Archive | April 18th, 2013



Syrians of Italy take to the streets to call for an end of the massacre of their people



Translated by Mary Rizzo

Syrian Zio-Rats execute 10 soldiers not blindfolded after kicking them to the ground ” Ed by Shoah”

Hundreds of Syrians and supporters of the Syrian cause took to the streets of Rome on 13 April to say “We’ve had enough of the massacre perpetrated by the Assad regime in front of the indifference of the world”. They came in coaches, trains and cars; the young and the old, women, children, entire families who live in various cities of Italy, who in Syria have families and loved ones living in the cities under siege.

Answering the appeal of the organisers were coaches full of people from Verona to Naples: it was a presence that was important for the reasons of the march more so than for the numbers of people. The vision for those in Piazza dell’Esquilino where the march started, was an impressive one: a Syrian flag measuring 60 metres opened the march, followed by an orderly and proud stream of people who, despite the fatigue and stress of over two years of protests and activism to fight the repression their loved ones are subject to, has never betrayed its pacific nature or its ideals.

The threats and the intimidating acts coming from the supporters of the Syrian dictator in Italy that had preceded this march did not dissuade anyone. The cherrybomb that they exploded in a parallel street to the square where the marchers gathered served no purpose. It was just a loud bang that had caused the law enforcement officers to intervene immediately, but it did not shake those present, in deep empathy with their people who every day must deal with showers of real bombs.

Nor did the presence of the militants of the extreme right movement of Casa Pound, above street level and armed with stones and regime flags serve any purpose. In fact, they folded up their flags and broke up their own gathering when the officers neared them for identification. In their presence, the protesters chanted an impassioned “Assassins, assassins, keep your hands off of our children”. The march wound its way through the central streets of the capital, where hundreds of tourists and Romans applauded and were united to show their human solidarity.

Breaking the wall of silence that engulfs Syria, indeed, is one of the priorities of activism outside Syria, and the reason for which this latest protest by the Syrian community in Italy had been called. Among the participating associations were: CNS Italia, Onsur, Ossmei, Associazione 3 febbraio, Assopace SessaAurunca and others.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Campaigns, SyriaComments Off on ANTI-SYRIA ZIO-NATO PROPAGANDA

Venezuela: fight attempted coup with revolutionary mobilisation

Written by Lucha de Clases

Statement of Lucha de Clases (Class Strugge), Marxist Tendency of the PSUV. What we have witnessed in recent days is a developing coup as correctly described by Comrade President Nicolas Maduro.These are not just peaceful protests of fellow Venezuelans who believe that there has been fraud, but an orchestrated plan to overthrow the Bolivarian government and smash the revolution. How can we fight it?

PSUV offices in Anzoategui attacked

PSUV offices in Anzoategui attackedThe private media, the U.S., the OAS and the Spanish government of the PP, the local oligarchy (capitalists, bankers and landowners), they are all involved in the plan.

What we have witnessed is a concerted campaign of attacks on the symbols of the Bolivarian revolution and its achievements: CDI health centres, Simoncito nurseries, of PDVALes and Mercal state run popular supermarkets, state and community media outlets, PDVSA oil company, PSUV offices, Petrocasa, as well as buildings of the CNE (National Electoral Council) and the private residences of state officials and Bolivarian leaders and their families.

Since the day of the closing rally of Maduro’s campaign in Caracas we have also seen a new factor, the presence of gunmen, often on motorbikes, shooting randomly against revolutionary activists.Seven socialist militants were killed on the night of Monday to Tuesday in several parts of the country while defending the revolution.

The combination of public statements with wide media coverage, international pressure, marches in the streets, systematic violence and organized blackouts, shortages, economic sabotage, the threat of a bosses lockout , etc.. is calculated to create a state of anxiety and lawlessness that could force sectors of the state apparatus to intervene against the legitimate government.

How do we respond to this coup attempt?


