percent of the volunteers into its security forces and pay the rest until it can find them civilian jobs.

The groups have been a key factor in helping reduce violence in the past two years, but the movement has been slower to take hold in Diyala, an ethnically and religiously diverse province where the insurgency remains entrenched despite recent setbacks. There are fears the movement could also turn against the government if they are not satisfied.

“That’s where we have had some tension, more tension than other places, between the Sons of Iraq and U.S. forces,” Gen. Ray Odierno told AP recently. “We’re monitoring and watching very closely.”

Odierno said ultimately the success of the transition will depend on the Iraq government finding “honorable employment” for the Sunni volunteers.

Source

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq “1,297,997”

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America’s War On Iraq “4,219”

http://icasualties.org/oif/

Shoe Bush? JANUARY 19th

Family says journalist who threw shoes at Bush beaten into apologizing

Shoe-tossing journalist was abused, Iraqi judge says

Protesters shake shoes at US Embassy in London

White House Protesters Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy

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

3 petitions please sign Join the Calls to release Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaydi

Family says journalist who threw shoes at Bush beaten into apologizing

QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA

December 22, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

Join the Calls to release Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaydi

Shoe-tossing journalist was abused, Iraqi judge says

Protesters shake shoes at US Embassy in London

White House Protesters Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy

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

Iraqi MPs reject UK exit deal

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 12:35 am  Comments Off on Family says journalist who threw shoes at Bush beaten into apologizing  
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White House Protesters Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy

White House Protesters Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy
December 17 2008

Anti-war protesters throw shoes at a fellow demonstrator wearing a prison uniform and mask of President George W. Bush outside the White House in Washington, on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008. (AP Photo)

By  Tom Fitzgerald

President Bush may have though he’d see the last of shoes being thrown his way, but the anti-war group Code Pink showed up at the White House Wednesday to stage a protest inspired by the President’s much-discussed shoe ducking incident.

The protesters took turns throwing shoes at a large puppet that was made up to look like President Bush. A shoe memorial was also laid out on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House to represent the Iraqi civilians who have been killed during the war.

The group’s founder, Meda Benjamin, says she views the Iraqi reporter who threw his footwear at the president as a role model, saying “We feel that the Iraq reporter is now a hero throughout the world because he has expressed the sentiment of millions of people who are so angry at George Bush’s policies”

Critics of Code Pink say the event was more publicity stunt than constructive discussion of the problems facing a post-Bush administration.

Brian Darling of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, says Code Pink may have to change its style once Barack Obama inherits both the White House and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying “There is a mainstream left which respectfully discusses what’s happened in Iraq and then there is Code Pink – no where near respectful – and their actions are out of the mainstream.”

The U.S. Secret Service stood by during the protests; however there were no conflicts with authorities and no arrests were made.

Source

Berkeley Code Pink activists support Iraq shoe-throwing reporter

December 17 2008

Code Pink members and supporters hold a “Farewell Kiss, Shoe-in” outside the Marine Recuitment…
Anti-war activists from the group Code Pink gathered at a Marine recruiting station in Berkeley this morning to show solidarity with an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush on Sunday.

Members of the group and others marched around the recruiting station holding shoes in the air to show support for Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who hurled two shoes at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad.

In many Arab countries, showing the sole of one’s shoes, much less throwing shoes at another person, is considered extremely disrespectful.

Organizers said their demonstration was to show support for the Iraqi people who have been killed, tortured or maimed and U.S. soldiers who have died since the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.

The Code Pink protest didn’t effect operations at the Shattuck Avenue recruiting station, said Marine Corps spokesman Sgt. Matt DeBoard.

“Code Pink has been protesting at Shattuck Square for almost a year now,” he said. ”They don’t bother us and we don’t bother them.”

He repeated the Marine’s contention that their recruiting and military operations help defend Americans right to freedom of speech. “Our position is that we do what we do so that everyone can express their opinion.”

For more than a year, women from CodePink picketed weekly in front of the U.S. Marine recruiting center at 64 Shattuck Square in downtown Berkeley. They say the Marines are not welcome in liberal, anti-war Berkeley and that the office should shut its doors.

In January, the Berkeley City Council got involved when it officially stated that the Marines were “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” and granted CodePink a permit waiver and a free parking space in front of the Marine center for the weekly protests. The move angered people across the country, who flooded City Hall with about 25,000 letters and e-mails.

Source

Protesters shake shoes at US Embassy in London

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

Please also sign Petitions at below link.

