Archive | December 16th, 2010


Universal Jurisdiction
02 December 2010


On 1st December 2010, Pro-Zionist Coalition Government had the first reading of the proposed Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.  As part of this Bill, the Coalition Government is attaching a clause that will make it harder to arrest war crimes and torture suspects while they are in the UK under our universal jurisdiction laws.

You can read our full briefing on universal jurisdiction by clicking here.

What is Universal Jurisdiction?

The UK has universal jurisdiction under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 (and other legislation), which enables suspects of extremely grave offences to be tried in the UK regardless of where the crime was committed or the nationality of the perpetrator or victim. Its purpose is to ensure that there is no hiding place for people accused of the most serious crimes including war crimes and torture.

A private prosecution can be brought in universal jurisdiction cases and individuals can initiate criminal proceedings by applying to a magistrate for a summons or an arrest warrant.

    “In circumstances, where states and governments have failed to ensure compliance with the norms of international law and justice, it is absolutely vital that the private citizen should have the right to instigate the arrest of a transgressor” Michael Mansfield QC, July 2010.

What changes are being proposed?

The coalition government plans would require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be issued to a private prosecutor in respect of an offence of universal jurisdiction.

What impact will these changes have?

Under international law the UK has an obligation to prosecute or extradite those suspected of war crimes or torture anywhere in the world.  The proposed changes to universal jurisdiction are retrograde measures which will make it far more difficult to bring anyone accused of serious human rights violations before the courts. It further:

    * Risks adding a political dimension (by involving the Director of Public Prosecutions) to a legal decision and introduce a source of delay when urgent action may be required to stop a suspect escaping justice.
    * Undermines our judiciary by implying any previous arrest warrants were issued without judges being satisfied of the existence of serious evidence against the person concerned
    * Makes it more difficult for the UK to call on other countries to uphold human rights and international law and face accusations of double standards and hypocrisy.
    * The propose changes further send out an entirely wrong message that will be regarded by certain states as a reaffirmation of their de facto immunity and risks Britain being seen as a safe haven for anyone suspected of committing grave international crimes.

What can I do about it?

Email or write to your MP to urge them to sign EDM 108

Follow the link to see if your MP has signed the EDM.  If they have not, email them requesting them to do so.  You can find out who your MP is and their contact details here.

10 reasons for voting to keep universal jurisdiction

1.    It’s an important principle that people can be charged in this country for crimes committed in their own country.  How else would war criminals, torturers or pirates ever face justice?

2.    Anyone can ask a judge to issue an arrest warrant if they have sufficient evidence. Only the police can make the arrest. Only the DPP can prosecute. But the right to ask is a democratic safeguard to stop us becoming a safe haven for war criminals.

3.    It’s very hard to get an arrest warrant. There have to be affidavits from victims, substantial evidence that the suspect was personally responsible and it has to heard by a specialist senior judge in Westminster.

4.    If we give the DPP a power of veto over arrest warrants, won’t it just be used to protect our friends? After all, our own minister said the reason for changing the law was “because Israel is a close friend”.

5.    DPPs are appointed and supervised by the Attorney General. They meet regularly to discuss prosecutions. The current DPP may be irreproachable, but as a system this would open the law to political interference.

6.    Arrest warrant hearings can take place at short notice when a war crimes suspect is visiting the UK. By the time the DPP acts the suspect will be gone. Why not leave it to the judge? They can act quickly.

7.    Universal jurisdiction has no effect on our ability to broker peace negotiations in the Middle East or anywhere else. Ministers and diplomats are immune from arrest.

8.    We have used universal jurisdiction to arrest Bosnians, Rwandans and Afghans. How can we use it against them but not allow it to be used against Israelis?  Isn’t that double standards?

9.    The biggest cause of hatred against the West is the perception that international law is applied only when it suits the West and never against Israel.

10.    Why undermine one of the oldest civil liberties – the right of the citizen to seek a summons or arrest warrant – when there are many simpler ways of guaranteeing that no one will be arrested on flimsy evidence (eg require notice to the DPP, raise the evidence threshold). Shouldn’t there be a judicial review of alternatives as pledged by the Lib Dem manifesto?

Guardian Letter – Arrest warrants for alleged war crimes

Thursday 2 December 2010

We are appalled to learn that the government is pressing ahead with ill-considered restrictions on judicial powers to order the arrest of suspected war criminals. Not only is it morally right, but it is also our international obligation to bring war criminals to justice, wherever their crimes were committed. The government’s claim that arrest warrants are handed out on the basis of “flimsy evidence” is not backed by evidence. The experienced senior district judges who hear the very few cases of this kind have only issued warrants where there is serious evidence that a war crime may have been committed and that the suspect has a case to answer. It is deeply insulting to the knowledge and expertise of these judges to suggest that they would issue warrants on the basis of flimsy evidence.

It is a long-established right for individuals to apply for an arrest warrant to be issued, even if they cannot make the arrest or bring the prosecution themselves. This allows the courts to act quickly when a suspected war criminal is in this country. Requiring the prior consent of the director of public prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be issued introduces delay, making it easy for the suspect to leave the country, and risks introducing political interference. With all due respect to current incumbents, the DPP is after all appointed and supervised by the attorney general who is a government minister. We urge all parliamentary political parties to reject these changes.

