Archive | September 10th, 2010


There can be nothing more despicable than the mistreatment and torture of Palestinian children. Of the 10,000+ Palestinian prisoners that Israel holds, some 700 are aged 16 and under. There are no special rights for them. There is no right to see a lawyer in the first weeks of imprisonment or any other rights. Sexual threats, use of dogs etc. is part of the standard treatment.

This takes place against the background of a major controversy over a book by Lubavitch Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira’s and his controversial book (only in Israel that is) “Torat Hamelech”, which advocates the killing of Palestinian civilians, including children. Apparently the ‘freedom of speech’ of those who study the Torah was being infringed!

Imagine what would happen to a Palestinian who wrote a book claiming that it was in order to kill all Jews, including Jewish children, because the Koran ordained it! The controversy was over the decision of the police to summon two senior settler rabbis, Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef, for questioning over their support of the book. The rabbis ignored the summons and the police have done nothing! Usually ignoring a summons for police questioning in Israel will lead to immediate arrest and worse, but that is for Palestinians and Jewish dissidents, not rabbinical bigots.

With the charade of the ‘peace talks’ now taking place, it is useful to understand why Israel is a different type of society from those in the West that it proclaims to be part of.

Tony Greenstein

Stop Israel’s Abuse of Palestinian Children

September 2, 2010

According to the Palestine Section of Defence for Children International, each year, about 700 Palestinian children from the West Bank are prosecuted in Israeli military courts. Out of 100 sworn affidavits collected by lawyers in 2009, 69% of the children were beaten and kicked, 49% were threatened, 14% were held in solitary confinement, 12% were threatened with sexual
assault, including rape, and 32% were forced to sign confessions written in Hebrew, a language they do not understand. Israel’s treatment of detained Palestinian children is considered to be torture by the United Nations under international law.

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition calls on all its members, supporters and people of conscience to contact the White House to demand that the Obama administration direct the Israeli leadership to immediately release and end to the systematic and institutionalized abuse of all Palestinian children in Israeli prisons in accordance with international law. The US government, which supports Israel to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars a year while most ordinary Americans are suffering in a very bad economy, is bound by its laws to cut off all aid to Israel until it ends all of its violations of human rights and basic freedoms in a verifiable manner.

Please cc any correspondence concerning this to the government to to

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-918-9441 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              760-918-9441      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: 760-918-9442

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC) is the largest network of grassroots activists and students dedicated to education and advocacy for the restoration of Palestinian human, national, legal, political and historical rights in full with particular emphasis on the
right of Palestinians to return to their homes and lands of origin from which they have been dispossessed since 1948. PRRC is a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable 501(c)(3) organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations to PRRC are tax-deductible. To donate, go to and follow the instructions. To become a member, go to


Posted by Tony Greenstein




The lessons from 9/11 are ignored, buried and deadPosted: 10 Sep 2010

Today, on the anniversary of 9/11, The Independent’s Robert Fisk paints a grim picture of a world that doesn’t learn, doesn’t care and only understands the language of violence:

Did 9/11 make us all go mad? How fitting, in a weird, crazed way, that the apotheosis of that firestorm nine years ago should turn out to be a crackpot preacher threatening another firestorm with a Nazi-style book burning of the Koran. Or a would-be mosque two blocks from “ground zero” – as if 9/11 was an onslaught on Jesus-worshipping Christians, rather than on the atheist West.

But why should we be surprised? Just look at all the other crackpots spawned in the aftermath of those international crimes against humanity: the half-crazed Ahmadinejad, the smarmy post-nuclear Gaddafi, Blair with his crazed right eye and George W Bush with his black prisons and torture and lunatic “war on terror”. And that wretched man who lived – or lives still – in an Afghan cave and the hundreds of al-Qa’idas whom he created, and the one-eyed mullah – not to mention all the lunatic cops and intelligence agencies and CIA thugs who failed us all – utterly – on 9/11 because they were too idle or too stupid to identify 19 men who were going to attack the United States. And remember one thing: even if the Rev Terry Jones sticks with his decision to back down, another of our cranks will be ready to take his place.

Indeed, on this grim ninth anniversary – and heaven spare us next year from the 10th – 9/11 appears to have produced not peace or justice or democracy or human rights, but monsters. They have prowled Iraq – both the Western and the local variety – and slaughtered 100,000 souls, or 500,000, or a million; and who cares? They have killed tens of thousands in Afghanistan; and who cares? And as the sickness has spread across the Middle East and then the globe, they – the air force pilots and the insurgents, the Marines and the suicide bombers, the al-Qa’idas of the Maghreb and of the Khalij and of the Caliphate of Iraq and the special forces and the close air support boys and the throat-cutters – have torn the heads off women and children and the old and the sick and the young and healthy, from the Indus to the Mediterranean, from Bali to the London Tube; quite a memorial to the 2,966 innocents who were killed nine years ago. All in their name, it seems, has been our holocaust of fire and blood, enshrined now in the crazed pastor of Gainesville.