20130417capriles latuff

The only way to respond to a threat of this kind, as evidenced by all the previous experience of the revolution, is through revolutionary mobilization. The bourgeoisie has correctly understood that the class struggle ultimately cannot resolved within the framework of bourgeois legality, but in open confrontation. We should draw the same conclusion. That does not mean falling into provocations, but rather the need for organized and conscious mobilization of the revolutionary people and the working class. This is what has begun to happen in the last days in neighborhoods and cities across the country, when revolutionary activists have taken back and defended VTV state channel facilities, regional CNE centers, defended CDI health clinics, etc.. This spontaneous mobilization need to be given an organized and coordinated character.

Committees against the coup must be set up in every neighborhood and in every factory, to organize revolutionary vigilance with self-defence patrols to protect the conquests of the Bolivarian revolution (Simoncitos, CDIs, state and community media, revolutionaries headquarters, etc.).These committees must be composed of all revolutionary organisations, the organised motorbike groups, class struggle trade unions, workers councils, community media, CTU (Urban Land Communittes), communal councils, socialist communes, etc. which are active in each neighbourhood or workplace.

The oligarchy is threatening with a national bosses lockout. Workers at POLAR company (food production and distribution monopoly) have reported the existence of secret warehouses being used for hoarding. Merida Governor Vielma Mora reported that cattle ranchers were organizing the sabotage of the distribution of milk and meat.These threats can only be answered with workers’ control.

If there is a lockout or an attempt to sabotage the economy the slogan of 2002 must be applied, as correctly explained by Comrade Blanca Eekhout , “factory closed , factory occupied” and we would add “and expropriated”.

In all factories, workplaces and state institutions we must organize mass workers’ assemblies to discuss the situation and set up workers’ control and revolutionary vigilance committees. These committees should be accountable to the workers’ assembly and exercise vigilance against employers and against the bureaucrats and infiltrators in state companies and institutions.

At the first sign of sabotage of the economy the government must expropriate the companies responsible and put them under workers control. The threat that Comrade Maduro issued against Repsol and other Spanish companies, should also be applied to the “national” bourgeoisie.

Faced with the sabotage of the electricity supply we must answer with rank and file workers’ control. We cannot allow that infiltrated elements within these institutions organise sabotage of power supply in these crucial moments. To declare electricity as a national security institution is correct, but nothing can replace the role of electricity workers who know the situation of the company and can operate it and have been denouncing sabotage for months.Against electricity sabotage, revolutionary workers’ control and cleaning of the institutions from traitors and infiltrators.

Faced with imperialist interference the ambassadors of the countries involved should be expelled and the multinationals from those countries expropriated. Venezuela should be respected. You have to combine these measures with an internationalist appeal to the peoples and workers of the world to mobilize actively in defence of the Bolivarian revolution to disable any attempt of external aggression.

The oligarchy is not strong in the streets. In recent months the revolutionary people has shown that on many occasions. But we should not give them a chance to organize. Now Capriles has retreated and called off the march to the CNE, but a show of strength of the revolutionary people in the streets is needed. It is not enough to organise concerts and vigils for peace. The revolutionaries are for peace, but in order to get peace we must first disarm the oligarchy. A mass revolutionary demonstration is needed, in order to make clear to the oligarchy what is at stake.

Funeral for Jose Luis Ponce, La Limonera

Funeral for Jose Luis Ponce, La LimoneraOnly the people can save the people, as demonstrated in many previous occasions. Now all we are all Chavez, there is no need to wait for instructions from above. The rank and file should be activated in each neighborhood, factory, school and poor parish. The committees against the coup in every factory, workplace, neighbourhood, parish and rural community, should be coordinated through democratically elected and recallable spokespersons in every parish, industrial area, municipality, state and at a national level.

Faced with the random assassination of revolutionary activists, committees against the coup should give themselves the necessary means for self-defence to repel such attacks, and develop popular intelligence to identify the culprits.

