Archive | October 24th, 2010







Zionist Agents Leverage Peace Talks to Free the ‘Most Devastating’ Spy in US History

Reps Frank, Pascrell, Towns and Weiner conspire to free Jonathan Pollard

By Philip Giraldi
Operation Virtual Vigilance Moves Ahead(Watch Jonathan Pollard Stealing U.S. Secrets for Israel)

Let us suppose for a moment that an individual enjoying the full confidence and trust of the United States government was given access to the most secret information possessed by the US military, to include how it would react to an attack by an aggressor armed with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Let us further suppose that that individual violated his trust in the most egregious and vile fashion, offering to sell the information to anyone, but eventually settling on a nation ostensibly friendly to the US but not in any way a formal ally.

The individual then proceeded to deliver defense secrets literally by the carload, not only information that might plausibly have been construed as relevant to the buyer’s own security, but also strategic defense information that could conceivably have led to the deaths of millions of American citizens. That information was then bartered and re-sold to an enemy who was in a position to use it to devastate the United States, together with sources and methods information on intelligence operations that in short order led to the deaths of many American citizens and also foreigners who had been cooperating with the United States.

Let us further suppose that the individual who stole the secrets was eventually caught because the sheer volume of what he was stealing was detected in spite of the indolence and incompetence of his superiors and he was convicted and imprisoned for life. In the damage assessment made after the arrest, it was determined that the espionage had been the most devastating ever experienced by the United States of America, both in volume and in the sensitivity of the information that had been betrayed.

Fast forward a few years. The country that paid the man to steal the secrets becomes a major beneficiary of US assistance and uses the money to set up a lobbying organization that effectively manages key players in the federal government and the media, making it virtually invulnerable to any criticism. Pumped up by hubris, that country seeks on several occasions to obtain the freedom of its spy, claiming inaccurately that he was only taking information used for purely defensive purposes.

Fast forward a few more years and legislators in the US Congress known to be advocates of the foreign country that bought the secrets join in, calling for the release of the convicted spy. The media, also compromised and in the pockets of the foreign lobby, obligingly does not report the tale of American legislators who have apparently sold out.

I am, of course, referring to Jonathan Pollard and his friends in Israel and the United States. Pollard did more damage to the United States than any spy in history. And it was genuine damage, not just a mass of documents that had been routinely classified. Pollard’s Israeli handler, aided by someone in the White House who has up until now evaded arrest, was able to ask for specific classified documents by name and number. The Soviets obtained US war plans, passed to them by the Israelis in exchange for money and free emigration of Russian Jews without any regard for the damage it was doing to the United States. The KGB was able to use the mass of information to reconstruct US intelligence operations directed against it and a number of Americans and US agents paid with their lives.

Pollard also revealed to the Israelis and Soviets the technical and human source capabilities that US intelligence did and did not have, which is the most critical information of all as it underlies all information collection efforts. Compounding the problem, the United States has never actually been able to accurately ascertain all of the damage done by Pollard because the Israeli government has refused to cooperate in the investigation and has not returned the documents that were stolen.

And make no mistake, Pollard did it for money. He has since wrapped himself in the Israeli flag and promoted himself as an observant Jew to justify his crime and to obtain his freedom. He is reported to be a very popular person in Israel, an Israeli citizen by act of parliament, and there is a square in Jerusalem that has been renamed “Freedom for Jonathan Pollard Square.” There is also an active “Justice for Jonathan Pollard” movement in the United States supported by the heavyweight Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Never before has there been such a transformation, with a despicable lowlife spy who sold out his country for money turned into a hero.

Pollard is just one symptom of the asymmetrical relationship that makes many mutter “wag the dog” whenever the subject of Israel comes up. If ever a foreign country has stuck its thumb in the eye of Uncle Sam, it is Israel in its willingness to take the United States for a ride while always demanding still more. And when it demands more it is invariably given more, with US politicians and mainstream media ever willing to genuflect and do what is right for the kleptocracy in charge in Tel Aviv.

The latest criminal outrage is a quartet of congressmen who are calling on the Obama Administration to free Pollard to “advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.” Well, first of all, everyone knows that the talks are kabuki, designed to accomplish absolutely nothing while advancing the standing of Obama prior to the US congressional elections in November. Israel continues its creeping annexation of the West Bank aided and abetted by Washington, which will do nothing substantive to stop the illegal and immoral activity. Abbas presumably is being bought off to stay silent while the play unfolds and Hamas, which should be sitting at the table, has been excluded.

