Archive | October 4th, 2012

Why I Dislike IsraHell


by crescentandcross

Even those pundits who seem to want to distance U.S. foreign policy from Tel Aviv’s demands and begin treating Israel like any other country sometimes feel compelled to make excuses and apologies before getting down to the nitty-gritty. The self-lacerating prologues generally describe how much the writer really has a lot of Jewish friends and how he or she thinks Israelis are great people and that Israel is a wonderful country before launching into what is usually a fairly mild critique.

Well, I don’t feel that way. I don’t like Israel very much. Whether or not I have Jewish friends does not define how I see Israel and is irrelevant to the argument. And as for the Israelis, when I was a CIA officer overseas, I certainly encountered many of them. Some were fine people and some were not so fine, just like the general run of people everywhere else in the world. But even the existence of good upstanding Israelis doesn’t alter the fact that the governments that they have elected are essentially part of a long-running criminal enterprise judging by the serial convictions of former presidents and prime ministers. Most recently, former President Moshe Katsav was convicted of rape, while almost every recent head of government, including the current one, has been investigated for corruption. Further, the Israeli government is a rogue regime by most international standards, engaging as it does in torture, arbitrary imprisonment, and continued occupation of territories seized by its military. Worse still, it has successfully manipulated my country, the United States, and has done terrible damage both to our political system and to the American people, a crime that I just cannot forgive, condone, or explain away.

The most recent outrage is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s direct interference in U.S. domestic politics through his appearance in a television ad appearing in Florida that serves as an endorsement of Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The Netanyahu ad and his involvement in the election has been widely reported in the media and has even been condemned by several leading Jewish congressmen, but it has elicited no response from either Obama or Romney. Both should be condemning in the strongest terms the completely unprecedented intervention by a foreign head of government in an American election. That they are saying nothing is a testament to the power that Israel and its friends in Congress and the media have over the U.S. political establishment. Romney might even privately approve of the ads, as he has basically promised to cede to Netanyahu the right to set the limits for U.S. policy in the Middle East.

And why is Benjamin Netanyahu in such a lather? It is because President Barack Obama will not concede to him a “red line” that would automatically trigger a U.S. attack on Iran. Consider for a moment the hubris of Netanyahu in demanding that Washington meet his conditions for going to war with Iran, a nation that for all its frequently described faults has not attacked anyone, has not threatened to attack anyone, and has not made the political decision to acquire a nuclear weapon in spite of what one reads in the U.S. press. At the U.N., Netanyahu’s chart showing a cartoon bomb with a sputtering fuse reminiscent of something that might have been employed by an anarchist in the 1870s failed to pass any credibility test even for the inevitable cheerleaders in the U.S. media. If the U.S. is to go to war based on a Netanyahu cartoon then it deserves everything it gets when the venture turns sour, most likely Iraq Redux, only 10 times worse.

Even more outrageous, and a lot less reported in the media, were the comments made by Patrick Clawson, director of research for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an organization founded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). WINEP is widely viewed as a major component of the Israel Lobby in Washington and is closely tied to the Israeli government, with which it communicates on a regular basis. Clawson heads WINEP’s Iran Security Initiative. At a briefing on Sept. 24 he said, “I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough, and it’s very hard for me to see how the United States … uh … president can get us to war with Iran.… The traditional way America gets to war is what would be best for U.S. interests.”

Note that Clawson states his conviction that initiating a crisis to get the U.S. involved in a war with Iran and thereby fooling the American people into thinking that it is the right thing to do is actually a “U.S. interest.” He cites Pearl Harbor, Fort Sumter, theLusitania, and the Gulf of Tonkin as models for how to get engaged. Which inevitably leads to Clawson’s solution: “if the Iranians aren’t going to compromise it would be best if someone else started the war … Iranian submarines periodically go down. Some day one of them may not come up…. We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier at that.” Clawson is clearly approving of Israel’s staging an incident that would lead to war, possibly even a false-flag operation carried out by Israel that would implicate the United States directly, or he is urging the White House to do the job itself.

Clawson not surprisingly has never served in the U.S. military and has a Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research, which would at first glance seem to disqualify him from figuring out how to set up a covert operation to sink a submarine and thereby start a war. He might be seen as moderately ridiculous, but like many of his neoconservative colleagues he is well wired into the system. He writes regularly for The Washington PostThe New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal; appears on television as an “expert”; and is a colleague at WINEP of the ubiquitous Dennis Ross, sometimes called “Israel’s lawyer,” who was until recently President Obama’s point man on the Middle East. Clawson is a useful idiot who would be registered as an agent of the Israeli government if the Justice Department were doing its job, but instead he is feted as a man who tells it like it is in terms of American interests. The distortion of the foreign-policy decision-making in this country is something that can be attributed to Clawson and his host of fellow travelers, all of whom promote Israel’s perceived interests at the expense of the United States. And they do it with their eyes wide open.

