Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category
“This is very sad and not for the faint of heart.”
“I have many “practicing” Jewish-American friends, (I lived in NYC & Brooklyn for almost 10 years), I have absolutely nothing against Jewish people, (Obviously!!)… it’s their sick & twisted government, (much like our own who help support this activity). Although, it would be nice to see more Israeli citizens protesting the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by the hand of their own government.”
-Fred Face 8/23/09
The Israeli government has said that its war on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, that left up to 1,417 Palestinians dead, was “necessary and proportionate”.
The government also said on Thursday that it was investigating about 100 complaints of misconduct by its forces during the three week war that began on December 27.
“Israel had both a right and an obligation to take military action against Hamas in Gaza to stop Hamas’s almost incessant rocket and mortar attacks,” the report published by the foreign ministry said.
The 163-page document was published ahead of a UN war crimes investigation that is due to be published in August and in the wake of accusations from human rights groups that Israeli forces committed war crimes and violated international law during the war.
‘Deliberate use of force’
Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros, reporting from Jerusalem, said many see the report as a pre-emptive strike to defend the much criticised war.
She said that the report follows testimonies from witnesses and human rights organisations about soldiers’ conduct during the offensive.
“What we’ve seen in the past few months since the end of the war are various human rights reports from Amnesty International, the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, as well as testimonies coming out from army soldiers themselves,” Tadros said.
“What really ties all of these reports together is the idea that there was no proportionality and a deliberate use of force against the civilian population in Gaza.”
Palestinian officials say 1,417 Palestinians, including 926 civilians, were killed during the 22-day assault which ended in January.
Israel says that the number killed was considerably lower, and that only 295 of the dead were civilians. Ten Israeli soldiers were killed in the fighting, while three Israeli civilians were killed in rocket attacks.
The report details steps that the Israeli military says were taken to minimise civilian casualties in Gaza, while claiming that some such casualties were inevitable because Hamas fighters took up positions in crowded neighbourhoods.
It cited the 2.5 million leaflets dropped on the territory and 165,000 phone calls to civilians warning them to leave targeted areas as evidence of the military’s efforts.
The report said international law is violated only “when there is an intention to target civilians,” and Israel denied it had such an intention.
“Under international law, Israel had every right to use military force to defend its civilians,” the report said.
Independent inquiry urged
John Ging, the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, welcomed the Israeli report as an “acknowledgment that an investigation has to be done into what happened” during the conflict.
But he told Al Jazeera that the process has taken “far too long” and added that “what we actually need is an independent investigation that is credible for both sides”.
“The litmus test is that [any investigation] has to be credible to both sides. As is well documented, both sides have certain concerns and they have to be addressed.
“We have to see the rule of international law applied and upheld, even-handedly, with the confidence of both populations.”
The report also defended Israel’s controversial use of the chemical agent white phophorus in the conflict, saying its use was in accordance with Israeli law.
The Israeli army “used munitions containing white phosphorus” in Gaza, the government report said, but denied firing such weapons inside populated areas.
International law permits the use of white phosphorus – which can cause severe burns – as an “obscurant” to cover troop movements and prevent enemies from using certain guided weapons.
TEL AVIV, 18 June 2009 (IRIN) – The latest US State Department report on trafficked persons http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/123362.pdf, released on 16 June, says Israel is still a destination for men and women trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation.
Women from the former Soviet Union and China are still being trafficked across the border with Egypt into Israel for forced prostitution by organized criminal groups.
According to local NGOs, such as Isha L’iash and Moked, each year several hundred women in Israel – many of them foreigners – are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, according to the report.
In 2006 Israel was put on the US State Department’s Tier 2 watch list and has been described as a “prime destination for trafficking” by both the State Department and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
However, the State Department report recognized Israeli efforts in the past three years: Although the government did not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, it had made significant efforts to do so, with law enforcement, police activity against traffickers, and the provision of assistance and shelter to victims of sex trafficking.
In 2008, the Israeli government gave US$1.25 million to a local NGO, Ma’agan, which provides shelter to foreign victims of sex trafficking. http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=74117 The funds were used for rent, utility bills, security and medical care. During the year, the shelter assisted 44 women.
Forced labour victims
The report said the Israeli government did not provide most of the forced labour victims with protection services (safe shelter or medical and psychological aid) and recommended that it begin to do so.
Israel lacks a shelter for victims of labour trafficking, including migrant workers who come to the country voluntarily. However, the authorities referred six female victims of forced labour to the Ma’agan shelter during the reporting period.
Workers from China, Romania, Turkey, Thailand, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India migrate voluntarily and legally to Israel for contract labour in the construction, agriculture, and health care industries. Some subsequently face conditions of forced labour, including the unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical intimidation.
Many recruitment agencies in the workers’ countries of origin and in Israel require workers to pay recruitment fees ranging between US$1,000 and US$10,000. This makes the workers highly vulnerable to trafficking or to becoming victims of debt bondage once they arrive in Israel.
The director-general of the Ministry of Justice, Moshe Shilo, told reporters on 16 June he was satisfied that the report had noted the efforts made by the government and the Justice Ministry.
Attorney Adi Vilinger, human trafficking force coordinator at the Hotline for Migrant workers, a local NGO working for the rights of migrant workers, refugees and trafficked persons, told IRIN: “We recognize the great progress the government has made in the past three years on the issue of trafficked women from outside Israel, but regret to see that the government has yet to make sufficient progress on the issue of trafficked foreign workers and local Israeli women trafficked inside Israel for sexual exploitation. We still have a long road ahead of us.”
In March 2009, Israeli police uncovered the largest human trafficking gang http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=83436 to have ever operated in Israel.
The suspected traffickers are accused of smuggling hundreds of women from the former Soviet Union into Israel to work in the sex industry. According to the police, they trafficked over 2,000 women into Israel and Cyprus over a six-year period. They are now on trial.
Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem
A group of Israeli soldiers who fought in the recent war in Gaza have testified that the military allowed them to use reckless force.
The 26 soldiers published their anonymous accounts in a booklet compiled by Breaking the Silence, an Israeli soldiers’ organisation.
They describe the Israeli army’s use of human shields and deliberate targeting of civilian structures.
The soldiers’ descriptions confirm information first published byThe Times during the offensive that soldiers were given orders to shoot first and ask questions later.
In one typical account, a soldier said that in pre-invasion briefings his officers said it was better to hit an innocent than hesitate to attack an enemy. “If you’re not sure, kill. Fire power was insane.”
“You felt like a child playing around with a magnifying glass, burning up ants,” another Israeli soldier said. “A 20-year-old kid should not be doing such things to people.”
Several Israeli soldiers adescribed the use of white phosphorus in Gaza. One soldier described walking on the beach in Gaza and discovering an area covered in glazed sand from a white phosphorous bomb.
He said it was upsetting because “in training you learn that white phosphorus is not used, and you’re taught that it’s not humane”.
A soldier from the Golani brigade said: “Sometimes a force would enter while placing rifle barrels on a civilian’s shoulder, advancing into a house and using him as a human shield.”
Another soldier related an incident in which he was ordered not to fire warning shots at a man approaching their position from some dozen yards away.
When they asked their commander why he told them not to fire warning shots, he said: “It’s night time and this is a terrorist.”
Israel has blamed Palestinian militant groups for the high death toll in Gaza, stating that they hid explosives in schools, hospitals, and other civilian structures.
They said that Palestinian militants often dressed as civilians and attempted to get close to forces before launching an attack.
More than 1,400 Palestinians died in the three-week offensive. Gaza health officials say 900 of those killed were civilians but Israel says that figure is closer to 300.
Thirteen Israelis were killed, including three civilians who died from rocket fire.
A military spokesman accused the group of “defaming and slandering the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] and its commanders” but said that he would investigate formal complaints of military misconduct.
“This is a good overview for people who have no idea what is really happening in this country. A “Dot Dot Dot For Dummies” kind of overview of American politics and World politics. This is what is happening. Stop living in denial and stop supporting an administration that used your liberal goodwill by baiting you with the promise of change by ushering in a fake, (corporate shill puppet), black President.