That means that the congressmen in question, who actually took an oath to uphold the US Constitution, know that they are doing nothing but throwing yet another bone to Israel. The congressmen are Barney Franks of Massachusetts, Edolphus Towns of New York, Anthony Weiner also of New York, and Bill Pascrell of New Jersey. Mark their names well. Franks and Weiner are presumably acting due to tribal solidarity, but Pascrell and Towns are the straight men in the routine, brought along to make the Free Pollard movement appear to be less than a complete ethnically based sell out.

It is time for the American people to rise up and throw these bums out. Putting them in jail for malfeasance and corruption would be even better. I would like to see a panel of USS Liberty survivors and widows and orphans of the dead intelligence officers question Franks, Weiner, Pascrell, and Towns about their plan to free Pollard. Better still, I would like to see some US veterans groups and their publications develop a backbone and take up the cause, finally saying that enough is enough since it is our soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have paid the price in their blood for the Israeli connection. And then there is the intelligence community. Its leading lobby, Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), has long ignored Israeli espionage and prefers to regularly express concern about “Islamofascism.” Look in your own backyard folks, it is the Israelis who are skinning us alive, not the Muslims, and Pollard is the poster child of what exactly is being done to us.

He is sometimes cited as proof that spies for Israel are caught and punished, but the truth is that he is the only one who has done hard time in jail and only because of the enormity of his crime while all the others have somehow slipped through our criminal justice system. Franks, Weiner, Pascrell, and Towns are only the latest in a long line of collaborator politicians who should sometimes sit back and ponder where their loyalty actually lies. If they persist in their Pollard campaign, they should be regarded as not fit to sit in the congress of the United States. And that goes for anyone else who decides to lobby on behalf of Pollard.

An opportunity is coming in November to remove the snakes from Congress. Let’s organize to get rid of Franks, Weiner, Pascrell, and Towns. To be sure they will be replaced by others who are probably just as attached to Israel or fearful of its lobby as they are, but the time will inevitably come when allegiance to a foreign nation that is a strategic liability for the United States will become unseemly. May that day come soon.
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Two New Cases Among More Than 100 in 2010 Alleged Against Security Services

October 20, 2010


Palestinian inmates in a prison in Jericho.

© 2008 Reuters

Related Materials: 

Internal Fight

Under Cover of War

More Coverage: 

More Human Rights Watch reporting on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

The reports of torture by Palestinian security services keep rolling in. President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad are well aware of the situation. They need to reverse this rampant impunity and make sure that those responsible are prosecuted.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch

(Jerusalem) – The Palestinian Authority should promptly investigate the alleged torture of two detainees over the past month in a Jericho prison and ensure that officials responsible for the abuse are prosecuted, Human Rights Watch said today. These two cases are among more than 100 allegations of torture registered so far this year with the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), the official Palestinian human rights ombudsman, against security services in the West Bank.

Members of the Preventive Security agency, which reports to the minister of interior, arrested Ahmad Salhab, a 42-year-old mechanic from Hebron, on September 19, 2010, and detained him until October 16, first in Hebron and then in Jericho. On October 16, Preventive Security officials transferred him to a hospital in Hebron suffering from injury to previously torn spinal discs and severe mental distress, which he told Human Rights Watch resulted from torture in custody.

The second man, M.B., who asked that his name not be used, was arrested September 16 and held first in the Preventive Security detention facility in Hebron and then in Jericho, where, he said, he was tortured for 10 days. Both were accused of having ties to Hamas. The human rights commission said that Salhab’s and M.B.’s are the first cases of alleged torture in the Jericho prison.

“The reports of torture by Palestinian security services keep rolling in,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad are well aware of the situation. They need to reverse this rampant impunity and make sure that those responsible are prosecuted.”

On August 31, Hamas’s armed wing, Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for an attack that killed four Israeli settlers in the Hebron area. The Palestinian Authority (PA) subsequently detained hundreds of people around Hebron who were suspected of Hamas ties.

Both Salhab and the other man were detained arbitrarily. Although Palestinian law requires that officials carrying out arrests present a warrant, arresting officials did not show a warrant either to Salhab or to the other man, M.B., the men told Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch said that the PA has been extremely lax in prosecuting security officials for torture and ill-treatment of detainees. In the only known prosecution, a Palestinian military court in July acquitted five General Intelligence Service officers from Hebron who allegedly tortured Haitham Amr to death in June 2009. Palestinian detainees registered 106 complaints of torture with the human rights commission from January through September 2010. Since June 2007, according to the commission, PA security services have allegedly been responsible for the deaths in custody of eight detainees in the West Bank.

Salhab told Human Rights Watch that Preventive Security Service agents came to his house on the outskirts of Hebron on September 15. Salhab was not home, but he presented himself on September 19 at the Preventive Security office in Hebron, where he was arrested and held until September 30. Forty-eight hours after his arrest, on September 21, Sahlab said, authorities brought him before the military advocate general and charged him with “collecting money for an outlawed group,” referring to Hamas, and “working against the direction of the Palestinian Authority.”