I will deliberately avoid belaboring another Israel Firster Pamela Geller and her New York subway posters calling Palestinians savages and Israelis civilized, as I am sure the point has been made about how any lie that can serve the cause of Israel will be aggressively defended as “free speech.” A poster excoriating Jews or blacks in similar terms as “savages” would not have seen the light of day in New York City, another indication of the power of the Lobby and its friends to control the debate about the Middle East and game the system.

And then there are the reasons to dislike Israel and what it represents that go way back. In 1952’s Lavon Affair, the Israelis were prepared to blow up a U.S. Information Center in Alexandria and blame it on the Egyptians. In 1967, the Israelis attacked and nearly sank the USS Liberty, killing 34 crewmen, and then used their power over President Lyndon Johnson to block an investigation into what had occurred. In 1987, Jonathan Pollard was convicted of spying for Israel with investigators determining that he had been the most damaging spy in the history of the United States. In the 1960s, Israelis stole uranium from a lab in Pennsylvania to construct a secret nuclear arsenal. And the spying and theft of U.S. technology continues. Israel is the most active “friendly nation” when it comes to stealing U.S. secrets, and when its spies are caught, they are either sent home or, if they are Americans, receive a slap on the wrist.

And Israel gets away with killing American citizens — literally — in the cases of Rachel Corrie and Furkan Dogan of the Mavi Marmara. And let’s not forget Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians which has made the United States complicit in a crime against humanity. Tel Aviv has also played a key role in Washington’s going to war against Iraq, in promulgating a U.S.-led global war on terror against the Muslim world, and in crying wolf over Iran, all of which have served no U.S. interest. Through it all, Congress and the media are oblivious to what is taking place. Israel is a net recipient of over $123 billion in U.S. aid and continues to get $3 billion a year even though its per capita income is higher than that of Spain or Italy. No one questions anything having to do with Israel while Congress rubber-stamps resolution after resolution virtually promising to go to war on Israel’s behalf.

I have to admit that I don’t like what my own government is doing these days, but I like Israel even less and it is past time to do something about it. No more money, no more political support, no more tolerance of spying, and no more having to listen to demands for red lines to go to war. No more favorable press when the demented Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a cartoon at the U.N. The United States government exists to serve the American people, no more, no less, and it is time that our elected representatives begin to remember that fact.

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18+ FSA terrorists killed a Syrian farmer, stole his car and burned his olive trees 2-10-12

18+ FSA Al Qaeda Terrorists in Syria prepare a suicide attack…Shame on the US for supporting them
This is what the Syrian Government and the Syrian people are fighting today while the West and Saudi Arabia support them with weapons and money to ..

Syria: FSA terrorists using children as human shields and give them weapons

Siria: ribelli del cosiddetto “esercito siriano libero” armano bambini e li usano come scudi umani

Syria: FSA recruits children-Siria: ribelli reclutano ragazzini

In this video we see an armed young boy with a group of rebels in a report by a french journalist. In questo video possiamo vedere un ragazzino in ..

Posted in SyriaComments Off on 18+ FSA terrorists killed a Syrian farmer, stole his car and burned his olive trees 2-10-12

Fake “pro-FSA” demonstration staged in Turkish border town – no warplanes??

Fake “pro-FSA” demonstration staged in Turkish border town – no warplanes??
mass media deception propaganda hijab souria2011 souria2012 free syrian army assad bashar damascus jihad terror Al-Qaeda NATO Qatar false ..
FSA scum kill 72-year old Alawite woman – such great “men”, aren’t they? French sub 
souria2011 souria2012 998mahony massacre civilian lie fake video free syrian army assad bashar damascus jihad terror Al-Qaeda NATO Qatar false ..