Christians standing up for rights in PalestinePosted: 10 Sep 2010

A moving presentation, via the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), on life in the West Bank town of Yanoun.


How to protest Israeli crimes within artPosted: 10 Sep 2010

Author William Parry discusses his new book on BBC World News 24 about stories of graffiti artists and people affected by Israel’s apartheid wall and the Middle East conflict:

How to skewer a PresidentPosted: 10 Sep 2010

Never trust the MSM to report politics fairly. Case for the prosecution:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Are You Ready for Some Midterms? – MSNBC’s Political Narrative
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

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When a media mogul has more power than government

Posted: 10 Sep 2010

Oh my. Democracy is so threatened that some have become fearful of a former Australian media man who trades smears for a living:

Senior parliamentarians declined to give evidence in court against a News of the World journalist for fear of upsetting News International, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats said today.

Simon Hughes, whose phone was hacked by an investigator on behalf of the NoW, told the Commons that other MPs declined to join him in the witness box in 2006 out of fear.

“I have absolutely no doubt that some people were not willing to give evidence because they were afraid,” Hughes said. “They were afraid of going into the public domain to take on people working either directly or indirectly for one of our land’s major newspapers.”

It is understood that his remarks apply to at least one former cabinet minister. The evidence from Hughes in 2006 helped convict Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator employed by the NoW, and its former royal editor Clive Goodman.

The warning from Hughes was echoed by Tom Watson, a Labour member of the Commons culture select committee, who said that MPs were scared of senior News International figures such as its chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

Speaking in a Commons debate, in which MPs agreed to refer the phone-hacking scandal to the powerful standards and privileges committee, Watson said: “The truth is that, in this House we are all, in our own way, scared of the Rebekah Brookses of this world.

“It is almost laughable that we sit here in parliament, the central institution of our sacred democracy – among us are some of the most powerful people in the land – yet we are scared of the power that Rebekah Brooks wields without a jot of responsibility or accountability.

“The barons of the media, with their red-topped assassins, are the biggest beasts in the modern jungle. They have no predators; they are untouchable. They laugh at the law; they sneer at parliament. They have the power to hurt us, and they do, with gusto and precision, with joy and criminality. Prime ministers quail before them, and that is how they like it. That, indeed, has become how they insist upon it, and we are powerless in the face of them. We are afraid. If we oppose this motion, it is to our shame.”

And the big man didn’t escape criticism (something almost unimaginable in Australia, such is the cowardly behaviour of parliamentarians):

Rupert Murdoch found himself under fire for the first time in the phone-hacking scandal today when his judgment was called into question during a parliamentary debate.

As Conservative MPs raised concerns about News International, Murdoch was criticised for promoting Rebekah Brooks after she admitted illegal payments were made to police by the News of the World.

Labour MPs used parliamentary privilege in the commons debate to criticise the chairman and CEO of News Corporation, which owns the newspaper publisher, and his senior executives, who are battling claims that the NoW endorsed the illegal hacking of mobile phones.

Tom Watson, a Labour member of the Commons culture select committee, placed Murdoch in the line of fire by accusing him of appointing Brooks as chief executive of News International knowing that she had admitted that illegal payments had been made to police.

The former minister cited evidence by Brooks to the culture committee in 2003 in which she admitted that the News of the World had paid police officers in the past for stories. This was condemned by the committee and by the Met as illegal.

“When Murdoch appointed Brooks he did so in that knowledge,” Watson said of the ruling from the Commons committee. Les Hinton, then chair of News International, later told the committee that Brooks subsequently told him she had “not authorised payments to policemen”; he said her evidence was meant to suggest “there had been payments in the past”.


Taking on Murdoch bullying front and centre

Posted: 09 Sep 2010

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, as recounted by Australian Financial Review journalist Laura Tingle:

[Murdoch’s Australian newspaper] sees itself as a determinant of democracy in Australia. It believes it has replaced the people and it’s time to bell the cat. It’s stepped out of the role of the fourth estate to think it’s the determinant of who has seats in the parliament, and it needs to be taken on.


“Relationships with Palestinians make present the terrible things done in our name”

Posted: 09 Sep 2010

While most Israeli Jews are sleep-walking through their lives, mostly oblivious to Palestinians and the occupation, there are notable exceptions. The invaluable Israeli blog Promised Land gives the story. If only there were more Israelis like this:

Poet Klil Zisapel was one of twelve Israeli women that took a group of Palestinian women and children on a fun outing to Tel Aviv, knowingly violating the Entry into Israel Act. In an interview to Promised Land Blog Klil explains her own reasons for taking part in this initiative, and shares some of the experiences of that special day

An unusual ad appeared in the Haaretz daily a month or so ago: it held the story of twelve Israeli women about how they took a group of Palestinian women and children on a fun outing in Tel Aviv; by doing so they intentionally violated Israel’s entry laws and, like their Palestinian travel-mates, taking on the risk of long-term imprisonment. Since the nineties, the Palestinian population is denied permission to leave the West Bank without special authorization from Israel’s military – and such permits are only given to a select few.