Sir Geoffrey Bindman Bindmans


Michael Mansfield QC

James Lewis QC

Joel Bennathan QC

Bob Marshall-Andrews QC

Steve Kamlish QC

Lionel Blackman Chairman, the Solicitors’ International Human Rights Group

Daniel Machover Chair, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

Carla Ferstman Director, Redress

Tayab Ali Partner, Irvine Thanvi Natas solicitors

Simon Natas Partner, Irvine Thanvi Natas solicitors

Andrew Katzen Partner, Hickman and Rose

Anna Mazzola Partner, Hickman and Rose

Ole Hansen Partner, Hansen Palomares

Ellie Reeves

Farhaz Khan

Jennifer Horne-Roberts

Sebastian Gardiner

Muhammad Khan

Samuel Townend

Martyn Day

John R.W.D. Jones

Mark McDonald

Michelle Harris

David Williams

Ravi Naik

Karen Mitchell

Stephen Woolford

Rachel Bayliss

Richard Burgon

Andrew Gray

Reuben Greenwood

Clayton Williams

Stephen Morrison

Ranjit Sond

William Seymour

Nicola Welchman

Jeeva Sethu

Ian Cross

Gazzali Mohideen

Jahid Rahman

Henrietta Phillips

Paul Troop

Background Information

In September 2009 lawyers representing 16 Palestinians applied for an arrest warrant for the Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak during a visit to the UK. However, the Foreign Office upgraded his status to ‘special status’ to give him diplomatic immunity from arrest.  In December 2009, an arrest warrant was issued in the UK for Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, who was due to visit London but decided against a visit.

On 4 March 2010, the Justice Secretary Jack Straw set out changes to the law governing the issue of arrest warrants in respect of certain specified universal jurisdiction offences. However, recognising the controversial nature of the proposed changes, Mr Straw indicated that he would undertake a brief consultation prior to legislating. Subsequently, any legislation implementing changes to the private prosecution element would not able to be brought forward until after the 2010 general election.

Useful Resources

Arrest warrants for alleged war crimes, Guardian Letters – 2 December 2010 click here

Mark McDonald writes on Universal Jurisdiction (November 2010) Click here

Michael Mansfield QC article on Universal Jurisdiction (July 2010) Click here

Jews for Justice letter in the Guardian July 2010 on Universal Jurisdiction Click here

EDM 108 (2010) on Universal Jurisdiction Click here

Announcement from Home Office on proposed changes to Universal Jurisdiction (22 July 2010) Click here

David Winnick MP secured an adjournment debate on Thursday 28 January 2010 at the House of Commons regarding Universal Jurisdiction  Click here


* Our last pro-Zionist Foreign secretary, David Miliband, actually apologized to Zio=Nazi Tzipi Livni and Zionist Foreign Minisister warrant issued against Nazi promised lieberman to begin working immediately to change the uk laws. ‘See: Veterans today Stuart Littlewood Dec 8, 2010’

** William Hague: ‘We have had good discussions with Israeli minister on Universal Jurisdiction where the last government left us with an appaling situation where a politician like mrs livni could be threatend with arrest on coming to uk…’ He said it was ‘ Completely unacceptable..we have agreed in the coalition about putting it right, we will put it right through legislation that wil be introduced…The justice secretary will bring into the House of Commons adding to legislation going through the House of Commons later this year and i phoned Mrs Livni amongst others to tell her about that and received a very warm welcome for our proposals,’ ‘See Veterns Today Stuart Littlewood Dec, 8. 2010’

*** Cameron: ‘ The belief i have in Israel need to know that if i become Prime Minister, Israel has a friend who will never turn his back on Israel,’ ‘ See Jewish Chronicle.’ 2006

**** Fox, Hague and David Cameron were known for their subservience to Zionism long befor they took power.




It is in no one’s heart and out of every place. Totally transparent. A transparent place

with transparent people. It happens almost every day in Qalandiya refugee camp: they

come at night and capture someone. Several jeeps enter the camp. Stop by the house.

Then take one or the other away. Very seldom do they just arrest someone and leave.

Mostly they smash glass, overturn drawers, sometimes searching for something, at

other times just for the hell of it, sometimes looting, sometimes beating up family

members, shooting at cars, or at people, for everything is permissible, everything is

possible.They took Suhayeb Saber Khalil Hamad, the almost seventeen-year old son

of Abu Omar and Kifah, on the night between the 17th and 18th of July.

It was nearly 2 a.m. They stopped by the house. Eight jeeps. The soldiers got out and

threw a teargas canister into the house through a windowpane that was smashed and

the room filled with glass smithereens and white smoke. 14-year old Qassam and 17-year

old Suhayeb were sleeping in that room. Glass shards flew at them. And it was impossible

to see anything or breathe. They got up, startled, and ran upstairs, to their father.

And again the soldiers threw stun grenades, outside. And the house shook. Open up!

shouted the soldiers outside. Abu Omar ran downstairs and opened the door.

They forced me out to the street, dragging me along the floor like a dog, and shouting –

he says – and the soldier said to me, son of a bitch, open the door! and I said why are you


I’m opening, be patient, and he gripped me against the concrete wall. Then they ordered

me to raise my hands and searched me and said, go get everyone out of the house.

I went in and told my wife and daughter to get dressed, there were soldiers outside, and I

told them to go downstairs. And I came downstairs. And then everyone did. We stood outside.

Qassam didn’t come down.

The soldier said, you have more. I said, one more. He said, go get him. I went in. Everything

was filled with white smoke. I thought the house was burning. I looked for him. I worried

about him.

He was in the room. In a corner. I asked, what are you doing? He said he was afraid.

Of the smoke. He said there are soldiers outside. I said I know. Don’t be afraid. Come with me.

And then suddenly a soldier came and gripped him, stood him against the wall and yelled,

where are the documents?

The kid’s? I said he hasn’t any. The soldier said, okay. Then get yours. I gave him my ID.

They all came inside the house, about fifteen soldiers. They went through every room,

the bathroom, too. Yelling and swearing. They took out everything from the closets, all

our clothes, piled one on top of the other, I don’t know what they were looking for.

Everything was thrown on the floor, all our clothes, and they were nervous.

Then one of them said, get the whole family into one room. He said, where are your IDs?

I gave him all of ours. Then an officer showed up. I think, a high-ranking one. As soon as

he walked in there was no more yelling and swearing. He greeted me, good morning.

I said good morning. This is yourwhole family? he asked. I said yes. You speak Hebrew,

he asked. I said yes. Then he said, who are these? Pointing to the children. I said this is

Qassam, that is Omar, this Suhayeb… He was looking at a piece of paper, and said okay.