The oligarchy and imperialism are working to win over sections of the army high command to their plans for a coup. The revolutionary people must counter this campaign with organized political work in the army and the militia. We need to establish close links between revolutionary activists and ordinary soldiers and officers of proven revolutionary loyalty . Committees of soldiers and Bolivarian officers should be set up in all barracks to exercise revolutionary vigilance. A socialist and Bolivarian armed force can only be guaranteed with a revolutionary political work within it.

The fight against the coup is primarily a political battle. We have to win over to the revolution those sections of the people and the middle class who have been won over by the counter-revolution. This is only possible by solving the most pressing problems of the population, including shortages, insecurity and inflation. All these problems stem ultimately from the continued existence of a capitalist economy and capitalist state bureaucracy.

As Comrade Maduro said, “what is coming is not a pact with the bourgeoisie but the radicalization of the revolution.” That should mean the expropriation of the means of production, banking and large landed estates, which are where the oligarchy derives its power from, in order to bring them under the democratic control of the working class. We also have to abolish the old bourgeois state apparatus and replace it with new revolutionary institutions based onthe workers’ councils and communal councils so that people shall rule.

Iron fist against the coup plotters!
Revolutionary mobilization of the people against the offensive of the oligarchy!
Against electricity sabotage, revolutionary workers’ control and vigilance!
Against the bosses’ lockout, factory closed, factory occupied!
Against the killings, organized self-defence of the people!
Committees against the coup in every factory and neighborhood!
Revolutionary Committees of soldiers and Bolivarian officers!
Against imperialist interference, proletarian internationalism!
No pact with the bourgeoisie, radicalize the revolution!
Expropriate the oligarchy, so we can plan the economy!


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Child Sentenced to Serve in Adult in Nazi Camp


Child from New Orleans sentenced to serve in adult prison in Israel

by Saed Bannoura


A 14-year old boy from New Orleans, Louisiana was sentenced on Wednesday to a two-week term in an Israeli prison, after having been abducted on April 5th by Israeli forces while sleeping in his family’s home in the West Bank.

Mohammed Khalek (image from Facebook)
Mohammed Khalek (image from Facebook)

Mohammed Khalek is a dual Palestinian-US citizen, having been born in New Orleans but living now in the West Bank with his family. He suffers from a heart murmur, and says that he was physically abused during interrogation. He was charged with throwing stones, and will have to pay a fine of $835, in addition to the two weeks in adult prison.

The sentencing on Wednesday followed a ‘call-in campaign’ by Palestine solidarity activists from Mohammed’s home state of Louisiana, in the southern US. Jacob Flom, a member of Palestine Solidarity Committee, New Orleans, which helped organize the campaign, said, “The U.S. has deliberately ignored the abuses of Palestinians by Israel, as our politicians continue to send over $3 billion a year to support the illegal occupation. We are demanding our representatives take a stand now by supporting their own constituent, Mohammed Khalek. We will not allow our representatives to be silent as they send our tax dollars to imprison children who have been stripped of their land and their rights.”

According to a dual press release from Addameer and Defence for Children International (DCI-Palestine), Israeli forces detained Mohammad on suspicion of stone-throwing during a predawn raid on his home, according to his father. Israeli soldiers tied his hands and roughed him up while transferring him for interrogation at a nearby police station. Mohammad was unaccompanied by his parents during questioning, but heard his father arguing to see him. After interrogators told Mohammad they would release him to his father if he cooperated with them, he confessed.

“Mohammad was arrested without a warrant, denied access to an attorney, and interrogated without the presence of a parent,” said RandaWahbe, advocacy officer at Addameer. “There is also evidence that he was mistreated during his arrest and transfer. It is difficult to find a right that was not violated.”

Mohammad is being held at Ofer prison in the West Bank, according to his lawyer, Firas Sabah of Addameer. On April 7, he appeared before an Israeli military court judge, who granted the prosecution’s request to extend the interrogation period. Mohammad complained to the judge about the physical abuse he endured during arrest and questioning. His father was particularly concerned for Mohammad’s wellbeing because he has suffered from a heart murmur since birth.