Join the Calls to release Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaydi

Pleading Guilty after Torture-Did you really do it?

Coercion and Military Law
Does a Plea After Torture Stand?
By Spencer Ackerman
December 8 2008

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attacks whom the U.S. tortured, attempted to plead guilty on Monday four co-defendants to their roles in the 2001 conspiracy that killed almost 3,000 Americans. Civil libertarians wondered whether his proferred plea would be compromised by the fact of his torture and the dubious constitutionality of the military tribunals hearing the cases.

The senior counterterrorism adviser for Human Rights Watch, Jennifer Daskal, said in a statement issued by the organization that the attempted pleas by Mohammed and the other co-defendants should not be accepted before an investigation. “In light of the men’s severe mistreatment and torture, the judge should require a full and thorough factual inquiry to determine whether or not these pleas are voluntary,” said Daskal, who is at Guantanamo Bay observing the proceedings.

According to the 2006 Military Commissions Act, which governs the tribunals, evidence obtained through coercive means is inadmissible. “A statement obtained by use of torture shall not be admissible in a military commission,” states Sec. 948r, subsection B. Subsequent sections of the act, however, permits a judge to determine the admissibility of certain evidence “in which the degree of coercion is disputed,” particularly in the case of evidence obtained before passage of a 2005 law meant to safeguard the human rights of detainees.

Stacy Sullivan, another counterterrorism adviser with Human Rights Watch, said the Military Commissions Act is unclear on what happens if a guilty plea is allegedly coerced from a detainee. “It’s not clear whether a judge can accept the plea or if there has to be a jury” empaneled to accept it, she said. If the act requires the empanelment of a jury for a pretrial hearing, it would create a new complication to a process fraught with difficulty since its inception.

U.S. Army Col. Steven Hendley, the presiding judge in the case, said he would hold a separate hearing to determine whether he can, in fact, accept the pleas, Sullivan said.

Pakistani forces captured Mohammed, one of Al Qaeda’s most important operatives, in March 2003 in Rawalpindi. The CIA took custody of him shortly thereafter and placed him in an undisclosed location to interrogate him outside U.S. law and without access to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which monitors prisoners of war and detainees worldwide. In testimony to the Senate intelligence committee in February, Michael Hayden, director of the CIA, confirmed that CIA interrogators waterboarded Mohammed, meaning they forced water into his nostrils and mouth to restrict his breathing in an attempt to coerce Mohammed into answering their questions. Before the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. considered the interrogation method to be uncontroversially felonious.

Mohammed was moved to Guantanamo Bay in Sept. 2006. It is unknown what sort of treatment he has received from interrogators or jailers after the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act.

The pleas appear to be the result of frustration over the fairness of the commissions process. “All of you are paid by the U.S. government. I’m not trusting any American,” Mohammed told the tribunal, according to The New York Times. McClatchy reported that the five detainees — Mohammed, his nephew Ammar al Baluchi, his deputy Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Al Qaeda trainer Walid bin Attash and Saudi detainee Mustafa al-Hawsawi — crafted their joint pleading during a rare meeting Nov. 4 that was sanctioned by Guantanamo Bay officials. Later Monday, Mohammed, al-Baluchi and bin Attash abruptly announced they would postpone entering their pleas until the competency of bin al-Shibh and al-Hawsawi to plead guilty — something Hendley questioned that morning — could be determined.

Sullivan said that basic circumstances of the military commissions give reason to suspect that the confessions are coerced — coerced either by the administration or by Mohammed. “These guys have been subjected to seven years of detention, much in secret CIA detention facilities,” Sullivan said. “We know they’ve been seriously abused and tortured. If these guys were before a real judicial process, not one that’s made up and fundamentally unfair, there would be a full hearing into what kind torture and abuse went on and whether [the pleadings] are voluntary.” She pointed out that only after Mohammed announced his refusal to cooperate with the commissions did his four co-defendants refuse their defense counsel, raising the specter of whether Mohammed coerced their pleadings.

Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, blasted the commissions from Guantanamo Bay, where he is observing the tribunals. “No one should be surprised that a system that allows for serial torture and abuse and holds detainees for years without charging them or granting them access to attorneys has led the defendants to capitulate and seek to plead guilty,” Romero said in a statement released by the ACLU. “Anyone who believes that this is a victory for American justice is sadly mistaken. History will show that any guilty pleas in these proceedings were the result of an inhumane, unjust process designed to achieve a foregone conclusion.”