During his detention in Hebron, Salhab gave a prison doctor medical records showing that he suffered torn spinal discs as a result of torture when he was detained in 2008. On September 21, the human rights commission also informed the Preventive Security’s legal adviser about Salhab’s condition. Despite these documents and Salhab’s pleas, prison officials transferred him to Jericho, where officials told him in advance that he would be tortured again and refused to provide medical help despite his deteriorating health and mental condition.

Human Rights Watch met Salhab in a Hebron hospital on October 17 and reviewed his medical records from his 2008 detention, which indicated that several of his spinal discs had been torn. Human Rights Watch observed that Salhab apparently currently cannot walk or sit and that his right leg appears to be nearly paralyzed.

Authorities moved Salhab from Hebron to the Preventive Security Detention and Interrogation Center in Jericho on September 30, where his jailers put him in solitary confinement and for 17 days did not allow him to shower or change clothes. Salhab told Human Rights Watch that a prison guard asked about his medical condition, explaining that the information was necessary because Salhab would be subjected to shabeh, a form of torture in which victims are bound in painful, constrained positions for extended periods. When Salhab told the guard that because of his previous torture under shabeh he could not stand such treatment, the guard responded that everyone coming into the Jericho prison had to endure shabeh.

The Jericho prison doctor also visited Salhab the day he arrived, but did not provide him with the prescription medicine he takes regularly for his condition. Security officials interrogated Salhab daily, sometimes three times a day. He said that initially he was not forced into painful stress positions, but that he could barely climb up the stairs to the interrogation room due to his medical condition.

On the sixth day of his detention in Jericho, Salhab said, guards bound him in a painful position for two hours. They seated him facing the wall on a small plastic chair with metal legs that was chained to the wall, so that he could not move his legs, and tied his hands behind his back. Salhab said he was unable to withstand the pain and suffered a mental breakdown.

“It was so much worse than the first time I was tortured, because they knew my condition from the beginning, and the pain was coming from both outside and inside,” Salhab said, explaining that his anxiety compounded the physical pain.

The authorities took him to a hospital in Jericho that night, but a doctor told Salhab that he had to make an appointment with a specialist for his back pain and sent Salhab back to the prison. There his jailers put him in a different prison cell, where he remained for 10 more days. Unable to walk or stand, he had to be carried to the toilet. Preventive Security agents finally transferred him to al-Ahli hospital in Hebron on October 16.

Salhab, and the medical records collected by the human rights commission and viewed by Human Rights Watch, said that the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, another security agency, had detained Salhab for 30 days in October 2008 and subjected him to shabeh, which severely injured his back.

Authorities released Salhab from custody in November 2008 due to his grave medical condition, and he was hospitalized twice in the weeks after his release. He has been incapable of resuming his work as a mechanic, and thus unable to afford the back surgery he requires. Salhab filed a complaint with the human rights commission, which on July 26, 2009, included his case in a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas regarding torture in Preventive Security and General Intelligence prisons.

“A year after President Abbas was informed that this man had been tortured to the point of disability, Palestinian security services denied him medical care, tortured him again, and then detained him for days after he was essentially paralyzed by pain and fear,” Stork said. “This revolting case is the clear result of the Palestinian Authority’s failure to end impunity for abuse.”

Salhab told Human Rights Watch that he witnessed Preventive Security agents binding other detainees in various shabeh positions in the Jericho detention facility, and that each time he left his cell he observed between four and five men bound in shabeh positions, blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs, and that he heard their screams from morning until late at night.

Salhab told Human Rights Watch he was not mistreated in Hebron, but that the conditions in the prison, where he was held in a room with six other men that had only four mattresses, aggravated his back problems.

Human Rights Watch interviewed the second man who said he was detained and tortured in Jericho prison at the same time as Salhab. M.B. told Human Rights Watch that after Preventive Security agents arrested him on September 16 in Hebron, they took him to the Hebron detention facility, where a doctor examined him. The authorities brought him before the military advocate general, who, he said, charged him with “working against the direction of the Palestinian Authority.” The human rights commission visited the prison on September 23 and observed M.B. there.

On September 30, Preventive Security agents moved M.B., together with six or seven other men, to Jericho prison, where he was put alone in an underground room without a mattress, and then questioned about a connection with Hamas. M.B. said that guards then took him to the prison’s director, who told him that the prison “is a slaughter house,” adding, “You will be slaughtered. We will take out your eyes and make you paralyzed. You will leave here on a gurney.”