About Suhayeb. Then he told the soldiers, take the father and get him alone inside a

room and close the door. He told me, go upstairs. I thought they want to search more,

I didn’t get it. They closed in on me. I asked, what do you want? They said, sit down here,

don’t come out. My wife and children remained on their own. I was upstairs, they stayed


My wife told me later, they told her, get clothes for your son. Suhayeb said, what do you


They told him to shut up, not to talk. And he was afraid. He got dressed, put on his shoes

and clothes. He asked for cigarettes. They told him not to take any. He said to my wife, get

me cigarettes.

The officer said it was forbidden. Suhayeb was worried. Omar told him, be patient. Don’t say

anything. Then they hit Omar in the back, with the butt of an M-16 rifle.

My wife told me that the officer asked Suhayeb: Got anything? Are you a terrorist?

I’m human, Suhayeb said. I’ve done nothing. Then my wife talked with Suhayeb, too.

She said, be strong. Don’t be afraid. Be the way we know you are.

And then they took him. I saw him from the window. They put his hands up high. Then

behind his back, and then they tied them with that plastic thing, and a white blindfold.

And they took him to the jeep. When he got up they pushed him inside. And took him


I saw him being taken away.

Then people came and said that they took Ma’ez too. At night we put the house back in order.

We didn’t sleep. The children were terrified. Then in the morning, Shadi’s mother came,

and Ayub’s mother. Everyone heard the stun grenade, the two that were thrown, and the

loud swearing and yelling. All our neighbors woke up that night, and said this was the first

time soldiers were so loud and nervous and how they dragged me outside and swore.

-Did they beat you up?

No. Just pushed me around. They didn’t beat me. They hit Omar, but he’s okay.

The first two nights after that, the children didn’t get any sleep at all. They were afraid they

would be taken away. I told them they wouldn’t, that the soldiers only came for Suhayeb.

They shouldn’t be afraid. Yesterday and today they slept a bit. They wake up at night.

I mean sometimes. Nur (four-years old) dreams at night, cries out “Jeish, jeish!” (soldiers).

Then he gets a drink of water and goes back to sleep. Qassam, too (he’s fourteen, and his

head is full of shrapnel from being shot at with live ammunition when he was eight years

old) wakes up, afraid. He has nightmares about they’re coming.

They spoke with Suhayeb once, he says. Do they beat you? Kifah asked him. Whether they

do or not, her son said no, they don’t. Are you alright? his mother asked him.

Yes, he says. I’m fine.

He keeps asking about Alaa’ and Omar (Omar is nineteen, and Alaa’ eighteen), when

will they be done with their matriculation exams, Abu Omar tells us. I told him next

week they get their grades. Then he says to me, Father, I have 100 shekels, perhaps I’ll

buy firecrackers, you know, the kind they light up in weddings, boom-boom, and fire,

Abu Omar explains to me. And so next week when ‘Alaa and Omar get their final exam

grades, I’ll light up firecrackers, Suhayeb says. Okay, father?

This is what Abu Omar tells me, his voice vibrant with all the warmth in the world.

Translated by Tal Haran



Posted in Middle EastComments Off on ZIO=NAZI GESTAPO IN MY CAMP



Translation from Hebrew:

Herzl Shviro

Head of the Police Internal Investigation Department

Ministry of Justice


On the19th of November 2005, we heard from the children of the Shawamrah family who sell

chewing gum at the French Hill crossroads, the following:

It was this summer (no school), at the French Hill crossroads, something like thirty policemen

dressed in civilian (“like Arabs,” say the children) set up a kind of barrier. The children, who had learned to fear police officers (who regularly confiscate their chewing gum they are forced to sell, who hit them occasionally, take them in their van to faraway places and leave them there, to teach them a lesson, as it says in our prior letter) did not recognize them to be the police, and were caught, all seven of them. Four of the brothers and three other children. They were taken in a large Mitsubishi, to what now we know is the Etzion Youth Division on Shlomtzion street.

Among the officers was police officer David Revivo, not in uniform, wearing a gun. And also his

partner, Arik Shem-Tov. Occasionally we heard from the children that they were taken to, what we thought was a police station, and beaten or detained.

This time, after we spent a long time with the children, the older boy led us to where it (the

beating) usually happens, and then we also realized that it was the Etzion Youth Division (on

Shlomtzion street). The boy thought it was where the police officers live. After they arrived at the Youth Division some of the officers went upstairs and David Revivo after changing back to uniform led the children down the stairs to the Youth Division building and struck them with a billy-club. The children told us that Muhammad (the oldest child) said “I am twelve why are you beating me”. So David Revivo told him “You’re fifteen years old” and hit him harder. There was another officer, the children told us, who eventually said “Why are you beating the children.”

At some point the children were told they could leave only after their fathers would come to sign

for them. Which happened. Their father came and they were released. We met David Revivo on Tuesday the 15th at the French Hill crossroads. The children told us that just before, he had taken their chewing gum, and stacked it in his trunk. When we asked, he said (and all that is filmed on video) he did not take the gum. Moments later his partner – Arik Shem-Tov, arrived, who verified that they had indeed taken the children’s chewing gum. He did not know Revivo just a moment before had told us he hadn’t taken the gum from them. Had went on saying it was all done by law.

The children were clinging to us the whole time, apparently terrified of Revivo, way more than of the others, who take their goods, and chase them off, away from the junction, however David Revivo beats them as well. Even with a stick. A billy-club. And had already beaten them all up before. They asked us to tell him not to hit them.

It would be appropriate to invite these children to give evidence, an accurate detailed account. Both on what had happened and is currently happening once in a while in the Etzion Youth Department, far from the public eye; the theft of their goods without giving anything for it, and violence, apparently not reported, and the particularly violent behavior of David Revivo.

Aya Kaniuk

Tamar Goldschmidt




We don’t take care of such things…

Harassing the little beggars.