“In every way, this is a typical case involving the arrest and mistreatment of a Palestinian child by Israeli forces,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCI-Palestine. “Sadly, night time arrests and the abuse of children are systematic within the Israeli military detention system. This case is exceptional only because the child happens to also have US citizenship.”

Some form of physical violence during arrest, interrogation and pretrial detention occurred in nearly 79 percent of cases documented by DCI-Palestine in 2012. In more than half of those cases, children were arrested from the family home between midnight and dawn.

DCI-Palestine evidence shows that children arrive to Israeli interrogation centers blindfolded, bound and sleep deprived. Unlike their Israeli counterparts, Palestinian children have no right to be accompanied by their parents during an interrogation. They are questioned alone and rarely informed of their rights, particularly their right against self-incrimination. The interrogation techniques are generally mentally and physically coercive, frequently incorporating a mix of intimidation, threats and physical violence with a clear purpose of obtaining a confession.

DCI-Palestine and Addameer maintain that all children must be entitled to have a parent present at all times during interrogation, as well as have access to a lawyer of their choice prior to interrogation, and preferably throughout the interrogation process. All interrogations of children must be audio-visually recorded.

In March, there was a total of 4,812 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, according to Addameer. Of those, 236 were children aged 12-17, based on DCI-Palestine research.

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US plans Syria invasion via Jordan with 20,000 soldiers


Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey (L) and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey (L) and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

The Pentagon, the report adds, “has also made plans to expand the force to 20,000 or more if necessary, including bringing in special operations teams to find and secure Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles, US air defense units to guard Jordan’s airspace, and conventional military units capable of moving into Syria if necessary.”

The US military is deploying more forces to Jordan as part of a plan to dispatch 20,000 more soldiers there in a bid to invade Syria under the pretext of securing the country’s chemical weapon arsenals.

The Pentagon is sending nearly 200 troops from the 1st Armored Division to establish a “small headquarters” near Jordan’s border with Syria and plan potential military operations, “including a rapid buildup of American forces if the White House decides intervention is necessary,” The Los Angeles Times reports on Thursday, citing ‘senior US officials.’

The move marks the first deployment that American military officials have “explicitly described as a possible step toward direct military involvement in Syria,” the daily adds.

The first contingent of US forces is “likely to arrive in Jordan this month,” the report says citing military officials, but “most will go in May” and will be based at a Jordanian military installation.

The Pentagon, the report adds, “has also made plans to expand the force to 20,000 or more if necessary, including bringing in special operations teams to find and secure Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles, US air defense units to guard Jordan’s airspace, and conventional military units capable of moving into Syria if necessary.”

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel revealed the military deployment Wednesday in a testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, but “also made clear” that he and US President Barack Obama “remained deeply wary of intervening in Syria just as US forces are trying to withdraw from 12 years of war in Afghanistan,” according to the report.

This is while the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey warned at the same Senate committee hearing that sending American troops to Syria could have ‘unanticipated consequences.’

“As I sit here today, Senator, I do not see the introduction of military force would produce the outcome we seek,” Dempsey said. “I don’t think it should be left unaddressed, let me be clear about that. But the introduction of military power right now certainly has the possibility of making the situation worse.”

This while Dempsey supported a US military intervention in Syria in Fall of 2012, along with then CIA Director David Petraeus, previous Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

According to the report, Hagel is scheduled to visit the Middle East next week, which will include stops in major backers of the anti-Damascus military bids Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Egypt. The entire trip is expected to focus on Syria.

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Chinese workers in Israel sign no-sex contract



Chinese workers at a company in Israel have been forced to agree not to have sex with or marry Israelis as a condition of getting a job.According to a contact they are required to sign, male workers may not have any contact with Israeli women – including prostitutes, a police spokesman, Rafi Yaffe, said.