It is unclear why Mohammed and his accomplices pleaded guilty. The U.S. has signaled its attention to seek the death penalty for all five defendants in the 9/11 conspiracy case, and so one explanation is that they are daring the U.S. to put them to death, a gambit designed to grant them the exalted status of “martyr” in some extremist circles. Another is that some measure of coercion compelled the pleadings.

Aitan Goelman, a former federal prosecutor for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings, said he was unsurprised by the confessions given the detainees’ evident pride at having pulled off the attacks. “It’s not really an adversarial process if both sides are intent on proving the same thing,” Goelman said, adding that despite the “unprecedented nature” of the military commissions it was unclear to him how the pleadings could have been coerced.

The commissions have been fraught with controversy from the beginning. Several military lawyers have quit or sought reassignment from the commissions out of concerns over their basic fairness. “The military commissions are fundamentally at odds with American ideals of fairness, due process, the rule of law and justice,” said U.S. Air Force Reserve Maj. J.D. Frakt, a legal defense counsel at Guantanamo. He made his remarks in a video released Monday by the ACLU to pressure President-elect Barack Obama to keep his stated promise of closing Guantanamo Bay.

Nor was it clear that the confessions represented a moment of closure for families of the victims of 9/11. Reached on Monday afternoon, Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband Ronald died in the World Trade Center, said she had not heard of the pleadings and wanted to know whether the administration gave Mohammed anything in return for his admission of guilt. She did, however, say that she hoped any information about the attacks that remains classified pending Mohammed’s trial “would be swiftly released.”

Sullivan blasted the commissions as inadequate to heal the U.S.’ psychic wounds from 9/11. “When you have a confession in a process that has lost all its integrity [and] that no one believes in, the confession doesn’t have any meaning,” she said. “If we had a guilty plea in a judicial process that was real, then we’d be welcoming the guilty plea. But before a sham, that’s not very meaningful.”

Source

ACLU’s Romero Reacts to KSM Plea

Torture Might Doom Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s, Four Others 9-11 Guilty Plea

Even More Total Insanity from Guantanamo Today

9-11 Detainees Hold Off on Guilty Pleas

Amnesty on KSM

John Lear
Son of Bill Lear
Founder, creator of the Lear Jet Corporation
More than 40 years of Flying
19,000+ Total Flight Time

One Can’t do the impossible.

These people are well educated and well informed.

They like everyone else want the truth. They know that what the public was told was not what really happened.  Pilots for Truth

They are speaking out to the American people not on behalf of those who took down the buildings. We still don’t know who actually was behind 9/11. We may never know the truth.

Those who hide the truth of course are behind it.

So who has lied to the World?

People died because of the Bush Administrations lies.

People went to two war because of the Bush Administrations lies.

Over a million people have died because of lies.

Now they torture people to back up their lies.

One has to see the truth before more die needlessly.


Sindh High Court issues notice to respondents in Aafia Siddiqui case

Talha Mehmood concerned over poor health of Dr Aafia

November 27, 2008
QUETTA:

Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights Senator Talha Mehmood on Wednesday expressed his deep concern over the worsening health condition of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who is imprisoned in the United States.

Talking to journalists here on Wednesday, he denied the news item appearing in the media, which said that she had lost her senses. “I visited the United States to meet Dr Aafia who had been kept in New York.

“But I could not meet her as she had been shifted to Texas a couple of days before my arrival in the New York City.” He further said: “I was denied the opportunity to meet Dr

Aafia despite my repeated requests to the authorities concerned.

Later, I flew to Texas where I was allowed to meet her. I found her in complete senses.” He added: “However, she seemed to be suffering from acute weakness as multiple bullet injuries she sustained during her imprisonment in the Bagram Jail in Afghanistan had greatly affected her health.”

Aafia had informed him that she was arrested along with her three children in 2003. He went on to say that she was initially kept in the Bagram Jail and that she was absolutely unaware about the whereabouts of her two children.

“Dr Aafia had strongly denied the allegation of firing at the US Marines and described it as an attempt to save two American soldiers who actually tried to kill her by shooting at her,” he added. He said Dr Aafia underwent severe torture during her imprisonment and neither she trusted the lawyers provided by the US government nor expected a fair trial.

Source

Sindh High Court (SHC) issues notice to respondents in Aafia Siddiqui case

November 25, 2008

SHC issues notice to respondents in Aafia Siddiqui case KARACHI:

Sindh High Court (SHC), on a constitutional petition against the arrest of a Pakistani citizen, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and her three children, keeping them at separate places and their handing over to US, has issued notice to the respondents for December 5.