I hate to say it but… wake up people. Your civil liberties will be on the chopping block for good soon, if all you good people do not speak up. Get your confidence back and start standing up for yourselves.”
-Fred Face 7/8/09
Robert M. Bowman, former Director of Advanced Space Programs Development for the U.S. Air Force in the Ford and Carter administrations, a former United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with 101 combat missions, and presidential candidate for the Reform Party in 2000.
I was brought to Israel against my will. I am being held in this prison because I had a dream that Gaza’s children could color and paint, that Gaza’s wounded could be healed, and that Gaza’s bombed-out houses could be rebuilt.
July 6, 2009
This is Cynthia McKinney and I’m speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies – and even crayons for children; I had a suitcase full of crayons for children.
While we were on our way to Gaza the Israelis threatened to fire on our boat, but we did not turn around. The Israelis highjacked and arrested us because we wanted to give crayons to the children in Gaza. We have been detained, and we want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.
At the outbreak of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead [in December 2008], I boarded a Free Gaza boat with one day’s notice and tried, as the US representative in a multi-national delegation, to deliver three tons of medical supplies to an already besieged and ravaged Gaza.
During Operation Cast Lead, US-supplied F-16s rained hellfire on a trapped people. Ethnic cleansing became full-scale, outright genocide. US-supplied white phosphorus, depleted uranium, robotic technology, DIME weapons, and cluster bombs – new weapons creating injuries never treated before by Jordanian and Norwegian doctors. I was later told by doctors who were there in Gaza during Israel’s onslaught that Gaza had become Israel’s veritable weapons testing laboratory, people used to test and improve the kill ratio of their weapons.
The world saw Israel’s despicable violence thanks to Al-Jazeera Arabic and Press TV that broadcast in English. I saw those broadcasts live and around the clock, not from the USA but from Lebanon, where my first attempt to get into Gaza had ended because the Israeli military rammed the boat I was on in international water… It’s a miracle that I’m even here to write about my second encounter with the Israeli military, again a humanitarian mission aborted by the Israeli military.
The Israeli authorities have tried to get us to confess that we committed a crime… I am now known as Israeli prisoner number 88794. How can I be in prison for collecting crayons to kids?
Zionism has surely run out of its last legitimacy if this is what it does to people who believe so deeply in human rights for all that they put their own lives on the line for someone else’s children. Israel is the fullest expression of Zionism, but if Israel fears for its security because Gaza’s children have crayons then not only has Israel lost its last shred of legitimacy, but Israel must be declared a failed state.
I am facing deportation from the state that brought me here at gunpoint after commandeering our boat. I was brought to Israel against my will. I am being held in this prison because I had a dream that Gaza’s children could color and paint, that Gaza’s wounded could be healed, and that Gaza’s bombed-out houses could be rebuilt.
But I’ve learned an interesting thing by being inside this prison. First of all, it’s incredibly black: populated mostly by Ethiopians who also had a dream… like my cellmates, one who is pregnant. They are all are in their twenties. They thought they were coming to the Holy Land. They had a dream that their lives would be better… The once proud, never-colonized Ethiopia [has been thrown into] the back pocket of the United States, and become a place of torture, rendition, and occupation. Ethiopians must free their country because superpower politics [have] become more important than human rights and self-determination.
My cellmates came to the Holy Land so they could be free from the exigencies of superpower politics. They committed no crime except to have a dream. They came to Israel because they thought that Israel held promise for them. Their journey to Israel through Sudan and Egypt was arduous. I can only imagine what it must have been like for them. And it wasn’t cheap. Many of them represent their family’s best collective efforts for self-fulfilment. They made their way to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. They got their yellow paper of identification. They got their certificate for police protection. They are refugees from tragedy, and they made it to Israel, only after they arrived Israel told them, “There is no UN in Israel.”
The police here have license to pick them up and suck them into the black hole of a farce for a justice system. These beautiful, industrious and proud women represent the hopes of entire families. The idea of Israel tricked them and the rest of us. In a widely propagandized slick marketing campaign, Israel represented itself as a place of refuge and safety for the world’s first Jews and Christians. I too believed that marketing and failed to look deeper.
The truth is that Israel lied to the world. Israel lied to the families of these young women. Israel lied to the women themselves who are now trapped in Ramle’s detention facility. And what are we to do? One of my cellmates cried today. She has been here for six months. As an American, crying with them is not enough. The policy of the United States must be better, and while we watch President Obama give 12.8 trillion dollars to the financial elite of the United States it ought now be clear that hope, change, and “yes we can” were powerfully presented images of dignity and self-fulfilment, individually and nationally, that besieged people everywhere truly believed in.
It was a slick marketing campaign as slickly put to the world and to the voters of America as was Israel’s marketing to the world. It tricked all of us but, more tragically, these young women.
We must cast an informed vote about better candidates seeking to represent us. I have read and re-read Dr Martin Luther King, Jr’s letter from a Birmingham jail. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that I too would one day have to [write one]. It is clear that taxpayers in Europe and the US have a lot to atone for, for what they’ve done to others around the world.
What an irony! My son begins his law school program without me because I am in prison, in my own way trying to do my best, again, for other people’s children. Forgive me, my son. I guess I’m experiencing the harsh reality which is why people need dreams. [But] I’m lucky. I will leave this place. Has Israel become the place where dreams die?
Ask the people of Palestine. Ask the stream of black and Asian men whom I see being processed at Ramle. Ask the women on my cellblock. [Ask yourself:] What are you willing to do?
Let’s change the world together and reclaim what we all need as human beings: Dignity. I appeal to the United Nations to get these women of Ramle, who have done nothing wrong other than to believe in Israel as the guardian of the Holy Land, resettled in safe homes. I appeal to the United State’s Department of State to include the plight of detained UNHCR-certified refugees in the Israel country report in its annual human rights report. I appeal once again to President Obama to go to Gaza: send your special envoy, George Mitchell there, and to engage Hamas as the elected choice of the Palestinian people.
I dedicate this message to those who struggle to achieve a free Palestine, and to the women I’ve met at Ramle. This is Cynthia McKinney, July 2nd 2009, also known as Ramle prisoner number 88794.
“It appears as though the Israeli government is drilling for natural gas in the buffer zone. That gas belongs to the people of Gaza. It seems to be one of their reasons for stopping us, perhaps they’re worried that we may go back and tell the world what we have seen.”
On the morning of July 2, 2009 upon discovering the FREE GAZA website had crashed [due to heavy traffic] I phoned Greta Berlin, a founder and coordinator for the movement regarding the status of the 21 activists who were kidnapped on June 30th at gun point by Israeli Naval forces from the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, while it was sailing in international waters 23 miles off the coast of Gaza.
Greta said, “Two have been released and the Bahrainian’s will be deported soon and hold a press conference when they land. The irony of it all is that Israel is probably going to charge them all with entering Israel illegally!”
I then phoned the US State Department Press office and left a message that as media I wanted to know what they are doing about the three Americans who had been kidnapped at gunpoint by Israeli Naval Forces while in international waters aboard a boat carrying token humanitarian aid but filled with the kind of hope that is angry at the way things are and courageous enough to do something to change the untenable situation in Gaza Palestine.
Within ten minutes I received a call back from spokesperson, Darby Holladay, but I couldn’t take it at the time, for I had finally reached a human at the office of Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
On June 29th I left Regev my first voice message made while I was posting on my website that at the very moment the Israeli Navy had surrounded the FREE GAZA Movement boat and while in international waters it was being threatened and ordered to turn back or be fired upon.
Huwaida Arraf, one of the delegation leaders, was also on a phone at the time with the Israeli gunboats, and could be heard saying, “You Cannot Open Fire on Unarmed Civilians” several times.
Former U.S. Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, from on board the SPIRIT was flaming “…angry. We demand that the Israeli government call off their attack dogs. We are unarmed civilians aboard an unarmed boat delivering medical and reconstruction aid to other human beings in Gaza. Why in God’s name would Israel want to attack us and threaten our safety and welfare? I call on President Obama and the international community to intervene now to prevent this situation from escalating with potentially drastic results to the civilians on board.”