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Like other exiled Iranians, she initially supported the preparations for the Iran Tribunal. She even supplied it with evidence. An impressive range of international politicians and lawyers were won to the project – for example, from Germany Norman Paech, a prominent member of the leftwing party, Die Linke, and respected professor of law.The first stage of the tribunal sat from June 18-22 in Amnesty International’s London HQ, where 60 witnesses (all of them survivors of the massacre or relatives of those murdered) gave accounts to the “truth commission” detailing their experiences and those of their family members (they had also supplied written statements beforehand). A report of 359 pages has since been published on the tribunal’s website.
 It contains an overview of the horrific conditions in the prisons, a list of the names of the torturers and a detailed report of some executions. But the fully published witness statements in particular throw a harsh light on the brutal events. Rapes, beatings and torture were not just common, but the norm.
None of this evidence is really new or previously unknown – but the sheer volume of testimony underlines the brutal truth that the opposition was systematically exterminated. Thousands of political prisoners were set to be released in 1988. Their original crimes? Some had been arrested for distributing leaflets, others were members of banned organisations, some had helped to organise strikes and demonstrations. Most were arrested in the first wave of oppression in the early 1980s and sentenced to six or seven years in prison.
This gruesome report of the truth commission will be handed to a ‘court’ in a second stage of the tribunal. This court, made up of human rights lawyers from around the world, will meet in The Hague from October 25-27 in order to evaluate the material and announce a judgement.“Of course, we cannot implement this judgement or the results of the commission,” say the organisers. “But the proceedings give tens of thousands of families a voice for the first time.” Criticism So far, so supportable.However, Yassamine Mather and others withdrew their initial cooperation when they noticed that the tribunal’s materials totally failed to mention the anti-Iran war plans of the United States and Israel. “The danger of war grows every day. I am a strong opponent of the regime in Tehran – but a war would be disastrous for the forces in Iran who have a real interest in democracy: the workers, women’s groups and social movements in that country.”
Without clear opposition to war and sanctions, this tribunal effectively strengthens the hand of all those reactionary forces contemplating a military attack on Iran, Yassamine Mather says.Mather wrote to the tribunal’s committee to point out the need for a clear statement against war and sanctions. She also reminded them that many of those killed were actually socialists who were implacable not simply in their opposition to the Iranian regime, but also capitalism and imperialism. Surely, given this, it was incumbent on the tribunal to make its position on the terrible prospect of another disastrous war in the Middle East crystal clear. “I never even got a reply,” she notes.
Mather and other Iranians were taken aback by this silence and took a closer look at the committee, its composition and its funding. They soon uncovered the fact that the tribunal is supported and financed by the Iran Human Rights Documentation group, whose founder, Payam Akhavan, acts as the chair and spokesperson of the tribunal’s steering committee.The IHRD has over the years received a large amount of funding from the US government.2  Akhavan is also active in Human Rights and Democracy for Iran (also known as the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation).
This is financed by a variety of American and European foundations, amongst them the infamous National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED was founded in 1983 by former US president Ronald Reagan to spread his version of “democracy” around the globe.It is established fact that the US has destabilised and sponsored coup d’etats and proxy wars to rid itself of regimes it regards as hostile to its interests. The CIA finances, organises and trains local pro-US opposition groups. In Chile, Guatemala and many other countries, democratically elected governments were overthrown and replaced by dictators, some of whom went on to oppress their peoples for decades.
In 1953 the CIA – with the help of the British government – toppled the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh.While the war drums beating against Tehran make it clear that military force remains on the agenda, the US strategy has been refined and more layers of sophistication have been added. In particular, in the aftermath of the collapse of USSR and the regimes of eastern Europe, pro-western regime change from above is pursued under the banner of ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy’.
In the Iranian presidential elections of 2009, the west heavily supported presidential green movement candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi. The ‘democratic’ credentials of this man expose the hollowness of all the talk of ‘democracy’ that comes out of Washington and London. Ironically, he was actually prime minister of Iran in 1988 and thus directly responsible for the mass murders and the extermination of the opposition (even if he did not order them personally).