It happened in 2005, again in 2006, and 2007, and 2008,

and 2009 and 2010 and it is happening now, and again and

again, in broad daylight, by law and norm: the various Occ-

upation forces harass the children of the Shawamrah family –

Mohammad, Ahmad, Rami, Hussam and Yunes – and all the

other venders.

This was not the first time that the police had harassed the

Shawamrah children. Only one of many. 15-year old Moha-

mmad, the eldest, called and said that a police car abducted

Hussam, then eight-and-a-half years old, from the crossroads

where he was selling chewing gum, and disappeared, and he

asked for our help. This time he even remembered to note

down the license plate number as we had instructed him

whenever policemen would hurt them again.

This time Mohammad was terribly worried, and so were

we – from our experience we know that sometimes the police

leaves these children in some faraway field. This has already

happened with Ahmad and Rami, but Hussam is only

eight-and-a-half years old, and how would he find his way back

 alone, Mohammad kept repeating. Find him, he asked, tightly

sewing the tears that flooded him, despite his efforts to get over


We called the police.

A child has disappeared, we said.

Really? Said an attentive voice, full of concern and a sense of public responsibility,

doing its duty.

What’s his name?

His name is Hussam.
Hussam? Silence took over for a moment. Then the voice sounded again.

Eh… We don’t take

care of such matters. 

Hussam is not a particular child called Hussam. An especially beautiful child,

eight-and-a-half years old, whose eyes are soft, and an aged sadness laces his

sweetness like a shroud.

For Hussam is not a child, or a person.

Hussam is a Palestinian. This is his being. This is his nothingness.

This is his fate.

Sometimes it is ‘only’ the theft of goods. Namely, policemen take the

children’s goods away from them, goods paid for with money, without

returning it, without paying for it, or even handing them a form attesting

it had been confiscated. Sometimes they are the soldiers who make the

little venders stand outside in the cold and rain on a small mound next

to the checkpoint, as punishment, or they smash the goods down to the

ground, again and again, and sometimes the police picks them up in its

van and leaves them out in some faraway field, to make their way back

alone, make them learn their lesson. And sometimes it’s done with a

beating, with or without a stick. Soldiers or policemen. In the field nearby,

or inside the vans, or even with a billy-club, Like the one police officer

David Revivo used on the four children after they were hunted

down, inside the filthy staircase of the Youth Division on Shlomtzion

Street (West Jerusalem).

We lodged a complaint on behalf of the children against police officer

David Revivo with the Police Internal Investigation Department.

Not because we thought him a lone culprit, or that if David Revivo would

never harass them again, the abuse of the children and venders in general

would cease.

We lodged our complaint because we had his name. And because the children

asked us to do so, because they were so terrified of him.

Because we could not extricate them from their lives, no matter how much

we wanted to. From a faulty parenthood that sends them day in day out

morning till night, out into this menace, and from the Occupation that does

not see them as human beings. But at least, David Revivo, who in addition to

everything else uses his billy-club on them, at least he wouldn’t go on

terrifying them, we hoped together with them. In our hybris and naivete we

thought that we could remove him, at least. For after all we had all four

children and another two who were not of the same family, willing to testify

against him. To identify him as the one who took them to the Youth Division,

and beat them up with his billy-club. And how another policeman said, why

are  you beating them up, a policeman they could describe if asked to.

And exact details about the abuser himself, his looks and his police van and

his partner. And we, ourselves, privileged as non-Palestinians, we too can

testify that this policeman is a liar. Or at least a potential liar. About how we

once came to the crossroads and the children told us he had just taken away

their miserable packets of chewing gum and stashed them in his trunk and

we asked him about it and he denied having done it, and then his partner at

the time, a volunteer who introduced himself by name, and didn’t know what

his partner had just said, told us that indeed, David Revivo had taken the children’s

chewing gum packets and they are right in that trunk. In other words, he had stolen

them. Contrary to what David Revivo said, himself. And all of this was on video, that

could be summoned for inquiry, as well as we ourselves.

Here is our complaint to the Police Internal Investigation Department, as well as

 the answer we have finally received from the Police Internal Investigation Department

after nearly two years of endless requests, telling us there is no basis for inquiry.

A named policeman beat up children with his billy-club. There are witnesses. There

is opinion stating that he doesn’t tell the truth. There is a learned opinion that this

must be investigated.  And the answer of the Police Internal Investigation Departm-

ent that there is nothing to be done. Because in a state where civil rights are accorded

on the basis of ethnicity, and the rights to property and health and education and

freedom of movement and work are accorded on the basis of ethnicity, even the

definition of childhood – so we learn – is based on ethnicity. Because the Occupa-

tion authorities and ruling power naturally hold hands when the “enemy”

is Palestinian. Even if it is a child. Because there is no such thing as a Palestinian

child. Only a Palestinian.

And if it’s a Palestinian, his blood is free for the taking.

And that is the whole story, of Palestinians under Occupation, and always has been,

between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Translated by Tal Haran

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on WE DON’T TAKE-CARE OF SUCH THINGS…



City of Gainesville, Florida Tells the Poor: “No Soup for You!”

by Rich Lombino and Elizabeth Lombino


December 08, 2010


Topics: Hunger, Poverty in the Media


The City of Gainesville, Florida has recently imposed a 130-meals-a-day limit to some area soup kitchens. For a variety of reasons, none of which seem logical or humane, Gainesville is telling soup kitchens to turn away those who are hungry, if they happen to come after the 130 person limit. To see additional coverage of this incredible story, check out this recent post.

There has been some local coverage of the story as well. The Gainesville Sun recently reported that at a City Hall meeting, an 8 year-old girl named Mackenzie Case said, “It makes me sad that we have hungry people we aren’t allowed to feed.” She also held a hand-written sign that said, “If I was No. 131 you wouldn’t feed me?”

The pleas of this courageous little girl speak volumes. She has the dignity and reason that is somehow lost among the commissioners. We need to let the City of Gainesville know just how outrageous and inhumane this limit is.