Since the boat’s navigation equipment was jammed, it turned westward to remain in international waters and the Captain and crew were forced to navigate by compass to stay clear of Israeli waters.
I made it clear -as did Iran- that the new fourth estate is on the web and no government can stop the free flow of info. I ended my diatribe to Regev’s rep with my new mantra: End the Siege, Free Gaza Palestine and Free Vanunu Now!
He thanked me “for all of that” and echoed the refrain most internationals will receive at any of the over 600 checkpoints in the West Bank, when after clearing security, the Israeli Occupying Force will wish one to, “Have a nice day.”
I was having a blast and most grateful the unwitting rep from the State Department’s Press office, could not see the huge smile upon my face as he told me that due to privacy issues he could not state who the three Americans were, but I could not resist a laugh and thought, how lame!
Anyone with an Internet connection can readily learn the abducted Americans are Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. congressperson and presidential candidate, Adam Shapiro, a documentary film maker and Kathy Sheetz, a nurse and film maker who was traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.
When Holladay reiterated Israel’s claim that the unarmed boat was in Israeli waters I interrupted and informed him that no way will that float for the truth is already all over the Internet about the former ferry boat that was in international waters up until the Israeli Naval Forces commandeered her and drove her most recklessly to Israel.
I told Holladay that the State Department would be wise to keep informed about what’s really happening to the Americans @
I also informed him that since February, I have made many phone calls, sent many emails and some faxes and snail mail letters to Clinton and Obama, requesting they speak up for Vanunu’s right to leave Israel; but I have not received any reply and I want a statement as to why.
Holladay didn’t thank me for any of that, but now that I have his number, he will hear much more from me next week, as will Regev’s office.
I imagine the best good any of us can do at this time is be a like a gnat in the eye, a mosquito on the neck, a thorn in the side and a voice of conscience that speaks truth to power, for words can be the most powerful weapons.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they have a changed
On July 3, 2009, the five kidnapped passengers from Bahrain left Israel via a private jet furnished by their king and the two Al Jazeera journalists will be freed but without the footage of the Israeli pirate-frogmen who boarded their boat and roughed up some of the passengers.
From his prison cell in Israel, Captain Denis said, “At least four of us went to a hearing yesterday, and we were told we were going to be deported. However, they did not tell us where we were going or when. The boat has been impounded and all of the charts stolen by the Israeli navy. The people at the prison told us we would get all of our stuff back today, but, so far, that has not been true.
“It appears as though the Israeli government is drilling for natural gas in the buffer zone. That gas belongs to the people of Gaza. It seems to be one of their reasons for stopping us, perhaps they’re worried that we may go back and tell the world what we have seen.”
No perhaps about it, and thanks for shining a light Captain Denis for “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea.” –Rev. MLK
Eileen Fleming, A Feature Correspondent for The Palestine Telegraph and Arabisto.com
Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
Producer “30 Minutes With Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”
Only in Solidarity do “we have it in our power to begin the world again.”-Tom Paine
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Ex-Ga. congresswoman detained after boat with Gaza supplies held
Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney revealed in a phone call posted online that she is in an Israeli prison with others who attempted to run a blockade to deliver supplies to Gaza.
McKinney and about 18 other activists in Israeli custody for the past three days will likely be released by Sunday, according to the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C.
Spokesman Jonathan Peled said preparations are being made to deport the activists. “It is taking slightly longer. Former congresswoman McKinney is not cooperating with the authorities” and refusing to sign a document acknowledging deportation, he said.
“It’ll take a couple more days before she is put on a plane and flown out of Israel,” Peled said.
A blog entry Thursday on a MySpace page for McKinney said the passengers refused to admit in writing to violating the blockade and trespassing Israeli territorial waters.
The Greek-registered Arion with 21 passengers aboard was in the Mediterranean Sea about 23 miles off the Gaza coast when it was intercepted Tuesday. Israel has blockaded entry to Gaza, which is governed by the organization Hamas, for two years.
The Free Gaza Movement, which organized the voyage, contends the ship was carrying humanitarian aid.
The organization, which has made more than a half dozen sailings to deliver aid to Gaza since August 2008, had renamed the ship Spirit of Humanity and refers to it by that name.
The Israelis rerouted the ship to the port of Ashdod after the seizure. Two of the passengers who signed the waivers have been released from custody and deported, Peled said.
New York journalist Don DeBar said McKinney called him early Thursday. DeBar covered McKinney’s campaign last year as the Green Party presidential candidate and they stayed in touch.
“She sounded okay,” DeBar said.
McKinney said in the online interview (listen to the interview here here ) that she was in a prison cell block with women from different countries detained for arriving in Gaza.
“We have not committed any crime, we have been detained,” McKinney said. We want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.”
McKinney called on President Barack Obama to press Israel to assist the Palestinian people.
Among the activists on the ship were McKinney, who twice represented Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives; and Mairead Maguire, the 1977 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for co-founding a group that worked for peace in Northern Ireland.
In a statement, Irish Foreign Minister MicheÃ¡l Martin called for the immediate release of Maguire and another Irish citizen also being detained.
McKinney’s father said he spoke briefly with her on Thursday and that she told him she was all right.
“We didn’t have a conversation. She just said she was all right, and that was about it,” Billy McKinney of Atlanta said.
The former Georgia legislator and political figure admitted he was worried despite his daughter’s assurances.
“I’m always worried about her,” he said. “I’m a father. I’m a parent. I’m always worried.”
TOPOFF exercises concentrate on terrorist attack scenarios.
July 1, 2009
A press release buried on the FEMA website, dated June 30, 2009, announces a meeting between FEMA administrator Craig Fugate and Maj. Gen. Yair Golan of the Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command. “I look forward to working with my Israeli counterpart as co-chair of an emergency management work group to improve emergency management practices in both countries,” said Fugate. “These partnerships are critical in ensuring that we are incorporating best practices and also working towards greater public preparedness.”
The Israeli National Emergency Management Authority and FEMA partnership was established under “an emergency management work stream workgroup established under a 2007 Memorandum of Understanding with DHS,” according to the press release. FEMA representatives attended the national preparedness exercise Turning Point 3 in Israel on June 1, 2009, and Israel sent observers to the TOPOFF 4 national exercise in the United States, as well as personnel to participate in FEMA emergency management training.
TOPOFF, or Top Officials, is billed as “the nation’s premier terrorism preparedness exercise” by the Department of Homeland Security. “Thousands of federal, state, territorial, and local officials engage in various activities as part of a robust, full-scale simulated response to a multi-faceted threat,” the DHS website explains.
Later this month, FEMA will hold National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09). “NLE 09 will be the first major exercise conducted by the United States government that will focus exclusively on terrorism prevention and protection, as opposed to incident response and recovery,” according to the FEMA site.
Turning Point 3 is a “war simulation” conducted by Israel’s IDF and Home Front Command. “The five-day drill, to be coordinated by the Defense Ministry together with the Home Front Command, is intended to test Israel’s preparedness at all levels, from the government down to the citizen in the street. It is also meant to check the coordination between local authorities and the various military and other organizations involved,” Arutz Sheva notes.
As we noted in April in regard to NLE 09, these coordinated exercises are inappropriate, considering the fact there has not been a terrorist attack on the United States since September 11, 2001.
The DHS and FBI have shifted from so-called Islamic terrorism — well documented as a manufactured threat — to “homegrown” terrorism. In recent months, the DHS has characterized patriot groups, pro-life and anti-illegal immigration activists as “rightwing extremists” threatening the homeland. In the wake of several violent incidents attributed to “white supremacists,” the corporate media has stepped up its mantra that patriot groups and extremist “lone wolves” are a threat.
Although not specifically mentioned in the FEMA factsheet, NLE 09 will also include exercises designed to round-up and intern suspected terrorists. Under REX 84 and other operations, FEMA, in association with 34 other federal civil departments and agencies, trained to detain large numbers of American citizens.