Unsurprisingly then, the opposition politically differentiated and split; the ‘green wave’, which brought more than a million people onto the streets of Iran, has largely ebbed away.“The NED is supposedly a private, non-government, non-profit foundation, but it receives a yearly appropriation from the US Congress,” explains the former CIA agent Philip Agee in an article on the website Clearing House.3  In 2009, it was funded to the tune of $135 million by the US government.“No left activist should accept money from such sources,” says Mark Fischer, chair of Hands Off the People of Iran.
“When they do, what started as a worthy project that originated on the anti-war left – to hold the Iranian regime to account for its crimes – is totally usurped and turned into its opposite. The tribunal has become part of the drive by Washington to topple the Islamic government and replace it with a US- and Israel-friendly regime.”Yassamine Mather and Hopi have been sharply criticised by some for their ‘purism’ – ‘What is so bad about accepting money from the US government?’ some have asked. After all, it is possible to receive funds from pigs without having to grunt yourself.“Of course it is,” responds Fischer.
“But only if the financier places no political conditions or demands on you. But the NED is an important arm of US-sponsored foreign policy.” Fischer says it is no coincidence or oversight that the website of the tribunal does not come out in opposition to war and sanctions. Or that it does not mention even once that many of the victims of the 1988 massacre were communists and socialists.“Financially and politically the tribunal is an integral part of the campaign for ‘regime change from above’,” says Fischer.
This is a multi-front campaign that utilises bombs, military threats, sanctions, killer commandos despatched by the Israeli secret service Mossad … and ‘human rights’ initiatives like the Iran Tribunal. For the sake of legitimacy – especially when it comes to ‘soft war’ initiatives like the IT or sanctions – the support of pliant politicians of the Iranian opposition is vital in this. Indeed, some of these forces have foolishly suggested that the worse the social conditions become in Iran, the weaker the regime.Yassamine Mather adds: “Actually, what is weakened first and foremost are the ordinary people in Iran. The workers’ movements and women’s organisations are currently more feeble and embattled than they have been for many years. People struggle to get by in worsening economic conditions and simply have no time, space or energy for the political fight.”
Comrade Mather also criticises the composition of the steering committee of the tribunal, which “reads like a ‘who’s who’ of establishment luminaries who fight for ‘human rights’ in a total political vacuum”: eg, Sir Geoffrey Nice is a supporter of the Human Rights Commission of the British Conservative Party; lawyer John Cooper is also a well-known Tory. Payam Akhavan was voted “young global leader” at the World Economic Forum in 2005. All three are well-known, high-ranking lawyers, who in the name of what they dub “the international community” have over the years confronted many dictators and government heads in international courts (generally when these have turned on their former sponsors in the US, of course).
The government in Tehran was able to easily dismiss the tribunal as part of a western plot against Iran: the radio stations, Voice of America and Radio Free Iran – both financed by Washington – broadcast the witness statements uncut and for many hours.
Israeli socialist and Hopi supporter Moshé Machover believes that some of the organisers and participants have “acted with evident good will, but that is not enough. It often happens that people of good intentions lend themselves out of naivety to be exploited by evil forces. This is a danger that we must always guard against. Many good people, out of genuine and justified concern for women’s rights, were duped into lending legitimacy to the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001; and similarly good people, with genuine horror of Saddam Husain’s atrocities, were duped in 2003 into lending legitimacy to the disastrous invasion of Iraq.”
From as early as 2010, a number of former political prisoners have been criticising the mooted tribunal and its links to the US government. But the body only became the subject of an international controversy when Yassamine Mather began to publish her damning research in the Weekly Worker from June 2012.
Many Iranians have since added to her critical voice. For example, a number of tribunal witnesses have used their statements to condemn the links of the committee to the NED and publicly stated that they are against war and sanctions on Iran. Several organisations have withdrawn their witnesses, support for and cooperation with the tribunal – amongst them Rahe Kargar (Komitee Ejraai) and the communist organisation Charikhaye Fadai Khalgh (one of the offshoots of the original Fedayeen). Others, like the Communist Party of Iran, have dropped their support.
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Iran (Maoist) has split over the issue, as has the Iranian Left Socialist Alliance in the US and Canada.The most ferocious criticism has come from the tribunal’s Norwegian support committee. In two highly critical statements it describes how all IT witnesses who arrived in London on June 17 were taken to a briefing session, where they were explicitly asked not to raise any politics during their session. They would not be asked the name of their organisation or their political views, as this was “not a political tribunal”.