Continue Reading


U.S.A: PEOPLE BEFORE $$$$$$$$$$



Schools vs. Condos


The kids at Bruce-Monroe at Parkview, an elementary school in Washington D.C., go home with nosebleeds and coughs, sick from the poorly ventilated rooms.

Teachers told our Education Editor, Carol Scott, that they leave windows open in the dead of winter so that the decrepit furnaces don’t heat the rooms to unhealthy levels — and so that the smell of dead mice can escape. Drug users shoot up in the park around the corner.
A safer place for these students to learn is possible — but they need our help to fight for it.
Three years ago, D.C.’s school district and city council promised these children a brand-new school. They demolished their old school building and shuttled them to this 95-year-old “substitute” school, which they were told was only temporary.
But this October, parents found out that the city leaders who promised a new school are instead entertaining plans for pricey retail and housing — including plans for luxury townhouses and a high-end market.
It’s the same story around the country: cities from Minneapolis to Houston are selling off public school sites to make a quick buck, while ignoring the needs of the community. In some places, developers just name the condos after the schools they’re replacing.
But the parents of Bruce-Monroe aren’t standing for it. They’ve organized, and together are speaking up for their kids. They continue to lobby their city council members and demand that the promise to their children be kept. But instead of being held up as a model of engaged, involved parents, they keep getting the runaround by officials who hope they’ll just give up.
These parents have created a petition on, and asked for our help.  They believe that with enough pressure and attention city leaders can be convinced to keep the promise they made three years ago.
We can make this happen—and send a signal to cities across the country that parents won’t stand for their schools being treated as real estate for the highest bidder. Tell D.C. Mayor-Elect Vince Gray and Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham to build a new school for the children of Bruce-Monroe.

Posted in USAComments Off on U.S.A: PEOPLE BEFORE $$$$$$$$$$



  1. Been to Israel/Palestine lately? The FBI may come knocking on your door.
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Been to Israel/Palestine lately? The FBI may come knocking on your door.

By the time she was in high school, Sarah Smith had already been named one of

 the 100 most influential women in Chicago by Chicago’s business magazine,

 Crain’s. Now Smith, who happens to be Jewish, has been 

subpoenaed by the FBI to appear before a grand jury on January 25 to explain

her trip to Israel-Palestine with two Palestinian women friends. (As terrifying

as this whole episode is for everyone involved, it says something about Pales-

tinian safety that only Smith has come forward publicly.) All three young Chicago

residents have been subpoenaed, joining ranks with 14 other peace activists from

the Midwest who have been similarly targeted in recent months.

Here is Sarah Smith’s full statement from a December 6 press conference:

Friday morning, December 3, I received a phone call from an FBI agent.

He asked if I had about 30 minutes to sit down and speak with him so he

 could ask me some questions. I asked about what and he said he “was not

at liberty to discuss it.” I then asked if I needed a lawyer present and he

said it was up to me but that I was not in any trouble and that they just had

 a few questions.

I felt something suspicious about him telling me he wanted to ask me some

 questions, but he would not tell me what these questions were. So I said that

I had to consult a lawyer and check my schedule and that I would get back to

him. I reiterated that it would be easier for me to meet him if I knew why an

FBI agent wanted to sit down with me. He then said that it had to deal with the

 trip I took this summer. He then emphasized, “I think you know which one

I’m talking about.”

The trip I took last summer was to Israel and Palestine. I am Jewish and

wanted to see first hand what life is like for Israelis and Palestinians.

If I went on the standard tour to Israel, I would not be shown how Palesti-

nians live. So I went on a tour that showed me both worlds, Israel, and the

Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank. I went with 2 Palestinian-American


You would think Jews and Palestinians going together to visit Israel and

Palestine is something the U.S. government would encourage.

Instead, we are now being ordered by the FBI to go before a Grand Jury for

going on that trip. The US government says it supports peace between Israel

and Palestine. It says it supports separate Israeli and Palestinian states.

So why does the FBI investigate us because we went to see the Palestinian land?

Top US government leaders meet with Palestinian leaders, so why does the FBI investigate us because we talked to average Palestinians on the street?

I went there so I could make up my own mind and talk about what I saw.

It seems to me our government wants to hide what Israel is doing to

Palestinians. I would like to thank the Committee Against Political Repre-

ssion for standing up for me and my friends. You can learn about case at, and please make a donation there. Or you can make a donation

for our legal expenses: to NLG Foundation, memo line: FBI raids and mail it

to Sarah Smith, 2961 S. Bonaparte, Chicago, IL 60608

Smith’s father, Stan Smith,  added “I think Patrick Fitzgerald, the US District Attorney,

Robert Parker of the FBI need to see my daughter and her friends and apologize to them.

And I think President Obama, who was elected in 2008 because he said he would stop

this sort of thing, should make a point on his next trip to Chicago to personally apologize

to my daughter and her friends for how his government is intimidating them.”

Meanwhile, there are actions across the country to protest this crackdown on peace

activists (sign the petition here). Firedoglake’s Kevin Gosztola has this report:

The hunting down of activists began on September 24th when the FBI raided

homes and offices of activists from Minneapolis and Chicago. Computers,

phones, documents and other personal items were seized and the FBI officially subpoenaed 14 activists to appear before a Grand Jury. The FBI began to contact members of the “peace community” and ask them what they knew about the subpoenaed activists’ “material support for terrorism.”

The attorneys representing the activists have noted “the current definition of “material support’ can cover just about anything, like providing humanitarian

aid that ends up in the hands of a group tagged as ‘terrorist’ by the US government,

or posting a link to an informational website. The implications of this law, as it is

being used, are troubling to anyone who does community organizing, or anyone

who does journalistic reporting or academic research on wars, conflicts or controversial movements.”

Months later, the activists in Minneapolis and Chicago have not been charged

with a crime, but they continue to face possible jail time if they refuse to go

before a Grand Jury and participate in this “witch hunt.” They have yet to have

their belongings, which were seized by the FBI, returned.

Democracy anyone?