Israel has plenty of “best practices” experience in rounding-up “terrorists” in the Occupied Territories of Palestine. As noted by human rights groups, Palestinian detainees are held, often for indefinite periods, on secret charges at locations that are rarely disclosed to their families. Most of the Palestinian detainees have never been charged, never been tried, and never have seen a lawyer, according toMitchell Kaidy, writing for WRMEA. In the 1980s, the Israeli Landau Commission discovered that Israeli security police tortured prisoners not only to extract information but to extract confessions.
Israel is now sharing this experience with their American partners under the guise of “emergency management.”
In addition to “exercising” mass detainments, NLE 09 will concentrate on preparing various governmental bodies and organizations for a “Code Red” alert, in other words full martial law. In 2003, then DHS secretary Tom Ridge told CBS News: “If we simply go to red… it basically shuts down the country,” meaning that civilian government bodies would be closed down and taken over by an Emergency Administration. The Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command is designed for the same purpose.
“In turn, code red alert would trigger the ‘civilian’ Homeland Emergency response system, including the DHS’ Ready.Gov instructions, the Big Brother Citizen Corps, not to mention the USAonWatch and the Department of Justice Neighborhood Watch Program which have a new post 9/11 mandate to ‘identify and report suspicious activity in neighborhoods’ across America,” Michel Chossudovsky wrote in 2005.
Since 2005 and the election of Barack Obama, the government has made strides in creating a Big Brother Citizen Corps. In addition to passing the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act — the foundation for Obama’s “civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded” as the U.S. military — Democrats are pushing H.R. 675, a bill that would amend title 10 of the United States Code and extend to civilian employees of the Department of Defense the authority to execute warrants, make arrests, and carry firearms.
By Justin Raimondo
Amid all the internet brouhaha over events in Iran — the “greening,” so to speak, of the blogosphere — what has been missed, so far, is the meaning and significance of the American response. On the surface, that response has been rigorously proper. In his most recent remarks, President Obama told reporters that it would be unseemly for the US to be seen as meddling in the Iranian electoral process.
This provoked a fusillade of self-righteous on the neocon Right: “He should speak out that this is a corrupt, flawed sham of an election,” bawled John “Quick Draw” McCain. Unlike McCain — whose tendency to go ballistic is inadvisable in general and impermissible in a US President — Obama understands that a US government endorsement of the Green Revolution would be the kiss of death for Mousavi — perhaps even in a literal sense.
“It’s important to understand that although there is some ferment taking place in Iran, that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Moussavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised. Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons.”
Very smart — and so threatening in so many ways that it almost makes me pine for the good old days of the Bush era, when dumbness was de rigueur in Washington.
Obama realizes that the Iranian students flashing their green-painted peace signs — or is that a “V” for victory? — are fervently patriotic, and, being good nationalists, are all in favor of Iran’s nuclear power program. He knows Mousavi’s history as a conservative, albeit a relatively moderate one, in the context of Iranian politics. What strikes me as ominously threatening is the certitude with which he averred that Iran “is pursuing nuclear weapons.” Are they really? Someone please tell Dennis Blair, because he testified just 3 months ago that the U.S. intelligence community still stands by the spooks who exhibited a similar degree of certitude back in 2007 when they announced Iran had long ago given up its nuclear weapons program, and there was no evidence they had restarted it.
A US President hasn’t come right out and contradicted his own intelligence agency since …. Well, since George W. Bush ignored the CIA and went with the manufactured “evidence” of Iraq’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction” generated by Dick Cheney’s office and other, even less savory sources. Aside from this disturbing parallel, however, here’s another:
“The reality in Iran is not going to change because of the elections. The world and we already know [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. If the reformist candidate [Mir Hossein] Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem because it would need to explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat, since Mousavi is perceived internationally arena as a moderate element…It is important to remember that he is the one who began Iran’s nuclear program when he was prime minister.”
These are the words of Meir Dagan, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, testifying before a committee of the Israeli Knesset. Like American neocons Max Boot and Daniel Pipes, Dagan believes the alleged madman Ahmadinejad is good for Israel — on the grounds, as Pipes puts it, that it is better to have an open enemy than one whose agenda is not quite so obvious. This should put to rest concern over the hysterical Israeli claim that Iran represents an “existential threat” to the continued existence of the Jewish state. If that were true, they’d be cheering on the Green Revolution for all they’re worth: as it is, their top officials are openly rooting for a man who — they insist — is calling for their extermination.
Note how closely Obama’s evaluation of Mousavi follows Dagan’s. This is not to say they are wrong, factually: indeed, to characterize the Green revolutionaries as anything other than confirmed nationalists would be a mistake. And that really is the core issue, as far as the US and Israeli governments are concerned: democracy schmocracy — the Iranians, by god, are not going to be allowed to challenge either Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the region, or American hegemony.
The US and Israel are determined to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear technology of any sort. This is quite contrary to the letter and spirit of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Israel refuses to sign, never mind adhere to. In his many statements on the subject, our sainted President has declared that the acquisition of nukes by Iran would set off a regional “arms race” — without (for all his vaunted “smartness”) acknowledging that Israel’s possession of hundreds of nukes long ago set that race in motion.
The reality is this: “change” may be in the cards in Iran, depending on how the battle in the streets of Iran’s cities turns out. But it is most certainly not on the agenda in either the US or Israel, nor anywhere else in the Western world, as far as policy toward Iran is concerned. The recent spate of bombings and other acts of terror in Iran’s eastern provinces — carried out byJundullah, a radical Sunni group known to have received assistance from the US, according to journalist Seymour Hersh — signals to Tehran that there will be no let up in a campaign for “regime change” that started under the previous administration.
Anyone who believes the Obama administration is about to cut the Iranians any slack is in for a disappointment of major proportions. Change may be in the air in Tehran, but it’s the same old warmongering in Washington, D.C. Obama’s warhawks are lying low, for the moment, preparing for a long siege. For the moment, the prospect of a US-Iranian confrontation is taking a back seat to the drama being enacted in the streets of Tehran, but the War Party’s day will come, of that you can be sure — and a lot sooner than anyone thinks.
Copyright © 2009 Campaign for Liberty
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
“This is the nightmare police state army that the U.S. government supports time after time. The Israeli government is at a higher scum-fuck level then our own… thats pretty bad.”
March 5, 2009
Trials can be dangerous things. And not just for the accused. They can make or break prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges. And even a vaunted lobby.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its leaders could be the biggest losers in a case that threatens to expose the group’s inner secrets.
The oft-delayed trial of two former AIPAC staffers charged with passing classified information to journalists and the Israeli government is now expected to begin May 27, but that could easily slip, and don’t be surprised if it never happens, given a series of prosecutor setbacks.
Two of those setbacks occurred last month when prosecutors lost their attempt to block the former AIPAC staffers from using critical materials and witnesses in their defense.
The government case has been losing steam as a result of these and other court rulings. Many of the Justice Department professionals responsible for bringing the case are gone, most notably the chief prosecutor, who quit last year to go into private practice, a sign some see as a lack of faith in a high-profile case.
The case was brought by the secrecy-obsessed Bush administration, which had vowed to plug all leaks unless Dick Cheney authorized them to go after his enemies.
This case was on tenuous legal ground from the start. It was the first time the 1917 espionage law was invoked against civilian nongovernment employees who distributed information they received from the government.
In the face of an increasingly weak case, the Justice Department may try to avoid an embarrassing loss by dropping it under the cover of protecting classified information from public exposure, as it has done in similar cases.
Although AIPAC claims it has nothing to do with the convoluted case, it is also on trial, in a way. The organization fired the pair and said they were rogues acting beneath the group’s standards. That will be shot full of holes from all directions in court, whether in the criminal case or in a likely civil suit by the defendants claiming damage to their reputations and careers.
The mere threat of a multimillion-dollar civil suit could prompt a very generous settlement offer from AIPAC in exchange for a vow of silence from the former staffers. But don’t worry; AIPAC can easily afford it.