Worse, they then spotted Maurice Copithorne, who was about to chair one of the sessions. Between 1995 and 2002 he acted as UN human rights rapporteur for Iran. “Some Iranians travelled to meet him in 1995 in order to get him to start an investigation of the 1988 massacre,” according to a member of the Norwegian committee. “But they weren’t even allowed to meet him. His aide told them that he would only deal with the current situation in Iran and was not interested in things from the past.”Of course, this was at a time when the US was making efforts to stage a rapprochement with Tehran and to enlist it as an ally in the fight against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. It was in this geo-political context that Copithorne’s 1998 annual human rights report was seen as a “political whitewash” of the theocracy’s oppression, explains Yassamine Mather.
For example, in that report he opines that, “while the Islamic Republic of Iran is making progress in the field of human rights, this progress is uneven and a number of sectors are, at this time, being left behind. The government needs to broaden its agenda for change and to declare a strong commitment to achieving certain goals within specified time-frames.”4  This brand of almost technocratic advice to encourage the Tehran regime’s human rights “progress” seems surreal when the grim daily reality of poverty, repression and censorship for ordinary Iranians is borne in mind.Copithorne’s sudden interest in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners (in the new geo-political context of a US-led drive to war against Iran, of course) impressed few and most of the witnesses from Norway (as well as a number from Great Britain and Germany) decided at this point to withdraw from the proceedings. In protest at the farce unfolding in London, the Norwegian committee decided to dissolve itself, explaining that its members felt they had been “duped” by the organisers.
In its statements, the presence of Copithorne, Nice and Cooper is criticised, as are the attempts to depoliticise the witness statements, and, of course, Akhavan’s leading role in the whole initiative and his links to the Broumand Foundation and IHDRC are emphatically rejected.One witness, however, wanted to challenge the tribunal and at the end of his 30-minute session made an anti-imperialist statement. Outrageously, his whole statement was excluded from the tribunal’s report.Norman Paech The furore has now started to make waves amongst the non-Iranian left.
When Hopi supporters confronted the leading German politician cited at the beginning of this document, Norman Paech of Die Linke, with the evidence gathered by comrade Mather, he immediately cut off his cooperation with the tribunal. This is his statement in full:“I have indeed supported the intention and the work of the committee to prepare this tribunal.
I still think it is absolutely necessary that all facts about the horrific murders, the torture and the crimes of the 1980s are brought to light. But the background of the funding and the obvious links to the NED, of which I had no knowledge and which have only just been brought to my attention, make it impossible for me to continue this support. I find myself in particularly strong disagreement with the committee when it comes to my resolute opposition to sanctions and the threat of war on Iran. I do not want to be part of a project which is supported by the pro-war Mujahedin.”He has since come under pressure from a number of Iranians in Germany to withdraw his statement. But his political biography suggests he is astute enough to stand firm.Paech left the then governing Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in 2001, when it sent German troops to Afghanistan.
He became a member of parliament for Die Linke in Germany in 2005, where he acted as the fraction’s spokesperson for foreign affairs and led the (failed) attempt by the party to declare the despatch of fighter jets to Afghanistan to be illegal. In 2010 he was on board the ship, Mavi Marmara, which attempted to deliver goods and food to Gaza. Notoriously, it was raided by the Israeli army and nine people were killed. Afterwards, Paech and two other Die Linke members on board were heavily criticised by the German media for their involvement, which “also harboured many extremists and Hamas supporters”.
Because of the still strong German ‘collective guilt’ complex over World War II and the holocaust, any kind of criticism of Israel is widely misconstrued as anti-Semitism and Paech was slammed even by right wing sections of his own party.It is also important to point out that, to his credit, he has been very critical of attempts to charge so-called ‘war criminals’ in international courts.
These courts act very much as the courts of the victors who are rewriting history for their own purpose. They are not interested in and cannot deliver ‘justice’.We should also have no illusions in the ability of the US, Israel or any western government to bring democracy to Iran. Iraq and Afghanistan surely serve as horrific examples of imperialist-led ‘regime change from above’.
“In reality, the plan is to rebuild the politically unstable Middle East in a US-friendly way and preserve the regional hegemony of Israel. The biggest obstacle here is the regime in Iran,” says Machover. The Iran Tribunal is now a secondary, but nonetheless important, part of that reactionary project.
Mujahedin Despite all of this, there are still a number of groups who continue to support the tribunal as an important element of their opposition to Tehran: for example, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK). For this organisation the overthrow of the regime has always been the key objective and it explicitly supports sanctions and war to achieve it (in the first Gulf War, it famously sided with Saddam Hussein and supported his attacks on Iran, including militarily). The Mujahedin’s backing for the Iran Tribunal is actually disputed by the organisation, yet the involvement of people with close links to the MEK seems to tell a different story. Hardly surprising: after all, the US government has only just announced that it is about to delist the Mujahedin as a terrorist group.