December 3, 2010

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How about a new slogan for the anti-war and Palestine solidarity movements? We pay for every Israeli war at the gas pump! No aid to Israel!

The New Zealand Herald reports:

Opec is breaching its production limits the most in six years, signalling the world’s biggest suppliers are ready to pump more crude next year as oil rallies towards US$100 ($133) a barrel. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries excluding Iraq pumped 26.78 million barrels a day this year, exceeding the quotas by an average of 1.934 million a day, the highest level since 2004, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Crude rose 11 per cent in 2010 as demand recovered, trading at about US$90 for the first time in two years. Options to buy at US$100 next December are near a five-month high. Flouting quotas lets Opec, which provides about 40 per cent of the world’s oil, boost profits without changing targets set when the first global recession since World War II caused prices to tumble 78 per cent.

Analysts say the rally may lead the 12- member group to raise output next year after leaving quotas unchanged at this weekend’s meeting in Quito, Ecuador. “Definitely $100, that would be a trigger,” said Leo Drollas, the London-based director and chief economist at the Centre for Global Energy Studies, a market researcher founded by former Saudi Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Zaki Yamani.

“Bells are ringing in the corridors already. If this carries on, if it’s a really cold winter, we can see prices heading up to $100. “At some stage even the Saudis will realise there’s something going on here, and that they should respond. And they will.” Opec has maintained a production target of 24.845 million barrels a day since December 2008, the longest period that quotas have stayed unchanged since they were first used in 1982.

The Saudis will respond—meaning, Saudi Arabia is the circuit breaker for the world oil price. It lags in raising production to make sure price increases are stable, rather than bringing more production online early in order to stop a rise in oil prices. What’s the US oil interest? Right: profits. Where do they come from? Gouging every American at the pump.

The 11 members with quotas pumped 26.7 million barrels a day last month, 1.9 million more than targeted, Bloomberg data show. Wall St is raising its price forecasts for next year after crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange reached US$90.76 a barrel on December 7, the highest level since October 8, 2008.

Higher prices are a tax on consumers that might stunt growth, Francisco Blanch, head of commodity research at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch in New York, said in an October report.

Every US$10-a-barrel increase added US$42 billion to the cost of US imports, US$49 billion in Europe, US$19 billion for China and US$16 billion to Japan, Blanch said.

“Within about two weeks of oil being at US$100, I think you would get more consumer-nation pressure on Opec” to increase production, said Ann-Louise Hittle, a senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie in Boston. “Their number one concern is not to damage heavily the economic recovery that is under way.”

“Against a backdrop of much-stronger-than-expected global oil demand growth and oil prices above two-year highs, Opec may come under pressure to increase supplies to the market in the new year,” the IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report.

That is another sign dropping stockpiles will drive oil higher, according to Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank. Falling inventories made rallies “more sustainable”, Washington-based Sieminski wrote on December 3, raising his 2011 average forecast to US$87.50 a barrel, from US$80.

Opec’s gathering in Quito two days ago was the seventh meeting with no change in output quotas. The group meets next in June. Asked what price level is appropriate, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters: “How many times do I have to tell you. $70 to $80 is a good price.”

An increase to US$100 might indicate “something wrong with fundamentals” in the market and lead Opec to act, Abdalla El-Badri, its secretary-general, said on December 9. Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters after the December 11 meeting ended that US$100 was “fair” and he expected oil to reach that level next year.

Iraq will account for 54 per cent of the increase in Opec’s supply capacity in the six years ending 2015, according to the IEA, replacing Iran as the biggest producer after Saudi Arabia. Opec’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

The group agreed on a record 4.2 million barrel-a-day supply cut at the end of 2008 in response to the recession. Adherence to that pledge peaked at 89 per cent in March 2009 and was 56 per cent last month, according to Bloomberg estimates. “They could raise the quotas by a million and a half barrels a day and in theory it wouldn’t matter,” said Sieminski. “They’d still be [exceeding] their targets.”

And what would the US do without dictatorships in the region to funnel petrodollars to armaments and stock speculation? It’d be in trouble. And how to maintain dictatorships? Say, “It’s for Israel’s security.” And how to maintain that policy? Let the Israel Lobby screech away. Screech away about what? Screech away about Israel’s security every time there’s a conflict in the Middle East: 1967, 1973, 1980, 1991, 2003.

Regional conflict fuels profits for the oil majors. Defending Israel’s “security” means defending the profits of oil companies. Israeli politicians and generals probably believe they’re “defending” Israel, and of course, they are, in a way. They’re defending Israel’s right to aggressively dominate the Arab and Muslim peoples of the Near East, the corollary of dominating the Palestinians.

You can’t dominate the Palestinians without Arab dictatorships, because Arab democracies would not tolerate Zionist settler-colonial domination. The Lobby believes it’s all tied up in one bundle, too. But  they arepaid to believe it. And cui bono? We already know: ExxonMobil, Lockheed Martin, and since 2004, the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange. You want a conspiracy? It’s all happening right in front of our eyes.

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December 14, 2010 


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Carmel fire (AP)

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Knesset panel okays bill forcing ISPs to name online commenters accused of libel

Beware of the extremists


Rabbis behind anti-Arab manifesto seek compromise with Netanyahu, Haaretz learns




Barak tells Gates: Hezbollah and Syria must not gain weapons supremacy over Israel




Netanyahu content over new US policy


Britain ‘pioneer in rights violation’


Iran MP slams UK for jailing students


BCP denies WikiLeaks’ spy allegations



Ahmadinejad blasts Israel for genocide


Please check out the brand new book detailing Israel’s deliberate attack on the USS LIBERTY here

Posted in UKComments Off on NOVANEWS**NOVANEWS


Heroes incorporated

Posted: 15 Dec 2010 03:15 PM PST


Both sides of politics see asylum seekers as non-people

Posted: 15 Dec 2010 06:14 AM PST

Australia’s depravity over asylum seekers is revealed even by the US, a nation fond of demonising refugees:

Secret United States embassy cables have sharply criticised the handling of asylum seekers by the former prime minister Kevin Rudd and accused both Labor and the Coalition of playing partisan politics with the issue.