Soon after the FBI raided AIPAC offices, the organization launched a fund-raising campaign to defend against any charges, and the appeals for money didn’t stop when it fired the pair. Since the scandal broke in 2004, AIPAC’s fund-raising juggernaut has hauled in so much dough that one senior staffer told me that “it’s coming in faster than we know what to do with it.”
JTA quoted tax records showing AIPAC raised $86 million in 2007, doubling 2003’s $43 million. Not all of that money was a result of the espionage case, but many millions were.
In cutting loose the pair, AIPAC insisted it had no idea what they were doing. Not so, say insiders, former colleagues, sources close to the defense, and others familiar with the organization.
One of the topics AIPAC won’t want discussed, say these sources, is how closely it coordinated with Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1990s, when he led the Israeli Likud opposition and later when he was prime minister, to impede the Oslo peace process being pressed by President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.
That could not only validate AIPAC’s critics, who accuse it of being a branch of the Likud, but also lead to an investigation of violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
“What they don’t want out is that even though they publicly sounded like they were supporting the Oslo process, they were working all the time to undermine it,” said a well-informed source.
“After Rabin came in in 1992 and said he wanted to make peace and signed the Oslo accords, and the U.S. was supposed to pay the tab, every restriction on all political and financial dealings [by the Palestinians] came out of our office,” said the insider. “We took full advantage of every lapse by [Yasser] Arafat and the Palestinians to put on more restrictions and limit relations,” the source added.
In addition to cooperating with the Israeli opposition, AIPAC worked closely with congressional Republicans to undermine the Clinton administration’s Middle East policy, several sources confirmed.
If this case goes to trial, civil or criminal, the inner workings of AIPAC will be aired, and it will be clear that top professional and lay leaders were kept fully informed, said a former official.
Defense lawyers are expected to contend both staffers were following routine practices not only condoned but encouraged by the organization’s leadership. The FBI has evidence showing that when juicy material was collected it was shared with the higher-ups.
Will the organization want to go through discovery, depositions, interrogatories, subpoenas, and compelled testimony under oath about all the elements of this case? That could be the key to very generous out-of-court settlements for Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman.
That will leave unanswered the biggest question of all: Why was this case brought in the first place?
Douglas M. Bloomfield is the president of Bloomfield Associates Inc., a Washington lobbying and consulting firm. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.
Author, Summer of Blood
The anger in the air is palpable. The ordinary people hold the political class in contempt.
The government is failing, as war and economic catastrophe are dealt with in increasingly unconvincing fashion by second-rate public servants. There is, for the first time in a generation, a sense of revolution brewing.
This is not today’s Britain. It is England in 1381, the year that witnessed one of the greatest popular risings in our history: the Peasants’ Revolt.
Between May and November that year, England was seized by spasms of popular rebellion, provoked by poll taxes and a disastrous war, and underpinned by the common belief that the government was a pack of scoundrels.
Towns and villages from Somerset to Scarborough rose against their rulers, beating and sometimes killing MPs, lawyers, landowners and politicians, tearing down their homes and vandalising their land.
At the heart of the rising was a march on London on Corpus Christi weekend (Thursday 13 to Saturday 15 June).
Traditionally this was a time of mystery plays and festive processions. In 1381, the main procession consisted of villagers from the Thames estuary marching along the pilgrim road between Canterbury and London, burning houses and taking political prisoners as they protested against their venal, incompetent masters.
The peasant’s revolt ransacked London before it was put down
When the protestors, led by their general Wat Tyler and the maverick preacher John Ball, reached London, they found they had significant common cause with the townsmen.
The London populace bore long-held grudges towards their own ruling elites – which included the oligarchic, super-rich merchant traders in the City as well as the hapless courtiers who governed in the name of 14-year old King Richard.
Common fury with the state of lordship bound rural and urban rebels in a compact to clean up government.
So the town mice opened their gates to the country mice, and together they all set about the cats.
At first there were organised protests, attacks on specific, symbolic landmarks: the Savoy Palace, home of the powerful and unpopular duke of Lancaster, was burned to the ground; the Temple, home of the legal profession, was sacked. Prisons were broken open and the Tower of London, where the government had holed up, was besieged.
Demonstrations became riots. A chopping block was set up at Cheapside, where the street ran sticky with the blood of the condemned.
Kind Richard II was only 14 years old when faced with the rebellion
The Archbishop of Canterbury had his head hacked off on Tower Hill. The Treasurer was murdered, as – in Suffolk – was a Chief Justice.
Some 140 Flemish merchants and their families were butchered on the banks of the Thames, in a shocking xenophobic massacre.
But for the luck of the young king, Richard II, and the fortitude of a few good men around him led by Mayor of London, William Walworth, the City would have been burned to the ground.
Tyler and his mob were eventually defeated at Smithfield, but it took nearly six months to calm the rest of the country.
The summer of discontent left a profound mark on the English political consciousness.
A few lines written, prior to the rebellion, by the Kentish poet John Gower, were suddenly recognised as an important tenet of government.
“There are three things of such a sort that they produce merciless destruction when they get the upper hand,” he wrote.
“One is a flood of water, another is a raging fire and the third is the lesser people, the common multitude; for they will not be stopped by either reason or by discipline.”
I have thought many times during the past months that our politicians would benefit from revisiting the events of the Peasants’ Revolt.
In many ways it is a tale of mutual misunderstanding: the ordinary folk thought the worst of their politicians, and politicians saw their people as an economic resource, to be taxed and tormented as the necessities of government demanded.
The Black Death was a major factor in fermenting anti-government feeling
This government, like the government in 1381, has been caught out by a global crisis of unprecedented severity.
In the fourteenth century it was the Black Death, which killed 40% of Europe’s population.
The government’s reaction – to impose labour laws that stifled economic recovery but preserved the social hierarchy, was vastly unpopular, for it prevented ordinary people from improving their lives.
Now, it is the collapse in global credit which has brought a different sort of misery to millions.
No doubt there are many differences between 1381 and 2009. They were medieval, we are modern. And history never repeats itself as exactly as historians sometimes wish.
But if I were an MP today, I would make it my business to learn the course and the lessons of 1381 by heart. Then I would give thanks that there are no longer any chopping blocks at Cheapside.
Dan Jones is the author of Summer of Blood.
by Andrew Hughes
Never before had one witnessed such an accomplished use of manipulation, propaganda, imagery and public relations wizardry to sell the public a man who was to take the baton from Bush and run with it in the race to destroy the economy, the rights of the people and help birth a nation totally controlled by those who have always lurked in the shadows of power. “Change” was promised and was delivered in the form of a deepening of the already Dystopic nightmare.
Promises were broken with no apology, the same creative legalese that infested the Bush administration, in the form of John Yoo and Alberto Gonzalez, was again used to deny justice to the inmates of Guantanamo, It was used to justify more torture, more destruction of the Constitution and more illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens.
The President that extended the hand of peace to the Muslim world has murdered hundreds of Pakistani men, women and children. The President who promised accountability in Government has filled his staff with lobbyists, banksters and warmongers. His Attorney General refuses to prosecute some of the worst war crimes committed in modern history and continues to give legal cover to criminals who tortured with impunity.
The country has been further bankrupted by the continuing theft of taxpayer money as the Wall St. campaign donors receive their quid pro quo. Obama has stood by idly as Bernancke states that the private Federal Reserve is not answerable to either Congress of the American public. The U.S. taxpayer is now on the hook for $14.3 Trillion and rising. Foreclosures and unemployment are rising with no meaningful efforts by the administration to alleviate the symptoms, never mind the cause. The new image of America is one of tent cities, lengthening soup kitchen lines, sherrifs evicting countless thousands of young and old from their homes, once prosperous towns descending in to an eerie stillness and an increasingly disillusioned populace.
The “War on terrorism” has mutated in to a control grid for an increasingly aware population. The foundation for this had already been put in place by Bush with the Patriot Act, Patriot Act 2, Military commissions act and numerous executive orders that strangled what was left of Posse Comitatus and the Constitution.