Convicted For A Facebook Rant


by deLiberation

Teenager Azhar Ahmed has been found guilty of posting an offensive Facebook message following the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan. The message he posted on his Facebook wall is reproduced below:

Azhar Ahmed’s Facebook status updateAzhar Ahmed’s Facebook status update

The judge called this “derogatory, disrespectful and inflammatory”.

Although Ahmed’s message is deeply unpleasant, I do not think that updates of this nature should qualify for a criminal conviction. Much political speech is “derogatory, disrespectful and inflammatory” and the first part of his message reads very much like a politcal opinion.

In the latter part of the update, he says that the soldiers “should die” and “go to hell”. Wishing for someone to die is also unpleasant, but it is not the same as a death threat. If it were, then thousands of Trades Unionists would surely have been prosecuted for wishing death and Hell upon Margaret Thatcher! No-one was specifically mentioned or targeted in Ahmed’s message. Moreover, it was broadcast to those in his Social Network – not towards the soldiers’ families.

To my mind, this reads like the frustrated outpourings of an inarticulate teenager, similar to the @Rileyy_69 and Tom Daley controversy. It is not the whipping up of an angry mob (unless the 8 Facebook ‘likes’ somehow count).

The appropriate response to this kind of ill-informed and unpleasant, offensive language, is through the power of the pen or the keyboard. Social opprobrium, and even Facebook’s ‘Report’ function for T&C violations are all means of discouraging this kind of speech, without resorting to criminal sanctions.

What’s next? Well, the religious overtones and talk of Hell in Ahmed’s message is noteworthy. The next step on the slippery slope is the criminalisation of offensive criticism of, and by, religious organisations. And those union members with theirThatcher’s Grave t-shirts better watch out too.

There’s another aspect to this, related to the other big free expression story of the moment: the “Innocence of Muslims” film which has been cited as the cause of rioting in Libya that led to the death of the US Ambassador.

As Alistair Campbell said, the British don’t ‘do’ religion, so blaspheming Christianity is hardly controversial these days. But it occurs to me that soldiers who have died in the line of duty fulfil a similar ‘sacred’ role for the secular British as the Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) serves for practicing Muslims. Any denigration of either is seen as “derogatory, disrespectful and inflammatory” and worthy of punishment. I am reminded of Charlie Gilmour, imprisoned for swinging on the Cenotaph.

I do think that soldiers killed in the line of duty should be revered. Their sacrifices should be memorialised, and society has a duty of care to the families they leave behind. However, saying unpleasant things about them should not be a criminal offence, because sometimes their actions may be in need of scrutiny and criticism. Moreover, criminalising derogatory comments about one sacred thing opens the door to criminalisation of other sacred things too.

And before you know it, we will be confronted with a pantheon of plastic Gods and tacky idols, protected from criticism, staring mutely at us, as we stare mutely back.

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Battle For Syria: View from the Frontline! (English subtitles)


by Alex

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Battle For Syria: View from the Frontline! (English subtitles)

PCHR Condemns Forcible Dispersion of Peaceful Set-in by Security Services in Gaza


The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the dispersion of a women’s sit-in by security services and the detention of a female participant.  PCHR is concerned about the repeated occurrence of such attacks in the Gaza Strip, and calls upon the local authorities to seriously investigate the incident, and to respect the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to peaceful assembly, which are guaranteed under Palestinian laws and international human rights standards.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 02 October 2012, the Palestinian police, including female officers, dispersed a women’s sit-in at Unknown Soldier Square, near the premises of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the west of Gaza City. The sit-in was organized by the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW), in cooperation with a number of women’s organizations which are calling for Palestinian national reconciliation.  The Center for Women’s Legal Research and Consulting sent an official notice to the police on Sunday, 30 September 2012 advising them that the sit-in would be taking place, but the police command rejected the notice for “security reasons.”

Female police arrested Muna Abdul Rahman Hamad (52), Director of the GUPW’s office in the northern Gaza Strip, while she was participating in the sit-in. She was taken to a police station, where she was questioned.  She was then forced to sign an oath, committing not to participate in future demonstrations and public activities.  She was released three hours later.

In another similar incident, on Tuesday, 25 September 2012, the Palestinian police forcibly dispersed a spontaneous demonstration in al-Bureij refugee camp in the Middle Area of the Gaza Strip, which was protesting electricity outages.  The demonstration followed an incident in which a fire broke out in the al-Bughdadi family home, where the family was using candles during a power-cut.  3-year-old Fathi Abdul Fattah al-Bughdadi was killed, and his 8-month-old sister, Tala, was seriously injured.

She was later pronounced dead, on 01 October 2012.  According to testimonies obtained by PCHR, at approximately 22:00 on Tuesday, 25 September 2012, a large crowd of people gathered in the vicinity of the al-Bughdadi family’s house to protest continuing electricity outages.  The crowd set fire to car tires.  The police arrived at the area and used force to disperse the gathering, violently beating a number of participants in the protest and firing shots into the air.

At approximately 23:00, Ismail Jamal Badah, a cameraman for Palestine Today Channel, was beaten by persons who introduced themselves as members of the Internal Security Service (ISS), while he was covering the protest.  A number of persons were also injured as a result of being beaten by the police; they were transferred to al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al-Balah.

A number of persons from al-Bureij refugee camp were later arrested by Palestinian police and the ISS due to their participation in the protest.  Following his release, one of the detainees stated to PCHR that he was subjected to beating and torture during interrogation.  PCHR keeps the detainee’s name on file.