For the next ten days, guards bound M.B. in various painful stress positions, blindfolded and with hands tied behind his back, standing for hours a day. Guards allowed him to sleep only three hours every morning and would untie him only to use the bathroom and eat. M.B. told Human Rights Watch that he observed other men tied in shabeh positions in the prison, including one man tied to a semi-circular torture device, called bakara, that bends a person’s back in a painful manner.

Authorities released M.B. on October 10. This was M.B’s second arrest. Preventive Security agents had detained him for three months between May and August 2009, including a month in solitary confinement. During his confinement, M.B. said, his weight dropped by 40 kilograms and he developed breathing difficulties and severe muscle pain.

In August 2009 the PA’s Interior Ministry responded to the deaths in custody of four detainees by issuing orders (Decision No. 149) prohibiting Preventive Security officials from “taking part in any kind of torture.” Officials stated that 43 security service officials, including civil police, had been disciplined for abuses, but the officials did not publish any further information.

The PA should conduct independent investigations into torture allegations and prison conditions, make the results public, and ensure that officials are prosecuted if there is evidence that they were responsible for ordering, condoning, carrying out, or otherwise being complicit in torture, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch, which has documented severe abuses against detainees by the Palestinian Authority and by Hamas, also urged the Palestinian Authority to open all of its detention facilities to inspection by the Independent Commission for Human Rights. International donors to the Palestinian Authority – including the US and EU – should publicly insist on accountability for abuses against detainees by Preventive Security and the General Intelligence Services. According to the International Crisis Group, about 17 countries and international organizations have financed or trained the Palestinian Authority’s security forces since 2008.

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Don’t see Iran as freedom fighters

22 Oct 2010

While Hugo Chavez shamefully embraces Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and utterly ignores Tehran’s horrific human rights record, Nasrin Alavi highlights the struggles inside Iran that deserve global support:

The Iranian state has to come to terms with the reality that, a generation after the revolution, no hardline Islamic student group is (or has been) able to gain control of any Iranian campus through free elections.

In the same week that Ahmadinejad was hailed as a hero of resistance in Lebanon, fellow inmates of the imprisoned human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, told of her nightly interrogation sessions and the screams that could be heard from her cell. We have also heard from the father of student Hamed Rouhinejad, who has related his desperate efforts to get guards at the same prison to take delivery of his son’s medication for multiple sclerosis, “begging them to keep it refrigerated so it doesn’t go off.”

When a loopy preacher in Florida threatened to burn the Koran, there were violent protests across the Arab world, but when pro-Ahmadinejad militia attacked the offices of Grand Ayatollah Saanei last June, leaving his books and tattered copies of the Koran in their wake, a deafening silence was heard from Iran’s neighbours. Had these events taken place in the occupied territories, I suspect the response would not have been so mute. Is this not the same gross hypocrisy and double standard that we in the region often accuse the west of?

Today Iranians who are standing up for their rights deserve to be acknowledged by their Arab neighbours. Their struggle is part of a long walk to freedom that began with the creation of the first elected parliament in the region in 1906. By 1911 authoritarian rule was implemented as Britain and imperial Russia strangled the early aspirations of Iranians for democratic change. A generation later, the democratically elected government of Mossadegh was finished off in a coup backed by Britain and the US.

Whether in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia or Iran, we are all familiar with pitiful old men who sit blaming and cursing the ghosts of a colonial past. These men are forever warning us of the enemies in the shadows who will conspire and thwart our every move.

But Iran is a country of the young, where two out of every three people you see on the streets are likely to be under 30. It is also the only country in the middle east where people can’t blame corruption, tyranny or even their daily hardship on their American-backed leaders.

We buried our colonial parents during the 1979 revolution. Today, the children of that revolution are banishing the ghosts that debilitated their forefathers by demanding that we hold ourselves accountable—both for our failures and for our successes.

Wikileaks Iraq logs show our damned contempt for Arabs

22 Oct 2010

Welcome to our legacy in the Middle East:

A grim picture of the US and Britain’s legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.

Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.

The new logs detail how:

• US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.

• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee’s apparent death.

As recently as December the Americans were passed a video apparently showing Iraqi army officers executing a prisoner in Tal Afar, northern Iraq. The log states: “The footage shows approximately 12 Iraqi army soldiers. Ten IA soldiers were talking to one another while two soldiers held the detainee. The detainee had his hands bound … The footage shows the IA soldiers moving the detainee into the street, pushing him to the ground, punching him and shooting him.”

The report named at least one perpetrator and was passed to coalition forces. But the logs reveal that the coalition has a formal policy of ignoring such allegations. They record “no investigation is necessary” and simply pass reports to the same Iraqi units implicated in the violence. By contrast all allegations involving coalition forces are subject to formal inquiries. Some cases of alleged abuse by UK and US troops are also detailed in the logs.

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