Human Rights Network president, Intikhab Alam Suri had filed the petition in SHC through Iqbal Aqeel Advocate, making a plea that Aafia Siddiqui along with her three children was abducted and they were being kept at separate unknown places and tortured, while Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in sub-conscious state was handed over to US although no evidence against her exists.

The petition further said, “She is a Pakistani citizen, her security was the government’s responsibility and, therefore, the respondents—federal interior and foreign ministries and the federation should be ordered to recover and bring back Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and her three children by fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.

SHC Bench comprised of Chief Justice, Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Ghulam Dastagir Shahani.

Source

Qazi for effective measure for immediate repatriation of Dr Aafia

November 24 2008

ISLAMABAD:

Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami, Qazi Hussain Ahmed has demanded the government to ensure the repatriate of Dr Aafia Siddiqui as her detention is not only the violation of the rights of a woman and her children but it was the issue of the prestige of the whole nation.

In his letter to President Asif Ali Zardari, he stated that in American custody, Dr Aafia faced much torture even it was reported that American Army officials sexually abused her also and an American soldier shot her as well.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed in his letter to the President has questioned about the future of Dr Aafia’s five years old daughter and her eight years old son, who were under the custody of so called Civilized Americans, only an 11 years old son of Dr Aafia was recovered till now because his custody was exposed and no reason was left to keep him in further custody.

He stated that Dr Aafia has been kept in the notorious center for mental health rehabilitation in Dallas, she was injured due the bullet fired by the American soldier while the doctors have determined her as a patient of Chronic Depresive Psychosis. On this regard her family had reservations that it was a fake determination of her disease just to vanish her memory.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed said that recently an American Court has declared her mentally and physically unable to face any case, if the government did not take any strict steps for her repatriate then it would be harmful for her life, so the government should assure her immediate repatriate, he strressed.

Source

‘The Most Dangerous Woman in the World’

By Juliane von Mittelstaedt

November 27 2008

Aafia Siddiqui was once considered a brilliant scientist. Then the US government called her the new face of al-Qaida — a Pakistani woman who ranked among America’s top terrorism suspects. Now the MIT-educated mother of three is in custody, claiming her long disappearance was a wrongful abduction by the CIA.

On July 17, 2008, men coming from evening prayers at the Bazazi Mosque in Ghazni, a provincial capital south of Kabul, paused when they saw a woman outside the building. They formed a circle around the stranger, who was wearing a blue burqa. She was cowering on the ground, with two small bags at her side, holding the hand of a boy of about 12. One of the men, fearing that this peculiar woman could be carrying a bomb under her burqa, called the police.

A short time later, more than 11,000 kilometers (6,800 miles) away, a telephone rang at the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) in Washington. Someone crossed the name Aafia Siddiqui from a list of suspects and wrote the word “arrested.”

After two weeks Aafia Siddiqui was flown from the US Air Force’s Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan to New York. She was now wearing a tracksuit, had two bullet entry wounds in her abdomen and weighed around 40 kilograms (90 lbs.). Siddiqui is 1.63 meters (5’4″) tall.

On Aug. 11, Siddiqui appeared at a hearing before a US federal court in Manhattan. She sat in a wheelchair, with a scarf pulled over her head. In October she was taken to the Carswell Psychiatric Center in Fort Worth, Texas for a psychological assessment.

Siddiqui is a Pakistani citizen and mother of three children. Born on March 2, 1972, she was the most-wanted woman in the world for four years. The FBI considered her so dangerous that former Attorney General John Ashcroft placed her — the only woman — on his “Deadly Seven” list. The American press nicknamed Siddiqui the terrorist organization al-Qaida’s “Mata Hari” and its “female genius.” She’s believed to have raised money for al-Qaida by collecting donations and smuggling diamonds.

“She is the most important catch in five years,” former CIA terrorist hunter John Kiriakou said when she was apprehended. The odd thing about Siddiqui’s case is that she has not been charged now with being a collaborator or accomplice in terrorist attacks, but with the attempted murder of US soldiers and FBI agents — whom she allegedly attacked with a weapon in Afghanistan. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison.

The charges against Siddiqui are spectacular because she is a woman. Western life is also not alien to her: She comes from an upper middle-class Pakistani family and spent more than 10 years studying at elite universities in the United States. She studied biology on a scholarship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a PhD in neuroscience at Brandeis University, where she was considered an outstanding scientist.