PCHR condemns these attacks by security services and:

1.     Calls upon the Public Prosecution to seriously investigate these attacks, especially incidences of beating and torture, and publish the results of such investigations;

2.     Calls upon the local authorities in Gaza to respect the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to peaceful assembly, which are guaranteed under Palestinian law and international human rights standards; and

3.     Recalls similar incidents in the past, for which no results of investigations were released, and stresses that the criminal responsibility of the perpetrators of such attacks is not subject to a statute of limitations, and the incidents may be investigated at any time, according to the Palestinian Basic Law.


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Libya: How Many Dirty Western Hands?

Global Research

Oh what a tangled web they weave

When first they practice to invade

A sovereign nation and deceive

The world about their dark crusade.

(Michael Leunig, Poet, Cartoonist, 1945:)


This weekend a detailed article (i) suggested that a: “French secret serviceman, acting on the express orders of the then President Sarkozy, is suspected of ”the murder of Colonel Quaddafi”, on 20th October last year.

Whilst bearing in mind that the NATO-backed insurgents now in power, who have near destroyed much of Libya, de-stabilised, terrorized and hope to carve up Libya’s resources for their, rather than the country’s benefit, have every reason to wish to disassociate themselves from the butchery of Colonel Quaddafi’s terrible death, the new allegations illuminate interesting points.

The French assassin, it is claimed, infiltrated the mob rabidly manhandling the Colonel, and shot him in the head.

“The motive, according to well placed (Libyan) sources”, was to prevent any chance of interrogation into Sarkozy’s links with Colonel Quaddafi.

The Mail previously revealed (ii) quoting a French governmental briefing note published by an investigative website, that fifty million euros has been: “laundered though bank accounts in Panama and Switzerland … from Colonel Quaddafi, to fund (Sarkozy’s 2007) election as President”, which if correct: “would have broken political financing laws.” Sarkozy’s: “numerous visits to Libya” were also cited.

Further claims are that: “The Swiss account was opened in the name of the sister of Jean-Francois Cope, the leader of Mr Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party, and the President’s right-hand-man.”

Quaddafi’s son, Saif alIslam, whose life hangs in the balance and no doubt further so, should he be subject to the Libyan “judicial system”, has stated unequivocally regarding the Sarkozy campaign funding: “We have all the details and are ready to reveal everything … We funded it.”

No wonder Saif, also generous funder (£1.5 million) to his former place of, advanced study, the prestigious London School of Economics – where he also delivered the annual Ralph Miliband Lecture in May2010, named for the renowned academic and father of the former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his brother Ed, current Leader of the Labour Party – has been abandoned by the Western powers who had formerly welcomed him – then conspired in another illegal coup, this time in his country.

Sarkozy of course, on becoming President, memorably welcomed Colonel Quaddafi on a State Visit to Paris in December 2007, greeting him as “Brother Leader” and hosting his famed Bedouin tent next to the Elysee Palace.

Tony Blair, of course visited Quaddafi on many occasions, even flying in the Colonel’s private plane, pushing mega business deals. He too is mute on the horrors of the death and the fate of his children, grandchildren and country.

The Mail also makes the points that: “ The United Nations mandate which sanctioned (the misnamed ‘no fly zone’) expressly stated that the Western allies could not interfere in the internal politics of the country.”

“Instead the almost daily bombing runs ended with Quaddafi’s overthrow, while both French and British military ‘advisors’ were said to have assisted on the ground.”

“Now Mahmoud Jibril, who served as interim Prime Minister following Gaddafi’s overthrow, has told Egyptian TV: ‘It was a foreign agent who mixed with the revolutionary brigades to kill Gaddafi.’ “

Another Tripoli source, according to the paper, stated: “Sarkozy had every reason to try to silence the Colonel and as quickly as possible”, with a further “diplomatic source” also stressing Quaddafi’s threats to reveal the financial details of the funding to the 2007 French Presidential elections donations.

An interesting point, if correct, is made by Rami El Obeidi, the : “former head of foreign relations for the Libyan Transitional Council (who) said he knew that Quaddafi had been tracked through his satellite telecommunications system as he talked to: “the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.” Which begs an elephantine question: are the two murderous Western backed rampages against Libya and Syria and their leaders connected?

How much of alleged murky financial deals does Syria’s President also know?

Interestingly, Ben Oman Shaaban (22) one of those who attacked Colonel Quaddaffi was badly injured, seemingly by those loyal to the Colonel, in an attack in July. Flown to Paris for treatment, he died in hospital last week. Shabaan was said to have frequently brandished the handgun said to have killed the Colonel. If true, he would have interesting knowledge about the appalling events of the day.