The cables reveal that a close adviser to Mr Rudd failed to persuade him to use the government’s powers ”to calmly and rationally put the issue in perspective” by acknowledging that only a small number of asylum seekers were arriving by boat compared with tens of thousands overstaying their visas each year.

A cable obtained by WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to the Herald says an unnamed “key Liberal Party strategist” told US diplomats in November last year that the issue of asylum seekers was ”fantastic” for the Coalition and ”the more boats that come the better”.


Assange as a curious and important British house guest

Posted: 15 Dec 2010 06:07 AM PST

This is a fascinating tale reported in the UK Independent:

For the past fortnight, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has been at the centre of a global firestorm. Wanted by Interpol, by the Swedish police, even, briefly, by Scotland Yard, he has been called a terrorist and a revolutionary. Several leading American politicians and commentators have called for him to be killed, while Russia and China have also been loud in their condemnation. Yesterday, Assange appeared at City of Westminster magistrates’ court to fight extradition to Sweden on sex charges that he says are politically motivated. He was granted bail – subject to an appeal by Swedish prosecutors that could see him spend a further 48 hours in custody – on condition that he provides a security of £200,000 to the court, with a further £40,000 guaranteed in two sureties of £20,000 each – and that he spends between now and 11 January as the house guest of Captain Vaughan Smith, a former Grenadier Guard and founder of the journalists’ Frontline Club.

He will be under curfew every day from 10pm to 2am and from 10am to 2pm and will be required to report daily to the police from 6pm to 8pm. He must spend every night at Cpt Smith’s home and will be electronically tagged.

Mr Assange has for several months been staying as a guest of Cpt Smith and other members at the Frontline Club in London, which he founded seven years ago to stand for independence and transparency, and he has also stayed at Cpt Smith’s home in Suffolk. Below is Cpt Smith’s account of the past weeks…

Having watched Julian Assange give himself up last week to the British justice system, I took the decision that I would do whatever else it took to ensure that he is not denied his basic rights as a result of the anger of the powerful forces he has enraged.

This decision – which will result in one of the most unusual Christmases I have ever experienced – began to take shape last Monday night, as we gathered round a computer in my home, talking via Skype to Mark Stephens, Julian’s solicitor, in London.

This is how I remember the scene…

It is late in the evening. The screen periodically goes to sleep and Sue, a friend, keeps tapping the keyboard to keep it awake, relighting their faces.

Julian is completely still except his foot, which he rocks from side to side. I remember being told that he always did this when he was concentrating.

I feel that I am intruding, but Julian smiles at me. He does that: brings you in and makes you feel you are important to him when most of us would feel too preoccupied to do such a thing.

Julian is in front of a computer all the time. Immersed and uninterruptable; you feel you could arrive in a clown suit and he wouldn’t notice you.

But often you can gently greet him while he is typing furiously and he will immediately stop what he is doing and report developments for half an hour, well beyond the time you feel he should get back to his work.

The call is finished, and Julian is standing by the fireplace. Miles away. We start discussing the call. A couple of other friends and supporters are there too. Julian is still quiet but he is listening to us. The conversation dries up because the call to Mark has brought it all home.

There seemed to be other options, but they are all of straw. Julian dismisses each as it is suggested. He doesn’t want to look as if he has something to hide. The British police have said they want him and he is going in.

Sue and the other friends start discussing his statement. I get my camera set to film it for them and start working on the logistics. I don’t work for WikiLeaks, but I get drawn in. The police have given less time than expected and he cannot be late.

Julian sits on the sofa. Then he lies down. Then he sleeps. He’s been up for 48 hours. We don’t film any statement.


How many reporters are keeping secrets with secret meetings in Israel?

Posted: 15 Dec 2010 05:44 AM PST

There is currently in Israel the largest Australian delegation ever to visit the Zionist state. Leading politicians and journalists are enjoying the pleasures of Israeli hospitality. The fact that so many people are visiting while Israel faces intense criticism over its racist policies proves the blindness of the Western elites when it comes to the country. Witness the chummy press conferencebetween Foreign Ministers Kevin Rudd and Avigdor Lieberman.

We have to read the Jerusalem Post to learn some of the real agenda of this largely off the record experience:

On Monday, after arriving in Israel for the third time, Rudd warmly embraced President Shimon Peres who asked him what it was like to be a foreign minister after having been a prime minister.

To take the barb out of the question, he added that he had his own experience in this respect.

“I was going to ask you for guidance,” said Rudd without missing a beat.

But treating the question more seriously, he said that he was now able to give 100 percent of his time to foreign affairs instead of 20% as he had done as prime minister.

Following their private discussion, Peres and Rudd held a Q&A session with the members of Rudd’s delegation, who participated in the third annual Australia-Israel Leadership Forum.


Sydney police see their job as stopping pro-Wikileaks rally

Posted: 14 Dec 2010 09:33 PM PST

This report from ZDNet today is an accurate representation of last night’s Wikileaks protest in Sydney. Thuggish police interrupting a legitimate and democratic rally to defend Julian Assange:

Four men were arrested last night at a Sydney rally in aid of Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange.

The NSW Police yesterday issued a letter (PDF) to the organisers of the rally voicing its opposition to the action after the Support Wikileaks Coalition aired plans to march on the US Consulate at Martin Place.

According to the NSW Police Service, the group was given permission to march along the footpath towards the consulate at 7:30pm (AEDST) last night.

When the protest march arrived at the intersection of King Street, police allege that three protesters blocked the flow of traffic, which resulted in their arrest.

A fourth man then allegedly punched an officer and was subsequently charged with assault. He is set to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on 11 January 2011.

Rally chairperson and key speaker Antony Loewenstein told ZDNet Australia today that around 800 people attended the static protest at Sydney’s Town Hall, with roughly 400 embarking on the march.