Homeland Security now defines “Terrorists” as those who believe in the Constitution, the first, second and fourth amendments. Returning veterans are being targeted for a denial of their second amendment rights. A “Terrorist Watchlist” of more than a million and rapidly growing, is being used as the basis for denying citizens the rights to travel and to work.
Obama is now mulling over the idea of indefinite detention without trial for U.S. citizens. This, from a teacher of the Constitution ! Bills are in congress to criminalize free speech on the Internet via the Cyberbullying Act which will make hurting somebody’s feelings a felony. Just like the Patriot Act this will morph in to a criminalization of political free speech and any criticism of the Government.
“Cyberterrorism” is being used as a pretext to bring government regulation to the the last stronghold of unbiased information. Washington has realized that it’s getting harder to get away with their Fascist agenda and are moving to control the field. The populace have become more aware of just what kind of “Change” Obama intended to deliver.
There has been a growing resistance on a state level with several invoking their 9th and 10th Amendment rights in a valiant attempt to stop the Federal Vampire from draining the last drops of blood, the last vestiges of Freedom and Hope.
This is the Dystopic Nightmare that America finds itself in today and each day brings new assaults on Freedom and Sanity. The framework for total control of the citizenry, the economy and the media is being built upon in a relentless aggrandization of Govermental power. Obama sits atop his new Empire still smiling that sickeningly disingenuous smile surrounded by his seasoned courtiers who have worked for decades to bring America in to this new era of the New World Order.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is training against warplanes in service with Arab nations and Iran amid worries in the White House that Tel Aviv would start a war without US consent.
The IAF has trained against Soviet-designed MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters — loaned to Israel by an unidentified foreign country — to prepare its pilots for missions where they might have to fight a foreign air force, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
The MIG 29, one of the fighter jets used by Arab countries and Iran, has been developed to counter American-made jets such the F-16, used by the IAF.
“We have studied them and are using them to practice dog fights. It is a good opportunity to see how effective our Air Force can be in dealing with a possible adversary,” an Israeli test pilot told the channel.
The report comes amid US efforts to gain reassurance from Tel Aviv that it would not launch a surprise attack on Iran without notifying the Obama administration.
America’s spy chief and CIA director, Leon Panetta, was reportedly sent on a secret mission to Israel in early May to warn its leaders against launching a surprise attack on Iran.
In a turnabout from the policies of the Bush administration, the Obama White House says it seeks to diplomatically engage Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
Iran says the program is directed at the civilian applications of the technology. The US and Israel, however, accuse the country of seeking military objectives in its pursuit.
President Obama’s decision to engage Tehran in direct talks has raised concern in Israel where officials regularly threaten to attack Iran.
Moreover, the Israeli army has long been preparing for such an eventuality. With the emergence of the hawkish government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, officials in Washington fear that Israel’s new prime minister can blindside the US government and drag President Obama into an undesirable war with Iran.
The most recent IAF training comes ahead of Netanyahu’s maiden meeting with the US president in Washington where the two leaders will discuss their divisions on stalled peace efforts with the Palestinians as well as Iran’s nuclear program.
“The Israeli government is getting crazier and crazier and crazier and crazier by the minute.”
Mon, 23 Mar 2009 13:36:18 GMT
Israel is preparing for all-out war on multiple fronts that include Iran, Syria and Lebanon, a senior military commander claims.
Israeli army Home Front Command Major General Yair Golan said Sunday that Tel Aviv is preparing for “all possible scenarios”, indicating that one such scenario would be to fight a simultaneous war against Iran, Syria and Lebanon.
The confirmation comes as US President Barack Obama seeks “new beginnings” with its arch-rival Iran. The US offer has been met with world praise but with fury in Tel Aviv.
Israeli media outlets late on Sunday began propagating wild scenarios that Iran is using the Lebanese Hezbollah to recruit Palestinian fighters to carry out terror attacks on Israel.
Citing anonymous sources, the reports began to surface after Tel Aviv countered an alleged bombing attempt outside a shopping mall in the northern city of Haifa.
“We are treating the attempted attack in Haifa with great gravity. A huge disaster was prevented by a miracle,” Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a weekly cabinet meeting after the bomb was defused on Sunday.
Israel has long accused Iran of arming Hezbollah and Palestinian groups via Syria, in an attempt to demonize the two Muslim countries.
Tel Aviv also accuses Tehran of developing nuclear weaponry — a chargedenied by the UN nuclear watchdog.
At a conference held in Tel Aviv, Golan also confirmed the likeliness of Israel staging another military confrontation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Although Israel does not consider rocket attacks from Gaza as a serious threat, there is the possibility of “dangerous” missile attacks by other countries, he said.
He failed to elaborate how such missile attacks would relate to Gaza.
His remarks came as reports claim that the soon-to-be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has plans for “a major military conflict in the coming months.”
The commander also revealed that Tel Aviv will install new warning systems across Israel in preparation for its war plans.
The last Israeli-waged war on the Gaza Strip, which began on December 27, killed at least 1,350 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,450 others in the densely-populated sliver.
The aggression was the last in a series of operations carried out by the Israeli forces against the natives of the land since occupying Palestine in 1948.
This is why I have been saying Israel’s government is scum and a bunch of criminals. Not because I’m anti-Jewish. Because it’s a fact and I like to surround myself with as much truth as possible & cut out the delusion and denial excess fat that surrounds so many a good people in this country.
This is why I have been saying Obama is scum and is surrounded by a bunch of criminals. Not because I’m anti-black. Because it’s a fact and I like to surround myself with as much truth as possible & cut out the delusion and denial excess fat that surrounds so many a good people in this country.
I have many Jewish and black friends, so, don’t bring your white liberal guilt trip on me. I don’t care what race, religion, or gender, you are… if your inflicting pain and suffering on my people, (which is all the people of the world, especially the poor & oppressed), than your on my shit list.”
NY Times Story:
WEDNESDAY, 11 MARCH 2009 10:52
A Palestinian family has filed a lawsuit against officials responsible for the three-week Israeli war on the population of the Gaza Strip.
The Samouni family of the southern Gazan suburb of Zeitoun has filed a suit against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Ha’aretz reported on Wednesday.
The Samounis are demanding some 200 million dollars in compensation for the loss of 29 family members during Israel’s December onslaught, which killed nearly 1,350 Palestinians and injured 5,450 others.
Some forty five members of the family have also been injured in the attacks, the report adds.
The suit filed at a court in the northern Arab-Israeli town of Nazareth, accuses the Israeli military of “criminal negligence” by killing innocent civilians who were seeking refuge in their home and a shelter.
In the early hours of January 4, the family’s three-story building was targeted by an Israeli tank shell, instantly killing seven civilians.
Their apartment was burnt down completely, forcing the remaining survivors to take refuge at a nearby shelter, only to be targeted for a second time resulting in the death of 22 more civilians.
Investigations have revealed that Israel committed various war crimes in Gaza, including the use of deadly white phosphorus shells in densely populated civilian areas.
The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO or Interpol) on Tuesday said that it is reviewing a request to issue international Red Notices for 25 Israelis suspected of committing war crimes during Tel Aviv’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
“We were reviewing a request to make sure it did not breach rules that prevent the body from making any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character,” Interpol said in a statement.
A Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant but a request to national police forces to identify or locate suspects with a view to arrest and extradite criminals.
Sat, 21 Feb 2009 11:30:24 GMT
Renowned US intellectual Noam Chomsky says Barack Obama did not comment on Israel’s war on Gaza, as it was part of the “premeditated” plan.
We have been informed by an Israeli source that the recent invasion of the Gaza Strip was completely premeditated, Chomsky said in an interview with the French Al-Ahram daily.
The plan was to deliver the maximum blow to Gaza before the new US president took office, so that he could put these matters behind him added the famous intellectual, referring to Obama’s pledge to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
According to Chomsky, while Israel was pounding the Gaza Strip — during which over 1300 Palestinians were killed –, Obama excused his silence by saying that “There’s only one president at a time.”