Sarkozy has consistently denied receiving money from the Libyan Leader and was not available to give a comment to the Mail. Enquiries into “alleged financial irregularities “, are ongoing.

Worthy of mention is that in November 2007, just before Quaddafi’s Paris visit: “A US State Department cable had warned that those ‘who dominate Libya’s political and economic leadership are pursuing increasingly nationalistic policies in the energy sector’ and that there was ‘growing evidence of Libyan resource nationalism.’ ”

“The cable cited a 2006 speech in which Quaddafi said: ‘Oil companies are controlled by foreigners who have made millions from them. Now, Libyans must take their place to profit from this money.’ ”

“Quaddafi’s government had forced oil companies to give their local subsidiaries Libyan names. Worse, ‘labor laws were amended to ‘Libyanize’ the economy’, that is, turn it to the advantage of Libyans.” Goodness, shocking.

“Oil firms ‘were pressed to hire Libyan managers, finance people and human resources directors.’ ” (iii)

Perhaps then it is no wonder all round, that on hearing of Colonel Quaddafi’s horrific death, President Nobel Obama declared it was a: “momentous day.” (BBC, 20th October 2011.) Madam Clinton followed with a raucous laugh and: “We came, we saw, he died.”

There is only one certainty, in the whole shaming “regime change” in Libya, there are no clean hands.

And where is Colonel Quaddafi’s body?



ii. French-President-Nicolas-Sarkozy-42MILLION-fund-2007-election-campaign.html#ixzz283FmeGE0


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Occupied Lives: They terrorize us in our homes.


Haniya, in her home in al Nussairat.

On Monday, 10 September, 2012, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at a vast tract of land in the west of al-Nussairat refugee camp in the Middle Area of the Gaza Strip. As a result, 2 rooms and a container on the land were destroyed. 10 olive trees and 23 houses were also damaged. Additionally, 7 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and 2 women, were wounded. This attack targeted civilian objects which is a violation of international law.

Haniya Abdul Hadi Kabaja (60) is one of the women who sustained minor injuries on the night of the attack. She recounts that: “At around 2.00am in the night, we woke up to the sound of shelling. We were all very scared but we went back to sleep. 15 or so minutes later, we heard more shelling and shrapnel hitting surfaces outside. Something hit my face and, when I touched it, I felt myself bleeding. My son, Anas, saw this and he started screaming for his brothers to come and help me. After they offered me first aid, we heard my ten-year-old granddaughter, Reema, crying, and that is when we noticed that she had also been wounded, in her leg.”

An ambulance arrived after a while, and Haniya and her granddaughter were taken to Al Aqsa Martyrs hospital. Their wounds were moderate and they were discharged soon after.

Until now, Haniya and her family have unanswered questions with regard to the attack. They do not know what the exact target was: “All of us were terrified, because the missiles were launched about 100m from where we live. Other people in the neighborhood also got injured by the shrapnel from the missiles. Some windows were smashed and there is clear damage to some of the asbestos roofs. In this area, there have been no incidents since Cast Lead. Nobody really knows why they launched missiles on an empty piece of land, and so close to where people live.”

Since the attack, Haniya’s family has been living in constant fear of further attack. This has had a particularly negative impact on the children: “The attack has really frightened the children. They used to go out after dark to play or to visit relatives who live in neighboring houses. Now, they do not even step outside after darkness falls because they are too scared. They are not the only ones who are scared. Even we, the adults, feel the same way. At the same time, we know that there is nothing we can say against the Israeli occupation. We cannot do anything about it either.”

Haniya’s son, Mohammed (32), hopes to see an end to the attacks on unarmed civilians and calls for the respect of everyone’s rights. “I just want to see the situation change and an end to the Israeli occupation. We are unarmed civilians, yet they follow us and continue to attack and terrorize us in our homes. They hurt my mother and my daughter, yet they had not even done anything. We have not caused problems for anyone and the only thing we demand is our rights, our land and our freedom. We are peaceful people and we want it to remain that way. After all these years of being attacked, we will not stop demanding our rights. Even if they kill all of us and only 10 people remain, we will still demand for those rights.”

The direct targeting of a civilian object constitutes a war crime, as codified in Article 8(2) (b) (ii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Similarly, under Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the destruction of private property is prohibited unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. Intentionally launching an indiscriminate attack constitutes a war crime as defined in Article 8 (2) (b) of the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Furthermore, according to the principle of proportionality, which is codified in Article 51 (5) (b) of Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions, an attack that may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects or a combination thereof is considered excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

Posted in Gaza, Human RightsComments Off on Occupied Lives: They terrorize us in our homes.

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