He said there was nothing illegal about the requirement and that no investigation had been opened.

An Israeli lawyer who did not want to be named said while the contract might appear legal, it would be rejected if challenged in court. “The point is that a Chinese worker will agree to anything and then will not have anyone to help them if there is a problem,” he said.

The labourers are also forbidden from engaging in any religious or political activity. The contract states that offenders will be sent back to China at their own expense.

About 260,000 foreigners work in Israel, having replaced Palestinian labourers during three years of fighting. When the government first allowed the entrance of the foreign workers in the late 1990s, ministers warned of a “social timebomb” caused by their assimilation with Israelis.

More than half the workers are in the country illegally. Israeli police have increased efforts to deport those working without permits because of rising Israeli unemployment, which has reached 11% in recent months.

Advocates of foreign workers, who also come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania, say they are subject to almost slave conditions, and their employers often take away their passports and refuse to pay them.

Analysts say there is much division within Israeli society over immigration and status, although the conflict with the Palestinians has given it an appearance of unity. Recent immigrants such as Russians and Ethiopians are disliked by older immigrants, and there is much resentment among secular Israelis at the privileges given to ultra-orthodox Jews. The foreign workers are at the bottom of the pile.

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Margaret Thatcher’s funeral was a political broadcast


We all deserve a dignified send-off. Instead, this occasion was hijacked and turned into a state-endorsed celebration of a legacy bitterly detested by millions.

This wasn’t simply a funeral. It was a political stunt; a taxpayer fundedpolitical broadcast; a triumphalist victory parade. A state funeral in all but name, with Big Ben silenced, Prime Ministers’ Questions cancelled, much of central London shut down, the Queen in attendance, a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, and even running televised commentary from David Dimbleby. The most divisive Prime Minister modern Britain has known, her legacy unashamedly officially celebrated and endorsed by the British Establishment. And yes, not just the out-and-out class warriors of the Tory Party: it was Blair and Brown’s New Labour who signed this off, too.

“We’re all Thatcherites now,” said David Cameron to kick off the day, in case the calculated insult of the occasion was too subtle for some. Right on cue, the jobs figures were released: unemployment up by 70,000, the number of young people without work up to nearly a million, real wages falling. Thatcherism lives on indeed.

“Watching the funeral, finding it hard not to feel we are today somehow burying England,” tweeted Melanie Philipps as if to bludgeon satire to death. Her supporters, in truth, have much to be cheerful about. The Iron Lady passed away in the Britain that her governments built.

Along with her friends, loved ones and Britain’s political elite, some of the most repellent figures on Earth had generously turned up to pay their respects. One was Henry Kissinger.

Contrast all this pomp to Clement Attlee: Churchill’s deputy prime minister when the country was at war with Hitler, whose party won a higher share of a vote than anything ever achieved by Thatcher’s Tories, whose government rebuilt war-ravaged Britain and founded the NHS and welfare state. His was a modest funeral, attended by 140 guests, which “epitomised Attlee’s love of simplicity and directness,” as newspapers put it at the time. Harold Wilson led Labour to four election victories, and was quietly buried in an Isle of Scilly churchyard. But today, Britain’s Age of Austerity was suspended for a day – to remind us which side won.

And yet I could not help but feel some sorrow for Margaret Thatcher. We all deserve a dignified send-off, to have our close ones remember our lives, to share beloved memories. But the occasion was hijacked, turned into a state-endorsed celebration of a legacy bitterly detested by millions.

Some may consider these complaints tasteless: that this is no time for politics, but a time to mourn someone’s passing. It amounts to a call for her supporters to make political capital out of her death, while her opponents are silenced. The legacy of Thatcherism cannot be forgotten, because it is our present: a housing crisis, a lack of secure work, declining real wages, monstrous inequality, a booming rich elite, rip-off privatised utilities, the poorest demonised, workers stripped of rights, the aftermath of financial disaster.