Pirate Party member Rodney Serkowski said that the presence of mounted police, dog units and riot police was antagonistic.

“We worked with the police to make sure everything was fine, but the use of mounted police and bringing dogs was a little bit unnecessary,” Serkowski said.

“It seemed a bit antagonistic,” he added.

Loewenstein agreed, saying that police were inflexible about the rally from the outset.

“The police were very inflexible about allowing [the march] to happen. There was a sense that they were trying to avoid any embarrassment while Oprah is in town,” Loewenstein said.

Loewenstein and Serkowski both maintain that the scuffles have not tarnished the message of support.

“I don’t know who the fault lies with here but generally you always get a few people who do, you know, make a bit of trouble. But the issue of Wikileaks transcends left and right divides,” said Serkowski.

Greens MP David Shoebridge told the ABC this morning that police handled the situation poorly.

“The police refused to give permission to the organisers and instead there was a confrontation on the streets caused by that police intransigence,” he told ABC News this morning.

Organisers are planning an even bigger group action on 15 January 2011. And public events before that time will depend on the results of Assange’s legal battle in London.

Political activist group GetUp! today took out a full page advertisement in The Australian urging Prime Minister Gillard to stand up for the rights of Julian Assange and to support Wikileaks’ actions.

GetUp! is set to publish a similar open letter in The Washington Times and The New York Times to US President Barack Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder to do the same.

GetUp! told ZDNet Australia in a statement that it chose The Washington Times after it called for “the death of Julian Assange” and selected The New York Times due to the prestige of the masthead itself.

The US advertisements are slated for print in tomorrow’s editions.

So far, 91,429 people have signed the GetUp! petition, with 9187 people donating a grand total of $363,564 to take out the print ads.

“It works out at an average donation of $39.50 per person,” GetUp! said.

GetUp! was unsure of the cost of the advertisements, saying that the deals were worked out between the publication using ad buyers.


Hicks: Assange will never receive free trial in US

Posted: 14 Dec 2010 09:22 PM PST

From a man who knows a few things about Australia abandoning its own citizens:

Former  Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will never receive a fair trial if he is handed over to US authorities.

Mr Hicks says he hopes the Australian government won’t abandon Mr Assange, as they did with him.

He also says it’s clear Mr Assange is the victim of a politically motivated campaign.

The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief is facing allegations of sexual assault and rape made against him in Sweden.

He has been granted conditional bail by a British court but remains in prison while Swedish authorities appeal the decision.

Mr Assange’s British lawyer Mark Stephens has claimed a secret US grand jury has been set up in Virginia to work on charges that could be filed against the Australian.

He fears Sweden might hand Mr Assange over the US, which has been embarrassed by WikiLeaks’ publication of US diplomatic cables.

Mr Hicks, who claims he was tortured at the US-run prison camp in Cuba, has told Fairfax Radio he’s worried about what might happen to the WikiLeaks boss if he’s sent to the US.

“He will never receive a fair trial,” he said.

“We have already established that it’s a political decision rather than a legal one. It’s important that our governments are held to account for any war crimes they may be involved in and that is why the work of WikiLeaks is so important.”

Mr Hicks said he was hopeful some of the documents being leaked might expose the political interference that tainted his case.

“I will watch with interest in more leaks released because I have heard that they might contain information about my treatment in Guantanamo and the political interference in my case,” he said.

“I just hope the Australian government doesn’t abandon him like they did to me.”

Mr Hicks, who pleaded guilty to a charge of supporting terrorism, was held at Guantanamo Bay for more than five years after being captured in Afghanistan in December 2001.

In March 2007, under a plea bargain, he was sentenced to seven years’ jail but ordered to serve only nine months with the rest of his sentence suspended.

He returned to Australia and was released from Adelaide’s Yatala Jail in December, 2007.

Michael Moore on Wikileaks and real patriotism

Posted: 14 Dec 2010 08:45 PM PST


Visit for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy


Guess which state wants to copy dictatorships?

Posted: 14 Dec 2010 08:30 PM PST

Looks like North Korea wants to bring in some legal reforms. Oh wait:

The [Israeli] Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a bill yesterday that would allow the state to prevent detainees suspected of security offenses from meeting with an attorney for up to one year.

The bill, introduced by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, aims to keep lawyers from helping their clients “carry out offenses that endanger the security of the public or the state from within jail.”

If passed, the bill would authorize the prison director to prevent a detainee from meeting with an attorney for up to seven days, instead of the current maximum period of 24 hours. The commissioner of the Israel Prison Service would be able to extend the prohibition for up to 90 additional days, with the approval of the state prosecutor or deputy prosecutor, instead of the current maximum of five days.

The district court could order additional extensions of the prohibition of up to six months at a time, for a total period of up to one year. The current limit is 21 days.

The Public Committee against Torture in Israel called the prohibition of client-attorney meetings a “mortal blow to the basic rights of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.”

According to the organization’s executive director, Ishai Menuchin, “The ministerial committee is trying to carry out a ‘surgical strike’ against human rights in a democratic society. We must not forget that even ‘security suspects’ have human rights.”


BDS hits the Sydney suburbs

Posted: 14 Dec 2010 08:20 PM PST

At Marrickville Council’s meeting last night [in inner Sydney], Greens, ALP and an independent councillor united to adopt the following resolution moved by Greens Councillor Cathy Peters:


  1. In particular recognition of its sister city relationship with Bethlehem and the strong support for this relationship from local progressive faith communities and other community members, Marrickville Council support the principles of the BDS global campaign and report back on any links the Council has with organisations or companies that support or profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine with a view to the Council divesting from such links and imposing a boycott on any future such links or goods purchases.

  2. Marrickville Council boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, institutional academic, government or institutional cultural exchanges.

  3. Marrickville Council write to the local State and Federal ministers (Carmel Tebbutt and Anthony Albanese) informing them of Council’s position and seeking their support at the State and Federal level for the global BDS movement.”

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