This, however, did not prevent the then president-elect from commenting on other leading issues of US domestic and foreign policy, Chomsky argued.
The recognized political analyst also criticized Obama for repeating the notion that defending Israel is a US priority. He predicted that during the Obama presidency US will hold the same policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Once again we are back to the “left-right paradigm.” It’s not Si-Fi. It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s a party deception that has made Americans believe they are a free people. The U.S. government has been toying with our minds, bodies, and hearts for way to long. Question is, “when are the American people gonna stop eating shit?”
FIGHT AGAINST GUN CONTROL, FIGHT THE FEDERAL RESERVE, FIGHT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, FIGHT FOR OUR CONSTITUTION, FIGHT FOR YOURSELF TO BE A FREE HUMAN BEING. FIGHT YOUR UGES TO DO NOTHING AND HOPE THIS ALL GOES AWAY.
Peter Schiff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Schiff
The politician who loves the crisis
Rahm Emmanuel loves the financial crisis. He sees it as an opportunity. His admission of this fact, which we’ve used as our quote of the day, is breathtaking.
Mr. Emmanuel tried to moderate his enthusiasm for exploiting the crisis by claiming that his desire wasn’t for big government, but for good government. But has Mr. Emmanuel ever acted as if good government was consistent with smaller government? We doubt it.
Mr. Emmanuel isn’t alone in seeing crisis as an opportunity to make government “gooder” by making it bigger. Donald Rumsfeld famously wanted to exploit the 9-11 attack by “roping in everything,” including Iraq. And that is what they did.
One “crisis” event was used to create another crisis. Now it’s happening again.
Consider what this means: What do the politicians think of you? They think you aren’t wise enough to accept their grand plans for remaking the world, so you have to be scared into doing the right thing. Their grand plans require crisis to be implemented. This way of thinking also implies that only the politicians know what the right thing is.
Your plans and my plans, and all the individual plans of 300 million Americans, must be superseded by the plans of the politicians and their court intellectuals. But what’s the likelihood that such a small group of people really knows how 300 million individuals should live — how their affairs should be regulated and their money spent?
And what happens when they’re wrong? If you and I make mistakes in our small plans for our own lives, the consequences effect only ourselves and maybe a few people around us. But when the politicians’ grand plans go wrong, millions, perhaps everyone, is harmed in a grand way.
But isn’t this very nearly the definition of a crisis — something that harms everyone?
More On Rahm Emanuel:
Obama has appointed as his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, a former director of the failed government-backed mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which had to be bailed out by taxpayers. It’s perhaps not surprising, given that Obama was the second-largest recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage giants that helped spawn the mortgage meltdown and financial crisis. Emanuel was the money man for the Chicago Democratic machine under Mayor Richard Daley, and is famous for his partisanship and “foul mouthed tirades,” according to the Washington Post. During the time that Emanuel was a Freddie Mac director, it “misreported profits by billions of dollars in order to deceive investors between the years 2000 and 2002,” according to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
In addition to engaging in pervasive accounting fraud, the mortgage giants have used bullying, lies, and intimidation to get their way on Capitol Hill. Emanuel is described as using pressure verging on extortion to raise money for Bill Clinton’s reelection bid.
Obama and Emanuel have close links to the failed mortgage giants (former Fannie Mae CEO and fraudster Franklin Raines was an Obama advisor, and former Fannie CEO Jim Johnson originally chaired Obama’s vice-presidential search committee). Finally, after all the unbelievable campaign promises, we are witnessing a “change we can” actually “believe in.”
January 19, 2006
In the long sixty-year tortured history of the Palestinian expulsion from their lands, Congress has maintained that it is always the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority, and now Hamas who are to blame for all hostilities and their consequences with the Israeli government.
The latest illustration of this Washington puppet show, backed by the most modern weapons and billions of taxpayer dollars annually sent to Israel, was the grotesquely one-sided Resolutions whisked through the Senate and the House of Representatives.
While a massive bombing and invasion of Gaza was underway, the resolution blaming Hamas for all the civilian casualties and devastation-99% of it inflicted on Palestinians-zoomed through the Senate by voice vote and through the House by a vote of 390 to 5 with 22 legislators voting present.
There is more dissent against this destruction of Gaza among the Israeli people, the Knesset, the Israeli media, and Jewish-Americans than among the dittoheads on Capitol Hill.
The reasons for such near-unanimous support for Israeli actions-no matter how often they are condemned by peace advocates such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, United Nations resolutions, the World Court and leading human rights groups inside and outside of Israel, are numerous. The pro-Israeli government lobby, and the right-wing Christian evangelicals, lubricated by campaign money of many Political Action Committees (PACs) certainly are key.
There is also more than a little bigotry in Congress against Arabs and Muslims, reinforced by the mass media yahoos who set new records for biased reporting each time this conflict erupts.
The bias is clear. It is always the Palestinians’ fault. Right-wingers who would never view the U.S. government as perfect see the Israeli government as never doing anything wrong. Liberals who do not hesitate to criticize the U.S. military view all Israeli military attacks, invasions and civilian devastation as heroic manifestations of Israeli defense.
The inversion of history and the scope of amnesia know no limits. What about the fact that the Israeli government drove Palestinians from their lands in 1947-48 with tens of thousands pushed into the Gaza strip. No problem to Congress.
Then the fact that the Israeli government cruelly occupied, in violation of UN resolutions, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 and only removed its soldiers and colonists from Gaza (1.5 million people in a tiny area twice the size of the District of Columbia) in 2005. To Congress, the Palestinians deserved it.
Then when Hamas was freely elected to run Gaza, the Israeli authorities cut off the tax revenues on imports that belonged to the Gaza government. This threw the Gazans into a fiscal crisis-they were unable to pay their civil servants and police.
In 2006, the Israelis added to their unrelieved control of air, water and land around the open-air prison by establishing a blockade. The natives became restless. Under international law, a blockade is an act of war. Primitive rockets, called by reporters “wildly inaccurate” were fired into Israel. During this same period, Israeli soldiers and artillery and missiles would go into Gaza at will and take far more lives and cause far more injuries than those incurred by those rockets. Civilians-especially children, the infirm and elderly-died or suffered week after week for lack of medicines, medical equipment, food, electricity, fuel and water which were embargoed by the Israelis.
Then the Israeli bombing followed by the invasion during the past three weeks with what prominent Israeli writer Gideon Levy called “a brutal and violent operation…far beyond what was needed for protecting the people in its south.” Mr. Levy observed what the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann called a war against “a helpless and defenseless imprisoned population.”
The horror of being trapped from fleeing the torrent of the most modern weapons of war from the land, air and seas is reflected in this passage from Amira Hass, writing in the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz:
“The earth shaking under your feet, clouds of choking smoke, explosions like a fireworks display, bombs bursting into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, mushroom clouds of pinkish-red smoke, suffocating gas, harsh burns on the skin, extraordinary maimed live and dead bodies.”
Ms. Hass is pointing to the use of new anti-civilian weapons used on the Gazan people. So far there have been over 1100 fatalities, many thousands of injuries and the destruction of homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, pharmacies, granaries, farmer’s fields and many critical public facilities. The clearly marked UN headquarters and UN school were smashed, along with stored medicines and food supplies.
Why? The Congressional response: “Hamas terrorists” everywhere. Sure, defending their Palestinian families is called terrorism. The truth is there is no Hamas army, airforce and navy up against the fourth most powerful military in the world. As one Israeli gunner on an armored personnel carrier frankly said to The New York Times: “They are villagers with guns. They don’t even aim when they shoot.”
Injured Gazans are dying in damaged hospital corridors, bleeding to death because rescuers are not permitted to reach them or are endangered themselves. Thousands of units of blood donated by Jordanians are stopped by the Israeli blockade. Israel has kept the international press out of the Gazan killing fields.
What is going on in Gaza is what Bill Moyers called it earlier this month – “state terrorism.” Already about 400 children are known to have died. More will be added who are under the rubble.