This is not a time for the opponents of Thatcherism to be silent. It’s time to be louder than ever. David Cameron must learn that triumphalism is nothing but smug complacency. Thatcherism reigns supreme now, for sure. But it too shall pass, however desperately its supporters suggest otherwise.

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Israel ready to act on Syria weapons, warns Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu tells Lyse Doucet that arming rebels could worsen regional conflict

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the BBC that Israel has a right to prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands in Syria.

He said that if terrorists seized anti-aircraft and chemical weapons they could be “game changers” in the region.

There have been growing calls for the international community to arm rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

But there is increasing concern that Islamist militants could use such weapons to further their own causes.

Israel has said its policy is not to get involved in the Syrian conflict.

But in recent months it has retaliated following Syrian fire into Israeli-controlled areas in the Golan Heights.

Israel first occupied the Golan Heights in 1967 and later annexed the territory in a move that is not internationally recognised.

Mr Netanyahu, in an exclusive interview with the BBC’s Lyse Doucet, said Israel’s concern was “which rebels and which weapons?”

“The main arms of concern to us are the arms that are already in Syria – these are anti-aircraft weapons, these are chemical weapons and other very, very dangerous weapons that could be game changers,” he said.

“They will change the conditions, the balance of power in the Middle East. They could present a terrorist threat on a worldwide scale. It is definitely our interest to defend ourselves, but we also think it is in the interest of other countries.”

‘Not aggressive’

Asked if Israel would adopt a more aggressive military stance in Syria, Mr Netanyahu said: “We are not aggressive. We don’t seek military confrontation, but we are prepared to defend ourselves if the need arises and I think people know that what I say is both measured and serious.”

Mr Netanyahu would not confirm what was widely believed to have been an Israeli air strike on a suspected Syrian government weapons convoy in January.

It was reported that the convoy had been heading for Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.

Mr Netanyahu was in London to attend Baroness Thatcher’s funeral and also held talks with UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

Earlier, President Assad accused Western countries of backing al-Qaeda in his country.

He warned that they would pay a heavy price in Europe and the US as militants became emboldened.

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US Muslims ‘holding their breath’ as Boston investigators hunt for bomber


Muslim American organisations say they fear increased racial profiling if an Islamic link to the marathon attack is established

Boston investigators

Activists said that based on FBI data, Muslims are three times more likely to be targeted by hate crimes than other citizens. Photograph: Jared Wickerham/Getty

US Muslims are “holding their breath” as the investigation into the Boston Marathon attacks develops, amid fears of increased racial profiling and attacks if an Islamic link is confirmed, according to advocate groups.

Investigators say they still do not know who carried out the attacks or why, and Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, said on Wednesday there was no evidence the attacks were part of a larger plot.

But amid official statements that no suspect has yet been identified as being behind the bombs that killed three and maimed and wounded more than a hundred people, at least two news outlets falsely reported a Saudi national was being held as a suspect, with some lawmakers and pundits pitching in on the falsehood.

Muneer Awad, the executive director of New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (Cair), said: “Americans have been conditioned to assume that any act of terror on our land has been perpetrated by a Muslim. That’s why it was so easy for people to jump on to reports that a Saudi national had been a person of interest. There is no reason for why he was a suspect, other than he was a Saudi Arabian.

“Whether they are being questioned, interrogated, having their apartments being searched – we are looking at a community where it’s normal for the NYPD or the FBI to simply knock on your door and ask you questions without a warrant.”

Awad said that the anxiety that the Muslim community is feeling over a possible backlash is not new, but has been present since 9/11. It is waiting to see what will happen now, he said. “A lot of people are holding their breath.”

Boston’s largest mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, has asked police to guard its campus in the wake of the marathon attacks, according to a report in the Huffington Post.

Awad cited Erik Rush, a conservative columnist and Fox News guest who tweeted “Muslims are evil. Let’s kill them all” after the attacks, provoking a furious reaction on Twitter. Rush later claimed he was being sarcastic.