Five years ago, Siddiqui disappeared from her home in Karachi, together with her three children, Ahmed, 7, Mariam, 5, and Suleman, 6 months. The two older children are American citizens. Siddiqui claims that Americans abducted her and locked her away in a secret prison, and that she was tortured there. Her children, she says, were taken away, and two of them are still missing.

The CIA denies that its agents had anything to do with Siddiqui’s disappearance. Michael Scheuer, a member of a unit that pursued al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden from 1996 to 1999, says curtly: “We never arrested or imprisoned a woman. She is a liar.” But if it is true that a woman was tortured and disappeared into a secret dungeon, it would be a first in the post-September 11 world — and yet another example of the decay of standards in America.

The Secret Prisoner

On March 1, 2003, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, was arrested in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi — the biggest catch to date in the battle against al-Qaida. He was interrogated by the CIA at an undisclosed location, where he revealed aspects of the inner world of internal terrorism. A series of arrests began a short time later, and it is believed that Mohammed also mentioned Siddiqui’s name. For the CIA, any name Mohammed mentioned was automatically an important al-Qaida terrorist.

On that same March 1, Siddiqui sent an email from Karachi to her professor, Robert Sekuler, at Brandeis University outside Boston. She was looking for a job. “I would prefer to work in the United States,” she wrote, noting that there were no jobs in Karachi for a woman with her educational background. A few days later, Siddiqui disappeared. Early in the morning on the day of her disappearance, she left her parents’ house, together with her three children and not very much luggage. She took a taxi to the airport to catch a morning flight to Islamabad, where she had planned to visit her uncle.

Siddiqui says she was kidnapped that day, on her way to the airport. She says her abductors took away Ahmed, Mariam and the baby. The last thing she remembers, she says, was receiving an injection in her arm. She says that when she regained consciousness she was in a prison cell, which she believes was on a military base in Afghanistan, because she heard aircraft taking off and landing. She claims that she was held in solitary confinement for more than five years, and that it was always the same Americans who interrogated her, without masks or uniforms. For days, she says, they would play tape recordings of her children’s terrified screams, and she claims that she was forced to write hundreds of pages about the construction of dirty bombs and attacks using viruses.

The baby, Suleman, was taken away immediately, she says. They showed her a photograph of Ahmed, the seven-year-old, lying in a pool of blood. The only one of her children they occasionally showed her, she says, was Mariam — as a vague outline behind a pane of frosted glass.

Could this story be true?

Several Pakistani media outlets did report her arrest. A year after her disappearance, Dawn, a daily newspaper normally considered to have good sources, quoted a spokesman from the Pakistani interior ministry saying that Siddiqui was arrested in Karachi and later handed to the Americans. On April 21, 2003, the US television network NBC ran a story about Siddiqui’s arrest on the evening news.

Pakistani intelligence sources report that Siddiqui was in Pakistani detention until the end of 2003 and that her son Suleman fell ill and died during that time. It is known that terrorism suspects often spend a period of time in the country before being turned over to the Americans. According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, there are 52 secret prisons in the country, into which thousands of Pakistanis are believed to have disappeared since the beginning of the war on terrorism.

A number of other prisoners held at Bagram Air Base, the site of the most important US detainee camp in Afghanistan, say they heard a woman screaming. Some claim two women were there. The woman was nicknamed the “gray lady of Bagram.”

Elaine Whitfield Sharp, an attorney who has represented the family since 2003, is convinced that Siddiqui was classified as a high-level prisoner and spent five years in a so-called “black site” in Bagram — in one of these notorious black holes in the legal system.

An Excellent Student

But who is Aafia Siddiqui? Her sister, Fauzia Siddiqui, pulls out several photo albums that she hopes will help answer this question. The books are filled with images of garden parties, family gatherings and children’s birthdays. Aafia, Fauzia’s younger sister by five years, is shown holding various pets, including a hamster, a cat, a goat and a lamb.

Fauzia Siddiqui, wearing a scarf wrapped loosely around her head, receives guests on the terrace of her house. The cook brings out food; a fountain bubbles in the background. Surrounded by a high wall, the terrace is an oasis in the middle of Karachi, a city of 12 million.

The Siddiquis are a model Pakistani family, modern and devout at the same time. The father was a surgeon, the mother is a housewife, and the family has lived in the British city of Manchester and in Zambia. All three children studied abroad. Mohammed, an architect, lives in Houston and Fauzia, a neurologist, worked at one of the best hospitals in Boston and lived in the same house as her sister for several years.