Since 2002, more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations have had a standing offer, repeated often, that if Israel obeys several UN resolutions and withdraws to the 1967 borders leaving 22 percent of the original Palestine for an independent Palestinian state, they will open full diplomatic relations and there will be peace. Israel has declined to accept this offer.
None of these and many other aspects of this conflict matter to the Congress. Its members do not want to hear even from the Israeli peace movement, composed of retired generals, security chiefs, mayors, former government ministers, and members of the Knesset. In 60 years these savvy peace advocates have not been able to give one hour of testimony before a Congressional Committee.
Maybe members of Congress may wish to weigh the words of the founder of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, years ago when he said:
“There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis Hitler Auschwitz but was that their [the Palestinian’s] fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country.”
Doesn’t that observation invite some compassion for the Palestinian people and their right to be free of Israeli occupation, land and water grabs and blockades in the 22 percent left of Palestine?
“The Congressional Black Caucus is out of the anti-war business.”
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
It’s hard to believe that a generation ago, the Congressional Black Caucus was known as “the conscience of the congress, a political and moral high ground long deserted by the current CBC, which has utterly collapsed under Israel-lobby pressure for the second time in three years.
All but two Black lawmakers voted either “Yes” or “Present” on a Resolution that absolved Israel for its crimes against humanity in Gaza – placing all blame on Hamas. In 2006, only two Black Caucus members opposed a Resolution supporting Israel’s savage destruction if Lebanon’s infrastructure and the killing of 1,000 people. Hypocritically turning their backs both on Black public opinion and on the work of Dr. King, whose name they invoke at every public opportunity, the CBC has put itself “out of the anti-war business,” and well outside the mainstream of Black opinion on the Israel-Palestine question.
Only two members of the Congressional Black Caucus mustered the courage to oppose a House Resolution in support of Israel’s savage assault on Gaza, last week. An additional seven CBC members sought cover by voting “present.” The remaining 30 Black lawmakers (the delegates from Washington, DC and the Virgin Islands cannot vote on the House floor) gave their assent to a statement that could have been written by the Israeli government – and probably was.
The Resolution, similar to one passed by the Senate on a voice vote, is a blanket condemnation of Hamas, the political party that won Palestinian Authority elections three years ago, and which Israeli leaders vow to “destroy” before leaving Gaza. The destruction of a mass political party requires massive civilian deaths. Destroying Hamas in Gaza is like stamping out Democrats in The Bronx – with 1.4 million people, about the same size as the Palestinian enclave. The document blames Hamas for “the breaking of the ‘calm’ and for subsequent civilian casualties in Gaza.” In other words, Israel is absolved for all the men, women and children it has burned, eviscerated, blasted into dust, sliced in pieces or melted like wax.
In addition to the usual nonsense about the U.S. maintaining an “unwavering commitment to the…State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state (as if a settler state based on race-ethnicity can be democratic) with secure borders (Israel is the only state in the world that refuses to say where its borders are), the Resolution invokes the United Nations and its Charter (Israel is the unchallenged world champion violator of UN Resolutions, dating from shortly after its declaration of independence, in 1948).
Could it be that Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Milwaukee’s Gwen Moore are the only Black Caucus members who remember that Israel was racist South Africa’s closest ally, the apartheid regime’s hi-tech weapons quartermaster and godfather to its nuclear bomb project? Do the seven members that voted “present” – Donna Edwards (MD), Keith Ellison (MN), Hank Johnson (GA), Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI), Barbara Lee (CA), Donald Payne (NJ), Diane Watson (CA) – believe that by refusing to take a position on Israeli crimes against humanity in Gaza, they somehow salvage the Caucus’s claim to be the “conscience of the Congress?”
Where has John Conyers’ conscience disappeared to? In July of 2006, when the House passed an equally noxious Resolution in support of Israel’s systematic destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure, killing over 1,000 people and displacing one million, Conyers and fellow Detroiter Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick were the solitary CBC members to vote “Nay.” (Oakland’s Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters voted “present.”) Then came the Democratic victory in the midterm congressional elections and Conyers’ chance to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee – at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s pleasure. Conyers picked a fight with Jimmy Carter over the former president’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Conyers objected to Carter’s use of the term “apartheid” in the book’s title, saying it “does not serve the cause of peace, and the use of it against the Jewish people in particular, who have been victims of the worst kind of discrimination, discrimination resulting in death, is offensive and wrong.” Translation: Not just Israel, but Jews are off limits to criticism.
It appears the old John Conyers has left the scene without those of us who used to know him having had a chance to say goodbye. The Israeli lobby has that kind of effect on erstwhile progressives and anti-war folks. The Zionist ideology, and especially the chilling effect of Zionist power, is probably the second-greatest impediment to creation of a sustained American peace movement – the first obstacle being the ideology of American Manifest Destiny, which is in practice quite compatible with Zionism.
However, African Americans are least susceptible to the Manifest Destiny/Zionist Mythology combo. Both ideologies wreak of racism, and most Black people know it. The Congressional Black Caucus knows it, too, but they are terrified of offending Israel’s innumerable political hit men.
Zionist power helped knock off two CBC members who refused to tow Tel Aviv’s line, in 2002. Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney and Alabama’s Earl Hilliard found themselves heavily outspent and ultimately unseated by otherwise puny challengers in Democratic primary contests. AIPAC bragged of its ability to shut down independent-minded Black politicians who fail to understand that U.S. foreign policy is shaped by whatever is deemed good for Israel. Bullying works, especially against the meek. Except for Maxine Waters and Gwen Moore, the Congressional Black Caucus is out of the anti-war business.
That also goes for the Congressional Progressive Caucus which, with 71 members, claims to be the “single largest partisan caucus” in the U.S. House, but whose members voted overwhelmingly in support of Israeli barbarity. About two-thirds of the voting members of the Black Caucus also belong to the Progressive Caucus – meaning, they are members of two defunct organizations, and doubly useless to the cause of peace.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .
“Well, maybe the Israelis are starting to come around and realizing that their government is completely and utterly criminal and corrupt just like our fantastically evil government.”
Part 1 & 2
Eric Margolis: Israel has handed the Obama administration a ‘fait accompli’ Pt. 3/3
Gazans have nowhere to go
January 12, 2009
We don’t see the images. They are neatly censored from our view in this country. But everywhere else around the world the carnage that is Gaza is being seen and the people are revolted by what they see. They see dead babies, decapitated bodies, defenseless relief workers killed. Maimed men, makeshift morgues, mortified mothers.
They see exploding white phosphorus shells, cluster bombs, depleted uranium munitions.
They see what is reportedly the world’s fourth most powerful military using all of its power against a defenseless people.
In fact, they are witnesses to 15 days of war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.
They see Hugo Chavez expel Venezuela’s Israeli Ambassador and they see lawmakers in Ecuador condemn Israel’s actions, calling for an investigation into Israel’s crimes against humanity.
And despite the obvious facts of an Israeli-sponsored terror campaign against Palestinians in Gaza, a piece of territory roughly twice the size of the District of Columbia, they see the U.S. Congress support a resolution totally supporting Israel, even though Israel is in violation of U.S. and international law.
They see Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, swaggering in insult to black America by initially refusing to seat Roland Burris from Illinois in the Senate, yet that same Reid cowers before the pro-Israel lobby, and they wonder why.
And sadly, they see the U.S. President-elect, who roared onto the scene like a lion, remain as quiet as a lamb in the face of the utter inhumanity of Israel’s actions, and they wonder why.
And then, they see us. Gathered here in front of the White House, reaffirming our own humanity. The tears of the Palestinians roll down our cheeks, even as we bury our own victims of police murder.
A new day is coming in U.S. politics. We will use the power of our vote to change U.S. policy. We will no longer check our values at the door and support politicians and political parties that fail to deliver.
Not one more bomb to Israel.
In defense of humanity, we will not give up and we will win.
Phyllis Bennis: Where you decide to start the clock determines how you define the crisis Pt.1/3