In the US, the number of FBI-designated hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs rose dramatically after the September 11 attacks, which were carried out by mostly Saudi members of al-Qaida.

Faiza Patel, co-director of the liberty and national security programme at the Brennan Center for Justice, said: “You can’t get away from the fact that the last attack was carried out by mostly Saudi nationals. But from what I have seen and heard, the official response this time has been restrained. There were a lot of statements coming in from Muslim communities clearly disavowing the attacks. That is important.”

Patel said that, based on FBI data, Muslims are three times more likely to be targeted by hate crimes than other citizens.

Sahar Aziz, a fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), agreed that the government response has been careful in the aftermath of the Boston attacks.

Aziz, who is also an associate professor of law at Texas Wesleyan school of law, said: “Compared to past events, the government has been judicious in making public what they know and don’t know, and warning people not to jump to conclusions about the racial identification of suspects.”

However, he warned that the US should guard against falling pray to scape goating of any racial or religious communities from the far right.

“There is a cadre of pundits on the far right spreading fear and paranoia that it is inevitably going to be a Muslim. They will want to trigger a backlash, will engage in racial and religious scapegoating. They won’t incite people to violence because they know it is a crime, but they may do everything short of it. All Americans should be on guard not to allow our country to fall pray to that.

“The real question for the Muslim community is what will happen if it does turn out that the suspect is Muslim. What we hope is that Americans can speak to their values that guilt should not be imposed on others who share the same faith.”

Christine Warner, the campaign director for Shoulder to Shoulder, a campaign to end anti-Muslim sentiment, said she was monitoring any potential backlash. Warner said she had been “generally encouraged” by the reporting, with the exception of the reporting of a Saudi national as a person of interest and comments reported on Wednesday by CNN of a “dark skinned male” being a suspect in the case.

“This gives us no indication of where the investigation is going and is of concern to us,” she said.

In a blogpost on his website, anti-racism writer Tim Wise wrote: “White privilege is knowing that if you are a white student from Nebraska – as opposed to, say, a student from Saudi Arabia – that no one, and I mean no one, would think it important to detain and question you in the wake of a bombing such as the one at the Boston Marathon.”

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Knifeman ordered Bristol women to take off hijabs


A MAN racially abused a Muslim woman and demanded she took off her hijab before putting a kitchen knife to her throat.

David Norris, 39, approached Farduja Jama who was with her eight-year-old son in Morton Street, Barton Hill at 9am.

  1. Women in France wearing the traditional hijab

    Women in France wearing the traditional hijab

Drunken Norris, who was brandishing a six-inch knife told her: “Take the hijab off. This is England, you are not allowed. Take the hijab off before I stab you.”

He then pointed the blade at Miss Jama and put the blade to the left and right of her throat.

Later the same day Norris approached Iqbal Osman who was watching her four-year-old play in Barton Hill Urban Park.

He asked her why she was wearing too many clothes and accused Muslims of “taking over” his country.

He again brandished the knife before leaving.

At Bristol Crown Court Norris, who had been on remand for seven months awaiting sentence, had admitted two counts of religiously aggravated harassment and two counts of possession of a bladed article.

Recorder Nicholas Rowland made Norris, of Canterbury Street, Barton Hill, subject to a two-year community order with two years supervision and a six-month alcohol treatment requirement.

Explaining his decision he said: “The reason I am doing this is so that any sort of repetition of his behaviour or if he fails to comply with the order he will be brought back before this court and the court’s hands will not be tied.”

Mr Rowland explained that if he gave Norris a suspended prison sentence and he breached it the time he had spent on remand would count towards his time in jail.

On a community order he could jail him for a breach and Norris would have to serve the full term.

Prosecuting, Sam Jones said Norris had committed all offences on September 3 last year.

“Miss Jama was walking to a cash dispenser on Church Road with her eight-year-old child,” he said.

“She heard shouting from behind in a loud and angry voice. She then heard ‘Off with the hijab.’