She returned to Karachi some time ago and now works at the city’s Aga Khan University. She says she would like to establish an institute to train neurologists. Helping the poor, says Fauzia, is a tradition in her family. Her sister Aafia, she says, also believed in helping the poor and was always there for other people. “My sister is innocent. She could never harm anyone. Something is simply not right,” she says. “There must have been a mistake.”

She picks up her photo albums again, holding onto them like a shipwreck victim clinging to a life preserver. Aafia at the piano. Aafia in a student dormitory, together with four Chinese students. A young woman who likes to pose for the camera and loves colorful silk dresses, but rarely wears a headscarf.

Can someone like this be “the most dangerous woman in the world”?

Part 2: An Arranged Marriage, and Links to a Muslim Charity

In Boston, Siddiqui led a life between two countries and between two worlds. They clashed when, after her 1995 graduation, her parents arranged her marriage. The bride had never seen her husband before the wedding. In fact, they married on the telephone — long-distance between Boston and Karachi.

Her husband, Amjad Khan, was an anesthesiologist. His father owned a pharmaceutical factory and the parents considered him a good catch. When he arrived in Boston, he came without presents or flowers. Instead, he could only complain about how much money the family had spent for a small ceremony, a hotel room, and a white silk dress with many pearls for Aafia, which made her look like a princess. It would have been better to donate the money to charity, he said. Weren’t there enough needy people in Pakistan?

Siddiqui’s husband found a job in a Boston hospital, and the couple had two children, Ahmed and Mariam. They fought frequently, and Khan beat his wife and the children. Shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Siddiqui flew to Karachi with her children, only to return to Boston a few months later. After six months the couple left the apartment, gave away the furniture and, on June 26, 2002, moved to Pakistan. When Amjad Khan separated from his wife a few weeks later, she was already pregnant with Suleman. Under Islamic law, divorce at that point was not possible.

She earned a PhD in neuroscience and wrote her thesis on learning through imitation. Her sister says Siddiqui had wanted to start a pre-school in Boston, where children would be taught using techniques she had studied.

This is the one side of Siddiqui, the smart academic and patient wife. But there is another side — the devout moralist, the energetic fundraiser.

As a young biology student she invited non-Muslims to dinner, touted Islam and gave Koran courses for converts. She met several committed Islamists through the Muslim student group at MIT. One was Suheil Laher, the group’s imam, an open advocate of Islamization and jihad before Sept. 11. For a short time, Laher was also the head of the Islamic charity Care International, which had nothing to do with the eponymous aid organization. The group, which was believed to have collected funds for jihadist fighters in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Chechnya, has since been disbanded.

Siddiqui collected money for Bosnian war orphans for Care International. Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, a black convert who wears a caftan over his blue jeans and polo shirt, remembers an event where Siddiqui collected shoes for Bosnian refugees and said, sobbing: “How can you have more than one pair of shoes when our brothers in Bosnia are freezing?”

“Sister Aafia was very committed, highly intelligent and extremely concerned about the fate of Muslims worldwide, and she believed that she could make a difference in the world,” says Faaruuq. She often came to the “Mosque for the Praising of Allah,” a shabby house of prayer in Roxbury, a working-class neighborhood of Boston. She ordered large numbers of English-language Korans and religious literature, stored the boxes at the mosque and later handed out the books in prisons.

But there are no indications that she supported the Islamists’ war against infidels.

The Diamond Smuggler

But there are also serious allegations against Siddiqui, most of them revealed only after her disappearance. For instance, the couple’s credit card was used to order night-vision goggles and body armor from an online store selling military equipment. The FBI questioned Amjad Khan for the first time in the spring of 2002, after those purchases. He told them that the equipment was for big-game hunting in Pakistan. Siddiqui was also questioned — only, as her attorney stresses, because she happened to be home at the time.

It was the first and last time the FBI ever contacted the couple.

Siddiqui is also accused of having opened a post office box in Maryland in late December 2002 for Majid Khan. Khan, a Pakistani national, is being held at Guantanamo and is suspected of having planned attacks on gas stations in the Baltimore area — on orders from Sheikh Mohammed.

And then there is the issue of the blood diamonds. This is the most serious accusation, because it seems to cement the suspicion that Siddiqui is a terrorist. In June 2001, a few months before the attacks on New York and Washington, Siddiqui is believed by some to have traveled to the Liberian capital Monrovia, on behalf of al-Qaida’s leadership, to buy diamonds worth $19 million (€15 million), which were used to fund al-Qaida operations.