“We crossed the checkpoint with them [the Palestinian women] and knowingly violated the Entry into Israel Act. We are hereby declaring this fact publicly… we do not recognize the legitimacy of the Entry Into Israel Act, which permits every Israeli and every Jew to move freely throughout most of the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River and denies that right to the Palestinian, whose land this is, as well,” said the ad which they published in Haaretz. Following the publication, a right-wing organization filed a complaint with the police, demanding that the ad signatories be prosecuted. The penalty set forth by law for the crime of moving from the Palestinian Authority into Israel any person who does not have a legal pass to be there is up to two years of imprisonment.

Poet Klil Zisapel was one of the Israeli women who took part in organizing the Israeli-Palestinian trip to Tel Aviv. She talks here about the motivation behind the public flouting of the law, the decisions about where to travel, and the shared experiences of that day.

Q: Why did you decide to flout the Entry into Israel Act openly?

Klil Zisapel: “I suppose that this idea comes into being in every one of the Israelis who travels to and from the Occupied Territories and who has any kind of personal relationship with Palestinians. A personal relationship brings into consciousness the absurdity of the situation and makes it impossible to forget the terrible strictures imposed on the population which is living on its own land, in areas that are under Israeli occupation. A real relationship with anyone, beyond the wall and on the other side of the checkpoints, suddenly focuses in the life of an Israeli Jew like me the enormous price that tens of thousands of innocent people on the other side are made to pay.

“It is a daily price, a wicket and strangulatory one – it cannot be described only in words, or at least it cannot be grasped through the enumeration of the prohibitions and restriction in their own right. Relationships with Palestinians make present the terrible things done in our name, as Israelis, and the constant presence of these pangs from our conscience arouses the need to rise up and cross boundaries.


The Greens must push Labor to question Israel

Posted: 09 Sep 2010

Don’t worry Zionists, neither major political party has any intention of questioning anything Israel ever does because Israel is a state that clearly needs only blind backing:

The Labor Party has insisted its official agreement with The Greens is unlikely to have an impact on its support for Israel.


Obama and Bush should dine together and share ideas about torture

Posted: 09 Sep 2010

The similarity between Barack Obama and George W. Bush in their prosecution of the “war on terror” is increasingly clear.

Just in case it isn’t obvious how deep this illegality goes, here’s Michael Hayden, Mr. Bush’s last CIA director, talking to the Washington Times:

You’ve got state secrets, targeted killings, indefinite detention, renditions, the opposition to extending the right of habeas corpus to prisoners at Bagram [in Afghanistan]. And although it is slightly different, Obama has been as aggressive as President Bush in defending prerogatives about who he has to inform in Congress for executive covert action.

Washington’s war on whistle-blowers, or even individuals who dare reveal anything about the failed war in Afghanistan, are also under the pump:

Defense Department officials are negotiating to buy and destroy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of an Afghan war memoir they say contains intelligence secrets, according to two people familiar with the dispute.

The publication of “Operation Dark Heart,” by Anthony A. Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, has divided military security reviewers and highlighted the uncertainty about what information poses a genuine threat to security.

Disputes between the government and former intelligence officials over whether their books reveal too much have become commonplace. But veterans of the publishing industry and intelligence agencies could not recall another case in which an agency sought to dispose of a book that had already been printed.

Army reviewers suggested various changes and redactions and signed off on the edited book in January, saying they had “no objection on legal or operational security grounds,” and the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, planned for an Aug. 31 release.

But when the Defense Intelligence Agency saw the manuscript in July and showed it to other spy agencies, reviewers identified more than 200 passages suspected of containing classified information, setting off a scramble by Pentagon officials to stop the book’s distribution.

Release of the book “could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to national security,” Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr., the D.I.A. director, wrote in an Aug. 6 memorandum. He said reviewers at the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and United States Special Operations Command had all found classified information in the manuscript.

The disputed material includes the names of American intelligence officers who served with Colonel Shaffer and his accounts of clandestine operations, including N.S.A. eavesdropping operations, according to two people briefed on the Pentagon’s objections. They asked not to be named because the negotiations are supposed to be confidential.

By the time the D.I.A. objected, however, several dozen copies of the unexpurgated 299-page book had already been sent out to potential reviewers, and some copies found their way to online booksellers. The New York Times was able to buy a copy online late last week.

The dispute arises as the Obama administration is cracking down on disclosures of classified information to the news media, pursuing three such prosecutions to date, the first since 1985. Separately, the military has charged an Army private with giving tens of thousands of classified documents to the organization WikiLeaks.


Fisk tackles honour killings and spares no details

Posted: 09 Sep 2010

I finally read last night Robert Fisk’s devastating essay on honour killings around the world. It’s moving and shocking, crosses borders and religions and remains a largely ignored issue. His latest, on the situation in Egypt, continues the investigation.

Journalism at its finest.

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