“She was then approached by the defendant who was holding a knife in his hand.

“He said ‘Take the hijab off. This is England, you are not allowed. Take the hijab off before I stab you.'”

“He then pointed the blade of his knife and put it the left and right side of her neck. It was witnessed by a man in a car who took a photo of the defendant.

“At 12pm a Mrs Osman was watching her four-year old play in the Urban Park in Barton Hill.

“The defendant approached her and asked why she was wearing too many clothes and why she had ‘that thing’ over her head. He then swore and said: ‘Muslim people, you are taking over my country’.

“He produced a knife from within his coat. She grabbed her bag and her child and left quickly.”

When Norris was arrested he made worrying comments to officers including: “I’m a killer, that is what I do.”

Victim impact statements from both women outlined how they now felt anxious when they left home.

The court heard that Norris had a previous conviction for assault and a public order offence.

Robin Rowland, defending, said Norris had minor mental health issues that when combined with drinking heavily led to unfortunate offending.

He said his client accepted he had a problem with alcohol and wanted to address the issues.

“He does not remember the incident but accepts that it must have been terrifying,” Mr Rowland said.

“He deeply regrets his actions.”

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PCHR is concerned by ISS ban on travel by 2 civilians via Rafah International Crossing Point


The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is concerned by the recent Internal Security Service (ISS) decision to prevent two civilians from travelling through Rafah International Crossing Point. PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to put an end to the use of such measures and ensure respect for the right to freedom of movement, which is guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law, as well as the relevant international human rights standards.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Monday, 15 April 2013, ISS staff stationed at Rafah International Crossing Point prevented Abdul Ra’ouf Shreiqi Barbakh (40) and Khaled Ahmed Mousa (43), both from Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, from travelling to Egypt. Abdul Ra’ouf Shreiqi Barbakh informed a PCHR fieldworker that he had submitted his passport to border police at the crossing earlier that morning; however, the police handed the passport over to ISS. Barbakh was questioned for approximately one hour about his activities with the Fatah movement and his reasons for travelling to Egypt. He was eventually informed of the decision that he was being prevented from travelling. His passport was returned to him, along with a notice instructing him to refer to the ISS office on 22 April 2013. In a similar incident, Khaled Ahmed Mousa informed a PCHR fieldworker that he was also prevented from travelling through Rafah International Crossing Point on the same day; he was attempting to travel to Egypt in order to resume his postgraduate studies.

It should be noted that, in recent months, ISS has prevented a number of individuals from travelling via Rafah International Crossing Point or Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing under various pretexts. Moreover, the Ministry of Interior has issued a number of recent decisions which impose restrictions on the right to freedom of movement. The latest such decision was issued on 27 February 2013, when the Ministry declared that persons wishing to travel via Beit Hanoun crossing must obtain a permit prior to travelling.

In light of the above, PCHR stresses that:

  • A decision to prevent travel and restrict the right to freedom of movement can only be made by judicial order, in accordance with Article 11-2 of the Palestinian Basic Law, which stipulates that “it is unlawful to arrest, search, imprison, restrict the freedom, or prevent the movement of any person, except by judicial order […]”, and Article 20 of the Law, which stipulates that “Freedom of residence and movement shall be guaranteed […]”; and
  • The imposition of a ban on travel by the ISS or any other executive body is illegal, according to the above Article 11-2, as well as Article 28 of the Law, which stipulates that “No Palestinian may be deported from the homeland, prevented or prohibited from returning to or leaving it […]”.

In view of the above, PCHR:

1.     Calls upon the Attorney General in Gaza to seriously investigate arbitrary measures taken by security services in Gaza, which threaten people’s rights and freedoms, especially the right to freedom of movement, which are ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law; and

2.     Calls upon the government and security services in Gaza to issue clear instructions to executive bodies to put an end to the use of such measures, and to respect international human rights standards, the Palestinian Basic Law, and all other applicable laws.


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