Alan White, the former chief investigator of a United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal in Liberia, who investigated the trade in blood diamonds, still swears that it was Siddiqui who, on June 16, 2001, appeared in Monrovia under the name “Fahrem.” One of the witnesses was her driver who, according to White, identified Siddiqui.

All these allegations are a mix of facts and conjecture. Some testimony cannot be verified, or was obtained under questionable circumstances, or from witnesses who have since disappeared. But it is clear that the authorities have been unable to confirm any of these allegations, or else terrorism charges would have been leveled against Siddiqui by now. But it was apparently enough evidence to get the Muslim missionary caught in the net of terrorist hunters in the panic-filled years after Sept. 11, 2001.

The attorney for Siddiqui’s family, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, believes the husband was under suspicion in the United States from the start. “He played a shady role,” says the mother, Ismet Siddiqui, who has even suggested that Khan may have betrayed her daughter to save his own skin. Khan is no longer available for questioning. He has disappeared, and his family refuses to provide any information on his whereabouts, although he is believed to be in Saudi Arabia.

Part 3: A Suspicious Shooting

No one knows exactly why it was Aafia Siddiqui who was declared the most dangerous woman in the world four years ago. Presumably, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the key witness in the government’s case against Siddiqui and her alleged terrorist activities, played an important role in her arrest and detention.

However, on May 26, 2004, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft stood against a backdrop of seven enormous black-and-white photographs of most-wanted terrorists, among them Aafia Siddiqui. He stepped up to a microphone and said that the face of al-Qaida had changed. The new al-Qaida, according to Ashcroft, is young, female and travels with family members. “It constitutes a clear and present danger for America,” he said.

At this point, the supposed world’s most dangerous woman had been out of sight for more than 400 days. It was not until the evening of July 17, 2008 that she reappeared.

The Would-Be Bomber in a Burqa

Normally, suicide bombers are swiftly dealt with in Afghanistan. They are shot before they can blow themselves up. But because the suspect crouching on the ground in front of the mosque in Ghazni was a woman, and because a crowd of curious onlookers had already formed, police commander Ghani Khan decided to arrest her. Bashir, one of the police officers, recalls that the woman began cursing at the men as the police attempted to take her away. “You are infidels; don’t touch me!” she called out, three times, in her native Urdu.

At first no one understood what the woman was saying. Hekmatullah, the owner of a nearby shop who, like many Afghans, uses only one name, could translate Urdu for the police officers. He remembers that the woman had a Pakistani passport, and that she gave it to him and asked him to destroy it. He also remembers that her mobile phone rang twice, and that the calls were apparently coming from Pakistan.

Upon searching the two bags, police found no explosives, but small plastic bottles containing chemicals, a computer and documents, written in Urdu and English, about dirty bombs, biological weapons and recruiting jihadists.

In seeking to explain her presence at the mosque, Siddiqui says she had been ordered to follow a plan, and that the trip to Ghazni was a condition of her release. Her guards, she says, had placed the documents and chemicals in her bags.

Her attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, says Siddiqui was set up. Perhaps the Americans no longer knew what to do with their prisoners. Did they send her to Ghazni, hoping that the police there would shoot her? The CIA calls it a “disposal order.”

“It would have been the perfect murder,” says Sharp. Siddiqui would have been prevented from testifying, though given the clearly incriminating documents in her bag, she could easily have been declared a terrorist. But why would someone traveling to Ghazni need plans of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Plum Island Animal Disease Center or documents describing ways to shoot down drones, the use of underwater bombs and gliders?

There are many odd elements to this arrest. Two days before it happened, Abdul Rahim Dessiwal, the public prosecutor in the nearby Andar district, received an anonymous call from a woman claiming that a female suicide bomber accompanied by a boy was on her way to Ghazni.

It is also odd that when Siddiqui was brought to the police station, she said the boy was her stepson, that his name was Ali Hassan and that he was an orphan she had adopted. There is a blurred video made by the police in Ghazni who, eager to show off their big catch, had called a press conference. In the video, Siddiqui says that her name is Saliha and that she is from the city of Multan in Pakistan.

She wears a black scarf over her head and face, apparently out of fear that she will be recognized. At one point she nudges the boy as if to remind to cover his face. In response he hides his face behind his sleeve so only his hair is visible. A DNA test performed a short time later determined that the boy was Ahmed, Siddiqui’s real son.

Today Ahmed lives with Fauzia Siddiqui in Karachi. He is severely disturbed emotionally, has nightmares and tells confusing stories about where he spent the past few years.

On the day after the arrest, a counterterrorism unit from Kabul turned up in Ghazni to investigate the case. The team included 10 to 12 Americans. They entered the small room where she was being held, which was partitioned by a curtain and had only one door. Siddiqui was sitting or standing behind the curtain. An Afghan, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that one of the Americans went up to her immediately, and that shots were fired a few seconds later.

Siddiqui says she passed out. She had been shot and was taken to the hospital at Bagram, where she underwent surgery and barely survived.

The Defendant

What exactly happened in those few seconds before she was shot is important, because the indictment brought by the district attorney in New York describes a version of the events that differs considerably from Siddiqui’s story. It alleges that she grabbed a US soldier’s M4 assault rifle, released the safety catch and fired several shots, but without hitting anyone, all within seconds. One of the soldiers, acting in self-defense, allegedly shot her.

A person would have to be familiar with the M4 to know how to release its safety catch. And would a US soldier put down his weapon when a wanted al-Qaida terrorist was sitting in the same room?

A psychological assessment of Siddiqui has lain before the judge in New York since early November. The report says she is not competent to stand trial. If the case does go to trial, and if the court takes on the military’s version of the indictment, it will not include any mention of Siddiqui’s alleged terrorist connections, there would be no need to prove any of the alleged terrorist acts.

And then the question of why Aafia Siddiqui, a gifted scientist, was once considered the most dangerous woman in the world, would remain a mystery forever.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Source

Where are her children?

Dr Aafia Siddiqu unfit for US trial -Torture/Mental Illness

Petition For the US to Provide Humane Prison Conditions for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

US and Zimbabwe were the only countries to vote against the Arms Treaty


Control Arms campaign demands urgent move to end the carnage

On Friday 31st October, 147 states voted overwhelmingly at the United Nations to move forward with work on an Arms Trade Treaty. This is an increase on the 139 states which voted to start the UN process in October 2006, showing increasing global support for the treaty. Support was particularly strong in Africa, South and Central America and Europe indicating high demand for global arms controls, both from countries severely affected by armed violence and from major arms exporters. Only the US and Zimbabwe voted against, ignoring growing global consensus on an ATT.

The Control Arms campaign, which represents millions of people around the world welcomes the vote but continues to call for more urgency from states to advance the process quickly and ensure a strong Treaty with human rights and development at its heart.

Every day, over 1000 people are killed directly with firearms and many thousands more die indirectly as a consequence of armed violence, or are driven from their homes, forced off their land, raped, tortured or maimed. Since the UN process started in December 2006, approximately 695,000 people have been killed directly with firearms, illustrating the urgent need for an Arms Trade Treaty. Any further delay means more lost lives.

Brian Wood from Amnesty International said:

This big vote today moves the world closer to an Arms Trade Treaty with respect for human rights at its heart, the only way such a treaty can really stop the carnage. Today’s decision is that the principles of the UN Charter and other state obligations must be considered central to the Treaty. It is shameful that the US and Zimbabwe governments have taken an unprincipled stand today against a Treaty that would save so many lives and livelihoods.

Anna Macdonald from Oxfam International, said:

Most governments now support an Arms Trade Treaty and they must now move forward with urgency. Today’s vote is one step closer to turning off the running tap of irresponsible arms transfers which have flooded the world’s conflict zones for decades, fueling death, injury and poverty, such as is happening now in DRC. However we need leaps forward not steps, as every day lost means hundreds more lives lost.

Mark Marge from the International Action Network on Small Arms said:

This vote is a victory for the millions of campaigners in countries around the world. But we cannot afford to rest. All those against the misuse of arms will continue to pressure their governments to move quickly to implement a strong, legally binding treaty.

Source

Guantanamo Bay: Obama’s options

November 12 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Trying detainees using a new US legal system

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Criminal trials in the US

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Trials in the US military court-martial system

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Repatriation

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

The outgoing administration contends this is easier said than done.

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

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

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

5. Resettlement in other countries

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

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

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

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

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

6. Keeping Guantanamo open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“All of this is going to take time.”

Source

Who Cares about Omar Khadr ?


By Debbie Menon

October 16, 2008

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

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

The case is insane for several reasons:

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

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

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

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

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

He has been tortured in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, no one else is paid to care!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer may help…I’m not sure.

Source

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

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

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

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

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